Book reviews - activity books (page 4)

There are all sorts of activity books available now, some of them featuring characters from well-known children's stories. They can be a very good way to get your child involved with books. This section includes lots of great ideas for entertaining your children at home - many of which will support the work done in school - so do try some of them to encourage and develop your child's creativity. There are also books which involve children as they try to solve the puzzles.

Stick with Stampy! Sticker Book by Joseph Garrett

This is a hugely varied sticker and activity book, which is suitable for children of 5+. It includes games, activities, jokes, two reversible pull-out posters, fun facts about Stampy and his friends... and they all come with over 200 stickers! to keep children happily occupied for many hours. They can use the stickers to design a space craft, a planet, or a cake. Children can make a flip book, finger puppets and play games. The author is a YouTube commentator who posts videos about the game Minecraft as the character Stampy Cat. In 2014, his was one of the ten most watched YouTube channels in the world - so any book with his endorsement will be almost guaranteed a big audience. The range of activities is really excellent - Stampy fan or not, there's plenty for any child.

Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields

Have fun with friends or on your own with the 50+ fast, fun crafts; how about a crafting party - just supply some basic materials and invite a few friends and have lots of fun. The full colour photographs and step by step instructions are easy to follow, and there are crafts to suit a range of abilities and interests. With recipes, easy ideas, and inspiration, Lazy Crafternoon is here to start you out on your journey of creativity. The photos really make the projects look enticing and there are some fresh ideas here that will inspire everyone, including gold confetti canvas, a colourful computer and decoupage shoes.

Life in Colour: A Teen Colouring Book for Bold, Bright, Messy Works-in-Progress by Stephanie Corfee

There are plenty of colouring books for children and adults, but not many specifically aimed at teens, so it's great to see this. We know that colouring is a great stress-buster, and our teens face so many pressures in their lives that anything that helps reduce stress is great. There are 45 designs by 12 different artists, all with teens at their heart. They range from basic to intricate, and these edgy and contemporary pieces of art are just waiting for teens to add your creative flair. View it as a practice space for the budding artist, a gallery of contemporary artwork, and a canvas for your creativity, this book will inspire you to embrace your inner teen, be it band geek, party animal, or daydreamer and colour away! It's all got great street cred - definitely cool colouring.
Star Wars: Colouring By Numbers (Star Wars Colouring Books) from LucasFilm Darth Vader or the Emperor? A TIE fighter or the Millennium Falcon? Rey or Han Solo? R2-D2 or BB-8? You won't know what you are going to reveal when you use the colour codes to complete these original drawings of the heroes, villains, vehicles and worlds of a galaxy far, far away. Each picture has colour-coded numbers to show you where to colour - many of the 98 pictures are really intricate, so a lot of concentration is required - but it will be rewarded when you finish each picture. The characters, vessels and droids of Star Wars will really come to life - and if you get stuck, you can see the finished pictures at the end.

The Power of the Pencil: Draw * Sketch * Doodle * Play with a Pencil by Guy Field

Such a simple little thing but the pencil can be used to marvellous effect, as this creative and inspiring book shows. It starts with the basics, about the different sorts of pencils, how to hold a pencil, how to draw people, shading and much more, as well as fascinating facts and some pencil games. It takes an interesting look at famous users of the pencil, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Quentin Blake, and uncovers the secrets of more advanced techniques such as using tracing paper and drawing the perfect freehand circle. It's all entertainingly written with fun in mind, as well as easy to follow techniques and tips, and will inspire readers to pick up their pencils and start doodling and drawing.

I Can Make My Own Accessories by Georgia Vaux

Creative children and young teens will love to personalise their approach to fashion with the super ideas in this book. It shows readers how to make and customise jewelry, hair accessories, bags, belts and much more. Each project has simple step-by-step instructions clearly laid out with plenty of space on the page to add the reader's own notes and suggestions. The projects are quick, fun and fashionable, easily achieved even by those who are not naturally gifted at craft. The accessories have authentic style appeal and the finished results will bring great satisfaction; they make excellent gifts too.

This Book Thinks You're a Scientist by Harriet Russell

This book explores seven key scientific areas in the Science Museum’s new interactive gallery for children: force and motion, electricity and magnetism, earth and space, light, matter, sound and mathematics - these reflect the topics children will study at primary school. Each two-page spread features an open-ended question or activity, which is explained step-by-step with diagrams to clarify. There is plenty of space on the page for children to write, draw or interact with the book; and when they have finished, the book will make an interesting record of their experiments; there's also a separate section for children to record their own guided independent investigations, including surveys and experiment logs. It's illustrated throughout with practical diagrams and amusing cartoons - it's a book that will make every child enjoy and understand science. An outstanding book, highly recommended for all families with children aged 5 - 11, and equally useful in the classroom.

Let's Get Crafty with Salt-Dough from CICO Books

With 25 creative and fun projects for children aged 2 and up, this is another in Cico Kids exceptional range of craft books. The book is very much designed for adults to enjoy the activities with their children, although some of the activities are good for older children to do alone. Salt dough is easily made by an adult, with kitchen cupboard ingredients, and children get to do the fun bits they enjoy - rolling, kneading and shaping The wide-ranging ideas include (these are my personal favourites!) a tic tac toe game, a handprint tile (the perfect present for grandparents), a dotty dino and fluffy sheep. There are step-by-step photos to help with creativity. As well as being enjoyable, these salt dough crafts will help to prepare children for school by developing their fine motor skills and encouraging them to concentrate on a task and complete it. The book is full of ideas to enjoy together, and there will be some excellent crafts produced as an end result.

Let's Get Crafty with Fabric & Felt: 25 creative and fun projects for kids aged 2 and up from CICO Books

It's great to see that children as young as 2 can tackle some of the crafts in this book - so often, it's hard to find crafts for this age group but they really love to make things. The emphasis in the book is on teamwork and that's good, as making things together offers adult and child huge satisfaction and joy - the child gets to do the messy bits! There are 25 easy-to-achieve projects to make at home, including finger puppets, a cute pom-pom bumble bee, cotton ball sheep, a felt bouquet and printed T-shirts. As well as being enjoyable, these fabric and felt crafts will help you prepare your child for school by developing fine motor skills and encouraging concentration and perseverance; teachers will find the book excellent for classroom use too. The book is illustrated with full colour photos throughout and these really show how to do the craft and what the end product should be. Hours of fun!

Let's Get Crafty with Paper & Glue: 25 creative and fun projects for kids aged 2 and up from Cico Kidz

The creative ideas in this book need paper and glue, plus a few extras which will be easily found around the house, or cheaply purchased. The ideas include colourful party cones, bright paper chains and tissue paper flowers to decorate the house; bracelets, butterflies and a and and bracelets that your child can give as gifts, and pretty paper button photo frame to give as gifts; and and a first plane and walnut shell boats to play with - and lots more besides. Every project has a list of what is needed plus simple step-by-step instructions accompanied by colour photos. This is an excellent series of books - apart from the obvious use at home, the books will make a really good addition to the resources available to school and Early Years settings; they are packed with ideas and inspiration.

Let's Get Crafty with Cardboard and Paint from CICO Books

Again, there are 25 projects, perfect for adults and children to enjoy together. The books are also an excellent resource for pre-school settings, as they use inexpensive (or free), easily obtained materials. Each imaginative craft is fully illustrated with step-by-step colour photos which show you what to aim for - and how attractive the results can be. The instructions are also in easy stages which are simple to follow; a clear list of what is needed is given at the start of each project. Try making a steam locomotive, a shoebox theatre, a bird-feeder or a tissue box desk organiser - the ideas are both pretty and practical. A super way to encourage creativity.

The Learning Garden: First Words: Art Charts by Aino-Maija Metsola

This stunning book contains ten educational posters for young readers of 2+, which can be pulled out and displayed on the wall - they are great for children's bedrooms or playrooms, as well as for Early Years settings. Each poster has its own theme which matches perfectly to young ones' interests and learning - Colours, Counting, Shapes, Opposites, The Four Seasons, Sea Creatures, Woodland Animals, African Animals, Pets, and Transport. Each features a series of appropriate pictures which can be used as a springboard for discussion. The book concludes with ten simple questions for each of the posters; these really encourage children to look closely at the pictures, gaining the maximum benefit from them. Brightly coloured, produced on heavy paper and delightfully illustrated, this is an outstanding book and a great way to develop conversational and observational skills.

Cool Calm Colouring for Kids: Colour by Numbers by Eugenie Varone

Increasingly - and very sadly - we are hearing that primary age children are suffering from stress. We know how much adults can benefit from the relaxation offered by colouring and the same is true for children. These two new books from Carlton Kids are the ideal way for children to move on from standard colouring books to enjoy a greater challenge. Colour by Numbers encourages children to let their imaginations roam free as they enjoy colouring fairytale castles, funky fruit, mysterious creatures and much more. Most of the pictures have colour-coded numbers for children to follow, but there is also the opportunity to use their own creativity with pictures that are not numbered. The discipline of following the colours on the intricate designs means children have to focus on the work in hand, helping them to blot out cares and worries - and at the end, they will have art work of which they can be proud.

Cool Calm Colouring for Kids: Incredible Animals by Elise Toublanc

These amazing animals will be appreciated by children, who will enjoy seeing the pictures come alive as they colour them in. Produced on good quality white paper, the end result will be really effective, whether they use crayons or pens. There are all sorts of marvellous creatures, including peacock, dolphin, deer, parrot, unicorn, stork and seahorse. There is scope to produce excellent works of art, with care and attention to detail - and as children become absorbed in their colouring, so their cares will float away. It's a great way to encourage children to relax after a busy day at school.

Historium Activity Book (Welcome To The Museum) by Jo Nelson

This book complements the superb Historium (Welcome to the Museum), extending and building on the learning that book offers. Full of engrossing facts, puzzles and artistic activities, this book offers hours of entertainment for all creative children and those who love history. The book will really make children think about the objects presented to them, as questions are posed, such as spotting pairs from the same region - flip the page to find the answers. Beautiful and inspiring, the myriad of activities in this book challenge the reader to discover something new and use their imagination to draw, decorate and design on every pull-out page. It's a great way to extend the value of this superb series of books which focuses on the treasures to be found in our museums.

