Posted in general and welcome

What a collection!

Children (and some adults) love to collect things. When I was little, I used to collect any and all stickers, particularly the scratch ‘n’ sniff ones, which I promptly stuck in a photo album. I still have them somewhere and there is still a faint whiff about them. Holly also used to collect stickers, even the BOGOFs and special price labels on clothes, not that you’d ever know from her now-minimalist decor in her room.

Nina Chakrabarti’s fabulous book My Collection of Collections is a fantastic way to encourage a child’s fascination with collecting things and creating stories from objects.,204,203,200_.jpg

There are spreads on items in a railway’s Lost and Found department, mugs (that you can decorate by drawing on them or using the stickers in the back of the book), objects that share a common colour (eg blue birds, pegs, beads), edible items and labels, to name but a few.

There is also a lovely, big envelope to ‘store special tickets, photos or other mementos’ in, so a child can transport this book with them on visits to museums, art galleries, cities, countries – anywhere where they might like to keep items that remind them of a special journey. I used to do a holiday scrapbook with Holly when she was young and we’d keep airline tickets, travel stubs, receipts from restaurants, etc, to accompany the photographs and make the pages more ‘authentic’. This book helps with similar activities, while also providing fascinating information on facts such as ‘Years ago cowrie shells were used as currency’. I love it when I find out something new and interesting! There are also spaces to stick in tree leaves or press flowers towards the back, there is even a spread about enjoying language and adding new and favourite words – examples include: Sassafras, Razzmatazz, Perspicacious, Mumbo-Jumbo, etc.

This really is a lovely and extremely interactive book that is a joy to read and work with. I won’t be putting this in my school library (the children might be too tempted to write in the pages and spoil it for the others) but I will definitely add it to my personal library, unless I start completing it myself soon… now.

Note: Laurence King sent me a copy of this book for review purposes.



Posted in blog tours, general and welcome

Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad Blog Tour comes to Childtastic!

Here at Childtastic, we are delighted to be part of the ‘Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad’ blog tour to celebrate award-winning author, illustrator and animator Yasmeen Ismail’s new book, by the same name, published on 3 April by Laurence King Publishing.


Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad is a lovely book that not only talks about the different emotions we all feel but also encourages young artists to get creative in helping Dog, Cat and Donkey when their feelings get a little too much. For example, when Dog and Cat are scared, Yasmeen asks you to draw what might be frightening them, while, in another scene, dog is nervous when swimming, while cat is relaxed. What is it that causes their different reactions?

Yasmeen Ismail in her Studio on 28.2.17

Photo of Yasmeen Ismail’s studio and book, by Olivia Hemingway

As usual, Yasmeen’s drawings are fun and full of life, which makes it easy for the reader to want to join in the fun – even me, the worst artist I know! This would make a perfect present for any child, but particularly one who loves exploring through images, or who perhaps needs a little help in expressing their emotions.

Yasmeen Ismail’s Five Favourite Children’s Books

Yasmeen Ismail in her Studio on 28.2.17

Photo of Yasmeen Ismail, by Olivia Hemingway

As part of the tour, Yasmeen has kindly shared with us her five favourite children’s books and why she has chosen them, so read and enjoy!



5 Melrose and Croc: Together at Christmas by Emma Chichester Clark

This was the first book I bought my new baby nephew (nearly a decade ago), and essentially the first time I had been in the children’s section of a bookstore since I was a child. It was before I became an illustrator and I was so excited to be choosing him a book. It was strange because these books were always there waiting for me, but it was as if there was an unspoken rule that unless you are a kid or buying for kids I could only shop for grown up books. All that changed rapidly, and after decades this was the story that I picked up. Although contemporary it felt immediately classic. The story makes me cry.

4 The Rabbits’ Wedding by Garth Williams

I found this book again (after maybe 30 years since last seeing it) just recently. I saw the pictures and I knew that I already knew this book. It was like being reunited with a very old friend. Reading it again I still have the same feelings. It is the most romantic story, tinged with a little sadness.

3 Gaston by Christian Robinson and Kelly Di Pucchio

I bought this book without really looking. I just saw it and I immediately knew that I had to have it. The story is so very charming. It’s extremely well written, and the illustrations are just perfect. The composition from a dog’s point of view. Just everything is so classic and pure. A perfect picture book. Just perfect.

2 Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg 

Another old friend. I saw this and nearly cried. I picked it up and kept repeating “I remember this! I remember!”. I remembered the baby in his nappy made out of big towels, and the naughty burglar, and the box that the baby was kept in, the cat and the rainbow baby-gro. I remembered the lunch that Burglar Bill made, and the fish and chips he stole. My heart was fit to burst. A very evocative book with a great story too.

1 All the Harry Potter books! JK Rowling

Well, this is obviously self-explanatory. For me, everything that JK Rowling writes is just perfect. I am comforted by these books. They are brilliant. Just brilliant.

We’d like to thank Yasmeen for including Childtastic on her blog tour and wish her all the best with the publication of Happy, Sad, Feeling Glad. If you’re looking for a wonderful alternative to chocolate this Easter, this would be the perfect present.