Thursday, February 11, 2016

Picture Book Review and Craft: Hedgehugs Hopping Hot By Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

Hedgehugs Hopping Hot by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson is the third book in the utterly adorable Hedgehugs series. 

Hedgehugs Hopping Hot by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

Horace and Hattie are the best of friends and they loved spending time together, playing with the autumn leaves, searching for treasure and building pebble towers. One of their favourite games to play was hopping and on one very sunny day they were having fun hopping with their friend grasshopper, but it was way too hot.

They look for ways to keep cool while still hopping, under a mushroom, in the pool, covered in mud and even under a rock, but nothing seemed to be just right. While these ideas might work for their other animal friends, they are not right for the two little hopping hedgehogs. Finally, after tumbling out of a tree (another possible way of keeping cool), they discover the perfect solution, their very own shade umbrellas. 

This is a delightful story of friendship and problem solving. Horace and Hattie work together, trying a variety of different solutions that seem to work for other animals, but never quite seem right for them. With perseverance they manage to finally find the perfect solution for them. 

Hedgehugs Hopping Hot is lovely to read aloud and as you will soon find out from our craft activity below, it also lends itself perfectly to a retelling via a puppet show! The illustrations are adorable and thoroughly capture the hopping antics of the two little hedgehogs. I adore the patterns included within the illustrations and my daughter told me she loved the patterned heart shaped flowers. A charming picture book that certainly captured our imaginations.

Book Details:
Title: Hedgehugs Hopping Hot
Author: Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson
Illustrator: Lucy Tapper
Publisher: Maverick Arts Publishing
Publication Date: January 2016
ISBN: 9781848861893

My daughter loves making puppets and putting on a show for us, so we decided to retell the story with our own little versions of Hattie and Horace.

I traced the hedgehogs from the cover illustration for the kids and photocopied it so we could all have a set. We all then got busy colouring in our little hedgehogs. We then cut them out and attached a craft stick to the back to turn them into hopping hedgehog puppets. 


Horace and Hattie puppets from Hedgehugs Hopping Hot by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

Horace and Hattie puppets from Hedgehugs Hopping Hot by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

Horace and Hattie puppets from Hedgehugs Hopping Hot by Lucy Tapper and Steve Wilson

We then pulled out our much loved puppet theatre, which we gave to my daughter two years ago for Christmas. Then the show began! The kids took it in turns to retell the story using their puppets and then all the Horace and Hatties were on stage having a delightfully hopping time.


Retelling Hedgehugs Hopping Hot story using handmade puppets

We love our puppet theatre but the yellow backdrop isn't so great for photos, but you can certainly see our little puppets hopping around having fun.


It wasn't long before our Horace and Hattie puppets were joined by our other puppet friends and enjoying lots of exciting adventures. The kids' imaginations are amazing.

Have fun retelling the story of Hedgehugs Hopping Hot with handmade hedgehog puppets

You can check out the Hedgehugs website for colouring pages and other fun.

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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Book Launch: Trouble At Home by Cate Whittle

Going to a book launch is one of my favourite things to do. On Sunday we were lucky enough to attend the launch of Cate Whittle's first book, Trouble At Home. 

The book launch was hosted by one of my favourite bookshops, Harry Hartog and the fabulous Tania McCartney gave Cate and her new book a wonderful introduction.

Author Tania McCartney at the book launch of Cate Whittle's new book, Trouble At Home

Cate then introduced us to Trouble At Home by reading the first chapter to us all.

Cate Whittle at the launch of her new book, Trouble At Home

Ages and ages ago - about two weeks since next Thursday - a giant green dragon stole my baby brother, Godfrey.
Isn't that a fabulous first line? We all loved listening to the first chapter and couldn't wait to get the book home to see what happens next. Will Georgia solve the mystery of the missing house? Will she find her baby brother, Godfrey? Why are the only clues potato chips and sarsaparilla? 

We also loved the illustrations by Kim Gamble. This chapter book would be ideal for children 7+ years to read on their own. The wonderful writing also makes this a great read aloud book for younger children too. 


