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When I find a good picture book I end up buying a few copies to give as birthday gifts too. Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam is one of these picture books that is just delightful. Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are a pair of robber dogs. In the dead of night they creep around town with big plans to rob banks, book shops and bike shops. But… they are hopeless robbers! After one too many failed grand plans, Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam realise that crime doesn’t pay but cupcakes do! The book is written in rhyming text and is a sweet and funny little story with a simple moral take out. The illustrations are playful and fun and this book is equally great to read to kids or let 5+ readers read by themselves.
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam has been a favourite book of ours and so I was delighted when I found out that it’s grown in to a picture book series. The second in the series is Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: The Cat Burglar. It’s just as fun and charming and also written in rhyme. Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam have had a career change but now there is a new cat robber in town called Kitty Le Claw. When there is a bank robbery in town, our ex-robber dogs get involved – can they save the day? I’ve just discovered that the third in this series is due out in July this year. We can’t wait!
The Shifty McGifty series don’t have to be read in order, but I do recommend both the ones that are out. They are charming books full of humour and fun and the robber dogs are so endearing despite the fact that they start off life as thieves. Even though Anya is now 7, she keeps going back to these two books and I have to admit that I am very partial to them too! If you want a happy, feel good, light-hearted picture book series that will be read again and again, the Shifty McGifty series is definitely for you.
At the end of each day do you despair at the sight of your living room? Is it full of toys, craft materials, dressing up clothes, bits of lego and everything else that comes hand and hand with kids? If your home is like mine, then the answer is probably a big, fat yes (please tell me I’m not the only one). Kids love to play near their parents and this is true even for older kids. Even if they have the coolest playroom in the world, they will bring their belongings and play right where you are. And if you’re anywhere near the living room, then chances are each day your living room turns in to a bomb site!
I was recently gifted a pom pom maker and I can’t even begin to tell you how many pom poms I’ve made. I thought it was about time I did something with them and so here is my first pom pom DIY that I want to share with you. These DIY pom pom hair clips are so easy to make and so pretty! I’ve made so many that I’ve started gifting them too and they’ve been really fun little handmade presents to give to Anya’s friends. I’m also loving the idea of using these as pretty little party bag treats.
“Have you said thank you?” is the line I often find myself saying to my seven year old when she receives a gift or she’s leaving a party or a play date. She’s a well mannered child and does remember to say thank you most of the time but I still remind her just in case. It’s our job as parents not only to teach our kids good manners but more importantly to lead by example. I’m sure most of us are polite and always remember to thank our friends and family for the obvious things like gifts, their hospitality and their help. But what about the little things?
White, soft pastels and light greys are some of the most popular colours for kids rooms and nurseries. It’s not hard to see why – I mean who doesn’t love those colours and they’re easy to decorate with. But if you’re after something a bit more unique, more striking or more daring, there is no better colour than blue – lots of it in deep, dark and bold shades (we’re not talking hints of blue or baby blue here!). I’ve noticed a growing trend in blue kids rooms, bedrooms, living rooms, hallways and even kitchens and I’m so drawn to it. There is something so cool and calming about this colour even in it’s darkest shade and so it’s ideal for any age, any gender and any space.
Are your kids in to myths and facts? My seven year old is obsessed with them so we have recently made up a dinner table game called ‘myth or fact?’. We each take a turn to come up with a statement and the others have to guess whether it’s a myth or a fact. The statement can be about anything, any subject, any topic – the challenge lies in coming up with facts that sound like myths and vice versa. It’s really fun seeing what Anya will say as she sometimes comes up with things that neither Richard or I are sure whether it’s a myth or a fact. And other times her statements are so random, they are hilarious! She gets some of her info from one of her current favourite books – The Amazing Human Body Detectives – that I wrote about last year.
