Playing by the book

Reviews of kids' books and the crazy, fun stuff they inspire us to do

A Picture Book Party!

Posted on | August 27, 2013 | 19 Comments

Dear Friends,  I'm having a party, and you are all invited.   Please come with empty stomach, and a cushion to sit on.  There will be plenty to eat, and stories galore.  My door's open... just come on in!   Zoe

Welcome, welcome! It’s lovely to see you! So very glad you could join the party today :-)

We’ll start off with a story (always an excellent place to start I believe!). Get comfy, and sit back and enjoy the marvellous, hilarious Peck, Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins.


This book has everything: Startling colours! Wonderful rhyme! Silly humour! HOLES!! I think this gorgeous book about a father woodpecker teaching his child what he really needs in life (good pecking skills) is an exceptionally good book for the youngest of children.

With a nod to perhaps the all-time classic when it comes to baby books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I especially love the page where all the food gets pecked, and the absolutely well deserved sense of pride the young woodpecker feels in the pecking he does everywhere.

No need to bang your head on a wall (or your beak on a trunk), this is truly brilliant book.

And in lieu of party crisps, let me hand round the jelly beans (fortunately, unlike those in Lucy Cousin’s book, these have NOT been pre-pecked!):


Ok, swap your cushion with a friend and let’s start on the next story, Silver Buttons by Bob Graham.

60 world-changing seconds spun out to create one breathtaking sequence of 32 pages, this new book by Graham (which will get me pulling another all-time family favourite, Has Anyone Here Seen William?, off the shelves to read to you) about a young boy’s very first steps is clever and contemplative. I’m not quite convinced kids will rejoice in it the way adult readers will, but it’s nevertheless a stunner, and perfect with a cup of tea (or milk) and a biscuit:



Now, are any of you cat fans? Do any of you (like us) have children who have a MASTER PLAN to persuade their parents that family life is not complete without a cat? Then this story is especially for you.


Inga Moore‘s Captain Cat is about treasure. But what treasure? What would you choose – rubies, diamonds and pearls… or KITTENS! I know which my girls would choose.

I might prefer the turkish delight which is mentioned in the book (children’s literature and turkish delight go together so well, don’t you think?), and here’s some I made for you to enjoy at our party:


Sticky fingers and kitten dreams aside, now it’s time for a little bit of audience participation. Are you ready for Mo Willem’s Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs?


Like so many of Willem’s books if you, my dear listeners, are not talking back at me, calling out at me, pointing out what I as the reader have failed to notice or refused to believe in this story, I will be very surprised. Not merely a fractured version of the traditional Goldilocks tale, more like an utterly bonkers one, with added Norwegian-ness. Are you giggling yet?

I should add, I think we’re safe here (I’ve put up a dinosaur defensive cordon around our party), so do tuck into some chocolate pudding.


Chocolate-filled-little-children-bonbons? Yes, it’s well documented, Dinosaurs are rather partial to them, but adults filled with chocolate pudding? No. Absolutely not. Way too bony and chewy.

But by now we are overdosing on party sweets and treats and it is time to get up and boogie. With all that sugar inside you, is your inner monster rearing its head? Then Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Kelly Murphy is for you.


Perfect for getting everyone doing actions I’d love to use this in a PE lesson!


But that’s perhaps too much exertion for a party. What we need now, to cool down with, are some monster lollies, just like those in Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters.



Wow… what a party! Lots of laughter, excitement, and sugar and stories in equal measure. I hope you’ve had a wonderful time. These are the tremendous books I’m putting in your party bags for going away with:


It’s been so much fun having you all over. Let’s hope we can party together again very soon :-)

Special thanks to Walker Books for enabling this riotous party! Do check out their own

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19 Responses to “A Picture Book Party!”

  1. Barbara Mojica
    August 27th, 2013 @ 12:43 am

    They are having so much fun! I love to see pictures like these. Lucy Cousins is one of my favorite authors.

