Why I love reading (and hope my children will too)

Malory Towers books - favourite books I loved to read as a child

I can clearly remember the first reading book I was given at school – it said ‘Look’ on every page and I was outraged that I had been given something so easy to read. I don’t know if it was because I had an older brother, or because my mum loved to read (and still does) but she taught me to read before I started school. Read more

World Book Day with Milly & Flynn

We’ve reviewed some books and toys from the lovely Milly & Flynn before so when they got in touch again and asked if we would like to join in their 10 minutes book club (#10minsbookclub) for World Book Day I was very happy to agree. (And I know World Book Day was two weeks ago now but bear with me!)

We read to Toby every bedtime (the number of stories he gets sometimes depends on how late it is and how well behaved he’s been though!) and in the last month or so Gabe has really started enjoying books too. He’s not so much one for sitting and listening to a story but we have plenty of books that he likes to look at. He’s started bringing books over to us when he wants us to read to him, or sometimes he’ll even just sit and look at them himself.

The boys weren’t at nursery for World Book Day so we didn’t do any dressing up – I’m sure I won’t get off so easily next year when Toby is a school though! Read more

Parragon: Cute as a Button range

We were recently sent two books from Parragon’s ‘Cute as a Button’ range in our role as Book Buddies. The Cute as a Button range includes keepsake books and a nursery rhyme treasury designed by French artist Annabelle Ozanne. You can find out more about the artist on the Parragon blog here.

Cute as a button

All the books in the range feature beautiful ‘textile illustration’ and have thick textured hard back covers which make them really lovely books to keep right through your little ones’ childhood and beyond.

We were sent one of the keepsake books in the range: From Mum with Love (RRP £7.99). This is a really lovely idea for a book (there is also a ‘From Grandma with Love’ book) which is different from anything I’ve seen before. Instead of your typical baby record book (although there is one of those in the range too) this is a book for a mum to record all kinds of information about herself so that it can be passed on to her children.

From Mum

It starts off with sections to complete all about your family and childhood, before moving on to a section about growing up, and then finally a bit about meeting your child’s dad and having your child.

From mum with love

This would be a lovely book to complete and then pass on to your child (or children) when they are a bit older. I know I love hearing stories about my parents’ childhoods and this book is a really unusual way of recording all those memories to pass them on.

We also received ‘A Collection of Nursery Rhymes’ (RRP £7.99). This is another beautiful book which has over a hundred nursery rhymes!

A Collection of Nursery Rhymes

There are all the classics that I remember from my childhood but lots of others that are new to me too. This isn’t the kind of book that I would let Toby loose with at the moment but it’s definitely one we can enjoy looking at together and I’m sure he’ll love looking at all the nursery rhymes when he gets a bit older.

Nursery rhymes

This book is the kind that could really become a bit of a family heirloom too – I’d love to think of Toby or Gabe keeping this book and reading the rhymes to their kids one day.
**Disclosure: I was sent the featured books in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

Parragon: Jack and the Beanstalk

Our latest Parragon Book Buddy book is the Jack and the Beanstalk Slide and See book. As you would imagine this is the classic fairytale we all know, and as always with Parragon books the illustrations are lovely. To make this book more interesting, and to give little hands something to do there are slide out panels on each page where the story continues.

Jack and the Beanstalk

Toby still isn’t always that interested in listening to a story but he likes looking at the pictures and we talk about what we can see. He loves the slide out panels too, although we have to watch him as he has a tendency to be a bit vigorous in his pulling and tries to pull them all the way out of the book!

Slide and see

Slide and See: Jack and the Beanstalk is available to buy at The Works and is another great addition to our ever growing library and I’m sure Toby will enjoy reading it for a good few years yet.

**Disclosure: We were sent this book as a part of our role as Parragon Book Buddies. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Parragon: Peek-a-boo Moon

Our latest Book Buddy book is another from the Little Learners series. Peek-a-boo Moon is a board book with all sorts of things to keep your little one interested. I love how the pages are shaped to create a handle at the top and the characters from each page are visible.

Peek a boo moon

Inside the pages all have a hole where you can peek through to the next character. Toby loves sticking his finger through the hole to turn the pages and saying ‘boo!’ As always with these Parragon books the illustrations are lovely and there are plenty of different things on each page for Toby to look at and try to recognise. Moon is one of his newer words so he loves to point it out when we get to the end of the book.

Peek a boo star

For quite a while Toby wasn’t that interested in books – he would look at few pages then quickly lose interest but as he’s got a bit older he has started being able to concentrate for a bit longer and Peek-a-boo Moon has certainly got enough going on to hold his attention.

Peek a boo

**Disclosure: We were sent this book as part of our role as Parragon Book Buddies. All opinions are my own.

Parragon: Round Like a Ball

The latest book we were sent in our role as Book Buddies for Parragon is another in the Little Learners series.

Round like a ball

Round Like a Ball (RRP £4.99) is a board book to help little ones start to learn their shapes. As with all the Parragon books we’ve had so far there is something a little bit different with this book. Round Like a Ball has raised and cut out shapes which give your child something to trace around with their finger when looking at the pages.

