Colour with Mum; a colouring book to share

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Colour is a power that directly influences the soul

Wassily Kandinsky

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It’s almost Mother’s Day in the UK, just a few mere weeks. As father’s and children scramble and wrack their brains for something to buy their mother’s, may we humbly put forward a suggestion?

Colour with Mum!

I stumbled across this book a few weeks ago on a Facebook page I follow, a fellow mother mentioned it. Colour With Mum is a colouring book full of diverse and visually exciting pages to be coloured in. What makes it different to other colouring books however, is the fact that it is meant to be done with your Mum. The A3 book has a double spread with each side holding a different colouring page. One that is easier than the other which has more detailing for the adult. The pages are either laid out so you can sit side by side and colour, or you can sit opposite each other on some spreads.

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It is a simple concept but it is so much more than that. Our lives as parents are so busy. There is always something to be doing, a long list to get through. I’ll be the first to admit I have told Little Feet A and B that I don’t have time to sit and play or read to them. This book is the perfect opportunity to carve out special time for you and your children, to just sit and be still with them. It gives you a moment of calm and quiet, a moment to connect and talk about life with them. It is a moment of mindfulness for both child and adult, at its centre it is a moment of connectedness. In a world of chaos and fast moving motions, it is a place of stillness and pause. What could be more precious than that.

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I bought this book just before half term and it was the perfect thing to do with Little Feet A when Little Feet B took a nap. It meant Little Feet A and I had a moment of down time too, doing something we both enjoy - being creative. All the times we have done it together, I have felt that we have connected and it is has helped for the rest of the day. It was hard to have those moments when Daddy Big Feet was deployed.

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The soul becomes dyed with the colour of it’s thoughts

Marcus Aurelius

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8 Princess books with a twist

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Happy World Book Day 2019!

We hope you have had fun choosing outfits for your Little Feet today. Sadly the school my daughter is at hasn’t done anything today which is SUCH a shame as it is one of our favourite days. You know… because we love books so much. So instead we thought we would share with you an author and illustrator who captured the heart of my Little Feet. So much so that for the entire month of January and February I had to read one of them every single day to Little Feet B, to the point that Little Feet A and I alternate lines to add some fun to it as we were both rather bored of the story! Little Feet A knows the whole story off by heart and it is really quite hysterical listening to her say some of the lines.

You may have picked up that Daddy Feet and I don’t really like to encourage the whole Princess thing with our girls. Films like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella are banned from our house. Whereas films like Beauty and the Beast, Tangled, Moana and obviously Frozen are allowed. Don’t get me wrong, they still have princess fancy dress and books about princesses but, those books have princesses that are not damsels in distress and are generally pretty bad ass! It’s a girl thing and definitely a 4 year old girl thing. A weird right of passage it seems. So if your girls are princess mad and you would like to start introducing them to the concept of a Princess with a contemporary twist then this is the post for you!

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  1. Princess Daisy and the Dragon and the Nincompoop Knights, Steven Lennton

A dragon is supposedly threatening the kingdom so the King sends for knights in exchange for his daughters hand in marriage. Instead of allowing his daughter to help her keeps her locked in her tower. She has a thing or two to say and do about that! Little Feet A has always loved this book and dressed up as Princess Daisy for World Book Day a couple of years ago. It rhymes an is a great girl power book.

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2. Zog, by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

If you’re anyone you’ll already know this book, but we love the Princess Pearl and that she wants to be more then just sit around and sew. Her dream is to be a doctor and she does just that!

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3. Zog and the Flying Doctors, by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

The sequel after Zog. Whereas Zog focused on the dragon, this one is all about Princess Pearl and Knight Gadabout’s adventures as the dying doctors.

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4. The Worst Princess, by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie

This book we have had for a few years and both girls have been obsessed with it off an on. For the entire month of February Little Feet B insisted we read it Every.Single.Night. To the extent that Little Feet A knows all the words. It go to the point where we were reading alternate lines just to make it more interesting and it is hysterical hearing her recite lines like, ‘Me too,’ said Sue. ‘The sneaky rascal has locked me in this stupid castle.’

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5. Princess Scallywag and the Brave, Brave Knight, by Mark Sperring and Claire Powell

This is about a Princess and her mother who protect their kingdom in an alternative way. It’s wonderful and the sequel below is another one that Little Feet A and B were obsessed with last mother after coming across it in our local library.

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6. Princess Scallywag and the No-Good Pirates, by Mark Sperring & Claire Powell

Last month we came across this in our local library. We read this one again and again that even Little Feet B knew all the sound noises that the book is scattered with. It’s witty and Princess Scallywag is a breath of fresh air to princess books.

