Peapod’s Picks – The Hat Books!

We were lucky enough to request and receive board book copies of these free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. However, we already own bought copies of the paperback versions, so we knew in advance we loved them! Opinions and views are all my own.

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

Those of you who’ve been here once or twice before will know what huge fans of Jon Klassen we are and how much we love both these books and his collaborations with Mac Barnett.

We have had these for a while but despite mentioning them often, I’ve never properly reviewed them. So receiving board book versions of the first two seems like a good opportunity!

I Want My Hat Back

The original and (some I would say) the best!

Wonderfully witty with a delightfully dark ending, this book is a perfect example of a funny yet sophisticated picture book that has appeal across all ages (although try telling that to parents that just want a long picture book for their mini reading prodigies 🙄)

Bear is looking for his hat. Despite the matter of fact style of speech, it’s clear he’s very upset about it going missing. He very politely asks around, stopping to help a poor tortoise in need – oh the complexities of this character! – along the way.

There are so many clever techniques employed here, ftom the different coloured text to denote the different character’s speech to the way Klassen packs SO much expression into his character’s faces (those of you familiar with the shape trilogy will already know it’s all in the eyes!)

Then there’s the use of dramatic irony, so when Bear realises where he has seen his hat it’s a brilliantly celebratory moment. This is made even better as it is followed swiftly by his reaction and the way the book’s use of repetition delivers the punchline is the perfect ending!

And of course having a bash-able, chewable, non-tearable version is even better now that Peapod is do enthusiastic in his book love!

A very much littler Peapod enjoying it in a very much calmer way than he does now!

This is Not My Hat

Written in a similarly minimal and deadpan style to I Want My Hat Back, we are once again treated to the bigger picture as our narrator – the small hat thief – talks us through his cunning escape with the hat that “is not mine. I just stole it.”

This is a great book for those turn-the-page-punchlines – where we can often see what’s going to happen, but it’s still funny when it does.

As I’m the first book, so much of this book’s humour is in the eyes – so expressive and conveying such a lot! And despite the characters saying or doing very little, you will find yourself really believing in them.

I groaned fondly at our fishy narrator. There is something really innocent about them (think a young child’s attempts at denying wrong doing or playing hide and seek), despite their light fin(ger)s and this self-belief really made me smile.

As for our poor victim, it’s ALL in the illustrations as he doesn’t say a word, but we know his thoughts and feelings too.

And, as in I Want…, the book points a finger towards questions of right and wrong without making a judgement or telling you what to do/think.

With a slightly more ambiguous ending, you can even convince yourself that no fish were eaten at the end of this story. You’d be wrong of course, but it’s possible to read it that way!

Funny, clever and just as brilliant as book one!

We Found a Hat

While this third installment retains the stripped back style and dry humour of the first two, it is more touching and less murdersome than the previous books!

Here, two tortoises have found a hat. It looks good on them both, so what should they do?

I’ve said it already but it’s all in the eyes! The excitement at the find, the torment, the indecision, the love for hat and friend, the sorrow…although there are (a few) words, this story is as easily told through the pictures (and eyes) alone.

And, as with This is Not My Hat, there are complex ideas subtly running through this, to be unpicked (or not) as much or as little as you want to. Fairness, sharing (or not), friendship, sacrifice and the feelings of others.

While this wasn’t as dark as the other two books, it was just as clever, just as dry and just as beautifully illustrated and I really loved it just as much in the end. It was such a warm and hopeful end to the trilogy.

I’m hoping this will also be out in board book soon. And I’m also very much looking forward to this hardback ‘hat box’ set:

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Peapod’s Picks 26/8/19

We were lucky enough to request and receive copies of these free from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and views are all my own.

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

My Pet Star by Corrinne Averiss and Rosalind Beardshaw

This is a lovely story and one that I think will be extra enjoyable as the nights draw in and autumn arrives – there’s just something really cosy and comforting about it.

A little girl finds a star that’s fallen from the sky. She takes it home, patches it up and takes care of it. As the days pass, the star gets better and brighter until the time comes when it’s time to say goodbye as the star returns to the sky.

With pared back text, this is a perfect example of illustration and text working in harmony to tell a story, create atmosphere and express feelings. To do this using rhyme (and using rhyme which flows, reads well and doesn’t feel clunky or forced) is an achievement indeed.

