Got a messy sibling problem?

It’s my stop on this fabulous book tour today and I’m really excited! Why? My favourite poem to read when I do school visits is “Messy Room” by Shel Silverstein. I act it out and it’s always a huge hit. So this new picture book, How Messy, by Clare Helen Welsh and Olivier Tallec really appealed.

When I read it, what caught my attention was how the situation with the two characters, Dot and Duck, could be used to help siblings sharing a room with each other when one is very messy, and the other is not. This reminded me of sharing with my sister – I’m not going to tell you which one is me, but I bet you can guess!

It is a super simple story with very few words, so ideal for the youngest of pictures book readers – perhaps the older sibling could even read it to the younger sibling? I would have definitely read it to my sister (yes, I’m the older one, but I’m still not telling if I was the messier one!)

I have to comment on the lovely colours used in the illustrations – very traditional English beach holiday. And having rediscovered the staycation – I approve!


Dot and Duck are best friends, but Dot hates mess and Duck hates tidy. Duck leaves the bed unmade, the cupboards open and breakfast everywhere. How messy!

In the morning, Duck makes Dot pancakes for breakfast, how kind! But Duck leaves a BIG mess! At the beach, Dot carefully lays out her towel and picnic… and Duck digs a big hole covering everything with sand! SO messy!

Characterful watercolour illustrations bring this story to life, and big font makes the story easy for young readers. How Messy! is a simple yet hilarious story with a touching ending and an important message about accepting differences and learning to compromise.

About the author and illustrator

Clare Helen Welsh is a children’s book author who lives in Devon with her husband and two children. In 2013 Clare won the The Margaret Carey Scholarship for Picture book Writers and in 2014 she received the silver medal at The Greenhouse Funny Prize for her debut picture book Aerodynamics of Biscuits. She teaches primary school and has over ten year’s experience in Early Years and Key Stage One education.

Olivier Tallec’s work has been called “sensitive”, “stunning”, “breathtaking”, and “beautiful”. Tallec was born in Brittany, France, in 1970. After graduating from the École Supérieure D’arts Graphiques in Paris, he worked in advertising as a graphic designer, after which he devoted himself to illustration. Since then he has illustrated more than sixty books

I like to move it move it

OK, now you’ve got that tune stuck in your head all day! But I can’t look at this book cover without starting to sing.

The fact that it’s written by professional movement coach and award-winning author Darryl Edwards of the excellent TED Talk “Why working out isn’t working out” is very obvious. His childhood reminds me of my own – outdoors until called in for dinner, and more likely to fall out of a tree than bed. So I knew I was going to love My first animal moves. And I do. I really do.

One of the online gym classes I did during lockdown (with Sarah Liebelt, not Joe Wicks) started every session with bear crawls. By the way – do you remember when WHSmith confused me and Joe Wicks and the tweet went viral with lots of people admiring my beard 🤣! If you missed it, here goes …

Anyway, back to the book, I can see an author visit using this book being fantastic, energetic, fun. After all, as he demonstrates in the talk, exercise should be fun. Focus less on working out, and more on playing out.


If that sounds good, you could win a signed copy of the book and a fitness cards deck by entering here. (UK only)


Nathan loves to play, but he loves his video games more. Can a trip to Animal Moves land convince him there’s more fun outdoors? 

Best-selling author and speaker Darryl Edwards has created this fun adventure inspired by his passion for encouraging kids to move in an ever-increasing sedentary environment.


Discover the joys of animal moves with your little cubs in this first book of movement. Join Nathan and his cute, but sometimes lazy, dog as they crawl, jump and balance their way through the animal kingdom re-enacting moves designed to emphasise fun. It’s all in this exercise for kids book that focuses on family fun boredom busters.


✓ Do you want to make physical activity for kids fun?

 Are you looking for ways to help your children develop strength, coordination and balance?

✓ Do your children love learning about animals?

 Are you worried about too much TV and screen time? 

✓ Do you want to teach young children about the importance of physical activity?

✓ Would you like easy and fun fitness games to include in your day?

