Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Category: Matilda’s book reviews (page 3 of 4)

Matilda’s book reviews – wow! said the owl

After a little Christmas break Matilda is back with her book reviews which I know is the only reason you read this blog. Thankfully our families know that we would much rather Matilda got books as presents than toys (actually she probably would also) and so we have a nice big pile of new material to read together at bed time.

Wow! Said the owl is already a firm favourite with me, I’m definitely a sucker for a simple concept for the story and a repetitive start to each section. This book is all about a little owl that decides to sleep one night so that it can stay awake the next day and experience the day light.

The owl is amazed by all the bright colours and if you hadn’t already guessed it each page starts with wow! said the owl as it discovers each new thing. It’s a really nice little story and gives me an opportunity to start teaching Matilda colours which is great. She’s definitely at that age where she’s really becoming a sponge for information and words so being able to show her each colour based on something she can relate to like trees or the sky is perfect.

Matilda loves spotting the owl on each page and is starting to understand what a sun and moon look like. I have also taken great pleasure in teaching her how to say WOW ­čÖé

P.S We’re also very excited to have won a bookshelf from Tidy Books this week in a blog competition which means that Matilda can start her very own library when we move house

Matilda’s book reviews – Christmas books

You may have noticed that there was no book review last Monday, this was because we were at the beginning of what turned out to be a whole week of babies with high temperatures, coughs and no sleep. Unfortunately writing a book review wasn’t near the top of my list of priorities as I tried to make it through a busy day of work.

But I’m back this week and with not 1 but 3 books reviewed. We were sent these 3 books to review a while ago, all with a Christmas theme and not wanting to force things have let Matilda chose if she wants to read them. The 3 books are:

  • Thomas and Friends – Snowy tracks
  • Mr Men – Meet Father Christmas
  • Everything’s Rosie – The Last Snowball

To be honest the popularity of these books has been mixed with Thomas and Friends ┬ádefinitely the firm favourite. Although weirdly Matilda seems to mainly want to look at the page with the fat controller on it. It’s the first page she heads for and often won’t let me turn to the next page. Not entirely sure what that’s all about, perhaps it’s because I have such a fit, athletic body that she’s curious what this round fat man is all about?

In any case the book has been popular with here, however I’m not quite as excited about reading it as I thought I would be. In my head the Thomas the Tank engine stories were amazing, but not sure how much I enjoy reading them as a parent. They’re perfectly good books I think I just prefer the Shirley Hughes style of story.

The Mr Men book hasn’t captured Matilda’s attention quite so much but I think that’s mainly because it’s a little old for her still. She doesn’t understand why houses being upside down in Muddleland is amusing for example. But I quite like the Mr Men, they’re like superheroes without the ego, so this one will go on the book shelf and we’ll try again later.

The final book, Everything’s Rosie, I’m afraid has just been gathering dust. Neither of us have any interest in opening it. For Matilda I think it’s all a bit wordy for her age and for me it’s just a bit cartoon like. Doesn’t really float my boat so I’m secretly pleased that Matilda isn’t interested. I’m sure it’s a great book it’s just not for us.

I also wanted to add that all 3 books are a nice size, perfect for little hands and a nice step up from the cardboard books that Matilda would have had a few months ago.

These books were sent to me for review, however all opinions here are my own and I received no additional fee for writing this post.

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 ┬áand 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 – that’s not my ….

These are just a few of the books from this series that have somehow built up to somewhat of a collection in our house. We also have that’s not my snowman and that’s not my plane amongst others. Now let’s be clear from the start, these are not literary classics, they don’t really challenge or educate and they aren’t going to win any prizes.

But if you take Matilda’s opinion on them they would be top of the best seller list. She absolutely loves them, they are one of the first books she’ll pull out of the bag much to my annoyance.

The concept is simple, each page starts with ‘that’s not my…’ and has a picture of that object. Some part of the object then has a fluffy/bumpy/scratchy/shiny (the list goes on) part and this is the reason that it’s not yours. So pretty straightforward really.

6 months ago Matilda would have just reached straight for the part to touch and feel it not really understanding what it was etc.Now she takes in more of the picture, we spot the mouse that is on every page (normally her record is 100% here aside from when she points at a chicken instead) and she turns the pages to the specific one that she wants.

I’d prefer to be reading her something with more of a story or something that was simply more interesting to read. But it is a good place to start and is also quite a good book to read with both Matilda and Henry as right now it has something for both of them.

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