Last week I went to my first BritMums meet up in Oxford. It was hosted by Barefoot Books in Summertown and was also my first visit to the shop. As soon as I walked in I was in heaven. The decor is so unusual and really vivid, and the book covers on display just draw you in.
I was early (no change there then!), and had a £10 voucher to spend in-store following an online survey I’d completed for Barefoot Books a few weeks previously. So I started to browse, there were so many wonderful books to choose from but in the end I decided on Cleo’s Alphabet Book by Caroline Mockford and Skip through the Seasons by Stella Blackstone/Maria Carluccio.
I’m trying to get Monkey to recognise his letters and thought that the idea of a book with a cat walking through the alphabet would appeal to him, and he could relate to Brewster walking through his toys. The illustrations are lovely and bright with nice clear text. It certainly kept Monkey’s attention and there’s a nice summary page at the end of the alphabet to recap on the items shown throughout the book.
I liked the idea of Skip through the Seasons as it covers a different month on every double page, with relevant items to find. This worked with Monkey immediately and kept him engaged throughout. His concept of months at the moment only relates to when it’s someone’s birthday! Every month should be December in his eyes, so hopefully this book will help him understand that there are eleven other months in a year! Again, lovely illustrations and easy to read text throughout the book. At the back of the book there are some great pages which explain what each month means, all about the different seasons and the calendar as well as the days of the week in a number of languages. A really great idea.
During our BritMums meet up, Karen from Barefoot Books told us a bit about the company and presented us with a goodie bag, containing two newly published books. I couldn’t believe her generosity, especially when I saw the title of one of them! We were given A Farmer’s Life for Me by Jan Dobbins/Laura Huliska-Beith with a sing along CD by The Flannery Brothers and The Girl with a Brave Heart A Tale from Tehran by Rita Jahanforuz/Vali Mintzi.
I knew Monkey would be over the moon with any book involving Farmers and Tractors! The Girl with a Brave Heart is for an older child and I have the perfect recipient in mind.
If that was not enough, Karen then very generously let us chose another book from their huge range of titles to take home. I decided on Port Side Pirates! by Oscar Seaworthy/Debbie Harter with a sing along CD by Mark Collins.
I was going to have one very happy Monkey when I got home.
As soon as we got home from pre-school I let him open the bag and his eyes caught A Farmer’s Life for Me immediately. So predictable 🙂 We followed the Farmer around the farm with some lovely rhymes, and lots of counting questions along the way. Again lots of information at the back of the book about the Working Farm and the words and music that go with the sing along CD. The CD not only includes the music and words but also an animated version of the story – it is wonderful.
Then on to Port Side Pirates! We always try to bring our stories to life, and as Monkey has his own pirate ship we got that out and read the story while playing pirates. It’s another lovely story, bright illustrations with clear text throughout. Again there are great information pages at the back of the book (seem to be a theme with the Barefoot Books range) describing all the parts of a pirate ship – this worked brilliantly for us as Monkey had to find them all on his own boat, information on types of pirate boats and where pirates sailed and who they were. Finally a good old sing-song with the CD and wonderful animated story again.
As I mentioned before The Girl with a Brave Heart is a lovely book for a slightly older reader than Monkey aged 3 years, so I am going to pass that on to an older bookworm that we know who will love it; especially as her father spent the early part of his childhood in Iran. Shiraz is the heroine in the book and has to reclaim a ball of wool she drops from her balcony. It looks like a wonderful read and I’m sure Princess M will love it.
I’m so pleased to have discovered a wonderful bookshop not too far from home, and monkey is thrilled with his new additions for his ever-expanding library 🙂