Bonus points for a non-white main character who doesn’t live in a detached house with garden!

I loved the way the book conveyed imaginative play and bigged up reading – if I still taught I’d have the spread below framed:

“I showed him pictures in my book. He couldn’t read, but he could look.”

So many early years children would start the year telling me “I can’t read though” as if being able to decode the words was the only way to enjoy a book. A lot of work went into encouraging looking at pictures, making up stories etc.

And of course, there’s a gentle introduction to the idea of letting go, transience and saying goodbyes.

This is a warm, tender-hearted book perfect for snuggling up with at bedtime.

I can’t wait to have Corrinne into work in October for one of our Read and Make sessions!

There’s a Rang-Tan in my Bedroom by James Sellick and Frann Preston-Gannon

Produced in collaboration with Greenpeace, this starts much like your typical picture book might – funny, animated, bright and seemingly light-hearted. An orangutan (or Rang-Tan) has arrived in a little girl’s room and is causing chaos.

But, when the little girl stops to find out why the Rang-Tan is there, the book’s more serious message is revealed, along with a clever change in illustration style to mirror it.

We see how humans are destroying the Rang-Tan’s home for palm oil in dark and muted tones, desolate and bleak.

We’re then offered a ray of hope along with a nudge of encouragement not to be passive but to do whatever we can to help. We see the little girl writing letters to big companies, rallying friends and neighbours through posters and word of mouth and going on protests.

It finishes with more detailed information about orangutans and their habitat as well as palm oil, its uses and the problems with it, as well as suggestions for action similar to that taken by the girl in the story.

This would be ideal for use in schools, as well as for reading at home, as a way of both developing understanding and interest in environmental issues and getting children engaged and involved in doing something about them.

Be More Bernard by Simon Philip and Kate Hindley

Bernard pretends to be just like the other bunnies, who all eat, dress, act and even dream alike. But deep down, he knows he’s different.

Until one night, he decides to let his inner self go! Of course, the other rabbits are shocked at first but they soon start sharing their dreams of being different too and slowly the burrow realise they can be themselves as well.

We always love Kate Hindley’s illustrations but the burrow scenes in this are truly fab and not without a touch of Richard Scarry which is wonderful!

Its an enjoyable read with a positive and affirming message about being yourself and following your dreams, and Bernard is brilliant in both words and pictures.

Here’s the thing though – we love You Must Bring A Hat by this duo so were very excited for this and, honestly, although we enjoyed it and it did have some of the dry humour that we love in YMBAH, it just couldn’t compete with it…even with Bernard’s absolutely kick-ass, roller-disco-dancing outfit and moves.

Fun, positive and guaranteed to make you smile, but it didn’t have the originality, daftness or ‘just because-ness’ of ‘You Must Bring A Hat’ so while we like and recommend this, for one you’ll want to read and read again get YMBAH.

This is a Dog by Ross Collins

This is a great example of a book that benefits hugely from not being afraid to strip the text back to bare bones and let the pictures do most of the work.

Written in the style of a young children’s animal primer, each page introduces us to a different animal…except that dog (in typical dog style) isn’t content with just his page. He needs your attention on everyone else’s page too!

From crossing them out to chasing them off the page, disguises and even wee – dog goes to great lengths to remain centre stage!

The other animals eventually get fed up of dog’s antics, but he has one last trick up his sleeve to ensure he stays top dog (couldn’t resist that, sorry!!)

It’s such a great book – dog is utterly doggish! It’s simple but clever and its minimal style allows the humour to really shine.

Peapod loved looking at this too. It’s a book that we enjoyed as a softback story to read together, but one that would make an even more fantastic board book – perfect for toddlers to ‘read’ with its repetition, recognisable animals, block-coloured backgrounds and visual humour. I’m told there are whisperings so fingers crossed!

Peapod’s Picks/KLTR – Gift Edition

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week it’s also time for another #KLTR post, hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog.

It’s a books-as-gifts special on Peapod’s Picks this week, as my little bundle of sleepless joy turned a huge, big 1 yesterday!

He didn’t actually get many books. Whaaaaaat?! I hear you cry in disbelief and dismay. He didn’t get many as gifts for his birthday, but as either bookpost from publishers or bought books, he has had at least 7 new books already this week so it’s not like the poor child’s got nothing to read!

