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Tag: Books for children

Book review: The Big Adventures of Tiny House:

Tiny House

I was really excited to receive an advance copy of The Big Adventures of Tiny House by Susan Schaefer Bernardo.

The Blurb

An old farmhouse gets recycled into something new: Tiny, a little house with a big heart and wheels. With the help of his friend Big Truck, Tiny travels thousands of miles across America. Along the way, he meets cool new friends like Shiny (an Airstream), Waverly (a houseboat) and Buster (a converted school bus). In the end, Tiny realizes that he has exactly what it takes to be a real home.

Sounds fun.

I got the grandchildren to put it through its paces.

Tiny HouseFirstly, the four-year old is big into rhyme at the moment, so the rhyming text was a success. He thought it was hilarious when I got my tongue tied on,

If you’re looking for adventure, just follow me,

to the axle-hoppin,’ wheel-stomping, Tiny House jamboree‘.

He also likes anything with wheels and he’d never seen anything resembling the quirky tiny houses. It was also good when he got to see the hammers and saws used to change the farmhouse into a house on wheels.

Tiny house goes on his adventures around America, stopping at New Orleans, Texas and the Rocky mountains. Grandson liked the maps and the place names didn’t phase him – I don’t suppose he would have known British places so they made no difference.

There was slightly too much writing to keep the attention of my two-year old grand-daughter.  but she enjoyed looking at the pictures and shouted ‘Beep Beep’ every time she spotted Tiny House.

The illustrations

The pictures are gorgeous and there was lots of detail for us to look at and talk about.

Tiny House picture

The verdict

This is an unusual and fun book which both me and my grandchildren enjoyed.

It’s message is a lovely one:

He could be a home anywhere, because home wasn’t a place,

Home was a feeling, a smile on your face.

Although my grandson concluded he wouldn’t like to live in a tiny house because he’d never know where to find it. You have to laugh.

The Author/Illustrator

This is the third book by talented author/illustrator combo Susan Schaefer Bernardo and Courtenay Fletcher. Best friends since they met during a Mommy and Me class, their other books are Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs and The Rhino who swallowed a Storm, which was co-authored with Reading Rainbow host, LeVar Burton.

Order information

The book is due for release on April 25th but it’s available to pre-order from  If you order before 31st of March, you could win a $50 gift certificate. The author is also donating a portion of sales to Makes a Village, an organization that builds tiny houses to help people facing homelessness.

Tiny House preorder

Happy reading

Suzie xx

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Things Evie Eats book video
Things Evie Eats book video

Things Evie Eats book video

Remember the trouble I had making the video for Better Buckle Up? I’m happy to report the Things Evie Eats book video went far more smoothly. (Probably only a pain point 4/10)

A video is a great way to get a feel for a book before you buy from a new author and is good for entertaining your child when you’re busy.

… I still cringe when I hear my accent though lol.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy the story.

Suzie xx

PS You can get a copy of Things Evie Eats for Kindle or in paperback … for the times when reading it yourself with snuggles are in order.


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It was bedtime in the Jungle: book review for your little adventurers

It was bedtime in the Jungle: book review for your little adventurers

Bedtime in the Jungle

We have a new favourite book in our house. It was Bedtime in the Jungle by John Butler is a gorgeous picture book. Honestly, I want to cuddle up with the animals as their parents settle them down to sleep as night falls myself.

bedtime in the jungle

There are crocodiles and rhinos, monkeys and wolves and a fold up extended page with baby elephants.

bedtime in the jungle

The book works on two levels. On one hand it is a counting book; count the baby animals (and even the little white moths if you’re feeling enthusiastic).

On another level it has a gentle repeating text with just the right amount of rhyme to settle down baby humans too.

It was bedtime in the jungle, And the stream was shining blue,

A monkey made her bed, For her babies two.

“Rest,” said the mother. “We’ll rest,” said the two.

And they rested in their bed, By the stream shining blue.

bedtime in the jungle

bedtime in the jungle

bedtime in the jungle

There is so much to see and talk about in the artwork which is realistic yet cuddly.  It comes highly recommended by me and the grandchildren.

British Books Challenge 2017John Butler is a UK author/illustrator who has written more than a dozen books for children and illustrated over sixty. His books have been published in more than 20 countries. It was Bedtime in the Jungle is my February book in the British Books Challenge.

Suzie xx

PS This is the second time I’ve written this post due to my website being hacked! Some people need more to fill out their day.


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Better Buckle Up book video – read for you by SuzieW

Better Buckle Up book video

There were many stages in the making of Better Buckle Up book video.