Creaturepedia Activity Book by Adrienne Barman

The subtitle tells us that this book comes with "30 Drawing Activities, 50 Stickers and a Fold-Out Scene to Colour In!" - so you can see it offers plenty of creative fun. The book is illustrated throughout with black and white line drawings that just clamour to be coloured; as well as this, there are plenty of engaging activities for children to enjoy. These will really make children think and use their imaginations - what do they think the dodo looked like? What is the tapir thinking about? The colourful stickers are a real bonus. The four-page foldout at the end of the book can be cut out for colouring and it offers a lovely picture to display which includes many of the creatures featured in the book. A lovely book which will keep children happy for hours. The book accompanies Creaturepedia (Wide Eyed)

The 50 States: Activity Book: Maps of the 50 States of the USA by Gabrielle Balkan

Pack your bags and take the journey of a lifetime with this activity book packed with maps, wildlife, people and places unique to America's 50 states. Activities include state trivia, picture scrambles, dot-to-dots, plus a double-sided fold-out map with flags and presidents pictured on the reverse, and more than 50 stickers - answers are included too. The wide range of activities will give children plenty to think about, as they learn more about the USA. The A4 format gives plenty of scope for colouring and other activities, and the map-making will help develop this important skill. The Again, this book supports one of Wide Eyed Editions' fabulous books - The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps!

Can You Canoe?: And Other Adventure Songs (Book & CD) from Okee Dokee

This lively collection of songs music is ideal to inspire families to get outside and get creative. The twelve songs cover the US from the rolling hills of Appalachia in the east to the canyons and campfires of the West. Along the way, The Brothers' irresistible, boot-stompin' tunes invite kids to wander through the woods and wilderness, where they'll discover hungry black bears and spinners of tall tales; quiet canoes and cosy camping tents; a jumpin' jamboree and a bullfrog opera. Brandon Reece's action-packed illustrations really echo the mood of the songs. Published by Sterling, June 2016, 978-1454918035.

My Little Pony Holiday Fun Sticker and Activity Book

Young My Little Pony fans will love this fun-filled sticker and activity book. Perfect for summer holiday fun, they can go snorkelling with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, join Applejack on a camping trip, hit the beach with Rarity and much, much more. With games, puzzles, colouring in, drawing and over 200 summer stickers, this bright and colourful book is guaranteed to keep little pony fans entertained at home, on holiday and on the move. It's suitable for children aged 3+, and there is plenty here that young ones will be able to enjoy - often activity books are suitable for an older range so it's good to see three year olds can enjoy this book with its generous number of stickers.

Little Collectors: Animal Art: Make art from nature by Jenny Bowers

I love the concept of this set, which encourages children to make the most of their forays out of doors, by observing what is around them and collecting items where suitable to bring home and create a piece of animal art. Perfect for the summer, to encourage children to get outside and explore. The kit highlights the extraordinary things in nature that are all around us, encouraging children to explore, observe and discover. This box includes a 24 page colouring and activity book, a fold-out poster to illustrate and two fold-out frames that children can fill with art created from their collected items from shells and feathers to animal tracks and trails. A super way to combine learning about the natural world with creative activities.

Dots!: Super Connect-the-Dots Puzzles from Conceptis

Puzzles Doodlers and puzzlers at all levels will enjoy this unusual dot-to-dot book which starts with pictures containing dozens of dots and goes up to several hundreds of dots. The puzzles create beautifully detailed colour pictures and give a real sense of satisfaction - even better when you colour them in as well. The pictures show the colours to use to join each set of dots and a pack of 6 crayons is included. The puzzles are available in single-line variants, where a continuous line is drawn from beginning to end, and in multi-line variants, where the line is terminated whenever you reach a star and then resumed at the next number. These super-complex, connect-the-dots puzzles include a cuddly teddy bear, swinging rabbit and musical frog. I like the fact the book has a spiral binding - it can be very frustrating when colouring and activity books don't lie flat.In case the puzzles puzzle you too much, answers are included! A super book. Published by Sterling, JUne 16, ISBN 978-1402755217.

Through the Forest by Steffie Brocoli and Catherine Bidet

This is quite stunning - you know you have picked up a very special book when you see the shaped cut-out tabs to turn the pages by. Mother Forest invites the reader to come for a walk in the forest, and choose which way the walk develops - the choice is up to the reader, right from the start you choose to go north or south. Can you find the best way through the forest and meet all the fascinating characters that live there? Some are noisy, some are tiny and some are quite scary. You choose which route to take, jumping from page to page - it's a book that can be read over and over again, with fresh interest every time. You might fly with the birds or scamper with the insects, but watch out - you never know who's hiding on the next page... The stylish illustrations are simple and uncluttered, with clever use of colour, and they are extraordinarily effective. An engrossing book, beautifully presented.

Creativity on the Go: Horses and Ponies by Andrea Pinnington

The Creativity on the Go series is based on the excellent Creativity series from Carlton Books, and offers all the same super range of activities in an on-the-go format. All children will need is a pack of pencils and they will be set for hours of fun. All based on the theme of horses and ponies, the book includes colouring, puzzles, mazes, spot the difference and more. Children are encouraged to use their creative skills to the full with stencils, stickers and craft paper. There are also lots of facts about horses and ponies to be learnt by doing the activities. Young riders and would-be riders will be thrilled with this book, as will all children who love horses.

Creativity on the Go: Holiday by Mandy Archer

Buy one of these books for each child in your family - they are great for children of 5+ - and they will have plenty to keep them occupied on long journeys, when visiting relatives and friends, and even sitting on the beach on in the park. I can't praise the range of activities highly enough - you need to see these books for yourself to fully appreciate it. Here are just some of the activities in this book which will encourage your child's creativity and improve their drawing and writing skills, thinking skills and imagination. There's art paper to make clothes, flags, stencils and postcards with; dot to dots; games to play; postcards to write; matching to do; and of course, lots and lots of colourful stickers. Brilliant! Take a look at the whole range here

Creativity on the Go: Art by Ruth Thomson

Budding artists will revel in this book with its exciting mix of activities, all designed to increase artistic skills - on the move as well as at home. The sheer variety of the activities is really impressive. Find the works of famous artists and add your own take on them; be creative with a picture frame, door hanger or collage; try out the puzzles and games; use the pages of stencils to embellish the pages; make good use of the stickers - and change them around if you're not happy, as they are reusable. There is plenty here to help with artistic skills too, such as how to draw a face. Children will learn lots of interesting facts about art and artists and the book will help them recognise great works of art. Another exceptional activity book.

Sticker and Colour-In Playbook: Teddy Bear 123 by Jenny Tulip

This colouring book combines the fun of colouring with the introduction of numbers. Follow the friendly bears as one plays all alone, two looks for things in twos, three has lots for tea and four finds things in fours. Then children are introduced to larger numbers, and pages which show numbers that numbers are all around us. The pages can be coloured in using pencils, crayons of felt-tipped pens, and then finished off by placing the special colour stickers (there are over 50) within each scene - I like the fact that the paper is good quality white paper, unlike many similar books - felt pens work well and don't seep through.. The stickers are reusable, so children will be able to complete the pages many times over, or use the stickers to create their own books, games and posters.

Count to 100 (Sticker Fun) from Armadillo

Introduce your child to the world of numbers with this really attractive sticker book. The book includes a range of activities to help children learn about numbers; many of these relate to everyday life (for example, count the numbers on the clock) so children see how numbers are all around us; this offers many ideas to parents for further learning too. The sticker pages are numbered so children can match them to the correct page; this really helps learning and a meaningful use of the stickers. This range from Anness Publishing is really well produced - cover flaps allow children to keep their place; the glossy paper is excellent quality; the stickers are colourful and enticing; the pictures are full of interest. All-in-all, a really good series.

Nature (Sticker Fun) from Armadillo

Take a child's eye look at nature and encourage your child to take notice of the outside world with this beautifully illustrated sticker book. The book includes weather, shapes in nature, nature on your doorstep, and a walk on the wild side among many other topics; engaging questions throughout encourage children to observe the natural world and to take note of what they see. Hunt for the escaped hamster, find another wriggling worm in the wet grass, seek the sheepdog's lost flock, and complete a line of marching ants.There are reusable stickers for every page that can be stuck down time and time again - over 50 of them. Number skills and basic vocabulary are introduced through simple words and pictures; parents can make the most of these by discussing the book with their children, and getting out and about to see the things in real life.

Mix and Match (Sticker Fun) from Armadillo

Matching is an important early learning skill, so give your child a head start with the activities in this book. Children respond well to stickers, making them a great learning tool - they have fun while learning basic skills. Each page contains information about matching and sorting - it's a book for parents to enjoy with their children, so they can share the teaching points. There are lots of questions and activities - put objects into pairs, find the partners (I like the way different vocabulary is introduced), match the clothes, mix the colours and lots more. The illustrations, the majority of which are photographic, are really good quality, bright and detailed, and make this book a real pleasure to use.

Colours (Sticker Fun) from Armadillo

This book offers a great introduction to colours for preschoolers. Children will discover red, green, blue, orange, yellow, purple, brown, pink, black and white and a whole range objects often associated with them, all shown in excellent colour photographic images. The text encourages reading and interactive questioning throughout the book, helping to develop conversational and observational skills. It goes beyond simple colours by exploring the ideas of light and dark, and colour matching. It is full of action photographs of people, animals, toys and other everyday items for youngsters to identify with and talk about. This is an extensive series - take a look at the Anness Publishing website to see the whole fabulous range; you will definitely be impressed!

Where's the Starfish? by Barroux

Find the starfish... the jellyfish... the clownfish... This book carries an important environmental message, which is excellently conveyed. As you search for the little creatures in the beautiful illustrations on every page - and they can be surprisingly hard to spot - your eye is drawn to the debris that man leaves behind. The further into the book you progress, the harder it gets as the rubbish accumulates... until the surprise ending (see how the whale's expression changes). Enjoy sharing this colourful and powerful book with your child and make sure that you share the vital message that is fundamental to the book. In keeping with its theme, the book is made with paper from sustainable forests.

The Ice Age Creativity Book by Emily Stead

These activity books from Carlton Kids are absolutely packed with ideas to keep children entertained. There are five main sections - games, cut-outs, art paper, stickers and stencils, and there are lots of different activities to enjoy under these main divisions. Children can learn to draw Manny, create a Sid the Sloth mask or steer the herd through the maze to a new continent. All the activities are illustrated with stills and character art from the blockbusting "Ice Age" films series - the new film is due soon (July 16), so interest will be high. The ideas in the book are excellent, and they cover a wide range of abilities so the book has something to offer the whole family; there are games to play as a family too. A great value activity book.

