Book reviews - activity books (page 7)

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. We also have a selection of 2018 annuals.

The Superhero Craft Book: 15 Things a Superhero Can't Do Without! (Little Button Diaries) by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

Offering 15 great ideas suitable for boys and girls aged 3+, tis is another easy-to-use book of creative ideas fron the award-winning Little Button Diaries bloggers. They really are in tune with what children can do, and with easily accessed resources - all of the projects can be made either from readily available items or from easy-to-source materials. Even better, parents and teachers need little to no crafting experience to help; the ideas in this book are excellent for classroom use and will be welcomed by busy teachers. My favourite is the Jetpack Backpack. As well as superhero outfits to wear and essential accessories, there are also ideas for a super-powered party, with great games and party food; perfect if you are party-planning. Published by GMC, April 2018, 978-1784944070.

Maker Lab: Outdoors: 25 Super Cool Projects by Robert Winston

Hands-on learning is the best way to understand and to enjoy science, and the 25 inspiring ideas in this book will really stimulate children and encourage them to get outdoors too. A wide range of science topics are covered, and teachers will fid the ideas are excellent for supporting KS2 science learning. Topics include Earth and the environment, plants and animals, weather, water and physics. The topics don't need vast amounts of outdoor space so there is plenty here for everyone to enjoy. The book supports STEAM education initiatives and the Maker Movement, encouraging girls and boys to see science as fun and accessible. This book is from DK, so of ourse there is stunning photography (including step-by-step instructions), pleny of labelled diagrams and clear easy-to-follow layout. The step-by-step instructions and detailed explanations mean children can easily attempt the projects without adult help. There is an enormous amount of supporting detail for every topic, making this a valuable science handbook as well. An excellent book which really supports and fosters a love for science.

Roald Dahl's James's Giant Bug Book

The story of James and the Giant Peach is about a giant peach and seven very unusual creepy-crawlies who took James on wonderful adventures. Now children can learn more about The Centipede, The Earthworm, The Grasshopper and many other insects including some not in the story. The book is packed full of fascinating facts about creepy-crawlies as well as fun activities to try at home. These include making an ant farm, creating a bumblebee flowerpot house and building your very own bug hotel. Throughout, the book emphasises the importance of the insect world and of caring for it, and the projects encourage the protection of our important insects. Basing this book on such a well-loved book is a great move, as children will be immediately interested. It is well presented, with a layout that will appeal to children and there are lots of Roald Dahl illustations to enjoy. The book is packed with information, enticilgly presented; a great way to encourage children to appreciate the natural world.

Let's Colour Ireland by Alan Nolan

Perfect if you are planning a holiday in Ireland, if you live there, or if you want to know more about this beautiful country. This enjoyable colouring book showcases a variety of Irish landscapes, interesting characters and iconic places. There's the River Shannon, Connemare ponies, Mailn Head, the Botanic Gardens... and even the Titanic, so plenty for everyone. Each picture includes a short description. The pictures are not too challenging but they do offer plenty of opportunities for creative children (or adults) to put their own spin on the pictures. A good way to discover more about Ireland.

Where's Larry? The Colouring Book by Philip Barrett

Join Larry the Leprechaun and explore Ireland. He gets all oer the place in this book - can you spot him? He's hiding in Donegal Castle, Ben Bulben, Galway Bay - and even in the St Patrick's Day Parede; this is a tricky one! Larry will be hiding in the middle of Irish dancers, traditional musicians, climbers, tourists, hurlers and many others. The easiest way to spot Larry is to start colouring; it's rally hard to pick him out otherwise. The book gives a good insight into iconic Irish scenes and events and it's great fun to spot Larry as yoyr colouring progresses.

Doctor Academy: Are you ready for the challenge? by Steve Martin

This is an exceptional and unusual series which really draws the reader in to the chosen topic. A great way to encourage children of 7+ to think about future careers and to inspire them to learn more. This is such a practical book, as it shows that children can start to learn the basic skills of first aid and becoming a doctor from early on (recommended 7+). It discusses the three levels of skills - people skills, GP and surgeon. Thoughtful activities throughout the book really encourage children to think about how others feel and about what is happening. The book is also a very useful resource for any child facing a hospital visit or stay as there's lots of useful and reassuring information. There are plenty of hands-on fun activities including making a stethoscope, wrapping a sprained ankle, games to play and making a healthy living poster. Everything is accompanied by wise advice. There are copious illustrations by Giordano Poloni which further explain the concepts. Well writtem and presented and extremely enjoyable.

Pilot Academy: Are you ready for the challenge? by Steve Martin

Children will learn the skills needed to fly helicopters, jets and commercial aeroplanes in this engrossing journey in which they take off, navigate and land in an aeroplane - and then learn about the essentials of a pilot's kit. The mixture of activities is excellent, with something to appeal to every child, whether they want craft activities, games to play, items to design or questions to pose and ponder over. There are even physical activities, designed to keep pilots (and kids) fit. The style of the series is simple and easy to follow, packing huge amounts of information into every page but never overwhelming the young reader. Again, the illustrations by Giordano Poloni complement the text perfectly, adding an important dimensino to the book and making it enticing to read. Highly recommended.

Search and Find Alphabet of Alphabets by Allan Sanders

This is far from being just an alphabet book for children although it is, of course, perfect in that role. It goes beyond child appeal though, with its gorgeous illustrations and fascinating range of activities. It's a giant sized book which really gives scope for all the illustrations to shine through. Each of the 26 spreads is an A to Z of things to spot, each one in a very different style which keeps interest levels high. The categories are well-chosen to appeal to a range of interests - there are alphabets of earth, game, museums and quayside, for example. YOur eyes will be darting all over the pages to spot the pictures in order - and make sure you take in the quirky hunour along the way. There's so much to enjoy in this book which is great to dip into, page at a time.

Search and Find The Jungle Book retold by Sarah Powell

This is a beautifully produdec hardback, with a cloth binding and bronze-coloured foiling - it will enhance any bookshelf, adult or child. And the book itself will appeal to all ages, as everyone loves the iconic Jungle Book characters. The book is illustrated by Federica Frenna and every image is packed full of rich and intricate detail. REad the short text which summarises the picture - for example, the monkeys learn a lesson - and then there are 10 little pictures shown for you to spot in the big (page and a half) image. The pictures really convey the beauties of the jungle and while you look for the specific pictures, there's so much more to relish. Stuck? No problem - answers at the end! A lovely way to introduce children to a great classic.

101 Games to Play Before You Grow Up: Exciting and fun games to play anywhere (101 Things) by Walter Foster Jr Creative team

This is an excellent series. The format allows for a wide range of topics to be included, each one succinctly but clearly explained. I think this is my favourite though, as it will provide adults with inspiration to keep their children happily and productively (and healthily!) engaged for hour upon hour.There are hand games, board games, indoor and outdooor games, card games, party games and more. Clear step-by-step instructions and plenty of illustrations make the book enticing and easy to follow for both adults and children. Just let your child browse, and they are bound to find plenty to enjoy. Have this great book available for that inevitable cry of "I'm bored" and you will always have ideas at hand.

COLOURAMA: Pop Up The Past: 3D Colouring Cards to Create and Complete by John Paul de Quay

Enhance your child's interest in history whilst developing their creative skills with this super book packed with colouring cards to complete. Ranging widely through hsitory,they include an ancient Egyptian tomb, a medieval joust, the Apollo moon landing and a towering Aztec temple,What really makes these special is the fact that the end result is a 3D diorama, that will look really effective, as the haracters and objects within each scene can then be folded up to create a 3D effect. There are fun facts on the back of each page, so children can learn all about the iconic scenes and ancient civilizations they are colouring; the details in the pictures are also very informative. These would be brilliant for teachers /ho want to add a fresh aspect to topics studied in the classroom, as well as for fun at home.

Destroy This Book In The Name of Science: Galileo Edition by Mike Barfield

These books are brilliant! The vibrant jazzy presentation has instant child-appeal and suits the topic to perfection. The book is an engaging mix of intriguing facts, colouring and doodling activities to complete, plus a dozen press-out projects to create, which include Build Your Own Brainiacs, The Stand-up Chameleon, The Magic Mollusc, a Mini-Copter and many more. On a practical level, no expensive craft supplies are required. This is a great way to encourage enthusiasm for science, and children's learning will be well supported while they have all the fun. Excellent value for the amount of play and learning offered.

Chalkboard Numbers: Learn numbers with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

This is an interesting new series from QED Publishing, perfect for very young learners, who can chalk over and over again to their heart's content. Children can learn to count with the aid of familiar objects - cars, cookies, lions, ice cream cones, and more with Chalkboard Numbers. This sturdy board book comes complete with its own set of four colourful chalks. On each page there is a 'chalkboard' with guidelines, so children can chalk over and then write freehand. The chalk wipes off easily to allow for repeated practice. The book features numbers 1 to 10, with quiz pages at the end to consolidate learning.

Chalkboard Shapes: Learn shapes with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

Shapes are all around us, and children will respond well to the familiar objects which show rectangles, squares, diamonds and more. Each page features practice shapes for children to draw over with the chalks which are inluded. Thecolorful illustrations by popular children's illustrator Stephen Barker will appeal to children and can be used as starting points for discussion. Pages wipe clean easily, so children can enjoy them again and again, seeing their skills grow all the time.Suitable for ages 3 - 6.

Chalkboard Alphabet: Learn the ABCs with chalkboard pages! (Chalkboard Concepts) by Stephen Barker

This cute and unusual write-and-wipe board book features reuseable "chalkboard" pages and four pieces of chalk which are perfectly sized for little ones' fingers; the chalks neatly store in a box slotted into the book, meaning they should always be to hand. Each page features letters used in a sentence, for example, "Alligator rides a bicycle." It's a well thought-out concepgt which stands out from the ordinary and which will appeal to children because of that. Chalk is always fun!

How to Be a Fashion Designer by Lesley Ware

Encourage children's creativity with this colourful and practical handbook from DK, which is full of inspiration. Illustrations and photographs are explained through text labels which give useful hints and tips. Readers will learn how to mix and match colour and pattern, design clothing shapes, customize accessories, design a bag and much more, through simple, well explained practical projects. The book shows how inspiration is all around us and encourages children to take their ideas from the natural world, everyday life, and their own imagination. Whether creating new clothes, or updating and personalising existing items, this book will really help develop ideas and make the most of what is easily available. The book supports the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Maths) approach to cross-curricular learning and will be perfect for school and club use.

Art Activity Book: Steam Starters for Kids by Jenny Jacoby

A whole range of activities are on offer in this super book, all aimed at encouraging children to enjoy art and express themselves through it, while learning about science, technology, engineering, art and maths. There are mazes, spot the difference, drawing puzzles, pattern identifying, testing quizzes, and more. The book shows the many ways in which art, in all its forms, can be used to present information,  as well as being used to help learning for example through mind maps. It's a fascinating and different look at the subject. STEAM subjects are closely related to one another and books which link them together are ideal for primary school cross-curricular work. However, the need for these subjects in our society is crucial. 

Physics Activity Book: Steam Starters for Kids by Jenny Jacoby

Physics is all around us and this book helps children learn how it is a part of everyday life; by seeing physics in action, they will learn and understand, thereby supporting KS2 science. The book is easy and entertaining to read, talks directly to the reader, and helps the understanding of the world around us and how things work Attractively illustrated and an excellent introduction to scientific concepts. The books in this activity series aim to pique the interest of children in these areas of study, stress the importance of STEAM subjects, and help encourage children who are interested to continue studying and enjoying these areas of learning. 

Where's Jane?: Find Jane Austen Hidden in Her Stories by Rebecca Smith

Jane Austen fans young and old are going to love this book - it's certainly not just one for the children, and I found myself engrossed in it. Each book is introduced by a brief synopsis, with paragraphs each accompanied by a lively drawing showing some of the key characters. Then there are images of all the characters who are to be found in the two page picture. The detailed illustrations by Katy Dockrill are absolutely fascinating, and it's certainly not easy to pick out the characters from all the others around; so much to look at... and just where is Jane? Ten sets of pictures in all, based on six novels. The synopses give a real flavour of the stories and the pictures bring the Regency period and Jane Austen's characters to life superbly. Very enjoyable.

The Slime Book: All You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Slime from DK

What child can resist the opportunity to play with slime? I think adults too will take the opportunity ot enjoy gooey play with the 30+ slime recipes included in this book - it's addictive! The recipes are really easy to follow and produce some hugely varied results with different textures to explore, including sand slime, glittery slime, starry slime and see-through slime. These make a great starting point for all sorts of fun, using the ideas in the book. The science behind the ideas is clearly explained and the presentation of the book is engaging with super colour photos. All the projects have clear step-by-step images and a vibrant final image of the slimy stuff. The recipes all use inexpensive, accessible, and safe everyday products. A lovely way to increase children's creative skills.

3D Printing Projects: Amazing Ideas to Design and Make by DK

This book really is amazing - I had no idea that a simple 3D printer could be used to such superb effect.. There are14 fabulous projects - desk tidy, impossible box, dinosaur stamp, coat hook, photo frame, treasure box, phone stands, star lantern, plant pot, fridge magnet, racing car, troll family, chess set and castle, all without the need for a 3D printer at home. The projects are simple to start with and the book moves on to much more complex ideas, always clearly explained.They use freely available online 3D modelling/CAD programs and give children really good experience in using these. Each project has a print time, details of filament needed and a difficulty rating. IT skills are developed and the ideas will be excellent for school DT lessons and clubs. This is a brilliant way to encourage creativity and the end results are really good - some lovely ideas for personalied gifts.

Dog's Day Out: A drawing and colouring book (Wee Gallery)

These are activity books with a difference. The presentation is classy, with a dustcover on the book,(which opens out to a poster to colour)  and a restricted use of colour which really ensures it is the child's own work that comes to the fore. After helping Dog’s little sister choose her outfit, eating breakfast and packing a picnic, it’s off on the big yellow bus to have some fun! Play on the rides, feed the ducks, discover beautiful bugs and fly kites before going home for tea.... and all the time, enjoy the wide range of stimulating colouring and doodling activities The stylish drawings are really appealing and the thick outlines make the books perfect for young children, ensuring they produce pictures to be proud of. As they enjoy the book, children will be encouraged to think about what they can see.

Cat's Playgroup: A drawing and colouring book (Wee Gallery)

A lovely activity book which tells the story of Cat's first day at playgroup. Right from the start, children are drawn in as they help Cat choose what to wear. Then children are encouraged to join in with Cat as she sets off to join her friends for a day at playgroup. They will play games, make masks, draw farm animals and more, and all the time, readers are encouraged to join in with a range of activities. Little hands will be busy for hours with lots of things to draw, spot, and colour. Includes a dust jacket that folds out to a poster. The Wee Gallery range of books for pre-schoolers marries fresh design with engaging educational content. These books are the result of a highly successful partnership between Wee Gallery and QED Publishing. These are exceptional activity books for pre-schoolers, stimulating and full of educational value.

Famous Five Classic Colouring Book: Colouring book

This nostalgic-feeling colouring book includes illustrations from all 21 famous Five books. All the excitement of the ever-popular books is here, with each full page illustration complemented by a quote from one of the books. From the discovery of a shipwreck off Kirrin Island to a dramatic escape on horseback, from a towering lighthouse embedded in rock to a secluded campsite out on the moors, these iconic scenes, featuring Julian, Dick, Anne, George and, of course, Timmy the dog, will be loved by fans of the books both young and older - I love the memories they create. This gorgeous colouring book contains original artwork redrawn by Helen Smith. For added variety, there are patterns based on the books, such as seabirds and yachts. A lovely colouring book for all Enid Blyton fans.

Discover Art with Katie: A National Gallery Sticker Activity Book by James Mayhew

Katie is a popular and successful picture book character who has done so much to introduce children to the world of art. Her popularity makes her perfect to encourage children to try out their own artistic skills. The world of the National Gallery is opened up to children as they explore famous paintings with Katie's help' a perfect way to interest children in art and to make the National Gallery accessible to them. There are over 150 stickers, plus mazes, drawing challenges, sticker puzzles and more in this colourful book. A lovely way to develop an enthusiasm for art and to develop children's artistic skills.

Learn to Draw with Katie: A National Gallery Book by James Mayhew

Children who are familiar with the side range of Katie books will recognise old favourites here, but will also enjoy discovering some new works of art. Art lover Katie has been drawing children into art for over 25 years; now she is showing children how to develop their own skills. There are straightforward step-by-step guides showing children how to draw portraits, landscapes, animals, based on famous paintings which include Van Gogh's Chair and Constable's Hay Wain from the National Gallery's world famous collection. This will encourage children to look at these paintings in a new light, encouraged by Katie's perceptive comments. With plenty of drawing tips, and information about the artists, this is a super book which will give children the interest and the confidence to try drawing for themselves.

Space Adventure Activity Book by Jen Alliston

Children are fascinated by space and they will love this packed activity book with its wide range of colourful activities. At the same time, they will be increasing their knowledge of space. It's perfect for children age 4 - 8, and if they are studying space at school, it will really extend their learning and interest in the topic. The activities cover all sorts of skills, including observation, co-ordination and fine motor. that will benefit children as well as give them pleasure and satisfaction. There are  dot to dot, spot the difference, coloring in, writing, number work, mazes and plenty more - and four pages of stickers too. With beautiful, bright illustrations to engage children's attention, this is a really good example of what an activity book should be. There will be many hours of fun to be had with this excellent book. Published by Button Books, November 2017, ISBN 978-1787080034.

