2022 reading challenge (part 1)

For the third year, I’m attempting a reading challenge! I’m hoping to read a new book of some description for each week of the year. I now read a lot of short stories to Sophia so I might actually manage all 52 this time!

The Gruffalo’s Child. Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler. A great one to read on New Year’s Day morning! This is all about curiosity, courage and comfort.

The Christmas Present Hunt: Peter Rabbit. Beatrix Potter. Peter Rabbit has misplaced all the Christmas presents for his family and needs to go and find them! Sophia liked lifting the flaps to try and find the presents, and I think that Peter might have been tipsy when he lost them…

Bridgerton: The Duke & I. Julia Quinn. I am a big fan of the Netflix series and so I was keen to get into the books. I enjoyed this book, especially watching the funny and warm relationships between the siblings which I didn’t get in the same way from season 1. There are few differences between the first season and this book so I’m looking forward to starting the next one to see what happens to the Bridgertons next!

Wishing for a Dragon. Becky Cameron. A lovely book full of fun, adventure and friendship. Sophia would like to take go for a ride in that balloon!

Bridgerton: The Viscount Who Loved me. Julia Quinn. So, having loved the series and enjoyed the first book, I thought this book was okay at best. Don’t get me wrong, I liked reading about the Bridgettons again and seeing how they interact as a family. They are clearly devoted to each other and I love that. But it seems to me that the storyline in this book was broadly like the first. Rich man thinks he can’t love and eventually falls in love with a woman who didn’t think she liked him. Maybe I read books 1 & 2 too close together. But will this stop me plunging into book 3? Absolutely not!

Kipper’s Monster. Mick Inkpen. Sophia seemed to enjoy this story. She liked how different Kipper and Tiger are, how they went camping together and what the ‘monster’ turned out to be!

Bridgerton: An Offer From A Gentleman. Julia Quinn. After the slight disappointment of the last book, I read the opening chapters of this one and thought ‘Cinderella, how unoriginal’ but the rest of the story proved me very wrong! This is a great book with unexpected twists and turns. It’s a lovely reimiagining of the old fairytale set in the context of the Bridgerton family. I continue to enjoy how the family interact and I’m really looking forward to the next installment!

Hello, Great Big Bullfrog! Colin West. A lovely book with fun repetition and rhythm. Much enjoyed by both of us.

The Great Cheese Robbery. Tim Warnes. Sophia squealed and laughed at this book! She thinks it’s good to know that everybody is scared of something and likes that the hero in this story is… Mummy!

Brudgerton: Romancing Mr Bridgerton. Julia Quinn. Do you know what, this might be my favourite of the series so far. I love Penelope, and Colin is the nicest of the lead men. I’m delighted that the wedding hasn’t been the end point of any of these books to this point. Too many stories end with a wedding when there’s so much more to life after that! Anyway, a really good read.

The Bear In The Stars. Alexis Snell. Sophia and I really liked this book, and it’s certainly one I’ll be choosing to read to her frequently as she grows! Its about a bear whose habitat changes and the struggles that she faces. It teaches a very important lesson about the environment and I hope it will spark good conversations with Sophia about how we can look after the world, as the Great Bear wants us to!

Brudgerton: To Sir Philip, With Love. Julia Quinn. There was so much about this book that I loved. The merging of two families, the interaction between Philip and the brothers, the love developing between the two main characters. I think it is a great book apart from the glaring floor in the story: I just don’t believe that Eloise would have left home in the first place! From what I’ve read in the first four books, she’s far too intelligent to do something so daft! The problem is that there wouldn’t be much of a storyline without Eloise running away. But apart from that, I really enjoyed the book.

Just Because. Mac Barnett. This book is bound to inspire little ones to ask questions; big questions, tricky questions and questions unheard before. Sophia looks forward to asking questions but I’m sure I’ll be floundering trying to answer them!