KOOB The Upside-Down Book Anna Brett

These very unusual books really challenge children's perception of the world; this is the follow up to KOOB The Backwards Book. Right from the start, it's upside down - you have to flip it over to get started. Like its predecessor, it's packed with unusual and innovative ideas; ideas that children will be trying out in all sorts of situations. You are encouraged to take a new perspective as you hang your head between your legs, do a headstand or ride a rollercoaster, all while completing the hilarious and creative activities in the book. Write, draw, stick, rip, and scribble your way through 144 pages of upside down fun! It's the perfect way to encourage children to think beyond the obvious, and to get them to try unusual things.

Self-Destructing Science: Space by Isabel Thomas

If anyone thinks science is boring, think again! This exciting book is packed with activities that will thrill children, as well as increasing their knowledge and understanding of science. The sheer variety of way to use the pages is awesome - the book will have you tearing, folding, cutting, experimenting and scribbling as you find out all about the wonders of space. As each page is destroyed, you'll make everything from a Martian bug to a pocket rocket, using nothing more than the pages of the book and a few simple household items (clear film, glue, pen and scissors). The easy-to-follow instructions and amazing illustrations mean that science has never been so fun! It's a brilliant book, and the fact you only need a few simple extras make it perfect to have to hand for rainy days and bored children, who will be bored no longer.

The Arty Book by Nikalas Catlow

Artist or not, the unusual approach of this book will encourage you to 'have a go'. 'Arty', your creative buddy, is here to help - and you will see his distinctive red glasses on every page. Throughout the book, there are starting points for simple yet extraordinary art activities. You can add stripes and spots, lumps and bumps, tape, paint, pencil and so much more to the pages of this book - the only limit is your own creativity. The Arty Book is perfect for a rainy day, for enjoying alone or with friends and family, and will supply hours of creative adventure. Includes lots of amazing Arty stickers, too, to make your creations even more exciting. The range of ideas is incredible, and you will definitely be inspired, not just to complete the pages of the book, but to give full rein to your artistic instincts in future.

My Lovely Colouring Book from Bloomsbury

If you love colouring, and enjoy the relaxation it offers, this chunky book with its stunning shapes and patterns in both colour and black-and-white will inspire you. There are all-sorts to colour - hot air balloons, lots of flowers, beautiful birds, pretty patterns and much more. Some are coloured outlines and others have pre-coloured areas to get you started. This lovely colouring book is guaranteed to inspire all ages. These are such pretty pictures - once you pick the book up, you won't be able to resist colouring one... or two... or more.

3D Colorscape Fairytale Forest by Anna Brett

Open the book to reveal 24 double-sided press-out sheets. Two of the sheets can be simply slotted together to form a base. The other card sheets can then be placed into this base, six at a time, to form a detailed 3D scene. The sheets have differently shaped die-cut holes in the centre, and are illustrated on both sides, ready to be coloured in a creative and beautiful way. Children can create their very own fantasy forest world. With so many card combinations, the fun doesn't stop once the cards have been coloured in - kids can keep creating new colorscapes with different card arrangements. This is a cool and creative colouring kit that will spark children's imaginations.

3D Colorscape Ballerina Theatre by Anna Brett

Open the book to reveal 24 double-sided press-out sheets. Two of the sheets can be simply slotted together to form a base. The other card sheets can then be placed into this base, six at a time, to form a detailed 3D scene. The sheets have differently shaped die-cut holes in the centre, and are illustrated on both sides, ready to be coloured in a creative and beautiful way. Children can build their own ballet theatre, putting together scenes from famous ballets, or creating their own, unique scenes by mixing and matching. The fun doesn't stop once the cards have been coloured in - kids can keep creating new ballet colorscapes with different card arrangements.

Draw it! Pirates by Sally Kindberg

Who is walking the plank? How does a pirate take a bath? Is there a sea monster? This chunky drawing book is packed with pictures to complete and ideas to follow which really encourage creativity; there are over 100 stickers to embellish the pictures too. I love the way this book is full of starter ideas - children will be very happy to develop the themes. It's ideal to take out and about - a pack of crayons as well and there will be many hours of fun. This is one in a super series which includes Monsters, Dinosaurs and London - there's bound to be a title to reflect every child's interests - each book is packed full of fun pictures to draw and colour, with plenty of ideas to stimulate even those who are not overly creative.

Seek and Find Dinosaurs (Bloomsbury Activity Book) by Emiliano Migliardo

Bloomsbury activity books are top quality - every page has really good colour pictures, and the range of activities is wide. Young dinosaur fans will enjoy finding the T Rex hiding behind the trees, spotting the Pterosaurs soaring through the sky, tracking down the lumbering Diplodocus and finding the Velociraptor's feather. All the things to spot are pictures shown in little circles, so the book is excellent for young readers; there are also fascinating facts and written questions too, making the book suitable for a wide age range. There's plenty to be learnt from the pictures too, as they show lots of different prehistoric scenes - with touches of humour like dinosaur wearing flippers and Santa hats. Great fun.

Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities That Explore the Wonders of Weather by Annie Riechmann

We all talk about the weather, but how about encouraging children to try these enjoyable activities instead? The engaging science experiments and open-ended art activities in this book aim to give children ages four to eight a basic understanding of the science behind the weather that they experience each day. The book is in four chapters - Baby, it's cold outside; Saving for a rainy day; Let the sun shine in; Where the wind blows. The book encourages encourages creativity, questioning and exploration - it will be an excellent classroom resource to enhance outdoor learning. Children's understanding of the weather will be increased as they try the ideas, including winter fairy castles, what does air taste like and solar prints. Get outside and try these fabulous and varied ideas - whatever the weather.

Now I Can Sew: 20 Hand-Sewn Projects to Make by Sian Hamilton

Sewing is bcoming higher profile, thanks to a certain TV series and this book is the perfect introduction to hand sewing for children of 8+. Most of the projects use felt; there's a good reason for this -  it comes in a wide range of bright colours, is easy to cut and doesn't fray; it can also be sewn using big needles that don't have to be razor sharp. The book introduces the tools and materials that will be needed. The section on techniques is excellent and can be used when sewing with any materials, giving children a good basic understanding of sewing techniques. Other techniques are covered in projects throughout the book. The instructions are very clear and there are step-by-step photos to help; these really do show exactly how to sew. Projects include a pirate loot bag, finger puppets, headband, button tree, pencil case, book cover, cushion, drawstring bag and wall-hanging mobile. There is a good variety and plenty for boys too; the finished items will make lovely presents for friends and family. A good book for any creative family and also excellent for use in schools and clubs. Published by GMC, June 2016, ISBN 978-1784941161.

Mensa Train Your Brain: Cranium Crunchers by Gareth Moore

Brain games are a brilliant way to help children develop logic, reasoning and concentration skills - and they will have fun at the same time. 96 puzzle-packed pages are split into three levels of difficulty - Super Brain, Mega Mind and Ultra Genius. Initially, the puzzles are quite simple, giving children confidence as they start the book; the levels get appreciably harder as the book progresses and children develop their skills. The variety of different types of challenges - numerical, logical and word - will test all areas of puzzle solving, and help children to become familiar with different puzzles; this will be especially useful when tackling VR and non VR questions. All the answers can be found at the back of the book. Most of the puzzles can be done in the puzzler's head, but a few will need pencil notes on the page; these can easily be rubbed out after so the book can be shared. The progression in level is good and the book offers a fascinating range of puzzles.

Mensa Train Your Brain: Perplexing Puzzles by Gareth Moore

This book follows the format of the book above, with 96 puzzles arranged in increasing order of complexity - Super Brain, Mega Mind and Ultra Genius. Number, word and logic skills are put to the test, with one puzzle per page. There are plenty of lively illustrations to add to the interest, and the coloured backgrounds to each page make for a very attractive book. There are plenty of challenges here for all the family - see who can get the answer quickest; you'll be surprised as it will often be the children! Perfect to take out and about, and to keep those brains ticking over during the long summer holidays.

Cool & Calm Colouring for Kids: My Mandalas by Stephanie Rousseau

Perfect for children to do at the end of a busy school day, colouring gives children the chance to relax their minds while being creative. Their imaginations will float free as they add colour to more than 40 gorgeously illustrated mandalas (some have a coloured outer background already) - most of them are highly detailed, meaning that children really have to concentrate to produce good results; this focuses the mind ensuring that worrying thoughts are blotted out. There are charming animals, fluttering feathers, busy butterflies, cute cupcakes, fairytale forests and many more which will come to life before children's eyes. The perforated pages are easy to tear out, making it simple for children to display their colouring masterpieces.

Cool & Calm Colouring for Kids: Creative Colouring and Dot-to-Dot by Eugenie Varone

The pictures in this book are less detailed than in the book above, making it suitable for slightly younger children, but there is still enough detail to ensure they really have to focus on what they are doing, to the exclusion of other thoughts. The colouring pictures include graceful sailing ships, mysterious masks, toppling teacups, pretty presents, exotic animals and much more - there are plenty for girls and boys to enjoy. The dot-to-dot pictures are great to consolidate the learning of numbers - I'm not going to tell you what they are as that will spoil the surprise which is half the fun of dot-to-dots. Some of the pictures are colour by numbers, and this adds an interesting additional dimension to the book. They would be excellent books for after-school clubs, to give children the opportunity to relax whilst still being creative.

Doodle Girl and the Monkey Mystery by Suzanne Smith

Doodle Girl lives inside a big red sketchbook sketchbook with a group of friends and a magic pencil. She uses this to create stories by transforming doodles into amazing adventures. This story starts off with a triangle which Doodle Girl transforms into a magnificent aeroplane, which whisks her and her friends off to a tropical island and into the jungle where they meet monkeys and crocodiles. Accompanying the book you will find a giant doodling poster and pretty stickers. This is really imaginative and I would love to see this become the first of a series.

Smuggler's Starship: Activity Book and Model (Star Wars Construction Books) from Egmont Publishing

These two books will make lovely gifts for any Star Wars fan. Join Han and Chewbacca aboard the fastest bucket of bolts in the galaxy. Packed with amazing puzzles and a Millennium Falcon of your own to build, there’s hours of Star Wars fun to be had.There are mazes, codewords and puzzles in the fully illustrated, full colour activity book. The book includes 6 thick card sheets with press out pieces for readers to create their very own mini Millennium Falcon model. Full instructions are included in the book, and the model slots together nicely - it's perfect for recreating famous scenes from the Star Wars saga, or for children to use their imaginations to make up their own stories. Star Wars is the best selling boys' toy licnece of all time, and the best-selling LEGO theme in history.