Book Launch: Trouble At Home by Cate Whittle

I just had to share this photo of my daughter listening to Cate reading. I love when she lets me do her hair in braids. Adorable!

After the reading, it was time for some yummy goodies. All good book launches MUST have cupcakes and these dragon cupcakes were perfect? So simple, so delicious, so awesome! 

Dragon cupcakes at the launch of Cate Whittle's book, Trouble At Home

Dragon cupcake at the launch of Cate Whittle's book, Trouble At Home

There were yummy dragon potato chips too.


Dragon potato chips, at the launch of Cate Whittle's book, Trouble At Home

The book launch was a wonderful success and we would like to congratulate Cate on the launch of her new book. We are definitely looking forward to reading more of Georgia's adventures in the future.

You can find teacher's notes for Trouble At Home here.

Trouble At Home by Cate Whittle and illustrated by Kim Gamble

Book Details:
Title: Trouble At Home
Author: Cate Whittle
Illustrator: Kim Gamble
Publisher: Omnibus Books for Scholastic
Publication Date: Feb 2016
ISBN: 9781742990767

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Picture Book Review: My First Day at School by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley

Review of My First Day At School by Rose Smith and Bruce Whatley

Whether you are big or small, feathered or furry, the first day of school can be a lot of fun! 

My First Day At School by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley is an lovely picture book that emphasises how fun and exciting starting school can be. 

The adorable animal illustrations, combined with simple rhyming text help to capture the excitement of the first day at school. The book explores what to expect on the first day, including getting dressed for school, making friends, listening to stories and, of course, coming home at the end of the day.


Illustrations from My First Day At School by Rose Smith and Bruce Whatley

My First Day At School is aimed at a younger audience, ages 3+ years. It would be ideal for children starting childcare, preschool or even primary school and would be a wonderful conversation starter about what to expect on the first day.


Illustrations from My First Day At School by Rose Smith and Bruce Whatley

Book Details:
Title: My First Day At School
Author: Rosie Smith & Bruce Whatley
Illustrator: Bruce Whatley
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: Jan 2016
ISBN: 9781742622964

Is your child starting school this year? If so, you might also like our review of School Start by Lynn Jenkins


School Start by Lynn Jenkins

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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Review: Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids by Andrew Dewar

Since watching the Paper Planes movie last year, my kids have been obsessed with making paper airplanes. There's nothing like the thrill of seeing a piece of paper you have folded take flight. My kids are always on the look out for new designs and testing them out to see which ones fly the best. Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids by Andrew Dewar is an awesome resource for any young paper plane enthusiast.


Ultimate Paper Airplanes For Kids by Andrew Dewar

With cool names like Ring Wraith, Raptor, Fireball and Hammerhead, we just knew these paper airplanes would be amazing. The planes have been designed to be folded quickly and have great flying performance. They also look pretty awesome too, with the folding sheets that are included at the back of the book.


Folding a paper airplane from Ultimate Paper Airplanes For Kids by Andrew Dewar

Ultimate Paper Airplanes For Kids includes instructions for 12 different planes and 48 colourful folding sheets to make them with. The instructions are easy to follow for kids, with clear illustrations. The folding sheets also include folding lines, making it super easy for kids. 


Instructions from Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids by Andrew Dewar

What I really like about this book is that it is not just a set of instructions. It also includes lots of information on flight and how paper planes actually fly. There is also some great advice on techniques for how to fly your paper plane.


Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids by Andrew Dewar

Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids is a wonderful guide to paper airplanes and will definitely provide hours of fun for anyone who loves to fold and fly paper planes. We certainly had lots of fun making the planes in this book and, of course, testing them too.


Andrew Dewar has lived in Japan since 1988. Soon after arriving in Japan, his childhood love of paper airplanes was rekindled. Dewar has published over 30 books on paper airplanes and paper crafting.

