NHM Readers: Recommended books for a nearly 7 year old

I recently asked the Friends of my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook “I’m looking for some more books to read Miss NHM (nearly 7) at bedtime, especially some book boxsets, and was wondering if anyone had any recommendations?”

Many thanks for your responses, listed below in no particular order:

NHM Readers recommend books for a nearly 7 year old

“The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks

Ruth said “The Wishing Tree? There are two more books with it in a set, it’s Enid Blighton if i recall…”

Susie said “We’ve struggled with these. Although I loved the books, it’s very old fashioned & my 7 year old questions a lot about what different things mean. Shall try again when she’s older.”

Katie said “The Works had some really good book sets the other day. I got my son 1.”

Eleanor said “My 7yo is loving the Worst Witch box set.”

Yvette said “Anthony My 5 year old loves Roald Dahl”

Rebecca said “Narnia!”

Kelly said “My son is 7 just read Nania and loved every minute of it.”

Elizabeth said “Charlotte loved The Worst Witch.”

Charlotte said “Wishing Tree and Faraway Tree. Famous 5, Some of the younger Roald Dahl’s”

Emily said “I’ve just got an Enid Blyton box set for my niece for Xmas, it’s got the Faraway Tree etc in it, they were my absolute fave when I was that age”

Claire said “Clarice Bean are good and they move onto the Ruby Redfort series”

Yvette said “My 6 year old loves Roald Dahl. The Book People online is so cheap for boxsets”

Marie said “Anything by Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Terry Pratchett”

Lisa said “David Walliams books and the Mr Gum series – they always make us laugh”

Melody said “The Chronicles of Narnia are a firm favourite, and for some non fiction, Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls”

Helen said “Zoe’s Rescue Zoo”

Sarah said “Cressida Cowell’s How to Train your Dragon series are fantastic. I think David Tennant reads the audio books and they are fab!”

Fiona said “The Magic Faraway Tree. The Famous Five.”

Fiona said “https://bookloverjo.wordpress.com Jo is brilliant at recommending books”

Sue said “Magic Faraway Tree”

Amanda said “If you haven’t read the Christmasaurus or the Creakers I would recommend them”

Natalie said “Holly Webb is a fav in my house all animal based adventures (also often on sale in The Works) also can’t beat the classics Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton!”

Fiona said “Gangster Granny”

Heather said “The Witch Wars series are popular with my 7 year old and all the Lauren Child books (Clarice Bean particularly)”

Hannah said “Roald Dahl had been a bedtime favourite in this house. That and the Faraway Tree books.”

Anne said “Check out Pamela Butchart (Baby Aliens Got my Teacher), David Solomon (My Brother is a Superhero), Emma Carroll (Letters to the Lighthouse), Robin Stevens (Murder Most Unladylike), James Nicol (Apprentice Witch), Lorraine Gregory (Mold and the Poison Plot). And Kathryn Rundell (The Explorer), Matt Haig (A Boy Called Christmas), Mary Alice Evans (Who Let the Gods Out). There are loads of recent fantastic authors writing for this age at the moment!”

Wendy said “My son loved the Great Hamster Massacre, there’s a series of them if you enjoy it. Captain Underpants and anything by Dav Pilkey are also good.”

Christine said “Roald Dahl (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are favourites), Mirabelle (the chapter books not the abridged ones) by Julia Donaldson – we read them when she was 5 but they’re a firm favourite still, Stella Batts box set was very popular, Rainbow Magic (although quite boring in my opinion but my 6 year old enjoys them). We’re going to try the Worst Witch next”

Sarah said “The Rainbow Magic Fairies are great each one has a different girls name and they are available in box sets too. Winnie & Wilbur books are quite good too.”

Kate said “Jack and the Flum Flum tree”

Helen said “Roald Dahl- anything they’re fab. The Secret Garden. The Worst Witch. A Bad Spell for the Worst Witch. Judy Blume – Fudge, Super Fudge, Sheila the Great. The Indian in the Cupboard. The Borrowers.”

