For this week’s Paper Paradise we have quite a treat in store for you as we kick of our reviews of the Laurence King Autumn catalogue with the brand new, and soon to be released gem; An A – Z of Monsters and Magical Beings (£12.99). The Spring catalogue was packed full of beautiful books, featuring a huge range of subjects and all with such gorgeous illustrations. There genuinely was something in it for every child and you can read about some of the ones Aiden and I enjoyed most here (explore), here (activities) and here (art). We are thrilled then that we get to share with you their Autumn collection, ready to stock pile some great books for snuggling up on the sofa with on the odd occasion it rains up here on Scotland…

I myself have always been fascinated with myths featuring magical being’s. I firmly believed in fairies and pixies as a kid (shush.. I might still do a teeny tiny bit now…) and one of my all time favourite books was the enchanting “A Stranger Came Ashore” – which tells the story of the Silkies; shape shifters of the sea and kidnappers of maidens. I was thrilled at the thought of reading some folklore with Aiden and intrigued how he would respond and questions he would ask. Aiden always has a question or ten to ask.

The first thing to note about this book (other than the visual feast for the eyes which I will return to) is the expansive variety of Monsters and other Being’s it covers. We have encounter aliens and generic monsters before in other stories but this book is so much more which is ideal as Aiden has a great thirst to always discover something new and different that he didn’t know before. He regularly squeals “I didn’t know THAT!” and he did that on nearly every one of the 56 pages in this book.

Aiden was thrilled with how much there was to delve into and all the new types of monster he was learning about. For me, as the one who will be reading this to him over and over again for the next few weeks at least, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had not heard of all the monsters in the book already so also got to learn something new and interesting.

Each monster is accompanied by one paragraph of explanatory text. These texts typically tell you where the monster is to be found and then something interesting about it’s story with maybe one or two fun facts to remember. This works great as it is exactly the right amount of information for a child to process and engage with (and not too much for the adult learning who will be quizzed by said child later on no doubt!). Aiden has been coming out with absolute gems since we first read this book. He suddenly says to his Nana at the dinner table “do you know what a cyclops is Nana? It is a monster with only one eye. Like this!” and he cover one eye and then carries on eating. Nana almost fell off her chair as she laughed “how does a just turned three year old know the word (and definition!) of a cyclops!” Books! Interesting and mesmerising books I tell her!

I said earlier I would come back to the beautiful illustrations and so I have because other than the clever content, the illustrations are what set’s this book apart from your standard monster book. Quite simply put, they are excellent. Each piece is so bold and vivid, with a style not dissimilar to how a child (albeit a very talented one!) would draw the monster themselves. Aiden was straight away drawn into the book because of these illustrations and I think the fact that they do have this childlike quality to them, removes any potential for fear of the monsters.

Aiden had such a great time reading this book that even his little sister made her way over to take a peek and see what all the fuss was about. The world inside this book is a curious one. Being that it is about monsters there was always the potential for it to scare some children and with Aiden being a particularity sensitive boy, I had worried. However, as I mentioned earlier, the illustrations stop this from happening and they just had Aiden laughing and asking questions about the strange creatures on each page. A fascinating read for both young and old, and those in the middle too!

Paper Paradise

The idea behind #PaperParadise is twofold. A hardback and a paperback version if you will. Firstly with the hardback linky, folks with have a central place to come and read a (hopefully) large range of fantastic blog posts on books, theatre, and art. I couldn’t live without any of these three and am always looking to be inspired by exposure to new pieces of art. What better why to do that then through those fantastic reviews, accounts, and musings that bloggers are so good at.

Secondly with the paperback hashtag #Paperparadise I would love it is people regardless of having a blog post (or ever without a blog!) would us the #Paperparadise across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest whenever they want to share some paper love however big or small. Reading your favourite book for the 30th time and put a pic on IG? Tag the community. Equally if your kid has drawn a squiggle that us not dissimilar to a Picasso,  we want to see it and hear about it.

This is a very relaxed linky. A linky for anything that started it’s life on paper. Books (a firm favourite here). Theatre (think scripts). Art (think sketch book). Music (think sheet music). Heck even film and cinema as they would have once been ideas in a note book. If you have written a review or a post about any of these things and they joy (or pain!) they bring, we would love to have you link up so we can read all about it.

Here’s the ins and outs of the linky…

Please encourage all to join in!

        • #paperparadise will run whenever I have something to share with you or when I need some inspiration. It can be found right here with me at One of Each)
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