The life and times of a home schooling mom of se7en + 1.

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We Really Need Your Help to Raise a Library…

February 25th, 2015 · 10 Comments

On International Book Giving Day we announced our library project for this year. I’ll be honest it isn’t an easy one, and we need all the help we can get. We are hoping to create a library for children living in one of the toughest areas of Cape Town, children who have had to grow up way too fast and children who are all too familiar with a world that has let them down. We would really like to make a difference in their lives, for no other reason than that they deserve it.

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In our family books are key to our everyday lives… we read and read and read. We have access to books, in fact we have heaps of books… and if that isn’t enough we can amble to the library almost every day of the week and borrow another handful of books. My children don’t know a day in their lives when they weren’t treated to a bedtime story. Books provide us with a world we a can escape in to and I think these children, more than most, may well need a chance to escape from the world that they live in. They don’t come from homes where they can experience a whole heap of extra-curricular activities, and there certainly won’t be piles of books for them to read. There world is literally to school and home again, and not much happening on either end of that continuum. They live in an area which is notorious for violent crime and gangsterism, domestic violence and substance abuse. The option of ambling down the street to the library is an unknown luxury and the chance to vanish into another world non-existent.

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Now I don’t know about you, but when I walk into the library I always head for certain books first and then explore further from there. Always heading for my favourite genre and seeing what’s in. So I asked my kids what their favourite kinds of books were… the one’s they seek out first.

And this is what they look for in a good book:

  • Hood #1: Exciting characters,
  • Hood #2: Gadgets,
  • Hood #3: Series, the longer the better,
  • Hood #4: Adventure stories,
  • Hood #5: Spy stories,
  • Hood #6: Animal stories,
  • Hood #7: Pretend stories,
  • Hood #8: Where’s Wally.

Well I asked the children in the school we are donating too and they sent us some great works of art, showing us exactly what they like to read:

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The school does not have a functioning library yet. We are that library… we are the books about technology and soccer, we are the teen reads that the older girls want to read. We are the fiction books that fill their dreams and the fact books that satisfy their curiosity. There are almost 1000 students in the school ranging from Grade R to Grade 7. Not only only do all these children have a problem with accessibility to books, but they also have a problem with literacy. These children desperately need to be inspired to read when they are young and enthusiastic.

In order for these children to find the books they dream of reading they need actual physical contact with books. In order for them to become literate and to break the desperate cycle of the community that they are living these youngsters need books and piles of them. I firmly believe that we can provide books for them. I know we cannot change the world they are living in, but we can affect their response to it… and book by book I believe our readers could make a significant difference in their lives.

So How Can You Help?

Step 1: Select a Book or Books

  1. You can search through your books for gently used books that your children have outgrown or no longer love.
  2. You can buy a book or two with your children and package them up.
  3. You can shop at Amazon and ship directly.
  4. And you can shop on-line, locally at Loot, and ship directly as well.

While all the students do learn English, many of the learners have Afrikaans as their first language. English books are very welcome, so are books in Afrikaans. Any books will be great, story books, picture books, craft books, cook books, reference books… really any books. There is a large community being served here. If you are shopping overseas and would like to buy local language books then click on the South African vendor to find books and they will deliver locally for you.

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Step 2: Contact us.

Leave a comment and tell us that you intend to help or contact us. I will reply to you all as soon as I can with the shipping details, with the address to send the books you have chosen. There is a human person behind each and every email (that would be me) and they take time… please be patient the address will get to you.

Step 3: Let us Know All About the Books You Chose

We would love if you could photograph the books you are sending, if you shop on-line then just send us a list of the books that you ordered. If you have a blog and write about it then let us know and we will have a Progress Post each week. I will pop the photo’s you send into the blog post and if you do have a blog there will be a chance for you to link up as well.

We are excited about this project and we really hope that our readers seize the day and join us. It doesn’t have to be huge, if even one percent of our readers pop a book into an envelope and post it off, we will have a library. So here’s to hoping that we hear from you all really soon. Leave a comment saying you would like to join us, contact us… Please share this post… whatever you need to do… we would so love to hear from you. If you have emailed already I am trying to reply to all your emails by the weekend. If for some reason you don’t hear from us before next week, please email again… there could well be a glitch or an oversight on our part.

We know that a project with a deadline often works better so could we aim to get our books in the mail around mid-March. That gives you a couple of weeks to choose a book or two and mail them on.

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We would like to thank International Book Giving Day for their enthusiastic support and Biblionef South Africa, for helping us to find a community in our area that needs a library, over the years they have provided us with unprecedented support in helping us to pursue our dream to provide books for children just like ours, who otherwise wouldn’t have access to books.

Disclosure: The Amazon and Loot links are affiliate links and our blog will earn a very small percentage of the book sales made there, we pledge to put any of our earnings from books for the school directly back into buying more books for them… this is their project and we don’t in any way want to gain financially from it.

