Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: childrens books (page 3 of 3)

Matilda’s book reviews – Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori

I do apologise for the lack of book reviews in the last 2 weeks, it’s not that we haven’t been reading any, Matilda would definitely not allow that. But my brain was truly too full with up with ‘stuff’. However we’re back this week with a new favourite book and something perhaps a little more unusual.

This beautiful book is a bit different to your everyday big sellers like spot or Mr Men. It’s a really simple concept as all good childrens books are, telling the story of parents tucking up their children in bed and how they will protect them. With the parents and children in this case being animals which Matilda of course loves. “Bunny daddy” Yes Matilda that is indeed a bunny. What is particularly cute is this week she figured out that animals could be mummy and baby too. Amazing watching her reach that conclusion.

There aren’t a huge amount of words but they are really well written, simple, comforting, cosy words even. Ones that at least from my perspective provide some calming reassurance at bed time that can never be a bad thing right?

The art work is also great, quite quirky and different but completely filling the pages. I like how each page has a different parent and child animal on it and how the words are integrated into the picture, not always standard straight lines of text.

Matilda seems generally enthralled by it, sitting taking in all the colours and pictures on a page. The detail on the drawings means that if we want to we can talk about what’s on the page and spot the animals etc. It’s also a nice size book, which may sound odd but at her age I think it’s nice to have a book of a decent size rather than trying to peer at some small A5 sized book.

All in all a fab book that I would definitely recommend, perfect for bed time when you don’t want to be lifting up flaps in a book.

Matilda’s book reviews – Colours

I think I’ve shown some restraint in not yet reviewing a Shirley Hughes book here, if I had to read just one children’s author it would be her. I love the style, the words, the drawings, everything! Thankfully Matilda seems to agree and will often grab one of her books out of the book bag.

We’re been trying recently to make story time a bit more educational rather than just her hearing some fun words. In all the books we spot different objects or animals, learn the animal noises and have some discussion about what’s on the page. Nothing ground breaking in the approach but absolutely fascinating to watch as she develops and learns things. She can find a dog or cat on a page within 2 seconds flat now, she knows what noise a monkey makes and knows where fish live. All important life skills I’m sure you’ll agree.

What I particularly like about this book is that it introduces colours but in the form of a story and interesting objects rather than something more blatant. Feels nicer as a bed time book that way and a bit more sophisticated than a picture and a label. What is also quite amazing is that the book was first published in 1986 but really doesn’t feel dated, maybe that’s partly my love of classic English countryside living but I think it also gives some credit to the drawings in particular.

Matilda loves flicking through and pointing at the pictures, it’s one of the few books where she’ll actually sit still and read the whole way through. Her favourite page it seems is purple but she does get quite frustrated that she can’t eat the blackberries on the page. Her new food obsession after we introduced her to them on a dog walk. We have the book in a nice small size which she also finds very easy to sit and open herself, I think my mum gave them to us from her collection so no idea if you can still buy in this form.

So the first of most likely many Shirley Hughes books to grace this site and most definitely  comes highly recommended.

Matilda’s book reviews – Hippos go berserk

We’ve been getting through a lot of books recently, I’ve started reading Matilda 2 stories before she goes to bed. I’d resisted for a while doing this as her routine was in general working really well and she seemed to just get excited rather than chill out when I read. But it’s been nice to have 10 minutes of reading a story and talking about a book with her in what is the only real time I have with her each day.

However it does mean having to chose 2 books every day to read and some of them are getting pretty tedious already. But this book is one that I quite enjoy reading, it’s about hippos turning up to a house, it starts with one hippo and then counts up to 10 with each set doing something different. Then in the second half of the book it counts back down to 1 again as they leave.

There is a nice rhyme to the story which always pleases me AND it gives me the opportunity to say “all the hippos go BERSERK”. Love it.

Matilda loves seeing what the hippos are doing and in particular spotting the monster than sneaks in on one of the pages. She also seems quite partial to reading this one to herself, it’s quite a nice size and made of cardboard so easy for her to flick through the pages herself.

For a random book that the lady of the manor found in a local bookshop it’s become a firm favourite.

Matilda’s book reviews – Bear on a bike

This book came in a big bag of books as part of my prize for winning a BIB award back in June, they all come from a company called Barefoot Books who I’d never heard of but are now firm favourites with the wee girl. So much so that some of them may have been put in a high place for ‘safe keeping’, there are only so many times you can read a story in one day isn’t there?

I do like this book though, it’s bright and colourful  and I love the style of the art work. It has a simple repetitive story as most classic books for this age do. The story involves a small boy or girl chasing after a bear asking him where he’s going, the bear then replies and describes where he’s going. It has lovely rhyming phrases like “I’m going to the forest where fearsome creatures prowl, where racoons play and bobcats snarl and hungry foxes howl.”

Oh and of course it allows me to do a bear impression with a big deep voice.


Matilda I think quite enjoys the way the words bounce along and trip off the tongue. She also most definitely enjoys finding things on each page, pointing to the bear, spotting the dog and the fish. She’ll often sit on her own and flick through the pages exclaiming as she spots things. Plus if you take her rating as the amount of times she takes it out of the bag to read then this definitely gets 5 stars!


Matilda’s book reviews – If I were a duck and Good Egg

I’m reliably informed (although reliably by a man that used to write about cats, so how reliable is that) that my rant below is actually wrong and the book’s publisher is right. Well that may be so but I’m sticking to my guns, If I were a duck just doesn’t sound right and what’s more just makes me want to say it in a west country accent.

Last week was week 3 of these book review posts and I ‘may’ have failed to post anything, I did have a good excuse though what with being on a plane on the way back from California and all. I have to say though I am very disappointed that none of you my adoring readers pointed out this fact.

So this week I am giving you not one but two reviews because I’m just that kind of guy.

If I were a duck

First up is If I were a duck and in a change from all the reviews I have done so far this one is not a good one. Matilda loves it, it has furry bits on the page to touch, what toddler wouldn’t like it? The book is sweet in the way it tells you about all the things you could do if you were  duck and has nice bright pictures  again great for Matilda.

But I despise this book for one very simple reason; the name. Just because it’s aimed at under 2’s I don’t see that as a good reason for bad grammar. Why not call it if I WAS a duck? It still works, there is no rhyming or anything that would be upset. It’s simply poor to publish a book with such poor English. I may just be being picky but these things grate and I can feel the anger boiling up whenever Matilda trots over with it.

Aaaannnddd breath. Rant over.

Good egg

The second book however is a firm favourite with both of us, good egg by Barney Saltzberg is as you might have guessed is about an egg. Each page has the egg doing different things like sit, roll over, shake with cardboard pulls on each page to make the egg do those things. Matilda is obsessed with roll over, it’s the first page she turns to every time, unfortunately she also pulls the egg off the page every time as well. That’s not so fun.

But it’s a fun book, simple concept with movement on every page and helps teach your child what each action means. This one can stay on the book shelf, the first one however may well get lost somewhere.

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