Book Details: 
Title: Ultimate Paper Airplanes for Kids
Author: Andrew Dewar
Publisher: Tuttle
Publication Date: Nov 2015
ISBN: 9784805313633

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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book by the Australian distributor, NewSouth Books. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Monday, January 11, 2016

Celebrating Australia Day with kids books!

Australia Day is not too far away and I am really looking forward to celebrating with my family. To remind us just how amazing this country of ours is, we have added some great Aussie themed books to our reading pile this week.

These books not only take us on a journey around this wide brown land, they remind us of the history of our country and they embrace our traditions and culture.


Celebrate Australia Day with some amazing kids books!

Here are four fabulous picture books that celebrate Australia:

Australians, Let Us Barbecue!


Australians, Let Us Barbecue! by Colin Buchanan and Greg Champion, with illustrations by Glen Singleton

Buchanan and Champion have come together again to create another Aussie inspired anthem, Australians, Let Us Barbecue!, embracing our love of all things barbecue.


Australians, let us barbecue, for summertime is here!
The steamy, muggy, hottest part of every Aussie year.

I love that this picture book captures the Australian summer so perfectly. Summer in Australia is swimming at the beach, going camping in the bush or just enjoying a game of backyard cricket, then munching on a barbecue snag, while shooing away the flies. 


We loved singing along with the accompanying CD, which is set to the tune of the national anthem, Advance Australia Fair. 

The illustrations by Glen Singleton are gorgeous and full of fabulous Australian animals we know and love. The barbecue food inspired endpapers are wonderful too. 

Book Details:
Title: Australians, Let Us Barbecue!
Author: Colin Buchanan & Greg Champion
Illustrator: Glen Singleton
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Publication Date: Nov 2015
ISBN: 9781760151294

Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline


Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline by Tania McCartney

Through Australian Story, Tania McCartney takes us on a journey through time, exploring Australia's fascinating history. Readers follow a timeline from earth's beginnings, through to the Dreamtime of Indigenous Australians, then on to European settlement, right up to modern day.

While Australian Story shares many of the important historical events that we are all familiar with, like our convict past and our involvement in World War I and World War II, I really loved reading about the Aussie inventions and those small events that helped to shape our young nation, like the Hills Hoist and Victa Lawnmower. Or the creation of Vegemite, lamingtons and of course the pavalova. 

This book is jam packed full of amazing images and artefacts taken from the archives of the National Library of Australia. This book is definitely a must in Australian homes and school libraries.

Book Details:
Title: Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline
Author: Tania McCartney
Publisher: The National Library of Australia Publishing
Publication Date: April 2012
ISBN: 9780642277459

A is for Australia


A is for Australia by Frané Lessac

I love alphabet books and A is for Australia takes us on a wonderful journey around Australia, from Coober Pedy to Yallingup and everywhere in between. Each double page spread is dedicated to a different letter of the alphabet and a different Australian location or landmark. It also includes a variety of interesting facts about that location. 

I love that this book takes us on a journey to some very familiar locations, like Bondi Beach, Melbourne and Kakadu, but it also introduces us to some more obscure locations, like a sheep station in Queensland called Qui Qui or Iron Pot Lighthouse in Tasmania.

The illustrations by Lessac are stunning. They are full of bright colours and fabulous detail, and honestly, who could resist that cover! 

Book Details:
Title: A is for Australia
Author/Illustrator: Frané Lessac
Publisher: Walker Books
Publication Date: January 2015
ISBN: 9781922179760

Explore Australia: The Kid Edition


Explore Australia - The Kid Edition by Janine Scott

Explore Australia by Janine Scott is the perfect travel guide for kids. If you are planning to take a family holiday around Australia then this books is the perfect resource for the kids to help with the itinerary planning. Even if you aren't travelling yet, it's still a fun book for kids to learn a little more about Australia.

Each chapter explores a different state or territory. It includes lots of fun facts and top spots to visit. What I really like about this book is that it doesn't just concentrate on the capital cities but also has lots of great information on regional areas too.

