Royal Mail’s Stamps Feature Wizards

The new special set of stamps from the Royal Mail feature some of the most famous witches and wizards from literature.  The stamps are beautifully designed.  So much so that I think I’d write many more letters and cards if I only had these to affix to the front.  Wowza!


Via /Film

Monkey Truck: Ingenious Mash Up


Monkey Truck by Michael Slack

Whenever there is trouble in the jungle, Monkey Truck races to the rescue!  He saves small lizards from crushing elephant feet.  He rescues big hippos from a shrinking and muddy water hole.  He grinds gears to get the job done with his truck bed filled to bursting.  He is Monkey Truck!  Fueled by bananas and always ready to go, he is the hero of the jungle.

This book grew on me once I got into the story.  It has a frenetic pace that toddler will enjoy immensely.  It also obviously has its own screwball humor from the premise alone!  That humor is really what makes this book work so well.  From fart jokes to bouncing stacks of muddy hippos, there is plenty of laughter to be found here.

The book has been printed on thicker pages, making it an ideal transition book for toddlers from board books to picture books.  This is clearly a book that is meant for very young children who just might demand why they can’t have a monkey truck of their very own!

If you do a toddler story time at your library or work with a toddler group, this is a book that will really work when shared out loud.  Be prepared to mash your animal sounds with engine noises and your young listeners will be sure to enjoy it!  Appropriate for ages 1-3.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt.

You can check out the wordless trailer for the book below:

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Hide and Squeak: Bedtime Fun


Hide-and-Squeak by Heather Vogel Frederick, illustrated by C. F. Payne

Daddy Mouse chases Mouse Baby around the garden and through the house trying to get him to head to bed.  Mouse Baby hides in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and the living room with his father right behind.  Until finally, Daddy manages to grab his tail just before he runs off to a new hiding place.  The pace of the fast-moving book changes to a slow bedtime story as Mouse Baby is tucked into his matchbox bed.  This is an adorable bedtime story with just enough running and romping to keep it lively and fun.

Frederick’s writing incorporates repetition and rhyme.  Daddy Mouse has a rhyme he says again and again in the book, making this a great choice for small children:

Mouse baby, mouse baby,

where can you be?

I can’t see you.

Can you see me?

It’s time for bed.  It’s time for sleep.

No more time for hide-and-squeak.

The tone of the entire book is playful with the added fun of a chase and hide and seek.  Payne’s illustrations have a nice timeless feel to them that adds warmth to the book.  They also have the added charm of coming from a mouse-high perspective that children will enjoy.  The relationship of father and child is highlighted in both the illustrations and the text. 

A great bedtime pick, this book just may become a favorite night time read for your family.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.

Also reviewed by: