We Love Books – I Spy

My child-of-the-seventies and living that through H resurrected itself last weekend when we made a trip to Hatchlands Park, and went into the National Trust shop. There on the shelf in front of me was a row of I Spy books – which I have to say, excited me a bit too much.

H is only two and a half, so they’re probably still a bit advanced for her, but that didn’t stop me buying another book on Amazon which arrived this week – so now we have I Spy in the Garden and I Spy in the Car. H is an inquisitive toddler, and while it’s not the kind of book we’d read together, it has the kind of things she’d spot on a journey in the car and be excited about – so it made sense to get her something which rewards her for spotting them.

At £2.50 for each book they’re not breaking the bank, and yep, there’s still the chance to get a certificate and badge in the back (as long as your 1000 points are independently verified by a responsible adult), which of course these days is delivered by email.

All you need to do is spy the relevant things and add the date to the book – so I suspect we’ve got a few years of use to come – although on Day One H did say “I’d like to colour in my new book” – so let’s hope it lasts…

I Spy books were apparently relaunched in 2009, but I was too busy being a new mum to notice – keep an eye out if you want something to occupy your easily distracted toddler too!

We Love Books at Mum Friendly

We Love Books – Topsy & Tim

I am going to write-up a lot more about Topsy and Tim very soon, as the books are one of the rare occurrences where I read them as a young ‘un, only to find H is now reading them with just as much enthusiasm.

But! Did you know there’s still new books being released? The illustrations are new modern ones though Topsy still has her familiar pigtails, but these days T&T are very much small children of these times and are just as popular as they were in my day.

Topsy & Tim - Holly's collectionThe Book People had a set of the books, twelve in all for a really good price, and given my addiction for buying books, we splashed out. The books were a hit, so we added more to the collection. There really is a book for almost every occasion you could think of (‘Safety First’ is good for warning about dangers, and ‘Itchy Heads’ has been updated and is very useful should headlice enter your world), it’s written in a way which your little one can relate to, and if they’re anything like H when you’ve got to the fifth reading of the same book, there’s still plenty to talk about on the page and spot on the pictures each read.

Oh, and then there’s also my addiction for car boot sales, where I’ve picked up some 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s T&T editions.

Our newest additions to the collection arrived in the post today, and I have to admit, of all the books I’ve seen, Topsy & Tim Visit London was one I was particularly excited about. Despite living 20 minutes by train from Clapham Junction, so just a little bit further from Central London, I’ve never really ventured that far. Now H is a bit older we’ve done bits here and there, and this book is perfect – it’s filling in a gap – I know where I’d like to take her, Topsy and Tim also happen to be visiting those places, and I know once we get there that she’ll be excited and will relate to it – so we get the Tower Of London (with Tower Bridge in the background), Horse Guards Parade (via the Underground), Big Ben, The Natural History Museum, Kew Gardens and Diana’s Playground in Kensington Gardens – which are all places I want to take H! Add to that there’s a London map in the back where I was able to point out where daddy works (that’s H’s daddy, not T&T’s one), and I think H is starting to understand a bit more about where she lives – seriously, if you live in London and needed a way to help your little one remember places, this is the book. It’s not too complicated and the pictures are great.

As a sidenote, the coolest thing we spotted was Topsy and Tim arriving at mummy’s friends house in London, and both of them have Trunki’s! Proper children of the 2000’s now, they are.

Topsy & Tim Go For GoldWe also received Topsy & Tim Go For Gold – a sports day related story. This one is very much your standard T&T story, with the various races on sports day – but this time Topsy and Tim have fallen out. Now I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t remember this having happened before in any of the books – but in the end there’s a happy ending, and as Shaun pointed out, also a lesson to be learnt that arguing doesn’t get you anywhere, and working together does.

H loved the story straight away, and asked for it to be read several times, which is always a good sign!

Both these titles are being promoted by Penguin in their Olympic themed book promotions – plus if your little one is at a Busy Bees nursery, they’re doing a promotion there for the London book – complete with T&T handpuppets (how cool? I wish!!), so keep an eye out.

I received these books from Penguin, all opinion is my own, and I’ll be gushing over Topsy and Tim a little bit more very soon – we’re big fans in this house!

We Love Books at Mum Friendly

We Love Books – Toddlers : An Instruction Manual by Joanne Mallon

Published in December 2011, ‘Toddlers: An Instruction manual – A guide to surviving the years one to four (written by parents, for parents)’ is one of those books you really need to know about. It’s available in paperback and Kindle formats, and even better, part of the royalties are donated to Home-Start, one of the UK’s leading family support charities.

Joanne Mallon - Toddlers An Instruction Manual

The book explores why toddlers behave the way they do (and speaking as a mum of an almost 2.5 year old, anything that can shed any light is a good good thing!), and putting it out there as an instruction manual. Having quickly skim read some of the sections I know it’s something I’m going to be using a lot these next few years…!

It’s nice to know you’re not alone when you wonder what on earth is going on in your toddler’s head, the book brings together tried and tested practical, down to earth tips from parents who’ve survived the toddler years and want to help you do the same. From help getting your child to sleep through the night, listening when you say no and getting them to stop reacting with horror when they see something they don’t want to eat, this book WILL help! The book celebrates the qualities we love about toddlers and suggests ways to navigate their less appealing aspects. It’s never going to stop them tormenting us, but can help us get through with your sanity (just about) intact!

Joanne Mallon has created a fantastic book – she’s a freelance parenting journalist, a life and career coach, and a parent of two.

Home-Start supports almost 73,000 vulnerable children across the UK. Last year, their 16,000 volunteers gave a million hours of support to families. Home-Start help them cope with post-natal illness, isolation, bereavement, disability, domestic violence and much more.

Do I need to tell you more? Here’s some words from the press release

* written with warmth, understanding and love – no preaching or judgemental comments;

* invaluable advice from many parents on what they wish someone told them about toddlers;

* practical guidance from experts, empowering the parent to make their own choices confidently;

* up-to-date information on toddlers using technology, including advice on iPads and the under 5’s;

* tried and tested tips for tackling common toddler issues including tantrums, fussy eating, potty training and sleep problems;

* easily accessible information broken down into bite sized chunks;

* reminds parents that despite the tantrums, tears and toilet training, there is much to love about the precious toddler years.

In addition to this, I’ve contributed two end of chapter sections to the book, so am proud to be featured in here – it’s a great book and will be a great resource for parents now and in the future.

Buy it from Amazon (paperback) (Kindle)

We Love Books at Mum Friendly