The Christmas Button Story By Helen Hamill & Christina Ryan

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After reading the Button story collection I was delighted to find there was another rather special book to add to my much loved collection – The Christmas button story!

We all love a sweet, Christmas story but this one should definitely be read by everyone.

I immediately fell in love with the book because it celebrates a diverse family background, we need more books like this  that show us and celebrate different ethnicities and cultures.

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We find out that a Christmas tree has been left without a star, but Santa comes to the rescue! In a classic Christmas tale style we see different characters offer help. The plot itself is completely charming.

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This gem of a book bought back lots of memories for me and my children including Christmas traditions, food and recipes, cold snowy nights.

I even adored the lovely moral of the story – helping others, which was so clearly written all my children understood this message.

I can’t think of a more convincing recommendation for this book than the fact that my 2 year old always picks this book up to read, even though we’re in the middle of April! He loves the rich, warm colours and the open plaintive faces on the characters.

Here are some of the craft ideas you could link to this beautifully written book including Christmas tree decorations, Christmas button biscuits and paintings.

 

To find out more about this book and where you may be able to purchase it please visit:

https://www.thebuttonholepressltd.co.uk/the-christmas-button-story

I rate this book  5/5 lillies! – A must read!

5 out of 5 lily

 

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Tooth Fairies and Jetpacks by Kurt Fried

 
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Tooth Fairies and Jetpacks

Written by Kurt Fried

Illustrated by Patrick Meehan

This is a heart-warming story told as a series of letters between 2 little sisters and their tooth fairies.

I really liked the idea of the tooth fairies actually being scientists, I also liked how the author gave accurate information to the reader. My children learnt a lot from it, especially since one of my children has recently lost a tooth.

I felt that it portrayed fairies in a modern, more feminist way, after all these weren’t just regular fairies dressed in frilly pink tutus and holding a twinkling wand. They were highly educated, trained, professionals looking to find a cure.

Its a simple yet engaging story which my class enjoyed reading too (4-5 year olds) and they are tough to please!

This story bought on a lot of discussion, like personal experiences, whether they believed in fairies, whether they had ever met or seen one. I felt that because the fairies weren’t represented as they usually are, the boys in my class found it very exciting too.

The Illustrations are beautiful and they work very well with the text. There’s so much to look at, its bright, colourful and looks very fun!

This book has already been read multiple times in my home and again for my class. Children keep asking for us to read this at story time and want to read it themselves when ever they can! They all love the pictures too.

There were so many follow on activities that can be done with this story – sequencing, thinking about the next adventure – What happened on their Jet-pack ride? Letter writing to fairies, designing their own Jetpacks. Hiding ‘teeth’ and drawing maps so friends can follow and find them(which is a great way to teach children positional language). We even had a dentist roleplay area for the children to become the tooth fairies. But, I have to say, the best activity was making our own medicine/potions to help find a cure!

 

 

Should you buy this book? Yes! Your children or class will love this, I hope this becomes a classic one day. Its something that can be read again and again.

I give this book 5/5 lilies!

5 out of 5 lily

This amazing book can be purchased here:

https://www.amazon.com/Tooth-Fairies-Jetpacks-Kurt-Fried/dp/0999736019/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

If I didn’t have you by Alan Klatz and Chris Robertson

 

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If I didn’t have you by Alan Klatz,Illustrated by Chris Robertson

This is an adorable and somewhat true story about all of the things that parents, and their children could do if they didn’t have each other.

The dad could have had a fancy sports car, take skydiving lessons, and have a personal butler; and the son would never have to clean his room, he could eat candy whenever he would want, and adopt as many pets as he wants.

But there is one thing they both agree on; they would rather have each other.

The illustrations are very appealing to young children because they are bright, colourful and exciting. My children loved looking at the pictures and giggling away and their humorous approach.

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I really enjoyed reading this book with my children and they enjoyed reading it with me however, they were even more ecstatic to share it with their dad. There is stereotype of only having mums take responsibility, so this story breaks the glass ceiling as we see a positive father and son relationship.

As a parent and teacher, you can take away a lot from this book.  Immediately after reading this, my children wanted to design their own sports cars! See below for some ideas.

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It also inspired some other creative activities!

 

Another thing we started discussing at home were our house rules, it was an interesting way to create house rules together. It’s an easy link the children made themselves (particularly when the son wants to eat candy all day!)  see below for an idea. Its also an easy way to introduce rules for a classroom. What might happen if we do things that we want all time and not think about others? How should we behave?

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So what’s my overall verdict? Should you read this book? Yes! It’s a sweet story, perfect for bedtime, and I’m sure it’s something you will read time and time again.

My rating is 4/5 lilies!

4 out of 5 lily

This wonderful book can be purchased here:

The Button Collection by Helen Hamil & Christina Ryan

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‘The Button Collection’ by Helen Hamil and Christina Ryan is a series of six timeless stories for children. The presentation box alone reminds me of opening something special, almost like I was about to open a sewing kit. Each individual book is about a different button, each with their own special story to share.

The following titles are included in this collection, all names starting with B:

Bertie The Soldier Button
Brooke The Wild West Button
Bethany The Explorer Button
Billy The Circus Button
Beatrix The Wedding button
Bob The railway Button

Each story tells us about where the button came from, who it belonged to and what it’s job was. It’s a great way to teach children about the past, history and where things may come from.
In this series each button has its own special job whether it belonged on a wedding dress, or a soldier to a cowgirl. We learn how life was like for each button, what they looked like in their glory days before sadly getting old, forgotten and hidden away. The stories always have happy endings, which tell us about the buttons new lives and roles.

As a teacher, I like that each story has a similar pattern which is very good for children. I would even share these texts with an early years class as it has the repetition and familiarity which children need to explore. As a teacher there are so many things you can do with this series. Learn about describing, as each book gives us a description of the button. We can even learn about the past and present, old and new, recycling, textiles and creative arts to name a few. See below for some ideas I really liked.

The water-colour illustrations in each book are beautiful and there is so much to look at and explore on each page. I particularly liked the pictures in Bethany The Explorer Button, especially the illustrations of the map as there is much to talk about.

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I also like how the illustrator uses colour to reflect the mood in the stories, as each button becomes unused and unwanted the colours become sombre. This is a great talking point for teachers and parents to ask why? It becomes a focal point for thought and discussion.

I enjoyed each and every story. My train obsessed three year old’s favourite is Bob The Railway Button and my six year old daughters favourite is Beatrix The Wedding Button because it’s about family and tradition. It just goes to show there is something for everyone.

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I don’t know whether it’s the teacher in me but my personal favourite has to be Bertie The Soldier Button. I feel its always so challenging to talk about soldiers and remembrance day with young children. However, this book does it so beautifully. In a simple way through the story and illustrations we can learn about this sensitive topic.

A great reason to even make art work focusing on buttons and remembrance day.

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So, should you read this little collection?  A simple answer Yes.
This precious collection of books will be treasured and read over and over by little ones.
As a parent there so much to talk about in these books, as a teacher there are so many talking points, activities and topics that these books can be linked into.

I give these books a 5/5 lily rating! So its got to be good.

5 out of 5 lily

These books can be purchased here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Button-Collection-Helen-Hamill/dp/1999983262/ref=sr_1_37?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1534536267&sr=1-37&keywords=press+the+button