Star Wars: Battle Stations: Activity Book and Model (Star Wars Construction Books) from Egmont Publishing

Relive the greatest battles from the Star Wars original trilogy! Join the rebels for the Battle of Yavin as they destroy the evil Death Star, see the mighty Imperial walkers at the Battle of Hoth, and meet the cute Ewoks at the Battle of Endor. Complete mazes, codewords and puzzles in the uniquely illustrated, full colour activity book; of course it's fun, but doing puzzles and activities like this is a brilliant way of developing problem solving and reasoning abilities. Pieces are included to create a mini AT-AT model, perfect for recreating the famous Battle of Hoth scene from Star Wars Episode IV: The Empire Strikes Back. The neat pairing of model to make and activity book for hours of fun are enticingly put together to appeal to Star Wars fans of any age.

Minecraft: The Survivors' Book of Secrets

I must confess to an almost total ignorance of Minecraft, so I have simply included the publisher's information which I hope will tell you all about the latest addition to the Minecraft library. Written by the Chief – the leader of the Survivors who have been around since early days – it contains their most cunning plans and their most ingenious inventions. On the home front, you’ll learn what kind of base best suits your needs, what to stock in your arsenal and how to protect your base with imaginative defensive features. Out in the field you’ll learn how to stalk your enemies, how to master the art of practical munitions and how to crush any opponent in hand-to-hand combat. The Chief also shares little-known tips for how to thrive in the Nether and End and how to attempt a speed run to the End dimension. This is the definitive guide to survival in Minecraft from the experts who’ve lived to tell the tale. Study it carefully and you might just manage to stay alive as long as they have.

XOXO: A Keepsake Journal of Letters to Myself by Laura Barcella

I like the idea of this book for recording memories, rather than using a diary. Sometimes, children can be put off writing a diary because some days there just doesn't seem to be anything to say - and then they lose motivation. Instead, encourage them to write in this very keepsake book which offers a treasured space for writing letters to themselves, to look back on in the future - for their eyes only! It can be hard to get inspiration, so the book is full of prompts - the best advice you have ever been given; the day a teacher went out of their way to help you; your favourite comfort food; a gadget you can't live without - there are ideas here for everyone. The flexi-bound book is beautifully produced, with lovely colourful borders to every page; it's nicely chunky with hundreds of pages to write on. Published by Sterling, May 2016, ISBN 978-1454918240.

The Jungle Book Colouring Book by Ann Kronheimer

This new colouring book from Buster Books is timed to coincide with the release of Disney's new live-action version of The Jungle Book, so there's bound to be lots of interest. If children don't know the stories yet, their interest is bound to be aroused as they colour in the adventures of Mowgli the man-cub, his enemy Shere Khan the tiger, the mischievous monkeys and Kaa the python. If they already know the stories, they will love to be able to put their own colourful interpretation on the pictures. Parts of each picture are already coloured and this gives the book immediate appeal - and there's still plenty of colouring-in to enjoy. Each picture has text to describe its place in the story, which adds to the interest.

Colour in the Queen: Celebrate the Queen's Life with 15 Frameable Prints by Nick Maland

This is definitely a cut above the normal colouring book - it comes with a sturdy card back cover which makes colouring easy with no need to be at a table; each of the 15 pictures is designed to be cut out and framed. Published to commemorate the Queen's 90th birthday, detailed scenes are accompanied by explanatory captions of key events on the reverse side. Each spread marks a different moment of the Queen's life, and features iconic people, places and royal celebrations from across the Commonwealth, making this a mini-history of her life and reign. The level of detail is good and there are touches of fun in the pictures which become more apparent when the pictures are completed. A light-hearted celebration of a remarkable reign.

My First Gardening Book: 35 easy and fun projects for budding gardeners: planting, growing, maintaining, garden crafts by CICO Books

There is so much pleasure to be had when children are encouraged to garden - both for the children who love to see plants grow from tiny seeds and for the adults who share that joy. You don't need a garden, as this book shows - many of the ideas can be carried out on a balcony and some even indoors. As well as plenty of ideas for growing, including a strawberry planter and eggshell gardens, there are some lovely decorating ideas to embellish your garden - especially good for party time. Try plastic bag bunting and ice mobiles. The craft suggestions include herbal bath bags and pressed flower placemats. Clear diagrams help every step of the way, and colour photos inspire children to emulate the finished results. I like the fact the book has planting and craft ideas - it makes it a really useful and inspiring resource with plenty for everyone to enjoy. The attractive layout makes the book a real pleasure to use.

My First Stitching and Sewing Book: Learn how to sew with these 35 cute & easy projects: simple stitches, sweet embroidery, pretty applique from CICO Books

Another impressive book from CICO Kids - they really do know how to bring us inspiring craft books that will encourage everyone to get crafty, even the more reluctant among us. Sewing techniques are explained, then there are chapters on Jewellery and Accessories, Toys and Dolls, Stationery and Storage, and finally Gift Ideas, which is full of ideas to make presents for friends and family. Each project has simple step-by-step artwork to guide you, plus a clearly marked skill level so that you can start with the simpler projects and move on to more challenging crafts as you become a more confident stitcher. The colour photos really encourage creativity, as the results look so good. It's a book that will encourage you to browse - the presentation is excellent - and once you have browsed, there are bound to be some ideas you will want to try. A good classroom or school club resource too.

My First Science Book - Explore the wonders of science with this fun-filled guide: kitchen chemistry, fantastic physics, backyard biology from Cico Kidz

Hands-on science - the best way to learn! Children will have masses of fun with this activity-packed book, and as they play, they will be understanding all manner of scientific concepts. Each activity has a fact box which explains the science behind what is happening, and this is ideal to support KS2 science. There are three main sections to the book, as outlined in the subtitle; these match the new KS2 SATS tests. Almost all the experiments can be done without adult supervision, and the equipment needed will be readily to hand. Here's a taster of some of the activities - a bubble bigger than you, two ball bounce, ice cream science and pop-up glove. The presentation is excellent; the instructions are easy to follow and there are plenty of illustrations to guide through the ideas.

Make Your Own Zoo: 35 projects for kids using everyday cardboard packaging by Tracey Radford

I really like the concept of this book - to focus on making a zoo means there is a real objective to the book, rather than a random collection of ideas. Once children have made a range of the suggested animals, and accompanying scenery, they will have hours of fun playing. It would be a great project for the classroom too, as everyone could contribute and there would be a really effective display afterwards. The book is in six sections - Safari, Jungle, Arctic, Aviary, Aquarium and Enclosures & Scenery. Make a pride of lions, a grinning crocodile, a family of penguins, chattering parrots, stingrays, an octopus and many more - all using recycled materials. And then bring them together by learning to make enclosures and scenery, so your creatures have homes. There are also instructions for making trees, rocks, icebergs, grass, and flowers so you can really set the scene. A really well thought out book which would make a super project to enjoy as a family or as a class or other group. The lovely colour photos will inspire you too.

More Origami for Children - 35 fun paper projects to fold in an instant by Mari Ono

This is another excellent craft book from Cico Books. The projects range from very easy, so that children can take their first steps in origami - the tulip or the rabbit are great for teaching young ones the basics - and every project is labelled with a difficulty level. More advanced origami addicts will love the koala, windmill, snowflake, and even a dinosaur. It's amazing what can be made with a few folds! The best thing about the book is that it comes with 60 pieces of paper, all marked up ready to create specific objects. These are slotted into a plastic wallet on the inside back cover meaning you can make models anywhere: at home, in the park, on holiday, with your friends at school, or on a train. A perfect introduction to the art of origami.

Twirlywoos Colouring Book

This fun colouring book is perfect for young fans of the TV series. The pictures are well sized and they are simple enough for young ones to complete. There are the Quacky Birds, flying over the sea, Great BigHoo and Toodloo, Chickedy and Chick and, of course, the Very Important Lady. Prompts tell children the right colours to use - but why not see if they can remember from watching the programmes? There's also colour by numbers and a rainbow to colour in, so there's plenty of fun for all little ones to enjoy as they develop key early learning skills.

Grids: A drawing book for squares by Jacky Bahbout

I love this book! I really enjoy doodling and drawing - a great way to unwind - but I have no artistic ability or inspiration so this book is perfect for anyone like me. It's crammed with fill-in inspirational grids and patterns, providing all the tools needed to create a riot of geometric and free-flowing designs. Every page has a pattern on it, with ideas started on the page to get you going. Use shading to make a solar system of planets; design robotic spare parts; draw a maze; create a cityscape; draw pinwheel whirls... the ideas are endless and all so unusual. There are grids with spirals, grids with spots, cross-hatches, triangles, letter-shapes, blobs and more... Children start by following the picture ideas in the book, then come up with their own creative ideas using the patterned pages. It's an exciting way to encourage children (and adults) to be creative and I love the unusual ideas.

Doodle Magic: Monsters by Suhel Ahmed

Children can let their imaginations run riot with this innovative doodling book. The first thing you will spot in the book is the reusable luminous drawing sheet - draw or write on this with the integral stylus (or just your finger) and then, if you want to start again, lift the sheet and replace and your picture has vanished! Further into the book you'll find a creepy collection of strange creatures, ghastly zombies, and gruesome gargoyles - 64 pages full of inspiring doodling ideas and step-by-step drawing prompts. The aspiring artist can either draw straight into the book, or practise using the reusable sheet. There's a mixture of projects that use the included plastic stylus and reusable luminous drawing sheet as well as printed pages for doodling with your own pens, pencils, or crayons. With plenty of ideas to copy, this is a great way to get those creative juices flowing. How about encouraging your child to write stories about their monsters too?

The Wild Atlantic Way: My Ireland Activity Book by Natasha Mac a'Bháird

The Wild Atlantic Way is a spectacular coastal route which stretches for 1500 miles along Ireland’s dramatic western seaboard taking in some stunning scenery along the way. Whether lucky enough to visit, or just wanting to know more about Ireland, young readers can enjoy a wide range of puzzles, games and colouring as well as learning lots of interesting facts in this fascinating book. Sasha Seal and her friend Gulliver Gull guide the reader through crosswords, matching games, mazes, wordsearches and stories, all linked with this beautiful coastline. The book is illustrated in full colour throughout and it's an engrossing way to learn more about this beautiful place.

