Category: Book review

The Bear Under The Stairs


The Bear Under The Stairs. Written and illustrated by: Helen Cooper. Published by: Penguin Books

Summary: William is scared of the bear that lives under the stairs. William feeds him, worries about him. And finally, tells mum about him… Together William and mum confront the bear under the stairs, and find out maybe there’s nothing to be afraid of.

Why it’s worth repeating: This lovely book, with dreamy illustrations is perfect for helping children discuss their own fears. Repeated readings also allow you and your child to spot the clues that there might not be a bear after all!

Things to talk about while you read:

  • What would you feed a bear that lived under the stairs?
  • What foods do bears like?
  • What other food begin with a ‘b’?
  • What would you do if you thought there was a bear at home?
  • Are you afraid of anything?
  • If you’re scared of anything you should always tell me
  • Would you like to live under the stairs?


  • Draw a picture of a bear that could live under the stairs (Just like William does!)
  • What would a bear’s drawing of you/your child look like? Have a go at drawing each other and at self-portraits!

Crispin, The Pig Who Had It All


Crispin, The Pig Who Had It All. Written and Illustrated by: Ted Dewan. Published by Corgi.

Summary: Crispin is a pig who has it all. He’s given lots of toys, but always gets bored with them, and they always end up broken! One Christmas, he receives the best present ever, and by the end of the story he learns what is really important for having fun.

Why it’s worth repeating: Once you know the story, you and your child can chat about what made Crispin happier: lots of present or playing with his friends? This book provides an excellent opportunity to talk about sharing and how sometimes material presents aren’t as good as experiences shared with others.

Things to talk about while you read:

  • Was Crispin happy when the book started?
  • Crispin had the most fun with his friends, what’s your favourite game to play with friends?
  • Crispin had more fun sharing, than playing on his own. It’s good to share
  • Crispin’s friends were kind collecting all the broken toys to play a new game
  • Was the empty box a good present?
  • What could you play in a box like Crispin’s?


  • Find an empty box and play imaginary games like Crispin and his friends: space base, pirates, shop, castle



Dogger. Written and illustrated by: Shirley Hughes. Published by: Random House Books

Summary: Dogger is Dave’s favourite toy in the whole world. But one day Dogger goes missing, and when Dave finds him at the school fair, Dogger has already been bought by someone else! Dave turns to his big sister to help get Dogger back.

Why it’s worth repeating: This book allows you to follow Dave’s emotions as he loses, finds and subsequently loses Dogger again. Safe in the knowledge that there is a happy ending, you and your child can repeat this book and talk about how Dave’s feelings change during the story and the kindness of big sister Bella’s help

 Things to talk about while you read:

  • What’s your favourite toy?
  • How do you think Dave felt when Dogger went missing?
  • How would you feel if your favourite toy went missing?
  • That Bella was very kind to swap her teddy for Dogger

The Snowy Day


The Snowy Day. Written and Illustrated by: Ezra Jack Keats. Published by: Viking Press

Summary: One day, Peter wakes up to discover it snowed (a lot!) overnight. He goes outside and has fun in the snow. He makes a snowball and puts it in his pocket, but later discovers that it melts. The next day the snow has not melted, it is still there, so Peter makes plans to enjoy another snowy day with a neighbour friend.

Why it’s worth repeating: Peter lives in an urban area and still has fun in the snow, he is generally playing by himself so he has to be creative to come up with fun things to play.  Each time you read this story you can focus on a different thing you can do with snow or a different trait of snow: it makes a crunch sound, it shows your foot prints, it melts….

Things to talk about while reading:

  • Peter did a lot of things in the snow, what do you think was the most fun?
  • Have you ever made tracks in the snow? Made a snow angel? Made a snowball?
  • The big boys are having a snowball fight, but Peter knows he is too little to join in. Have you ever felt too little to join in?
  • Peter lives in a city and still has fun playing outside. Do you like to play outside where you live?
  • Peter dreamed the snow melted before he could enjoy another snowy day. How do you think that dream made him feel? How do you think he felt when he saw the snow was still there and new snow was falling?


  • recreate Peter’s snowy day and do the different things he did in the snow.
  • Go to the beach/seaside and see if you can do the same things with the sand or pebbles. Why or why not?
  • For more ideas see the Erza Keats Foundation Page for this book.

If you are unfamiliar with this book, you can read about it’s historical significance here. and watch a reading of it here.