I know it’s not until next week but with all the pumpkins, skeletons and witches about it’s hard not to get into the Halloween “spirit” (see what I did there?!)
Hope you enjoy this Halloween Rhyme!

Witching For Beginners 
By Kirsten Allen 26.10.17

No one believes me,
When I say I’m a new witch 
And that it was my broomstick,
That knocked my sister in the ditch.

I couldn’t find a prince to turn into a frog
But I found a magic potion in the bathroom,
So tried it on the dog.
Instead of turning into a creature, from the murky pond,
Our poor, brown, furry, four-legged friend, 
Turned an orange shade of blond.

And I then I tried to tell Mum that it was my untrained super witch powers,
That accidentally whacked the heads off all her best most favourite flowers.

I’m new to this whole witching thing,
So I am at a loss,
And really don’t know the right spell
To make her stop being so cross!


Interesting Article….

I love this article with some simple tips on helping children to read. I’ll be honest…my 3year old loves books but not sure how many letters he recognises (or is supposed to recognise at this stage! -Any early stages teachers out there -I’d love to hear from you out of interest!). He knows “O = Oliver” and “H = Henry” and “T = Thomas” (the latter 2 from the bain of our life Thomas the Tank Engine….at least it has some uses!! 😂) The rest he just makes up. The only reason I have any concern is because dyslexia is in our family. However, he’s only 3 so not going to worry about it at the moment and just let him enjoy the books at his own pace (I’m only allowed to read Green Eggs and Ham at the moment!!) 

Have a great weekend!

Autumn book reviews….

So yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to read some Autumny type books to pre-schoolers at Sandhurst Library. Today I’m enjoying reviewing some of them! I took Cedric the Squirrel along and the children enjoyed cuddles with him. Here he is snuggled up with his leaves, conkers and a great book!

1. The Wild Woods – by Simon James

A beautifully illustrated and engaging story (Oliver loves this one!) about a little girl, going for a walk with her Grandad. Jess  decides she wants to take a squirrel home. She also has some very logical ideas on what to feed him and where he can sleep. Can she convince Grandad it’s a good idea?…

2. Pumpkin Soup – Helen Cooper

A squirrel, a duck and a bagpipe playing cat all live together in harmony making pumpkin soup. Each has their own job to do. One day, the duck decides he wants to do something different and it doesn’t go down well at all! This would be a great one perhaps for reception classes as it shows what the cat and squirrel think has happened to the duck after he’s waddled off in a huff. Children can have so much fun guessing and using their imaginations before the end is given away. Beautiful illustrations too. 

3. The Big Snuggle-Up – by Brian Patten

Personally, I loved reading this story. A scarecrow and various creatures all need shelter from the snow. Such a gentle beautiful book and so good for repetition. The children could “help out” with the story. Just wonderful! Would make a great soothing bedtime story.

Thanks Sandhurst!

What a lovely afternoon! Spent with two little girls, their mums and a set of grandparents. Thank you so much to the lovely librarians of Sandhurst Library for having me –  Such a wonderful community library. Will review the books for the weekend! If you have  children it’s always worth popping to the local library. Sooooo many books to choose from and sometimes they have children’s activities such as treasure hunts, storytelling sessions, baby singing sessions. I used to go to the library every Saturday with my Dad. Lovely memories! 

Storytelling nerves…..

What are your favourite Autumn children’s books? 
This week Sandhurst Library have very kind in asking me to lead a storytelling session on Thursday and it’s Autumn themed. I’m so flattered that they would like to hear some bits that I’ve written alongside  some Autumn type books.

So here’s a little something I wrote for the occasion:

Autumn – by Kirsten Allen 

Mud squishing in my fingers 
Brown conkers all around
Golden leaves are falling. What a crunchy sound!!!
Furry squirrels playing hide and seek with the acorns that they find.
Lushes lovely berries!
Types of every kind.
These are the wonderful things I think of,
When Autumn springs to mind.


Just had to review….