101 Video Games to Play Before You Grow Up by Ben Bertoli

Subtitled The unofficial must-play video game list for kids, this will be a really popular book with children, who will have great fun reading through and deciding which games they really, really must have! No matter what gaming system you have, this is a great book. As well as listing the must-have games, there are behind-the-scenes snippets and trivia about the games. Parents will appreciate the parental rating guidelines. Making the book interactive, gamers can record their personal ratings of each series as they play their way through the list, making notes and critiquing the best and worst parts of each game. This is a good way to encourage children to evaluate the games and to think about how good they really are. The games include adventure, puzzle, platform, racing, and role-playing games - an excellent range, with something for everyone. The bright jazzy layout will appeal to gamers, and the information is consistent and easy to find, with feature boxes for specific facts such as rating, first seen and genre.

Tai Ji Dancing for Kids by Chungliang Al Huang

Straightforward and clear, with simple evocative words, appealing calligraphy, and home photos of the words in action, grandfather and granddaughter team Chungliang and Sylvia bring the spirit of Tai Ji to life. It shows how the five elements underpinning Chinese thought - Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal - can be simply and instinctively expressed through the body. It shows a way of keeping kids active, and improving their wellbeing and mindfulness. Even if you are completely new to Tai Ji, this book will give you a good understanding of what is involved.

Ultimate Slime by Alyssa Jagan

The cover tells us that the book contains DIY Tutorials for Crunchy Slime, Fluffy Slime, Fishbowl Slime, and More Than 100 Other Oddly Satisfying Recipes and Projects - and that sums it up perfectly. Find out how to create a world of slime in a rainbow of colors and incredible textures. Start with some basic recipes, including kid-safe slime, then progress to making fluffy slime, clear slime, slushy slime. It's a fascinating range of ideas and the colour photos make it all really enticing. With clear explanations, the book is easy to use. Alyssa Jagan, popular Instagram slimer of @CraftySlimeCreator fame, is THE expert on slime. Her enthusiasm for all things slime really shines through in this fascinating collection of recipes and projects which are easily achieved by anyone of 6+.

Animal Surprises: How to Draw by Nicola Davies

Would you or your child love to be able to draw? Sometimes, all we need is something to get us started, and this straightforward book from Graffeg does just that. There's a fact-filled story which takes the reader through the jungle, deep down into the sea and high up into the trees. Along the way, and superbly interwoven with the text, are step-by-step 'how to draw' pages which include a giraffe, a ladybird and a tree frog. The pictures include colour, which isn't always the case with this type of book, but which makes for superb finished results. Blank squared pages at the end of the book match the backgrounds to the drawings, giving a little extra help. The book is beauutifully produced and the pictures are a delightThe end of the book features a puzzle for young animal lovers to complete. The book is illustrated by Abbie Cameron and Nicola Davies is a zoologist and children's book author; her background brings a real authenticity to her drawings.

Stupendous Science by Rob Beattie and Sam Peet

With 70 super cool experiments you can do at home, this large format book has plenty to keep children happily and productively engaged for many hours. The names of the experiments will have immediate appeal - how about The Geatawy Grape, Punch a Potato, The Wobbly Broomstick or Wormapalooza! They can all be found, along with lots more intriguing ideas, in brilliant book of simple home experiments. The experiments all use easily-obtained basic ingredients and equipment; the science behind each experiment is clearly and succinctly explained. Illustrated throughout and with step by step instructions, this collection of quick and achievable experiments is the perfect way to make science fun. It's a great way to support the science curriculum and the jazzy layout will really appeal to young scientists.

Etchart: Hidden Forest by A J Wood and Mike Jolley

Subtitled "Reveal the wonders of the wild in 9 amazing Etchart scenes", this is one in a really eye-catching series. Travel through a beautiful forest, meeting butterflies, frogs, birds and many more creatures on the way. Read the short text and enjoy the outline pictures before taking your stylus (included with the book) and etching away at nine beautiful woodland scenes. Each picture has panels of special scratchable ink, which scratch off to reveal beautiful colours. The outstanding illustrations in both books are by Dinara Mirtalipova. Really absorbing - a great escape from the pressures of the world. The results are stunning.

Etchart: Secret Sea by A J Wood and Mike Jolley

Explore the hidden undersea world as you reveal more and more beauty with every stroke of the stylus. You can personalise the pictures, either removing all the ink, or by being more creative and using the stylus With your stylus, remove all the ink, or create swirls, dots, and other patterns, using the guidance in the book for help, to personalise your very own piece of art. The books are produced in strong glossy card, so there's no transfer of pressure to spoil the enjoyment of other pictures - I'd like to be able to tear out the finished works of art, though. You don't need any artistic talent to produce spectacular pictures with these beautiful books... I don't think adults will easily relinquish these to children!

The Space Craft Book by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

From the talented creators of Little Button Diaries, here are 15 Things a Space Fan Can't Do Without. This book is suitable for boys and girls aged 3+, and is guaranteed to be a hit with teachers and TAs whose classes are learning about space. all the projects can be made either from readily available items or from easy-to-source materials, - you don't even need crafting experience yourself, as the instructions are clear and simple to follow. so they can be tackled at school or home. As well as space outfits to wear and essential astronaut accessories, there are also space-themed cakes and nibbles to make too. Projects include: constellation nightlight, space boots, mission control desk, booster pack, walkie talkie, giant cardboard rocket. Published by GMC, November 2017, 978-1784943653.

Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: A Year of Celebrations by Eilidh Muldoon

Each double-sided page of this pretty book turns into a box. There are designs on both sides to be coloured with crayons or pens, then simply tear along the dotted lines to remove the shape. Fold along the scored lines and your box is ready to go. Ideal for small gifts - how about lining them with tissue paper and filling with homemade sweets? Alternatively, they are just right for storing all kinds of treats and trinkets. The patterns are suitable for year-round use and you can personalise with your name on the bottom. Fun to do and a treat to receive.!

Make and Play Nativity by Joey Chow

Children love to have a nativity scene, and it's even more rewarding if they have helped to make it. Now, with hep from Nosy Crow, they can do just that. There are 20 unique and colourful designs on the colourful card pages - just press out and slot together to create colourful displays. There are Mary and Joseph, the manger, the Wise Men, the shepherds (and sheep, of course) and many more key elements, the press-out pieces can be simply slotted together to create bright and cheerful decorations. Use the pieces to teach young children about the Nativity story, and complement this with the Christmas songs and craft activities which complete this innovative book. Perfect to help young children enjoy the build-up to Christmas.

Press Out and Decorate Unicorns by Kate McLelland

Encourage children to make their own unique room decorations with these magical unicorns. The 20 double-sided designs are intricately decorated with glittery pink foil. The press-out pieces can be slotted together to create magical three-dimensional hanging ornaments or threaded together to create garlands or mobiles (some of the designs have pre-cut holes for threading). There are flying unicorns and shooting stars, fluffy clouds and rainbows. Children can opt to leave them as they are, but creative children will have even more fun if they colour them in with pens, to make their own designs. The pages can also be used as stencils. Pretty and imaginative, these are lovely.

150 Great Science Experiments by Chris Oxlade

The subtitle tells us these are "Ingenious, Easy-To-Do Projects Explore and Explain the Wonders of Science and Technology". Science is a fascinating subject for children and we can help to make it more so by encouraging them to carry out experiments which further their understanding. With a mammoth 150 experiments, this bumper collection explain a wide range of scientific facts, processes and principles, making it perfect to support KS2 learning at school and at home. The projects are arranged thematically to reflect different areas of science and technology, including the earth, materials and transport. The book is beautifully presented with lots of photos and diagrams showing the experiments in progress. The items needed are clearly listed and the experiments are set out step by step. The variety is fascinating and there's plenty here to offer many happy hours of enjoyment and learning.

Press Out and Colour: Christmas Decorations by Kate McLelland

Children love to share in decorating the house at Christmas and they will be very happy to see their own masterpieces decorating rooms - and these are beautiful. There are 20 press-out designs, all on heavy card and intricately decorated with gold foil. These could be left as they are but they will be more fun if children colour them in with pens to make them look even prettier. From beautiful baubles to shimmery snowflakes, the decorations slot together to create lovely decorations. Once the pieces are cut out, children can use the empty pages as stencils to create even more ornaments.

