Book Review: Astro Pea

Title: Astro Pea
Author & Illustrator: Amalia Hoffman
Age: 2-6

There are books about space and books about vegetables, but it’s not often that these two topics are combined, and I doubt it’s ever been done in such a delightful and humourous way as in Astro Pea!

After popping from his pod, a little pea named Pete journeys through space, encountering all manner of heavenly bodies that are depicted as fresh vegetables. He rides (and crashes) a carrot spaceship, uses an asparagus spear as a telescope and a mushroom as a parachute, encountering along the way cauliflowers and artichokes, sweet corn, spring onion and more.

The story itself is very simplistic, but this only adds to its charm. The greatest appeal for me was the quirky, whimsical illustrations, which beautifully contrast chalky colours against a pitch-black background, giving the effect of drawings on a blackboard.

If you have a child who is reluctant to eat vegetables, Astro Pea could provide the perfect solution – especially if they enjoy reading about outer space!

This is a fun, quirky board book that will appeal to children and adults alike.

You can get hold of a copy by clicking one of the links below!

Astro Pea will be released on 28th March 2019. Many thanks to NetGalley and Schiffer Kids for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.




Get Ready for Picture Book Party on 19th March!

This coming Tuesday, 19th March, is Picture Book Party!

Unlike Twitter pitch parties, where everything takes place on Twitter and you share pitches and hope for “likes” from agents and editors, the procedure for Picture Book Party more closely resembles a query. You send one or two submissions by email, following the submission guidelines here. They must be sent within a 1-hour window from 4 to 5 pm Eastern time (as always, don’t forget to convert to your local time!)

The organisers, Michelle Hauck, Sharon Chriscoe and Mindy Alyse Weis, will then pick around 20 of their favourite entries, which will be posted on Michelle’s blog for agents and editors to read (and possibly request). Throughout the week you can head over to #PBParty on Twitter to join in with the conversations and celebrations.

For more information, visit Michelle’s blog.

Good luck to everyone who’s planning to enter!

Book Review: Maria Montessori (Little People, Big Dreams)

Title: Maria Montessori (Little People, Big Dreams)
Author: Isabel Sanchez Vegara
Illustrator: Raquel Martín
Age: 4-7

As yesterday was International Women’s Day, and I’m known for being something of a feminist, it seems only fitting that I review a picture book about a groundbreaking female figure.

Isabel Sanchez Vegara’s biography of Maria Montessori, published this week, is the latest installment in the fantastic Little People, Big Dreams series. If you haven’t read any of the books in the series so far, you can start with this one!

The Montessori method of teaching has become increasingly well-known in recent years, with Montessori schools and preschools popping up around the world (their popularity no doubt increased further by the high profile Montessori pupil Prince George!)

The book shines a light on the life of Maria Montessori, starting from her childhood in Italy in the 1870s, where she found her thirst for learning stifled by the traditional schooling methods, and describes how she broke through barriers to achieve her dreams, for instance becoming the first girl in Italy to study medicine. It also details her experiences working with disabled children, who at the time were treated as if they were ill, the founding of her Children’s Homes, and the growing internatonal recognition of her revolutionary teaching methods.

The illustrations are colourful, friendly and show great attention to detail.

I would highly recommend this picture book to all Montessori educators as well as any parents or teachers who want to introduce their children to a truly inspirational female role model.

You can get hold of a copy by clicking one of the links below!

Maria Montessori (Little People, Big Dreams) was released on 5th March 2019. Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group for an advance reader copy in exchange for an honest review.


“Dinner, Dinner, on the Wall” – My #50PreciousWords Story

After I announced on Saturday that I’ll be entering Vivian Kirkfield’s #50PreciousWords contest, it seemed only fair to share my entry with you all here, in yet another unscheduled blog post!

You can read more about the contest on Vivian’s website. Entries will be accepted until 11:59 pm on 6th March. And now, here it is – my 50-word mini story:

Dinner, Dinner on the Wall

Dinner, dinner on the wall,
ceiling, carpet, window, stool.

Smeared in baby’s wispy hair,
rice and veggies everywhere.

Dad and Mummy scrub and clean,
More tired than they’ve ever been.

Baby gurgles happily,
messy face alight with glee.

Mum and Daddy laugh and call,
“Who’s the cutest of them all?”



SCBWI WIP Awards, #50PreciousWords and More Cookies

You may have noticed that I tend to charge headlong into quite a few competitions, contests, challenges and the like, which means that things can sometimes become a tad overwhelming.

This evening I needed to take a break and do something completely different, so, as I’ve been craving cookies ever since I shared my Valentiny story, I raided the cupboard and switched on the oven…


An hour or so later I’m back at my computer with a cup of tea, two freshly baked peanut butter cookies (yumm!) and a clear-ish head.

So, there are two important events that I want to mention today:

The SCBWI Work-in-Progress Awards enable members of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) to submit a completed piece of their work in one of several categories (e.g. picture book, chapter book, etc.)

The winning entries will be presented to acquiring editors for their consideration. The application period runs from 1st to 31st March.

I applied last year in the picture book category and, while I didn’t win, it really motivated me to kick one of my first manuscripts into good shape and format it for submission – all good pratice for future submissions to agents and editors!

You can find out more about the awards here.

Vivian Kirkfield’s #50PreciousWords 2019 Writing Contest is a fantastic opportunity to hone your writing skills and “make every word count” because – as the title implies – you’re limited to only 50 words! The contest is now open and you can submit a story until 11:59 pm on 6th March.

This will be the first time I take part in this contest because, although I remember seeing it advertised last year, I was still very new to the kidlit world and hadn’t yet caught the take-part-in-everything bug!

I also knew nothing about the organiser, Vivian Kirkfield, at the time, whereas I’ve since read many wonderful things about her and about how much she does to help other writers. You can read about her inspirational writing and publishing journey on Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog here (you may remember Susanna as the organiser of the Valentiny contest!) Not only is Vivian’s first picture book being published this year, but so are her second and third – what an exciting year!

But anyway, I appear to have digressed… The rules for #50PreciousWords 2019 can be found here!


Have a great weekend! 🙂