Delightfully different, totally terrific

Dilly the penguin has one leg, so she hops rather than waddles. Some penguins are fine with this, others not so. Approaching the topic of “difference” often feels like a potential parental minefield, but I promise you can’t go wrong with Delightfully Different Dilly. There’s a learning here, obviously, but many stories which cover this scenario feel uncomfortably forced or contrived. Not so here. This is a classic adventure set-up, with courage, teamwork, and friendship shining through, and it’s flawlessly done.

Stunning illustrations (see the pic), tons of drama, great characterisation, and an important message that is not rammed down your throat – this is an absolute must for every home bookshelf and classroom book box.

Not only are there great talking points leaping from every page, but I was so impressed with the linked sensory activities done by @rascals_and_rainbows that I have to highlight them here. Check it out!

Blurb

When Dilly is born, her parents think she is perfect – from the top of her head to the bottom of her foot. The other babies notice that she is different but soon accept her, and love her different way of doing things. They even try  to copy her – in the funniest ways! Their mummies and daddies aren’t sure, though – someone different makes them anxious, they like everyone to be the same. Can their babies convince their parents to accept Dilly – and to understand that it’s actually brilliant to be different?

Author bio

I began writing magazine fiction and have sold thousands of stories all over the world, but when my daughters were born and I started reading to them, I was reminded just how wonderful children’s books are, and decided to try writing them myself. They are the most fun of all and I have had over eighty books published from picture books up to novels for up to age 12. 

Some of them deal with issues I have faced with my own children such as a pet dying – Scrumpy (Andersen) or an over-adventurous hamster – Hammy (Orchard), others cover issues common to many children, such as being scared of monsters – Nothing Can Frighten a Bear (Nosy Crow), being different – Delightfully Different Dilly (Quarto 2021) and being small – Billy and the Balloons (Salariya) and Off to Market! (Frances Lincoln -a runner-up in the Dundee Picture Book Award and based on my journey on an over-crowded minibus in Uganda filled with villagers, furniture and animals! 

Not a bus book!

On the day that Meghan Markle’s “The bench” is all over the media for being a pure vanity project, entirely devoid of plot, and barely in English (seriously, Puffin should be embarrassed to have published it), I’m thrilled to have a beautifully written picture book for you.

I’ve reviewed several of Sue Wickstead’s bus-themed books over the past few years. They’re all beautiful gentle stories, with a simple, appropriate message, and with lovely traditional illustrations. So when I saw she’s branched out and published a non-bus themed book, I was intrigued.

Firstly, I was pleased to see that Barty Barton, the bear who was loved too much has the same illustrator (I wish they were credited on the cover). The picture of Barty reminds me so much of my own tatty teddy, who is definitely “loved too much” but still sits on my shelf (with his best friends).

It’s a heartwarming plot line that brought a lump to my throat. Perfect for reassuring any youngster before their favourite toy goes for its annual bath!

And in case you were missing the buses, I spotted one sneak into the illustrations.

Giveaway

Giveaway to Win a  Lego bear and some teddy bear colouring sheets (UK) plus a few more goodies.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494424/

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Author bio

Sue Wickstead is a teacher and an author and writes children’s picture books with a bus theme. She has also written a photographic history book about the real bus, which is where her story writing began.

Sue once worked with a playbus charity based in Crawley. This led her to write the photographic history book about the project. The ‘Bewbush Playbus’ book was published in 2012.

Sue then began to write a fictional tale about the bus. ‘Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus’, his number plate JJK261 gave him his name and has now been followed by more picture books (ten to date) which all indeed have a bus connection as well as links to her teaching journey.

Gloria is the most recent bus book and is based on the summer play-schemes which operated during the school holidays providing a safe place to play and to meet other children. (published 2020)

‘Barty Barton; the bear that was loved too much’ was also published in 2020. Barty was written for both her son and grandson.

Some of Sue’s books have been entered and shortlisted in ‘The Wishing Shelf Book Awards’, her book ‘A Spooky Tale’ was a silver medal winner in 2019. It is a story written with her class in school and is aimed at the younger reader.

Chase those witches!

The Beatles song “Paperback writer’ is stuck on a loop in my head, although with a slight tweak to the lyrics.

So I wanna be a picture book writer
Picture book writer

I blame the new picture book, Chase Those Witches, by Elizabeth Dale! It’s just such great fun, so interactive, and fabulously illustrated. I absolutely love it. I’m definitely going to use it in some of my after school clubs.

Now bizarrely, I got sent this book to review a few days after I’d bought the new Tom Fletcher picture book, ‘There’s a witch in your book‘. It seemed such a coincidence to have two witch-themed interactive picture books on my desk at the same time, so I was very curious as to the differences.

Actually, they are both absolutely brilliant, and surprisingly different.

In a nutshell, Tom Fletcher has bright, bold graphic illustrations, easy actions, and a simple plot so is ideal for the youngest picture book reader.

On the other hand, Elizabeth Dale’s rollicking, globe trotting adventure has more detailed illustrations and slightly more complex actions, including a very funny “Whatever you do, don’t …” which of course I did, and every other reader will too! I laughed out loud at falling for that one. Anyway, as a result, it’s ideal for the older picture book reader.

Definitely no need to wait for Halloween to enjoy these witchy treats, although I can see both books being best-sellers when the spooky season arrives! Have fun 🙂

Blurb for Chase those Witches

When Bernie, a boy’s pet frog, is stolen by a coven of wicked witches, the reader has to help rescue Bernie by turning, shaking and blowing on the book as the boy ventures through ice caves and aboard pirate ships on his mission. A fun and interactive picture book adventure!

