Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business

I was lucky enough to request and receive a copy of this from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own.

Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business by Sophy Henn

When the first Bad Nana book (Older not Wiser) came out it immediately piqued my interest. With a naughty Nana whose heart is in the right place, an incredibly likeable narrator whose voice was funny and believable, and eye-popping pink, white and black illustrations throughout alongside funky use of font style and size – I was totally sold.

So I was very excited to see Bad Nana back for a winter adventure, and even more excited to see that my copy had been signed!!

There’s a Winter Wonderland Variety Show and everyone is very excited to try out for it. Adults will likely find the descriptions of the ventriloquist, recorder and Disney dance moves acts just as funny (if not more so) as young readers and the book captures perfectly the feel of such a show – the nerves, the excitement, the competition that shouldn’t exist but definitely does, the ‘am-dram’ organisation and of course the “stage with swishy red curtains, which we are NEVER allowed on normally because the grown ups think we are all idiots and woukd immediately fall off.”

Bad Nana starts off helping Jeanie and her friends (and her younger brother Jack, against her wishes!) to rehearse and prepare – after all, one of her many past jobs was in showbiz! – but soon becomes swept away with the” razzle dazzle” and, along with old friend from the stage, Bobby Truelove (what a name!) she’s soon got her sights set on Winter Wonderland stardom and will stop at nothing to get there!

Bad Nana is such a brilliant character, as is our narrator, 7 3/4 year old Jeanie. It’s lovely to see Jeanie realising how alike she is to Bad Nana – don’t be fooled by her mischievous ways, she’s got a heart of gold has our BN! – and plenty to chuckle at along the way.

With enough of the familiar and funny to engage young readers, there’s also a dollop of warmth and a message of understanding that gives the book depth without it becoming didactic or sweet. This is a brilliant instalment to a brilliant series. Bad Nana is THE (snow) business!

Six for Sunday – Snow and Ice

I always enjoy reading everyone’s Six for Sunday posts, based on prompts from Steph at alittlebutalot, and have been saying since about this time last year I was going to join in more often! Having failed miserably, I’m going to try and get into it now ahead of 2020 in the hopes of establishing a routine for getting the posts up…

So, onto today’s prompt –

Books with Snow or Ice in the title…

A book for all ages – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

This has always been a favourite fairytale of mine – a cold, charming female villain; a beautiful, wintry setting; a quest to save a missing friend who is suddenly changed and distant with a brave and determined girl undertaking it (hello MG fantasy adventure!); the exquisite violence of shards of mirror to the eye; the imagery and, well, fairytale-ness of the whole thing!

A picture book – One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth

This might be my absolute favourite wintry picture book. I love the Percy the Park Keeper stories – full of nature, kindness, warmth and a gentle humour, these are classic stories which stand the test of time and never fail to make me smile. And One Snowy Night is probably my favourite of all of them too – when all the animals get too cold, they turn yo Pedcy to find a bed in his warm hut for the night. It’s getting pretty full when there’s a strange noise…what could it be?

The cosiest bedtime story going – nothing better to snuggle up together with on a winter night! I love it!

An early chapter book – Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business by Sophy Henn

Bad Nana is brilliant and she’s back with snow and showbiz sparkle ready for the local Winter talent show!

Pacy, hilarious and superbly written (there’s a flavour of Lauren Child but a distinct style and voice too) this is such a great illustrated series for those just starting on chapter books.

An MG book – Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

Magical, imaginative and atmospheric with some fantastic works building and imagery – this is a great read any time of year. You can read my review of it here.

A YA bookA Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa LueddeckeTBR!

OK, while I could think of a fair few YA books with snow in the title, I hadn’t actually read any of them (yes, I need to up my YA reading game!) but this is one I’d like to try based on its blurb!

An adult book – Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I love this – inspired by a fairytale (though not one I know) it’s a wonderful winter read, perfect for cosying up with.

