I am a Primary School Teacher with 12 years experience as well as a mam to two boys aged 4 and 1. I am constantly on the lookout for exciting, inspirational books to engage and motivate my children and to capture the imagination of children in my class. My experience of working in a library and studying English Liteature as a degree both demonstrate my love of books. In this blog I hope to review 'books for boys' that I feel will help parents and primary school staff to pick stimulating stories to share with boys and girls too!
Percy the Park Keeper 1,2,3 Nick Butterworth Harper Collins Children’s Books Age 3- 5 years
Brush up on your counting skills this holiday with this Percy the Park Keeper book. My four year old loves counting with his favourite animal characters from these stories. We had lots of fun seeing how many balloons, mice, cupcakes and apples we could see.
Follow me Flo Jarvis Walker Children’s Books Age 3+
‘We’re off to somewhere new. So stick to me like glue. FOLLOW ME, FLO! Come on, let’s go! We’re sure to be there soon.’
A gorgeous sunny read about a mischievous little chick called Flo who loses her daddy when out waddling one day. Join in with her special song that leads her to safety!
Flo hides at bedtime, eats naughty treats and chases frogs through muddy puddles shes a handful! So on a visit to see Auntie Jenna’s new nest Daddy Duck teaches her a song just in case she doesn’t keep up! And guess what? She doesn’t keep up and Roxy Fox is on the prowl- will she catch up with her Daddy in time!
The Forgettery Rachel Ip Laura Hughes Farshore Books Age 3+
It’s our stop on the blog tour for this beautiful story and it’s very difficult to put into words how wonderful this book really is! It is one of the most moving and powerful picture books I’ve ever read and I just wanted to fall into the pages with Granny and Amelia.
As we begin the story we notice that Granny’s wall is covered in post it notes with things she must remember scrawled on. From watering the plants to buying milk these little notes help Granny to manage day to day tasks as she often forgets things. But perhaps the most important note of all is ‘Amelia visiting on Saturday’
Amelia is her grandaughter and the two have a very special relationship. While Granny forgets things due to old age Amelia forgets things when she is busy daydreaming!
One day while out playing, Granny and Amelia lose track of time and stumble upon The Forgettery. Here we see a gorgeous and magical illustration of a giant tree with a wide trunk covered in tiny windows. The Forgettery is a special place where all of the things that have ever been forgotten can be found. Inside they meet a quirky man on rollerskates who explains that he is a Memory Keeper. Memory Keepers care for forgotten memories and can help you find anything forgotten. Granny and Amelia jump in a hot air balloon with the memory keeper and fly off on a journey to find Granny’s memories.
Granny’s Forgettery is huge and is packed full of everything from her life. Floating around are her memories from childhood and adulthood. We can see her as a child, with her family, as a mother, working and at school. Every stage of her life is stored here. There are drawers full of objects from her past and her senses are overwhelmed. The illustration I found incredibly moving was the one of Granny wearing a dress from her childhood. It’s too easy for outsiders to forget the life before and only see the old person. This is a stark reminder that inside is the little girl who loved to play
As the day comes to a close a bird delivers some mail. Granny recieves a map showing the way home while Amelia opens a very special letter.
Its a ‘Memory Making’ guide with instructions on making memories. ‘Play outside, take a photo, make a den,’ are just some of the recommendations!
So Amelia and Granny set about making a memory book full of photographs with names on and each time they do something fun they add to it. Now they have their very own Forgettery that they can read together whenever they like.
There won’t be a dry eye when you come fo the closing page of this delightful book. Granny wants Amelia to remember one thing; that she loves her and Amelia assures her she will never forget to love her in return.
I became lost in the pages of this magical, heart warming picture book and it has stayed with me. It was incredibly moving looking at Granny’s Forgettery and this book so tenderly deals with memory loss in a way that children can access without fear. If there is one picture book you read this year, make it this one.
Hom Jeanne Willis Illustrated by Paddy Donnelly Andersen Press Age 3+
Famous for her many picture books including Tadpole’s Promise, Stardust and Slug needs a Hug, Jeanne Willis has teamed up with exciting new talent Paddy Donnelly to create Hom. Hom follows one boys journey and the start of a wonderful friendship, which crosses cultural and language barriers.
At the start the reader is made to feel very special as the young boy tells you ‘No one knows he exists. Only me. And you- because I trust you.’ The little boy informs us that the ship he was on with his family has crashed. He swims to a desert island and meets Hom the last one of his kind.
A friendship blossoms and we see beautiful illustrations of the two comparing haircuts, and holding hands. Through cave drawings they communicate with each other about their families whom they both miss dearly. The boy doesn’t know if his family have survived so he sends them a message in a bottle. But where are Hom’s family? Hom takes the young boy under his wing making sure he survives on the island. In turn the boys teaches Hom to make fire, shares his toy car and together they build a go kart!
An unbreakable bond is formed and the two realise that although there are differences between them there is much more about them that is the same.
Eventually a rescue ship comes looking for survivors but the boy decides to stay with Hom to protect him. Our favourite part of the book is when the young boy tells the reader to keep his whereabouts secret until he comes home.