Hooray for Mr William Shakespeare!: A Sticker Activity Book by Marcia Williams

Introduce children to Shakespeare and his works through this sticker activity book and they will be stimulated to find out more. Marcia Williams is one of the best and most original retellers of Shakespeare, and here children can enjoy that talent while embellishing the pages with the 100+ stickers included. Five best-loved plays are featured in the book - A Midsummer Night's Dream, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet and The Tempest. The novel activities include helping Macbeth find his way home from battle, transforming Bottom into an ass using a sticker, and adding the actors to the stage of the Globe Playhouse ready for a performance of Romeo and Juliet! As well as stickers, there are wordsearches, mazes, drawing and colouring. A brilliant way to make Shakespeare really appeal to children.

Pattern Play: Cut, Fold and Make Your Own 3D Animal Models by Nghiem Ta

Children can make their own animal menagerie with this activity pack of 19 3D models to cut, fold and then decorate with 50 stickers which are part of the book. Each pull-out page features a different animal print with simple step-by-step instructions and the outline shape to cut out on the reverse. The prints are quirky and colourful, perhaps not what you would expect but nonetheless gloriously colourful. There are animal facts to inform young readers too, and fascinating facts about animal camouflage. Even when the models are finished, there are ideas for using up the left-over paper, as well as suggestions for imaginative play with the completed models.

Von Doogan and the Great Air Race (The Phoenix Presents) by Lorenzo Etherington

This book is an intriguing combination of comic and puzzle book, and it's one that will keep children engrossed for many hours as they tackle the fiendishly difficult puzzles as well as enjoy the story. The puzzles and artwork combine to tell an astonishing tale of derring-do - a tale that gives the reader the chance to decide Doog's fate as they tackle the puzzles and help Doog combat mid-air collisions, freezing storms and deadly saboteurs. It's a real brain work-out!

Shakespeare Sticker Book by Rob Lloyd Jones

Commemorate 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare with this lively colourful sticker book. There are over 500 stickers to decorate seven scenes from Shakespeare's life and times, and six scenes from some of his most popular plays. The final, chaotic scene is the disastrous fire at The Globe. The colourful scenes will help children learn about Elizabethan London and plays such as Macbeth and The Tempest and popular characters such as Romeo and Juliet, Titania and Bottom, young Shakespeare and more all depicted in the stickers. The scenes are bright and colourful, and look super when completed with the stickers. Snippets of historical information make this a great introduction to Shakespeare's life and plays. It's a brilliant way to encourage an interest in our greatest playwright.

Robots to Make and Decorate: 6 Cardboard Model Robots by Roberto Stelzer

Always wanted your own robot? No problem with these stylish card robots to push out, put together and then decorate. There are three robots with ready-made designs - ER48, Lunetic and Rodot - plus 3 plain robots just waiting for you to customize with paint, pens or some of the 75 colourful stickers included. The instructions are mostly visual, making this an easy build for any age; we found the pieces came out crisply and slotted together with ease. Created by Brazilian designer Roberto Stelzer, these make great craft activities and very stylish finished pieces for any home. Great fun for all ages - why not encourage children to make up stories or plays around them to develop their creativity and story-telling skills?

The Sky Guys by Madeleine Rogers

The Sky Guys are five birds - flamingo, owl, hummingbird, albatross and pelican - who are described through two-page spreads of rhymes and pictures; it's a good way to introduce young children to some amazing and varied birds and their habitats. Then children can enjoy using the pull-out cards to construct into 3D figures. The shapes pop out neatly and cleanly from the card, then all they need to do is fold carefully along the lines, following the instructions, and add a dab or two of glue to hold the model together.The inside of the sturdy dust jacket is printed in full colour with sky, sea and land; children can use this as a backdrop for the birds and there are also accessories to make and add to the scene. Encourage them to act out performances with the birds to develop imagination, story-telling and creativity; they will have many hours of fun. Published by Button books, 7 April 2016), 978-1908985439.

London Sticker Book by Margot Channing

There are six iconic London scenes to decorate with stickers chosen from over 350 colourful sticker pictures. Children will have hours of fun adding stickers to these spreads to make the scenes look the way they want; in addition, each spread features things to look for, find and count, along with fun facts and questions. The scenes are St Paul's, Houses of Parliament, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square. There's a treasure hunt activity at the end which means children can go back and spot things they might have not have noticed before - it's a good way to get them to look back and observe. A good way to help children get to know our capital city, whether or not they can visit.

Ocean Ultimate Sticker Book from DK

Children will really come to appreciate the beauty of the underwater world with the colourful stickers in this book. 250 reusable stickers allow children to discover all about marine life from whales and turtles to clownfish and tang, from jellyfish and octopus to seagulls and pelicans. As well as the stickers, there are fun facts which support Key Stage 1 teaching of oceans and their inhabitants, and encourage children to develop a keen interest in the subject. The stickers are superb - they are top quality photographs and the backgrounds provided give plenty of guidance so young children can make some lovely pictures.

Where's Larry This Time? by Philip Barrett

Larry the Leprechaun is off on another journey around Ireland and this time he is visiting Cobh, The Titanic Quarter (Belfast), Ben Bulben, Donegal, Clonmacnoise, Westport House, Hook Head Lighthouse, Kilkenny Castle and more. But these places are always really busy, full of people enjoying themselves and Larry is hiding in the middle of Irish dancers, traditional musicians, climbers, tourists, hurlers and many others. There's not just Larry to spot either - look out for his family for an extra challenge - four levels of challenge make the book suitable for a wide range of ages. The lively pictures are full of detail with lots to be learnt about Ireland.

Little School / Go on Holiday (Busy Buddies) by Ilana Exelby

Two books in one offer children hours of fun in this flip-over book. The first side is all about school with activity-packed classrooms and busy playgrounds. The classroom features a page for each lesson including geography, science and art. Around the edges of the pages are questions for children to answer and things for them to spot on the busy pages. Flip the book over and it's off on holiday - to the waterpark, the funfair, the beach and more. Children will develop counting and sorting skills as they answer the questions around the pages, and search for the many objects hidden in these engaging and exciting books.

Little Street / Little Theatre (Busy Buddies) by Ilana Exelby

Introduce children to the magical world of the theatre then flip the book over to find out what goes on in a busy street. All around the edges of the pages are questions for children to answer; this encourages their observation. Inside the theatre, they will enjoy scenes from Rapunzel, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and Snow White. Then it's time to enjoy the busy street scenes where children can spot many familiar things from the world around them. These are excellent books to encourage children to talk about what they can see - the busy, action-packed scenes really lend themselves to this and provide the perfect opportunity for conversation.

The National Trust: Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Nature by Rebecca Jones

I can see these flying off the shelves in National Trust shops - and how wonderful to see Nosy Crow collaborating with the National Trust. This is colouring with a purpose - lovely cards to send your friends and family. The twenty four gorgeous designs include woodland animals, flowers, butterflies and birds - there is intricate detail to enjoy. Take inspiration from nature, or get experimental - try unusual colours and different materials to make each card truly unique. There's blank space inside for a message, envelopes to customise and even colourful stickers to seal the card.The cards are perforated on the inner edge but there's also a line to cut along for real neatness; the rest of the cards are held in by just a tiny join. I have been doing paint-by-numbers and tried out left-over acrylic paints - they work brilliantly and give a great result. Fine liners work well too and the thick card means no bleed-through. The envelopes are easy to fold too. The set has been implemented with a real eye for detail and the end results are fabulous - a brilliant book of colouring.

Collection of Curiosities: Bugs by Vicky Egan

This is way beyond what you would expect from an activity book - it is a superbly presented and illustrated reference book which will be referred to long after all the stickers have been stuck in and the activities completed. Entertaining and educational in equal measure, this highly informative activity book is packed with fabulous facts, animal puzzles, stunning stickers and a pull-out poster to test your brain on bugs. There's a great range of activities to help retention of those bug facts, including art challenge, word searches and mazes. The botanically-styled illustrations are full of informative detail and the whole book is a sheer joy.

The Princess Craft Book: 15 Things a Princess Can't Do Without (Little Button Diaries) by Laura Minter

Make crafting dreams come true for anyone who loves princesses and all things sparkly and sequined. Cut, stick, sew and paint your way into an ice princess's world, from the skirt, gloves and crown that she wears to the castle she lives in and the puppets and snow globe that she plays with. Your little princess will want every one of these super projects. Each project is illustrated by a full page colour photo, plus photos of steps along the way. The 'you will need' lists are comprehensive, ensuring you won't get caught out partway, and the instructions, although detailed, are easy to follow and well described. Projects include: Heart Handbag and Charm, Secret Castle Trinket Box, Salt Dough Twinkle Wand, Winter Princess Cape, Three Quick Crowns, Ice Princess Tutu, Royal Theatre and Snow Queen Snow Globe. These aren't five minute projects - they all take quite a bit of effort but the end result will be well worth while. Published by GMC, March 2016, ISBN 9781784940997.

The Knight Craft Book: 15 Things a Knight Can't Do Without (Little Button Diaries) by Laura Minter

If you have an aspiring knight whose dream would be to don sword, shield, helmet and gauntlets to slay a dragon, then this is the craft book for you. With 15 heroic and daring projects, even the most reluctant of crafters will be keen to get stuck in. With cutting, sticking, painting and cooking, you can create a prince's exciting world of castles, catapults and crowns. Also with ideas on cake and nibbles for a medieval banquet, the fun carries on long after the craft kit has been packed away. Projects include: Jousting Horse, King's Crown, Sword and Scabbard, Duct-Tape Shield, Dragon Cape, Knight's Helmet, Bow, Cardboard Fort, Knight's Tabard and Shoebox Catapult. The Little Button Diaries blog itself was formed by two crafting friends/mums who just wanted to share ideas with friends and family and went on to win awards and are now launching their first books. With care, you may well be able to involve your child in parts of the projects too.They are full of inspiration and will be perfect to have to hand for dressing up, fancy dress parties - and most of all, for that day when your child comes home from school and says "I've got to have a costume for...'. Published by GMC, March 2016, ISBN 9781784941000.

