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Tag: Books for children

Goodreads Giveaway Ends

Giveaway Ends Today!

giveaway

Today is your last chance to win an autographed copy of Better Buckle Up in the Giveaway over on Goodreads.

Entry is free and open to people all over the world. Although you do have to be a member of Goodreads, signing up is free and easy too.

Better Buckle Up is a children’s picture book that aims to make car safety fun. You can find out more here but this is what people are saying.

The colourful illustrations are delightful and add a level of humour for the parent to enjoy, while reading the story with their young family.   Callie Carling

A delight for parents and children.     Murboyd

This book does an excellent job reinforcing the importance of buckling up … in a manner that empowers the child to choose and cooperate.    L. Favreau

A very clear and positive message, in a captivating story.    P. Edwards

The winner will be chosen by Goodreads when the competition closes at midnight on 21st June.

So click on the form underneath for your chance to win.

Good luck.

Suzie xx

 

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Buckle Up by Suzie W.

Better Buckle Up

by Suzie W.

Ends June 21, 2016.

See the details
at Goodreads.

Enter Here 


Better Buckle Up cover

Books to celebrate Dad on Father’s Day

father's dayFather’s Day

As we come up to Father’s Day, I’ve been looking at some books that celebrate Dads everywhere for you, and Dad, to share with your little ones.

father's day books

First up is “Just me and My Dad” by Mercer Mayer. The book is part of the well known Little Critters series and is a lovely story about an eventful father-and-son camping trip.

Despite all the things that go wrong, the duo manage to have a great time. The book has detailed illustrations with so much to look at and talk about. A real feel-good read.

Father's Day booksOf course, daughters and dad’s can have great days together too. Check out “Nelly Gnu and Daddy Too” by Anna Dewdney, a funny book told in rhyme.  

What I particularly liked about this book is that it breaks with traditional gender stereotypes, so we see Daddy not only building a playhouse with daughter Nelly but cooking her dinner, running errands and reading her stories. What a great dad 🙂

Father's Day bookMy next choice is “When Dad Showed me the Universe” by Ulf Stark. This book has beautiful, dreamy illustrations which match the wonderous tone of the text.

This is a story all parents can relate to. Dad plans to show his son the magic of the universe with a night-time walk but his trip doesn’t go as he’s planned and despite the fact his son totally sees the beauty his father is trying to show him, Dad fails to notice. It’s not as sad as it sounds, just a really good story that can be enjoyed by parents and children alike.

father's day books“Me and my Dad” by Alison Ritchie … a role model book for father’s everywhere to aspire to.

Daddy Bear wakes Little Bear with tickles and kisses, plays with him, teaches him to swim, protects him from thunderstorms, then cuddles him under the stars for a bedtime story. Wow! What a dad.

Father's day bookFinally, I’ve included The Day I Swapped my Dad for a Goldfish, by Neil Gaiman. This is a book for older readers (probably 5 upwards) but adults are going to love the story too. Obviously the title gives away the plot but there are plenty of twists you won’t expect as the story unfolds.

I think I share the same sense of humour with Mr Gaiman because, even though it’s completely unrealistic that you should be able to swap your father, I find it very funny.

Here’s wishing all Dads a Happy Father’s day. Have lots of fun whatever you read.

Suzie x

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Buckle Up by Suzie W.

Better Buckle Up

by Suzie W.

Ends June 21, 2016.

See the details
at Goodreads.

Enter Here 

Cuddle Fairy
Progress report 1 – Things Evie Eats
Progress report 1 – Things Evie Eats

Progress report 1

Progress report 1 – Things Evie Eats

Just as I was getting used to the days of sunshine here in Wales, this was the view from my window this morning. You can’t see the rain sheeting down in this photo, but believe me, it was torrential.  So, as there was no sun to distract me, I spent the day with my trusty laptop.

For those of you who don’t know, my next book is called Things Evie Eats and it’s about a little girl with very definite ideas on what she likes to eat.

Most of the pictures for the book are finished. I am waiting on revisions for just two pages from the artist. It’s been months since I mocked up the first draft of the book, a blend of images from the web and my less-than-artistic stick figures.

Me v an artist

progress report 1

Spot the difference?

Yeah, I’ll probably keep with the writing.

I’m super pleased with the watercolour images but getting them into InDesign required some resizing which was problematic because the paper was textured and if I shrunk or enlarged the image the texture got bigger and smaller too. Worse than that, if I shrunk the image too much the texture didn’t fill the page. Either the image had to cover the whole page or I had to cut the it out. I decided on the second option, which I didn’t really know how to do, so the process involved much complaining about Photoshop.

