Read about the latest books, films, recipes and events for kids and parents – everything you’ll need to plan a fun family weekend.
Books for kids
This week’s children’s books recommendations from ReadingZone.
www.ReadingZone.com is for parents and children who want to know more about children’s books and authors with reviews, recommendations, extracts and competitions.
Stunt Bunny Showbiz Sensation
By Tamsyn Murray
Published by Simon & Schuster
Harriet Houdini is a dare-devil bunny with attitude! As she settles into life with her new family, she is discovered by the producer of hit TV show Superpets and so starts her career in showbiz as a Stunt Bunny.
Young readers may recognise the ‘X-Factor’–style auditions for the Superpets television show when Harriet is up against a parrot that says ‘Bogies’ and an opera-singing poodle. But Harriet Houdini will face tougher challenges when a magician tries to ‘bunny-nap’ her.
This book has the classic elements of a good story – a mischievous central character, a very grumpy dad, and an evil magician. There are also some great black and white illustrations. Harriet is bound to go far.
The Train Set of Terror
By Ian Ogilvy, illustrated by Chris Mould
Published by OUP
Measles Stubbs is an unlikely hero. He is small, weedy and hasn’t had a bath in years. Even worse for Measles, he’s been sent to live with his horrible guardian Basil Tramplebone.
Unfortunately for Measles, Tramplebone has some unpleasant plans and one or two nasty tricks up his sleeve – beginning with zapping Measles into his toy train set and setting a giant cockroach on his tail….
The Measles stories are written by the actor who used to play the role of television show The Saint. They are well paced with plenty of action and humour to keep both girls and boys enthralled. Look out for others in the Measles series.
Books for parents
Vegetarian Kids’ Cookbook
Published by Lorenz Books
Vegetarian parents or those who’ve simply got a vegetarian child in the family, will be delighted to hear that this new title from Lorzenz Books has over 50 veggie recipes to cook for kids. Inside there’s plenty of ideas which are quick and simple to prepare and won’t require a special trip to the health food shop for ingredients to make them.
From ‘Party Pizza’ to ‘Bean Burgers’, there are many recipes that will appeal to even the fussiest eaters. There are also plenty of staples that the whole family will enjoy, such as ‘Sheperdess Pie’, which uses beans and mushrooms instead of mince, and ‘Pumpkin and Pistachio Risotto’. And if you’d like to indulge in a spot of baking, there are some lovely treats that kids will enjoy making with you, such as the yummy looking ‘Carrot Cake’ and ‘Blueberry Muffins.’
As well as a good selection of recipes, the book includes a handy introduction which covers various concerns which parents might have if they are catering for a new veggie family member. The chapter also covers the nutritional aspects of a vegetarian diet, and gives hints and tips on how to get the balance right.
All in all this is a fantastic cookbook, with some truly tempting recipes to choose from, which the whole family, whether they’re vegetarian or not, will enjoy.
Simple to make, lots of fun and packed with veg – these funny tartlets are a great way to get your kids happily eating tomatoes! This recipe is from The British Tomato Growers’ Association; check out their website at www.britishtomatoes.co.uk for more recipes and information.
Funny Face Tartlets
375g packet of ready-rolled puff pastry
4 British Classic tomatoes
8 thick processed cheese slices
1 small egg, beaten
200g/7oz broccoli florets
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/ Gas Mark 5. Stamp out 8 discs of pastry to about 3cm (1 inch) larger than the size of the tomatoes and place on baking sheet. Cut out 8 circles of cheese to the same size as the tomatoes and place centrally on top of the pastry. Cut each tomato in half and place, cut side up, onto the cheese.
Using cheese trimmings, cut out mouth shapes and put onto tomatoes. Brush the pastry edge with beaten egg and bake in the oven for approximately 20 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Meanwhile, cut the broccoli into small florets and cook until soft. Transfer the baked tartlets onto serving plates and arrange peas onto the tomatoes for eyes and arrange the broccoli around the top of the tartlets for hair, before serving.
Tomato tips for kids
Finding it hard to get your kids to eat tomatoes? Gerry Hayman from British Tomato Growers’ Association has some advice for parents;
‘We have worked a lot on tomatoes in the diet for youngsters, and one thing we are pretty decided on is that you can’t persuade kids to eat tomatoes by telling them they’re good for them – that’s like giving them medicine. They have to enjoy eating them. Regrettably around 80% of tomatoes eaten here are now imported and many are pretty unpalatable in our view.
There are now a wide range of tomato types grown in the UK however and we find that many youngsters who profess not to like tomatoes do like the cherry and baby plum types now available, if they can be persuaded to try them. My five year old grandson eats them like sweets.
Our research has also established that many of the speciality types grown here, when fully ripe (and ripened on the plant, as we do) also contain much higher levels of nutrients than imported, long-life varieties. See the Miracle Fruit Report on www.britishtomatoes.co.uk”
NB- As with many other types of fruit and veg, make sure you cut your tomatoes up before serving to younger children, as the smaller varieties could possible present a choking hazard.
Kids’ films currently showing;
1. Furry Vengeance, PG
2. Robin Hood, 12A
3. Prince of Persia, 12A
4. Street Dance, PG
5. The Tooth Fairy, PG
Family days out – our pick:
What Tai Chi on the Lawn. Back by popular demand, relish a truly unique experience on the lawn of a Victorian country mansion. Enjoy an impressive display from the Bristol School of T’ai Chi and have a go yourself!
When 23 May 2pm – 3pm
Where Tyntesfield(in North Somerset)
Price Normal admission charges apply
Booking Booking not needed.
What Walk London, Spring into Summer Weekend. There are 54 free guided walks taking place across the capital, funded by Transport for London, For times and starting points visit the Walk London website.
When 22 & 23 May
Booking No booking required.
What Birds of Prey. Marvel at birds of prey in flight during the displays at 12.30pm and 3pm, given by our expert falconers from ‘The Hawking Centre’
When 22 & 23 May
Where Bodiam Castle (in East Sussex)
Price Normal admission charges apply
Booking Bodiam Castle, 01580 830196, email@example.com