A squash and a squeeze – Julia Donaldson — February 15, 2018

A squash and a squeeze – Julia Donaldson

Synopsis – A little old lady is not content with the size of her house, when a wise old man decides to help her, she thinks he has a curious plan. Will his plan work, or will her house still be a squash and a squeeze?


My thoughts – I really enjoyed this book, I generally enjoy books by Julia Donaldson, I think she is a great children’s author. I also adore the illustrations by Axel Sheffler, they always suit the book perfectly.

The book has a really good flow to it when reading, because there are lots of rhymes throughout the book. It is also quite repetitive, meaning that the children can join in with the book, and anticipate what will happen next. There are a few words that the children may not be familiar with, such as curious or poky, but it would help to expand their vocabulary.

Classroom ideas – You could do some drama and recreate scenes from the book, or do a small world version of it. The children could add another page to the book, where another animal is added to the house. The children could design or create a house big enough for the old lady and all the animals. You could look at synonyms, and change words around in a paragraph using synonyms.


The lorax – Dr Seuss — February 10, 2018

The lorax – Dr Seuss

Synopsis – A tale of how one persons action can affect the whole world in a childlike manner.

My thoughts – I had seen the film prior to reading the book, and I think the film is a really good adaptation of the book. The book has beautiful illustrations which will engage young readers. They support the book really well, and will support comprehension.

There is lots of rhyming used in the book, which gives it a really nice flow when reading. The language used is also fairly simple, making it accessible for readers of all ages.

Classroom ideas – You could use the book to discuss climate change and environmental issues, which children may not pick up from the book. You could compare it to other book that Dr Seuss wrote. You could do craft activities such as making truffala trees or making one of the characters from the book. You could do some drama, where the children could act out their favourite scene from the book. You could get a class plant which the class have to look after, which could support the teaching of plants in science.

The day the crayons quit – Drew Daywalt — November 7, 2017

The day the crayons quit – Drew Daywalt


Synopsis – Duncan’s crayons aren’t happy – they just want to be used properly, or not used as much. So they send Duncan letters to try and resolve their issues.

My thoughts – I quite like this book, I really like the simplicity of the book, but the powerful message it also gives off. The language used is fairly simple making it accessible for all children. I really like that the fonts in the letters are quite child like, which would appeal to children.

Classroom ideas – You could use this book to look at letter writing, and how to structure letters properly. You could ask the children to write a reply in groups to one of the crayons as Duncan, addressing the issues raised in the letters. You could look at stereotypes, as in pinks letter the crayon complains of being a girls colour, you could look at what the children think about stereotypes, and try to dispel these ideas.

In my world – Jillian Ma — November 4, 2017

In my world – Jillian Ma


Synopsis – In my world is a short story about a little boy who has autism who’s imagination runs wild. In his world he can be and do anything, but in our world he’s labelled as autistic.

My thoughts – I really liked this book, it was really simple and may help children. I loved the illustrations, they were colourful and interesting and matched the book perfectly. I think the book could have done a little more explaining about autism in a child friendly way. Such a sweet book, that has a really important message hidden underneath – that all children want to be accepted and supported no matter what their situation is.

Classroom ideas – I think this book could be used as a starting point to help children understand what autism is. Especially if they have a peer with autism. It could lead to a great discussion with children, especially if you have someone with autism willing to share or a guest in to support the discussion.

I love a book – Joe Rhatigan — October 31, 2017

I love a book – Joe Rhatigan

* synopsis – A young boy has spent his day reading a variety of books delving into different worlds, before heading to bed, and reading more books!

My thoughts – I enjoyed reading this book, it may encourage children to read books with their parents at night and encourage a pleasure of reading. The illustrations are very bright and modern and would allow the children to delve deeper into the world created inside the book. The book flows really well as each line is short and the book rhymes.

Wonders abound when you open a book’

Classroom ideas – You could discuss your favourite books with the class and they could share their favourite books. They could create their own book/story using their favourite characters. You could look at rhymes and you could look at other books that follow a similar pattern and rhyme.

The SacconeJolys and the great cat nap – Jonathan SacconeJoly — October 21, 2017

The SacconeJolys and the great cat nap – Jonathan SacconeJoly

Synopsis – When Jonathan (dad) reads a book to Emilia about wanting a cat, the dogs overhear and group together to create a plan to make her dreams come true. Will they succeed in bringing home a cat? Or will their cat-nap be a failure?