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7. The Princess and the Christmas Rescue, by Carol Hart & Sarah Warburton

This one is about a princess who likes to create and engineer everything and anything. Stuck at home with no friends to speak off she stumbles into Santa’s grotto just before Christmas and discovers chaos and panic as Santa is ill and not able to get the presents done. Guess who saves the day?!

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8. The Princess and the Giant, by Carol Hart & Sarah Warburton

By the same author as above this Princess saves the kingdom by not giving up on a giant who is plaguing the kingdom with noise because he just cant’t sleep. While the King and Queen want to get rid of him, she decides to try and find out what the problem is.

So there you go, we hope that perhaps there is a book or two you haven’t come across and that you will give a go. All of these books are rhyming ones as lets be honest, those are the best ones!

Let us know which ones are your favourites!

Keith Haring - The Boy That Just Kept Drawing

by Kay A Haring and Robert Neubecker

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First book review of 2019! This year, one of the areas I will be sharing with you is more Art related storybooks. Art and Art History are what started me on this journey and they are at the foundations of this blog. Looking, reading and creating is a way of escape. Escape from the stresses and the mundane that everyday life can throw at you.

In the last decade more artist related books have been written specifically for children. If we want our Little Feet to get wrapped up in art, get carried away, allow their imaginations to run wild at the opportunities and scope of art then starting with storybooks about artists is a great place to begin. It brings the artwork to life, especially for those who love nothing more than to sit snuggled up and read a book.

Today we will be reviewing a book called,

Keith Haring - The Boy That Just Kept Drawing

Written by his sister Kay A Haring and Robert Neubecker they together bring to life Keith’s life and legacy. Published in 2017 it was so popular on Amazon’s Children’s Art History section is remained in the top ten sellers for over a year.

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Keith had a short but bursting at the seams life. His life cut too short at the age of 32 dying of AIDS/HIV related complications.

The book tells the story of Keith and how he would not stop drawing. He believed from a young age that art was for everyone, not just those who could afford to buy it or those who went to galleries or museums. He used his position to speak out on topics he believed strongly in and loved children.

After studying art he moved to New York in the 70s and was very much part of the counterculture of the age. Inspired by graffiti art and the shapes and movement of breakdancing by people in the street shaped his work.

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When he began to work on the underground or ‘subway’. He noticed there were black billboard posters everywhere so he went out and bought white chalk and began to draw. His hand is easily recognisable and so quickly people began to realise they were done by the same person, though they were unsure who that person was. People began to ask questions as to why he drew places where they could be thrown away and discarded. He continued to do it.

Soon his notoriety was noticed and he began to be in demand in galleries in New York and around the world. Though he accepted painting and drawing for these institutions he always demanded that he do a mural as well so that EVERYONE could see art.

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This book has such a beautiful message. His work, is vibrant and fun and your Little Feet will be drawn to the simple shapes and colours that he uses throughout his work. The illustrations and script in the book draw such a wonderful picture of Keith. He was a human that was born in a creative bubble machine that never broke. Wherever he went the effect of his love of drawing was infectious, bubbles flying everywhere and as they popped their fragrance stayed and left a profound effect. Do what makes you happy and be kind. Nothing else matters.

Sweep, by Lousie Greig and Júlia Sardà

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Autumn has arrived…

And with it ALL the leaves in the garden. We have a LARGE tree in our garden that loves to dispose of it’s leaves all over the entire of our grass. A continuous stream, throughout the entire of Autumn and Winter. I go through stages of incessantly raking, deciding whether to buy a leaf blower to just abandoning the garden altogether and not going in to it for a month straight.

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With the welcoming of Autumn, our book this week is called, Sweep, by Louise Greig and Júlia Sardà. It is a great match. The colours are muted with browns, yellows, reds and golden streaks - a lot like the colours around us outside at the moment. It is filled with leaf orientated illustrations and is an excellent story about the emotion anger.

Anger

A big emotion right? One that can attack, hurt and deeply damage the person who holds the anger as well as those around them. A pretty important emotion to get a handle and control over. This book is as important to the Big Feet reading it as it is for the Little Feet.

Sweep is about boy called Ed. Ed is fun to be around when he is in a good mood, but when he is in a bad mood… not so much. One day he gets really angry about the smallest thing and just couldn’t let it go.

‘But before Ed knew it, the something had grown,

gather pace, and swept him off down a path.

Ed’s bad mood thought this was a wonderful idea.

But the things that got in Ed’s way did not.’

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Soon he was dragging everything down around him because of it, not just leaves but people and even the weather. His anger kept going until he couldn’t remember what he was angry about, but his bad mood has taken control of him and he couldn’t see all the beautiful things around him.

‘Off course, if Ed had looked up he would

have noticed the beautiful things,

the things that always made his heart sing.

