An interesting selection of activity books and books from which to learn. A stand-out title is Malala/Iqbal with its sensitive story of two children and their demonstration of outstanding heroism.

Paper Folding With Children: Fun and Easy Origami Projects

Written by: Alice Hornecke
Illustrated by: Ursula Schwab
Published by: Floris Books
ISBN: 9781782501749
Reviewed by: Louise Ellis-Barrett

If, like me, origami is a mystery to you, then you will love this book. It makes this creative craft easy to learn and provides a wide variety of projects for fingers of all sizes.

With 26 different projects, each one with tips and hints, but more importantly straightforward instructions and lots of pictures for guidance, this book is perfect for the beginner or the more advanced origamist alike.

Having a party? Try the instructions for party hats. Want to create a menagerie look no further than the foxes, ducks, chicks and ladybugs. Need a party game? Try the ball and cup game or what about some simple paper aeroplanes?

The wonderful thing about origami is that is a cheap hobby, needing only paper, string glue and scissors for the most part. Imagination comes into it a little, patience may be required for some of the more involved projects, but most importantly these projects will provide hours of entertainment for one or many hands, and it is a book that would be as happy at home with children, siblings and friends as it would in school for wet lunchtimes, special occasions, art projects and crafty clubs.

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Malala A Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal A Brave Boy from Pakistan

Written & Illustrated by: Jeanette Winter
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 9781471143717
Reviewed by: Simon Barrett

Iqbal Masih and Malala Yousafzai are two heroic children who have stood up for the rights to freedom and education in Pakistan.  Iqbal fought to free children sold into slavery, shackled to looms and weaving carpets in poor conditions, until their parents paid back the money they had borrowed. Malala spoke out against the Taliban insisting upon her basic right to an education.  Both children were shot. Tragically Iqbal aged just 12, died. Malala miraculously survived and continues to campaign for the rights of children.

The book is two separate illustrated stories in one volume. Each page consists of an illustration and a short amount of text, suitable for readers in Years 1-2.  It is the illustrations that make the two stories cohesive, using a similar decorated border and palette. Whilst Malala is perhaps the most recognizable name, the format of the book is an ideal way of remembering the equally courageously short life of Iqbal.

The centre spread evocates for me the essential unity of these two stories. The author and illustrator, Jeanette Winter, shows Iqbal and Malala flying kites together, despite living at different times and never having met. Although poetic, it presents children enjoying their childhood, safe and protected from those that threaten them.

The book is an excellent non-fiction account of these two children that will help children to think about the rights they so often enjoy and take for granted.


Peep Inside the Garden

Written by: 
Anna Milbourne
Illustrated by: Simona Dimitri
Designed by: Nicola Butler
Published by: Usborne Children's Books
ISBN: 9781409572138
Reviewed by: Margaret Pemberton

This is a foundation stage book which introduces young children to the magic and wonders to be found in the garden. It looks at flowers, insects, animals, pond life and birds.  

To those who work with books, it is very obviously an Usborne book, with bright colours and clear and simple illustrations.  

It is a small format board book, full of flaps and holes through the pages, so that there is a real sense of exploration for the young reader. 

There are only 14 pages but the author makes the most of what she has. The technical achievement of making all the flaps and cut-outs work on both sides of the page is quite inspiring and the more you look at the book, the more you take in and appreciate.

This book has dual use, both as a reading book and as a beginners information book for the Nursery class. The lift the flap and perfectly placed holes provide talking points with the child and perhaps because of this, the book would work best on a one-to-one basis.  This is part of a series by Usborne on a wide range of topics and will no doubt prove a favourite with parents, libraries and Nurseries.

How to be a Girl

Written by: Anita Naik
Published by: Wayland
ISBN: 9780750282505
Reviewed by: Louise Ellis-Barrett

Ever wondered how to cope with being a teenage girl?  Help is at hand from the teenage agony aunt Anita Naik. With over 20 years of experience behind her, Anita has seen the pressures on girls change and her advice has been invaluable to many. What does not change is the pressure that many feel they are under and the help therefore that they need. In learning how to be a girl there are many questions to answer and they have been helpfully gathered together in this slim and accessible volume.

