Picture perfect for #ChildrensBookWeek

booktrustlogoFor day three of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016), Deborah Holland, Lincoln Waterstones Children’s Bookseller, highlights a few of her favourite picture books which “don’t get as much focus and I think they are an essential start for kids’ imagination”…


Are your mini ones a Child of Books?

booktrustlogoFor day two of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016), Gill Hart from Lincoln independent book shop Lindum Books picks a few of her recently-released favourites…

“There are lots of fabulous new books newly published for children at the moment.

achildofbooks“My favourite by far is an exceptional new picture book by author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers called I am a Child of Books by Walker Books (9781406358315, HB £12.99).

“This is an inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories in which Jeffers’s illustrations are accompanied by amazing typographical landscapes by artist Sam Winston shaped from excerpts from children’s classics.

“It is beautiful and will be loved by both small people and grownups I’m sure. (There is going to be one winging it’s way to a certain mini-Malpi for her forthcoming birthday)!

the-milly-molly-mandy-storybook“I have many fond memories of children’s books from my childhood that are still popular today.  Milly Molly Mandy has recently been reissued by Pan Macmillan as The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook (9781447273066, HB £9.99).

“I really wanted that bedroom with jam pots on the window sill!

littlewomenLittle Women was a favourite when I was a little older, I still reread it on occasion and always cry when Beth dies!

“There is a nice Vintage paperback edition at present at £5.99 (980099572961).

swordinthestone“In a less girly mode I became fascinated by all things Arthurian on reading The Sword in the Stone by T H White, there is a current Harper Collins paperback at £6.99 (9780007263493).”

Lindum Books holds monthly storytimes for children in its Bailgate shop.  Call 01522 262374 for further information.

Chilling tales to kickstart Children’s Book Week


Happy Children’s Book Week!

booktrustlogoRunning from October 31st to November 4th, 2016, the week is being promoted by BookTrust and aims to celebrate books and reading for pleasure.

“Studies show that children who enjoy and feel confident in reading are better learners – and not just in English. Reading gives them a firm grasp on all subjects. Whether they are ecstatic about their e-reader, crazy about comics, or bury themselves in a book, it’s something worth celebrating.”

Find out how your family can get involved here.

Given the week’s spooky starting date, I thought I’d pick a few of our favourites that, whilst year-round bedtime reading for us, are particularly seasonally appropriate too.

funnybonesFunnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

“On a dark, dark hill, there was a dark, dark town.
In the dark, dark town, there was a dark, dark street…”

The opening lines to this simple tale of a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton’s night out are ones I remember from my own childhood.

An eventful trip to the park and through the zoo find the boney characters more interested in scaring each other than the reader who’s simply left wanting to join in their adventures and wondering if they’d find any fun friends underneath their floorboards.

Piece together your own skeletons courtesy of Puffin books here.

wherethewildthingsareWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Another favourite from my own childhood, Where the Wild Things Are follows mischievous Max in his wolf suit as he sails “off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are” and was the first book I wanted to take Luke with me to buy after he was born.

Max tames the wild things leading them in a wild rumpus but, reassuringly for all parents of wild things, comes to realise he would much rather be “where someone loved him best of all”.

roomonthebroomRoom on the Broom by Julia Donaldson 

A more recent title from the author of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom is however already 15 years old proving its enduring popularity too.

My favourite of the consummate rhyming writer’s cannon, I used to be able to do a relatively faithful recital of the tale of an eventful flight and the importance of friendship.

One of these days I’ll find a purple skirt I can fit into to go with my black cape and invite my children on to my broomstick for an in-flight 3D retelling of the story that has won six book awards!

megandmogMeg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski

Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski’s Meg and Mog is another book that takes me back to when I was a young reader myself and I remember still picking up the various titles in the series and reading through them in the library even when I was getting a bit too old to take out picture books as part of my 12 book allocation.

Fortunately I’m now old enough to be allowed to enjoy them again and regularly share in their adventures in Meg’s Castle, Meg’s Mummy, Meg’s Eggs, Meg’s Veg and Meg on the Moon which also often serve to remind me I’ve always meant to invest in a proper cauldron…

thespookyoldtreeThe Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain 

Another oldie but goodie, the three intrepid Berenstain bears head out on an nighttime escapade into, up, through, down and out of The Spooky Old Tree, one with a light, one with a stick and one with a rope.

“Do they dare go” on as one by one the items the explorers armed themselves with are replaced by the shivers?

Don’t worry, there’s always the promise of “Home again.  Safe at last” for re-readers of a nervous disposition.

What will your mini ones be reading this Children’s Book Week?

Family photographer captures our mini monsters perfectly

I can’t be the only family blogger who dreads her kids acting up when being asked to link up with someone.

When Adrian Rowan of A. Rowan Photo contacted The Mini Malpi to suggest a Halloween-themed photo shoot I jumped at the chance.

Based on Luke’s current giggly enthusiasm for all things Halloween and his posing skills developed during Lincoln Fashion Week and well honed in the following months, what could go wrong?!

Having been to see Justin Fletcher Live in the morning probably didn’t help Luke’s over-excitement levels and Willow was also feeling decidedly floppy after all the dancing and car journey and, with one being uncooperative and one being incredibly clingy, I was beginning to wonder if we’d wasted the photographer’s time.

But she quickly proved her skills as a family photographer coercing Luke into playing with her through the use of bubbles and he was soon keen to try out his different costumes and play around for the camera having great fun running around Hartsholme Park and exuberantly kicking through the leaves at the same time.

Willow was feeling the cold (although resolutely refusing to put her coat on) as well as being tired and clingy but in the end it was daddy’s decision not to be left out on the costume front that made Willow eager to join in too.


