Tag Archives: children’s books

Book review and giveaway: My Stinky New School

2 Aug

starting school

It’s that time of year again. The time when, amidst overturned boxes of toys and washed out camping holidays, parents’ thoughts start turning to September. If you’re a parent who is getting ready to send a little darling to school for the first time then you are probably oscillating between dread and joy. Perhaps you’ve passed through denial and are looking for ways to ease the transition. For me, as with solving so many things in life, that means turning to books.

We’ve read about Topsy and Tim’s and Maisie’s first days at school countless times now, so it was a delight to be asked to review something new. My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliott introduces your child to the prospect of something potentially scary with humour and beautiful illustrations.

The book tells the story of Toby as he starts school and tackles worries about making new friends. According to Toby, his new school “stinks of pigeon poop, ogre armpits, and sadness”, yet he makes it through his first day thanks to a string of characters: spacemen, aliens, pirates, mermaids and dinosaurs. Throw in “astro poop” and bad smells and you have everything a 4-year-old loves.

At the end of the day, Toby claims not to have made any friends. Really? When my kids have done any activities without me, I ask “And did you talk to anyone?” and the answer is always “No”. Yet without fail, it eventually emerges that they did indeed make friends without realising. The same is true for Toby who, through sharing his wild imagination with other children, leaves on his first day with a wave to his troop of new pals. This bit does need some explaining to 4-year-olds (who tend to take things literally) but with a couple of reads they soon grasp the idea.

My Stinky New School is a lovely book to add to your arsenal of preparing-for-school-tools. Just make sure your child isn’t expecting there to be any real pirates at school. They’ll either be racing into their uniform several weeks too early or refusing to go without a cutlass.

My Stinky New School by Rebecca Elliott, Lion Children’s Books, hardback, £9.99. For more information visit the publisher’s website.


I’m giving away a copy of My Stinky New School. To enter please scroll down and leave a comment telling me who you’d most like to meet – dead or alive, famous or infamous – who would it be?

The closing date for entries is noon on August 18th, 2015. Entries from the UK only. Only one entry per person. The winner will be chosen completely at random.

Disclosure: A big thanks to the publishers for giving me the opportunity to review the book and give away a copy.

The Little English Library

4 Feb

Breda Netherlands

I have a friend who I find exhausting. This isn’t because she’s exasperating – she’s exhausts me because she’s inspiring. I have no idea how she manages to do all that she does. Tatia is a mum-of-two, an EFL teacher and publisher and a general all-round bundle of energy who last year moved from England to the Dutch city of Breda. Not content to drink coffee and munch Appelkoek on the expat circuit, Tatia is this month launching an exciting non-profit project: The Little English Library.

The Little English Library is an English language library for expat children aged 0-12 years and for Dutch children learning English. Based in the Montessori School in Breda, it is the first space of its kind in the Netherlands devoted to the free provision of English language children’s books. As well as books, the library – manned entirely by volunteers – will be offering parent and baby rhyme time and storytelling sessions. Not bad going for a project initiated by one busy mum relying entirely on donations and support from book-loving individuals and organisations!

The Library is due to open later this month and has just launched its ‘My Book has Wings’ campaign to bolster its stock of books and to involve children and schools in growing the library. If you are able to donate any books or can help in any other way, please do contact Tatia – info@littlelibrary.nl. The Little English Library is an amazing project to support and I am immensely proud of what Tatia has achieved. She is certainly an inspiration to me and  she’s sure to help inspire a love of books through The Little English Library.



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