My First Animal Moves is your answer. Play along together, keeping everyone healthier and happier, promoting physical, mental and emotional well-being. You’ll all release more mood-enhancing hormones as a result, which help you feel good every day.

My First Animal Moves distils the ideas in his bestselling Animal Moves book and Animal Moves Fitness Decks into a colourful picture book for children.

A Children’s Book to Encourage Kids and Their Guardians to Move More, Sit Less and Decrease Screen Time.

This unique story takes a different stance to many popular titles in this arena, with a fun activity that encourages children’s active play while aiming to get families moving and reading together. It takes the humour and colour in kids’ yoga books such as Breathe Like a Bear by Kira WilleyYoga Bug by Sarah Jane Hinder, and You Are a Lion by Taeeun Yoo to a whole new energy level with active play for the entire family.

Get My First Animal Moves to help your family thrive through movement today.

About the author

Darryl Edwards is a Movement Coach, author of the best-selling books “Animal Moves” and “My First Animal Moves”, and a thought leader in the area of creativity and innovation in fitness and health. 

Darryl developed the Primal Play Method™ to inspire others to make physical activity fun while getting healthier and more robust in the process. 

More double trouble!

I promised two reviews from the same publisher. So after The Boy Who Breathed Underwater last week, as we head for festive season, here is the second.

First of all, I have to note that 10% of profits from this book are donated to Hospital Radio Plymouth. Love this! In fact the story was first read by Sue Crowhurst on the radio, and I’m sure the young listeners enjoyed it. I hope it will feature in this years festive line up too.

The next thing to note is the unusual font. It’s all in a very heavy sans serif in bold. My first reaction was it’s a bit “shouty” (like writing an email ALL IN CAPS but there is no explanation so I’m hoping it’s a dyslexia friendly font (would love that confirmed if anyone knows).

My favourite character was Broderick the bookworm (of course). And the idea of trying to trick the king with green and red snow made me giggle and opens the door for plenty of silly conversations. Thankfully there was no mention of yellow snow – eeeewwww – that could have created some interesting discussions! Actually I think there’s a missed opportunity to play with the white Christmas/ green Christmas here and add an eco layer to the plot.

Each page has crisp and cheerful illustrations by Michael S Kane. Annoyingly, again the publisher hasn’t provided any details on the illustrator, but at least he’s credited on the cover (it’s a pet hate of mine when the illustrator/ narrator are not credited).


When lying in his bed, a boy is visited by a genie. He is given a week to try out different superhero powers. What adventures will King Mark is a higgledy-piggledy king and he gets into a pickle every day. “Do something, Bert!” he shouts, and Wizard Bert, and his sidekick, Broderick the bookworm, always save the day. When snow fell on Windy Hill Castle, everyone was delighted – except for King Mark! King Mark didn’t like snow and he started to sulk. Will Bert and Broderick save the day again? Will King Mark walk into trouble? Do the children of Windy Hill Village have the answer…?

About the author

Jocelyn’s writing career began when she was asked to write a story for a preschool magazine. That story was the first of many. Jocelyn became the writer/editor of several preschool magazines and continued in that role for 15 years. Writing one new story every month, plus rhymes and activities was a tough gig, but very exhilarating.

Time is the big difference between writing for a magazine and writing a book.  You see your work on the supermarket shelves within a few weeks of completion. A book takes longer – a lot longer. Jocelyn has to be patient now – not something she’s good at.

Before becoming a writer, Jocelyn work in higher education as International Students Officer. It was a rewarding and interesting job even though she was on call 24/7.

Jocelyn also trained as a counsellor and volunteered at drop-in centers. She never knew who would arrive for counselling and had to be prepared for anything. This work gave her insight into some of the darker corners of life.

Motor sport was one of Jocelyn’s early loves, she had spine tingling thrill of taking part in a 24-hour national rally as navigator – those were the days when rallies were held on public roads! Jocelyn work as an au pair in Paris in her teens. Having visited the city on a school trip, she fell in love with it, and always wanted to return.

Double trouble!

