Introducing @cicadabooks for Children


When Lefki got in touch and asked if I might be prepared to review some of Cicada‘s children’s books I wasn’t expecting a lovely bundle to arrive so quickly. I’m delighted to be reviewing a selection today.

You can find out all about Cicada Books here and their books are available from Amazon and most book sellers.

I’d like to mention the overall quality of the books I was sent before reviewing each of them because they are presented on high quality paper with robust covers that make them a pleasure to handle. I can see them lasting a considerable time even with repeated use.

Iced Out Written by C K Smouha and Illustrated by Isabella Bunnell

Iced Out

The story of a walrus and a narwhal, who, with the help of a beluga, discover that being different can be cool!

Wilfred Walrus and Neville Narwhal are the only kids in Miss Blubber’s class who are not seals. Life is tough being the odd ones out – lunchtimes and football matches and school photos all present challenges to the two outliers. And they don t even like each other very much!

When Betty Beluga joins the class, everything changes. Betty is smart and independent and amazing at football. As a friendship forms, Betty helps the two boys to recognise that being different isn’t always a bad thing!

A warm, funny tale about friendship and fitting in that school-aged children are sure to identify with. Isabella Bunnell’s joyous watercolour illustrations are complemented by luxuriant packaging.

Iced Out is available for purchase here.

My Review of Iced Out

Iced Out is a heartwarming tale that illustrates perfectly that a child does not have to be like everyone else, especially through Betty Beluga who is a feisty independent female equally happy in her own company as well as with others.

Iced Out would be an excellent book to share with children who are not fitting in at school, or to use with classes of younger children to explore how attitudes towards others might affect them. It was so rewarding to have unusual creatures featured through the beluga whale, walrus and narwhal as a change from the domestic animals that so often feature in children’s books. This could be a fantastic opportunity to research then environment and more unusual animals.

I’d have liked entirely lower case letters for speech and the title if Iced Out were to be used with emergent writers to model conventions, but there is a clear distinction between narrative and speech so that the grammatical aspects could be investigated too, making Iced Out educationally useful, especially when looking at the alliterative names too.

The pictures are simply drawn in a style that appeals to younger children and they illustrate the narrative perfectly. I thought it was inspired to keep to a reduced palette so that there is unity throughout.

I definitely recommend taking a trip to Miss Blubber’s School for Arctic Mammals!

The Inner Child Written and Illustrated by Henry Blackshaw

The Inner Child

Dear Kids, Did you know that all adults have a child inside them? They try to hide them by pretending to be busy and stressed all the time, but as you know, it’s impossible to keep children hidden. Sometimes they just have to come out and PLAY!

This is a delightful little book that will appeal to adults and children equally, explaining why adults behave in the strange ways that they do, and how important it is to preserve the place of playfulness and joy inside all of us.

The Inner Child is available for purchase here.

My Review of The Inner Child

The message behind The Inner Child is glorious and one we’d all do well to remember whatever our age. Henry Blackshaw explores how who we are as a child affects who we become as an adult and whilst the book helps children understand how adults think and feel, it reminds adults to allow their playfulness and childlike qualities to emerge too. This premise is especially well supported by the fabulous illustrations that literally show the inner child inside.

I thoroughly appreciated the range of gender and ethnicity presented as well as the fact that children are shown that adults have hopes, fears and desires just like children do.

I do prefer lower case writing in children’s books but I liked the handwritten quality of the text because I think children will be able to relate to it.

The Inner Child is a helpful and entertaining book for use with children of all ages!

A Million Dots Written and Illustrated by by Sven Völker

A Million dots

A stunning graphic visualisation of numbers, in which the number on each page is doubled, going from 1 to 1 million in 44 pages.

We start with a single tree; 1. As we turn the page, we are presented with a sum doubling the number on the page before it: 1+1 = 2; 2+2 = 4; 4+4 = 8. In this way, we reach a million (actually 1,048,576) within 44 pages.

Each sum is brought to life with a simple graphic illustration in the distinctive style of Sven Völker. The dots form the back of a ladybird, the bubbles in a cup of soda and the water in a swimming pool. On each page, a single neon dot illustrates what one means in the context of the sum.

Gloriously simple in its concept and execution, this is a book that will bring mathematics alive to parents as well as children and will also make a stunning gift book.

A Million Dots is available for purchase here.

My Review of A Million Dots

My goodness, what a clever book. A Million Dots is a perfect book to support both literacy and numeracy as well as create a sense of wonder. Doubling a number is the focus, but as the numbers grow the illustrations alongside them are perfectly presented to include the appropriate number of dots. I loved the way the numbers are represented visually through the images, numerically through the numbers and linguistically through the words so that A Million Dots helps make concrete what can be a very abstract concept in learning.

I actually gasped aloud with a smile at the end of the book when I found ‘one million. forty-eight thousand, five hundred and seventy six’ dots over a pull out page.

For such a simple concept, A Million Dots is beautifully and effectively presented and although this is a book for children, I think it would be a lovely gift to any adult interested in numbers too.

Don’t Hug the Pug Written by Robin Jacobs

and Illustrated by Matthew Hodson

Don't Hug the Pug

A simple story told in comic-book form about a baby that does a lot of hugging…. with one caveat!

Baby likes to cuddle. Grown-Up lets him cuddle the rug, the jug, the bug and the slug. But DON’T HUG THE PUG!
Why not? What’s wrong with the pug….? A hilarious and deceptively simple story that will have little ones shrieking with laughter.

The combination of speech bubbles, rhymes, very short sentences and a stinky twist makes this a perfect book for both the pre-school audience and early readers.

Don’t Hug the Pug is available for purchase here.

My Review of Don’t Hug the Pug

Whatever you do, don’t hug the pug!

Don’t Hug the Pug is a perfect children’s book. The humour of the reason why we shouldn’t hug the pug will appeal to all, making this a really fun book to share with young children.

What is so good about this book is the simplicity with which language is developed and extended through the -ug rhyme scheme so that children could emulate the story with other rhymes, building their vocabulary. This gradual collection of rhyming words helps both spelling and reading highly effectively.

Smashing pastel illustrations help bring the story to life and each noun from the rhyme is repeated in the pictures so that children can match them as the book is shared, reinforcing spelling.

I think Don’t Hug the Pug is brilliant.

4 thoughts on “Introducing @cicadabooks for Children

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