The Babysitter's Survival Guide by Jill D Chasse

This is the first time I have seen a book specifically for babysitters - what a great idea! From finding clients to entertaining, feeding, bathing and getting children to sleep, this is full of wise and practical advice. Recipes, activities for all age ranges, suggestions for handling tears, tantrums and emergencies plus practical information to give confidence - it's all here. This revised edition has been updated to reflect new guidelines and to discuss babysitting in the digital age. Very practically, this guide includes perforated business and emergency information cards. It's full of inspiration for everyone, but will be especially valuable to younger babysitters who don't have children of their own, giving them a super repertoire of ideas to call on. It will really show prospective clients that they are taking the role seriously. An excellent book which will give confidence to both sitters and parents. Published by Sterling Books, September 2017, 978-1454923183.


The Kids' Family Tree Book by Caroline Leavitt

The growth of the internet has led to a huge upsurge in the popularity of researching family trees, and this book makes it really approachable for children. They are always full of questions about their family history, and these research ideas and creative projects will help set them on the road to discovery. Many different sources of information are explained, starting with family members. The book explains how to use libraries and the Internet to seek information, and how to understand clues in old photos or birth, marriage and death records. Once you've found the information, the book is full of ideas on recording it, and on building a database of family-specific information. A great way to unite families and to create a lasting record. Published by Sterling, October 2017, 978-1454923206.

Build It!: 25 creative STEM projects for budding engineers by Caroline Alliston

Girls and boys will really enjoy these creative projects that help to develop those important STEM skills. They are easily achievable and confidence-building, and will encourage budding engineers and scientists. The practical value of science in our everyday world is highlighted by the projects which include a teddy zip wire, a coin battery and a fan boat. The projects are clearly explained and the science behind them is demonstrated; they use easy-to-find objects from around the home. Design, creative thinking and problem solving skills will all be developed and the book will be really useful to teachers for DT lessons and school clubs. A super book.

Star Wars Millennium Falcon Book and Mega Model (Star Wars Construction Books) from Egmont

My son made a previous model in this series and we were really impressed by the quality of the model and the attention to detail - and this one is even bigger and more detailed! Jump aboard the fastest ship in the Star Wars galaxy with this amazing book and model to make of the Millennium Falcon! As well as the push-out heavy card model, there are fun facts, character profiles, ship schematics and story moments from across the entire Star Wars saga - perfect for fans old and new. When fully built, this impressive model is approximately 30x30cm and has moveable cannons and radar dish. Removable panels allow you to look inside to find out more about this famous freighter; the features make for plenty of play value beyond the construction..

Numbers. Colours. Sizes. Opposites. Supersticker Fun by Armadillo Books

This lovely colourful activity book is perfect for learning key skills. Arranged by the fur themes, it is really attractively presented, and full of fun, bright pictures, stickers and games. Questions are posed for children to answer - 'Have you ever worn orange overalls?'; 'How wide can you open your arms?' - these really draw children in, and offer lots of prompts to help adults develop discussion. Readers will delight in activities such as finding party hats for the boy and girl, putting the teddy bears on their chairs, making the line of boats longer, counting the balls for the juggler, laying the table for dinner, and much more. All the stickers are reusable, so youngsters will be able to think about the concepts and again and again, or use the stickers to make their own pictures, stories and games, thereby developing their imaginative skills. The stickers are labelled with the appropriate page number, and are large enough for little fingers. A super first learning sticker book..

Roller Coaster Marble Run by Andrew Gatt

All the fun of a marble run with the added satisfaction of building it yourself! Just add sticky tape and marbles and you're ready to roll. The finished product is 70cm tall, 44cm deep and 34cm wide so it's a good size. There are lots of different features included, so as you race two marbles, they roll through a funnel, along separate paths including a gravity-defying loop-the-loop, and down fun steps and amazing slopes. The instructions are straightforward, though I think two pairs of hands would often be useful. Simple mechanics and principles of engineering and physics are explained in bite-sized text, supporting children's scientific knowledge. Fun to build; fun to play.

Rainy Day Kids Adventure Book by Steph Scott and Katie Akers

The cover tells us that this is "Outdoor Games and Activities for the Wind, Rain and Snow"; it's certainly not a fair weather book, but perfect for any time of year, especially considering our climate! We all know the importance of fresh air and exercise, but it can be daunting to find opportunities in the colder wetter months - but not any more. Outdoor enthusiasts Steph and Katie are teachers and mothers and have years of experience of finding new and novel ways to get kids to enjoy the great outdoors, whatever the weather. Activities range from puddle painting and making your own nature paint brushes, to making wind spinners from golden leaves and feathers; if you don't want to stay out for too long, the book lists things to collect outdoors for taking home and used for stay-at-home projects. The book encourages youngsters to see the excitement of wind, snow, rain and to enjoy the elements with fun projects that excite the imagination. Illustrated throughout with photos and diagrams, this is a really practical little book for every family, whether in town or country, and it will provide endless stimulation.

Red Rover, Red Rover!: Games from an Irish Childhood (That You Can Teach Your Kids) by Kunak McGann

So many of the games children used to play are being forgotten, so this book is a great idea to ensure future generations rediscover the fun their parents and grandparents had. Packed with classics like Marbles, Conkers, Bulldog, and Hopscotch, party games like Blind Man's Buff and Snap Apple, and rainy day fun with Battleship, Murder in the Dark, and paper Fortune-Tellers, this is an excellent collection. It is divided into themed sections which include ball games, rope/string games, turn-taking games and party games. ‘What you need’, how to play, handy tips, ‘risk’ ratings and stories of great craic will whisk you back to those carefree days of childhood; parents and grandparents will find it nostalgic and children will love to see what previous generations enjoyed.

An Egyptian Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin

Stir children's imaginations and help them feel part of life in Ancient Egypt in tis innovative blend of story, history, facts and activities. The reader will be needed to help the Histronauts uncover the secrets of the past. In this new exciting activity book, they will explore dazzling tombs, decipher hieroglyphics, unwrap the art of mummification and learn how the gods ruled over the dead in the afterlife. Comic strip type illustrations will appeal to children, and the variety of activities means there is something for everyone - teachers too will find the book useful. Perfect to enthuse children, this is the perfect companion to studying Ancient Egypt.!

A Roman Adventure (The Histronauts) by Frances Durkin

This is a clever mix of fact and fun as readers help the Histronauts the secrets of the past. The presentation is really good for helping children to learn the facts, as they enjoy the comic strip story, and a wide range of activities which include playing the game merrelus, cooking Roman honey cakes, designing a Roman standard and making a model aqueduct. Alongside these, there are lots of facts, well presented. Children can immerse themselves in Roman life, by exploring the Roman baths, trying on the armour of a legionary, making a sacrifice at the temple of the gods, riding in a speeding chariot and meeting ferocious gladiators. An exciting mix of history, facts and activity which will really encourage an interest in Ancient Rome. Very well presented and brimming with information.

Optical Illusions by Gianni A Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber

First impressions count, so this book gets off to a good start by having a moving illusion on the front cover. The first part of the book has all sorts of mind-boggling illusions - these will really make you question the way your brain works! It all goes to show that, amazing as it is, our brains don't always get things right when it comes to sight.After that, there are lots of hands-on experiments described. It's fascinating to read about the science which lies behind these strange illusions, and the explanations are clear and easy to follow - children and adults will be equally intrigued. Covering a range of optical topics, from shapes and movement, to light and reflection, this cool manual contains templates at the back which reveal answers and help you to create your own astounding illusions. Fascinating and absorbing; the hands-on activities really help us understand how illusions work.

Star Wars Where's the Wookiee? 2 Search and Find Activity Book from Egmont Books

Star Wars fans will love this book, which gives them the opportunity to explore lots of scenes, and to learn a little more about locations such as Otoh Gunga, Saw Gerrera's Hideout and Niima Outpost. Chewbacca is back and on the loose across the galaxy, and this time he’s brought some Wookiee friends The pictures are absolutely packed with detail, and there are six characters to spot in each one - it's quite a challenge and ti make it harder, there are some red herrings! Hours of fun for all the family.

British Museum: Mixed Up Masterpieces from Nosy Crow

Nosy Crow's association with the British Museum is working superbly to bring the museum's treasures to a wider audience, and specifically to children. This seriously silly book brings the past to life with an array of famous faces from the British Museum. With over 2000 possible combinations children will have great fun creating the silliest face possible as well as finding the real combination (the coloured backgrounds to the pages might help!) From an ancient Egyptian mummy to a modern Mexican mask, this book is full of amazing art. Not only will they have fun with this book, they will also be learning about early civilisations to support their curricular learning, and this is enhanced by using the QR code in the book, which gives more information about all these wonderful artefacts.

