I picked up these lovely books in Ashbourne in the UK from a old antique shop. 

The books were in a box priced at £1 with various other books, just outside the shop on the pavement.

The Red one has information all about Staffordshire & the burgundy one about London. The imprint on the burgundy front cover added to it’s calling me to pick it up. 

Apart from them being a great price & having some very interesting facts & images that are a delight to read, it was the smell that got me.

As I opened up the books that great ‘fix’ from the aroma of old pages that could tell a tale or two got to me.

I stood there on the pavement with the sunshine on my face, nose in the books almost inhaling the text of the pages. I was transfixed, lost in pure pleasure, carried off to a dream world full of books where reality vanishes.

After catching a glimpse of myself in the shop window I was brought back down to earth. I just had to have them. 

I keep them on my top shelf & have them there incase of emergency … SNIFF!

Book review …

Journey by Aaron Becker.

I came across this book at school, we are doing a massive literacy unit on it. We launched the start and the children & adults absolutely love it, a fantastic book for all ages. Where the book differs is it has no text, so the reader interprets the story solely through the pictures. This allows the reader to get deeper & more intricate each time the book is picked up. 
It is a masterpiece, the art work is beautifully detailed. The story revolves around a young lonely, bored girl where she travels through a imaginary world with her magic red crayon. 

It encourages rich vocabulary from the reader with it’s lush, visual, jaw dropping pictures. It is a book you can share and debate as to what, why, when etc …

The start leads to the end and the end to the start, which you don’t notice on the first ‘read’.

The illustrations alone are so impressive, a stunning book for all bookworms out there…

It would also make a wonderful gift, one to remember!  

Giving a book as a gift …


At work today I was in the staff room and one of my work colleagues mobile went off, she picked up this gorgeous embroidered bag to retrieve her phone. After putting her mobile back I said ‘what a gorgeous bag!’. She replied ‘yep it’s my sisters birthday present, I liked it that much that I didn’t give it to her in the end’. Well there was division in the staff room of whether this was ‘ethical’, which I found highly amusing. My mind drifted off to my bookcase where I have endless books, some bought as gifts but never quite reached the person intended. Here is one of them such a delightful book ‘Heels on Wheels’ similar to Haynes car maintenance books but so much prettier. It covers how to ride a bike in a skirt, how to change a tyre & how to pimp your ride. It was meant to be a friends gift but when I got home I thought it was too cute to let go, besides it just fitted in the space on my book shelf. I think I may have a little problem with being a bibliophile! I did get my friend another gift, it was a book again but this time I bought two exactly the same, one sits on my bookcase, the other made it to my friends house! 😉

Mr Men …


A friend who recently visited me stopped to pause at my book shelf unit. He looked on the top row and saw my Mr Men collection, along with The Far Away Tree, Winnie the Pooh and Heidi. He asked ‘your kids books?’ … No I replied they are mine! My friend looked puzzled then looked at me and said you truly love books don’t you! 

I then proceeded to break out in probably far too much excitement about my favourite Mr Men book … Mr Messy!

Mr Messy is the most adorable character whom was rather … well messy … messy by name, messy by nature!

The story is that he stumbles across Mr Neat & Mr Tidy, they are very bossy and insist they tidy up Mr Messy’s house. They do not take no for an answer and off they set, they turn his house into a show room. Poor Mr Messy is stuck for words he preferred his house messy. Mr Neat & Mr Tidy then decide Mr Messy is too messy to live in his house now so they both had the same thought, they would have to tidy Mr Messy up! Well they scrubbed him in the bath, brushed him, cleaned him and combed him until he was one slick Mr Messy. The picture creases me  up with laughter every time of a very untangled Mr Messy with two dark eyes looking very stunned.

Mr Messy didn’t feel like himself but I think secretly he liked his new look and they all became good friends. The moral at the end of the book is if your a very messy person you might have a visit from two people and you know who they are called don’t you! 

All the Mr Men books are fantastic with brilliant vocabulary and illustration to delight a child of any age, even the more mature inner child would enjoy! 😉

The Book Thief …

The Book Thief is an amazing book it is probably a favourite along with a couple of others. 

