Childhood Unplugged

I have a passion for children’s books and have always made sure that my two children have a bookshelf full of well-written and beautifully illustrated books. As part of my childhood unplugged features I make lots of children’s book recommendations to help busy mums find books their own children will love, or which will make lovely gifts for friends.

Each book is reviewed with information about the story, illustrations and a link to where it can be purchased. This is usually an Amazon link.

I am lucky enough to work with children’s publishers and have a great working relationship with Bloomsbury, who kindly provide some of the books for my reviews.

Tom Fletcher Book Club 2

Bestselling (and current Jones family favourite) children’s author Tom Fletcher is back with his second book club exclusive to WHSmith.

Tom has selected 10 more brilliant books for 7 to 11-year olds to get them excited and inspired to read, by offering a wide variety of titles by both established and debut authors.

When the books arrived both my children (aged 7 and 9) were beyond excited and thrilled that all the books in Tom’s selection were eminently appealing. They couldn’t wait to each choose their first book!

Tom Fletcher Book Club 2

Tom Fletcher Book Club 2


My son, Alex, headed first for The Chocolate Factory Ghost, where at the McBudge Confectionary Company something’s going on. Something suspicious, supernatural… sinister.. Yes, he was instantly gripped and wanted to learn more!

My daughter, Carys, opted for The Travels of Ermine, the story of a small stoat on a big journey around the world who is determined to fill her scrapbook with tales of adventure. Armed with her toolkit and feathered hat, Ermine arrives in New York to stay with Michael Megabucks and his son. She is soon fighting off alligators at Central Park Zoo and outwitting bungling diamond thieves! Carys (who can be quite feisty herself!), was mesmerised!

The Travels of Ermine


The other fantastic titles include:

Iguana Boy Saves the World – Dylan has always wanted a superpower, especially since his brother and sister have got really awesome ones. But when his wish finally comes true, Dylan is royally cheesed off. For Dylan has become … Iguana Boy.

I Swapped My Brother on the Internet – `I can get a new brother? On the internet?’ Jonny muttered. Everyone has dreamed of being able to get rid of their brother or sister at one time or another… For Jonny, the dream is about to become a reality with!

Dave Pigeon – If you can read this, you obviously understand Pigeonese. Therefore you may read the book of Dave Pigeon. Dave Pigeon is the incredibly heroic story of how the bravest pigeon of all pigeonkind defeated Mean Cat.

The Unlikely Adventues of Mabel Jones – When Mabel Jones unknowingly commits ‘The Deed’ she finds herself swiftly bundled into a sack and carried off to the pirate ship the Feroshus Maggot. Crewed by the strangest bunch of pirates you would ever want to meet and captained by the dreaded Idryss Ebeneezer Split, the Feroshus Maggot whisks Mabel Jones off on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Nothing to See Here Hotel – A hotel for magical creatures, where weird is normal for Frankie Banister and his parents who run the hotel. When a goblin messenger arrives, announcing the imminent arrival of the goblin prince Grogbah, Frankie and his family rush into action to get ready for their important guest. However, the Banister family are going to have their work cut out… There’s a demanding prince and his never-ending entourage…

My Magical Life – Eleven-year-old Zach has magical powers, just like everyone in his family, but he’s having trouble harnessing his abilities. To help his powers manifest, Zach’s parents decide that he needs to be around ‘real’ people more. No more homeschooling – it’s time for Zach to enter the scary world of secondary school! But Zach can’t resist a bit of magic…

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made -The hilarious and ever-optimistic Timmy Failure books are perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Big Nate. Meet Timmy Failure, founder of the “best” detective agency in town – Total Failure, Inc. With the help of his polar bear, Total, the clueless, comically self-confident Timmy already has plans for world domination.

Timmy Failure


The 39 Storey Treehouse – Andy and Terry’s have an amazing treehouse which has thirteen new levels! They’ve added a chocolate waterfall you can swim in, a volcano for toasting marshmallows and a bulldozer-battling level. There’s also a baby-dinosaur-petting zoo, a not-very-merry merry-go-round, a boxing elephant called the Trunkinator, an X-ray room, a disco with light-up dance floor, the world’s scariest roller coaster and a top-secret thirty-ninth level which hasn’t even been finished yet!

As you can see, there are so many wonderful reads! What a fantastic selection from Tom Fletcher, and a must-have book club!

Check out what we’re reading on my Instagram feed!

Happy reading!