Susan said “James started with Harry Potter at age 6. We read them together…”

Liane said “How to Train your Dragon, anything by David Walliams, Enid Blyton’s Famous 5, Worst Witch, all really great box sets.”

Leah said “Rainbow Fairies series. Animal Rescue series. Wishing Chair & Faraway Tree series. The Works is great. And also the Book People. And Waterstones – you get discount too online/card”

Fiona said “http://www.worldbookday.com

Rebekah said “David Walliams books are all firm favourites in our house.”

Susan said “Just William went down well, but some of the language, and the concept of having a cook as well as a mother, might need explaining!”

Susan said “Naughtiest Girl in the School. Alex Ryder for action/spy stuff. Mrs. Wildings book corner is the answer, I think! She has a Facebook page. Young James Bond by Charlie Higson. Excellent series.”

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Facebook PageFacebook ProfileLinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

My Experience: Y1 Phonics Screening Check

This may or may not be a controversial post…

Miss NHM has her Y1 Phonics test next week. Apparently it is a 5-10 minute check of words that is done with a teacher that is “known” to her.

We haven’t done any preparation for the test. I’ve read all sorts of horror stories about parents who are hiring experts to “coach” their children for these tests. The parent Y1 Facebook group was all of a flurry during half term, with parents spending a couple of HOURS going through the “phonics workbooks” that were sent home at the end of term. (Workbooks for 6 year olds. Phonics for HOURS during half term. Seriously???!!!)

(My favourite bit on the facebook group is when parents post up the list of spellings for the week, because there is invariably some child who didn’t get their spellings that week, with their children’s answers next to them. All written perfectly of course.)

In the past week I’ve read LOTS of stuff about the Phonics test, what it involves and why it’s being done. I really don’t understand why the Department of Education feels the need to test 6 year olds on anything and that ANY child, under the age of 13 can be listed as having “failed” at anything. A great way to make the parents AND child feel like failures.

Anyway, my understanding is the reason for the phonics test is to try to increase the number of children who read?

I’m sorry, but am I missing something here? It seems obvious to me that the best way to get children to read is to switch off the TV and technology!!

Just switch off the TV!

Why do we insist on making things so complicated? Why do we have these overly complicated tests that cost a fortune to run, when we should be trusting teachers to do their jobs and parents to invest in their children by switching off the TV and encouraging them to read or listen to audio books?

Personally, I had never heard of a digraph or trigraph before Miss NHM’s homework a few weeks ago. I understand that teaching techniques have changed considerably since I was a child but if I’ve managed to get through THE WHOLE OF MY LIFE without knowing what a “trigraph” is, then why is it so important that it be drummed into my daughter?

Honestly, the more I see and experience about our current education system in the UK, the more I slap my head repeatedly.

Er, so maybe a bit controversial and maybe a bit ranty too but that’s the perk of having your own blog! 😀 😀 :-D.

I know you won’t hold back but what are your thoughts on the Y1 Phonics test?

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. 

Inspirational Mum’s: “The Boppypants and the pants that blew off”



I would like to tell you a bit about what me and another local mum have been up too.

Wendy and I have been working since November on creating a children’s story book based on a story Wendy wrote over a year ago.

We have made her dream words on paper turn into a fab (if I do say so myself) children’s book called “The Boppypants and the pants that blew off”.

On Thursday we received a order of 50 of our books and launched our website and Facebook page …. today we have sold out! And have a second delivery of 50 coming Friday!!

This story is the first in a series of books we are going to be writing with the second coming out end of march hopefully.

The website is www.boppypants.com and the Facebook page is www.facebook.com/Boppypants

You will find images on both and a sneak reveal of the book on the website.


Illustrator of The Boppypants

Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. 

My Usborne Story

11041515_676633912437900_7065935953017932022_nI discovered Usborne Books when my daughter was a baby and quickly fell in love with the That’s not my….series. I discovered that I could become an Usborne lady myself when I attended a home party then signed up on my daughter’s 1st birthday. I initially joined to buy my own books at discount but after catching the Usborne magic 7 years and 2 more babies later I’m now a full time Usborne Team Leader!