Although, I should also add that while magical and atmospheric and hopeful it is also heartbreaking at times, with both the loss of and longing for a child main themes.

Peapod’s Picks/KLTR – Bloomsbury Boards

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 brief(ish) Peapod’s Picks this week as we’re away and I’m not organised enough to have pre-written anything!

But these board books we were kindly sent have been waiting patiently fir review fir a while and make a perfect quick-picks post!

We received these free from the publishers as part of a lovely bundle of books to share with Peapod as he gets bigger (they’ve all either been reviewed or will be in upcoming weeks!) All views are my own.

Funny Face by Nicola Smee

The toddler in the book goes through a range of emotions as he meets a bear who takes his ball in the park one day.

On one side of each double page spread is a picture of the whole scene – boy, ball and bear at various stages of their encounter – with a simple sentence explaining what is happening. On the other is a close up of the toddler’s face with just ‘happy face’ or ‘sad face’ etc.

We liked the large, simple features on the face illustrations – they clearly show how our faces change with different feelings and really drew Peapod’s attention. The story pages are great for adding some context, which is often missing from books on feelings aimed at the very young, and they give a good starting point for conversations about feelings with older children too.

Toddlers will also enjoy copying the different expressions, either straight from the page or by mimicking you. The mirror on the last page is a lovely idea – they can see themselves trying different expressions, seeing how their faces change and comparing to the faces in the pictures. The page next to the mirror has all the faces shown which is a great idea. There’s even space to stick a photo of your own which is a lovely extra touch.

My only sticking points are the inclusion of a ‘naughty face’, which didn’t sit well with me, and the age recommendation on the back for 10mths+ – undoubtedly older babies and toddlers will understand more and get more from it, but even tiny babies like looking at faces and mirrors so this could be shared much younger.

But overall this is a lovely introduction to our feelings and how we express them for little ones.

Olobob Top – Let’s Visit Big Fish’s Pond by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

I try to stick to positive reviews only on here and so I didn’t know whether to include this one in this board book round up or not. I decided to put it in as there were things we liked, but honestly, we didn’t love it.

We did love the illustrations though. They are bright and beautiful, collage-like, poppy and fun. I loved the style and the colour obviously appealed to Peapod as he enjoyed looking at it.

We aren’t familiar with the TV programme, but found this a bit odd to read. I’m all in favour of odd books on the whole, but this didn’t work for me. I also found the way it approached comparing size to be a bit unhelpful/inaccurate at times – one of the characters declaring they’re bigger because they’re older, for example.

This is a book that’s sure to be popular with fans of the series dbd has plenty of visual appeal. It’s one we’ll continue to enjoy looking through, but we’ll talk and name and point and make up our own stories when we do.

Let’s Explore With Ted by Sophy Henn

This was undoubtedly our favourite of the three. Ted is off on an adventure around the world,each page sees him exploring somewhere new, from tall mountains to tropical jungles to slippery icebergs.

I love that on the left of each spread is Ted’s home, then on the right the place he’s decided to explore, where there’s always a little nod to his starting point – a trailing plant and sleeping plant in the kitchen before Ted heads off to find a leopard in the jungle for example. It’s a lovely celebration of make believe and imaginative play.

We also loved the ‘whole page’ flaps – sturdy and big enough for Peapod to handle and turn himself, they fold up or down to extend the page cleverly.

The text is bold and well-pitched, there’s enough of a story to make the book flow, but with repetition and description that invites older babies and Toddlers to join in – with noises actions or with the repeated “let’s explore”.

Likewise, the illustrations are really appealing and engaging. There’s enough to make an interesting scene but not too much going on. The home pages are familiar and the explorations exciting – both offering great talking points.

We really enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to sharing it with Peapod when he’s a bit older and can chat about and interact with it even more. We’ll definitely be trying some of the other Ted books by Sophy Henn.

Have you read any of these with your little ones?