Bridgerton: When He Was Wicked. Julia Quinn. Oh, this is one of my favourites in the series so far! I’d been curious about Francesca for a little while, noting that we hadn’t read much about her so it was lovely to read her story! I especially loved the letters at the beginning of each chapter.

Extra Yarn. Mac Barnett. Sophia loved this book, especially because so many people in her family like to knit! We both love the idea of yarn that never runs out!

Luna Loves Library Day. Joseph Coelho & Fiona Lumbers. A gorgeous book about a little girl who loves to read! The book she picks help her learn about the world and adjust to her real life situation.

The Hospital Dog. Julia Donaldson & Sara Ogilvie. I don’t know about Sophia, but this is one of my absolute favourites so far! This is a delightful book about a dalmatian called Dot who brings a smile to the face of poorly people.

Apples Are Magic. Julia Seal. If we ever struggle to get Sophia to eat fruit or veg, this is where we’re coming! This is a book about a little boy who learns to eat better. The illustrations are lovely and the characters are great.

Bridgerton: It’s In His Kiss. Julia Quinn. I quite liked the storyline about the diary and diamonds however, guess what? A rake falls in love with a woman he didn’t expect to! Again!

Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster. Camilla Reid and Axel Scheffler. A nice book with gorgeous drawings. Sophia is looking forward to dressing up when she’s older!

Princess Poppy: Let’s Dance. Janey Louise Jones. A book about friendship, talent and fun! Will be reading again.

Bridgerton: On The Way To The Wedding. Julia Quinn. Well, what a book! This Bridgerton book was very different to the others and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Lots of surprises and drama in the final installment of the series. I’m going to miss reading about the Bridgerton siblings, but I look forward to consuming more by Julia Quinn in due course.

The Dinky Donkey. Craig Smith & Katz Cowley. Not only did our version of this book come with a Donkey toy, but my tongue kept getting stuck on all the words and Sophia loved it! We like the Dinky Donkey very much.

Boy, Everywhere. A M Dassu. I heard about this book when I attended a conference about the Wampanoag perspective of the arrival of the Mayflower in America. The seminar leader was raving about it so I thought I’d give it a go. I am so glad I did! This is a truly excellent book but it is not an easy read. I found it tough because parts of it were so sad and real, but that makes it a very important book. A teenage boy, Sami, finds himself fleeing his country with his family and this book tells of their journey. Many of the things they went through called to mind things that I’ve seen on the news in recent years but this book brought it all to life. I highly recommend it.

Priest. Ted Woods. I loved reading the prequel, Bishop, last year and I thoroughly enjoyed Priest too. I gobbled up the fast paced story, set in a context that is similar to one I know well (The Church of Ireland). I got through it in a day and I can’t wait for the next one!

Dinosaurs VS Humans. Matt Robertson. A gorgeous book about choosing friendship over hate. Great pictures and rhymes, will definitely read again!

Miss Austen. Jill Hornby. An interesting book about Jane Austen’s sister, Cassandra. The narrative swaps between Cassandra in her old age, desperate to get hold of some letters which she wants to destroy, and the young Cassy who fell in love and then learned to be a spinster once her fiancé died. A good read for any Austen fan.

Winnie’s New Computer. Valerie Thomas, Korky Paul. We liked reading this book. It’s funny, with cool drawings, and we’ll keep an eye out for more nooks about Winnie and Wilbur.

Beyond Busyness: Time Wisdom For Ministry. Stephen Cherry. There’s lots of good stuff in this book. As a bit of a natural organiser, there were quite a few ideas I’d come across before but I still got a lot from reading it. The biggest thing I take away is the disease of business, and how important it is not to be seen to be rushing all the time. I also liked the concluding few pages where Cherry talks about the ‘timescape’. I’m going to be thinking about that quite a bit!

How To Mend A Friend. Karl Newson, Clara Anganuzzi. I find that some children’s books are just gorgeous and this is one of them! We’re all different and this book explains that when we feel sad, we all need different things!