Orchard Toys Animals Sticker Colouring Book

Orchard Toys have produced six new sticker books which reflect the same excellent values as their toys and games - and all British made, of course.  We were lucky enough to be sent two for review.This 24 page fun sticker colouring book features bold, uncomplicated and friendly animal pictures for children to colour in and be creative with - the book suggests using crayons, felt tips, glitter - even cotton wool. Unlike many sticker books recommended for 3 year olds, this really is suitable for the age group, with big bold outline pictures for children to colour and well sized stickers without any of those upsetting little fiddly bits that tear off, often leading to tears - these are simple shapes and they peel easily off the backing. Children will love to spot some familiar Orchard Toys characters in this educational book full of friendly animal characters. Buy from Orchard Toys.

Orchard Toys Things To Do Sticker Activity Book

This activity book is suitable for children of 5+ and offers progressive learning as the puzzles increase in complexity through the book. The puzzles include odd one out, word searches, matching, rhyming, dot to dot, crosswords, spot the difference and much more. The book is printed on good quality bright white paper with clear print, perfect for young ones. There are two pages of easy-to-use colourful stickers to add to the fun and learning. Once children have enjoyed the puzzles, the pictures are great to colour too. It's a well thought out book, with plenty of variety to keep children engaged and learning. Buy from Orchard Toys.

Fingerprint Activities: Animals by Fiona Watt

It's really hard to resist trying out this enticing book! Seven brightly coloured sponges adorn the cover along with a range of cute creatures created using fingerprints. All sorts of animals can be created from pigeons to peacocks, cats to koalas and snails to squirrels. Each page has step by step instructions with pictures to complete and lots of space for fingerprinting. There are ready-printed colourful backgrounds to make the pictures stand out. Once children have mastered the simple techniques, they will be inspired to go and try making their own pictres.The book comes with a spiral binding so it lies flat for ease of use. It's a simple idea but well executed to make a lovely creative activity.

Creativity on the Go: Dinosaurs by Penny Worms

This super series from Carlton Kids has got a title to appeal to a wide range of interests - a great idea as it means you can buy one for each member of the family, knowing they will have a book that really interests them. This book is filled with dinosaur themed activities, puzzles, stickers, games, stencils and makes to try at home. Children can start by drawing themselves in the time machine, then off they go on a wonderful exploration. Hours of fun for all dinosaur fans, with a varied range of activities.

Creativity On the Go: Pirates by Andrea Pinnington

Here's a book for aspiring heroes of the high seas to really get their teeth into. But first - they must take the test to see if they have got what it takes to be a pirate! If they pass, they can complete their pirate profile then get stuck into the activities. It's full of unusual ideas, such as patterned paper so children can cut out the outlined clothes. There are puzzles to enjoy, a page of stencils that can be used to embellish the pictures in the book or for children to make their own pictures; there are more suggestions in the book too. There are plenty of pictures to colour and opportunities to use the imagination to draw too. There's a flag to design, cookies to bake, a mask to cut out... the ideas just go on and on. Brilliant.

Creativity on the Go: Dragons by Andrea Pinnington

A full page of stencils and over 150 stickers add to the fun in this packed activity book - but make sure children have read the humorous warning about dragons first! There are lots of things to make - a dragon mask, door hangers and a sword, as well as dragon scales to use as decoration. Although much of the book uses a single colour, there are plenty of full colour pages to enjoy and these include the pages printed to look like dragon scales. The ideas throughout the book are full of imagination and are a great way to encourage creativity in children. These would be perfect books to take with you on a long journey, or visiting relatives or on holiday - anywhere you go that you want something to keep children happily engaged for many hours - just add some crayons and you're done.

Creativity on the Go: Style Queen by Andrea Pinnington

Girls will love this title, and the one below - hours of girly fun!.Gemma and her dog Sparkle are here to take young fashionistas on a magical journey into the glamorous world of fashion - complete the activities to claim your Style Queen Award. There are lots of things to make - badges, rose petal perfume, a necklace and slumber party invites; there's pretty paper to cut out outfits from too. Stickers, stencils, games, puzzles... a fabulous array of fun for girls to enjoy.

Creativity on the Go: Princess by Andrea Pinnington

Once again, the book includes a huge range of activities to keep children amused, and to encourage their creative skills. There are fun games to play including escape from the enchanted forest and princess-y dominoes; of course, there are stickers and stencils too. The books are all really attractive, with delightful illustrations and plenty of colour; they are really engaging and enticing, and the variety of activities is quite remarkable. This is a super series of books, packed with a huge number of creative activities and offering fantastic value for hours and hours of fun.

The Cars, Trains and Planes Creativity Book by Anna Bowles

Wow! I was really impressed with the Creativity on the Go series, with all that has to offer - and now there's even more with these two superb bumper books. Transport fans will be over the moon with the amazing range of activities, puzzles, stickers, games, stencils and makes to try at home. From old steam engines to futuristic cars, and with everything in between, there is so much here to enjoy. There are two pages of stickers and a sheet of stencils that encourages even young children to be creative. There's also transport-themed art paper. Here are just a few of the ideas - story writer, door hangers, make an airport scene and car race colouring. The trifold back cover opens out to provide two wonderful scenes - an airport and a train journey for the stickers to be used on again and again. Brilliant.

The Monster Creativity Book by Penny Worms

To whet your appetite - make monsters with socks and toilet rolls, make monster faces, spot the odd one out, dress up monster style (the patterned paper is a great feature), draw monster faces on food and write a monster poem. Teachers will find the books a great stand-by for the classroom. Fold out beach and woodland scenes encourage children to create pictures with stickers... and again ... and again. There are stencils to create other pictures too. The number of different activities to be found in these books is quite mind-boggling - they are simply fantastic and excellent value too. Keep them by for rainy days and children will have no excuse to say "I'm bored". Wonderful books.

The Gruffalo and Friends Activity Case by Julia Donaldson

The perfect pack for travelling, holidays, visiting... anywhere in fact! There are four small format books based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler award-winning books: The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom activity books and The Gruffalo's Child and The Snail and the Whale colouring books. There are plenty of different activities to enjoy in all the books, and children will enjoy reading the extracts from the books as they go. The two activity books include lovely full colour pictures from the stories, and there's plenty of colour in the colouring books too. All this is accompanied by four sticker sheets, one for each book, with lots of Axel Scheffler's pictures. It's neatly packed in a case with a convenient carry handle - there's just room to slip in a few crayons for perfect portability. A lovely collection which will make a perfect gift for any child, and enhance their pleasure in the original books.

Gruffalo Explorers: The Gruffalo Winter Nature Trail by Julia Donaldson

Encourage children to observe the world around them with this colourful spotters' guide which is full of fun, winter-themed indoor and outdoor activities in a perfectly pocket-sized book. There are over 200 stickers too and these will encourage children's observation skills. Young Gruffalo fans will be encourage to enjoy and engage with nature and the outside world as they enjoy the wide-ranging activities which include drawing, spotting and crafts; there are plenty pf pages for children to write and draw about what they have spotted. This fun wintertime sticker activity book is about stopping, seeing, listening and collecting in a way that's accessible and fun, and the activities  link into the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) learning, so it's a good way to support and extend that work. Axel Scheffler's lovely illustrations make the bock a real treat - look out for the other seasons too.

3, 2, 1...Draw! by Serge Bloch

This highly imaginative and inspiring book will set your creativity off to new heights. There's a talkative aubergine, asparagus forest, big cheeses to create and pan-bots to draw and name - and that's just in the kitchen! Serge Bloch's wonderful and off-the-wall inventiveness invites creators young and old to reimagine more than fifty everyday items all around us and bring them to life with the stroke of a pen, as they explore the wonders that lie within the four walls of the house, with a trip to the garden included. You will see everyday objects in a completely different way once you have enjoyed this unusual book, and everyone will be inspired. Even if you think you have no artistic ability, prepare to be amazed!

Chinese Patterns to Colour by Struan Reid

Be warned - if you buy this book as a present, you may well be tempted to keep it for yourself! The book starts by introducing Chinese colours, patterns and calligraphy and continues with a fabulous range of pictures to colour. There are Chinese houses, royalty, birds, landscapes, warriors, dragons... and so much more. As well as lovely pictures to colour, there are lots of pieces of information to help with understanding Chinese culture, and there are guidelines on the colours to use to make the pictures perfect. The heavy paper will take felt tips as well as crayon, if you want vivid results. A lovely book.

Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer London by Fiona Watt

Perfect for all young fashionistas and apparently from one of Harper Beckham's favourite series, comes this book perfect to fit in with London Fashion Week. London is one of the great fashion capitals of the world and young designers will be inspired by the London backgrounds to come up with their own designs. Their creativity will be helped by the 350+ stickers which include 150 either completely blank or with patterns to colour for themselves. The book includes some really useful hints and tips on how to choose colours, patterns and shapes that work together. From the glamour of the red carpet to a day spent cycling by the river, every occasion is here with models to dress and accessories to design. Fun and inspiring, girls will find plenty of hints to help with their own wardrobe design.

Alphadoodler: The Activity Book That Brings Letters to Life by Jan Bajtlik

This super activity book really does bring letters to life, encouraging the happy doodler (young or old) to see letters in a completely fresh way. Alphadoodler invites children to play with typography, using well-known letterforms to create all manner of things, including creepy-crawlies, impossible skyscrapers, a crocodile's toothy grin, and even ghost letters with toothpaste. Packed full of activities for children to draw, scribble, cut, color, glue, paint, and design, the book provides a brilliant way to extend children's creative skills as there are so many opportunities for them to come up with their own ideas to embellish the pictures. Letters can become anything you want in this fascinating book and adults and children alike will love it.

It's the Twirlywoos: Sticker Activity Book (Twirlywoos) by Anne Wood

The Twirlywoos are popular CBeebies characters and children will love to see the characters in book form. Great Big Hoo, Toodloo, Chickedy and Chick are here to encourage children to find the right stickers to finish the Big Red Boat, balance the friends on top of Great BigHoo, put the Very Important Lady together and more. The activities encourage children to really think about what they are doing and there are plenty of opportunities for adult and child to interact using the book. The stickers are all set out by page and they are well sized and without small twiddly bits which can tear and result in upset little ones. Fun and engaging, children will enjoy this.

Bing Let's Play Sticker Activity Book

Bing is a popular character who helps young ones cope with new situations - and Bing and his friends love to play. Children can share the fun with them in this sticker activity book which is packed with games and activities - and over 100 colourful stickers (all nice and easy for little fingers to use, helping with manipulative skills). Children can use the stickers to help Bing to play musical statues, finish his jigsaw, make eggy heads, build sandcastles and much more. There are plenty of other activities too, and every page has an attractive full colour background to make the book pretty and engaging. At the end of the book, it's tidy up time - tidying up is a Bing thing and perhaps it will encourage your child to tidy up too!

