Category: book review

A Natural History of Fairies

This enchanting natural history of fairies, compiled in the 1920s by the botanist Professor Elsie Arbour for her niece, is now unveiled for readers of today in A Natural History of Fairies.

About A Natural History of Fairies

Featuring a gold foil–embossed cloth cover, a ribbon marker, and sprayed gold edges, this book is full of colorful sketches and precise notes detailing the secret life of fairies and their important role in the natural world.

Inside, you will discover the wide and wonderful array of different species of fairies around the globe and explore where and how they live. Delight in this world as you learn all about:

  • The anatomy of a fairy (Land-based fairies have individual, separated toes, just as humans do. However, many species of water fairies have webbed feet.)
  • The life cycle of a fairy (When walking in the heather, be careful of the tiny flutterpillar of the Wicklow Fairy, decked out in greens and purples.)
  • Clever fairy camouflage (Reed fairies living in wetlands usually wear striped clothes to hide among the tall reeds.)
  • Fairies around the world (Meet the Lily Hopper of sub-Saharan Africa, the Queen Fairy of New Guinea, the Penguin Fairy of the Antarctic, and many more.)
  • Fairy habitats (Fairies make their homes in all types of places: woodlands, jungles, deserts, the Poles, and even human homes.)

Concluding with a reminder that we must protect the endangered habitats of fairies, and all other creatures too, this is a book to be treasured for a lifetime.

My Thoughts

I love learning about folklore and the beliefs of others when it comes to mythical creatures, like fairies. How can you not want to believe that these beautiful creatures are real? I love the authors approach to fairies – so many times in history, science has thought something has not been real but later proven to be real (platypus and the giant squid as mentioned in this book!).

First, I have to say how stunning this book is – the cover of the book is just incredible and hard to put in to words. It is gold foil-embossed and you will find yourself running your hand over each line. The beautiful fairy in the middle of the cover, is just a preview of what is to come. The illustrations are stunning and bring the fairies to life page after page in their gentle, earthy tones.

I loved learning all fairies – from their anatomy, to their life cycle, fairies of the world, their connection with animals and plants, language and so much more. It is approached in such a wonderful way that reminds us that sometimes we have to believe (and how can you not believe in such wonderful, magical creatures).

A Natural History of Fairies is a stunning, incredible gift for young readers – they will fall in love with the knowledge sharing and the stunning illustrations. It is a special gift that will be treasured for years to come.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Emily Hawkins is a writer and editor of children’s books for all ages. She wrote the New York Times bestseller Oceanology, as well as several other titles in the Ology series, which has sold over 16 million copies worldwide. She holds a first-class English degree from Nottingham University, and now lives in Winchester with her young family.

Jessica Roux is a Nashville-based illustrator and plant and animal enthusiast. She loves exploring in her own backyard and being surrounded by an abundance of nature. Using subdued colors and rhythmic shapes, she renders flora, fauna, food, and many other things with intricate detail reminiscent of old world beauty. Her first book with Frances Lincoln is A Natural History of Fairies (September 2020).

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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50 Maps of the World Book Review

Travel the world with fifty country maps that showcase the history, culture and personalities.

About 50 Maps of the World

Spanning from Spain to Singapore, Colombia to Canada, Turkey to Tanzania, discover all you need to know about some of the most amazing places in the world.

Geography, history and culture can be found in the treasure trove of travel knowledge. Each two page spread is dedicated to a different country, providing quick facts and the chance to delve deeper into what makes every nation unique. Natural wonders, bustling metropolises, storied pasts and cultural icons are presented in detail.

Our Thoughts

Do you have a budding traveler in your home? Or maybe a child who loves learning about new places, their history and cool facts? This is the book for them.

50 Maps of the World is an incredible, information packed journey around the world. When I first read maps of the world, I assumed a literal map but each two page spread dedicated to the country, features an outline of the country shape along with a smaller map showing where the country is located on a world map. The book instead focuses on special features, sites, people, animals and so much more. They also include key facts about the country and what makes the country unique, along with a timeline that contains important moments to remember specific to that country.

50 Maps of the World is a stunning book dedicated to showcasing some of the most beautiful countries in the world and their history and culture. It features many places, moments and people that you would never have known about (I never knew that Sabiha Gokcen, from Turkey, was the first woman in the world to fly as a fighter pilot at the age of 23!). We read the book a few pages at a time, sometimes jumping to countries that we wish we could be on a flight to right now. The pages are slightly busy but still easy to follow along with your child. I loved how we both learned so much from this book and were able to create our own bucket list. 50 Maps of the World will make a great gift for the little traveler or the child in your house who loves to learn and explore the world around them.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

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Elton John, Little People, Big Dreams Book Review

Discover the life of Elton John, the piano wizard who rocketed to stardom with his music.

About Elton John

As a child, Elton started playing his grandmother’s piano in Harrow, London. He could pick tunes out by ear and was attending lessons at the Royal Academy. After answering an advertisement in a newspaper, Elton teamed up with a lyric-writing buddy: Bernie Taupin. And the rest was history.

Elton’s songwriting talent, musical skill, and dazzling outfits have made him one of the all-time greats. This book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the musician’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

Our Thoughts

I love these powerful books in this series, they focus on one person and how everything starts from a dream. This book inspires our youth, brings them together with the power of music and gives youth hope for their own future.

My Dad loved Elton John and we listened to his music growing up quite frequently. I am a bit ashamed to admit, I did not know much of his history so I found this story fascinating. I had no idea that his real name was Reggie and how music was his refuge growing up when his parents would fight. I also wasn’t aware of his struggles with depression.