Paddington Sticker Scene Book by Emma Drage

Starting, of course, at Paddington Station (after meeting the family), this lovely sticker book visits many of the favourite scenes from the much-loved Paddington movie. They make a great background to add the 150+ stickers which are included - scenes include around the Browns' house, the London tube and Mr Gruber's antique shop. The stickers are separated by the appropriate page so children know just what goes where. Bright and colourful, this is lovely for all Paddington fans.

Dress-up Jane Austen (Fashion Paper Dolls) by Catherine Bruzzone and Hennie Haworth

I found this a really nostalgic book which took me back to the days of my childhood with its stand-up cardboard characters and cut-out clothes complete with tabs to attach them to the models. The costumes (for both men and women) are wonderfully detailed (but the outlines simple to cut out) and really bring to life the period and the way people lived. It's not just cut-outs - there is plenty of information about the period as well, before the costumes which take the dolls through a day in high society. The lovely classic feel of this book is perfect for the Jane Austen theme and I predict that adult fans of the author will want to get their hands on this book!

Dress-up Russian Revolution (Fashion Paper Dolls) by Catherine Bruzzone and Hennie Haworth

Another lovely book which will encourage children to leave their electronic toys and get crafting. Find out What the Tsar and Tsarina wore and look at the contrast between their outfits and those of the peasant woman. Cut out the sixteen colourful costumes, for both women and men, then dress up the dolls to learn about the styles of this turbulent age. The book also includes lots of information about this turbulent period, all illustrated in detail. As ever, bsmall can be relied on to bring us something which is a bit different and extends children's creative and imaginative skills.

Millie Marotta's Beautiful Birds and Treetop Treasures: A colouring book adventure

This gorgeous book had me itching to get my pens or crayons out! It's definitely one that will appeal to adults as well as to older children. The superbly patterned pictures are really detailed and depict a whole range of exotic birds and other creatures along with trees and other plants that form their habitats. The choices of birds range from birds such Major Mitchell's cockatoo and rose robins, to the magnolia warbler, silver-eared mesia and whiskered treeswift; perhaps you will be stimulated to learn more about these beautiful birds. As well as the beautiful birds of the world, Millie's intricate designs show the more unusual creatures residing in the treetops, such as the Amazonian milk frog, the sugar glider or the tree-kangaroo. The pictures are on good quality white paper - it would be good if the pictures were perforated for easy removal though, and also to help the book lie flat. Nonetheless, this is a gorgeous book - perfect to relax with.

Pug-a-Doodle-Do! by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

Drawing and writing fun of all sorts make up this creative and imaginative book. Children will learn how to draw characters such as a pug, a sea monkey, and Pilbeam the robot; take part in a comics jam; design your own pugs with combat skills; take on many amazing doodle challenges; read the secret diaries of Colin the Crab; see what happens when a supervillain has to do the washing up; and much, much more! This is a great book for both boys and girls, one that can be dipped into at any point, so children can browse and find an activity they fancy at that time. The paper quality is not brilliant - crayons not felt tips are called for. Whether or not your child is familiar with the books by these superb authors, there will be hours of fun here - and I sincerely hope that, if children are not familiar with the books, that they will want to seek them out after enjoying this wonderful book.

Make it Kids' Craft: One-Sheet Sculpture: Amazing Creatures illustrated by Shobhna Patel

This super 3D colouring book really makes a change from ordinary colouring books. It contains 24 beautiful, three-dimensional animal-themed artworks.First, use pens or crayons to colour in the animal portraits - the sturdy light card is great for pens and they give a lovely vivid result. Once coloured, press out the die-cut flaps to accentuate scales, feathers and more - creating wonderful works of art that can be removed from the book and proudly displayed. There are many different styles of sculptures to make and there are clear instructions in the book. An added bonus are the coloured sheets of paper to lay beneath the pages to accentuate your 3D pictures. A lovely way to encourage creativity.

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes Unicorns and Rainbows from Nosy Crow

I love this series of books from ever-innovative Nosy Crow. Children really enjoy colouring and being creative but it can be hard to know how to make good use of all those creations. With these cards and envelopes, there's a real purpose to that creativity, and one that means they can be proudly shared. It's a great way to encourage writing those 'thank you' letters too! The lovely intricate designs have a real touch of magic, and creative children will have hours of fun completing each design - even the envelopes have drawings to colour. For a final finishing touch, there are lovely stickers too.

Emoji Sticker Fun! from Top That!

Ideal for tweens and teens, this book of stickers is all about friendship. It includes quizzes and questions that can be completed with colourful emoji stickers to create a perfect best friends keepsake record. From fashion and friendship to makeovers, hobbies and interests, Emoji Sticker Fun! is a bonding activity book for friends to complete together. Includes over 3,000 stickers for use in the book and to emoji-fy anything and everything! Plenty of fun and perfect for those who love stickers but have grown out of the average sticker book.

Magnetic Play Vehicles by Top That Publishing

This neatly packaged set is really ingenious. 15 colourful magnetic vehicle shapes are stored in the front or back of the book, all ready to be set out onto the magnetic scenes. More than that, though - it's ideal parent-child sharing for children age 3 and up, as parents share the simple, immersive text that explains what the busy vehicles get up to. Words and pictures combine in this sturdy board book to hint at which missing magnets to hunt out and place on the magnetic pages to complete each busy vehicle scene - the scenes include farm, town and a race track. The book encourages shared reading and discussion, imaginative play and hand-eye coordination..

The Book of Me: My Life, My Style, My Dreams (Journal) by Buster Books

Teen and tween girls will love this very girly book which encourages them to record all sorts of things about themselves. It's really wide-ranging - from how to have the best ever sleepover to fill-in dream journals, and lists of life ambitions to designing a beauty product range, this book will document every last detail and make a super lasting record. There are also gorgeous, bespoke illustrations throughout to be coloured in. Much more fun than keeping a diary, the book really encourages the inclusion of a huge range of thoughts and ideas, and extends the imagination with its creative activities.

The Great Big Search and Find Activity Book: Over 500 things to find, colour and spot! illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy

​From dinosaurs to the solar system, dump trucks and diggers to farm animals; the deep blue sea to astronauts, there is plenty here to attract any child. As well as plenty of puzzles and lots of scenes to colour, there are fun facts to discover. Can you find and colour the baby T-Rex hiding on Dinosaur Island? Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet? Hunt for hidden octopuses, search for squirrels and find the ten differences between the robots in this bumper activity book, perfect for a rainy day. Take this book with you on a journey, when visiting or on holiday and you can be sure your child will be happily and productively engaged for many hours. In full colour throughout, this is a really appealing book, a cut above the average activity book.

Hello Happy! Mindful Kids: An activity book for young people who sometimes feel sad or angry by Stephanie Clarkson

Written in consultation with Dr Sharie Coombes, a Child and Family Psychotherapist, the books in the Mindful Kids series reflect the growing concern around young people and their emotions, and focus attention on the increasingly popular area of mindfulness. Hello Happy! is an interactive self-care activity book for children aged 7+ to colour and doodle their way to happiness, calm and confidence. The encouraging and simple activities and exercises tackle anxiety, sadness and stress; children will enjoy using their creativity to combat negative feelings, work out why they feel worried and how to put stress back in its place through writing, colouring, doodling and drawing. We all know how relaxing it can be to doodle and colour and this book just provides that extra encouragement. It features the charming and quirky illustrations of Katie Abey, which will keep the reader entertained and focused as they work through the book.

No Worries! Mindful Kids: An activity book for young people who sometimes feel anxious or stressed by Lily Murray

Again, this book is written in association with Dr Sharie Coombes. This is an interactive self-care activity book for children aged 7+ to colour and doodle their way to happiness, calm and confidence. The encouraging and simple, yet well designed, activities and exercises tackle anxiety, sadness and stress; children will enjoy using their creativity to combat negative feelings, work out why they feel worried and how to put stress back in its place through writing, colouring, doodling and drawing. Whether working systematically through the book, or just dipping in and out for a few minutes relaxation, this is an excellent new series that will benefit both children and adults, and make it easier for them to express their feelings.

Sticker Art Savannah by Craig and Carl

These books produce quite stunning results, with the brightly coloured stickers set against the shiny black background. Produced in association with the National History Museum, this book features eight sticker by number portraits of savannah animals, incluing an African lion, an ostrich and a giraffe. There are also fun facts to learn as you sticker. With large stickers perfect for little hands and a straightforward sticker by number design, kids will enjoy creating stylish, vibrant portraits of savannah animals in their natural habitat. Also available is Sticker Art Woodland which includes a red fox, a tawny owl and a reindeer.