Hello Kitty: Pretty Patterns Colouring Book

This colouring book is packed with pretty patterns to colour, many of them quite intricate so young artists can create some really lovely pictures. There are sequins and sparkle to colour and then a crown to design using some of the ideas; colour the fancy dress party pictures then create fancy dress designs on the facing page; colour the bows then design an outfit for Kitty. These are just some of the ideas - there are lots more lovely patterns too. It's the perfect way to encourage girls to get creative with plenty of pretty ideas to encourage them.

Hello Kitty Dress-Up Doodles

Hello Kitty loves dressing up and now children can help her, using inspiration from this book. Whether it's a trip to the shops, party time, a night away or time for a swim, Kitty always likes to look her best. This fabulous book is packed with pretty clothes and accessories to colour, draw and design, so grab your pencils and get sketching. Full of ideas, girls will really enjoy this inspirational book which is a great way to encourage creative design skills - there are hats to design jewellery to colour, umbrellas to embellish... lots of fun.

8 Ways to Draw an Elephant by Paola Ferrarotti

This fascinating oversized art activity book featuring the Indian elephant introduces children to a variety of Indian art traditions. Eight different art styles are included in outline and completed in colour so children can copy the different folk and tribal styles. The book really engages the young artist, firstly by exploring 'What is art?' and then by giving information and posing questions throughout the book. It's a great way for children to learn about different styles of art, or simply to express their own creativity by using imagination. The pictures are printed on good quality paper, so the artwork can be displayed with pride. Older children will begin to understand that art is as much about the imagination as it is about depiction. A lovely and unusual book.

The Map Colouring Book (Colouring Books) by Natalie Hughes

This is an excellent way to increase children's knowledge of our world. Children can colour their way around the world in this gigantic colouring book. The maps are full of features - landmarks, buildings, animals, artefacts and places to colour. Each map is single sided and the pages are thick paper with perforations so children can display their creations. The maps would also be an excellent classroom resource for displays. The maps are accompanied by bitesize bits of information to help children learn about different countries. There is also a page of outline maps, with coloured dots to show children how to colour them in; again, this would make a lovely page to display when finished. This is a stunning book both for its size and for the amount of detail on the maps. Another great book from Buster Books.

The Jigsaw Sticker Book (Buster Jigsaw Books) by Genie Espinosa and Chantal Renn

Young puzzle enthusiasts will love this Jigsaw Sticker Book - it's all the fun of a jigsaw but much easier to pick up and carry around, meaning it's fun on-the-go. Buster Books have come up with an innovative new concept which allows children to create their very own book of jigsaws. Each page features a colourful jigsaw with some pieces missing, which must be found and stuck in to create a beautiful completed sticker jigsaw picture. The bright colours and pretty pictures are very appealing and the jigsaw pieces are big enough not to be frustrating for little fingers. It's great fun and I think adults will be tempted to have a go too!

Rescue Vehicles (Junior Builder) by Chris Oxlade

Emergency vehicles hold a perennial fascination for children and this combination of book and model is bound to be well received. The box includes a colourful book which tells children about nine different rescue vehicles including a fireboat,a rescue helicopter and a firefighting plane as well as the more common vehicles. The vehicles are described in text and with clearly labelled pictures; a feature box gives additional facts on how the vehicle works or what it contains. Once children have learnt about the vehicles, they can create the model from parts housed in the integral box which contains the die-cut parts to make a colourful, robust fire truck model, complete with working ladders and wheels that go round. The model is sturdy and plenty strong enough to allow for many hours of play. A good combination of book and model which would make a perfect gift.

Collection of Curiosities: Dinosaurs Activity Book by Polly Cheeseman

This excellent book is a cut above the average sticker book and once completed, it will make a good reference book - well worth keeping. Full of information, both entertaining and educational, this colourful and attractive activity book is packed with fabulous facts, prehistoric puzzles, stunning stickers plus a pull-out poster to test your dinosaur knowledge! Draw Tyrannosaurus, help Zalambdalestes hunt for insects in the Mammal Maze and spot the odd Maiasaura egg out, there are all sorts of activities to enjoy and you will quite likely meet some new dinosaurs too. There are lots of good illustrations and plenty of facts too. This book is brimming with fabulous dinosaur facts and activities and will make a great addition to any young dinosaur fans' library.

23 Ways to be a Great Artist by Jennifer McCully

How would you like to paint like Jackson Pollock, sculpt like Henry Moore, and make paper cut-outs like Matisse? With the aid of this book, you may just be able to! And even if your results aren't quite so good, trying out the mixture of simple and challenging projects will be great fun and will certainly improve your skills. The activities are broken down into easy steps with plenty of illustrations to show just what you should be achieving. Technical information in bite-size facts is useful to learn about the different media, and a key point of this book, which I really like, is the fact it includes many different forms of art. The reader will also learn about the artist behind each project, be encouraged to think about the ideas behind great art, and learn how to adapt styles and techniques to use on a variety of creative endeavours. It's a book which works well on many different levels, with lots of information and plenty of activities to try out - excellent.
 activity set

Miles Kelly Activity Set

Get children in the mood for some practical learning with the amazing children’s books in this great-value Activity Gift Set for only £20! Perfect for children aged 7+.  Project Body is a fantastic approach to learning, packed with simple facts and fun activities to easily engage young learners. Full of information, presented in succinct fact boxes and accompanied by activities to help understanding; the illustrations are excellent; there's even a big, fold-out skeleton! Super Science Experiments is a fantastic book, with excellent step-by-step photos and instructions for 40 must-do experiments that will support and enhance learning. Simple to do, and clearly explained, this will really give a good basic understanding of science. How to Draw Animals will soon get budding artists drawing 15 animals confidently, with step-by-step instructions and sketches. The attractive presentation and clear layout is very encouraging to young artists, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. Buy from Miles Kelly; you can see all the sets here.
 Me and My World

I'm Learning About the Tudors from Me and My World

Get inside the world of the Tudors with this activity pack designed to help educate children through the use of a book and then bring out their creative and role playing side with the dressing up costume. The drawstring bag (perfect for storage) includes an Usborne Tudors & Stuarts book which explores the Tudor world from battles and beheadings, to plots and plague, this book tells the story of life in Britain under the Tudors and Stuarts. Follow the dramatic events that shaped Britain at a time of adventurous explorers, scientific geniuses and political trailblazers. I received the kit with a Tudor Queen Costume; the dress and headband are well made, very colourful and great fun for children to wear as they take on the role of a queen to bring history alive. The Tudor Boy Costume comes with a robe and hat - both come in medium and large. Buy from Me and My World and take a look at the rest of their imaginative range, which are all superb for encouraging role play, learning and developing social skills.

Dressing the Naked Hand by Amy White

Subtitled "The World's Greatest Guide to Making, Staging, and Performing with Puppets" this is a fascinating insight into a world that is accessible to everyone. With masses of colour photographs and a DVD with over 2 hours of hilarious instructional videos, this is the perfect how-to book for all levels of puppetry skill, from beginners to master artisans. With instructions on making hand puppets, turning stuffed animals into puppets, building hand puppets, performing, inventing voices, building stages, and more, this is the most comprehensive book of its kind. And if that's not enough, there are jokes and puppet humor throughout to keep you entertained as you read. It really is an interesting read and gives an excellent insight into the world and the potential of puppets.

Colour Away Your Worries: A Calming Colouring and Drawing Book for Kids (Buster Activity Books) by Leslie Ironside

Colouring is a great stress-busting exercise so children will really enjoy some quiet time with these recent books from Buster Books. Colour Away Your Worries allows children to de-stress and relax through colouring, doodling and drawing. Boys and girls will benefit from the stress-relieving effects that increased focus and creativity can provide; it's much more than just colouring as many useful features have been built in to the book. There are no rules or complicated step-by-step instructions in these pages - children can simply scribble, scrawl and shade to their hearts' content.

Calming Colouring for Kids (Buster Activity) by Felicity French

Creating beautiful pictures, filled with lots of detail and colour, can be a calming activity. Kids can settle down with this gorgeous book for some relaxing down time. There are no complicated instructions and they won't need any special equipment, only pens, pencils and their own creativity are needed to enjoy this charming book.

Terrible Timeline (Horrible Histories Sticker Book) by Terry Deary

It can be hard for children to see historical events in context, but this book with its three metre fold-out timeline is an ideal way to overcome this problem. From the Savage Stone Age to the Terrifying 20th Century, take a wild ride through over 4 million years of horrible history. The timeline will make a great display, but you will need two books if you want to display the whole thing. There are over 300 stickers too. These don't have allocated spaces on the timeline, but children can use their historical knowledge to put them in appropriate places; there will be plenty left over to add to school projects or for children to make up their own pictures. The timeline is well illustrated, with just enough facts to put the period into context and stimulate interest. A good buy for all fans of Horrible Histories.

Dinosaurs Sticker Activity Fun by Jonathan Litton

A great book for all young dinosaur fans. The book has both coloured scenes and creatures as well as line drawings. These offer children plenty of variety - they can decorate the scenes with the colourful stickers and colour in the outline drawings. The stickers are generously sized and include many dinosaur pictures. There are all sorts of activities to be enjoyed, including colouring, copying drawings, spot the difference, odd one out, matching and much more. There's plenty to be learnt through the informative pages of this excellent dinosaur activity book, which will certainly delight young dinosaur fans. It's a thick book with lots to do and enjoy.

Where Did They Go? by Emily Bornoff

This spotting book carries a strong environmental message and offers parents an excellent opportunity to discuss the plight of endangered species with their child. Where has the polar bear gone? Where did the lemur go? Can you find them? It can be quite a challenge! In this stunning spotting book from printmaker and illustrator Emily Bornoff, search for endangered animals in jungles, in deserts and on the ice whilst enjoying the rhyming text. Bornoff's lovely patterns and the playful hide-and-seek elements make this a charming, interactive title and it also has a fascinating non-fiction element; every animal in the is endangered. Learn where in the world they come from and what is being done to save them. A good way to highlight their plight, and a beautiful hardback book.

LEGO CITY: Urban Adventures Sticker Activity Book

Packed with colourful scenes from LEGO City, it's time for another adventure. There's a lot going on and everyone needs help - so it's time to join in and use the stickers to help out - there are over 270 of them, to keep young LEGO fans happy. As well, there are puzzles, stories, comics and mysteries to solve. There will be plenty of stickers left over too - encourage children to use these to make up their own stories. Great fun for all young LEGO fans - it's suitable for children of 5+.