Carol xxx

Bloomsbury Children’s Books – Autumn 2017

Both my 8 and my 6 year old are becoming fluent readers, and recently both have taken a step away from their ‘reading books’ into the world of real literature. They are ready for texts which require more reading stamina.

This is a tricky time as their confidence is riding high and they want to read lengthier books. However, sometimes this results in them becoming a little over ambitious in their choices! I applaud my son’s desire to read the Harry Potter novels, but the simple truth is he’s not quite there yet!

Bloomsbury kindly sent me their new autumn and winter releases, and they are perfect for my children. The text is manageable yet also develops their vocabulary and comprehension as they become immersed in more complex stories.

Here are just a few of their current favourites:

Bloomsbury Children’s Books – Autumn 2017

Witch Snitch

Perfect for Halloween! Tiga and friends are famous throughout Sinkville for their part in the Witch Wars competition. Now they have been asked to make a TV documentary about the most interesting witches in town. Whilst Tiga enjoys making the documentary, she can’t help but feel there’s something going on behind her back …

This is a hilarious companion story to the main Witch Wars series. It is, however, a great standalone title, full of character profiles, facts and activities to give children everything they need to create their very own Witch Wars party.

Click here to order your copy – Witch Snitch: The Inside Scoop on the Witches of Ritzy City (Witch Wars)

On trend witchy mayhem!


Curse of the Werewolf Boy

Sticking with Halloween… Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?

Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.

Click here to order your copy – Curse of the Werewolf Boy (Maudlin Towers)

An action-packed mystery!


Safari Pug (moving away from Halloween!)

My son is a huge fan of the Pug and Lady Miranda stories! He has both the previous two ‘Pug’ stories and whenever he gets the latest book he has to look and see what the next story to be published will be called!

When Pug and Lady Miranda have a scary run-in with a lion one night (he might be hiding under the bed), Lady M decides Pug needs to face his fears and go on safari. Pug goes a bit wobbly when he finds out he’ll be coming nose to nose with Florence, the rare white lion cub, but he soon realises that lions may not be the most dangerous thing in the wildlife park… Safari Pug didn’t disappoint!

Click here to order your copy – Safari Pug (The Adventures of Pug)

Pug faces his fears!


These books have bought much joy to my children, and their reading journey!

Happy reading!

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Up, Up and Away: A Review

What does it take to build your very own planet? Orson is about to find out… He takes:
A cup full of rocks
A dash of water
A sprinkling of metal
A lot of nothingness
A big bang …
And before long, BOOM! He has it – a tiny planet with rings around it, right there in his bedroom!

Building a planet is the easy bit…


Up, Up and Away

Up,Up and Away is a heart-warming story about life’s possibilities and disappointments with an uplifting ending that will resonate with all fans of Oliver Jeffers’ work. For it seems that BUILDING a planet is the easy bit; taking care of it is a different thing altogether. Over time, Orson realises that his planet needs to be free and that sometimes you have to let go of the things that you love the most …

The author, Tom McLaughlin, is the author and illustrator of the fabulous books The Story Machine and The Cloudspotter, and his third book, Up, Up and Away does not disappoint. As with his previous books, it shows off Tom’s incredible talent and unique style of drawing and storytelling. I always enjoy the understated gentleness of Tom McLaughlin’s work. He always approaches challenging or sensitive issues with gentleness and positivity. Another uplifting read and which we’ll enjoy returning to again and again.

Many thanks to Bloomsbury Books for sending me a copy of Up,Up and Away to review.

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Bloomsbury Children’s Books – New Titles Spring 2017

I love March, it’s the first month in a new year when I really get a sense of spring’s imminent arrival! Everything seems to come into life, and new interests and hobbies seem so much more attractive as the days get longer and slightly warmer!

My children both love books, and whilst they have old favourites which they return to again and again, it’s lovely to inject a few new titles into their reading repertoire at this time of year.

Bloomsbury Children’s Books – New Titles Spring 2017

Bloomsbury Children’s Books have some great new titles which I thought I’d share with you…

The Naughty Naughty Baddies

Once there were four Naughty, Naughty Baddies. And each one was as naughty as the next. When Four suggests a cunning plan to STEAL all the spots off the Queen’s Little Doggy Woof-Woof, they all grin fiendishly and chuckle evilly! What will the Queen do? Will the Naughty, Naughty Baddies get away with it? This is a very funny and deliciously naughty story from the bestselling pen of Mark Sperring and the bestselling brush of David Tazzyman.