I love all the shots she took of both of them but am particularly impressed by the ones she managed to capture of Willow given her mood for most of the session, from the cutest of little smiles to the picture above that makes me wonder what she’s thinking of turning us all into!

If you’d like to capture some memories with your own mini monsters then Adrian is running more Halloween Mini Photo Sessions on Sunday, October 30th, at Hartsholme Park from 10am to 2pm.  Booking is essential.  Click here for further information.

As well as preserving some precious moments you’ll have lots of fun doing it!

Sold out success for Justin Live

justinliveYou know you must be at the epitome of your career when, as a comedian, you can simply stand still on stage and have your audience in fits of laughter and, as an entertainer, your listeners are so keen to join in with you, you can easily get them to finish off all your songs for you.

Star of several CBeebies shows including Something Special, Justin’s House and Gigglebiz, Justin Fletcher is an idol for pre-schoolers across the country and so it’s unsurprising that the two performances of his latest stage show that were hosted by Grimsby Auditorium on Sunday were both completely sold out.

Those of us who managed to secure tickets were richly rewarded with a high-energy spectacle with a pantomime atmosphere that included confetti canons, water blasters, circus skills, slapstick comedy, audience interaction and even an appearance from Nellie the Elephant (which earned extra special applause from Willow who was transfixed throughout the show).

Nursery rhymes, original songs, pop favourites and even a jive number meant there was a choice for everyone musically and many of those lucky enough to have parents who booked far enough ahead to secure seats in the stalls (unlike Luke and Willow who were looking down from the balcony) even had the opportunity to have a dance with Justin as he made his way through the audience on a several occasions.

We weren’t sure whether Justin’s “close friend” Mr Tumble would be making appearance or not but Willow obviously has more faith in his magic, calling for him near the end of the interval and sure enough her call was soon answered as the star waistcoat-ed hero cycled onto stage on his mini bicycle to Let Me Entertain You at the start of the second half.  And, five custard pies later, Luke was most definitely entertained.

I think we can safely say that both Willow and Luke loved the show, finishing dancing along to the finale songs next to their seats and, as daddy paid a quick visit to the merchandise stall to buy  CD on the way out, they kept on dancing in the car to Justin’s singing most of the way back to Lincoln until exhaustion finally overcame their excitement.

If you are better at booking ahead than we are you might be interested to know that Justin will be returning to the north of the county next year.  Justin’s Party will take place at The Baths Hall in Scunthorpe on Saturday, April 1st, 2017. 


Lincoln Loves Kids!

lincolnloveskids2It’s half term already!

Are you a parent who can’t wait for the start of the holidays or who dreads the sound of the school bell tolling to signal the suspension of classes?

The mini ones are still too small for the academic year to have truly imprinted itself on our lives as yet, although some of their activities are effected, but we know exactly what it’s like to need to find entertainment to keep little hands busy.

If our It’s Halloween season! event listing isn’t comprehensive enough for you, or you’d really like to find a few things non-Halloweeny to occupy your children with, then you might want to pick up a new source of information on “family-friendly activities and experiences” in the city which has recently been produced by Visit Lincoln, Lincoln Mums and Lincolnshire County Council’s heritage services.

“Lincoln Loves Kids 2016-17 is packed with information about what’s on in the area, from visitor attractions, to natural spaces, to classes and services locally, including where to use your Lincoln Mums card of course!” says Lincoln Mums’ Emma Crellin.

“There is also a kids’ eye view of what’s on offer and my own editor’s picks of local highlights.”

An initial print run of 15,000 copies has been distributed throughout the area, including to all Visit Lincoln and Lincoln Mums partners.  The guide includes sections such as History Hunters, Stage & Story and All Get Moving.

There’s also a page of money saving vouchers and a competition (deadline November 25th) to win a Festive Family Break in December which includes tickets to a performance of the already sold out The Snowman at Lincoln Cathedral, so it’s definitely worth picking up a copy if you see one when you’re out and about.

I’d love to know where you like to find out about things happening in and around your area?  The local newspaper, radio, Facebook, Twitter, venue leaflet racks, from other parents?  Leave me a comment below or tweet me @TheMiniMalpi

Storytime invites listeners to Come Fly With Me

roomonthebroomjdRoom on the Broom, Julia Donaldson’s tale of helpful friends, has long been my favourite of The Gruffalo author’s excellent rhyming canon – I could even do a fairly accurate rendition at one point.

So, when Willow and I arrived for October’s storytime at Lindum Books in Lincoln’s Bailgate, I was delighted to discover that the witch and her cat were to be the focus of the morning’s event.

Led by Rhubarb Theatre’s Kirsty Mead, this brand of storytelling uses the original text as a launchpad for its own dramatic interpretation with the emphasis heavily on interaction.

With a musical introduction to the session including doing the Hocus Pocus (think “Hokey Cokey” with a magical twist), Kirsty had her young audience searching pumpkin clues, trying on a range of hats (Willow donned gnome/Santa headgear), playing with scarves and practicing their wand skills before inviting them to “Come Fly With Me” as she zoomed around the shop on her broom (much to all the following children’s delight including Willow) making full use of the book shop’s limited floor space.

After everyone banded together to help scare away the dragon we headed up the store’s stairs to take part in a craft activity that included using a glue stick – currently one of Willow’s favourite activities.

Hopefully we’ll be able to fly up the hill again soon to share another tale brought to life in such an entertaining fashion.

Storytime at Lindum Books takes place monthly and the next event is on Tuesday, November 8th.  Booking is essential.  Call 01522 262374.