So it’s been a mad whirl of holidays, teething and 3 year old birthday parties. My youngest has been waking at 5am and then going back to sleep. Oliver then wakes up and while waiting for his younger brother we’ve had a lovely time cuddling and reading a a story before getting ready. He received some beautiful books as birthday gifts which he loves. Including this one which made me smile and he loved it. Can recommend it:

There’s No Dragon In This Story – by Lou Carter & Deborah Allwright

This story is about a dragon. He wants to be a hero….unfortunately for him Goldilocks, The Gingerbread Man, Hansel and Gretel plus others already have their stories. Surely someone needs a dragon to save the day……
This is a fun easy read story for 6years old and under. Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!!

On another note I came across this interesting article. I have to say, even as an adult I love bonding with people over books they’ve read. Chatting with friends about what they’ve been reading has opened up new genres for me which I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Also, my son loves telling me about stories that have been read at nursery. Children are never too young to be read to!

Roald Dahl…..

“I have a passion for teaching kids to become readers, to become comfortable with a book, not daunted. Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.”

Roald Dahl

Am a little late with this blog and missed this amazing man’s birthday. We’ve had various family stuff on and holidays and a very teethy baby. 

However, I’m going to use Halloween month as an excuse to review his book “The Witches”. There are so many Roald Dahl books to choose from (I also now love his adult books such as  Kiss Kiss – a bizarre collection of short stories) but this was one of my favourite books growing up. I didn’t own a copy of it myself but borrowed it from the library almost every other week!

The Witches – by Roald Dahl

This is a pretty gruesome story about a boy who goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother who tells him stories about witches and the witch hunters (witchophiles). His grandmother is a retired witchophile and tells him the signs of how to spot them. This was always a source of amusement at our school as we had it read to us at storytime by a teacher (actually a very nice one) with slightly flared nostrils. We were convinced she was a witch!
These witches dress in ordinary clothes and look like normal people so are difficult to spot. The boy and his grandma go on holiday and end up staying in a hotel where there is a witches convention. The grandma and grandson need to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plot!!!!
Would say the book is appropriate from 7 years up. Definitely a good read!

….Book Review the other half!

The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous BoschI recently half reviewed this book as it looked good (but I hadn’t finished it). While taking time out with the family I managed to read the rest of it. I really enjoyed it!!!! Would say it’s for 9/10 year olds- 13. I couldn’t put it down and can’t wait to read the next one to find out what happens. In a nutshell a girl comes by a box “The Symphony of Smells”, makes friends with a boy, stumbles across a magicians secret diary and together they work out what happened to him. There are goodies, baddies (a weird couple and a secret organisation) and some of it’s quite amusing. I particularly love how long words and particular bits of history are explained. They’re sort of included in a non-patronising way in the story. There’s also a glossary at the back. Have got to read the next book as it’s been left on a cliff hanger! If your child (or you!) have read it would love to hear your thoughts on it! 

Magic week….

So having had a short break making lovely magical memories with my family I thought this coming week reviews etc would be based on books with magic. To start off the week I’ve written a short bedtime poem. Hope you like it!

The Land of Nod
Kirsten Allen

In a magical land at the edge of time,
Sugar Plum fairies dance in a line.
Toadstools talk
And trees can walk!
Gnomes and elves eat evening dew pie,
Underneath a bright rainbow coloured sky.
Fire-fly babies dart and play
And all dreams are but a wish away.
Just snuggle down, now close your eyes
And listen to sweet lullabies.
Soon you can join this special place too,
Where wonderful adventures are waiting for you! 


Half a book review…

It’s only half as am only part way through but really enjoying it! It’s a bit advanced for my 3 year old but I’m keen to review a variety of children’s books not just picture books. So taking one for the team I’m reading them myself (and loving it!!!) the one I’m currently reading is The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch.  Would say it’s aimed at 9-12 year olds (not as grim as it sounds but mentions death and divorce). It’s about a girl (Cass) and a boy (Max-Ernest) who stumble on adventure. A lady brings a box full of smells to the antique shop Cass is staying at until her mother returns from a business trip. The adventure leads to a magician’s notebook. I’m almost half way through and can’t put it down. Wonderfully woven into the story are little historical facts, and things to do (how to make a compass) and there’s an appendix with useful words and definitions. Please don’t give the end away as am still reading but would love to know if your child (or you!) have read this book and if they enjoyed it?