I love the books and am always excited by the new and imaginative titles which arrive each month – the novelty of the books certainly hasn’t worn off! My girls are now 8, 5 and 2 and love helping unpack the boxes (and steal their favourites!)

My latest mission has been to improve my daytime offering by finding something different to my usual ‘pop-up bookshop’. After some market research from friends and past hosts, I came upon the idea of an Usborne Storytime & Craft Party. With such a wonderful selection of Usborne Books to choose from the hardest part is selecting the story! These parties have quickly become very popular and give the mums a chance to browse my selection of books in peace whilst I entertain the children

storytime pic

My biggest problem now is to fulfil all the requests for my time so I’m busy looking for like minded Mum’s to join my Team of organisers and help get more of our gorgeous books into the hands of children. I will mentor you and help develop your own business to fit in with your other commitments.

If you would like to place an order, host a party, book me for an event, join my team or simply ask any Usborne related questions please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Katie Book Lady

Katie Slingerland – SLI27775
Independent Usborne Organiser
Tel: 01252 545 043 or 07963 960 887
Email: katiebooklady@gmail.com




Don’t miss out on future posts like this – you can receive updates directly to your inbox by email by adding your email address to the box on the top right of this page and hitting subscribe. You can also follow NorthHantsMum onTwitter,Google+,Facebook PageFacebook Profile, LinkedIn and Feedly. I hope to see you there! 

Top Tip: Reviews and Age Ratings of Movies, Games, TV, Apps, Books, Music…

I’ve always been really worried about exposing Miss NHM to technology stuff that isn’t age appropriate.

I mentioned this to a fabulous friend of mine recently and she sent me the link to this FANTASTIC website.

If you are looking for suggestions of age appropriate Apps to download or which films are suitable, etc. I recommend checking this website out.


Thanks very much fab friend :-D.

Our favourite books

Books have always been important to us. We’ve made a concerted effort to read to Misss NHM as much as possible. Mr NHM read the Gruffalo to Miss NHM on the day she was born.

When Miss NHM was very tiny I borrowed as many of the “That’s not my…” books from the library and purchased them from Nearly new sales and read them to Miss NHM. She also had a black and white book that a friend bought for her birth present which Miss NHM loved. Black and white books are supposed to be good for small babies.

I have always been a huge fan of our local library and going to the library when I was on maternity leave and after was a regular activity for us. They have a great selection of books of wonderful variety. Plus, you can order books online for the bargain price of 50p which is much better than paying full price for a book. I’m very conscious that we have a small house and as much as we love books, they sometimes turn into clutter!

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Usborne books. When Miss NHM was six months old I bought the Apple Tree Farm box set from the Basingstoke NCT Nearly New sale (normally in March/April and October)) for £5 (total bargain!) and read them to Miss NHM every day. By 13 months old she could spot the usborne duck on most pages. I was amazed that she could do this as such a young age. The first page of each book in this box set is always the same and “Rusty” is still the name for all dogs for Miss NHM! Lol.

When Miss NHM was 15 months old I purchased another Usborne box set called the Phonics Readers from the Basingstoke Original Nearly New Sale (next one is this weekend!).

I also continued to read the Gruffalo to Miss NHM and have perfected the voices of the characters. Lol. When Miss NHM was 17 months I purchased “Monkey Puzzle” by the same team as the Gruffalo and this has also been a favourite book. Mr NHM has some favourites that he reads to Miss NHM such as Bear Snores on.

In Miss NHM’s bedroom she has a bookshelf with books that are hers and that she can “read”. She went through a stage of tearing the pages in her books which really irked me, but that stage didn’t last long and the books were repaired. I now often find her asleep in her bed surrounded by her books. She reads them our loud to herself and to her bedroom toys. It’s very important to me that she has access to her books in her room so she has control over what and when she reads.