Now normally I would not even contemplate or entertain the idea of watching a film that had been produced from such a favourite book. The reason being is when you get pulled into the written word your imagination takes over, little clues are given here and there but it’s your vision that is taking shape in your mind and heart. 

However for some strange reason the front cover of this film just pulled me in, I did not search for this on the shelf it seemed to search for me. The girl looked better than my imagination, she looked just as she should look. The way she grasped at the book made my heart sing. She has an angelic face with determination that would sit happily as a beautiful portrait in any art gallery. It was a face that could tell a story, a face that would look good tilted towards a book. 

I found myself just having to buy it. To be trueful I was a little nervous to watch it but literally after a few seconds it had me hook, line & sinker. The acting was fantastic, the characters were just right, I delighted in the film and was moved to tears at the same time. My thoughts have now been updated to the characters of the film where I can reminisce with fondness in my heart and mind of this absolutely, wonderful, beautiful, moving story. 

Pure Pleasure.

There are many pleasures to be had from working in a primary school. The children are an absolute joy, they can have such a zeal for life, they really make my job enjoyable. There are so many things I could tell you but I want to share with you the best things that happen in my week. 

As someone who loves books, it’s got to be story time but it may surprise you it’s not when I’m reading. I do enjoy reading to others but it’s when my class teacher is reading to the children. I love to hear people read. I can’t help it, sometimes I just have to stop what I’m doing. I find myself wanting to sit down ignoring anything else. I listen attentively to my teacher, who is slowly pulling me in. I feel like I’m a child again, I so badly want to sit on the carpet with the children. I am lost, I twirl my hair, my teacher catches me. I feel slightly embarrassed but I don’t want to move, she smiles knowing she’s got me captivated. Some of the children look at me with smiles, just for a little while we have become the same age! 

The next thing is hearing the children read. Thankfully the children have so many opportunities to read, the school is full of books and information to aid learning. I am privileged to hear children read on a daily basis some are amazing, the way they read the text is very special. They make it come alive.

Part of my job involves doing intervention work. One of the interventions is to encourage children to read, some struggle to read at home because of various reasons. Some do not enjoy reading and some struggle with reading because of their ability, they may have learning difficulties. But I always say there is a way to smash through any barriers. We just have to find the way for you.

I first try to find out their interests then introduce various text materials, comics, football pages in the newspaper, fiction, non fiction. I also find using unusual stuff can help grab their attention, I sometimes use technology the children love using iPads. Anything to pull them back in. 

We start off, I ask what do you think this is about. Their little brain cells start to tick, we have banter back and forth, I try to make it as fun as possible, this is their special time. I am well known for being very expressive in all my lessons. The children love my tall tales, my diabolical accents, my stories of when I was younger. 

I remind them about using expression. I tell them to give it some attitude. I say pretend you are a reporter if reading from the paper. Pretend you are a character in the book. Pretend you are a famous author.

Pretend this, that …

I tell them I don’t want to see the pictures because I want them to grab my mind with the way they deliver the text. I want to imagine… 

The children smile as I wave my arms about getting all animated. They start, I love it, they begin to relax, then it happens the love of reading starts to develop.

I stop them when they are not expecting it. I praise them, I give positive feedback, I give suggestions. I say what do you think… I ask so many questions we start up again with the banter. Ideas come pouring out. Oh I’m getting so excited to know what will follow … they pick up on the enthusiasm. We close the material we are using, then I add please come back and tell me what happens next. The children giggle, eyes wide, nodding, promising.

The next day I have children coming up to me excited, telling me what they had found or what had happened. I stop what I’m doing and give my full attention. I delight in them expressing themselves. I thank them for sharing, off they go skipping, happy and content. 

Sadly some children haven’t been able to explore further by themselves but I turn it around and say let’s venture together to find out what happens. 

My reward is that children start to find a new love of reading whether it be a cereal box or a beautiful book. The love of reading has started. The seed firmly planted. I hope they will take enjoyment in reading for many years to come. 

I remind myself some of these children are the writers and story tellers of the future. I hope one day I will pick their book up off the shelf and hear them express themselves all over again.