My thoughts – I quite liked this book, the illustrations were really sweet, and were quite close to the reality. I really liked the details – such as Jonathan’s tattoos on the illustrations of him. I love the little tributes to squid in the book – I love that the entire families involved. I think this book will be enjoyed by many, including both those who are fans and who aren’t fans of the SacconeJolys on YouTube.

I’d love to see an audiobook or them read it out on YouTube with Anna doing the dogs voices. I liked how you really saw their personalities in the book. I wish Eduardo and Alessia were a little mor involved in the story, it was very much focused on the dogs with a hint of the family in there. I’d love to see another book written by Jonathan, but maybe featuring the family a little more.

The story is quite simple and easy to follow – this makes it really accessible and easy for children to follow along. The illustrations will also support this. The language used is also quite simple.

Classroom ideas – I think this is a great book for reading for pleasure, it’s defiantly not designed with the classroom in mind. The children could do a drama activity, where they recreate some of the scenes in the book in small groups, creating props to help them.

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson — September 14, 2017

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

Synopsis – A mouse goes for a stroll on the deep dark wood, but an owl, a snake and a fox stop it in its tracks. When it describes a creature, the Gruffalo, they let the mouse go. How will the mouse and the wood react when the Gruffalo appears?

My thoughts – The illustrations are bright and eye-catching, and help children to imagine what the Gruffalo looks like and to understand the story better. There are lots of rhymes in the book which helps to give the book a nice flow when reading. I really enjoy reading this book with children and they love it too. It’s a fun book to share with children and helps to promote a love of reading.

Classroom ideas- There is a lot of repetition in the book, giving pupils opportunities to join in with the storytelling. You could do activities with rhymes, such as matching the rhymes or making sentences with the rhymes in the book. The children could create a map of the story and use it to retell the story of the Gruffalo to their peers. The children could act out the book using puppets or props and costumes which will help them to understand the plot better. You could use it as a stimulus to start a topic about habitats, focusing on the woods. You could take the class to the woods to act out the book or hunt for the Gruffalo. The children could make their own puppets to act out the story in small groups.

Alien tea on planet Zum-Zee – Tony Mitton — September 9, 2017

Alien tea on planet Zum-Zee – Tony Mitton


Synopsis – The aliens have a range of fun foods to try, but who will try the gloopy blue dollops?

My thoughts – Bright, colourful illustrations accompany this fun space adventure. The different fonts and word placing s keep the book fresh and varied.

Classroom ideas – This book could be used to introduce a space unit of work, which would give opportunities to carry out space related activities, such as making rockets from recycling or looking at the space station live feed. To introduce the book you could have the invite on the board and have the children plan the party. The book uses a lot of rhymes so you could focus on rhymes and look at rhyming pairs. You could use the book alongside a food tech unit to encourage the class to try new foods like the aliens.

Laura’s star – Klaus Baumgart — September 2, 2017

Laura’s star – Klaus Baumgart


Synopsis – Laura sees a star fall and tries to take care of it. She tells the star all of her secrets. But in the morning the star has gone. Laura’s parents try to cheer her up, but only one thing will work.

My thoughts – The illustrations in the book really add something to the book and help you to understand how the characters are feeling. The page layout changes throughout the book, which may help to keep the children engaged. This book has lots of themes in the book such as secrets, friendships and loneliness, this could make the book very relatable for some children.

Classroom ideas – You could discuss the themes from the book with the children and do activities around these themes, such as a friendship web. You could discuss litter with the children and design posters to put around the school or local area. You could look at first aid and have a guest in to show the children some basic first aid.

We’re going on a bear hunt – Michael Rosen — August 31, 2017

We’re going on a bear hunt – Michael Rosen

Synopsis – A family go out in search of a bear, but encounter many obstacles along the way, how will they tackle each obstacle, and what will happen when they meet the bear?
My thoughts- This is a well known well loved children’s book that is read to children across the world. I love that the illustrations change between colour and monochrome as it keeps children’s attention as the images change. The book is very repetitive which means that children can join in with the book after it has been read to them a couple of times. The language used is simple and repetitive, some confident readers may be able to recognise some words in the book.

Classroom ideas- One idea that could link PE to this book is to set up a bear hunt, using the plot of the book, for example, there could be a tunnel for a cave.
Children could draw a map of the place the book is set which would support early Geography skills.
Children could do a sequencing activity, where they are given pictures or short sentences to order and maybe draw a picture of or write a sentence of their own to show the sequence of the book.
Children could develop their own science for the book, such as going through a maze to add to the book, this could be done in small groups or individually depending on the pupils ages and stages of development.