books for kids

Some of my favourite books this year for the under 5 crowd … my nephews will be getting a couple of these this year …

 A sick day for Amos: Sweet story and beautifully illustrated – A well loved zookeeper ambles to work everyday, when he is sick one day – all his animal friends come to visit him. The illustrations here are really so delightful, pencil sketchy with just a few colours, and some really gorgeous details – like his bunny rabbit slippers and the owl (wearing reading glasses) pouring the tea, the penguin with red and blue knitted socks and Amos’ green striped pyjamas and teddy. You’ll love this book (and so will the little ones!).

 Old  Possum’s book of practical cats: This is one of my favourite kids books of all time. Originally published in 1939, these poems by T.S.Eliot are all about cats and are perfect for all ages. This re-published version has been illustrated by Axel Scheffler who has done a great job of capturing the heart of the poetry. – and will be sure to make the kids laugh. These poems would be fabulous to read aloud to younger ones – there are some fabulous tongue twisting rhymes in store for you:

An excerpt from Gus: The theatre cat

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.

His name, as I ought to have told you before,

Is really Asparagus. That’s such a fuss

To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.

 The Dangerous journey: A tale of Moomin Valley, by Tove Johanson was originally published in Finland in 1977, but it is such a classic that it has been republished (last year I think). Oh delightful illustrations – at once dark and mysterious and magical and colourful. The story is equally magical and whimsical and a little bit scary, but with a happy ending of course!

 Press here: I reviewed this book already back here. Such a fabulous concept and still a delight to everyone who takes a look at it.

Please note: The links above are all amazon affilate links. And these books are available in Australia through Allen and Unwin.


I am very excited to bring you a week of special giveaways and reviews of books that are perfect for parents and kids wanting to get active, healthy and creative. Thank you to these special publishers who have donated books for the giveaways: Chronicle BooksKlutzShambhala Publications and Lark Crafts.

Each day over the next week I will showcasing some very cool books, activities, tutorials and products that will enhance your families creativity time, give you some new ideas and ways to get creative, explore the outdoors, learn about science and cooking – all with a family friendly twist.

All in celebration of Issue 4 of the Action Pack: a Mega-mag for kids who want do stuff – available now in our shop. You can also sign up for our newsletter, grab some freebies, and purchase past issues that never go out of date – all at our new website.

There is one copy of each of these books to give away – so four lucky readers have a chance to get one of these books. To win a copy of one of these books please leave a comment below telling us your favourite ‘quiet’ activity to do with your kids. Each day’s competition will be open for 48 hours.

Each day’s competition will be open for 48 hours. And the winner will be contacted via email.

Winners will be contacted via email.

Today’s giveaways are:

Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing. By Karen Benke. Published by Shambhala (Trumpeter July 2010).

This is a glorious book that invites upcoming readers and writers to explore creative writing in interesting and different ways – with techniques like brainstorming, secret codes, lists and dreams used as inventive and inspiring prompts, plus practical exercises that encourage the reader to write in the book (you might need one of these each for your kids if you are going to write in it) and just get to it! A very creative and inspiring way to encourage kids to explore their creative writing sides.

For those with younger kids you might want to check out The Write Start: A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories by Jennifer Hallissy and also published by Trumpeter (December 2010) (I haven’t got a copy of this one to give away sorry), but it is worth getting if you have young kids and you want to get them into writing too. Jennifer has a wonderful blog with lots of resources to help you get started.

How Things Work: In The Yard (Blue Apple Books. March 2011) By Lisa Campbell Ernst.

The inner workings of 20 things kids might encounter in their own yards (such as dirt, puddles, ants and clouds) are explained with clear and simple language and with lovely diagrams – making this book perfect for early readers (suit ages 4–8.). The beautiful paper-cut illustrations are an incredible bonus.

Big Little Felt Universe: Sew It, Stuff It, Squeeze It, Fun!. By Jeanette Lim. Published by Lark Crafts (March 2011).

This is one of my daughter’s all time favourite sewing/craft books. She loves making cute and weird things – and is not so into making practical things (that’s the mum’s job). So this book is totally right for her. Plus all the projects are made from craft felt sheets which is readily available at most craft stores and very easy to work with. All the patterns are life-size (no enlarging needed) and the projects are all hand sewn – which might seem daunting at first – but it is just basic hand stitches – but it means that the projects are accessible to those without a sewing machine. Along with cute faux apples and cakes – there are also play drills and camping equipment to make too.

Hemp Bracelets (Klutz S.). Published by Klutz.

Who doesn’t like to make bracelets – this hemp bracelet kit is perfect for older (8+ kids), and great to get non-crafty kids into making stuff. And like all Klutz kits it includes all the materials and instructions to make the projects. Great value and great fun!

Disclaimer: Amazon links are affiliate links.

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