  1. The making of the flash file that turned the pages of the ebook.  Pain point 6/10 – only involved slight swearing at InDesign.
  2. The recording myself reading the ebook and turning the page at the same time.  Pain point 7/10 – used Camtasia for screen capture. Hard to keep the mouse in the right place to turn pages nicely.
  3. The hating of hearing my voice on the recording. Pain point 10/10 – I thought my Northern accent had mellowed! Spent more time listening to voice artists on Fiverr. Couldn’t decide. Went back to me.  
  4. The making of the animation for the Intro and Outro of the video. Pain point 0/10 – because I didn’t do it 🙂
  5. Cutting the video together. Pain point 8/10 – involved copious amounts of swearing at Premiere Pro. Was OK once hubby decided I was unteachable and just did it for me.
  6. The adding of the music.  Pain point 9/10 – not that this stage was unpleasant but it took forever to audition possible sound files in Audioblocks library. Then a further forever to cut them together with the video.  


Hope you like it.

Suzie xx

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Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy: book review

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy: book review.

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyI picked up a Kindle copy of Annabelle the Reluctant Fart Fairy on a whim because the title made me laugh!

OK, maybe there was a little bit more to it than that.

First, I read the blurb:

A Fairy. A Dream. And a Bean Burrito.
Annabelle, like all of her fairy friends, desperately wants to be a rose fairy when she grows up.

But when things go horribly wrong at the Great Selecting ceremony, the fairy queen tells Annabelle she will have to spend the rest of her life as a . . . fart fairy!

Oh, what a logline. Brilliant!

Second, I checked out M.T Lott’s website,

What is a Forgotten Fairy?

A Forgotten Fairy — or FF for short — is a fairy who has a job that most people don’t want to talk about. Like the snot fairies, the vomit fairies, or the scab fairies.

Without the FFs, people would have a very difficult time existing, but no one seems to care about them.

Forgotten fairies? You got me.

My review

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyThis book was not what I expected. Yes, there are lots of references to bodily functions and Annabelle’s name is Buttocks (“It’s pronouced Bee-you-tocks!“) but there was a clear message: ‘even though you don’t always get what you want, things can turn out OK’. It also touches on important issues like bullying and judging others.

The age range for the book is 9 – 12 years range. Lott does a great job of making Annabelle and her friends sound very typical opinionated tweens. The cover has a modern feel and I liked the artwork scattered throughout the pages. The author does a great job of building up the fairy world ‘rules’ and sets the scene nicely for the other books in the series.

I didn’t always like Annabelle. She wasn’t particularly nice to her brother, and her attitude gets herself put in fairy prison! Is that scary for a 9 year old?

Annabelle the Reluctant Fart FairyAnd then the book takes a completely unexpected turn. There is an asteroid heading straight for Earth. Can the fairies save the planet? Will Annabelle’s idea work?

Well, you’ll have to read it to find out.

I didn’t laugh out loud at this book, and it certainly smashes any ideas of fairies as demure little winged creatures. I’m rounding it up to 4 stars on Amazon because it had some interesting ideas I’m sure kids will like.

Recommended for lovers of bean burrito’s everywhere.

If you’ve read this book, let me know what you think below.

Suzie xx

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Picture Books about the Moon
Picture Books about the Moon

Picture Books about the Moon

In honour of the 2016 Super Moon on November 14th (which I didn’t see because it was too cloudy here in Wales), here are some of picture books about the moon to share with your little star-gazers and would-be space-travelling astronauts.

I Took the Moon for a Walk

I took the Moon for a walk

“I Took the Moon for a Walk” by Carolyn Curtis is a gorgeously illustrated, gentle book which is just right for bedtime.  The moon follows a little boy as he walks round his neighbourhood and then waits outside his window until the morning. And this book contains some seriously gorgeous artwork.

Kitten’s First Full Moon

Kittens first full moon

“Kitten’s First Full Moon” by by Kevin Henkes. Kitten thinks the moon is a bowl of milk in the sky. This cute story follows her attempts to reach it.

The drawings are black and white but they are very sweet, as is the story. Kitten attempts to lick the milk/moon but she gets a bug on her tongue, falls off the porch, gets stuck up a tree and, after seeing the reflection of the moon in the pond, gets terribly wet when she jumps in. Happily, there’s a real bowl of milk waiting for her at home.

Little readers will love the silly kitten.

On the Moon

On the Moon

The books so far have all been fiction but “On the Moon” by Anna Milbourne is a fantastic book which combines artist’s drawings with real life images from NASA which shows what it’s really like on the moon. There are also actual facts that my grandson found really interesting, like it takes four whole days to fly to the moon. He also got very interested in the rocket that takes the astronauts to the moon and we’ve had to re-enact the blast off procedure several times with many of his toys lol.

If you decide to go to the Moon

if you decide to go to the moon

If you decide to go to the Moon in your own rocket ship, read this book before you start … so starts “If you decide to go to the Moon” by Faith McNulty. This book has a lot of advice and hard facts for future astronauts; what to take, how long it will take to get there and the information they’ll need to get themselves back.  There is quite a lot of text in this book but there are also great illustrations to talk about with younger space enthusiasts. It ends with the explorers returning and promising to “protect all life on our beautiful Earth.”


Hope you’ve enjoyed this round-up of picture books picture books about the moon, even if, like me, the good old British weather obliterated your view of the biggest super-moon in nearly seventy years.