When Miss NHM was 2 3/4 I persuaded her paternal Grandparents to get her the Very first Reading boxset from Usborne for Christmas (her only present from them). It was on special and priced at £30 for 50 small books. She absolutely LOVES this box set and is now “reading” the stories on her own. She memorises them so fast it amazes me. The books are very simple stories that progress in difficulty but range from classic stories to ones from around the world. Miss NHM’s favourites at the moment are “The Phoenix and the Dragon” a Chinese story and “Old Mother Hubbard”.

I recommend finding your local Usborne book lady and asking her to email or give you a copy of the promotional leaflets that are released every season. You can find some wonderful bargains on these leaflets.

The other evening I caught Miss NHM with her monitor in bed, with the light on, using it to read one of her books to her teddys. I was SO proud of her! Lol.

I’ve tried to read to Miss NHM every day for at least 30 minutes, I know this is a perk of not having a TV and of Miss NHM being an only child, but if I do anything for my daughter, I want her to have a love of reading. A love of reading opens up a world of education and possibilities.

Below is a list of other favourite books that we have, that you also might enjoy reading to your little ones. I encourage you to read to them as soon as they are born. You never know what they will absorb and where it might take them when they are older.

  • Hairy McClary books
  • Mother Goose’s Nursery Rhymes Boxset
  • Wow Said the Owl
  • The Gruffalo
  • Monkey Puzzle (same people as The Gruffalo)
  • The Hungry Caterpillar
  • Ten Wriggly Wiggly Caterpillars and Five Tiddly Widdly Tadpoles
  • Usborne Phonic’s Reader collection
  • Usborne Apple Tree Farm boxset
  • Wendy the Wide Lipped Frog
  • Usborne Very First Reading boxset – 50 books
  • Bear Snores on
  • Dogs don’t do ballet
  • Stories for 2 year olds/Stories for 3 year olds

What are your children’s favourite books?

Usborne Books in North Hampshire

I LOVE Usborne books. I was bought up on them and still have my first cookery book and gardening book, both of which are Usborne.

If you’ve never seen an Usborne book, I totally recommend looking out for them. I love that they have books for each age range and I love the baby books, especially the bath books.

I’m probably going to shoot myself in the foot with this, but we always scour every baby and children market or nearly new sale for cheap Usborne books. We picked up a bargain with the Apple Tree Farm books for £5 and the Phonic’s Reader books for £10.

I’ve been reading both to my little one since she was 10 months old. She could spot the duck on most pages by the time she was 14 months.

I also love the children’s story books. For older children there are a huge variety of subjects. We bought the first dictionary for my little one and she’s loved it since she was tiny. I really hadn’t expected her to pick if up, but she loves sitting there and pointing to the pictures and saying the words.

When she was tiny I would point to the words and she would try to say them. I’ve recently acquired the Spanish version of the first dictionary, so I can practice my Spanish whilst my little one practices her English!

The Usborne team don’t advertise publicise what they do, it’s all done via word of mouth. There are several Usborne “lady’s” in the area. Each month there is a deal on the books.

One of the best ways to get access to the books is to ask one of the lady’s to come and do an Usborne party for you. I loved these as a child as it meant my Mum got the yummy chocolate biscuits in for the other Mums!

I really recommend having a look at the Usborne books. Once we’ve moved house and have some more space, I’m really looking forward to having an Usborne Party. It’s a great opportunity to catch up with my friends and have a good nose through the books and get some birthday and Christmas presents sorted.

You can’t go wrong with an Usborne book, I can vouch that they last for years 😀



Bookstart is a national programme that encourages parents and carers to enjoy books with children from as early an age as possible. Bookstart gives the gift of free books to children at three stages in their early life, along with guidance materials for parents and carers. The scheme enjoys sponsorship from around 25 children’s publishers, Red House Books and government funding via the Sure Start Unit.

Rhymetimes Fun and free Rhymetimes for babies, toddlers and their parents or carers are organised in many libraries around the county.  They aim to encourage parents and carers to share action songs and rhymes with babies from birth onwards.