“Harris the hero” by Lynne Rickards and Gabby Grant

Do you love Puffins? We do! Puffins can be found all over the Northwest and Finja is always excited to discover this wonderful birds during our visits at the Washington and Oregon coast. Puffins can also be found in Scottland, where the publisher “Floris Books” with the imprint “PictureKelpies”, a series specialized in picture books about Scottland and Scottish culture, is located.

“Harris the hero” by Lynne Rickards and Gabby Grant
“Harris the hero” by Lynne Rickards and Gabby Grant

“Harris the hero” is one of three books about the puffin Harris and his family and friends. Harris lives on an island full of other puffins, but he’s feeling lonely, longing for a friend or a spouse of his own. Soon Harris sets out to travel the world – but instead of ships, hot air balloons and rockets he finds a little seal that needs his help. Harris doesn’t hesitate to help the seal baby, finds new friends on the way – and more. The series continues with “Skye the Puffling” – review coming soon. 🙂

Author Lynne Rickards tells the humorous story of a brave bird, who sets out to find a new life and through helping others helps himself. Written in rhyme “Harris the hero” is fun to read, even for people like me who aren’t found of poems and verse. We especially loved the colorful, expressive pictures full of life, who appeal to parents and children likewise. Lynne Rickards and Gabby Grant make the concept of helping others fun and palpable for preschoolers and elementary school age children!

More information:
“Harris the hero”
written by Lynne Rickards
illustrated by Gabby Grant
Publisher: Floris Books
Series: Picture Kelpies
ISBN-13: 978-0863159527

Please enjoy our review of “Thistle Games” by the same publisher!


„Little fairy makes a wish“ by Daniela Drescher

It’s always fun to review an English translation of a German children’s book! „Little fairy makes a wish“ can be found in German bookstores under the titel „Die kleine Elfe wünscht sich was“ and is part of a series about the little fairy, who needs a new dress, can’t sleep or celebrates Christmas. Most of this books as well as other titles by Daniela Drescher have been translated into English as well.

"Little fairy makes a wish" by Daniela Drescher
“Little fairy makes a wish” by Daniela Drescher

Daniela Drescher is author and illustrator of this book about the little fairy and her friend, the mole. Mole hopes to one day fly just like the fairies do – “oh, how wonderful would that be!” Fairies can make wishes come true when they find fallen stars – and so the fairy and her friend start their search for a fallen star. When mole’s wish is granted he discovers that he loves the feeling of flying, the night breeze in his fur, “the moonlight dancing with the flowers and the wind brushing through the grass.” More than everything he gets homesick though. At the end of this adventure the mole is feeling lucky, but also tired – and is glad to be able to shuffle into his snug, narrow and dark underground home “just as it should be”.

“Little fairy makes a wish” reminds me of several books I read as a child. The classic artwork of this book and as its message make it a timeless fairytale about making wishes come true, adventures and finding your way back home. Sometimes we all wish for a change, to experience something new, just to realize that what we have is exactly where we belong.

This book was published by Floris Books, an independent publishing company based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

More information:
„Little fairy makes a wish“
written and illustrated by Daniela Drescher
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Floris Books
ISBN-13: 978-1782502432

„Lessons for the wolf“ by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley

What do you admire, which characteristics don’t you like at all, who do you want to be when you are grown up? Growing up means not only finding yourself, but also creating yourself to a certain degree. We are the ones deciding who we are – to a certain level. Because you can never escape who you are, even if you try to pretend on a superficial level.

"Lessons for the Wolf" is another Inuit tale published by Inhabit Media
“Lessons for the Wolf” is another Inuit tale published by Inhabit Media

With “Lessons for the wolf“, Inhabit Media brings another Artic legend to life and captures young readers with the fascinating world of Inuit mythology. Here, they meet a wolf who spends his days admiring all the other animals of the tundra. He is filled with love for the tundra, wants to be part of it – wants to be more than “just a wolf”. Making a plan he collects a pair of caribou antlers, steals owl feathers and scrounges up wolverine hair.