The Butterfly Dance

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe do everything together. They play, they eat leaves and do all sorts of caterpiller-y things, and then one day, after spinning themselves into snuggly cocoons, they wake up as beautiful butterflies! But soon they realise that, for the first time ever, they look different. Should Dotty only play with butterflies that look like her? And Stripe only play with butterflies that look like him?

The Butterfly Dance is a stunningly illustrated story about friendship and and being happy with who you are, from the author/illustrator of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted The Dawn Chorus.

Bloomsbury Children’s Titles


We’re Going on an Egg Hunt – Activity Book

Can you find all the Easter eggs and help the Easter Bunnies get through the maze to escape from the wolf? Join in the fun with the Easter Bunnies and shout ‘Hooray for Easter Day!’ This super activity book is bursting with colouring, puzzles, games and over 100 lovely stickers.

Based on the bestselling We’re Going on an Egg Hunt, the little ones will have plenty to keep them occupied over the Easter holidays. Laura Hughes’ beautiful illustrations jump off the pages of this adorable activity book.

A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting

Do you dream of seeing some real, live bears? Then this essential guide to bear spotting, filled with offbeat humor and quirky illustrations, is for you! It’s now out in paperback too!

In this perfect read-aloud, a young aspiring bear spotter ventures into bear country . . . But coming face-to-face with the furry creatures themselves, whether black or brown, can be dangerous, and our protagonist–accompanied by a trusty teddy bear–might need to use some unconventional means to stay out of trouble and avoid being (gulp!) eaten.

This book has been a family favourite since we received the Hardback copy last year!

I Don’t Want Curly Hair

NO! I do not want this BIG CURLY HAIR!
It’s messy and silly and just plain unfair.

All Curly Haired Girl has ever wanted is straight and luscious locks, but when she meets a little girl with the smoothest, silkiest hair, who says all she’s ever wanted is spirally, squiggly hair, they are BOTH confused!

A hilarious tale about loving what we have. And hair, lots and lots of hair.

I Don’t Want Curly Hair! is glorious new picture book for little people who always want what they can’t have! From the brilliant Laura Ellen Anderson – illustrator of the bestselling Witch Wars series. This book is visually stunning and the striking illustrations and colour palette used throughout are gorgeous!

Henry and the Yeti

Another superbly and simply illustrated picture book! Henry is sure yetis do exist, and he sets off on an expedition to find one. He has packed everything he needs, including a camera to take photos for evidence. But can he find a yeti? And will anyone believe him when he returns home?

A funny story about believing in yourself (and yetis) from a bestselling illustrator who has turned author too. (Titles include The Witch’s Children and Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs.) Children will love the twist ending in particular.

Happy reading!

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A special thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing who kindly sent me copies of the above books for review. 

The Butterfly Dance: A Review

Keeping with my recent ‘Spring’ focus on the blog, I thought I’d share a beautiful new book which I received from Bloomsbury this week! My daughter, aged 6, fell upon it as soon as I took it out of the envelope! She somewhat prematurely thanked me for treating her – such was her enthusiasm for this beautifully illustrated book!

The Butterfly Dance: A Review


The Butterfly dance by Suzanne Barton - A review

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe do everything together. They play, they eat leaves and do all sorts of caterpiller-y things. Then one day, after spinning themselves into snuggly cocoons, they wake up as beautiful butterflies! But soon they realise that, for the first time ever, they look different. Should Dotty only play with butterflies that look like her? And Stripe only play with butterflies that look like him?

This is a stunningly illustrated story about friendship and and being happy with who you are. It is by Suzanne Barton, the author/illustrator of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize shortlisted The Dawn Chorus.

Suzanne’s artistic influences include Japanese prints and illustrators she remembers from her childhood. Her artwork is a beautiful combination of collage, drawing and painting. With a love of patterns and prints, Suzanne often searches through vintage paper shops for inspiration.

My daughter loves all things butterfly related, and she is also very creative and artistic. The appeal of this book lies in the fact that so many of the images on this page could be mounted and framed. The story itself also contains some important messages about the nature of friendship.

Please see the Amazon link below to order your copy of this beautiful book!

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Rosa Parks, the Ordinary, Extraordinary Lady on the Bus

Sometimes a book comes along which totally blows me away… and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World is just such a book! Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, has created this wonderful and very readable picture book about women who really changed the world.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World

Bursting full of beautiful illustrations and astounding facts, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is the perfect introduction to just a few of the most incredible women who helped shaped the world we live in.