  2. Rhythm
    August 27th, 2013 @ 2:51 am

    Whew!! I’m worn out! Fabulous party!! Thanks for the invite. All of these books are new to me and i can’t wait to check them out. I love Lucy Cousins and Mo Willems! Thanks for sharing!
    Rhythm recently posted..National Dog Day

  3. Zoe
    August 27th, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    Barbara – do look out for this one. I too love her books, and think she does something really special for the very youngest of listeners. I think Peck Peck Peck is exceptionally good.

  4. Zoe
    August 27th, 2013 @ 6:44 am

    he he Rhythm, me too! Partying is always exhausting.

  5. Damyanti
    August 27th, 2013 @ 7:06 am

    Thanks for a great party & now I get which books you were making things for, although I guess I have to wait for the popcorn reference
    Damyanti recently posted..Little Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts by Emily Gravett

  6. Zoe
    August 27th, 2013 @ 7:16 am

    Ah yes Damyanti, popcorn is still awaiting its day. But the turkish delight was fun to make – relatively easy, and a new experience for us.

  7. Kelly Dotty
    August 27th, 2013 @ 9:14 am

    What a fantastic party Zoe and a wonderful selection of books you have shared!
    Kelly Dotty recently posted..Picture Book 10 for 10 #pb10for10

  8. Bookaholic Mum
    August 27th, 2013 @ 9:36 am

    Great post! Wonderful to see that picture books aren’t just for pre-schoolers and can be enjoyed by older children too. Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters looks like a particularly fun read!
    Bookaholic Mum recently posted..Book review: Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

  9. Zoe
    August 27th, 2013 @ 10:38 am

    Thanks Kelly and Bookaholic Mum, oh absolutely – picture books are NOT just for preschoolers! If adults will let older children enjoy them, I think children of all ages (even secondary school kids) enjoy picture books – as long as they’re not made to feel babyish by looking at picture books,

  10. Emma White
    August 27th, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

    Wow…. What a fantastic idea loving this . It looked like lots of fun :) thank you for sharing a fantastic post xx
    Emma White recently posted..Beaten And Raped By The Man I Met Online

  11. Zoe
    August 27th, 2013 @ 3:55 pm

    Thanks Emma, we had a great deal of fun – a slow meal eating lots of delicious things interspersed with super stories and plenty of silliness!

  12. Catherine
    August 27th, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

    We have been reading Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs today, it’s a really original version of the Goldilocks story.

    I’m really looking forward to reading Peck, Peck, Peck.

    Thank you for letting us join your party :)
    Catherine recently posted..Ella by Alex T. Smith

  13. Stephanie
    August 27th, 2013 @ 9:16 pm

    I want to eat those silver biscuits!

    I love picture books, I think they are so rich and often think I enjoy them more than the kids!
    Stephanie recently posted..Five problems people face when trying to tell their own stories to their children and what you can do about them

  14. Judy Houser
    August 28th, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

    Thank you for inviting me to your party! I loved all the books. I am ordering Peck to share with my preschoolers next week.

    Judy Houser
    Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy
    Melbourne, Florida

  15. Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum
    August 28th, 2013 @ 9:43 pm

    What a wonderful party – I love the treats that you had they look wonderful
    Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum recently posted..Tuesday Tots – 27 August

  16. Richard
    August 29th, 2013 @ 8:44 pm

    Fabulous pictures, if your having a bad day nothing like smiling happy children to put the world into perspective.

  17. Susan
    August 31st, 2013 @ 12:30 pm

    Lovely idea and captured in delightful photographs.

    What recipe for turkish delight do you follow?

  18. Katherine
    August 31st, 2013 @ 8:54 pm

    What a fantastic party, going to have to check out the Lucy Cousins book for my Hungry Caterpillar fan. Those button biscuits look delicious.
    Katherine recently posted..Reading Shirley Hughes with Clara Vulliamy

  19. Zoe
    September 1st, 2013 @ 8:30 am

    I use this one Susan: but added lemon peel to the sugar solution whilst it boiled instead of rose water at the end, as we wanted lemon flavoured Turkish Delight (we, of course, removed the peel before pouring the syrup into silicone moulds).

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