So, for his actual birthday we just got him some special books to (hopefully) keep. He already has Peapod Lullaby, which was a first Christmas gift but which I’ve still never got round to posting about (though I know I’ve mentioned it several times) so we’ll backtrack to that before his birthday books!

Pea Pod Lullaby by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King

This is an absolutely beautiful book. We bought this without reading it, knowing much about it or seeing inside just because Pea Pod, taking a risk that the story and interior illustrations would live up to how lovely it looked from the cover.

They definitely did. It’s the story if a journey, taken literally, the journey of a refugee family, but it’s also a metaphorical journey – through life, through difficulty, through change.

It gently and subtly encompasses not just the issue of war and displacement, but also points a finger to climate change and despite serious themes sends out such positivity and hope.

Likewise, the illustrations in particular highlight the power of nature, but mostly the wonder and joy it has the ability to conjure.

The smudgy, splodgy, loose, drippy, runny watercolour illustrations are utterly gorgeous and are perfectly in tune with the text and it’s messages.

Lyrical, poetic and emotive, this is a book of looking after each other, of togetherness and openness and support. I love reading this at bedtime – calm, hopeful and full of love, compassion and ‘being there’-ness – what could be better?

You’re Safe With Me/You’re Snug With Me/You’re Strong With Me by Chitra Soundar and Poonam Mistry

We bought You’re Safe With Me after seeing it on either another blog or twitter (I wish I could remember who to credit for this recommendation but I really can’t – if it was you, thank you!) and it is just stunning.

So we bought the other two to go with it for Peapod’s birthday.

All have messages of parental love, reassurance and presence. All are an ode to nature – to its majesty, its balance, its cycles, its wonder. And all are beautifully written and illustrated with the most amazing and intricately patterned full spread illustrations (each with its own style and gorgeous pallette matching its setting). They are truly books to treasure.

They’d really make a wonderful gift for a young child or new family – a great alternative to religious or character based christening gifts, baby shower or new baby presents, or of course a special birthday gift to cherish and keep (like we did this year).

You’re Safe With Me sees Mama Elephant reassuring the baby animals in the forest when a thunderstorm hits.

It’s full of onomatopoeia and folktake-like explanations for the weather and it’s noise which are full of the wonders of nature and ever so soothing.

By the end, the baby animals are calmed and settled and sleeping happily – and Peapod was too!

We haven’t actually read You’re Snug With Me or You’re Strong With Me with Peapod yet (I’ll update the post with his reaction when we have it!!) but I’ll share my thoughts on his behslf (since that’s pretty much what I do anyway!)

You’re Strong With Me follows Mama Giraffe and Baby Giraffe through the African grassland as baby slowly learns about the creatures and land they live in and how to survive it.

As with the others, this shows how interdependent our world is, as well as showing how seemingly unpleasant, difficult or unknown things can actually become positive.

There’s also a message of supporting each other through these experiences when we’re not strong enough on our own – that’s its ok to lean on each other til you can stand alone.

You’re Snug With Me sees Mama Bear give birth to two cubs and, as they hibernate under the ice and snow, she tells them about the world beyond.

Like ‘Safe’, it has a lovely folktale feel, with the “earth dancing on her toes”, and it reads as though Mama Bear speaks directly to us too.

Here especially we are shown the importance of respecting, preserving and protecting our earth. There is a strong theme of give and take with nature and of not taking it for granted or acting superior no matter how mighty you may be.

It has some beautiful spreads – the icy lands, the ocean’s wonders, pregnant Mama Bear in her den, the earth and sun dancing – just outstanding.

As a mum, this is a book with a bittersweet ending. We know Mama Bear is leading up to letting her cubs go and her almost wistful last ‘you’re snug with me’ is guaranteed to get me blubbing at some point – it certainly had a lump in my throat!

I’ve certainly got a lot to live up to at Christmas and in the years to come, but I absolutely afore all four of these books – aside from being completely gorgeous, they really are something special and I can’t recommend them enough, especially if you have’ keep forever’ gifts to buy.

Nothing at all to do with the books – just a birthday pic from Sunday!

Have you read any of these?

Do you have any special books you love to buy, or have been bought, as gifts?

