Peapod’s Picks – Spring has Sprung

It’s time for another Peapod’s Picks/KLTR mash up!

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, ahead of Easter, with the sun finally showing its face and daffodils, bluebells and tulips brightening our walks out, I thought we’d look at some of the spring-themed board books we’ve been reading.

Clockwise from left:

Ten Little Ladybirds by Melanie Gerth and Laura Huliska-Beith

A lovely rhyming, counting-down book with big bold numbers; bright, bumpy ladybirds to count or simply feel; and illustrations which fill the pages with colour.

Where’s Mr Duck by Ingela P Arrhenius

I’ve written before about this brilliant, bold, felt-flapped series – we love them. Simple, stylish and – most importantly – able to withstand a good deal of chewing and pulling!

Five Little Ducks by Yu-hsuan Huang

We love this song, which is a good job as its sung at pretty much every baby group we go to (though with so many variations on the ending!) and this book is lovely too. There’s a whole series of these from Nosy Crow and I think they’re great – simple but sturdy push and pull slides that are within the pages so can take a good bit of man-handling (Peapod’s not quite up to doing them himself yet, but he gives it a good go!). The illustrations are sunny and detailed with lots going on in the background to talk about and name. And there’s even a qr code link to a video of the song too!

Hooray for Hoppy by Tim Hopgood

I’m such a fan of Tim Hopgood’s illustration style – the textures, layers and print methods are really effective and the use of colour is stunning, something shown off brilliantly with all the flowers and rabbits here.

We enjoyed looking at it but this is one of those books that will last and last – covering the senses, spring time, seasons and nature there’s loads for older readers too! Perfect for reading before/after a springtime walk outdoors!

Are You There Little Bunny by Sam Taplin, Emily Dove and Nicola Butler

This is another lovely series for little readers, with peep through holes and tactile trails to follow with little fingers, as well as busy, bright illustrations it’s engaging and interactive but still durable (spot the recurring theme!)

On each page, there’s repetition of a phrase as we look for little bunny and think we’ve spotted him through the peephole, only to find it’s someone else when we turn over. Enjoyable now while Peapod’s little, but perfect for giggles and joining in with older little ones too.

Humphrey’s Garden by Sally Hunter

I have a real soft spot for the Humphrey’s Corner books. I can’t lie, the gender stereotyping is horrendous – lottie plays tea parties and dolls, daddy goes out to work while mums at home etc BUT I reassure myself that we have plenty of books that give balance to this and let it be – the soft, gentle and calming illustrations and familiar characters and everyday activities are still charming and we really like them.

The Secret Garden by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver

I’m a huge fan of this Baby Lit series of books. Each takes a classic and turns into a sharp and stylish primer book. Thoroughly unique and absolutely gorgeous. The Secret Garden is a flowers primer, with a quote from the book next to an image of the flowers it mentions. I love the printing technique used in this one.

Outdoors by Mel Four

You can read my review of this one here. We’re big fans of the beautiful images and the way the shiny, colourful parts contrast with the black and white.

That’s Not My… Bee/Bunny/Chick/Lamb by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

While we love all the other books mentioned, That’s Not My… are definitely Peapod’s favourites. He LOVES this series! We have about 20 now and it’s a god job there’s so many as we read them all the time! You can read a more detailed review of them here.

Peapod’s Picks – Book Advent Days 6 – 13

So, after starting our Book Advent, I kept remembering, hearing about or seeing even more books I’d either forgotten or not heard of and adding to the pile! I have no doubt there’s still more I’ll think of too! So I’m addition to what we started with last week:

We now also have:

I think I need a bigger sideboard! A couple of the new ones were prizes and I was really excited to win board book copies of both Kipper’s Snowy Day and Ten Little Elves – although we had both as picture books, these will last us much longer and be much better for Peapod to look at himself!

This week, we’ve read:

That’s Not My Reindeer – Peapod loves the touchy feely bits in these books!

A lot of Shirley Hughes!

‘Alfie’s Christmas’ and ‘Lucy and Tom at Christmas’

Daddy picked both of these,and after his initial coolness towards Shirley Hughes’ books, I’m beginning to think he’s being won over! Though he’d never admit it!

Both are charming and relatable depictions of traditional Christmas celebrations, full of warmth, an observant humour and details which capture the moment perfectly.

Snow in the Garden – you can read a full review of this here. We just read the poems from it this week – wonderfully wintry!

‘Supertato: Evil Pea Rules’ – Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

I’m a big Supertato fan and, judging by the way he leaned himself over to look, so is ‘Peapod’!

Evil Pea is one of the best (worst?!) villains around and I love how dastardly he is. Bright, bold and laugh out loud funny and with some puns my dad would love! This series manages to be both brilliantly silly and brilliantly clever at the same time, and this is an excellent seasonal escapade from the veggie crew!

‘Father Christmas Needs a Wee’ – Nicholas Allan

I had hazy memories of how much a previous class had laughed at this years and years ago, but remembered very little of the story.

