Children’s book reviews – Christmas cheer and wizard’s whispers

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love books – especially children’s books and I really believe reading to our children is one of the most important things we an do as parents (aside from keeping them alive, feeding them, that sort of thing!).

So, I was so pleased to be asked to review two lovely children’s books published by Egmont. The first is the wonderfully titled: Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard’s Whisper by Kristina Stephenson. Currently Arthur is a little in awe of all things wizard so this was a great book to review.


What I love most about reading children’s books is the immediacy. An adult fiction can often meander along several literary paths – often for good reason. But to capture the imagination and concentration of a two and a half year old it has to be instant.

This book didn’t disappoint. The tale starts with a wizard making his way from a tall, tall tower to a castle on top of a hill. A mysterious whisper had told him that in the castle was a legendary knight who had helped dragons, monsters and kings.

Who could this perfect knight possibly be? Why, Sir Charlie Stinky Socks of course! And he’s looking for adventure.

With his cat Envelope and his good grey mare, he journeys along a treacherous track, through a spooky wooky wood and into a deep, dark cave where a mysterious black sack lies. But ogres, scallywags and pirates are lying in wait, ready to thwart Sir Charlie at every turn! Finally he returns and discovers what’s inside the black sack.

It’s wonderfully written with a sense of rhythm quite advanced for many children’s books but it kept Arthur’s attention all the way to the end. The name Charlie Stinky Socks has also given him hours of giggling time! The illustrations are wonderful, very detailed but still with a child’s eye in mind -  managing to capture the magic of wizards and knights perfectly.

We loved it and it’s found it’s way into the well-read section of his reading corner. I think we’ll be searching out a few more of the Charlie Stinky Socks books – I like the sound of him so far!

 Next up was a wonderful Christmas book, Little Robin’s Christmas, by Jan Fearnley. It’s a week before Christmas and Little Robin has a warm vest for each frosty day. But he meets seven chilly friends and soon has no vests left for himself. Poor Robin huddles on a roof …until Father Christmas comes to the rescue and, as a reward for his kindness, gives Little Robin a red vest to keep forever.ROBIN

This is a lovely, innocent and completely traditional book which touches on the importance of kindness to others and the idea you will be rewarded if you do good to others. It’s about friendship and not giving to receive and I thought it was a joy to read.

The illustrations are very traditional but it was very easy to read with my son and we managed to talk around the subjects of sharing and being kind in their simplest forms. I love the fact the little robin gave away his vests too – just so cute! It worked for Arthur because it was so simple and he was able to follow the cause and effect of the story and so the message wasn’t lost on someone so young.

 Both books leant themselves to a lovely afternoon of reading, drinking hot chocolate and deciding not to venture out at all!

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