Peapod’s Picks

We were lucky enough to request and receive copies of these free from Walker in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and views are all my own.

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

Let’s Go Swimming! by Caryl Hart and Lauren Tobia

This is part of a series of ‘First Experiences’ books from Walker. It’s lovely to see a new series like this – Topsy and Tim have had the monopoly for too long!

This has a fresh, modern feel and the illustrations are lovely – they feel bright, warm and realistic.

‘Let’s Go Swimming’ talks us through a trip to the pool. While Bee is confident and enthusiastic, Billy is less sure and needs more reassurance – it’s nice to see both personalities represented, as much for children excited or curious about doing something as it is for those who may be nervous about something new.

I really liked all the little details it covered too, from the steamy windows and puddly floor to having to get out for a wee to the tiredness afterwards.

Our only minor quibble with this came from Peapod’s Dad, but I have to agree – where are the dads? As he said:

“There’s not even any other men swimming in the baby bit…when I go, it’s nearly all men.”

And he was right, there’s not a dad in sight. Which is a shame because there are plenty of dads taking care of their children and taking them out to do lots of fun things – maybe we’ll see more if this in future additions to the series, I’d like to hope so.

That aside, this is a lovely book clearly, warmly and reassuringly talking little ones through a trip to the pool.

Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton

We’re big fans of Chris Haughton here (you can read my reviews of Goodnight Everyone here and A Bit Lost here or here), Shhh, We Have a Plan is definitely my favourite but we love them all! So I was very excited to see a new book from him coming out.

Little Crab and Very Big Crab (I love that it’s Very Big Crab and not just Big Crab!) are heading out of their rock pool and into the sea.

At first Little Crab is excited but as the sea gets nearer and the waves grt bigger, it seems like maybe it’s not such a good idea. Very Big Crab is full of reassurance and encouragement though and slowly, slowly they make their way closer and closer to the sea.

A lovely story about being brave, facing a challenge and things often turning out better than expected that is saved from being didactic or saccharine by Chris Haughton’s unique style.

The words are carefully considered and tightly chosen – all necessary to the feel of the story, and adding excitement or calm or wonder or nerves in just the right places and ways. The font, text size and use of capitals complement this perfectly too.

The illustrations have his trademark use of layering, vibrant colours and darker tones, blocky shapes and plain blocked backgrounds. They are as appealing as ever.

We loved it – another Haughton hit in our house!

The Pigeon HAS to go to School by Mo Willems

We love the pigeon books, so even though Peapod is nowhere near going to school we jumped at the chance to get a copy of this one!

Our poor, beleaguered pigeon is back and even more outraged than ever as he’s being sent to school.

What begins in the classic cajoling, beseeching, wanting-my-own-way way soon makes room for pigeon’s nerves to show through. Without missing a beat or losing any of its humour, pigeon begins to list a whole host of worries about going to school.

This is a great book just to read and that’s that as it has all the humour and dramatics we’ve come to know and love in our pigeon, plus an absolutely fantastic ending fans will LOVE! You’ll get no further spoilers here though!

But it is, of course, also a great book for children about to start school. The pigeon’s worries veer from the common to the seemingly ridiculous (“what if I learn too much and my head pops off?”), which allows children space to voice their own concerns, laugh and ‘know better’ than the pigeon – effectively reassuring themselves – and/or see through pigeon’s dawning realisation why school might be good instead of scary.

I love the end papers too, where we see pigeon happily settled in his school – a reassuring way to end without losing the humour of the final pages.

When the time comes for Peapod to start school, this is the book we’ll read (OK, one of them!)

It’s an oldie, but I couldn’t resist popping this pic of Peapod and his Pigeon driving the bus again!

Peapod’s Picks – A Collection of Cobb

We were lucky enough to win this collection of books from the publishers. Opinions and views are all my own.

We are brand new to Rebecca Cobb’s books, so were thrilled to win this copy of her new book ‘Hello Friend!’ along with some of her other books.

We loved all of them. The everyday situations are familiar and are written and illustrated with warmth and humour.

It’s a testament to how highly we rated them that, while I normally take one photo of a spread from the book, I found myself taking loads of each book, unable to choose which part I wanted to share most, which we liked best or thought funniest or cleverest!

Hello Friend!

Perfect for reading in those first few weeks at school or nursery (though it is emphatically not a starting school book and would be just as enjoyable at other times too) this is a book full of heart.