But when the magic of the Land finally grants his wish and he becomes a mixture of all the animals he admired, this wolf finds out that what he admires may not be what he really wants in the end… Near starving, weak and lonely he learns an important message: “you cannot admire beauty by becoming it.”

"You cannot admire beauty by becoming it"
“You cannot admire beauty by becoming it”

With a quite complex message “Lessons for the wolf” is a mystic tale for Kindergarten- and elementary-school-aged children. Our almost-four-year-old loved the story and was fascinated by the emotions of the main character, but didn’t quite get the message right – according to her this story was about “dressing up” and she couldn’t understand why it didn’t make the wolf happy. She loved this Northern legend anyway, as did I! “Lessons for the wolf” is a wonderful way to introduce children to a culture they wouldn’t get in contact with otherwise.

Inhabit Media, an Inuit-owned publishing company with a head office located in Iqaluit, Nunavut, has been working to encourage Arctic residents to share their stories and their knowledge. Almost every book Inhabit Media publishes is also available in Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun. “One of our aims is to ensure that Arctic voices are heard and that they have the opportunity to contribute to Canadian literature. Since our inception, Inhabit Media has been working with elders and storytellers to ensure that the rich story-telling culture of the Inuit is preserved and passed on. As well, we have been working with elders, hunters, and knowledgeable residence to ensure that the rich traditional knowledge about the environment is not lost.”

More information:
Lessons for the wolf
Written by Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley
Publisher: Inhabit Media
Illustrated by Alan Cook
ISBN: 978-1-77227-005-1

Please enjoy our review of “Leah’s mustache party” by the same publisher!

“Thistle Games – A brawn Scots story for bairns” by Mike Nicholson and Jo Litchfield

We traveled to Germany in April, so we are staying home this summer. Have to enjoy the time when you are not dependent on school break! Finja had some half day camps at her regular preschool and the climbing gym to give me some time to work (I’m always filling in for some colleagues in the summer) – other than that we enjoyed time to climb, bike and read. Finja is growing too heavy for the jogging stroller, so not as much running as we planned…

But back to our current reading curriculum. Some of you know that I was a Barefoot ambassador for a few months – I love their multicultural books and the motto of their summer reading program: “Read the world”. Although I’m not working for Barefoot anymore and we didn’t sign up for any formal “summer reading program” you might guess that we read a lot – and we love bilingual and diverse books! No better way to spark curiosity and an understanding for other cultures at an early age.

Welcome to the Thistle Games, Scotland's best highland game!

For two days in a row we visited Scotland now – even if it was “just” a mind travel. I have to be honest that even though I’m from Europe I never traveled to Great Britain. So this was new for me, too. We got some great review copies from PictureKelpies, a range of Scottish children’s picture books, all of which have Scottish authors or illustrators, are set in Scotland or have Scottish themes. In perfect sync to the Olympic games we even took part in the “Thistle Games, Scotland’s best Highlands game!”

Thistle Games – A brawn Scots story for bairns” by Mike Nicholson and Jo Litchfield describes the life around the “Thistle Games”, a fictional series of traditional Scottish games and competitions while introducing some of these funny Scottish words. To be honest, I had to use lots of search engines to find out that the “Thistle Games” are indeed a fictional event, but I’m sure there are lots of similar happenings all over Scotland…

“Thistle Games” is a fun little book for everyone who is interested in life in Scotland, Scottish culture and traditions, sports and learning new words. Dwam or Lugs anyone? I’m not a big friend of rhymes and the Scottish words made it a little difficult to read out loud at the first time. Our sports fan Finja wanted to read this book again and again, so I think we finally figured it out!

So – are you reading the world this summer?

Thistle Games

More information:
Thistle Games – A brawn Scots story for bairns
written by Mike Nicholson
illustrated by Jo Litchfield
Series: Picture Kelpies
Publisher: Floris Books
ISBN-13: 978-1782502548

I also loved the activity sheet for readers and teachers!