Little Bo Peep’s Troublesome Sheep

Little Bo Peep can’t find her sheep (a common complaint), and sets off to find them. Little Boy Blue suggests there might be a book in the library that could help her strategise a means of locating her lost flock, so Little Bo Peep heads straight for her local library.  A local library which boasts Mother Goose as the head librarian.  A local library where books are browsed (and one would presume borrowed) by the Big Bad Wolf, the Queen of Hearts, the Three Bears (of Goldilocks fame), and Little Red Riding Hood. So, the perfect local library for the likes of Little Bo Peep. She’s unsure of where to look for the kind of book that might offer some guidance to finding sheep, and her hunt for exactly the right kind of book about sheep is where the real delight of this children’s book lies; for as Little Bo Peep wanders from section to section of the library, we

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Mr Pusskins: Best in Show

My two-and-a-half year-old son is completely obsessed with this latest addition to his library.  We have not previously discovered Mr Pusskins, so this is our introduction to Sam Lloyd’s ‘books with cattitude’. The latest book in the series has Mr Pusskins entered into a pet show by Emily, the little girl with whom he lives. Mr Pusskins finds the whole thing a yawn until he realises that he is competing for ‘the most fabulous thing he has ever seen’ – a trophy. The story is energetically realised, both in the telling and the illustrating, and I suspect that all toddlers going through potty-training will be thrilled with a pivotal moment in the plot which features a toilet. Each page has plenty of text, but it is written in a way that ensures we make it to the conclusion of the book every time. For my 31-month-old son this story has immediately become a favourite, with him asking for Mr Pusskins:

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Jasper’s Beanstalk

There are books that demand one’s attention on the shelves of the children’s section in the bookshops of the world, and then there are the books that, out of the blue, one notices already sitting on one’s bookshelf, a gift probably, maybe given in anticipation of the child’s changing tastes in reading material, so unread at the time of receipt, but now ripe for exploration. Jasper’s Beanstalk was one of these less noisy books that was given to my son when he was still much too young to appreciate or enjoy its charms. But one day, quite unintentionally, Jasper’s Beanstalk was pulled from the shelves, and we began to read. We read about a cat, Jasper, who found a bean and decided to help it grow.  Each day Jasper tries some new gardening technique to encourage the bean to sprout, until he despairs of ever seeing a beanstalk… The trick with any picture book is, of course, to have a

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Why I am such a fan of “That’s Not My…”

I’m almost a bit self-conscious about how much of a fan I am of the Usborne series “That’s Not My…”.  Learning that a new title has been released has me in a state of complete excitement, and I don’t know how much time I’ve spent poring over the series, figuring out which books will make the perfect customised collection for my son. If you’ve not heard of them before: “That’s Not My….” is a series of what they call feely-touchy books; the illustrations in these board books have textured inserts that are ‘rough’, ‘slimy’, ‘velvety’, ‘and so on. So in “That’s Not My Lion” (the first book I bought for my son) “its paws are too rough”, and in “That’s Not My Dragon” (the second book I bought, out of respect for my husband’s St George rugby league fixation) “its claws are too knobbly”, while in “That’s Not My Monkey” (a much more recent acquisition) “its feet are too smooth”, and

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