As it turns out, I had issues with some of the rhyme, but I thought it was great as a counting book and will definitely have very young readers in stitches as Father Christmas becomes more and more desperate for a wee!

One Snowy Night – Nick Butterworth

Ok, like a couple of last week’s, this isn’t strictly a Christmas book, but it’s one I love to read at this time of year. It never fails to make me smile. Percy the Park Keeper is a favourite anyway, but this book in particular is an absolute must-read for winter – cosy, atmospheric and humorous, it’ll have you wishing to be snuggled up in bed while the snow falls outside!

Humphrey’s Christmas – Sally Hunter

I wrote about how much I like the Humphrey books here and Christmas with Humphrey and family is as full of warmth as you could hope for. Perfect for younger readers, this simply told story depicts a wonderful family Christmas, not least through its lovely illustrations.

Emily Brown and Father Christmas – Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton

This was a brand new one to me – it had been recommended or reviewed or mentioned on twitter (I’m so sorry, I forget who by!) and caught my eye. Then, as luck would have it, we won a copy from Hachette!

It was great and I loved the writing style. A thoroughly modern story, with hugely appealing, lively illustrations reminiscent of Lauren Child’s collage-y, textured appearance, and a very traditional twist. It takes all the magic of Christmas and delivers it by the sleigh load! It’s jumped straight into my favourites and I look forward to reading more about Emily Brown.

Do you have any favourite Christmas books? Have you read any of the ones we’ve read this week?

Peapod’s Picks: Bedtime

I’m going to try and post a a Peapod’s Picks every Friday, or at least alternate Fridays. They’ll be picture, board or cloth books – some old, some new – that we’ve enjoyed or are looking forward to.

This week: our favourite bedtime books.

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Peapod is nearly 7 weeks old now and sleep is not high on his to-do list. He’ll cave in to a nap in his sling or doze off lying on us but getting him to sleep in his crib is another matter!

So, while it doesn’t always go to plan and there’s no hard and fast timings about it, we have our bedtime routine of bath-feed-book-bed to help.

At the moment, he’s too small to mind what we read, more interested in just hearing our voices, but I’m loving the chance to read some picture books so he has a picture book for bedtime.

So this week, I’ve picked out some of the ones we’ve read so far:

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Sometimes I Like To Curl Up in a Ball by Vicki Churchill and Charles Fuge

I read this as part of my interview to get on my Early Years degree a good 15 years ago and in honesty I’d almost forgotten it, but my love for it has been rekindled!

It’s a great all-rounder: Wombat and friends spend the day running, jumping and playing – perfect for an interactive daytime read. But by the end of the day, Wombat is tired and ready to snuggle up to sleep – perfect for bedtime. I love the illustrations too. This will be on heavy rotation for years I think!

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Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton

It’s officially impossible to read this without yawning. In a really, really good way!

Illustrated in typical ‘Haughton’ style with lovely nighttime colours, it’s a cleverly composed book – simple, repetitive and full of sleepy sounds and noises perfect for joining in with (intentionally or otherwise!)

Beautiful night sky/solar system pictures on the inside covers too!

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Can’t You Sleep Little Bear? by Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth

A classic! A heartwarming tale of Little Bear who just can’t sleep with dark all around him and Big Bear’s reassurance.

Parents everywhere will smile a knowing smile as Big Bear has his evening read by the fire repeatedly interrupted by his sleepless charge and little ones everywhere will be comforted by Little Bear and his gradual acceptance of the dark.

Bonus points for being quite a long one too – perfect for those stubbornly not-going-to-sleep nights, appropriately!

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Humphrey’s Bedtime by Sally Hunter

I love Sally Hunter’s Humphrey’s Corner books. Gentle and warm and full of the familiar, with lovely, soft and detailed illustrations.

Humphrey’s Bedtime takes us through Humphrey’s bedtime routine (perfect for little ones just starting to get used to one of their own!) and big sister Lottie’s refusal to join in as she’s a ‘big girl’ who’s too busy putting her own babies (teddies) to bed.

Again, one that will prove only too familiar for parents and a comforting cuddle of a book for children who’ll see others doing just the same as them at bedtime.

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Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

I absolutely adore the Bear… series by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman’s illustrations are rich, detailed and full of atmosphere.

Bear Snores On is brilliantly onomatopoeic, with a lovely balance of fun and sleepiness! It’s an especially lovely one to snuggle up and read quietly on cold, rainy autumn nights and it’s another I’ll be reading ALL the time!

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The Night Box by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay

As with ‘Between Tick and Tock’this has the feel of an illustrated poem rather than the traditional story style found in most picture books.

A lovely look at all the little changes that occur when the Night box is unlocked and night comes out to take over from day (then vice versa at the end).

Full of details both from home and the natural world, it’s a great way to look at the difference between night and day, and the transition between the two.

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I have quite a few other bedtime themed books in my collection that we’ll be reading over the next few weeks, so we’ll probably do another bedtime themed Peapod’s Picks in the future. But are there any I’m missing?

What are your favourite bedtime stories?

Do you have any your little ones love, or favourites from when you were little?