I’ve got two reviews from the same publisher – one today and one next week.

How could I pass by the opportunity to review a book by another REES? So, just incase you were wondering, Izzy Rees is no relation. I’ve never even met her. So this is just a coincidence. From the title, The Boy Who Breathed Underwater, I expected an underwater adventure. The book is actually a classic version of the ever popular “which super power would you choose?” debate.

Like most publishers and editors, I can be a bit wary of rhymes. Setting aside the limitations they place on foreign translations, they are very hard to get right without resorting to the occasional clunky grammar. These rhymes, however, just trip off the tongue. Such fun to read-aloud.

But all of a sudden,

he let out a sneeze …

He lost all control and

fell hard on his knees.

Each scenario is totally made by the fabulous illustrations by Sarah-Leigh Wills. Annoyingly, the publisher hasn’t provided any details on the illustrator, but at least she’s credited on the cover (it’s a pet hate of mine when the illustrator/ narrator are not credited).


When lying in his bed, a boy is visited by a genie. He is given a week to try out different superhero powers. What adventures will he have, and which power will he choose to keep?

About the author

Izzy Rees was born in West London, but has spent the last thirty years living in Derby. Ten years ago, when her three girls were young, she began work on a series of rhyming picture books, created in snatched moments, and initially written on small scraps of paper or whatever was available. She always intended to revisit them, and Covid and lockdown presented the opportunity; unable to continue her work as a neurophysiotherapist, working with vulnerable patients, she decided it was now or never! She has written six books so far in the ‘The Boy Who’ series, The Boy Who Breathed Underwater being the first one. The others will be published in the near future.

Animal magic

Before I even opened Animalympics, I was blown away by the gorgeous, eye-catching, richly colourful, hardback cover. I can see kids being immediately drawn to this and pulling it from book boxes around the country. Huge thumbs up to the illustrator Sarah Lou.

There are pages dedicated to separate sports from the well known sprinting and gymnastics, to sports that the younger readers may not be familiar with like fencing, steeplechase, and water polo. This book could be read as a story, but it’s really too long for a bedtime read so I’d dip in and out using it as a spark for classroom activities. And of course, in an Olympics year, it’s going to be an obvious choice.

The other thing I love it is that there is a sport for absolutely everyone, irrespective of size or shape- my personal favourite pic is the sheep hockey team.

The final surprise is the last page. Trust me, this is not an Acknowledgements page to skip. Not only was the book was a fundraiser for UK zoos in 2020 😍, but look at the 🏅 team who were involved. Each name on this list inspires a whole project:

  • Katherine Grainger DBE – rower
  • Hannah Cockcroft MBE – wheelchair sprinter
  • Ali Jawa – paralympic powerlifter
  • and more!

My only grumble is that currently, it’s only an ebook unless you order via the authors website. I’m hoping that changes soon as the hardcover is divine.


Win a signed copy of Animalympics, an Animalympics gold medal plus stickers and bookmarks (Open to UK only)

*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.


Woodpecker Will presents the Animalympics! Whilst the humans stay indoors, the animal kingdom takes over to hold the sporting event of the century! Join the golfing ostriches, trampolining moles and weight-lifting gorillas (plus many more) in a fun rhyming adventure for all ages.

About the author

Josie Dom is a children’s author learning to embrace her individuality.

Join her in a world of imagination where anything could happen and the most important things are friendship and kindness.

Josie lives in the small town of Halstead in Essex with her husband Nic Phine (illustrator of the Lum books), their son and daughter, a mixed-up dog (LabLurchTrievOodle) Frank and a big fluffy ginger cat called Mittens.

Although Josie’s books are too young for her children now, it was their love of stories when they were little which inspired Josie to pick up her pen and create. 

After a lifetime in sensible office jobs, Josie is relishing the opportunity to explore her creative side.

Josie is passionate about supporting causes close to her heart.  Each year, Josie donates 15% of profit on book sales to a children’s charity.

In 2020, due to Covid-19, Josie penned an Animalympics which she used to raise funds for UK zoos.