→ 10 CommentsTags: Home Truths · Our Events

Saturday Spot: Dias Beach and Venus Pools at Cape Point…

February 24th, 2015 · 9 Comments

Over the last year we have spent countless hours exploring Cape Point, but we have never been to Dias Beach before.

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I spotted this beach years and years ago, it has been on my list of “must go places” literally forever… here is a picture from way back when… and you can see why it should be on everyone’s wishlist… the perfect place for a picnic.


Turns out Friday dawned with blue skies, and we headed for Dias Beach – can you hear a hoorah!!!

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Wild Life

A visit to Cape Point with out our friends the baboons would be totally unheard of…

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It is the season for these guys…

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And don’t forget the eland… standing right there, watching the tourists, watching them…

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Cape Point

Dias Beach is right down at the actual point, below the lighthouses at Cape Point…

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Where you literally feel like you can see forever…

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Or not, depending on your priorities…

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One of us was very keen to get hiking…

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There is only one way to get to this beach and that is down a lot of stairs…

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And that is what put me off getting there for all those years. Meanwhile they are totally doable, 208 stairs according to a young person with us.

Dias Beach

And the stairs are totally worth it… this is paradise.

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Looking up…

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Paradise indeed…

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Those cliffs…

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Don’t look to closely…

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These pics might require “no kids were harmed in the making of this blog post” kind of a statement… actually it was a fairly wide ledge that you could walk onto from a sand dune… so don’t hold your breathe too tight.

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And a totally unexpected fisherman…

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Now, that’s a lot of stairs…

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And if you just do one step at a time, they are no problem at all. The sand dunes at the bottom are another story, there could have been tears.

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Lesson About the Oceans

And of course we were there to meet our friendly ranger and learn all about the ocean…

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And in this remote spot it was quite easy to think about our world of water…

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Have you ever washed up on the beach after a shipwrecking, and just lain there recovering and feeling the sound of the waves crashing…

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One person may have been washed over, just saying!!!

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Beach Clean-Up

And the reason we do beach clean-ups…

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Because even though most pristine beaches are not that pristine…

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A very cool find, until you think of what that rope could do to a sea creature. The biggest find: soda bottles. The rocks were covered in soda bottles… and a black bag was easily filled with just soda bottles.

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Venus Pools

A quick wander past lots of caves… that look really interesting… but lunch was calling.

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With this mighty mountain over looking us… hello, we have climbed that mountain. I have a friend that keeps calling us “hikers,” I love her for that… she may have a point.

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But after all those stairs, we headed for Venus Pools and an afternoon picnic and rock pooling…

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I tell you after an afternoon here, you are ready to pretty much take on the world.

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It helps to live with someone who knows all about rock pools…

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Who can tell you about all creatures great…

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And small…

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The Gang

You can safely say, that we had a good time…

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Some folk discovered that if you pop your head above the rocks, you will discover that it is quite windy enough to blow dry your hair…

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It is a great place to contemplate life…

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And the ocean…

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Who cares how cold the water is…

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All too soon it is time to head for home…

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And home again, home again, home again…

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And this picture sums it up, they really wish it wasn’t a whole month until their next visit…

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Other SAN PARKS Hiking Posts

Hiking in the Cape Peninsula

Cape Point and Outings with SAN Parks


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→ 9 CommentsTags: Outings · Saturday Spot

Sunday Snippet: Your Word is a Lamp for my Feet…

February 23rd, 2015 · No Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

A light on my path.

Week by Week

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→ No CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet

Se7en’s Fabulous Friday fun #263…

February 22nd, 2015 · 4 Comments

A week of glorious sunshine…

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Lovely Links from This Week

  1. Don’t you just love a fabulous adventure…Imagine Childhood is always good for an instant adventure. We have a pirate who would just love to find this surprise waiting for him.
  2. Have you seen Dick King Smith’s lovely, lovely, lovely new website!!!
  3. Chinese New Year whistled by this week and I totally loved these HomeMade Paper Lanterns on Oh Happy Day.
  4. Oh I may have to make these, just because how delightful: How to make Pinata cupcakes on Yuppie Chef.
  5. Amen and Amen… Fat Mum Slim and Wobbly Bits.
  6. Rememeber way back when, we did a post on rocket sciencewell Tinker Lab clocked the flying teabag!!!
  7. So many friends of mine are going to find great articles in here. Read away, read away: 40 Articles for Pastors and their Families, spotted on Head Heart Hand.
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    We launched our “We need your help with a library” last week on International Book Giving Day… and we are going to need tons of help with this one!!!