That book was such a hit in our home and yours (so many readers emailed me to say they had bought it and their kids loved it too) that when I discovered the other book in this series I had to get it for Anya and of course share it with you. Called Bug Detective: Amazing facts, myths and quirks of nature – this Bug Detective book is packed with interesting facts and myths about bugs, insects and minibeasts. Did you know that worms don’t have lungs or that ladybirds have poisonous knees? Or if you weighed all the ants in the world, they would weigh more than humans (wow, that I did not know!). All the info is presented in a fun and engaging way with great illustrations. There is a lot of info on each page but it’s broken up in to bite sized chunks making it easy for kids to read and understand.
The Bug Detective book also comes with a magnifying glass so kids can search for the extra, often tiny, details on some of the pages – making it even more fun to read. I highly recommend it especially for inquisitive kids who will devour this book and spend hours buried in it! If you’re in the US, you can find the book here and in the UK find it here.
I recently read an article (I can’t remember where) that talked about raising happy kids. All of us want happy kids, right? One of the things the article mentioned was the importance of giving your child choices, especially younger kids (say under 10) who have little or no control over their lives. This point really stood out for me. Kids really don’t have much control over their lives, do they? They are told what to eat and when, at school everything is structured and decided for them, they attend extra curricular activities that perhaps parents choose for them. They are told what time to go to bed, what time to get up, when to shower, when to do homework and the list goes on. While some of this stuff has to be decided for them (if I left mine to decide when to shower, it would be never!) I’ve realised it is possible to give them more control.
One of my healthy eating food goals for this year is to eat more vegetarian meals each week. We are usually fairly healthy only eating fresh food cooked from scratch but realised that we could cut down on eating meat. One of my favourite go to dishes is this Indian style vegetarian chili called Rajma (it’s vegan too) made with red kidney beans. Bags of flavour and warmth, this dish is traditionally served with just rice – it really needs nothing else. But if you feel like it you can make a side dish of some spiced veggies. I’ve grown up on this dish and it was always a favourite. I’ve even got my fussy eater to eat it so it not only makes a an easy and delicious mid-week family meal but also a very healthy one as kidney beans are so good for you as are many of the spices (like turmeric and cumin) in this dish.
Do you have an organised art space for your kids? When my 7 year old wants to get creative, which is nearly every day, I have to fetch art supplies from all over the place. I have some lying in boxes, some in her room, some in the living room – it goes on. I sometimes end up putting her off creating because I am busy getting dinner ready and don’t have the time to get the supplies together. And in all honesty, sometimes I just can’t face tidying and putting everything away in 5 different places. I’ve often thought how much easier it would be if her art supplies were all in one place and easy for her to access and put away herself.
What are your six and seven year olds reading at the moment? Have they started enjoying chapter books or do they still love their picture books too? My seven year old is starting to enjoy chapter books, but she still loves her picture books. After finishing a chapter book I notice she always goes back to picking up a handful of her picture books and none more often than this one.
I think Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is one of her favourite picture books which I realised I hadn’t shared here. Once you see the book, it’s not hard to see why kids would love it so much. The story is simple and sweet. Ganesha is just like any other kid except he has the head of an elephant and he rides around on a little magical mouse. And like most kids, he loves sweets. When his sweet tooth gets the better of him, he is unable to resist a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo (an Indian sweet). As he bites in to it his tusk breaks off. With the help of a wise poet and his mouse friend, Ganesha learns that what seems broken at first can be quite useful after all. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is loosely based on a classic Indian tale but the author has reinvented the story in to something funny, sweet and engaging for kids.
While it’s a sweet story, it’s the illustrations that really stand out. The pages are bursting with colour and the illustrations are so detailed making the characters come to life. It’s hard not to fall for this book, no matter what age but I think it’s a must have picture book for 4-7 year olds. What are your kids reading at the moment? I’m always looking out for unusual and interesting kids books so I would love to know in the comments.
UK readers can find Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth here but if you’re in the US, find it here.
Ebabee Likes is a style guide for babies, young kids and their mamas. It’s all about inspiration, ideas and indulging yourself and your brood. It’s written by me ~ Nomita ~ a style loving girl from Mumbai who now live’s in London. Read More...