The Christmas Button Story By Helen Hamill & Christina Ryan


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.


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.


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:

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

5 out of 5 lily



Tooth Fairies and Jetpacks by Kurt Fried


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:

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



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.


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.


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?

House Rules 002

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 Ultimate Summer Picture Books

I’ve collected together my very favourite summer reads into this blog. Some have been recommended by my Instagram followers (thank you Instafam)

Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom by Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet

1. Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Supertato adventures are hilarious, they have definitely become a firm favourite for me and my children! The veggies are bored, so Broccoli suggests a game of hide-and-seek. It’s a great game but then Carrot happens to finds treasure map in a cereal packet and the adventure unravels!
The Girls by Lauren Ace

2. The Girls by Lauren Ace and Jennie Lovelie

This is an uplifting representation of female friendship. It is about four girls and their friendship as they grow from little children into adults. We get to learn so much about our four main characters: Lottie, Sasha, Leela and Alice. We follow the ups and downs of their lives. The book has such a positive message about the support friends provide.

Full Size Cover

3. What the Ladybird heard on holiday by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh are planning another crime. This time they are after the Queen’s crown! The Ladybird, who happens to be on holiday in the same place, can she stop them in time?

Happy Hatchday by Rob Biddulph

4. Happy Hatchday by Rob Biddulph

Nine dinosaur eggs are ready to hatch. Each named Otto, Winnie, Hector, Sue, Nancy, Martin, Wilf and Boo. And Greg, he hatches a week late, and by then the other little dinosaurs are already have friends and Greg feels left out. However, there is a little surprise…

Gary's Banana Drama by Jane Massey

5.Gary’s banana drama by Jane Massey

Gary loves bananas, he loves them so much that on the day that something bad happens, and there are no bananas to be found, he starts seeing them everywhere! You could even say he was going bananas for a banana! Will Gary find bananas? How will this story end? With lots of twists and turns!


Great books for strong girls!

Don’t get me wrong, but too often I’ve gone to a book shop or library with my daughter and struggled to find amazing books with strong female lead characters.

I’ve always enjoyed reading books with great female characters but since having a daughter and since attending my daughters EYFS graduation where she declared “When I grow up I want to be a mummy who works.” Made me step up my game.

My daughter knows and understands that women don’t need to stay at home after having a family, she has hopes and dreams of achieving something. She understands she can have it both ways like her mummy.

So, I wanted her to be able to read stories to learn positive messages about being a strong female.

My next few posts will focus around books, in particular picture books which show great female characters.

The first book I’ve chosen to write about is ‘The paper bag princess’ by Robert Munsch.

The beautiful Princess Elizabeth lives in a castle and is engaged to marry Prince Ronald. One day, a fire-breathing dragon destroys her castle, incinerates her belongings, then flies away with Ronald. Since all her clothes are ruined, Princess Elizabeth dons a paper bag and sets off to save her prince.

An absolute must read for every girl from birth through forever…I am a huge believer in a girl knowing that she can rescue herself and anyone else who needs it – if they want her help. This book reinforces how to be resourceful, have confidence, and know when to walk away.

It’s so important for children to be exposed to feminism through their reads. The paper bag princess you did a good job showing the princess isn’t always the one who needs saving, so we should stop assuming that.

I rate this book 4 lillies out of a possible 5

4 out of 5 lily

What do I do everyday?

I try to spend as much time as I can with my children each and everyday. I’ve got a 6 year old, 2 year old and a baby. My day is usually spent doing the typical mum thing. Breakfast, school run, cleaning, odd jobs, playing with the 2 little ones, cooking, homework, bedtime routine to name a few.

However, I always try and find time to write. Whether its a simple hand drawn comic, ideas for stories, writing my stories to writing a shopping list, texting and emailing. I think we all write each and every day even though we may not realise it.

When I’m at work (currently I’m on Maternity leave) I’m sure I find myself writing even more (planning, assessments, marking, interventions etc)

Oh…other than writing and being a mummy I think its a good time to mention I love eating. I do have quite a sweet tooth so I enjoy my desserts very much. But, I still do enjoy my savoury foods…chips…pizza…chicken…crisps. I do throw in some salad and veg for good measure too.

The Best Picture Books of 2017

Happy New Year!

Clearly I love reading but when I’m in a book shop the first place I have to go is the children’s section. The colourful front covers and the catchy titles always have me hooked. That’s why I’ve decided to share my personal list of the 5 best picture books of 2017.

5.‘Bee and Me’ by Alison Jay

Bee and me is a picture book with no words. This book is not only entertaining; it also teaches readers/listeners about the importance of bees in our world. When a lonely girl in the city befriends a bee, the magical, fantastical journey begins. As the story evolves and the bee leaves for the winter, the girl makes friends with a boy in her building and the fun continues in a city changed by the bee. Alison Jay’s lush oil painted illustrations enhance the magical quality of the story, but in a note at the end, she clearly explains the need to invite bees to our gardens and cautions children not to touch them. I highly recommend this book.


4. ‘Do Not Open This Book’ by Michaela Muntean

I saw “do not open this book”, so of course I had to open it. This book is fun but a little mean. However, makes up for it in the end by thanking the reader for their help with the story. It’s a challenge to kids (ok, me) who you know are so curious that if told not to do something, they will do it. It is about how to write a story and shows how powerful words are.

3.‘Douglas, You Need Glasses’ by Ged Adamson

Nancy and her dog Douglas enjoy playing in the woods, but as it becomes clear that his nearsightedness is causing problems, she takes him to the eye doctor. Readers will be amused by the dog’s inability to identify anything on the eye chart and the many choices he has in trying to find the right frame. As anyone who has worn a pair of glasses for the very first time will attest, everything looks completely different once you have a way to improve your vision. The funny text and the illustrations, created with pencil and watercolor, provide a reassuring message to anyone facing his/her first visit to the optometrist.


2. ‘I Don’t Want Curly Hair!’ by Laura Ellen Anderson

A book about curls, swirls, and hair. It was such a fun, hilarious, and cute book.
It is about a little girl with a giant head of curls (really, a mega giant head of curls). She doesn’t want the curls, she wants straight, pretty, easy flowing  hair. So she tries out all sorts of, mostly hilarious, ways to get her hair to be straight. From piling big books on her head, to having friends help her out, to hoping that gravity will help her. Will any of her trick work out?
The art was just fabulous, colourful, and fun. I just love how much detail there was in the curls. I can’t imagine how much work that must have been to draw each curl, and then also in different colours of red/orange.
All in all, a sweet book, perfect for children, but also adults. I would highly recommend it to everyone.

1.‘Oi Cat!’ by Kes Gray

Poor Cat has been instructed that cats sit on gnats – it’s the rules! But Cat doesn’t enjoy the gnats biting his bottom – perhaps HE can change the rules like Frog and Dog have done? What else can a cat sit on?
This brightly coloured and wonderfully illustrated book is full of animal rhymes that you wouldn’t expect: Racoons and macaroons, armadillos and pillows, alpacas and cream crackers. So many animals, so many rhymes. You would think by the third book of essentially the same premise, that there would be no rhymes left but nope they keep on coming. It helps introduce new animals to children and adds the odd bit of classic potty humour.