    And the se7en + 1th link:

  9. A Blast From the Past:

Book of the Week

The Book With No Pictures by B.J.Novak: Is exactly what it says it is, a book with no pictures. But for a picture book that is pretty unusual and had us all immediately intrigued… the words of course are cleverer than most, and while there is a little font play… with big words and little words, plain words and colourful words, it is the cleverness of the words and the intertwining of the words into a conversation between the person reading and the book… that strikes the appeal. The conversation is afterall an amusing one: The book commands the reader to read every single word… the words of course are “preposterous” and “ridiculous.” The listener is left frightfully amused and would quite like to hear that conversation again. It sounds terribly serious and at first glance, quite dry… but it is packed with a somewhat quirky and endearing silliness. Not to mention the young reader is so drawn to the “side of the book” in this conversation… hoping the reader, usually mum or dad, are going to say funny and quirkier things all the way through. The initial pages are in fact very dry…

The Book With No Pictures was given to us for review purposes by Penguin books South Africa, we were not paid for this review and the opinions expressed are our own.

That’s us… Hope your weekend has been a fabulous one and we are so looking forward to another week of blogging with you all… not to mention a GiveAway or Two…

→ 4 CommentsTags: Fabulous Friday Fun

And Just Like that I am off to Zambia to Plant Trees with GreenPop…

February 19th, 2015 · 34 Comments

So I am just interrupting my blog schedule for the week… to tell you about the happenings at GreenPop. We have blogged about them them in the past and it turns out we are going to be blogging a fair bit about them in the future. GreenPop is a local organisation that is fun and energetic and they exude endless enthusiasm for all things green… we are all for them. They are all about replanting trees, reforesting… and have a very much “We can do this attitude” in a world that often says the opposite. Their energy is contagious and they have heaps of opportunities for regular folk like you and like us, to just join in and plant trees together…

I was going to tell you about their Family Festival in Platbos…

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I was going to tell you about their Friends Festival Platbos…

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I was even going to tell you about their Trees for Zambia Project…

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But I wanted to get to know them a little better, so I popped over to their Hype Event this evening. The hype event was really their very fun presentation to show folk what the “Trees for Zambia” project is all about and my plan was to get to meet the team a little better and show our readers what these folk get up to… and tell you a little but about the event as well…

Meet the Team and Life in Zambia

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There were fabulous munchies

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All cooked on a Solar Panel, why oh why don’t we all have one of these in our garden?

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And of course dishes…

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And a magnificent mural… with small beginnings…

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That eventually became…

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We learnt about seeds…

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And trips to the hairdresser!!!

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We met up with Uncle Ben and posted my pic on instagram for the first time…

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And here is the view from our tent…

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And how fabulous is this corner from sponsors Reliance Compost…

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And this beautiful umbrella…

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And you too can win a trip to Zambia, if you can come up with an amazing and creative way to use Reliance Compost Bags…

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I discovered that I would rather photograph a tree than be one!!!

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There was business everywhere…

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A panel discussion and twenty questions…

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By this time everyone had a stamp in their passport and they were ready to take a lucky draw.

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I asked the father person to take photo of the winner… while I planned to instagram the event, never thinking for a moment that… the winner would be me… crazy things do happen… and I am off to Zambia to plant trees. I have no words, I am way beyond excited!!!

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If you want to know more about how you too can get to Zambia… click on the image!!!

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→ 34 CommentsTags: Caring and Sharing · Green Living · Saturday Spot

A Mad Hatter’s Tea Party… And Fab New Children’s Reads of the PanMacmillan – 2015 Kind.

February 18th, 2015 · 9 Comments

It isn’t often that I am invited to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, in fact never ever before… Every year PanMacmillan, South Africa have a book day, when they showcase all the latest and greatest kids reads and the new launches for the year… It is an unmissable event. Anyway this past Friday was the day and not only did I accept the invitation, but I let my kids crash the party – because let’s be honest – these are book people, and when your kids love books and review bazillions of books it is just right that they get to rub shoulders. Actually I didn’t intend to crash… but as we reached the door, my gang was literally embraced by friendly PanMacmillan staff, and they didn’t have to be asked twice if they would like a cup cake for breakfast…

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Who could resist…
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And clearly the novelty factor of an early morning treat ranked high!!!
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The event was held at the aquarium, so plenty of things to keep the gang busy while I was surrounded by the most adorable goody bags…
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Filled with fabulous and exciting books and the contents will have to wait for another post… but here is a peak:

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So books, books, books. Critically acclaimed and activity books, educational… and award winning, picture book and teen reads. Hundreds of books flash before you and you have to sift your way through to find your best book friends, of course they were all there…

Who is Who Behind the Books

PanMacmillan Books South Africa

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Terry from PanMacmillan South Africa made sure that my entire team all had cupcakes and just as casually introduced the crowd to local author, Alan Glass… the author of just the launched Oliver’s Outline. It didn’t take him long to have everyone singing… I tell you anything can happen at Open Book Days…

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Macmillan Children’s Books in the UK

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Belinda from Macmillan Children’s Books in the UK was able to venture into the historical depths… I don’t know where we think books come from but publishers digging into archives and discovering letters, dating back to 1871, between C.S.Lewis and Lewis Carol, sounds like real live history to me, and not the stuff of school history classes at all. Anyhow, Alice… of the Wonderland fame, is 150 years old this year. And we can look forward to a lot of delightful Alice goodies on the shelves.