Polly’s Pink Pyjamas. Vivian French, Sue Heap. A nice book with lots of colour. Sophia and I wish we could wear pyjamas all day every day!

Ten In The Bed. Penny Dale. An absolute classic that we are overjoyed to have on our shelf! Sophia loved all the animals and is planning which of her toys she’ll be having sleep in her bed when she’s big enough to go in it.

The Road Trip. Beth O’Leary. I’m pretty sure that I bought this book because it was on offer, but I thought I was fab! I liked the characters, the description of the settings meant I could picture them exactly and it made me laugh! I didn’t expect it particularly, but a great read.

Goldilocks and The Three Bears. Mara Alperin, Kate Daubney. We liked reading this book and Sophia thinks it’s fair enough that Goldilocks ended up running home with porridge in her hair!

Hugless Douglas. David Melling. This book made us go ‘aww’ at the end – definitely one to read again and again!

Together. Luke Adam Hawker. A gorgeous book about living through the pandemic. Beautiful illustrations and a powerful message. It gave me shivers at the end!

Forty Women. Ros Clarke. A great read for Lent. A thought provoking and moving look at 40 women from the Bible.

Flip Flap Jungle Book. Alex Scheffler. We’ve had a good time reading this and I can’t wait to laugh at all the funny animal combinations as Sophia gets older!

The Flat Share. Beth O’Leary. The second Beth O’Leary book I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. I found myself going slowly to savour it. A very good read.

Scarecrow’s Secret. Heather Amery, Stephen Cartwright. A cute book with an unexpected ending.

The Smallest Fish in School. Matthew Scott. A lovely story about little people who have a big impact. Sophia is a fan!

Who’s making that noise? Philip Hawthorne, Jenny Tyler, Stephen Cartwright. We do love these books. Sophia thinks that lifting the flaps is lots of fun!

The Switch. Beth O’Leary. A heartwarming story about a grandmother from and rural village and her granddaughter, who lives in London, swapping places for a couple of months. If I have one criticism, it’s that the ending felt a bit rushed. A really lovely book though.

The Trouble With Elephants. Chris Riddell. A very cute book that I think we’ll be going back to time and time again.

The Not-so-very Lost Lamb. Antonia Woodward. A gorgeous re-telling of one of Jesus’ stories. Hooray for the little lamb and the loving shepherd!

The Start of Something. Miranda Dickinson. A nice heart warming book about two people who meet by exchanging signs through the window. A lovely read.

Love Always Everywhere. Sarah Massini. Absolutely gorgeous! We loved this book all about love!

Exit. Belinda Bauer. I really like this book. I’m not sure how a book about people with terminal illness washing to end their lives could be so funny, but it is! It’s cleverly written, has laugh out loud moments and also has real depth. I can’t wait to read more of Bauer’s work.

My Green Day. Melanie Walsh. Some great ideas about how little ones can be more environmentally friendly every day.

Why? A Sciency Rhymey Guide to Rainbows. Billy Dunne, Rhys Jefferys. A very good book all about how we get rainbows. It’s gone down very well with the sciencey folk in our family!

Snap. Belinda Bauer. I didn’t enjoy this as much as Exit, but it is still a good read. It’s a book about three children who find themselves surviving without their parents and a search for justice. Bauer made me feel sorry for one of the characters in a way I didn’t expect. A good read.

The Gruffalo. Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler. What a very clever mouse! Sophia loves the voices of all the different animals and watching the smallest be the brightest of all!

Wonky Donkey’s Big Surprise. Craig Smith. What a happy book! We loved it, especially the big surprise at the end.

Rubber Necker. Belinda Bauer. Well, what can I say about this book?! It was excellent! I was completely enthralled and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Bauer tackles some difficult topics while weaving humour into a whodunit, which is completely unlike anything else I’ve read. A very good read.