Paper Craft from DK

There are 50 projects in this comprehensive guide, including card making, gift wrapping, scrapbooking and making paper flowers. It's a great book to have on hand for rainy days, at home or at school. The crafts are divided into six sections - cards and gift wrap; gifts to give; decorations; kids' crafts; flowers; scrapbooking. With so many shops selling craft items now, there will be no problem getting hold of the necessary items. The super colour photos show the various stages and the finished product - the bright colours make the finished products look really enticing and really make you want to have a go. The results shown look superb and the easy to follow instructions really make you feel it's possible to achieve these great results. A beautifully presented book with many unusual and stimulating ideas.

Escape to Wonderland: A Colouring Book Adventure illustrated by Good Wives and Warriors

These wonderfully intricate pictures are as magical as the story itself. Enjoy the iconic scenes from the book presented in a unique way - follow Alice down the rabbit hole and join her as she meets - the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, The White Rabbit, the Queen of Hearts and all the other much-loved characters. Delicate patterns, all clearly outlined in pen and ink, weave their way through the book making ideal spreads to colour. Use your own imagination in the spaces left within some of the compositions for individual design and embellishment. Quotes from the story accompany many of the pictures. Definitely one for older children and adults, the square format is just right for popping into a bag. Quite different and perfectly themed to tune in with the story, this is a lovely tribute to a classic masterpiece.

Style Guide: Fashion From Head to Toe (Style by Guides)by Natasha Slee

Colouring for adults has taken off in a big way and this book is one of the best I have seen. The book features incredible clothes from 1900 to the modern-day, including decadent ballgowns, swinging sixties mini dresses and 80s power suits, making a fascinating piece of social history. There is information on each piece included on the reverse of each print. Pull out each of the 35 prints and colour them in as you will, either by following the colouring tips on the back or by letting your imagination run wild, then hang them up on your wall or give them away as presents. I had the thought that they would work excellently for theatrical designers, who could colour the pictures to show how the costumes should look. Amazingly detailed artwork really shows the clothing well, and the pictures go into great detail including accessories such as jewellery, shoes, headgear and more, giving a complete picture of the outfits. There's an eyecatching 100% gold foil cover too. This is the second book in a series of illustrated guides - the other is natural history. .

Claude Doodle Book by Alex T Smith

When I've been reviewing Clause books, I have always been really tempted to colour in some of the pictures for myself but now there's no need to! Set your imagination free and doodle away in this doodle book based on the young fiction series. Learn how to draw Claude and Sir Bobblysock, design outfits, friends and book covers for Claude, invent accessories and adventures and much much more... The lovely drawings really lend themselves to doodling and there is lots of inspiration here to gets children thinking creatively.

The Children's Interactive Story of Art by Susie Hodge

This innovative book offers children a fascinating introduction to some of the world's most famous art and artists, based on the collection of paintings housed in The National Gallery, London. It would be a superb way to prepare for a visit, whether as a class or as a family - children will be enthusiastic about seeing in reality the works of art they enjoy from the book. It is arranged broadly chronologically with periods of art interspersed with pages about individual artists. Pictorial material includes reproductions of the artworks, plus other related material such as buildings. There are prompts to encourage children to try things for themselves. The book includes a free app that allows you to create your own virtual gallery at home - this augmented reality app allow the user to create their own virtual gallery; upload their own works of art so they hang next to those of the world's greatest artists; and enjoy the art activity games. It's a brilliant way to really involve children in the world of great art and artists as well as encouraging their own artistic abilities.

Star Wars Where's the Wookiee Search and Find Book

No matter what their age, Star Wars fans will really enjoy this book. Chewbacca, a notorious rebel ally, is wanted for crimes against the Empire. He's usually spotted with his partner-in-crime, Han Solo, so you need to look out for them both in this search and find book; there are eight other characters to find on every page too - for those unfamiliar with Star Wars, they are pictures at the start! This Wookiee has evaded capture on multiple occasions, due in no small part to the fastest freighter in the universe, the Millennium Falcon; now there's a big reward for finding Chewie, as he is more commonly known. Can you find him in the detailed pictures? There are so many characters depicted on each page, each of which features locations from the Star Wars universe, that you will have to look really hard; great fun to share with others, especially if you get a little frustrated! Can you find this furry criminal before other accomplished bounty hunters beat you to it?

The Marine Team: With 5 Paper Animals and Scenery to Make (Mibo) by Madeleine Rogers

Learn about five sea creatures - shark, turtle, seahorse, seal and whale - through simple rhyming text and stylised pictures. Then find the cards stored in a pocket at the back of the book to construct into 3D figures; they are simple for children to make; all they need to do is fold them and add a few dabs of glue. The inside of the dust jacket is printed in full colour with a graphical representation of the creatures' environment, so this can be used as a backdrop to create a marine scene. The boo is a nice combination of basic informative text and creative activity and a good way to introduce young children to the marine world. Published by Button Books, September 2015, ISBN 978-1908985422.

Stampy's Lovely Book by Joseph Garrett

Inside this clourful book, you’ll find games and activities, hilarious jokes and exclusive info about Stampy and his friends. There’s a Stampy cake bake, a comic strip, challenges to try with your friends, painful puns, search and find, how to create YouTube videos and much more - a really varied selection which will provide lots of inspiration. Stampy's favourite artwork and crafts from his fans are also included In case you wonder - as I did, not being a Minecraft fan - Joseph Garrett is an English YouTube commentator who posts videos about the game Minecraft as the character Stampy Cat.

Draw it! Colour it! Creatures from Macmillan Children's Books

More than 40 top artists and illustrators from across the world have contributed to this exciting artistic collaboration; they include Axel Scheffler, Emily Gravett, Chris Riddell, Benji Davies, Marta Altés, Sara Ogilvie, Tim Hopgood and many more bestselling illustrators - you may well recognise their signature styles. The theme of the book is creatures and each page is packed with monkeys and monsters, dinosaurs and dragons, big cats and little cats - and everything in-between! A wonderful way to inspire creativity, as children (and adults) complete the pictures from this super range of illustrators. A great book for all the family - leave it lying around with some crayons or pens, and I can almost guarantee you'll find it has been put to good use! Unusual and inspiring, and a perfect gift.

How to be a Cowboy by Alice Lickens

This fascinating book is a guide to everything cowboy - cowboys seem to have been somewhat overlooked in children's books recently, so it's great to find such a good book to fill the gap. It includes maps of the cowboys' favourite stomping grounds, a dress-your-own-cowboy section (with cut-out clothes, colonial spurs, woollies, shotguns and batwing chaps), a boot-stitching workshop, a guide to cowboy language and instructions for navigating by the stars like a real-life cowboy. Lovely illustrations, a page of stickers and fun activities are also found in this intriguing book which is perfect for any aspiring cowboy or fan of Westerns.

Find & Colour: Bag Collection - 8 Books by Joelle Dreidemy

This bumper collection of colouring and activity books, which comes in a plastic wallet complete with seven coloured felt tips, would be a perfect gift for any creative child. There's plenty here for family members to share too, with books covering a wide range of interests. The pack includes Dinosaurs, Jungle, Farm, City, Space, Ocean, Zoo and Garden. As well as colouring in the drawings, children can hunt for all manner of hidden creatures and objects in the packed pages of pictures. They will learn lots of fun and interesting facts along the way, as every page has information, questions to stimulate thinking, and plenty to identify and spot. There are yet more activities at the end of every book - more colouring, did you know facts and related craft activities. A fabulous set which will provide hours of fun, developing learning and understanding, and extending creative skills.

Bugs (Pop-Out Stencil Art) by Laura Hambleton

This colourful book contains 15 reusable stencils; each one of the five board pages has a bug with two smaller bugs nestling inside it. They all pop out easily - and, what's more, once your child has finished, they push back into place and stay there. On the opposite side of the spread there are easy-to-follow instructions for a range of related projects. So, for example, a caterpillar nestles on a leaf, which sits inside the butterfly shape. The craft ideas include a butterfly wand, a caterpillar clothes peg and a butterfly pencil holder. The ideas are really innovative and I am sure the stencils will stimulate many more ideas - great for classroom projects and displays. Bright, colourful and enticing, this will really stimulate some great crafting ideas.

Pop-out Stencil Art: Safari Animals (Pop Out Stencils) by Laura Hambleton

The stencil sets in this book feature a giraffe, a crocodile, an elephant, a lion and a flamingo, all with smaller creatures nestled inside. Children can create their on scenes - how about giving them a long piece of paper to create a frieze with all the animals? Or they can try some of the fascinating range of craft projects - with the snake who nestles inside the anteater, who is inside the giraffe, they can make a paper snake bracelet, giraffe fingerpaints or an anteater glove puppet. Pop-Out Stencil Art is the perfect way to show a young child how many ways there are to be creative - these books will be sure to keep little hands busy for hours. There are plenty more in the series too - look out for Dinosaurs and Farm Animals.

Build it: Sticker Book (Sticker Activity) by Lauren Farnsworth

I have said it before, and I am quite sure I will say it again, that Buster Books do produce a fantastic range of innovative activity books - there seems to be a constant supply of fresh new ideas, and here's yet another. Let young architects' imaginations soar as they build their very own world within the pages of this exciting book. The pages are colourful backgrounds with just enough in the way of illustration to set the scene - including a snow scene, a castle, a beach scene, a night scene and plenty more. These are all on good quality paper which is thick enough to resist tearing. Bright coloured sticker sheets at the back of the book are the building blocks, from which children can create soaring structures, brilliant bridges and much more. This really is a superb book which offers so much scope for imaginative designs. I'd warn the young owners of this book not to leave it lying around, or it might just be appropriated by an adult!

Annuals 2015 - 2016

Ripley's Fun Facts & Silly Stories Kids' Annual 2016 by Robert Ripley

Robert Ripley created the Ripley's Believe It or Not! newspaper panel series, radio show, and television show which feature odd facts from around the world. Children can enjoy all the fun and fantastic facts in the latest edition of Ripley's best-selling Fun Facts & Silly Stories Kids' Annual. There are brand new stories, amazing photographs, colourful design and entertaining activities not found in any other Ripley's book. It's silly enough for any child, and they will soon be scrolling through the lively pages and astonishing you with weird and wonderful facts.

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