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Not to mention there will be heaps more from our best book friends like:

  • Julia Donaldson – of course and Axel Schaeffer… activity books of course and a Song Book Treasury, which sounds delightful.
  • More from Chris Riddell… and especially Goth Girl… happy dance, we love that gal!!!
  • More from Meg Cabot… we have a fan over here, who will be thrilled to hear that.
  • Peter Hamilton, and my oldest two have devoured his books this year, has written something for younger kids – all because he likes to read to his kids. Sounds like the perfect reason to write a book.
  • More Eva Ibbotson, we only recently discovered her books, but my kids loved her – certainly an author who wrote topical issues, way before they were issues.
  • More Frances Hardinge, huge yay, we love her writing.
  • More Emily Gravett: You know how we love and adore her, and their will be a tenth anniversary edition of Wolves, wait for it!!!
  • More Gemma Merino: Remember the Dragon who Didn’t like Fire, and The Crocodile who didn’t like Water, well, The Cow who climbed Trees is Next.
  • Not to mention the picture book: The Giant of Jum, who offers us sage advice: Eat cakes, not kids.

Cake of Critical Acclaim

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So much beautiful cake… delightful details and just pure fun.

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And Extremely Glamorous Award Winning Hats

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Hachette Children’s Books

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Meet Claire, who brought the news of more of everything in books…

  • More of our friend Hugless Douglas and there is everything to love about this affable bear.
  • There is going to be, believe to or not, a sequel to Rosies Walk.
  • Delighted to hear that there will be more of Claude… and the most delightful and funny dog on earth.
  • If you enjoyed the Queen’s Hat, then you will enjoy the Queen’s Handbag, a romp around the UK looking for the illusive bag.
  • More and new Enid Blyton’s that have never been published before…
  • And MR. Men, we’ve never been huge fans… but there is one called Grandfather Clock coming out and that is a deeply significant name in our house!!!
  • The Final in Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon, gasp… there will be tears to see that end.
  • And for the mermaid loving teens… More of the Jennifer Donnolly Waterfire Saga.
  • There will be more Charlie and Lola… sweet love.
  • Heaps more Rainbow Readers, Secret Kingdom and Beast/Sea Quests and such like, not even close to our favourites by far… but they are bringing out easy readers in these series and I am guessing my easy reader level readers would enjoy them.
  • Holly Webb’s Waterhorse looks like one we will enjoy, it’s set in Venice – what’s not to enjoy!!!

Walker Books

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Fiona is no stranger to Cape Town and I could sit and listen to her talk about books forever and ever… not to mention she read us a story… we needed one at this stage…

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And the news that all my kids wanted to hear: There will be more Timmy Failure. Yes even Timmy was there and we love him. A galactic failure of the detective kind, who will have you in stitches whatever age you are… and if you need to know how to draw Timmy, just click on the link.

Priddy Books

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Meet the team from Priddy Books, Roger and Sally. These books are surely icons of our age. Every home must have a “First 100 Words” by now. These two sure new how to present their books, they might even love their books almost as much as we do. Heaps of new and fantastic books coming out from Priddy Books:

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  • A ten thousand sticker Stickerpedia, have you ever!!!
  • Super Duper Activity books galore, with their trade mark wipeable pens!!!
  • Colouring books with their own stackable crayons – Oh the joy!!!
  • More alphaprints… and
  • More Let’s Pretend… and Pirate heaven for our youngest pirate, totally interactive books, things to do and make and touch and engage, engage, engage…
  • But it was the soon to be launched: “Playtown Airport” with dozens of Lift the Flaps, with Roger and Sally hidden somewhere on every spread, that clearly won the day.

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I have to say, Roger Priddy may just have become a book hero in our home as he chatted with our kids about all things books… the making, the launching and his enthusiasm for his subject is just fablous. He may also have made a life long fan… by saying that a our youngest lad could keep the book, that he clearly loves, it is under his pillow as he sleeps!!!

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Blast from the Past

We would really like to thank PanMacmillan South Africa for this fantastic event, for the invitation and of course the extra special treatment. This post is not sponsored in any way and the opinions expressed are as usual our own.

→ 9 CommentsTags: Brilliant Books · Reviews

Sunday Snippet: But as for Me and My Household…

February 17th, 2015 · 4 Comments

Our Bible Verse of the Week…

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Joshua 24:15

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

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Related Posts with Thumbnails

→ 4 CommentsTags: Sunday Snippet