We see a lovely, confident little girl take a (rather uncertain) boy under her wing. Her efforts to include him, cheer him, share with him and help him – in short, to befriend him – are written written with wit, insight (as a former teacher, I had to smile as the characters were so real!) and care.

The ending is wonderful too and made me smile and smile.

Aunt Amelia

Reminiscent of Jill Murphy’s skills at depicting family life, there’s an understated, observational style to this which will resonate with parents/carers.

Aunt Amelia has come to babysit and the children aren’t happy…at first! We see her carefully *ahem* following Mum and Dad’s (very sensible) instructions…

I have very fond memories of staying up too late colouring and playing with my aunt when she babysat, and of being plied with treats whenever I stayed at my grandma’s.

This book sums up brilliantly those unspoken rules of babysitting – that any actual rules will be ignored and fun will be had, treats will be eaten and bedtime will be late, then everyone will pretend otherwise in a rather knowing way the next day. Funny and perfect for that first night away from young children.

It’s lunchtime but our young protagonist is just too busy to eat! Mum insists. Luckily for our rather cross little heroine, interrupted at her work, some rather fierce looking creatures turn up to eat it for her.

There’s a few reviews pitching this as perfect for fussy eaters. I don’t have one of those (at least not yet 🤞) but I’d say it’s less a book to teach children about eating and more of a much-needed reminder to grown ups about the power of imagination, time and creativity.

Like Lunchtime, this is a story fuelled by and showcasing splendidly the power of imagination.

When a ball falls down a random hole in the garden, everyone speculates about what could be down there – from mice to moles to dragons!

This woukd be a great book to start imaginative play or conversation. Even Peapod’s dad and I were sat debating what it might be after we’d finished reading it for bedtime!

The other thing I liked about this was that dad was shown doing the washing and being a bit frightened of frogs while mum was busy having a good look. It’s small, incidental things like this addressing inequality/misconceptions/stereotypes etc that I love to see and prefer to the all singing, all dancing books *about* it (though of course there’s a place for those too!)

This is a book of imagination, of possibility, of what ifs. It is magical and I absolutely loved it.

So did Peapod!

In short, these books were the best surprise. I’d expected to read them, quite like them/think they were sweet and pop them on the shelf for another day…but they were just fab and have really stayed with me.

Rebecca Cobb is an unsung talent and a firm new favourite in our house.

Peapod’s Picks/#KLTR – Morag Hood

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week it’s also time for another #KLTR post, hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog.

This week, we’re celebrating the release of a new book by one of our (my) favourite author/illustrators and making our claim to fame that we almost, nearly met her (we were in the same room anyway!)

On Saturday, we hopped in the car to Rochdale Children’s Literature Festival as I’d booked tickets for Morag’s event.

I was a bit apprehensive that Peapod would be too little, but reasoned that he always enjoys storytime groups and stories with us, plus it would give me chance to get our books signed – eek!

As it turned out, it was somewhere between the two. Peapod enjoyed listening to Morag read I Am Bat, and seeing her draw Bat. He just about made it through Brenda is a Sheep too, before heat and tiredness won out and we had to give in and leave for a nap and fresh air.

It meant no book signing for me, which I was gutted about, but also a little relieved because I’ve never met an author whose work I love before and I wasn’t really sure what you were supposed to do or say! (Social situations are not a forte!)

What we did see was fab though and we all loved listening to the stories bring read by their creator before we had to leave!

And so to today’s review(s) First a recap of some of her other books…

There’s the incredibly loveable, expert of everything Sophie Johnson of course, written by Morag and illustrated by Ella Okstad. You can read our reviews of them here and here.

Next is the book that introduced me to Morag Hood. It appeared on a trolley not long after I started at Waterstones, intrigued I flicked through and chuckling away instantly loved it and read it to everyone ekse (un)fortunate enough to be working with me that day.

Colin is a carrot. Lee is a Pea. They may be very different, but they’re still the best of friends. And it’s Colin’s differences which make him so much fun to be friends with. A quirky celebration of difference and diversity, deftly done.