Suzie xx

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Haynes Thomas the Tank Engine workshop owners’ manual

Haynes ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ Workshop Owners’ Manual by Chris Oxlade.

Haynes Thomas the Tank Engine owners' workshop manual

As firm Thomas the Tank Engine fans, I was interested to get hold of a copy of the Haynes Workshop Owners’ Manual by Chris Oxlade for my grandchildren. I thought it was another great book to share for #NonFictionNovember.

Of course, it was only me that appreciated the fact that the cover looks exactly like the Haynes manuals I’ve used when working on real cars (Yes, I’ve done my share of mechanic-ing in the past). My three year old grandson just thought it was a good book about one of his favourite characters. Mechanic-me was slightly disappointed that the inside didn’t strictly follow the Haynes take-it-apart formula but I can’t imagine how that would work for little ones anyway.

So, whilst you don’t get step-by-step instructions to rebuild your own steam engine you do get a lot of information in a child-friendly way. Such as How a Steam Engine Works.

how a steam engine works

And how to drive actually Thomas.

driving Thomas the Tank

After reading this, my grandson rushed off to check his model. Sadly it didn’t feature the handles and regulators to ‘make it work’ but he conceded it was only a toy. I promised a visit to a real steam engine to see the controls in action sometime soon.

The book’s recommended for readers 3 – 8 although I think it’s probably more suited to the younger age range.  It’s a firm favourite in our house.

Suzie xx

P.S. Forgive the generic pictures of this book. Grandson had taken it home with him!

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Five little Monkeys jumping on the Bed – #PictureBookMonth – Nov 3

picture book month“Five little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 3

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is Monkeys.

My choice of book for today is “Five Little Monkeys jumping on the Bed” by Eileen Christelow.

five little monkeys

This is a fun take on a story that we all know. It has lovely illustrations and a twist at the end that doesn’t usually feature in the words that I remember 🙂 .

Here it is in a great video from Grandma Annii

Five Little Monkeys is one of Amazon’s top selling picture books. A classic for little ones. The only problem is, you may have to read it multiple time.

Suzie x


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Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten #PictureBookMonth – Nov 2

 picture book month“Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate…

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 2

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is school.

books about starting schoolI wrote a post about books for children preparing to start school back in the summer. Hopefully, all those new students (and their parents) are well into the swing of school by now and enjoying it. So, today my book choice has the incredibly long title of “Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of Kindergarten” by Joseph Slate.

OK, so this year’s September starters haven’t been in school for 100 days yet, but this is a fun read on many levels. It won’t be long before they will be having their own 100 day celebrations.

miss Bindergarten

The story starts as Miss Bindergarten tells her students that their homework is to bring

100 of some wonderful, one-hundredful thing.

picture book month calendarIt then documents what each of the pupils (who have names for every letter of the alphabet) will bring, so one builds a fort with 100 lolly sticks, one makes a 100-link paper-chain, whilst another covers themselves with 100 stickers. At the same time, Miss Bindergarten is getting ready for the celebrations with her class. She devises all sorts of great number games for them to enjoy which reinforces the concept of 100 whilst they are having fun.

The book is told in rhyme and the illustrations have lots of detail for you and your child to talk about. As well as that, there are alphabet and number concepts too.

I think the 100 day celebration is a great idea. Hope you enjoy the book.

Suzie xx

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Something About a Bear – #PictureBookMonth – Nov 1

picture book month“Something About a Bear” by Jackie Morris…

…#PictureBookMonth – Nov 1

Happy November 🙂

November is Picture Book Month – a celebration of great picture books with a daily theme.

Today’s theme is Bears.

There are so many picture books about bears it was hard to choose just one. Inspired by children’s cuddly animals everywhere, bears in books play games, try to delay bedtime, have fun at school and just about any other thing a regular child can do.something about a bear

There’s Old Bear, and Paddington Bear, Winnie the Pooh and Sam Bear from my grandson’s favourite, “Kiss Goodnight, Sam” to name just a few. However, I decided to feature a book a picked up the other day from the library. “Something About a Bear” by Jackie Morris has become a quite a hit at our house and I can see I’ll have to buy a copy of our own.

Unlike most of the other bear stories in children’s literature which project human qualities onto animals, “Something About a Bear” focuses on eight types of real bear.

So let me tell you something, something about a bear.

There is the Black Bear, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacle Bear, Sun Bear, Panda, Moon Bear and the Brown Bear. (Yes, me and the grandchildren are now something of bear experts)

something about a bearReaders follow the bears doing normal ‘bear’ things such as hunting, caring for their cubs and swimming. The illustrations are gorgeous watercolour paintings of them in their natural habitat; the forest, jungle or icy waters.

Swimming through the water where the ice-flow meets the ocean, lives the great, white Polar bear.

picture book month calendarWe particularly like the picture of bear-sized paws to compare with your own hands on the last page. (They are as big as my grandson’s head!)

There is a fascinating story of how “Something About a Bear” was written over on Jackie’s website. It’s well worth a read.

We’ve really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as a change to cuddly, humanized bears often found in children’s books.

Suzie xx

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