Monday, 13 July 2015

Reviews of Joke and Activity Books for Children by Author, Andy Seed

The Silly Book of Weird and Wacky Words by Andy Seed
Published by Bloomsbury in paperback - 4th June 2015 - RRP £5.99 

Andy Seed turns his sharp eye once again to wordplay. He adds some new jokes to some traditional ones such as: Knock, Knock, Who's there?...
What do you call a (man/woman) with a... 
Riddles too, and lots of clever phrases, poetry and made up stuff guaranteed to pin a smile on any young face. It is one of those books that children love to read out loud in their efforts to entertain, and to interact with their family and friends and have fun with language. Expect the twisting or changing of curriculum based info as well as modern culture references to achieve the best laugh. There's a new word activity on almost every page, the catchy headings and the layout of the pages are eye-catching. 

Books like this, designed to keep children entertained while travelling or on holiday (home or away) are forever popular. The b/w illustrations by Scott Garrett and the book's design work adds much to presentation.

Review by(me)Debra

The Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Things To Do by Andy Seed

Published by Bloomsbury in paperback - 31st July 2014 - RRP £5.99

You know when that time of day kicks in around 5pm when they have been home long enough to be on the brink of death by boredom and in the horizon you see it...a big ol' tantrum ready to steam its way in! Fear not my lovelies, for Andy Seed has come to every parents rescue and saved the day!  With this 'The Anti Boredom Book Of Brilliant Things To Do.' 

This has been our saviour and I know we will be pulling it out over the summer holidays. It's also nice to see her head buried in a book instead of hovered over her phone or ipad, I also like that it encourages communication, with so many jokes and facts to share, (did you know that the Eiffel Tower is as high as 32,400 wine gums?) no matter how pointless they seem!)

Review by guest blogger,Becky

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Author Profile - Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen
Image Source:
Michael Rosen is an author of every sort of children's book - picture, poetry, fiction/non-fiction. He writes for newspapers and magazines and performs his poetry. You hear him on the radio often, and he presents BBC Radio 4's Word of Mouth which explores the 'world of words' and the ways in which we use them; interviewing authors, scholars, celebrity and others to get their take on the subject.

Rosen has appeared in children's educational TV and contributes poetry and curriculum related activities. I credit Rosen the most in introducing my son and daughter to poetry in particular. My children and their session sharing friends enjoyed his fun and imaginative approaches to teaching English during the Home Ed years, so I was interested to I hear that the author has recently been appointed Professor of Children's Literature at Goldsmiths, University of London in which he helps to run a MA in Children's Literature course. 

Rosen's verse rolls nicely,his chosen words are often uncomplicated and he uses repetition like no one else. He conveys so much by saying very little. Simple words can encapsulate the whole of the poem. Sometimes lines often contain one short word  

'so' the style is very free it does not demand attention, but children like it, they immediately get it. Rosen was the Children's Laureate in 2007.

His prose has that same appeal, the comedy is fast and witty. Published last month is a children's novel entitled Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed. it's about Malcolm, his mum, and Uncle Gobb who is homework mad! Illustrated by Neal Layton this book is a wonderful pairing of talents and not the first for Bloomsbury.

***competition below, now closed ***

WIN a copy of the book Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed written by Michael Rosen with illustrations by Neal Layton 

To Enter: leave a sentence or two expressing what your view on homework is in the form of comment on this blog post at the bottom of this post.

 (if you are unable to action then please email your comment across to

Terms and conditions are: 

Competition is open to UK residents only and entrants must be over 18

Only one entry per person

The Competition will run from Wednesday 01 July 2015 at Midday GMT until Friday 10 July 2015 at Midnight GMT 

Entries received after the closing date will not be considered

The draw will be random

The participant must agree to part of any reasonable promotional activity surrounding the competition

It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure their entry meets with entry requirements and is submitted online successfully

The winner will be announced on this, the competition blog post 

The winner will be required to provide additional information such as a name and address

If we are unable to contact the winner within 14 days of the closing date, then we will reserve the right to select a new winner

The prize is a hardcover copy of Uncle Gobb by Michael Rosen published by Bloomsbury Children's Books

The competition winner will not be able to exchange the prize for a cash alternative, or any other reserves the right to exclude from the competition any entry that does not meet criteria, and also to change, suspend or terminate the promotion and entry period at any time. Disqualification of participants will be carried out if, for any reason, the promotion cannot be carried out fairly or if they suspect any person is manipulating entries or results, or who has acted unethically in any other way.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Children in Art - PLAY

my pencil drawing sketch of the original painting 'Baby at Play' by Thomas Eakins

from my own Babies for all Season's book project - illustration by Debra Hall

Poohsticks by famed illustrator E.H Shepard the original sketch

Ring Around The Rosy - 8x10 archival watercolor print by Tracy Lizotte


Wembley Dreams' by artist, Trevor Mitchell as it currently appears on a Ravensburger Puzzle
painting by Debra Hall

illustration by Debra Hall

Friday, 22 May 2015

Project 9 - 3D Profile Faces

figure 1
figure 2
figure 3

You Will Need:

Modelling Lincoln board
Pastels - Jumbo Oil Pastels in black, white and grey shades
Fixative Spray
Face Mask (when spraying)
Cutting Board and craft knife (adult use)

What to Do:

On the card draw a full face of your own design, including neck and shoulders ensuring the bottom has a nice long, straight base to it. Cut it out. Colour in and shade the skin tones and hair with an assortment of pastels shades of grey, black and white, blending across the forehead, down the nose and the cheeks and neck with the fingers. Define facial features, hair and neckline areas with the tip of a black pastel. Adults to make a single, centre-line cut/incision from the bottom to the chin as shown in figure 1

As figure 2 demonstrates, using the first head as a pattern, repeat the process. This time drawing a side profile imagining how the person would look at side view, so ensuring that the size matches that of the first head, and that facial features, with eye glasses and hair fringe, or hat (if applicable), length of nose and shape of chin falling in line with the front facing model, remember to include the neck and side turned shoulder and a straight edged run along the bottom. Cut it out, and colour in with the pastels. Ensure that you enrol your adult once again to make a one long, single cut/incision down from the centre top of the head downwards to where the chin roughly appears.

You can set the artwork by using the fixative spray. Set your two model components on some old sheets of newspaper, and, while wearing a face mask and keeping your arms outstretched, spray evenly, keeping the spray away from the eyes when you do so. Leave a few minutes to dry.

figure 3 shows the model assembled, use the incisions made in each component as a way of slotting it together. You may have to tweak the length of one or both of the cuts to arrive at a the best positioning and standing that can be achieved.

Achieving the classical, statuesque look works really well on these models. The one above should be Michelangelo's David, but someone once said they thought it was the Queen! I found this stupendous design of Julius Caesar (figure 4) by my son, done in one of our art sessions during his Roman obsessive phase, sadly not a pic of the whole model but you can get an idea of a subject from it.

figure 4

the images below are taken from a family session I once led at the Herbert Museum & Art Gallery in Coventry, where a young participant did her own take of a modern girl in colour

Pretty cool, all in all, don't you think!