List of women featured: Jane Austen, Gertrude Ederle, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Mary Seacole, Amelia Earhart, Agent Fifi, Sacagawa, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks and Anne Frank.

Today I’m thrilled that Kate Pankhurst has written for Muff and Teacake about Rosa Parks, over to Kate for a fantastically fascinating story…

Rosa Parks, the Ordinary, Extraordinary Lady on the Bus

My research into the great women involved going Pinterest crazy gathering references to inform the design of each starring woman’s double page spread. I wanted every detail in their clothing, pose and setting to give readers an insight into that particular great woman’s life.

Something that struck me looking at the iconic police mugshot of Rosa Parks that was taken in 1955 after her arrest for refusing to move out of her bus seat to make way for a white passenger, was that with a small pale flower tucked in her pinned up hair and smart buttoned up coat, Rosa really didn’t look like the sort of person to get herself into trouble with the police. The point, and the remarkable thing about Rosa, is that she really wasn’t.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks mugshot (C)1955 Universal History Archive—UIG via Getty Images


Before working on Fantastically Great Women I didn’t know the whole story about what happened on that Montgomery Bus in 1955. I found out that Rosa was an everyday women travelling home from work until, in the split second after being told to give up her seat for a white passenger, she decided enough was enough.

What I love most about Rosa is that she didn’t shout or scream or use any sort of violence in her legendary protest. She simply refused to move, because why should she? As Rosa sat waiting for the authorities to arrive, with the eyes of the whole bus on her she could have quite easily relented. By making such a stand she wasn’t just breaking the law, she was putting herself in danger.


Making that decision in the moment made me think about the fact Rosa had no clue about how her actions would change the world or about how she would rouse thousands of other black people to boycott the buses in Montgomery. She had no idea that her actions would be a massive step towards a fairer more equal society.

More than sixty years later there’s, sadly, still a long way to go, but without ordinary people like Rosa taking that first terrifying step things can’t change for the better. It makes you think – the next person to start a change could be an ordinary person sat next to you on the bus. Or you.

Now that I look at that photo of Rosa after her arrest I can see past the sweet looking lady with a hat and glasses. There’s a definite determination in her eyes, a glimmer that she wasn’t going to take anymore nonsense from anyone, I hope my illustrative version of Rosa captures that.

(Although, had I been in her shoes on that day I’m not sure I would have been able to resist using that neat little handbag I’ve drawn her holding to take a swing at that guy who told her to move. But of course, calm protest will always achieve far more.)


Wow Kate, such a great testament to the power of peaceful protest! Thank you!

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Captain Pug by Laura James: A Review

‘Thank you for my new book Mummy! Can we read it tonight?’ That was the immediate reaction from my seven year old son when I opened a parcel from Bloomsbury Publishers and pulled out a copy of Captain Pug!

It must say something about the visual appeal of this book that my son instantly thought it had been purchased specifically for him, and wanted to make sure it was part of his bedtime reading session that night!

He has a huge selection of books, and the gorgeous bookends we bought for him are gradually getting further and further apart, so a new and instant favourite is quite special!

A review of Captain Pug by Laura James
Captain Pug


To be truthful, I was as delighted to receive this book as my son was! I have thought for some time that there is still a gap in the market to be filled when it comes to providing books for children who are independent readers but are not quite ready for the challenge of chapter books. My son loves reading and is past the ‘early reader’ stage but in order to maintain that enjoyment of reading I often feel the need to provide books which act as a bridge between the simpler structured books his school provided and more challenging chapter books.

Captain Pug by Laura James: A Review

We have previously enjoyed the series of Claude books, and Captain Pug falls neatly into that book bracket… The text provides some challenge, but the illustrations are very powerful, anintegral part of the book and presented in a beautiful, bold limited colour palette. They are a real joy and capture the fun and adventure of the story. Pug’s expressions are captivating and there lots of details in the background to draw the reader in as Pug moves from one ‘incident’ to another.

Lady Miranda


This story is essentially about Pug’s seafaring adventure with Lady Miranda, his passion for jam tarts (which my son loved!) and his fear of the water!

Captain Pug is the first book in a glorious new illustrated series, and we can’t wait for the next instalment!

Happy reading!

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We’re Going On An Egg Hunt Review

We’re going on an egg hunt. We’re going to find them all. We’re REALLY excited. Hooray for Easter Day!

