Reading Rambles – Reading for the Pleasure of it! Poetry and Book Series

Welcome back to a rambling in reading; giving you snippets from the world of children’s books from a house full of bookworms. Even the hamster sits and listens to stories! This week we’re chatting poetry, book series, awards and of course the book competitions update.

A Poem a Day – Start a New Habit

This week I’ve started a new blog post series – A Poem a Day… This is a series that will be updated several times a month with poems that we have been reading as a family each day. Check out this month here – A Poem A Day in December for the Family.

I’ve also added in poetry specific competitions and giveaways in the post too.

Series Favourites

Series can be such a brilliant way to grow children’s confidence in reading through familiarity. Our daughter Floss is always keen to discover new books in a favourite series. I’m often asked by her to request the next book in a series from the library.

What the Ladybird Heard – Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Are you a fan of the What the Ladybird Heard series? Did you know a festive one was released in 2022. You can find some fabulous festive activity fun to pair with the book in the pdf activity file below.

New What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas

One way to help children discover new books from loved series is to branch out subtly. Books by the same author or illustrators allow children to explore gently a new book with hints of similarity.


We had the pleasure this year of going and meeting Lydia Monks the illustrator of What the Ladybird Heard series at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Lydia was sharing a book that she has both written and illustrated, Adoette. Lydia can write just as beautifully as she can draw and it was wonderful to hear first hand the real story that prompted the writing of the book. We also got to enjoy a brilliant draw along with Lydia too.

If you can attend book events I’d highly recommend them as they very much open up the world of books to children, helping them to see authors and illustrators as people – people just like them. Floss wants to be an illustrator when she grows up.

Billy and the Mini Monsters Series

Another series Floss adores is Billy and the Mini Monsters. They’re published by Usborne, written by Zanna Davidson and illustrated by Melanie Williamson. I describe these as a hybrid between picture books and chapter books with a spoonful of graphic novel thrown in for good measure. They are highly readable and oodles of fun.

If you’d like to find out more about this type of book and others like it head to my blog post – Reading Chapter Books – What to Read after Picture Books?

Billy and the Mini Monsters – Monsters Go To Hospital

We were very kindly sent a copy of the latest release – Billy and the Mini Monsters – Monsters Go To Hospital by Usborne. Floss has spent quite a bit of time in hospitals and so this book was ideal for her. It actually arrived on a week where she’d been at the hospital for half the week – perfect timing!

Monsters Go To Hospital tells the story of Billy needing to go to hospital to have an operation to have his tonsils and adenoids out; a procedure Floss has had done.

Floss was delighted to see Billy making friends with a child in a wheelchair in the story stating – look Mommy – they have a wheelchair like me. Representation in books matters to our children!

Books for Hospitals

This would be the ideal book to read with a child who needs to go to hospital. Maybe you could make your own mini monsters and smuggle them in. Floss loves to make the puppets from the Usborne activity page.

If you are having to go to hospital with your child you may find this leaflet from Usborne and Cambridge hospital a useful resources.

Awesome Appeal – Billy and the Mini Monsters

Billy and the Mini Monsters appeal to so many children (and adults – I think they’re superb). The text is a good size, the paragraphs are well spaced out and the illustrations help to develop comprehension alongside the reading of new vocabulary in a structured way.

One aspect that I believe firmly appeals to so many children is that the book is interspersed with graphic novel/ comic style strips to tell the story. It’s often when we get the BEST monster action.

These sections can be read relatively quickly and therefore give children the satisfying feeling of achieving the act of reading a book with some pace.

Billy and the Mini Monsters – New Release Coming Soon…

The next book in the series is due out in March 2023. Even though Floss will be able to read more advanced books by this time I’m confident that she’ll want a copy of Billy and the Mini Monsters – Monsters on a Sleepover.

As your child’s reading ability grows it’s important to still value the reading choices your child makes. Familiarity with texts brings with it confidence.

It allows children to try out new skills they have learnt such as fluency, intonation and expression in a secure way.

More importantly familiar books bring JOY. Reading for pleasure matters and is the key to help children develop a life long love of reading.

Book Awards

A couple of retailers have announced their children’s books of the year for 2022.

Foyles Children’s Book of the Year 2022

Foyles has chosen the incredible Tyger by SF Said as their children’s book of the year. It’s one that Nikki Gamble has raved about and she’s hosting an evening with SF Said in January 2023 – details can be found here.

Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year 2022

Warrior unicorns and elemental magic: a genius concept fleshed out with unforgettable characters, heartstopping action and superlative world-building. The most important children’s fantasy series of its generation starts here. How could anyone resist?

World Book Day 2023

World Book Day 2023 is the 2nd March. This is the 26th year of World Book Day and it’s always a fabulous day. In January there are two events being run to help you get ready whether you work in schools or home school. Head to eventbrite here to book yourself onto these free events to get the most out of the event. Discover the books on offer for 2023 here.

Again this year you can get pin badges and sew on badges to accompany the event from Paw Print Family. Floss loves collecting these.

Book for Keeps

If you haven’t discovered this magazine go and check it out now. Books for Keeps is such an amazing resource for children’s books. I remember as a teaching student having it as a physical copy – they were a thing of beauty.

Now they are online only but still packed full of incredible, thought-provoking articles and high quality children’s book reviews.

New Tonie – Sleeping Beauty

A new Disney Tonie has been released – Sleeping Beauty. As with the other Disney characters there are the well known songs to accompany the retelling of this famous story.

I’ve just added a blog post about accessories for your Tonie Box that you might be interested in – tonies® Box Accessories Galore.

Bookish Competitions & Giveaways

Check out the latest giveaways and competitions we’ve found in this blog post.

That’s the end of another reading ramblings. I’ll be back soon with more thoughts.

Bookish wishes, Lisa x