This amazing story gave us so much to discuss. Should the boy have went home? Where is Hom from? Where is his family? Does the boy ever see his family again? We loved this story, not just for the magnificent illustrations, but because it teaches us about acceptance, kindness and the importance of celebrating diversity. With illustrations that make you want to just step into the pages, lush green trees and bright green seas invite you into this exciting picture book.
The Muddlemoor Mysteries: Peril at the Bakeoff Written by Ruth Quale Illustrated by Marta Kissi Anderson Press Age 7+
Who doesn’t love a good mystery to solve? And who doesn’t love a bake off? Mix the two together and you have the recipe for a perfect story!
Joe Robinson is staying with his cousins Pip and Tom at their Grandma’s house, where their imaginations are about to run wild. Soon it is the Great Village Bake Off competition so Granny digs out an old recipe from the attic and starts to make Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake for her entry.
Pip, Tom and Joe decide to stay with Granny to help guard the recipe as they believe someone in Muddlemoor is bound to steal it! They even help her to bake the first layer of cake. Granny tells the children to ‘let off some steam’ in the back garden so off they go to play. Not only can they play in Granny’s garden but they have free reign of the gardens next door. Hiding amongst the weeping willow tree branches they over hear Anthea, Granny’s neighbour and friend discussing the bake off. They immediately put two and two together and make five. Imaginations run wild as the children find themselves suspecting Anthea as a thief, solving an elaborate crime involving a spying robot cat and poisoned coke. They are convinced that Anthea is wicked and out to steal from their Granny.
I particularly loved the attention to all of the things that make childhood fun. In their secret hideout the children have stink bombs, fart powder and a tin full of sweets. A childhood not always suffocated by screen time. It is humorous and made us laugh.
I think this new series is lovely and really captures the fun of being a child. The children are so convinced they are solving a crime that they collect evidence and eventually ring the police!
With really lovely illustrations of the characters and a fantastic map at the front of a book this is a charming new series ideal for independent readers who love adventure, detective work and also having good chuckle. Can’t wait to read the next one!
Enola Holmes: The Case of the Missing Marquess Nancy Springer Hot Key Books
I thoroughly enjoyed the Netflix film of this movie tie in book about Sherlock Holmes younger sister. Enola is feisty, fierce and fearless and when her mother disappears she sets off to London to find her! With her two older brothers hot on her tail and dangerous villains aplenty she must use the avails let clues to work out where her mother is. A fantastic story with a strong female driving the story!
Dreams for our Daughters Ruth Doyle Ashling Lindsay Andersen Press Age 3+
On international women’s day this beautiful hardback book celebrates women and all they are capable of. Perfect to share with little ones teaching them to dream big and have the self belief to be whoever you want to be. An empowering read with gorgeous illustrations.
Luna Loves Art and Luna Loves World Book Day Joseph Coelho Fiona Lumbers Andersen Press Age 3+
Some families look like that, some do not. Some families are related, some are not. Some families are together, some are apart
Still got World Book Day vouchers to spend then why not get this gorgeous little book and celebrate with Luna. Luna has a checklist of jobs to do for World Book Day including picking a costume!
This time Luna visits the art gallery with her class and in her class is a little boy called Finn. Looking at the famous artists Van Gogh, Henri Rousseau and Andy Warhol is a magical day for the class as they take in the sizes, shapes and colours of all the famous masterpieces! But Finn is glum and a bit angry. His family doesn’t look like the Henry Moore ‘Family Group’ statue but Luna’s mum explains that families come in all shapes and sizes. We love the illustration in the sensory room that shimmers and catches the light and it is here that Luna takes a picture of her school family!
A beautiful vibrant book about family, friendship and art.
Fantastic non fiction books that have really grabbed my sons attention. Anne Frank, Stephen Hawking, Cleopatra and Martin Luther King are all explored in their own compact hardback series.
Anne Frank has particularly sparked interest in my seven year old and he has been fascinated to read all about her famous diary and learn about the War. Each book starts with a timeline of the subject’s life, incorporating major events in history with their own births, deaths and achievements.
Full of facts and easy to view information the graphic format of these books is very appealing to children. It doesn’t make reading intimidating or arduous and as with all non fiction they can dive in and out of each book without having to follow a plot.
Rabunzel Gareth P Jones Loretta Schauer Egmont Picture Books Age 3+
Will she live hoppily ever after? This book is so much fun and perfect for spring which is just within reach!
A silly, colourful twist on the traditional fairytale or Rapunzel this created much delight at storytime!
Set in Furry Tale Hill lives Rabunzel who has very long ears. Rabunzel’s mother worries about her so she decides to put her somewhere safe away from the scary creatures who live in the deep dark wood.
Rabunzel, Rabunzel, let down your ears! Shouts her mum whenever she wants to bring her food or water. Rabunzel hates being locked away but her mum just won’t let her down. Flash Harry the hare saves the day when he falls in love with Rabunzel and helps her down. But Rabunzel does not need love or her mum to keep her safe. She uses her ears to defend herself from the creepy creatures!
This made us laugh especially when its says she ‘lobbed down her lobes.’ Great fun