Progress Report 1

But then I decided I actually liked the effect of the images on the textured paper better, so I had to put a blank page behind the resized images: involving more complaining about Photoshop.

As well as learning how to remove the background from images, I also figured how to make text follow a line in InDesign,  … and discovered the gutters on the house need cleaning out because they look like a waterfall.progress report

However, the majority of the book is now laid out ready for printing. Not a bad effort for a stormy Saturday afternoon.

Suzie x

P.S Don’t forget I have an autographed copy of Better Buckle Up to giveaway over on Goodreads.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Buckle Up by Suzie W.

Better Buckle Up

by Suzie W.

Ends June 21, 2016.

See the details
at Goodreads.

Enter Here 

 


Writing Bubble
Talk of the Town
My fav books – here’s what I learned

My fav books

My fav books A to Z.

Last month I did the #AtoZfavbooks challenge: 26 letters, 26 days, 26 books. It was a fun exercise but, analyzing my fav books led to some interesting discoveries.

To rhyme of not to rhyme.

I love reading books that rhyme and yet the non-rhyming books I chose out-numbered them 18/8. Maybe these results are a little skewed as I deliberately didn’t fill the challenge with Dr Seuss or Julia Donaldson books but even so, I expected more of the children’s books to rhyme. However, even the non-rhyming books often used repetition or alliteration to add interest to the text.

Here’s some brilliant rhyming from “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy” by Lynley Dodd.

Off with a yowl
a wail and a howl,
a scatter of paws
and a clatter of claws,
went Schnitzel Von Krumm
with a very low tum,
Bitzer Maloney
all skinny and bony,
Muffin McLay
like a bundle of hay,
Bottomley Potts
covered in spots,
Hercules Morse
as big as a horse
and Hairy Maclary
from Donaldson’s Dairy,
straight back home
to bed!

I haven’t experimented with rhyme in my books, so this is something I’m excited to try out soon.

Animals rule.

my fav books19 of the books featured animals or creatures such as dragons. Most of these were anthropomorphic ie the animals were given human traits. I would have expected more cars, trucks and trains, but maybe that said something about my choice rather than the actual balance of these in children’s books. After all, my grandson certainly has more than his fair share of “Bob the Builder” and “Thomas the Tank Engine” books.

Being a scientific sort of person, I had to put this theory to the test. A quick search on Amazon brought up these top 20 titles in the Baby and Toddler Education Section. (6 of these were by Julia Donaldson, so maybe I should have included more in my #AtoZfavbooks.)

Anyhow, “Dig Dig Digging” was the only motorized entry, 8 of the books featured children but 11 were indeed about animals, indicating this does seem the most popular theme for children’s picture books. Must take another look at the book I was working on about a cat 🙂

Putting on the style.

Oh, how I wish I could draw.

Mog and the BabyI loved looking at the fantastic variety in styles from the talented illustrators who have worked on these books. From Beatrix Potters beautifully realistic “Peter Rabbit”, to the modern lines of “The Little Boy who lost his Name”, and Judith Kerr’s cuddly cat, “Mog”, all the books have gorgeous colours to attract little ones to explore their pages.

“Dear Zoo” and “Where’s Spot” are lift the flap books aimed at younger readers and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has those lovely holes ‘eaten’ through its pages. “The Jolly Postman” goes further and includes separate envelopes and postcards which are a lot of fun. Unfortunately, this kind of embellishment is not available through the ‘print on demand’ technology I use so it’s not something I could consider at the moment.

Computer generated magic.

better buckle up race carMy last realization was that, as far as I can tell, Better Buckle Up is the only book on the list with computer generated imagery (CGI).Ollie with plane

In designing the book, I wanted illustrations that looked like they could have been photographs taken of models, (along the lines of the early Thomas the Tank Engine animations) but I would have expected that in this digital age there would have been more books like this.

Again, I trawled through Amazon.

my fav booksSome Postman Pat books had covers with actual photographs taken from the television programmes, although they were filmed using stop-motion animation not CGI so that didn’t really count.

my fav books

Bob the Builder and Fireman Sam were also filmed originally in stop-motion but have since moved onto CGI but I couldn’t find book covers that used this.

So, it looks like Better Buckle Up is something of a rarity and, whilst my next book, “Things Evie Eats,” will be in a completely different style with actual drawings, I will be revisiting CGI very soon.

