Abigail Story Buddy HallmarkAbigail is the latest Story Buddy from the Hallmark range and she is the softest, fluffiest and cutest rabbit ever. Very girly and very adorable

She arrived last week and has been read every day since. She gets swopped from one twin to the other on a daily basis as she teaches them to share as well as listen to her story and they adore her as much as they love Watson the Racoon and Jingle the Christmas Story Buddy.

The concept is very simple, Abigail responds to certain sentences that can be easily picked out in the book as they are written in a different colour. When a clear adult voice reads these phrases, Abigail will pipe in with her contribution to the story bringing delighted smiles to the little listeners as they are tickled pink by the idea of a talking softie who adds to the story. Abigail responds to clear voices and may not pick up the quieter, softer tones of young children.

Abigail helps tell three stories and we were sent Abigail and The Balance Beam which is really quite fitting as the girls have just completed their first term of gymnastics at our local club and adore it. (and they each have their first medal #proudmum)

Abigail story buddy hallmarkHer story is an important one of wanting to do things that big people do, in this case walk a beam, and although she finds it very difficult she doesn’t give up and is very pleased to win a prize for her effort and achievement.

This is something I’m very willing to teach the girls as life is hard, it doesn’t always come easy but we have to at least try and give it our best shot! I’d like them to feel that they can have a go at anything and as long as they’ve done their best then they have been successful. I’d like them to see that the trying is part of the fun.

Abigail and the Balance Beam can be bought for £19.99 at Hallmark and makes a perfect educational alternative to chocolate at Easter!

I received a copy of The Land Of Sometimes CD a while back and luckily for me it was one of those cold, grey wet days where we couldn’t go out to play and not wanting to turn the TV on again I put the CD on curious to see how the girls would react. They loved it and it’s now a permanent feature in the car.

The Land of Sometimes tells the story of twins Alfie and Elise and their magical journey where four seasons pass within one day. As the story unfolds they meet some weird and wonderful characters like The River Slouch Sling, Little Twink and Mr Smaller than Smaller than Smaller small thing each having their own unique song.

You see Elise wished that she could go to the silver line that outlined the sea and held up the sky….

Each song is different, catchy ones, melodic ones and even hilarious ones ranging from New Orleans jazz to Irish Folk music, The Land of Sometimes audio story book reaches out to all ages with its powerful story telling. The CD is accompanied by a beautifully illustrated booklet prompting the children to imagine their story coming to life as they listen.

The CD is available on Amazon for £8.99 and don’t forget to have a look at the Land of Sometimes website which is full of activities and samples of music

 I have a copy of The Land of Sometimes to give away and it’s all so simple to win all you have to do is

  1. Like their Facebook page and paste the following on their wall ‘I want to win The Land of Sometimes CD on Mari’s World’
  2. Leave a comment below telling you have done so
  3. Follow them on Twitter @LandOfSometimes
  4. Leave me a comment to say you have done so below

The winner will be chosen at random via random.org

Fudgy bear and the twinsHalf term week and you need some interesting things to do with the kids right? So when we were invited to meet Fudgy Bear I got very excited, I mean I LOVE his name and I knew the twins would too.

Fudgy Bear being a kind and considerate soul decided that Westfield, the super shopping centre at Shepherd’s Bush, was to be our meeting point. I hadn’t yet had the pleasure of browsing this fabulous shoppers paradise so my excitement was increased even more and I fell in love with him before even meeting him just for that reason! One very clever bear I’d say.

Fudgy Bear met us in Foyle’s bookshop, he’d laid out a large mat for us all to sit on and Sarah Marley, the author of his tales sat and read us a couple of his books. The children weren’t quiet at all, they were quite the opposite constantly butting in, each one itching to shout out the answer first because one of the unique points of Fudgy Bear’s Books is they are interactive and by asking questions as he goes Fudgy Bear keeps the little ones gripped and their attention doesn’t waver a second.

Sarah Marley the author of Fudgy Bear

I must admit Fudgy Bear is an incredibly good looking fellow, he’s hand stitched and has his name on his golden bow and embroidered on his right paw. Both the girls and myself were instantly smitten and it took me forever to get out of the shop without taking two bears with me.

‘Mummy, I need a Fudgy Bear too!’ tears rolling down pink cheeks, eyes getting redder by the tear and voices louder and more insistent by the second. I managed to get out of the shop with just a book each and a Fudgy Bear biscuit each but next time I know I won’t be so lucky, he’s so desirable.

Fudgy’s books introduce colours, numbers, shapes and make learning fun from birth to preschool and for slightly older children he has an activity book with dot-to-dots, mazes and counting games to play.

Child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer says

“Reading the books with the bear helps children to engage with the character in the stories, fostering empathy and adding a sensory dimension to the visual and auditory activity of reading a book.

Learning is more effective when a child feels calm and secure. If parents spend time reading, whilst the child cuddles the toy, the child will associate Fudgy with positive feelings of security, calmness, love and happiness. Cuddling Fudgy can recreate those feelings and help a child cope with challenges they face.”

Fudgy Bear has won a host of awards including Loved by Parnets (2011) silver award for Best Soft Toy and Best Stimulative toy, Gurgle magazine had him down as a Christmas Must have and The Baby Website  gave him an unbeatable 10/10.

 

Proud little shoppers with their Fudgy Bear books

Walker Jane AlexanderA while back I saw a shout out for preteen readers to review a book written by Jane Alexander. Walker. Immediately I thought of my book devouring niece Rosie, ‘She’ll know in a jiffy if it’s any good or not’ I thought confidently to myself and I contacted her to put my case forward.

Thankfully she jumped at the chance (she really is a bookworm, it runs in the family) and before we knew it Jane had sent over a copy of Walker, her book.

I forwarded it on to Rosie and sat back to wait, I didn’t want to push her or lay any pressure on and she told me she was mid book at that moment but would read it as soon as she could.

Time went by and I emailed her to see what was happening. I was painfully aware that any author waiting to hear news would be crawling across the ceiling wondering what on earth the verdict was, well I would be that’s for sure!

Rosie came back immediately she’d forgotten all about it – typical teen – and sat there and wrote her review for me. Here it is copied and pasted…out of the mouths of babes so to speak View Post

battle hymn of the tiger mother amy chuaI was asked a couple of weeks ago by Bloomsbury if I would like to review Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and seeing as reading is one of my favourite pleasures and one that I sadly had to put aside to look after the twins until now as there just wasn’t enough time in the day, (or my energy wouldn’t stretch to it) I agreed and waited excitedly for the book to arrive.

I was initially attracted to the title which is fabulous in itself and then a little research online showed that Amy Chua is in fact daughter of Chinese immigrants who immigrated to the U.S.A where the culture clashes she encompassed were enormous.

Amy Chua has received a lot of criticism for writing her honest and often brutal account of how she raised her two daughters. Her idea was to write a story showing how Chinese parents were better at raising their kids than Western ones but she ended up with quite the opposite.

One thing I appreciated from the word go is Amy’s voice. She’s frank, honest and you know exactly where you stand with her, I like people like that. She is also not afraid to take the mickey out of herself when she recognises she has overstepped a line. View Post