Join the Easter Bunnies as they set off on an exciting lift-the-flap Easter egg hunt. With ten eggs to find and count, it’s great fun. But watch out for the obstacles along the way – lambs, chicks, bees and ducks – and there’s even a wolfish surprise, so do take care!

We’re Going On An Egg Hunt Review

Based on the traditional ‘We’re Going on a Lion Hunt’ rhyme, this will be a huge Easter hit with all fans of the absolute classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt story.

We’re Going on an Egg Hunt is beautifully illustrated by Laura Hughes. Laura is an exciting young London-based illustrator. Originally from Bath, she studied illustration at Kingston University and, since graduating, she has created artwork for children’s books, cards, stationery and homewares. We’re Going on an Egg Hunt is Laura’s first book for Bloomsbury.

HOORAY for Easter Day!


Laura has cleverly planned her story to ensure that the four rabbits which feature throughout the story charmingly walk, carry baskets and generally behave in a human-like way. The artwork cleverly echoes the previous and next images to show the journey of the rabbits through the book and there’s also a hint of the wolf on each spread – a suggestion of what’s to come!

The flaps have been expertly placed in the book to maintain the continuity of both the story and illustrations and yet also introduce the element of surprise.

A wonderful book to lift the spirits and add a little magic to the forthcoming Easter weekend!

Enjoy, and Happy Easter!

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A very special thank you to Bloomsbury for sending this lovely Easter book for review. We loved it and think it would make a great Easter gift too!

Review ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting’

Wow, what a great picture book to commence my 2016 collaboration with Bloomsbury Publishers! A Beginners’s Guide to Bearspotting is a brilliant and whimsical story which will undoubtedly appeal to even the youngest of adventurers!

A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting

Bearspotting is a dangerous business – you ought to take it seriously, you know.

So here’s what you need to know for starters – black bears are dangerous and black, brown bears are dangerous and brown. Although sometimes black bears can be a little brown, and brown bears can be a little black. Are you following? You really need to focus here. If you do, this guide will tell you all you need to know when walking in BEAR COUNTRY. Don’t leave home without it. Are you ready? Good! Let’s go …

Yes, you’ve guessed  – an aspiring bear spotter ventures into bear country . . . But coming face-to-face with the furry creatures themselves, whether black or brown, can be notoriously dangerous, and our adventurer (accompanied by a trusty teddy bear) might need to use some unconventional means to stay out of trouble and avoid being… well, eaten!

Ready for action!


Very cleverly written as a cross between a narrative and a field journal, A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspottting  introduces us to the main character, a fully equipped backpack-toting, balaclava- and plaid-jacket–clad child, ready for action. When not one but two bears are encountered, we realise that it takes more than a guidebook to face up to your fears—and not everything is as dangerous as it might initially seem.

Creatively, this book is a winner! I absolutely love the illustrations of David Roberts in this book, especially his mix of blue with largely autumnal colours, alongside the clever use of graph-paper backgrounds, different fonts and ‘turned-up’ corners which reveal whimsical asides! Michelle Robinson’s blend of chatty and informal narrative, mixed with instructions, warnings and suggestions works brilliantly too!

The binoculars are out in our house, and I have two children keen to spot anything and everything! Our adventures are limited to our garden at present, but who knows what we might find when we broaden our horizons!

This book is published by Bloomsbury on 11th February 2016, copies can be ordered in advance.


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Top 5 Winter Picture Books

With the shops full of Christmas items I thought it would be lovely to share with you some recommendations for winter picture books. These books combine visually stunning illustrations with wonderful stories and information, and are perfect for a winter treat or even a Christmas gift.

In the best tradition, here are my top 5 favourite winter picture books, they are in no particular order!

Winter Books


Top 5 Winter Picture Books

1. Robin’s Winter Song

The forest was bustling with activity. As the red and orange leaves swirled in the wind, Robin started to worry. Something was changing.

Finch was flying south, because Winter was coming. Squirrel was burying food, because Winter was coming. Even Owl was making his nest warm. Why? That’s right – because Winter was coming. Robin decided he didn’t like the sound of Winter one little bit. But that was before the snow . . . A beautifully tender story of a little robin’s first winter from one of my favourite Bloomsbury authors Suzanne Barton. She is the enormously talented creator of another favourite of mine, The Dawn Chorus.

