A Selection of Books for Children: Part 5

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Ink Stains

As Christmas approaches, we present a series of short reviews by Grace O’Reilly of books for children.

When Santa Turned Green by Victoria Perla and Mirna Kantarevic

This brilliantly fun, yet educational book When Santa Turned Green is written by Victoria Perla and illustrated by Mirna Kantarevic.  It was published in 2007 by Thomas Nelson and copyright of Plan G, LLC.  When Satna Turned Green deals with the important theme of environmental issues.

The pictures are beautiful and Santa is not in his usual red rigout, but in a green one!  When Santa gets a plop of water on his nose from his ceiling, it gets him thinking.  So, one night he hops on his sleigh in search of some answers to stop the North Pole from melting.

“It had been building up for a very long time…

we Earthlings had been chopping down our forests .. pumping … carbon dioxide into the sky…global warming…”

Santa went to the future to the children of today,

“Because they have the power to change the world.”

Santa visits the children early in November to deliver a very important message to save the planet!  In return Santa was given the best gift ever, as the children around the globe listened and made small changes in order to make bigger, much needed changes.

Read this book and see how you and your little and big friends and family can make a difference.  At the back of this brilliant book is a list where you can jot down your Green Ideas.  Santa still wears his green suits for when he does his sleigh rides around the world to make sure that we are all being nice and not naughty to our planet, but don’t worry he still has his red one, but that one is only for Christmas Eve.

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Trains by Gallimard Jeunesse and James Prunier

First published in 1995 in the United Kingdom by Moonlight Publishing Limited and printed in China, and republished in 2005, again by Moonlight Publishing Limited, Trains text is copyright of Gallimard Jeunesse, translated by Clare Best, and the editorial advisor is Jack Challoner.  The illustrations are the work of James Prunier.

Trains is bounded in a lovely spiral binder with a cover over the spiral rings.  With it transparent pages little fingers will marvel at the colour and feel of this educational First Discovery, a right little gem, created by both Jeunesse and James.

The blurb at the back reads:


Climb aboard the iron horse on the plains of North America.  Take the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel.  From steam engines to high-speed trains, find our ow railways cross rives, mountains and cities.


Turn each page carefully

Watch the transparent overlays transform the pictures, revealing the unexpected side of things.”

Following a timetable and being able to read the time is an important factor for children to learn, as time tables are a huge part of everyday life, from cooking a meal, to catching a train, to going to a show and more.

The attention to detail in the images is superb, and capture a whole range of things.  We see animals and green mountains, different types of trains and the engineering and mechanics behind these trains.  We learn about both modern trains and trains through out history.  From steam trains to modern trains, from the Eurostar to Big Boy, to the TGV to the iron horse are mentioned.  We also see the differences between a goods train and a passenger train and how they changed from the 1830’s to the modern day.

We look at trains from an environmental view point, as well a fun point with toy:

“This toy engine moves because you push it.  But what makes a real steam engine move?”

And model trains:

“You drive the train using and electric control box.”

As well as ghost trains:

“Some of the things you see may take your breath away!”

And trains around the world.

A lovely gift for those little people who are interested in trains, and how they work.

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Santa Claus – the Book of Secrets by Russell Ince

This magical book, Santa Claus – the Book of Secrets, is both written and beautifully illustrated by Russel Ince. It was published in 2013 by Waxcrayon Ltd, in the Isle of Wight and edited by Matt Sarson.

On the inside of the book, both at the back and the front there is a beautifully crated map in lovely browns, entitled Santa’s World Map 1780.  There is also a hand-written letter from Santa Claus himself to the author and illustrator of this book, Russell Ince!  Any letters that I ever received from Santa were always typed, so I am rather envious that Russell got a handwritten letter from Mr Claus.

The contents page lists a variety of things that little and big people may be curious and interested to know about, ranging from the history, the North Pole itself, the reindeer and the sleigh, to the famous naughty or nice list, Santa’s year, the elves and much, much more.

“So here it follows, the truth behind one of the world’s oldest and greatest mysteries, in the words of Santa Claus himself.”

Everyone remember, though, whatever you read in this book must remain a secret… SHHHUSSHHH!

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

Snowy Tracks – Thomas & Friends by Reverend W Awdry

This book was first published in Great Britain in 2021 by Egmont UK limited and created by BRITT ALLCROFT, these books are based on the railway series by the Reverend W Awdry.  This snowy little adventure, was set on the TV series episode of the same name, ‘Snowy Tracks’.  All of the Thomas & Friends story books are suitable for babies and upwards to approximately eight-year olds, depending on the individual child.

“Sodar is covered in deep snow.  Will Thomas be able to get through, if strong Gordon is there to help?”

A nice winter read, lovely to enjoy around the festive season, although the setting doesn’t have to be the same in reality, so this book can be enjoyed all the year through.  Leaning about problem solving and team work, is an important lesson for all to know.

There are a host of other Thomas & Friends titles in this particular series.  To find out more log onto www.thomasandfriends.com

Order your copy online here.

(c) Grace O’Reilly

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