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When Dad Showed Me the Universe by Ulf Stark, Illustrated by Eva Eriksson

Tonight Dad wants to show his son something very special: the universe. Of course, they can’t possibly embark on such a daring adventure unprepared, so they wrap up warm, gather provisions, and then off they go. It’s a long walk, but eventually they get there.

Along the way, they learn that sometimes the journey is more important than the destination, and sometimes the biggest lessons happen when you least expect them.

Gecko Press

As a relatively new father, I understand the desire to show your children something beautiful, memorable and profound. What is more fantastic and humbling than the universe.

I find stargazing to be the best way to keep yourself grounded, to simultaneously make yourself feel both completely insignificant and at the same time an exceptional miracle.

Some of my fondest memories of my own dad are of looking at the night sky and listening to him tell me about the wonders of the universe.

I have one memory of lying down on the grass with my dad, in the garden of the house I grew up in – watching a violent thunderstorm pass over us. I remember pink fork lightning splintering the sky around us and almighty crashes of Thor’s hammer right above me.

This book speaks directly to me in that way, reminding me of those precious childhood memories. I can see myself mimicking the actions of the dad in this story (minus the dog pooh incident).

The language in the book is rich in vocabulary and Ulf Stark constructs vivid imagery in the readers mind, such as: his dentist’s coat with its flecks of blood – He whistled so it would be easier for us to keep walking. The tune floated in a white cloud above his black beret.

The illustrations by Eva Eriksson are crafted beautifully, created with coloured pencils. The characters are full of expression and warmth.

A magnificent picture book.

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I AM A POETATO An A-Z of poems about people, pets and other creatures by John Hegley

This is a very funny, witty, zany collection for children, which will also appeal to the author’s adult fans. It has all the John Hegley comic hallmarks, including references to wearing glasses, Luton, and dogs (being superior to cats)!
The poems are arranged alphabetically by title, with family pets and other animals featuring strongly, from a mos-quito and ants, through wise camels, goldfish and guillemots to Toby the armadillo from Peru and not forgetting the unusual unicorn in school.
The book is packed with John’s unique brand of deadpan humour, and is illustrated in scrap-book style with the author’s own quirky line drawings. This is a poetry book like no other!

Frances Lincoln

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One Thousand Things by Anna Kövecses

Another beautifully designed book, published by Wide Eyed Books.

Features graphic artwork and simple questions that prompt language learning, arranged by topic and narrated by Little Mouse, who can be found with his periscope in every scene.

Topics include: First Things to Learn; All About You; Things Around the World; Things in Nature; Things That You Can Do; Things Inside the House; Things Outside the House; and finally, 1,000 Things, where you learn what 1,000 really looks like!

Wide Eyed Editions