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Posted by Tom, November 3, 2015

“Beautiful, engaging and entertaining books”: a librarian reviews Nosy Crow

Today’s guest blog post is by Zac McCallum, a parent, children’s librarian, and blogger from Christchurch, New Zealand, sharing some of his favourite books from Nosy Crow.

As a Children and Young Adults Librarian and a parent of twin 11-year-old boys and a 6-month-old baby girl I’m always on the look-out for great children’s books. Nosy Crow are one of my favourite publishers because they produce beautiful, engaging and entertaining books for children of all ages. I know that I can go to the library shelves or my own bookshelves and grab a Nosy Crow book that will suit my audience perfectly.

I have lots of variety in my job, from presenting preschool sessions in our public libraries to visiting primary schools to promote books and the library. I love having the chance to read to kids of all ages and tell them about some really great books to read. I use lots of Nosy Crow books in my library programmes. We run a programme called the Travelling Roadshow where we take stories out to schools to promote the library and a love of books with the 5-7 year old children. This programme is very interactive, with the children joining in with actions and chants. We choose two books to read to the children and we often adapt stories so that we can include props, costumes and puppets. One of the wonderful books that we are using this year (and one of my absolute favourites) is Use Your Imagination by Nicola O’Byrne. Not only is it a hilarious story that the children love, but it also includes a wolf who is a librarian. We read this story as a pair as it works really well reading it this way. I have so much fun being the wolf, helping rabbit to use his imagination and create the perfect story. One thing that we’ve added to the story is our own Use Your Imagination sign. Every time we hold it up the children have to join in with us and say, ‘Use Your Imagination!’ One of my other favourite Nosy Crow books that I use a lot during school visits is Barry Hutchison’s The Shark-Headed Bear Thing. I’m a huge fan of Barry Hutchison and this is a fantastic book to hook kids on his stories. If you haven’t read this book, what are you waiting for! I explain a little about the book and then read my favourite extract, where Ben, Paradise and Wesley have a run-in with a troll. The troll’s challenge, to play a game of Burp-or-Death and then Fart-or-Death, gets kids every time. Just last week a kid from a school I visit told me about the boys in her class wanting to play Burp-or-Death at lunch time. If kids are talking about the books after my visits and buying or borrowing the books, that is a win for me. I’m eager to share a couple of my recent favourite Nosy Crow books, Box and Poles Apart, with kids on my school visits in the coming weeks.

At home I’m starting to grow a great reader with my 6-month-old daughter. She loves books, especially bashing them, and I love introducing her to lots of different books. At the moment her favourite types of books are touch-and-feel books and ones with flaps. Nosy Crow have some perfect books to share with her. Jo Lodge’s books (There’s a Toucan on My Telephone, There’s a Panda in My Picnic) really grab her attention. The colours are bold, the text is simple, and she loves seeing who pops out of the picnic basket or the ice-cream. I love the look of anticipation on her face! We also really like Sebastien Braun’sCan You Say it Too?‘ series for the same reasons. I love making different noises with her and there are lots of them in these books. The big flaps are great for little hands too as they’re nice and easy to open. There are lots of other Nosy Crow books that I’ll look forward to reading with her in the future, like Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap series, Captain Beastlie’s Pirate Party by Lucy Coats and Chris Mould, and the Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam books by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton.

Thanks Nosy Crow for publishing the best books for kids. As a parent and librarian I’m always happy to read your books to kids again and again and again.

Thank you, Zac! Zac blogs at bestfriendsarebooks.com, and you can find him on Twitter at @zackids.