What I really loved was how the book didn’t shy away from how he felt – he was adored by millions of fans, had so much money, clothes but he felt alone. Sometimes this can be so hard for children to understand, that someone can appear from the outside to have everything in the world but still be so alone and feel sad on the inside. But it was a brave hero named Ryan, who gave him hope and inspired him to live his life to the fullest. And what came from this? A happy marriage and two kids!

This is a beautiful, vibrant book that is a tribute to a vibrant man. His path wasn’t easy and the book approached this in an age appropriate level but also showed how this can be overcome and provide hope. The illustrations are perfect for the tone of the book, and match his personality perfectly. This is a must have novel for your home and school library, this series is so important for youth.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, born in Barcelona, Spain, is a writer and creative director in constant search of new concepts for children’s books and the author of the multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series of picture books that explore the lives of outstanding people. Working for more than fifteen years for clients in top advertising agencies, her books combine creativity with learning, aiming to establish a new and fresh relationship between children and pop culture. ​

Sophie Beer (née Blackhall-Cain) is an award-winning illustrator/author living in Brisbane, Australia. She completed a dual degree in Law and Creative Industries with distinction at Queensland University of Technology, but found the whole law thing unutterably dull and now works primarily in children’s and editorial illustration. Reveling in color, shape, and texture, she lives by one simple rule: art should never be boring. When she’s not illustrating and writing, she thinks a lot about plants, animals, music, and books.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Aretha Franklin Book Review

In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Aretha Franklin, “The Queen of Soul.”

About Aretha Franklin

The fourth of five children, Aretha was born in Tennessee and took the stage at an early age in her father’s church choir. She went on to become the best-selling rhythm and blues singer of all time, and the first woman to be installed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the broadcaster’s life.

Little People, BIG DREAMS is a best-selling series of books and educational games that explore the lives of outstanding people, from designers and artists to scientists and activists. All of them achieved incredible things, yet each began life as a child with a dream.

This empowering series offers inspiring messages to children of all ages, in a range of formats. The board books are told in simple sentences, perfect for reading aloud to babies and toddlers. The hardcover versions present expanded stories for beginning readers. Boxed gift sets allow you to collect a selection of the books by theme. Paper dolls, learning cards, matching games, and other fun learning tools provide even more ways to make the lives of these role models accessible to children.

Our Thoughts

” Soul to me is a feeling, a lot of depth… being able to bring to the surface that which is happening inside” – Little People, Big Dreams Aretha Franklin

I love to chose books for my kids that inspire, that educate and encourage them to dream. This series of books does this and so much more. This book features the incredible Aretha Franklin. Aretha came from a musical family and had an incredible voice that touched your heart. She started singing at home, then moved to a gospel choir before securing her first record deal.

We know her music and her powerful voice (and her range of musical genres), but she also used her position to fight against racism and inequality. She stood by Martin Luther King Jr.’s side and sang in his honour “Precious Lord” when he died. She also sang at the inauguration of Barack Obama. She was also the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Incredible, right?

Aretha Franklin is an inspiring book for young children, full of facts and brilliant, engaging imagery to help tell her powerful story. This book should be part of your home (and school) library. A definite must read!

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, born in Barcelona, Spain, is a writer and creative director in constant search of new concepts for children’s books and the author of the multimillion-copy best-selling Little People, BIG DREAMS series of picture books that explore the lives of outstanding people. Working for more than fifteen years for clients in top advertising agencies, her books combine creativity with learning, aiming to establish a new and fresh relationship between children and pop culture. ​

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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12 Days of Christmas Book Review

Celebrate the magic of Christmas time with this well-loved traditional poem, The Twelve Days of Christmas, beautifully illustrated by Laura Hawthorne.

About 12 Days of Christmas

Take a walk through each beautiful scene brimming with details that will remind you of the sights, sounds and smells of Christmas. Perfect to read with your true love.

This is the second title in the series, The Christmas Choir, which beautifully illustrates beloved Christmas carols. Don’t miss Silent Night, the first title in the series.  

Our Thoughts

12 Days of Christmas is a beautifully illustrated children’s book featuring the famous song. It had us singing and laughing as we prepare for the holiday season. We have read this book several times over the last two weeks (it is my personal favourite song) and each time we have found a way to sing it slightly different and be a little sillier each time. Finding moments of laughter and light with family, especially during a time that has been clouded with COVID, is so important for us right now.

The book also contains a history of the carol, something that I was never aware of and never thought to look into. I had no idea that the carol originated in the 1700s France! There is also an activity at the end of the book that you can do with your child, where you try to find all of the items/people that are mentioned in the song. The illustrations are stunning and bring to life the joy and happiness of Christmas.

This is a beautiful, Christmas treasure that families can read over and over again. It brings light and fun into the home as we prepare for the holiday season and all that comes with it. It also sparks great conversations about Christmas traditions, favourite songs, foods and gifts over the years. We learned so much about each other. This will be a book that you can bring out yearly and enjoy together.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Lara Hawthorne is an illustrator based in Bristol, UK. After graduating from Falmouth University in 2013 where she studied illustration, she has had work shortlisted for the Lowry Children’s Book Award and has written and illustrated Herberto, a picture book published in Portugal, Brazil, Slovenia, France and South Korea. Her other books include The King of Christmas, Carol Ann Duffy’s 2016 Christmas poem, published by Picador, and The Night Flower, published by Big Picture Press. As well as focusing on narrative work, Lara also sells a variety of prints, notebooks and cards. Through Betty & Dupree, her prints are distributed to shops throughout the UK and internationally.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review, all opinions expressed are my own.

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