But he refused to lift his eyes.

The ground was a lot more interesting,

or so his bad mood told him.’

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Eventually when he begins to tire he starts to wonder whether it was worth it at all. That little thought was the glimmer of light and as soon as he let go, looks up, everything starts to lift away and feel better.

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This is a story about so many of us. Am I right?

Letting something little ruin the rest of your day. It is something I personally have failed at again and again and realise that it is such an important lesson to teach our Little Feet to learn. Anger as an emotion is allowed off course, but knowing when to let go of it is even more important. If we allow it to remain it slowly begins to eat at us, it affects our well being, it affects the people around us and we miss out all the good things that our around us.

Books are such good tools to teach our Little Feet, especially if sometimes we struggle trying to explain something. So let someone else do the explaining.
Let’s teach our kids to let go and look up.

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Daddy's Brilliant Beard, by Katherine Turner

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Today I will be championing a debut author and one who has gone at it alone without an agent or publisher. No mean feat and pretty scary to jump in at the deep end, especially when you are taking a chance on yourself. In Britain we champion small businesses and we love what Katherine Turner she stands for. 

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When I come across a kindred spirit who has pursued their dream off their own back, no matter the obstacle I like to give credit where credit is due, especially in the arts. These artists have stood up for their dreams, and not allowed the, 'what ifs' to stop them in their tracks.

This summer we were in Kent visiting family and Katherine Turner had a stall in the market place where she was doing readings of her book and encouraging kids to do the free crafts she had set up. I didn't realise there was a book initially. I spotted the arts and crafts table a mile off and bee lined toward it with the Little Feet. Then Katherine came over and asked if we wanted to listen to the book. So over the Little Feet went and sat on these dinky wooden stools in front of her. And so, that is where we first heard her book, 'Daddy's Brilliant Beard.'

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The book is funny, easy to read and the illustrations are fab. My almost two year old loves it and will regularly ask me to read it to her. My 4 year, literally every single time I read it will make sure that I don't miss out the speech bubbles scattered throughout the book. She's right too, they add to the story, especially if you read it with proper voices and some theatrical flare. To sum it up, it is a light hearted and just lovely book to have as part of your collection and unlike Daddy Big Feet, if your Little Feet's Daddy has a beard it is a MUST for the bookcase! 

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So who is Katherine Turner?

Well, you are in luck as we found out for you by asking a few questions!

Hi Katherine, thanks for much for taking the time and answering a few questions we had for you.

so your book... can you tell us what it is about?

My book is about a Daddy, whose long and hairy beard gets him into lots of trouble with the town. With his daughter beside him, he wants to show everyone how brilliant his beard can really be.

Is the Daddy in this book inspired by someone?

The Daddy is inspired by a mixture of people and characters, who have intrigued, fascinated and entertained me. One of these people, was a friend I made in Australia, whose beard would get him into mischief, mostly at meal times. The character Repunzel, also inspired me, with how useful long hair can be for all sorts of tasks.

What did you study at university and what made you want to write a book and why a children's book?

I studied Fine Art and Art Therapy, which helped me break free from a lot of my traditional art methods and learn to experiment with new techniques and find my own style. 

I never thought I’d become an author, although I did love writing random stories as a child, but English was never really my strongest subject at school. I do love to entertain people and one of the ways I have found to do this is through telling stories through illustrations. 

I have worked with children all my life, especially with kids on the edge, and those who haven’t had the easiest upbringings. So one of the reasons I like children’s books, is because I have found art and stories to be a great way to help children overcome struggles and learn great lessons. 

Did the story come first or the illustrations?

With ‘Daddy’s Brilliant Beard’, the story came first and then the illustrations. But usually the pictures and words influence each other through the whole process. With this book I started with a basic story plot and then mapped it out with quick sketches, but then as my illustrations developed the story changed and involved, and ended up being completely different by the end. 

You self-published. What challenges did you face and what advice do you have for budding authors?

I decided to self-publish this book, for a few reasons. Firstly I found the whole publishing process very complicated and quite discouraging at times. In the end I discovered that if you don’t have an agent or haven’t already been published then it usually comes down to sending your story to the right person at the right time. And although I wouldn’t be against trying this again, I found it very time consuming and unhelpful. When one of my story ideas would be rejected I had no idea what it was they didn’t like, so it was hard to know how or what to work on. Also, with self-publishing I liked that I had full control on how everything looked and the power to change what I wanted to change. However there are definitely pros and cons to both, so I’d advise to research both and see which would work best for you. 

My advise to authors who are looking to get their book published is to join a critique group. I joined one through the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (www.scbwi.org), which meet once a month and has been very helpful. There are people in the group who have a lot more experience and knowledge than I do, and advised me on events to go to; competitions to enter and just generally encouraged me to keep going. We also read each others stories and give feedback, which was hugely helpful in how my book developed.