My fav books

To conclude, it seems my fav books are predominately non-rhyming stories about animals. How about you?

Let me know your favourites in the comments.

Happy reading.

Suzie x

 


Writing Bubble

Talk of the Town
The Rabbit ate my Homework: Book Review

Book review: “The Rabbit ate my Homework” and “The Rabbit ate my Flip Flops”.

rabbit who ate my homeworkI spent the sunny afternoon reading “The Rabbit ate my Homework” and it’s sequel, “The Rabbit ate my Flip Flops,” by Rachel Elizabeth Cole.

Eleven year old Drew Montgomery is having a bad day. He breaks his new bike, after being told not to ride/do jumps on it by his father, and his little sister, Libby, knows what he’s done. So, when they find a rabbit abandoned in a box and Libby wants to take it home, she threatens to tell his parents about the bike unless he agrees. Blackmailed and miserable,  with problems at school and rather absent, work-a-holic parents Drew’s life quickly lurches from one disaster to another in a hilarious chain of events all centred around the rabbit.

The characters in the book were really well-drawn with Drew and his sister having distinct personalities and voices. Their reactions to the problems of keeping a rabbit hidden in Drew’s room were hilarious and spot-on for their different ages. The book has short chapters and rattles along at a cracking pace, just right for the target, middle-grade, age group but will also be enjoyable to adults reading it with their children. I really had to find out how all Drew’s problems would be resolved. Needless to say, things did turn out right in the end.  

It says a lot about a book when you want to read it’s sequel. So, I set into book 2 of the series, “The Rabbit ate my Flip Flops.”rabbit ate

The Montgomery household has now got used to the routine of having a pet house-rabbit but things start to go awry when their parents go out of town and Drew and Libby are taken on holiday with their grandparents. The plan is for Drew’s friend to look after the rabbit, but Libby is worried he’ll feel abandoned and sneaks him along.

This story sees Drew coping with kids with a mean dog, their grandparents over-bearing friend and a defective campervan as well as Libby finding more rabbits to rescue. It’s cleverly plotted so each disaster followed nicely from the one before and events don’t feel forced.

I particularly liked the way the relationships between Drew and his friends, both male and female, were drawn and also the realistic way the rabbit pooped and chewed it’s way through everything it shouldn’t, making a refreshing change from the usual fluffy way rabbits are presented in children’s fiction. Anyone considering getting a rabbit for a pet should definitely read these books.

There are more books due in The Rabbit Ate series and they are well worth looking out for,

Happy Reading.

Suzie x 

PS There’s a giveaway over on Goodreads for an autographed copy of Better Buckle Up.  Check it out.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Buckle Up by Suzie W.

Better Buckle Up

by Suzie W.

Ends June 21, 2016.

See the details
at Goodreads.

Enter Here 

Read With Me
Zog – #AtoZfavbooks challenge Day 26

ZogZog by Julia Donaldson…

… Day 26 May #AtoZfavbooks challenge.

It’s the last day of the #AtoZfavbooks challenge and the book for Day 26 is Zog, by Julia Donaldson.

Let’s face it, you could fill your shelves with books by Julia Donaldson and get a winner every time but let’s focus on Zog.

Zog is a young dragon at Dragon school who is learning how to breathe fire, roar and capture princesses. He’s very keen, but not always very successful. However, when Princess Pearl volunteers to go back to school with him, he finally gets the gold star he was trying for. But in a clever plot twist, this is not the end of the story. A knight comes to rescue Princess Pearl, who has been having a great time looking after the young dragons and she doesn’t want to go.

How will the story work out? Julia Donaldson’s brilliant imagination comes up with a happy ending for everyone … even the knight’s horse.

Told in rhyme and featuring fantastic illustrations with lively colour and lots of detail, this book is bound to be a winner with you and your little ones.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my choices for the #AtoZfavbooks challenge. Look out for my round-up of the books and the things I learned along the way coming soon.

Happy reading.

Suzie x

P.S. Read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to share your favourite book title starting with the letter Z in the comments below or post them on facebook or twitter with the hashtag #AtoZfavbooks so I can find them.

You Can’t take an Elephant on a Bus – #AtoZfavbooks challenge – Day 25

You Can't take an elephant on a busYou can’t take an Elephant on a Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck …

… Day 25 May #AtoZfavbooks challenge.

You can’t take an Elephant on a Bus. Well, of course you can’t. This book, chosen for the pen-ultimate of the #AtoZfavbooks challenge, explains why.