Author Biography

Elizabeth Dale worked as a writer of fiction for magazines before becoming a full-time author of children’s books. Her work has won multiple awards, including in the picture book category in the 2019 Northern Lights Book Awards. She was also a runner-up in the 2015 Dundee Picture Book Award.

Illustrator Biography

Sian Roberts graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Illustration from the Arts University in Bournemouth in 2018. She works as a freelance illustrator of children’s books.

What do a reindeer, a monkey, and a cow have in common?

I can honestly say that’s not a sentence I ever thought I’d write! Until I received a review copy of Billy and the Balloons by Elizabeth Dale.

I confess I was a little worried that the title and cover might give away too much, but there is just so much fun and magic in this book, that I couldn’t have been more wrong. Think Peter Pan meets The Snowman and you’re on the right lines.

The “up up and away” fold out page was a complete surprise. I’d actually love a poster of this page for my Christmas decorations.

I also have to sing the praises of illustrator Patrick Corrigan. Not only are the colours are absolutely divine – rich and warm – but the illustrations manage to find that perfect blend of nostalgic and fresh.

PS – pass the mince pies – unlike Santa, I’m not planning to climb down any chimneys!

Blurb

Fly up, up, and away with Billy! When the wind takes Billy and his colorful balloons on a ride in the sky, he ends up having the most magical Christmas ever.

A small boy + a big bunch of balloons = magic! Billy’s dad has a special touch with balloons, turning them into every imaginable shape and creature. But one Christmas Eve, the wind whips up and tiny Billy finds himself and his father’s balloons floating away through the clouds. Lots of friends, both human and animal, scurry to the rescue–but instead of bringing Billy down to earth, one by one they end up coming along for the ride. Will Billy succeed in landing safely . . . and help Santa and his tired reindeer deliver their presents too?

Author biography

Elizabeth Dale

I began writing magazine fiction and have sold thousands of stories all over the world, but when my daughters were born and I started reading to them, I was reminded just how wonderful children’s books are, and decided to try writing them myself. They are the most fun of all and I have had over eighty books published from picture books up to novels for up to age 12. 

Some of them deal with issues I have faced with my own children such as a pet dying – Scrumpy (Andersen) or an over-adventurous hamster – Hammy (Orchard), others cover issues common to many children, such as being scared of monsters – Nothing Can Frighten a Bear (Nosy Crow), being different – Delightfully Different Dilly (Quarto 2021) and being small – Billy and the Balloons (Salariya) and Off to Market! (Frances Lincoln -a runner-up in the Dundee Picture Book Award and based on my journey on an over-crowded minibus in Uganda filled with villagers, furniture and animals!  

I have also written a couple of interactive picture books where the reader has to be a hero and pull faces, shout, stamp and twist and turn the book to help save a child from impending disaster – Chase Those Witches!(Salariya) and Save The Day for Ada May (Willow Tree Books.) The latter has won two Awards and been short-listed for a third. Of course there is always room for books which are just pure fun, whether they’re rhyming – Mix Up Monday (Maverick) coming in 2021 or non-rhyming – When Betsy Came To Babysit (Tamarind, read on the Cbeebies Bedtime Hour). 

I have recently moved into writing Non-Fiction picture books – Trailblazer (Maverick) is the story of Lily Parr and her battle to play Woman’s Football in the early 20th Century.

As well as my picture books I have written a lot of Early Reader texts – fun stories that help young readers develop their reading skills – for Franklin Watts and Maverick Books as well as Junior Fiction for Egmont.

Illustrator biography

Patrick Corrigan worked as an art director at a design studio before becoming an illustrator of educational and picture books for children. He illustrated Save the Day for Ada May!, which won the picture book category in the 2019 Northern Lights Book Awards.

This puppy is just for Christmas

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ll know I I’m a fan of everything Carol Thomas writes, for grown-ups and for kids. We’ve done her first picture book, Finding a Friend, in my book club, so I was excited to see a sequel is out. And I’m a sucker for a Christmas book. So I invited Carol to chat …

Hello Lexi, thank you for having me on your blog to chat about the release of my latest children’s book, Being a Friend at Christmas.

It is the second in my Little Pup series of books, but each can be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone story. In this book, Little Pup is looking forward to his first Christmas in his new home. But he remembers the dogs he has left behind in the shelter. He has a plan to ensure they have a happy Christmas too, but he needs Father Christmas’ help to make his wish come true.

Being a Friend book cover

Aimed at under 7s, the text is purposefully rhythmic and written in rhyme to make it accessible to its young audience, who can join in and anticipate words and phrases. The pictures are bright and colourful. I illustrated the book myself and had great fun capturing the puppy’s thoughts, feelings and expressions. The book has been described as the ideal gift for all young dog lovers, which is lovely to hear!

As I like my books to be shared and to inspire a conversation, the story also carries a message about being kind, thoughtful and generous. These things are important all year round, but especially at Christmas. At the end of Being A Friend, there is an opportunity for children to make their own Christmas wish.

I always love hearing from readers. At the end of Finding a Friend, readers were asked to name Little Pup; I enjoyed hearing all of the wonderful names he was given. This year, I hope to hear all about the Christmas wishes Little Pup has inspired. If readers would (with help from their parents and carers) like to get in touch, they can do so here: https://www.carol-thomas.co.uk/contact-me/

Thanks Carol! If you’d like to meet the pup, check out this cute book trailer: https://youtu.be/q8Yhj7AfwPE

And of course, here’s the purchase link: http://getbook.at/BAFAmazon

About the author:

Carol Thomas lives on the south coast of England with her husband, four children and lively Labrador. She has been a playgroup supervisor and has taught in primary schools for just over twenty years.

Carol writes for both adults and children. Her children’s books have irresistibly cute, generally furry characters young children can relate to.

To find out more about books by Carol Thomas:

https://facebook.com/carolthomasauthor