Hangman Puzzles for Clever Kids by Jack Ketch

Hangman puzzles have been around for a long time and they are a great way to improve spelling skills and to encourage quick thinking. This book gives a fascinating new approach to the old favourite, as children scratch off the circles concealing the letters to solve the puzzles. Each puzzle has the 26 letters of the alphabet: players choose one they think is in the phrase, scratch it off, and see if it s used. If it's not used, one of the stick figure's body parts must be drawn in - there are six in all, so that's six wrong guesses... It's a really fun way to play the game. I am inclined to take the author's name with a pinch of salt though... Published by Sterling, June 2017, ISBN 9781454922766.

British Museum: Around the World Colouring Book illustrated by Thomas Flintham

This colouring book with a difference takes children on a cultural journey around the world, taking in places such as Ancient Egypt, North America, the Solomon Islands, France, Thailand and India - and many more - along the way. Once children have coloured in the detailed pictures, it's time to search for the stickers which show relevant objects from the wonderful collection of the British Museum; the stickers go on to the outline shapes at the side of each page and are a great way to learn about the country's artefacts. The book encourages creativity and increases knowledge - the pictures would make a super addition to a project. Nosy Crow is working with the British Museum in an exclusive partnership to create a broad range of children's books to sell to the UK trade and beyond - they are excellent and well worth seeking out.

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Amazing Animals and Beautiful Birds (British Museum) by Rachel Cloyne

Even in thi electronic age, nothing is better than getting a hand-written card or letter - and when the card is hand-coloured, it's even better! This unusual series from Nosy Crow is an ideal way to encourage children to write those thank you letters, and the recipients will be thrilled with the end result - even the envelopes are decorated. The twenty-four beautiful designs are inspired by animals and birds found in the British Museum. The index at the back can be used for colouring inspiration from the Museum objects themselves or children can put their own creativity to use. There are even colour stickers to seal your card. An inspiring set of cards and envelopes that will really encourage creativity - and communication.

Sticker Art Jungle illustrated by Craig and Carl

These books are simply stunning - i can see the adults deciding to keep them for themselves! There are eight jungle portraits to create. The black glossy card pages have the creatures outlined, and the matching stickers come in bright colours to make really effective vibrant pictures. The outlines are numbered so you know which stickers to use, so you can match the number to the shape. On the reverse of each page is a picture of the end result, along with plenty of interesting facts. You'll need a steady hand to make these pictures as perfect as possible but they are well worth the effort.

Sticker Art Ocean illustrated by Craig and Carl

Produced in association with the Natural History Museum, these books are informative as well as creative. This time, there are eight ocean creatures to complete, ranging from a starfish to a blue whale. With a little care, the results are going to be quite superb - a far cry from the usual sticker book. The only slight negative is that it's hard to cut the pages out neatly - it would be good if the pages were perforated.... perhaps a point for the next books in what I hope will be an ongoing series. The pictures are too good to shut away - they would be great on display.

My First Wild Activity Book by Isabel Otter-Barry Ross

Inspire children to find out about wild animals from all around the world in this action-packed activity book. They will discover who makes their homes in seven different habitats including rainforests, deserts and oceans. For each habitat, there is a giant fold-out scene that can be made into a stunning poster at the end. The variety of activities is excellent and includes colouring and drawing, search and find, spot the difference, dot to dots and two pages of stickers. Fun and educational, this is a really good example of the way sticker books can teach children a great deal whilst developing their creative instincts.

Doodle Girl Summer Sticker Activity by Suzanne Smith and Lindsay Taylor

Doodle Girl and her friends live in a magic sketchbook, and when she whispers @draw, draw, draw', her doodles turn into fantastical adventures. This wonderfully imaginative sticker, drawing and doodling book is the perfect companion to summer holidays, and girls will really love the unusual ideas that give them plenty of opportunities to express their own creativity. They can design a holiday wardrobe, create an ice cream, find their way to an island and many more activities. The book includes a superb selection of stickers to embellish the pages. A lovely sticker book.

Get Colouring with Katie by James Mayhew

Katie and her love for art and artists will be familiar to many children, and now they have a chance to get to know some famous paintings even better by colouring them in for themselves. Featuring paintings from the National Gallery's world famous collection, this is the perfect introduction to the wonderfully exciting world of art. All that children need to do, is to pick up their colouring pencils and pens and follow the ever-curious Katie on an exciting art journey. The pictures are very detailed, so this is one for older children. Katie introduces each picture, and there is a small version of the original for children to copy the colours. This excellent book is produced in association with the National Gallery.

Creative Lettering for Kids: Techniques and Tips from Top Artists by Jenny Doh

In today's computer-oriented world, it's still lovely to encourage children to enjoy hand lettering, which can give them such a sense of satisfaction. Hand lettering can be used in so many ways - to embellish project work and to send personalised greetings are just a couple of examples. In this book, highly accomplished artists present their favorite lettering techniques, illustrated with inspiring examples of their own work and accompanied by step-by-step instructions that children can follow without difficulty. The book is beautifully illustrated in full colour to really inspire children, and it is really wide-ranging with a huge variety of styles covered. Published by Sterling, June 2017, 9781454920052.

British Museum: The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Fabulous Flowers and Perfect Patterns (Colouring Books of Cards and Envelopes) by Rachel Cloyne

A colouring book with a real purpose and useful end product, giving children beautiful personalised cards and envelopes to send to family and friends. There are 24 beautifully designed cards and envelopes to tear out and colour,  inspired by patterns found in the British Museum. Both children and adults can take inspiration from the museum objects - a super way to encourage interest. Or there is opportunity to get experimental - trying unusual colours and different materials to make each card truly unique!. With enough blank space inside for a message, envelopes to customise and stickers to seal your card -this is the complete creative package! A lovely way to encourage children to write those all-important thank you letters, and a refreshing change from computer-generated cards.

Italy - Children's Travel Activity and Keepsake Book from Tinytourists

Tinytourists is all about inspiring family travel and making the most of adventures; keeping travel meaningful and memorable, educational and fun. Each book offers 5 benefits; they keep children entertained on long journeys, make travel more meaningful by opening their eyes to some of the different things they may see, introduce simple vocabulary, practice key maths, literacy and observation skills in a themed and fun way, and to create an on-the-go journal keepsake with plenty of space to record memories - written, stuck or drawn.

We were looking forward to receiving this travel activity book, and whilst we weren't jetting off to Italy we did however, have a lovely break in the Isle of Wight so I put my 4 and 6 year old reviewers to work!

Travel 1

At the beginning of the book you are introduced to your travel buddy, 'Topher', named after St. Christopher who is the Patron Saint of Travellers (try and spot him throughout the book). On the next page you can design your own suitcase and write your name on the luggage tag. The following page is a handy description of how to use the book. It shows you symbols to look out for and a list of Italian words with the phonetic spellings underneath. The page also explains to adults which part of the curriculum the activities are designed to support. There are around 40 pages of activities and puzzles to complete which are completely different but all have a link to the Italy theme, from guiding a gondola through a water maze, to matching pizza toppings and counting Ferraris.

The whole book is brilliantly illustrated, it keeps to one activity per page, the design and layout is very effective as it is simple yet engaging for a child and the huge variety of activities ensures your child won't get bored. Towards the end of the book there are spaces for you to create your own travel collage by sticking in momentos from your travels such as leaflets, tickets and drawings. There are pages for you to write about the things you both did, and didn't like about your trip.

Travel 2

From a parents' point of view, the best thing about this book is the educational value and the brilliant way it shows you how the activities link back to the curriculum. Children will build on observational skills and recall what they have seen, learn simple Italian vocabulary along with mark making and number recognition to name just a few of the key skills supported.

The Tinytourists Travel Activity Book consists of 54 high quality pages, bound in a glossy cover which is made up using a combination of illustrator and child-drawn images to reflect the idea of seeing the world through a child's eyes. The Tinytourists books are available to buy for Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Lanzarote and Tenerife.

Tinytourists Travel Activity Books are aimed at children from ages 3 - 6 years old, they retail at £7.99 and can be purchased from Amazon. For more information you can take a look at

Travel 3

Make It Kids' Craft: Rainbow Origami from Carlton Books

Eight origami shapes in the seven colours of the rainbow are here to be created by following the clear step-by-step instructions, with projects ranging from Easy to Medium and Experienced levels. There are plenty of sheets of paper included and the book is really appealing with its excellent colour photos which will inspire creativity. What really makes this book stand out from others is the fact that each of the eight projects can be made up in all of the seven rainbow colours included - so you can have, for example a heart garland, a frog hop game and a crane mobile - all great ways of using those creations. A super book which will really encourage anyone, young or old, to try origami - or to refine their skills.

