Picturebook Review: I Loathe You, by David Slonim

I’ve always been a little creeped out by Sam McBratney’s classic, Guess How Much I  Love You. The one-upmanship in matters of the heart strikes me as manipulative and inflected with guilt. So I was delighted to discover David Slonim’s wacky alternative, I Loathe You.  Little Monster and Big Monster — entirely loveable (or loath-able?)  beneath their jagged teeth and […]


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Play Doh Doctor Drill N Fill:  Decent Play Value, but no Educational Bite

The Play Doh Doctor Drill N Fill (ages 3+, retailing for £13.99 on Amazon.co.uk) is a cleverly designed, reasonably entertaining toy. Disappointingly, however, Play Doh passed up a valuable opportunity to integrate education with play by teaching kids a little about their teeth and how to look after them. Paging all Junior Dentists My five-year-old […]


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Your Child’s Day: A Book to Treasure

A few years ago, in a desperate bid to get my son (ever the recalcitrant writer) to put pencil to paper during the l-o-o-o-ng Easter vacation, I suggested that we make a book about a day in his life. We took a photograph every hour from breakfast until lights out, along with photographs of his […]


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Lovely E-mail Exchange with John Fardell, Author of “The Day Louis Got Eaten”

In a recent post, Nic Bottomley, founder of Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, included The Day Louis Got Eaten by writer/illustrator John Fardell in his list of top-ten picture book recommendations. So I borrowed Louis from the library, and then had the following e-mail exchange with the author (reprinted here with his permission). Dear Mr. Fardell, Since the […]


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Parents and Kids “Trying Books On” Together

Parents and Kids “Trying Books On” Together

An independent bookstore owner explains why shops like his are a magical part of childhood Twice winner of the Bookseller Industry Award for the Independent Bookshop of the Year, Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights in Bath, Somerset, is almost as much a reason to visit that famous city as the Roman Baths themselves. Invitingly laid […]


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Write This! competition – November entry

When my 9-year-old falls short of a goal (and even when he succeeds), I usually say something along the lines of, “The hard part isn’t making it across the monkey bars. The hard part is not making it across the monkey bars 999 times, and then trying again.” This is a loose variation of an Edison quote, I think, […]


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Sandra Horning Interview and Book Giveaway

  Award-winning children’s author, Sandra Horning, was inspired to write her first published book, The Giant Hug (2005) by a real-life hug she shared with her toddler son. Her subsequent children’s books, Chicks! and The Biggest Pumpkin have both drawn on her experiences as a mother — raising chicks with her children, and taking them […]


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Write this! – An inopportune time to get the hiccups!

Every month, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators hosts Write This, a challenge to writers: Respond to a prompt in 50 words or less.   The top 20 entries appear in an online gallery. This month’s prompt was, “In 50 words or less, portray an inopportune time to get a case of hiccups.” […]


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Writer Mother profile: Jennifer F Steil

The Ambassador’s Wife is a novel as adventurous as its free-spirited protagonist, Miranda. With confidence and evident enjoyment, author, Jennifer F Steil explores the methods and strategies of high level diplomacy; the possibilities and dangers of cross-cultural friendship;  and–centrally–motherhood, in its many complex, and conflicting incarnations. Set in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Mazrooq, Steil’s first […]


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Book making project: Making my daughter’s story into a book

These days, I find that most of my ideas for story-based activities with the kids come organically from them, rather than owing anything to my pre-planning. In this case, my 8 year old son suggested at lunch that we each tell a story about our favourite food. My four year old daughter launched into a […]


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