Tuesday 15 February 2011

Bridget Fidget

Bridget Fidget is like every single toddler you've ever met. Full of seemingly boundless energy, more curious than a cat, and with a wild imagination that produces an endless sense of wonder. 

Joe Berger's books are as busy as their central character. When a mysterious (and huge) parcel turns up at Bridget's house, her flights of fancy lead her to believe that her parents have ordered her a surprise pet. 

What happens when Bridget dives into the gigantic cardboard box and polystyrene snow? What does she find? 

You'll have to read and find out yourself, of course. The book fizzes with energy and is perfect for children who are chock full of wonder and enthusiasm. 

Charlotte's best bit: Bridget's 'pet'

Daddy's favourite bit: Slightly dim mummy character. 

Rating: 3 out of 5

Read More

Topsy and Tim go to the Dentist

Despite the absolute terror Charlotte expressed the last time we visited my lovely dentist, she maintains a healthy obsession with all things dental and medical. Topsy and Tim go the the Dentist is one of a series of 'life lesson' books by Jean and Gareth Adamson, with illustrations by Belinda Worseley. 

Published by Ladybird Books, Topsy and Tim books feature likeable characters, bold and clear illustrations and easy to follow text so they're great for young readers as well as great books to read to fidgety toddlers. 

In the book, Topsy and Tim both learn the importance of proper tooth brushing, the mysterious qualities of the infamous 'pink drink' and how a tiny little hole in your tooth can turn into a nasty great big hole in no time at all. 

It's all fairly gentle stuff and is purposely designed to put children at ease. The book has a neat little puzzle at the end, and a great map of Topsy and Tim's home town. Likeable stuff and it's probably worth tracking down the other books in the series, covering common themes such as new baby brothers (or sisters), swimming lessons and first days at school.

Charlottes best bit: Topsy and Tim's friend who ate too many sweets. 

Daddy's favourite bit: The excellent map at the end of the book. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Read More

Monday 14 February 2011

Jinnie Ghost

Apologies for the short hiatus in reviews but now we've got over our colds, and have managed to get to Abingdon Library again, we're back in business. 

Starting off with a book that, by rights, should scare the pants off Charlotte, ghosts and monsters are delicately woven into this tale of a roving ghost. Visiting children in the town in turn, Jinnie Ghost peppers their dreams (and nightmares) with visions both surreal, menacing and serene. 

It's definitely not a book you'd want to read a toddler at bedtime. Too many instances of 'things crawling under the bed' and a reference to the Bogeyman which could make youngsters slightly squeamish. 

And yet...

Perhaps Charlotte does take after me a little, particularly given that her favourite film / CD soundtrack AND popup book of the moment is Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (much to the exasperation of my long-suffering wife!). 

There's something intriguing and attractive to youngsters in books of this ilk, where the fantastic, the slightly scary and the paranormal mix with normal everyday children and their lives. 

Of the six books we grabbed in our library trip this week, Jinnie Ghost has proved to be the most popular by far and that's partly due to the gently poetic story, and partly due to the superb artwork by Berlie Doherty. 

Recommended, but during daylight hours. 

Charlotte's best bit: Naturally, the fact that the first child that Jinne Ghost 'haunts' is a girl called Charlotte who wants to be a princess. 

Daddy's favourite bit: The dreamlike feel to the artwork and the lovely floaty Jinnie herself

Rating: 4 out of 5

Read More

Tuesday 1 February 2011

What's inside? The Alphabet Book

There are a thousand and one ABC books on the market, but Satoshi Kitamura brings his own quirky style to "What's inside?" 

Each page precedes the next two letters of the alphabet, with lots of objects in each illustration for inquiring toddlers to wrap their developing brains around. Kitamura's scratchy illustrations are chock full of detail so don't expect the usual A is for Apple, B is for Bear stuff here. 

We've read quite a few of Kitamura's books which are always a delicious mesh of westernised urban life suffused with an underlying current of pure fantasy. 

A novel approach to getting your young ones to learn their ABCs. 

Charlotte's best bit: I is for Iguana, J is for Jack in the Box. 

Daddy's favourite bit: The rat's cute little house. 

Rating: 4 out of 5

Read More