Origami Hearts

Scientist Academy by Steve Martin

There's lots of hands-on experience in this book 0 and that's the way to encourage children to engage with science. Children can learn the essential skills to start their own scientific journey with this fun and engaging title, which is perfect to support and extend KS2 science learning. The book is an engrossing mix of facts and practical activities, and full of great illustrations.Divided into six sections - Laboratory, Investigative, Space, Earth, and Life - it's easy to find topics that support specific learning. Or simply enjoy the book from the beginning. The practical projects are carefully designed to introduce skills of the sort required by real-life scientists. Just some of the projects - make a sundial, a weather vane and a map. There are stickers, both to mark progress and to complete challenges, as well as other puzzles to enjoy. A super book with so much packed in - it will keep children happy for hours.

Ophelia Pang's Interactive Art Book

Children often need a boost to their confidence when it comes to drawing and painting, and this is just the book to do that. It's an ingenious interactive art book that uses simple shapes to create stunning creative designs. Ophelia Pang is a Hong Kong-based illustrator who loves to talk with colour and shape - and colour and shape are the key elements of this book. From single colour pictures to sophisticated colour combinations to mark-making, and paper cut-outs to simple drawings, this book will inspire anyone with a creative mind' giving them ideas that will remain long after they have read and completed the book. Also included is a section of colour strips that can be used as a reference for colour combinations, or pulled out and cut up. It's fascinating to see what can be done with shapes and the ideas are really accessible to anyone, even those who think they have no artistic talent - you may be surprised!

Lift-the-flap and Colour African Animals by Alice Bowsher

These are the latest titles in the Natural History Museum's innovative colouring in series for young animal enthusiasts. With heavy lines to make colouring in easy, children can left the flaps to extend the picture and discover what lies beneath. The book shows animals in their natural habitat, from the flat grasslands of the African savannah. Learning is extended further by the rhyming text which describes each picture. How about developing your child's research skills and looking for pictures of the animals so they can use the correct colours (not that there's anything wrong with imaginative use of colour!) and find out more about the creatures and their habitat. Unusaul and very enjoyable.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Forest by Alice Bowsher

In Forest, children lift the flaps to reveal animals in their natural habitat, from the forest floor to the treetops, then colour the pictures. Then read the accompanying rhyming text to learn about their environment. As well as being excellent colouring books for younger children, who will find the thick lines make for easy colouring, these books also encourage an inquisitiveness about the natural world. The rhyming text gives some basic information, on which children can build with the help of adults.

My Beautiful Room: Create, Decorate and Style by Jasmine Orchard and Olivia Whitworth

If you are thinking of redecorating a child or teen's bedroom, then I really recommend you get this book to inspire you and them. Written by a designer-illustrator duo, the book really showcases their experience and allows you to share in professional tips. It's all here from the basics of learning about colour and texture to decorating furniture, using pattern and personal inspiration. The principles of design in the book will be applicable to may other areas of life too. The book guides you through basic interior design theory, and helps you apply your new-found skills with original drawing challenges and super fun activities, including devising mood boards and creating floor plans. You can create a model of your ideal bedroom on the model made from the flaps of the book, build furniture from the templates given and finally decorate the room with the enclosed stickers - they really have thought of everything. A great resource for home use and a book that will also link well with school studies of Design and Technology

Sophie la girafe Rainbow Colours: Play-and-learn Sticker Book from DK

Many toddlers will be familiar with Sophie la Girafe from baby teethers, so they will love to meet her again in this colourful early learning sticker book all about colour. There's colouring, puzzles, sorting and matching - and plenty of stickers. Little ones will enjoy sharing familiar activities with Sophie as she plays at home, has a picnic, goes out and about, paints in the art room, and more. There are colouring and counting activities and shapes to spot and identify. A helpful Note for Parents explains how to use the book to the best advantage. What I particularly like about these books is the good size and simple shapes (ie square, round etc) of the stickers. So often, books for pre-schoolers have fiddly little stickers that lead to endless frustration, so these are really well thought out.

Sophie la girafe Fun First Words: Play-and-learn Sticker Book from DK

Once again, pre-schoolers can join Sophie as she enjoys familiar activities, including going shopping, playing music, having lunch and much more. All the activities are themed around words and children can enjoy finding stickers, following trails, colouring and counting - and, of course, naming familiar objects. An ideal book to start pre-schoolers learning about and recognising words.

Maze Hop: Around the World by Anna Brett

This is fascinating - it had me engrossed! It's much more than simply a book of mazes as we join George and his dog Milly in a journey around the world and through time. Help George find a way around a half-page maze then flip the pages over to find where to go next by working out which page the maze connects to. The mazes lead you through a series of countries featuring cities, landmarks and habitats. As you travel, find fascinating facts about each location and look out for fabulous things to spot! Each maze is beautifully illustrated and there is an extra challenge on each one, to pass certain objects. A fascinating book that will offer hours of entertainment and still be useful as a reference book once the puzzles are complete.

Meet The Artist: Alberto Giacometti illustrated by Nick White

This book is packed with activities based on the work of an artist who may previously have been unfamiliar to children - it's good to see a less familiar artist featured. Children can create colourful landscapes, photocollages and draw portraits of friends and family, all based on Giacometti's art. This is one in the Meet the Artist series of activity books from Tate Publishing which introduces children to internationally renowned artists in a fun and engaging way. Every book includes a brief introduction to the artist s life followed by a series of drawing-based activities that explore prominent themes and ideas in the artist's work, supported by reproductions of their work. I love the way the book really encourages children to think about what they are depicting and to adopt ideas from great artists.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Ocean by Alice Bowsher

These are ideal colouring books for young children, with broad lines to keep the colouring in the right place. This series, published by Frances Lincoln, comes from the Natural History Museum. The flaps to lift are a novel touch for colouring books, and children will enjoy these, with all the extra colouring opportunities. The animals are shown in their natural habitats, from shallow waters to the sea bed, and brief rhyming text describes what is to be seen. It's a good way to encourage children to do some extra research after enjoying the colouring. There's plenty of scope for creative and imaginative colouring.

Lift-the-flap and Colour Jungle by Alice Bowsher

Children can create their own colourful habitats with this new series from the Natural History Museum. There are five scenes to colour plus flaps that lift to reveal animals in their natural habitat - and offer even more colouring. The scenes vary from the depths of the jungle to the tree canopy and the accompanying rhyming text teaches about the environment. It's clever too, because other creatures appear as the colouring is done - for example, there's a ladybird hidden with the sloths - a nice added touch and something for children to spot.

My Trains Activity and Sticker Book from Bloomsbury

Train journeys are very exciting for children, and now they can have even more fun with this colourful sticker book. From packing to go on a journey, to travelling to the station and all the experiences of a train journey including eating lunch, through to the arrival at the destination, children can experience all the fun. There are all sorts of activities to enjoy, and these will encourage thinking, problem solving and reasoning skills. There's a maze to navigate, things to spot, choices to be made... and over 350 stickers to decorate the various scenes. The perfect companion for a train journey.

Super Search Adventure on the Trail of the Whale by Camilla De la Bedoyere

I really like the way this book draws the reader in by encouraging young readers to be a part of the activities and story. Otto the octopus can't find his best friend Hula the humpback whale. The seahorse says she must have left clues so it's off on an undersea journey. Every page is packed with intriguing information, memorable animal characters, rhyming riddles and fun activities. It's really child-friendly in its approach, making it both fun and memorable.Richard Watson's beautiful, bright illustrations will keep children enthralled with inventive details to spot everywhere - there is so much to see and enjoy.

Super Search Adventure Where is the Bear? by Camilla De la Bedoyere

Suki the rabbit needs help from young readers of 5+. She's on a mission to deliver a present to a bear named Ping - but who is he, and where does he live? The book takes children on an engrossing interactive journey, during which they will learn lots about a wide variety of habitats. An additional special feature of these books is provided by the foldout cover flaps. On the front flap, children can tick off all the creatures they have spotted through the story - a great way to learn about the animals, and to encourage observation. On the back flap, children can chart their journey, helping them to learn where various places are in the world. An unusual and really effective series of books.


Drawing Cartoons Letter by Letter: Create Fun Characters from A to Z by Christopher Hart

Encourage children to start learning to draw with this simple to follow book which takes a fresh look at numbers and letters. Step by step, Hart's clever tutorials show how to turn an A into a clunky robot, a B into a buzzing bee, a C into a chomping dinosaur and so on. These inventive cartoon characters are really to draw with easy-to-follow completely visual instructions - so no need for children to be able to read to create their own super cartoons. The book provides an unusual way to engage children with letters and numbers and is a good way to learn alphabetical order and the shapes of numbers and letters. Every letter of the alphabet appears in both upper and lower case, as do numbers 0 to 9. The cartoons are simple to copy and produce excellent results, giving children confidence to further develop their own drawing skills. Published by Sixth & Spring Books, April 2017, ISBN 978-194202153.