I would also say that it’s good to get a balance between listening to advise and suggestions of others, whilst still holding on to your story. It’s great to adapt, shape and let your work be influenced, but not so much that you completely lose what you created. 

Where can we buy your book?

At the moment you can buy my book through my website, www.ktdesigns.me, or from HatHats coffee shop in Reculver and the HatHats coffee van in Chestfield.

Are you writing another one and if so when can we expect to be able to buy it?

I am currently working on two new stories; one of which is a Christmas story, which I am hoping will be ready for this Christmas 2018. You can look out for updates on my Instagram @kturnerdesigns and Facebook page KT Designs.

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So there you have it folks, some insight into what it is like to self publish your own book, the pros and cons. So if you are all about supporting small businesses, then guys, this is it. Self published authors are in the same boat, we are small businesses too. We are just beginning and have one product to sell to get us off the starting blocks. Help us spread the love of reading to Little Feet. It is a great, light hearted read with fun illustrations and it is a firm favourite with my Little Feet.

You can buy it on Amazon too! Find it here.

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Disclaimer: 

I use affiliate marketing on The Rainbow Tree. If I am talking or reviewing certain products in this space it will have links to online retailers where you can purchase them. When you read these articles and click through those links and/or buy them from that link, I will earn a commission from that retailer. You do not pay more than you would normally pay, I just get compensated when you, the user clicks through that affiliate link.

Nature's Tiny Miracle BEE, by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup

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In celebration of the upcoming National Honey Bee day on Saturday 18 August we bought this book,  Nature's Tiny Miracle BEE, by Britta Teckentrup. Over the next couple of days we will have a few posts put up in celebration of bees. Our children need to understand why bees are so important and why we need to respect and help them if they are too survive us. Books like this one are GREAT for doing this in a fun and visual way. 

Patricia Hegarty is the author and Britta Teckentrup the illustrator. I must admit I'm a little confused as I had originally thought it was all done by Britta Teckentrup as there isn't any mention of Patricia Hegarty anywhere on the front or back cover. In fact it is only in very small print on the inside of the book. So I'm wondering why this is? Anyway care to enlighten me? It's fairly unusual for the Illustrator to be at the forefront of attention over the author. I wonder whether the author has a problem with this. Without one the other is only half done. I actually had to double check on Amazon to see whether it was actually done all by Britta and it was only then I saw she wasn't the author. 

Anyway, lets talk about the illustrations as they really are very beautiful. Britta has done over 100 children's books that have been translated into 25 different languages. I must admit I had never heard of her. If you couldn't tell already, illustrations in children's books really matter to me! A book is only half done if the illustrations don't match the quality of the story. I had a Google and discovered we had previously read 'Neon Leon' which she illustrated (author Jane Clarke). Patricia and Britta have been paired together for another couple of children's books so don't be surprised if you see them reviewed on here soon too. 

The book has been produced on excellent high quality, thick paper. You know the type of paper that you aren't going to rip easily, or rather that Little Hands aren't going to rip easily. I love a book printed on good paper. It just feels great in your hands and like it will last the test of time, or perhaps I should say Little Hands. 

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A big thing for us and books for Little Feet are ones that rhyme. We love them. We've read them so frequently with Little Feet A since she was a baby that she now tries to rhyme in general conversation. And sometimes it even does rhyme! So the fact this book rhymes means for us it is already a winner.

Every child loves a peekaboo window.  Additions like this are great for Little Feet, it adds another dimension to books. This book steps it up a notch. The windows are visually pleasing and relevant in shapes of hexagons, echoing the honeycomb in their hives. It is very effective. 

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The imagery is vibrant and the pages are full of flowers, nature and colours. The colours throughout the book are deep hues that make each double page so visually enticing. There are pages full to the brim with every type of flower you can think of. Meadows and meadows of flowers. 

"Flowers as far as the eye can see-

too many flowers for just one bee. 

All of a sudden, bee is gone-

she has a message to pass on."

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It really is a book that every household should have and a great one to pull out the bookcase at the end of Winter when Spring is beginning to emerge. More fun educational storybooks for kids like this should be written in my opinion. It makes learning fun and these books will stay in their heads when they are older like all the classics do. 

Buy it here.

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Disclaimer: 

I use affiliate marketing on The Rainbow Tree. If I am talking or reviewing certain products in this space it will have links to online retailers where you can purchase them. When you read these articles and click through those links and/or buy them from that link, I will earn a commission from that retailer. You do not pay more than you would normally pay, I just get compensated when you, the user clicks through that affiliate link.