The kids will love the section on weird place names and dangerous animals. The maps are easy for kids to read and hints on places to have a snack or take a selfie will no doubt be very handy when travelling with the kids.

Book Details:
Title: Explore Australia: The Kid Edition
Author: Janine Scott
Publisher: Hardie Grant Publishing
Publication date: October 2015
ISBN: 9781741174908

The Australia Day Blog Hop 2016


This post is part of an Australia Day For Kids blog hop. Don't forget to check out the rest of the awesome projects from participating Aussie bloggers.

[Drumroll...] And now here are all the awesome Aussie projects coming your way!

Week 1

Monday January 4th Printable koala mask at The Craft Train 

Tuesday January 5th Koala in a Creek at Laughing Kids Learn 

Wednesday January 6th Australia themed printable at Montessori Nature 

Thursday January 7th Boab Tree Mosaic Art at A Moment In Our World 

Friday January 8th Homemade Violet Crumble recipe at Go Science Girls


Week 2

Monday January 11th Aussie Book List at Honey Bee Books 

Tuesday January 12th Mini kids pavlovas at Kidgredients 

Wednesday January 13th Bottlebrush (flower) art at Danya Banya 

Thursday January 14th Quick Aussie cookies kids can make at Coloured Buttons 

Friday January 15th Cooking with Kids at Learn with Play at Home


Week 3

Monday January 18th Aussie recipe at Sweet Little Pretties 


You might also like to visit the Australia Day Blog Hop from 2014 for lots more fun Aussie ideas! 

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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of Australians, Let Us Barbecue! by the publisher. All other books were from my own collection or borrowed from the library. My opinions, as always, are my own. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Picture Book Review: Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding

I have to thank my friend and fellow children's book blogger, Jackie from My Little Bookcase for originally introducing me to the original Mr Darcy.It is such a delightful picture book and now it's Christmas time at Pemberley Park! 

If you are looking for a book to share with you children this Christmas, then look no further than Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding by Alex Field and Peter Carnavas.

Picture Book Review of Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding by Alex Field and illustrated by Peter Carnavas

Christmas is the very best time of year, thought Mr Darcy
The dashing Mr Darcy was busy preparing Pemberley Park for a special day. All Mr Darcy's friends came to visit, including Bingley, Lizzy and all Lizzy's sisters. With the fire crackling in the background, they all started helping to make Mr Darcy's famous Christmas Pudding. Each of them took turns to stir the mixture and make a wish. They even invited the naughty Mr Collins to join them, as long as he promised to behave.

You see, it was Stir-Up Sunday at Pemberley Park. Have you heard of it? It was not a tradition I was familiar with, so I appreciated of the little explanation at the back of the book. Stir-Up Sunday is held five weeks before Christmas and everyone in the household, including children, take turns to stir the pudding mixture. It marks the beginning of the Christmas festivities.

Alex Field's Mr Darcy series provides a wonderful way to introduce children to the marvellous characters of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I am such a big Austen fan, and I just love that I can share it with my kids.

Peter Carnavas' illustrations are fabulous, as always! Mr Darcy's top hat is just too adorable for words. Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding would make a lovely addition to any Christmas book collection.

Book Details:
Title: Mr Darcy and the Christmas Pudding
Author: Alex Field
Illustrator: Peter Carnavas
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing
Publication Date: Nov 2015
ISBN: 9781925059397

I had not heard of Stir-Up Sunday before, but it sounds like such a lovely family tradition. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to spend some time with my Aunties, learning how to make a Christmas pudding using my Grandmother's recipe. We also used a very special 100 year old bowl, which belonged to my Great Grandmother! 

Learning how to make Christmas Pudding

More importantly, as we were making the puddings, I was also busy writing down the recipe, so we would have a record of it. I think it's so important to hand down these family recipes and keep them alive. It was such a special opportunity to share in this cooking experience with my family.

Do you have a special Christmas family tradition or a family recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation?

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Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of this book by the publisher. My opinions, as always, are my own.
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