Welcome to more of my children’s book reviews. As ever, I hope you will enjoy my varied choice of books and the reviews of them. Please don’t forget to scroll down the page and read them all!
Children’s Book of the Week: Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Available on Amazon in Hardcover $9.71 – Paperback $9.22 – Board Book $6.90
There is very little not to like about this book. Though some critics seem to have found it lacking (very few, I might add), I think it deserves a place amongst the very best of children’s books. It has a great message and an unusual combination of father and son as the two characters involved. Above all, it illustrates the scale of how great a parent’s love for a child can be.
When I first saw the cover of this book, I automatically, and wrongly, surmised the two hares were mother and daughter. But having now read it, I see both are male, by which I am going to assume, though not once is it stated, that they are father and son; which must make this book fairly unique! Whatever their relationship, this is a tale concerning two hares who clearly adore each other. Big and Little Nutbrown Hare both try and outdo each other with statements of how much love they feel for one another. Little Nutbrown Hare is the first with the challenge: “Guess how much I love you”, holding tightly on to his doting father’s ears. Having carefully listened to just how much, Big Nutbrown Hare tops it with another declaration of how much he loves him back. In fact, whenever Little Nutbrown Hare does tell Big Nutbrown Hare how much he does love him, Big Nutbrown Hare always manages to go one better. Until that is, just before going to sleep, Little Nutbrown Hare gets in the finest avowal yet, which Big Nutbrown Hare struggles to best. But, as Little Nutbrown Hare closes his eyes, Big Nutbrown Hare comes up with the best of all, which he whispers to his sleeping son.
This could all sound rather sentimental and treacly, which some may find it, but it is also incredibly endearing, and so many parents will be able to identify with this when saying these words to their own child or children.
This beautiful bedtime story shows very small children how to express themselves in the best possible way, and parents how to respond – though I doubt many parents will need much tuition with this one. The words are so natural and familiar to us all.
This is an absolute gem of a book. The illustrations are perfect and the dialogue a delight. I highly recommend it. That is, if you don’t already own a copy! (5 stars)
(Guess How Much I Love You would be best suited to an early a start as possible to parenthood)
Other Books I Have Reviewed
The Open Pillow by David Rowinski
Available on Amazon as an eBook $2.95 and in Paperback $9.89
The pillow in the title begins life as a very small pillow with an inherent awareness of its own opportunities. The pillow also has big dreams, and steadfastly fulfils them, thus realising its own potential. Lying in a flower bed, various creatures visit pillow, each larger than the one before. Forever embracing the challenge, unfolding and doubling in size, pillow attempts to accommodate them all. He continues to grow until eventually he is fit for the purpose he was meant for; his place in life being found.
When first asked to review this book, I was not quite sure what to expect. What I found upon reading was the most delightful and beautifully written book, akin to a modern fairy tale. It conveys a terrific message about persevering until you reach your goal. I have never read anything quite like this before, at least not in modern literature – in fact, David Rowinski seems to have created a story that is really quite unique. And, to add to the joy, there are the fabulous, near magical illustrations by artist Dea Lenihan, which bring the book to life.
I highly recommend The Open Pillow. I have no doubt it will one day become a children’s classic, or at least I hope it will. (5 stars)
(The Open Pillow would be best suited to 2 years and upwards)
Daisy Cooper and the Sisters of the Black Night by Robert Dee
Available on Amazon as an eBook $3.04 and in Paperback $10.99
Daisy, unhappy at her ordinary, run-of-the-mill junior school, and far from looking forward to the transition to the next stage of education, wins a place at an unconventional boarding school, Darlington School for Girls. Here all sorts of bizarre opportunities present themselves and education moves to a whole new level. Pupils are taught maths using poker games, rockets are fired in science and biology involves real live animals from the school’s zoo.
Having managed to get lost in the school’s maze, Daisy discovers a secret society known as the Sisters of the Black Night. All activities of the Sister’s take place under cover of darkness, presumably hence the name, and Daisy becomes highly suspicious of their activities. But she must make a few decisions first before choosing her way forward. Should she follow her dream of becoming an International reporter with the school magazine or should she expose the dark secret of the Sisters of the Black Night.
Daisy Cooper and the Sisters of the Black Night is a wonderfully old-fashioned girl’s adventure story of the sort not often found at the moment. And, not a single vampire or werewolf in sight!
Robert Dee clearly has a great imagination, and has put it all down here moving flawlessly from one escapade to the next. With a tight, highly entertaining and engaging plot, one very likeable heroine and some solid female supporting characters, this story is well worth reading. And, you certainly won’t be bored with it.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to all who enjoy fun-filled fantasy and adventure. (5 stars)
(Daisy Cooper and the Sisters of the Black Night would be best suited to 10 years and upwards)
Brownie Runs Away by Nana B
Available on Amazon as an eBook $1.17
This is a sweet little book about a bear cub, a very spoilt one, who disobeys his mother and finds out the hard way what a great error of judgement that was.
Winter comes and the bear family ready themselves for hibernation, but the little bear, Brownie, wants none of it. He has no intention of being cooped up in a cave all winter when he could be outside playing. So Brownie runs away. And slowly, as the snow starts to fall and he becomes cold and hungry, it begins to dawn upon him he has made a big mistake. He finds shelter in a log for the first night away from home, but is then seen off by a small creature he thinks is a cat. Then he meets a huge, fearsome beast, but the result is far better.
This is a well-written and very appealing story which teaches children the wisdom of listening to their parents and doing as they are told, employing the familiar adage – “Parents Know Best”. It is also quite touching when, not to give too much away, Brownie forms a lasting friendship with another bear for the winter months. Children can also learn a little about hibernation in the book, which is quite valuable.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. It is a great little read aloud book, though I was not so smitten with the illustrations. They were a tad too simplistic for me, but they were very cute. I will certainly be checking out more of Nana B’s books. (4 stars)
(Brownie Runs Away would be best suited to 3 years plus)
All my reviews can be found on Amazon and, where possible, Goodreads.
Please note: Authors frequently offer their books at lower prices and often they are free. These prices were correct at the time of publishing, but it is worth checking for price changes.