We all know that mermaids are traditionally beautiful and have wonderful singing voices. However, when Julia Donaldson's Singing Mermaid is imprisoned in a fish tank by the wicked circus owner Sam Sly, she must prove herself capable of so much more, if she is to return to her beloved ocean! Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books (2013) ISBN: 9781447210856 Lydia Monks has illustrated the story with bright and bold prints on glitter-filled pages :) It's a very tactile book! Here on The Guardian's Children's Books site, readers can watch how Lydia draws her perfect sea lady in a step-by-step tutorial. Inspired, our... Read more →

When you read Laura Numeroff's If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, you know they're going to ask for cookie. And if they ask you for a cookie, they'll want a glass of milk :) We're celebrating our newest read aloud activities in proper style with some milk, cookies and mouse ears! Like us, your kids can create these cute mouse ears too, by using our super-simple recipe for puffy paint! Just add: 1 tablespoon of self raising four 1 tablespoon of salt 3 teaspoons of water to a squirt of light brown poster paint. Give the ingredients a good... Read more →

We really enjoy getting out our clay for modelling! Recently, we discovered a couple of new techniques while creating this model, based on The Cat in the Hat by the lovely Dr Seuss, and we'd like to share these with you :) We always use DAS air hardening clay. It is very slow drying, so you can really take your time with your modelling. First, we created Gustav the Goldfish and some other Seuss inspired objects, making sure that we used plenty of water to smooth out those little cracks! Then we tried something new. We used the same skewers... Read more →

In everyday life, when you see or hear something entertaining or interesting, you usually share your story with others by retelling what happened in your own words. Retelling is an important skill. When I listen to children retelling a familiar story, they communicate to me what meaning they made of the original text, a sense of structure and an ability to use appropriate language. Clearly, the best children's stories to use for straightforward retelling activities are those that are easily remembered. Billy's Bucket by Kes Gray and Garry Parsons is a great story for retelling as young readers really seem... Read more →

We love The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. If ever there was a great picture book for reminding children about the importance of sharing, this is it! Our favourite page shows the illustration of all the fish scattered throughout the ocean, wearing all the little shiny scales shared by the Rainbow Fish. Less proud, the Rainbow Fish now has many friends wanting him to come and play. We'd been waiting for a rainy day to make a tissue paper lantern and today it poured from the heavens! So we gathered up our materials and set to work, inspired by our... Read more →