Picture Book and Play – Easter Bunnies!

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

As Easter approaches, Peapod and I have begun some Easter themed activities, starting with our Easter cards.

I totally cheated for this one and found it on a good old g**gle search.

I have tried to find the original source to credit here, but I’m just on an endless Pinterest-Google cycle so just please know: this isn’t my own idea and I’m not being asked to use it, but I did love it. If it’s yours, shout and I’ll credit you 🙂

We had a good laugh getting the footprints done and it was a great sensory experience for Peapod!

And once we’d done the spaced out ones for the cards, he had a great time stomping round (with me holding on!) shouting “fee fi fo fum…smell blood man…be dead…grind bones make my bread!” so a bit of a bookish bonus there too!

That said, between tickly brushes, slippery paint and a wriggly toddler I’m glad there were two of us on hand to help…and even then it wasn’t without mishap 😬! Definitely one to do on the grass outside next time!

We also did a quick bunny craft which he really surprised me with.

I put out bunny templates, cotton wool balls, pritt stick, sticky eyes and scissors and, honestly, I was expecting two bits of cotton wool half-heartedly stuck to it with several mismatched eyes and probably a severed head.

But (obviously with guidance!) he carefully covered the whole bunny, stuck some eyes on in about the right place (miraculously with no help) and (with me turning the card and doing the inside fiddly bits) followed the lines to cut it out too.

He even chose to do another independently…although that did end up de-furred and with eyes on its ears some time later!!

We’ve also got some bunny painting to do at the weekend to use up the last often footprint paint! We’re going to use cotton wool to splodge, stamp and probably spread the paint over our bunnies for some colourful Easter pics!

Of course, with all these Easter bunnies on the go, we had to get some of our best bunny books out to read too.

We read Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit by Lorna Scobie which I’ve reviewed before here and absolutely love.

(Incidentally – I was made up that our copy of Lorna’s new book ‘Duck, Duck, Dad?’ arrived the other day but had to resist the temptation to read it as it’s Peapod’s present for his dad’s birthday so we’ll review after that!)

Next up was Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood, another enduring favourite we’ve read for the last couple of years at this time. Read more here.

And finally, Hop Little Bunnies by Martha Mumford and Laura Hughes, which again we have reviewed before but remains a favourite.

Peapod very much enjoyed dancing his newly made bunny around the room singing “hop little bunny” too!

And just because we couldn’t possibly get to them all yesterday, here’s some more of our favourite bunny books that we’ve got in our basket at the moment!

Have you got any favourite bunny books?

Will you be making any Easter cards or crafts?

What have you been reading or playing this week?

Reading along, singing a song…

This is a series of picture books published by Oxford University Press, in which Tim Hopgood has illustrated lyrics to some classic songs.

While I am reviewing them, this is also quite a personal post so there’ll be detours for that. This blog is, after all, for me to have a record of our reading as much as anything. But, I totally understand if you just want the review, so in that case –

These are beautiful, evocative books which capture classic songs and their sentiments perfectly.

What a Wonderful World by Tim Hopgood, based on the song by Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, with CD sung by Louis Armstrong.

This was the first of these we bought. It’s a gloriously bright and hopeful reminder to love and take care of the world around us – Tim’s illustrations always showcase nature vibrantly and lovingly and sit perfectly here.

What a Wonderful World is one of my mum’s absolute favourite songs, so we bought this as a Mother’s Day present for her from Peapod back in March.

She was, of course, very pleased, but the really lovely bit came later on. Mum had been to pick up my Grandma, Dot, who has dementia and can no longer really recognise us and is often quite agitated (fortunately not aggressively, but clearly quite unsettled, confused and anxious in herself.)

She sat down to look at the book with my mum and Peapod and loved it, saying/chanting the words from the song which came back to her a little, with mum’s help, and loving the pictures as much as Peapod.

Singing in the Rain by Tim Hopgood, based on the song by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown, with CD sung by Doris Day.

We couldn’t believe our luck that this song was also available in this series – it was my Grandad’s favourite! So we bought this one next and Dot has enjoyed it just as much – looking at the joyful illustrations and sort-of reading/singing/remembering along with the words.

I don’t have any pictures of the interior as it’s at my mum’s, but it’s as wonderful as all the others! Capturing the freedom of splashing in puddles and playing in the rain, it’s a lush, green rainbow-filled slice of carefree joy and imagination.

Moon River by Tim Hopgood, based on the song by Johnny Mercer and Henry Mancini, with CD sung by Andy Williams.

We were lucky enough to request and receive a copy of this from OUP in exchange for an honest review. All views and opinions are my own. (I can only apologise to OUP that it’s taken so blooming long!)

Of all the songs featured in this series, this is the one I know least well (in fact I know it almost exclusively because of the galaxy advert it was in!), so it doesn’t have the connections and emotional ties that the others do, but this is still a lovely book.

This has a much darker palette than the other books, but it works really well as the paler, more colourful river winds through it. The use of watercolour and the way it blends and runs is really effective too, as is the way the brightly coloured rainbow appears in a wonderfully wiggly, wavy way.

Beautiful.

Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Tim Hopgood, based on the song by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith, with CD sung by Peggy Lee.

As with the others in the series, the illustrations here really have the feel of the song and showcase its wintery magic.

It manages to be both a cold, frosty snap of a book and leave you feeling toasty warm inside! There’s a lovely feel of togetherness, leisure and – a recurring theme nit just in these books, but in Timsbooks overall – a real appreciation of the natural world.

We gave this to Dot for Christmas and though she had no idea who we were, who it was from or quite probably what it was for or that it was hers, she had a lovely time looking at it and hearing my sister singing (almost as tunelessly as me) along with her was proper Christmas magic!

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.