Incidentally, I really wanted to get our copy of this signed to Peapod, because you know – peas, but it wasn’t to be…

Bat is such a brilliant and expressive character. Very Barnett-Klassen. Somebody (or, indeed, somebodies) are stealing his beloved cherries and it just won’t do. I love the way little readers can see what’s going on and guess at who’s stealing them through the illustrations while poor bat is left in the dark.

I think The Steves might be my favourite of Morag’s books so far (though picking a favourite is tough) I love the sulky, stroppiness of it, the funny name-calling and the ending that negs to start all over again. Such a fun book to read aloud too. My full review of it is here.

This is a close contender for my favourite too though, and Aalfred and Aalbert are definitely my favourite fictional couple.

I thought I’d reviewed this, but apparently not. Let me remedy that – it’s full of humour and heart and is just wonderful.

Aalfred and Aalbert are aardvarks who live right next to each other but have never met, as Aalfred sleeps during the day and Aalbert at night. Bird decides to play matchmaker with some brilliantly, we’ll, bird-brained plans. Luckily one of them backfires and *spoiler alert* they all live happily ever after!

I love the way their favourite things (broccoli, cheese, flowers, stars…) play into the story and become shared interests by the end, I love the funny little details in the illustrations and how very much their personalities and manners shine through despite its deadpan style. A masterclass in the understated and truly heart-warming and joyful.

Which brings us to Brenda.

Brenda may not look much like a sheep, and when she’s busy chasing her wooly friends and brewing up batches of mint sauce while planning a feast for them, she doesn’t seem to act much like one either.

But the sheep don’t mind. They love their Brenda. So much so that they try to be more like her and plan a surprise of their own for her…

Deliciously dark at times, despite being zingy neon and popping in colour, this is full of a wicked humour and dramatic irony that means little readers will delight in seeing what Brenda is up to way before the poor sheep have a clue!

The ending is fantastic too, happy enough to avoid any nightmares or tears but funny enough to stop the likes of me groaning and grumbling!

I would say I can’t wait for what Morag Hood does next (and this is true) but luckily I don’t have to, because somehow this…

…somehow passed me by, so I shall be ordering it in work this week!

Have you read any of these? Or will you be giving any of them a go now?

Have you ever met one of your favourite authors – what do you do and say?!

Peapod’s Picks – Billy

It’s a briefer than usual Peapod’s Picks this week as I try to fathom a new routine around work.

And this is really more of a Mum Picks. But Peapod did enjoy it too when we read it at bedtime last night, so I’ll take that!

But before we get to that, let’s go back to last year and this absolute gem:

Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen

I thought I’d reviewed this at the time, but it’s either vanished, my search bar is failing me or somehow I never did. But we loved this book and have since given it to every child we know as their birthdays or Christmas rolled around.

Billy and Fat Cat set off on a walk through the wood only to find their friends are missing. They son discover a terrible beast is planning to eat them up, and must find a way to save them!

Billy is an absolutely brilliant character, not to mention a clever, brave, takes-no-bullshit, BAME girl. Her Mary Poppins bag of a hair do is genius, there’s nothing she can’t did out of it when needed – donuts for Fat Cat (her permanently hungry, grumpy but loveable sidekick), or pine cones, crayons, feather dusters and masks for saving the day with.

The tone of the text and expressive illustrations are wonderful, and mean you will enjoy this as much as kids do, even on the twenty billionth read. The imagination behind Billy’s plans is fab and Fat Cat is just ace.

Fast forward to yesterday again and behold…

Billy and the Dragon by Nadia Shireen

This appeared on my shelving trolley at work yesterday to my delight! Needless to say, I snapped it up before it came close to a shelf (but only after reading it, chuckling to myself first!)

This has all the daring, deadpan drama and humour of the first, but this time with added dragon and dressing ups – yessss!

With echoes of ‘Where’s My Teddy?’, Fat Cat, while (begrudgingly) dressed as a dragon is snatched from the fancy dress party (I love, love, LOVED that Billy was a Knight – genius on do many levels!) by a real dragon so Billy and her (rather less willing) friends set out to save him…only to find its all just a bit of a mix up. Phew!

Fat Cat is grumpier than ever, Billy is braver and smarter than ever (and has her trusty stash of useful stuff on hand in her hair again of course!) and their woodland mates are back too – hurrah!

Just as fantastic as the first book, I cannot wait for our Billy and the Dragon fancy dress storytime in work over the summer now!