Triangles like cheese

As always there are some lovely illustrations and Toby loves looking at everything on the page. Ball is one of his favourite words (and toys) at the moment so he loves the ball page, and the stars are another favourite too.

Stars in the night sky


I would definitely recommend any of the books in the Little Learners series; I love how sturdy are and there’s plenty to keep your little one interested and engaged with the book.

**Disclosure: I was sent this book as a part of the Parragon Book Buddy scheme in return for this review. All opinions are my own.

We're going on an adventure

Parragon: One Tiger Roars

This month’s Book Buddy book from Parragon is One Tiger Roars, part of the Little Learners range. We already have Cow Says Moo from this series so I knew we would be getting something Toby could really enjoy.

One Tiger Roars

One Tiger Roars combines different animals with numbers up to 5 so there are plenty of opportunities for learning. I love how thick the pages of this board book are, it makes them almost completely Toby-proof! The different pages also make it easy for Toby to get hold of them and turn them.

One tiger

This kind of book his great for Toby, he likes to look at the pictures by himself or sit with us and we can point things out and read it to him as well. He isn’t ready to sit through a story yet so One Tiger Roars is perfect. The illustrations are lovely too, as with all the Parragon books we’ve had so far.

One tiger roars _

Overall One Tiger Roars is a great addition to Toby’s ever growing bookshelf and I’ll be keeping an eye out for some of the other books in the series.

**Disclosure: We were sent this book in our role as Parragon Book Buddies in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Parragon: Glitterbelle The Sparkliest Princess Ever & The Ugly Duckling

I’m a bit behind with my Book Buddy reviews so in an attempt to catch up I’m going to include the January and February books in this post.

In January we received ‘Glitterbelle: The Sparkliest Princess Ever!’  Now, every month I find out in advance what the Book Buddy book is going to be and we are always given the chance to opt out for a month. If I’m honest I did consider not getting this book – but only because I thought it would be a bit too advanced for Toby age-wise, I have no issues with my boy reading books about sparkly princesses!


There is a whole series of Glitterbelle books (and a website too) and I’m sure Toby will enjoy them when he is a bit older. The illustrations are great, full of sparkle! I really enjoyed reading the story but I was right in thinking the story is a bit too long for Toby to take in at the moment. The other thing is that he does much better with board books just now; he’s not quite got the hang of not tearing the pages in a paperback given half a chance!

Reading Glitterbelle

The book we received in February was The Ugly Duckling. This is a board book with a little bit extra – in this ‘Slide and See’ version of the classic fairy tale there are pull out tabs on which the story continues.


As with all the Parragon books we have received so far the illustrations in The Ugly Duckling are lovely. We have as much fun looking at the different animals with Toby as we do from reading the story! I really like how thick the pages of this board book are, there’s no danger of bending or ripping. The slide out tabs are really thick too and glide out easily. We do still need to make sure Toby is supervised with this one for the moment though as he really wants to pull those tabs all the way out until they’re not attached to the book anymore!

Slide and See

I’m sure we’ll be getting a lot of enjoyment out of both of these books for years to come.

**Disclosure: We received these books as a part of the Parragon Book Buddy scheme in return for this review. As always, all views are my own.

Parragon: A Treasury of Christmas Stories and Songs

First up, my apologies for being a bit late with December’s Book Buddy post for Parragon. Unfortunately with being away for Christmas things seem to have got a bit behind on the blogging front.

A Treasury of Christmas Stories and Songs

Our December Book Buddies book from Parragon was the wonderful ‘A Treasury of Christmas Stories and Songs‘ (RRP £12:00). Now I know Christmas has been and gone but if you see this book anywhere I would definitely recommend you snap it up and put it away for next year, and the next year, and the next year!

The First Christmas

This is a lovely hardback book containing six Christmas stories and twelve festive songs and rhymes. There are some old favourites like The Night Before Christmas and Jingle Bells, as well as a few less well known stories such as The Snow Queen and The Nutcracker. Every one of the stories and songs is beautifully illustrated, every page has so much to look at, making it perfect for younger children too.

Jingle Bells

Now I have to admit we didn’t get much chance to look at this book with Toby this year, and he is perhaps a little bit too young to really get the most of it, but I am absolutely sure it will be well used next Christmas and for many more Christmases to come!

Parragon: Baa baa black sheep

November was our second month as Parragon Book Buddies and this month we were sent the Little Learners Finger Puppet book of Baa baa black sheep. I love these little finger puppet books, they really add an extra dimension to reading with Toby, he really likes to see the little puppet moving  about when he is listening to the rhyme.

Baa baa black sheep

The book is fantastic quality – really thick board pages which is brilliant for a toddler like Toby who really likes to put his books through their paces. There’s definitely no chance of him bending these pages! The nursery rhyme is, I’m sure, one that you all know but it’s great to have it in this little book and the illustrations and the puppet really bring it to life.

Baa baa

With an RRP of £3.99 this Baa baa black sheep book would make a brilliant stocking filler for Christmas. And even better there is a whole series of these Little Learners Finger Puppet books including favourites such as This Little Piggy, Hickory Dickory Dock and Humpty Dumpty – I definitely think I’ll be adding a few more titles to Toby’s book shelf soon.