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We’ve certainly been getting through a lot of books during the Covid-10 lockdown, but here’s some of our favourites from April. Some of these books are new releases, some of them are old favourites. There’s a mixture of fiction and factual as well as picture books and chapter books. Some we own ourselves, others are borrowed from our local library. All are genuine recommendations, rather than books we’ve been asked to promote.
Reading is a huge part of our family life and we love being able to share our current favourites, as well as hearing your recommendations to inspire our future reading.
I’m also working on a new round up of Welsh language books, so expect that in the next couple of weeks.
* All Amazon links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase via this link I will receive a small percentage of sales at no extra cost to you.
We hope this post will provide inspiration if you’re looking for new reading material for your children. We’d also love to hear about your favourite books so do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy or tag @cardiffmummysays on Instagram and I’ll share your recommendations on my Instagram Stories.
For more reading inspiration – for children and grown-ups – see the Books section of Cardiff Mummy Says. You might also like the Cardiff Mummy Says online bookclub, a weekly discussion during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Quick Quack Quention by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hachette Children’s)
You might have noticed that my six year old is a huge fan of all of Kes Gray’s books. It started with Oi Frog! and continued with the whole of that collection (Oi Dog, Oi Cat, Oi Puppies, Oi Duckbilled Platypus), and on to You’re Called What? which I included in last month’s round up. And, latest to add to our Kes Gray library is Quick Quack Quentin, which is just as funny and entertaining as all his other stories. Quentin is a duck with a very quick quack – ‘quck’ – because he’s lost his ‘a’. And so he visits the farm and the zoo hoping to borrow an ‘a’ from one of them. But none of them want to lose their a; and e, i, o and u just don’t sound right. But then he meets an animal with plenty of ‘a’s to go round.
Hugless Douglas by David Melding (Hodder Children’s Books)
We recently watched a Welsh language YouTube video of this lovely storybook (it’s called Cwtsh in Welsh), which made my children reach for the English language paperback book again. It’s such a lovely and reassuring story for these strange times about the comforting power of a good old hug. Douglas the bear wakes up one day in need of a hug. He heads off in search of one, hugging trees and rocks, a bush-full of sheep who are too busy to be hugged, a rabbit in a burrow and more. Until he comes to a dark cave where someone is waiting to give him the best hug… his mum. This is the first of the Hugless Douglas series with others including Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake and We Love You Hugless Douglas.
You Choose Your Dreams by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodheart (Randomhouse Children’s)
Now called You Choose Your Dreams, we know this book as Just Imagine and it has been much-loved by this family for the last couple of years, along with its sister title You Choose. The books have been great for passing rainy days during lockdown; encouraging imagination and they are different every time you read them. Each page wonders what it would be like if you were, for example, as big as a giant, or tiny, or to travel through time, or to be magical, or a wild animal. The brightly coloured pages are packed full of different illustrations to get you thinking creatively. I love seeing how my children’s interpretations are different and also how their imagination and understanding develops over the years. Also I the series is You Choose In Space, with You Choose Fairy Tales due to be released in September.
I Love You As Big As The World by David Van Buren and Tim Warnes (Little Tiger Press)
I wrote about this book way back in 2015 as part of a round-up of books about telling a child you love them… and it’s still a favourite all these years on. The bool tries to put into words just how much the big bear loves the little bear (or perhaps even the other way around) featured on all the beautiful pages. “I love you as a big as the world. I love you as deep as the sea, I love you as bright as the sun, I love you as blue as the sky.” And many more, ending with the simple words, “I love you because… you are you.”
Tom Gates Genius Ideas (Mostly) by Liz Pichon (Scholastic)
I’ve mentioned my eight year old’s love of the Tom Gates series of books previously – they’re a brilliantly fun bridge between picture books and chapter books as they’re full of different fonts and the pages are packed with doodles and pictures, making it a really visual experience. We’ve got through a few from the series during lockdown, with my eight year old and I taking it turns to read a few pages each. Genius Ideas (Mostly) is the fourth in the series and it gave us lots to laugh about. There are lots of shocks for Tom including Delia without her sunglasses, and Dad wearing cycling shorts as part of his new fitness regime. There are incidents with squashed peas, the embarrassment of the whole family turning up with banners to the school sports day, auditions for the school talent show, and more mischievous antics from Tom and his friends. We’re looking forward to the next one.
Letters From The Lighthouse by Emma Carroll (Faber & Faber)
My daughter is reading this as part of her school work on World War Two, but she’s loving it so much she wanted me to recommend it here. It’s set in 1941 and follows two evacuee siblings Olive and Cliff who are sent to live in a lighthouse on the Devonshire coast following months of bombs in London. Twelve-year-old Olive becomes the post-girl, carrying letters to the villagers. She likes to think of them as secret messages… but she and Cliff have a secret of their own, as their older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid and Olive is desperate to her. She discovers a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous. Filled with mystery and suspense, it’s a real page turner and has made my daughter want to read more of Caroll’s historical fictional novels for children.
The Snow Spider Trilogy by Jenny Nimo (Egmont Modern Classics)
With a new television adaptation of The Snow Spider currently available to screen on BBC iPlayer, I ordered the book trilogy for my daughter. I remember a TV adaptation and reading the books when I was younger, and I was keen for her to discover Jenny Nimo’s 1980s classics for herself. The paperback collection consists of The Snow Spider, Emlyn’s Moon and The Chestnut Soldier, and all three have an edge of magic and mystery about them. They’re all set in Wales too – although Nimmo was born in England she’s lived in Wales for much for her life – and draw heavily on Welsh legends and myths such as The Mabinogion. The Snow Spider follows Gwyn, a young boy who on his 9th birthday is given five curious gifts by his grandmother and discovers he has magical powers, as his family is descended from magicians. Slowly, his gift and a magical spider called Arianwen helps him unravel the mystery of why his sister Bethan went missing on is birthday four years ago. Emlyn’s Moon, which my daughter is half way through, sees Gwyn and his friend Nia being warned to stay way from Emlyn Llewelyn, who claims his mother lives on the moon, while The Chestnut Soldier sees Gwyn trying to set free the demon captured in the strange mutilated figure of a horse given to him by his grandmother.
Slime by David Walliams (Harper Collins)
We’ve read all the David Walliams chapter books, so were excited when his latest was released a couple of weeks ago. It tells the story of Ned, who lives on the Isle of Mulch, where the grown ups in charge hate children and thrive on making them miserable. Howrber, when Ned finds lots of jars of gunk and muck, he mixes them all together in a bath and creates a friendly creature called Slime, who comes to life and helps him play pranks on the grown ups who run the Isle where they live. My daughter whizzed through this, saying it’s laugh-out-loud funny. She especially liked Walliams’ own random made up words, reminiscent of Roald Dahl. I’m looking forward to reading this one to her brothers.
Diamond by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday)
My daughter is a huge fan of the Jaqueline Wilson books – we have around 20 or so, the majority picked up from charity shops, plus borrowed several more from the library. She recently re-read Diamond, first published in 2014. It’s about a little girl called Ellen-Jane, born in 1883, the youngest of five siblings with an extraordinary gift for acrobatics, sold into the circus by her father after her mother dies. There, she meets Hetty Feather, another of Wilson’s much-loved characters. It’s a sad book at times, with Diamond forced to perform ever more-daring tricks, but the true friendships she finds are inspiring. The book is very absorbing and one my daughter would recommend.
We’d also to hear about your favourite books so do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy or tag @cardiffmummysays on Instagram and I’ll share your recommendations on my Instagram Stories