LEGO® NEXO KNIGHTS Ultimate Factivity Collection from DK

DK's Factivity series is an excellent combination of fascinating facts coupled with engaging activities that really capture children's attention. This book features the young knights Clay, Lance, Axl, AAron and Macy, as they embark on epic quests to defeat their monstrous foes in the exciting, magical land of Knighton. Learn all about the characters and their powers through games, sticker activities and puzzles, in chapters headed Meet the Knights; Meet the Monsters; Power Up! and Save the Kingdom. The stickers allow children to peice together Jethro's monstrous new headquarters. NEXO KNIGHTS fans are going to love this and will feel so well informed by the end of the book. It's a great way to inspire the imagination and creativity, as all the activities can be done right on the pages of the book - and then children have their own personalised book to treasure. Of course, this is DK, so you are guaranteed a really well presented book with excellent graphics and really high quality photographic stickers.

Ultimate Factivity Collection Pirates from DK

Pirates have an enduring fascination for children and this book is guaranteed to feed that enthusiasm to great effect. With a whole mass of facts and varied activities, children will get to know the salty swashbucklers who once terrorised the oceans. Hours and hours of creative and imaginative fun for rainy days or holidays, this is a super book, full of variety. Readers will draw their own desert island, design fearsome flags, and discover gruesome pirate illnesses - creative activities and facts combine to perfection. Categories in the books include Read and Create; Draw and Learn; Fact Challenge; Test Your Knowledge and Stickers - a good mix of activities ensuring there is something of interest to everyone. There are over 500 lovely stickers, both photographic and drawings; a great variety to produce freally good results, bringing the pages alive and personalising them. Whether your child is already an enthusiast for the topic, or you are trying to interest them in a new subject, these books are brilliant.

Scratch and Draw Under the Sea by Susie Linn

This book really does deliver on the promised results - I found it really addictive as I scratched off the coating to reveal the wonderful colours underneath, which really are appropriate for the subject of under the sea. It's really simple to do with amazing results. But there is much more to the book - the fun is far from over when the pictures are revealed; this underwater animal-themed title includes step-by-step instructions to learn how to draw all kinds of amazing sea creatures including dolphins, whales, jellyfish, fish, an octopus and more. There is also an exciting marine-themed adventure story to complete, and a cool writing and drawing tool especially for using on the scratch and sketch pages. Plus there are instructions for making more scratch and draw cards so the art fun can go on and on. So much to encourage creativity and imagination packed into one neat spiral-bound book. It's unusual and very effective.

Search and Find Space by Joshua George

Perfect for children of age 5+ (or for younger ones to share with adults), they will be realy challenged to search and find over 1,000 out-of-this-world space things in this full colour activity book. There are all sorts of different scenes, each with a large colour picture plus illustrations around the edges to show what needs to be found. It's not as easy as it seems, as the objects are all differently sized, adding an extra level of challenge. From alien starships and rockets, to astronauts and creatures that live in galaxies far, far away, children must search the busy space scenes to find every hidden item. This is the sort of book that really encourages extending the ideas - as well as search and find, there are lots of opportunities to make up stories, extending the brief accounts which accompany each scene, and to extend knowledge, based on the detailed pictures and masses of small images.

Fuzzy Farm (Fuzzy Play Books) by Erin Ranson

This is a lovely update on the traditional Fuzzy Felt toy, with lots of different fuzzy felt scenes all themed around the farm. Children can create scenes and change them to their heart's content with the 28 fuzzy felt pieces included. From milking in the morning, through a rainy lunchtime and finishing up with a peaceful night's sleep, the story takes us through a busy day, meeting animals and finding about the work on the farm. For each picture, there are prompts that show children which pieces will complete each picture - and I am sure they will want to create their own scenes too! The pieces stick securely to the scenes, and can be stored back in the clear packet to keep them safe between playing.

Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make bt Gavin Rutherford

Pop out and play with these amazing rainforest creature masks which include a toucan, a jaguar, an iguana, a tamarin, a frog, a butterfly, a tapir, an otter and a macaw are waiting to be brought to life inside these pages – all they need is imaginative and creative children. The masks are really striking, very well illustrated and made from stiff card. There is also information about each creature. A brilliant book for classroom topics use, and as rainforests are such a popular school project, the book will be really well received. It's an excellent way to encourage children to act out scenarios using the masks, as well as producing a lovely display.

Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book from The Topps Company

The enduring popularity of the Star Wars brand is testament to the impact it has made on people since it exploded into theaters on May 25, 1977. That same year, Lucasfilm teamed with the Topps Company, Inc. to create the very first tie-in collectibles a series of trading cards and stickers that have since become iconic. Star Wars Topps Classic Sticker Book is the first sticker book to collect a selection of these iconic stickers many of which are reproduced in their original size making this the perfect nostalgic memento for fans of all ages to enjoy.

The Amazing Emoji Puzzle Book: Packed with Totally Awesome Emoji Puzzles and 200 Emoji Stickers from Carlton

Emojis are very popular so it's a great idea to base a whole puzzle book on them, to encourage children to enjoy the 80+ creative and educational puzzles. Puzzle fanatics and emoji lovers alike will enjoy tackling these brainteasers and using the emoji stickers to solve the problems (the stickers are also great to decorate their things with, too). The book contains a wide range of puzzles, including visual puzzles, missing-emoji games, logic problems, and more brain-busters.It's colourful and enticing, and these puzzles really help children develop problem-solving, concentration and thinking skills - and have fun at the same time.

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Fairy Sticker book (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Eugénie Varone

A 24-page colouring book with 21 magical fairy scenes to complete, plus 190 colour-your-own stickers to add to the pages. The colour-your-own stickers are a great idea, giving children the opportunity to put their own interpretation onto stickers rather than always having ready-made ideas. The scenes include dreamy fairy mermaids, magical woodland creatures, pretty fairy patterns, and much more; girls will love them. Many of the pictures are richly detailed so adults may have a go too!

Cool and Calm Colouring Kids Dress Up (Cool & Calm Colouring) by Christine Alcouffe

Colouring is hugely popular and the relaxing benefits have become really well known - children and adults alike benefit and these pictures are perfect for young fashion lovers. There are 21 super-trendy scenes to colour and decorate with stickers, including chic Paris, the bright lights of New York, the classic style of London, a photoshoot on the beach, as well as fashions from the 1950s, the 1960s and the 1970s - all very nostalgic! The colour your own stickers are perfect to allow children to design their own outfits and embellish them just as they want.

i-SPY Nature: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

i-SPY books have an enduring popularity - I loved them, my children enjoyed them and now I am introducing my grandchildren to them. It's a clever formula that really engages children with the world around them, encouraging them to be observant and widening their knowledge. They are wonderful to keep children happily and purposefully occupied on journeys, on holiday, on day trips from home and even in the park or garden.  In i-SPY Nature, spotters can search for over 140 sights. Each object is accompanied by a good colour photo for identification, plus a summary of useful information. Each object is allocated a score, ranging from 5 for easy to spot items such as common nettle, to Top Spots which earn 30 points eg an otter. Once 1000 points are gained in the book, children can  for a certificate and badge. send This fun activity book encourages children to explore a range of outdoor environments, from down by the sea to town and country animals, in search of i-SPY points. A fun, interactive way to encourage curious children to learn about the world around them. The range of difficulty of finding the objects is nicely varied, and the 1000 points for a badge can be gained without finding everything - a good way to ensure children don't get despondent about near-impossible finds.

i SPY2

i-SPY at the Zoo: What can you spot? (Collins Michelin i-SPY Guides)

The books are divided into colour-coded sections, which is useful for wandering around and spotting; they also include detailed indexes to help spotters. As well as zoo animals, the broad scope of this title includes insects and countryside animals - a good way to keep interest going when not at the zoo. Children love these fun and fascinating i-SPY activity books – with over 60 other i-SPY guides in the series, there is something for every interest. The selection I was sent, which you can view here, is ideal for the summer. You may also like the geographical ones which cover London, The Isle of Wight, the Cotswolds and many other places. A new introduction is the Holiday Sticker Book - blank outlines are part if colourful scenes, ready for the sticker when spotted. Children still score points and this book is ideal as an introduction for younger i-SPYers. I think i-SPY books are brilliant; they encourage observation, help learning and are great for cooperative working. They are excellent value too so I'd encourage you to stock up; great party bag gifts too.

2018 Annuals

Bing Annual 2018

Bing is a really popular character with young children, who enjoy his exploits as they share with him in their childhood experiences. And remember, when things go wrong - it's a Bing thing! He is a reassuring character with whom children readily identify. Now he can be with children through the year in this colourful, activity-packed annual full of stories, keepsake pages and varied puzzles and activities. This brand-new book based on the popular CBeebies show features a collection of keepsake pages throughout the book for recording memories, preferences and firsts as well as spaces to stick in photographs or draw your own pictures - a lovely way to personalise the book.