It then goes on to look at other modes of transport for different animals. We see centipedes on roller skates, pigs on skateboards and monkeys in shopping trolleys; all with appropriate, hilarious explanations of why this would not be a good idea.

I don’t know why, but I haven’t chosen many books written in rhyme. Children love the rhythm of the verse in this book and there is plenty to talk about in the funny illustrations. After several readings of this book, we started making up silly scenario’s of our own which was really fun and a great way to spark your child’s imagination.

Suzie x

P.S. Read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to share your favourite book title starting with the letter Y in the comments below or post them on facebook or twitter with the hashtag #AtoZfavbooks so I can find them.

 

Giveaway on Goodreads: Better Buckle Up

giveawayGiveaway on Goodreads: Better Buckle Up

Starting today, there’s a chance for you to win a shiny, new, paperback copy of Better Buckle Up in the giveaway over on Goodreads autographed especially for you or your child.

Entry is easy.

Click on the link below.

(You do have to be a member of Goodreads, but it’s free and there are lots of other interesting books for you to try for as well)

Better Buckle Up aims to make car safety fun. You can find out more here but this is what people are saying.

The colourful illustrations are delightful and add a level of humour for the parent to enjoy, while reading the story with their young family.   Callie Carling

A delight for parents and children.     Murboyd

This book does an excellent job reinforcing the importance of buckling up … in a manner that empowers the child to choose and cooperate.    L. Favreau

A very clear and positive message, in a captivating story.    P. Edwards

The winner will be decided by the Goodreads team on 21st of June.

So, don’t delay. You have to be in to win.

Good luck.

Suzie x 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Better Buckle Up by Suzie W.

Better Buckle Up

by Suzie W.

Ends June 21, 2016.

See the details
at Goodreads.

Enter Here 


Better Buckle Up cover

Xavier Ox’s Xylophone Experiment – #AtoZfavbooks challenge – Day 24

Xavier Ox's Xylophone ExperimentXavier Ox’s Xylophone Experiment by Barbara deRubertis …

… Day 24 May #AtoZfavbooks challenge

OK, I admit it. I had no idea what book to choose for Day 24 of the #AtoZfavbooks challenge. We didn’t have one that started with X at home and I couldn’t find one on my visit to the library. Thank goodness for Google. And enter Xavier Ox’s Xylophone Experiment by Barbara deRubertis.

The book is part of the Animal Antics A to Z series published by Kane Press. (Hey, if I’d known that at the beginning of the challenge, I could have used all their titles and had an easy time 😉 ) Anyway, it has beautiful illustrations that I fell in love with immediately and is a fun story about Xavier, an ox who loves music. When his enthusiastic drumming at school ends in the boxes he’s using as a drum kit exploding into pieces, and the xylophone he would like is too expensive for him to buy, his school friends experiment to build him a xylophone he won’t be able to break.

Does the xylophone experiment succeed? You’ll have to read it and find out.

As well as being a good read, this book has the added advantage of giving early readers practice in the letter X which can be quite hard to find. With titles like Kylie Kangaroo’s Karate Kickers  and Tessa Tiger’s Temper Tantrum other books in the series promise to be just as good.

So, here’s my new favourite book for X. Bet you can’t say the title ten times fast without getting your tongue in a twist.

Suzie x

P.S. Read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to share your favourite book title starting with the letter X in the comments below or post them on facebook or twitter with the hashtag #AtoZfavbooks so I can find them.

Where’s Spot? – #AtoZfavbooks challenge – Day 23

Where's SpotWhere’s Spot? by Eric Hill …

… Day 23 May #AtoZfavbooks challenge.

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill was a firm favourite when my children were small. We even had a cuddly Spot dog. And I’m happy to report it’s still as popular with my grand-children too. Hence it has a well-earned place on day 23 of the May #AtoZfavbooks challenge.

The story is simple. It’s dinner time but Spot’s mummy can’t find him. Follow her as she searches the house, finding a crocodile under the bed, a hippo in the piano and a bear with a honey pot behind the door (don’t we all!)

Where’s Spot? is book to delight generations of children to come.  Here’s the animated version for your delight.

I must look into finding a cuddly Spot for the grand-babies 🙂

Suzie x

P.S. Read this book? Let me know in the comments below.

P.P.S. Don’t forget to share your favourite book title starting with the letter W in the comments below or post them on facebook or twitter with the hashtag #AtoZfavbooks so I can find them.