2. Snow Bear

In the icy-cold heart of winter, a little snow bear wanders through the snow. As the wind whips past him, ruffling his fur, he searches for a home.

But where can he go? Each warm place has been claimed, and there is no room for a bear, no matter how little. Suddenly he sees a flickering of light, orange and bright against the snowy ground. A house!

As Snow Bear pushes open the creaking door, he feels warmth spread over him. There’s a girl by the window, and, somehow, deep down, Snow Bear knows that he is home.

A heartwarming, wintry read, perfect for fans of Guess How Much I Love You?

3. The Snowman

The Snowman is a wordless picture book which has transported a generation of children and their families into the wonderful wintery world of a boy and his magical snowman. As a unique friendship is kindled, the two embark on a starry-skied adventure to the North Pole, where they meet Father Christmas and narrowly escape the clutches of Jack Frost.

There is something very magical about this picture book, a perennial family classic.

4. Once Upon A Northern Night

In this exquisitely illustrated lullaby, the beauty and wonder of a northern winter night unfold, with images of soft snowfall, the wild animals who appear in the garden, the twinkling stars, the gentle rhythm of the northern lights and the etchings of frost on a window pane.

Jean E. Pendziwol’s lullaby conveys a deep appreciation of the magic of a wintery night where, even as a child sleeps, the world outside does not rest but continues its own natural rhythms. Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations, with their restricted but subtle use of colour, transport us instantly to that magical winter landscape.

5. Over And Under The Snow

This is a non-fiction picture book where the world is silent and white. However, under the snow lies a secret world of squirrels and snow hares, bears and bullfrogs, and many other animals making their winter home.

This intriguing and clever non-fiction book explores the tunnels and caves formed beneath the snow but over the ground, where many kinds of animals live through the winter, safe and warm, awake and busy, but hidden from view. Another beautifully illustrated book with a stunning colour palette.


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A Spooky Forest Adventure

With Halloween just around the corner, I can’t wait to read my children Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure! This is a truly delightful picture book, with the added bonus of some recipes and crafts for the family to try too.

I’m planning on having a few Florentine and Pig activities at the ready during half-term next week. The ‘Snuggly Buggly Marshmallow Brownies’ will be a hit with my daughter, and my son will love making the ‘Magic Shape Shiner’!

A Spooky Forest Adventure

There’s a monster on the loose, and Florentine and Pig are determined to catch it! What will they need for their monster-catching expedition?

A great Halloween read!

Binoculars? Check! Torch? Check! Super-scrummy supper? CHECK! (Well, monster catching IS rather hard work!)

But is there REALLY a monster out there, or are Florentine and Pig’s imaginations playing tricks on them?

Florentine and Pig books, published by Bloomsbury, combine exciting and imaginative stories, with craft projects and recipes, encouraging children and parents to play, eat and create with each other… What isn’t there to love!

Eve Katzler created Florentine and Pig after working with children, and realising some of them had never known the pleasure of getting a little messy with their hands. She devised the characters as a way of encouraging children and adults to rediscover the joy of making things together. Much of the appeal of the books lies in the fantastic illustrations of Jess Mikhail, which are cleverly used to ensure the whole book – story, recipes and craft ideas flows perfectly as one.

I, for one, can’t wait to discover more of their books, and have some more craft and baking fun too! Keep them coming Eva and Jess, we’re hooked!

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The Cloudspotter

I can’t tell you how excited I was when Bloomsbury sent me The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin. I am a great fan of Tom’s books, and have been looking forward to his new one for a while! We love The Story Machine, it has been read time and time again, so we were all eager to read Tom’s new book!

The Cloudspotter – Tom McLaughlin


The Cloudspotter

The Cloudspotter has the same powerful combination of superb storytelling and wonderful illustration, it’s a winner from the moment you see the front cover!

A tale of imagination and friendship…


The two themes of the story centre on friendship and imagination as we meet Franklin, affectionately known as ‘The Cloudspotter’.

Often alone, Franklin gazes into the sky, spotting his own miniature adventures amongst the companionable clouds above…

“He could swim with jellyfish, drive racing cars and be the King of the Castle.”

He doesn’t need anyone else… or does he? One day an unexpected visitor shows up. But what do they want? Surely not to share his clouds? He isn’t used to sharing his adventures with anyone else, but could it be that two cloudspotters are better than one?

I don’t want to reveal much more, as this is a lovely story which I’ll leave you to discover as it enfolds! Happy cloudspotting!

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