Saturday, 10 December 2016

Penguin Random House Children's Books Christmas Present Challenge

Books, you can never have enough books. Right?! Our house has bookshelves in every room, including boxes in the attic. I do often have a rummage and take a pile to the charity shop, only ending up bringing home more books. Books seem to multiply in a geometric progression.
I've always been an avid reader, and my children enjoy books as much as I did when I was a child. Eddie and I have a bedtime routine, when I read to him in bed. We snuggle up under the duvet, I read, while he listens and together we look at the illustrations.
When BritMums asked bloggers to join in Penguin Random House Children's Books Christmas Present Challenge, I immediately applied. We were told that we'd receive 3 books in our chosen age category, but which books exactly would be a complete surprise.

We received three books for younger children - Max and Bird, The Little Elephant who wants to fall asleep and The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas.

children's books, Christmas gifts for kids

My personal favourite of the three was Max and Bird by Ed Vere, though my son said it was too childish for him. It's true, this book will work best for tots and preschoolers, and now that my son has reached a veritable old age of 6, he is a bit grown up for it.
Kitten Max would like to befriend a little baby bird. He's not sure though, whether to eat it as a tasty snack. But that wouldn't be friendship, would it?! Instead the kitten teaches the bird to fly.
The story is very simple, and easy to read/ The illustrations are quirky and amusing.
We have a few friends with younger children, and it will be easy to find a recipient who will enjoy reading this story at bedtime.

children's books, Christmas gifts for kids

The second book from the selection - The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is suitable for a very young audience. Perhaps not newborn babies, but tots who can understand the basics of the story, and get lulled by the sound of the parents who read the story.
I think with babies, you can read anything including Encyclopedia Britannica, as long as you make your voice sound soft and soothing. I remember when Sasha was a baby, I used to recite Russian poetry to him in a quiet voice, just to keep myself sane really, as sleep deprivation is a torture.

books that help a child to fall asleep

This lovely book has been created, using a child-tested and parent-approved technique to make bedtime conducive to sleep. Ellen the elephant will take your child on a journey to sleep, through the magical forest. You will meet the creatures of the forest, and gently-gently go to sleep.
The book is an aid for parents, with tips on how to make your child relax and nod off. We haven't actually tested it as a sleeping aid.
The illustrations by Sydney Hanson are kind, gentle and charming. The little blue grey elephant is adorable, and the characters she meets in the forest are also very cute.
I am going to give this book to a friend to enjoy with her little boy.

books which help child to fall asleep

I am well aware that The pooping dinosaur series is very popular. I never felt compelled to buy any though, it's just the topic doesn't appeal to me at all. My younger son has seen the books in the bookshops and library, but never asked me to buy him a copy. Being 6 years old, his sense of humour includes all the gross subjects including poo, fart, puke and all things gross. I thought he would be the right target audience for this book.
The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher & Dougie Poynter, with illustrations by Garry Parsons is the latest addition to the series.

children's books, Christmas gifts for kids

So, here we have a boy called Danny, who has already got all the possible toys a child might want, yet he wants more-more-more. And Santa decides to teach him a lesson by gifting him with a dino egg. Once the dinosaur is hatched, he starts to swallow everything and everyone around, including Danny's parents and old unsuspecting granny.
But Santa has miscalculated his joke. It all ends up with a ginormous pooping session, grossness overload, and Santa "flew from the dinosaur's bum on his sleigh".
I appreciate this book has tons of fans who think it's one of the most hilarious books of the century.
I'm afraid I'm not one of them. I was surprised that my younger son didn't show much enthusiasm for it either.
I'm sure this book will delight millions of readers who enjoy the Rabelaisian humour for children. Alas, it wasn't a big hit with us. I'll ask friends on Facebook, on who might like it for their children.

children's books, Christmas gifts for kids

As a child, I loved fairy tales of the world. My Mum has had a great interest in different cultures, and she encouraged me to read stories from around the world, not just classic Russian children's literature which has great history and traditions. I also had a huge fondness for the Scandinavian authors - Tove Jansson, Jan Ekholm, Thorbjorn Egner, Astrid Lindgren.
Now that Eddie is old enough to appreciate these authors, I'm slowly introducing him to my own childhood favourites. We've recently read Karlsson on the Roof by Astrid Lindgren, and already bought the second book in the series. I'm also planning to read Moomins with him.
It makes me feel all nostalgic, revisiting my old friends. And that's exactly what these books are, my old friends. I was a dreamer, and books were my world. Well, they still are.

Books are wonderful gifts for any occasion, including Christmas. Will you be giving books as Christmas presents to your (friends'/extended family) children?

Disclosure: We received a bundle of books for the purposes of reviewing. All opinions are our own.


  1. I have far too many books but can't part with lots of them. These books look lovely for kids

    1. Thank you, Alison! There are many books in our house I cannot part with. Especially my art books collection and cook books