Why turn to a book for help rather than friends or family? Well this particular book shows that there is no single way and no right answer. Girls can turn to it without fear of being judged, knowing that it will not ask questions of them but rather try and answer the questions that they have.

With definitions, case studies and examples as well as typical questions answered the sections in this book cover body issues, relationships, self-confidence and having a voice. Reading this book, or dipping into it for help, will leave girls feeling more confident, knowing that they are not alone and understanding their thoughts and feelings.

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A Variety of Colouring Fun

Published by: Buster Books
Reviewed by: Louise Ellis-Barrett

Do you love colouring? Silly question I’m sure, after all I still love colouring, and my young reader who gets to test out lots of the books I get sent loves colouring too so I am sure that if you are reading this you want to know more about colouring. Thankfully the wonderful Buster Books has a great selection of titles coming out all about colouring. What most grown-ups don’t realize is that by colouring you, their children are learning too.  What are you learning about?  Well art for a start, but then there are the subjects that you are colouring too.

So without further ado let me introduce you to the latest selection.  Let’s start with The Pirate Colouring Book that, in the tradition of all great pirate adventures, is packed with maps, shipwrecks and hidden treasure, so your spotting as well as colouring skills are required for this one! If you’ve enjoyed the challenges here then The Puzzle Activity Book could be your next title of choice with its mazes, spot the difference puzzles, dot-to-dot and more besides, I was quite challenged by some of it and we had a great time with this book.

The Amazing Creative Colouring Book challenges your skills of interpretation and of course creativity with its complex and eye boggling designs to colour and decipher, this title could turn some of you readers into artists!

The Dinosaur Colouring Book does just what it says, but helps you learn about all the different, and there are many, dinosaurs that once roamed the earth!  We all know how difficult it can be to learn their many names too so it is really helpful that this book includes phonetic pronunciation to help you along the way.

For history lovers, Fashion Through Time Colouring Book takes you through a history of clothes and fashion from the ancient worlds of the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, through fashions of the Middle Ages and Victorians to the roaring 20s and swinging 60s.  Packed with detail, this title is a must for any budding fashion designers.

Finally, one book with a difference, The Tracing Paper Colouring Book allows its readers, or should I call you users, to colour in and then use the tracing paper to create your own stunning designs, there are preprinted pages to trace and blanks for your own designs.

A stunning collection for learning and creativity.



Written & Illustrated by: Adrienne Barman
Published by: Wide Eyed Editions
ISBN: 9781847806345 
Reviewed by: Bridget Carrington


It’s really difficult to categorise this book, both by genre and by age appropriateness.  

Creaturepedia is a large A4 hardback, 208 pages plus index, which makes it difficult for small hands except on a table or the floor. It is primarily a picture book, and apart from the names of the animals portrayed, the minimal amount of individual information is inconspicuously printed around the shape of the creature, in a small, spindly typeface. 

The creatures featured are grouped by a variety of features they may share: colour, size, habit, environment, behaviour, and even popularity with homo sapiens. The illustrations are not scientifically accurate, nor is there anything more than a rough attempt to indicate size relationship between the different creatures on each page – on pages where animals are grouped by size we can see that an ant is smaller than an elephant, but if pattern of coat or fierceness is the collective grouping, we are shown animals of very different sizes in images which do not accurately reflect the difference. The colour palate is restricted, reminding old(er) readers of some of the first mass-market colour illustrated picture books in the 1970s in which red-orange-brown, yellow, mossy green and pale blue predominated.

Having so said, this is an entertaining book, and the idiosyncratic illustration style (both eyes often appear, Picassoesque, when the creature is largely in profile) is engaging. The categorisation of the creatures is often humorously titled – the big mouths, the show-offs, the prickly ones – which results in a medley of creatures from far and near appearing on the same page. The addition of a contents list and index is to be welcomed, though with so little specific detail either in illustration or text an index is unlikely to be much used.

Feast or Famine? Food and Children’s Literature, papers from the 2013 IBBY UK/NCRCL Conference, edited by Bridget Carrington and Jennifer Harding, is published by Cambridge Scholars Press.