Tag Archives: bedtime story

Word for Wednesday: N is for…Nabarlek!

Okay, so those of you who know me well, know I am a bit of a nature nerd.  And I am also rapidly working towards turning my little girl into a voracious bookworm and fledgling linguaphile.  All great things to aspire to, in my opinion! But then I guess I’d have to say that, wouldn’t I?!

“‘I’m a N-N-Nabarlek,’ it stammered,

‘Don’t laugh, please, it’s true.

I’m definitely not a wallaby, or even a kangaroo.'”

(David Cadji-Newby, The little girl who lost her name).

Nabarlek (noun).

The nabarlek (Petrogale concinna), also known as the pygmy rock-wallaby or the little rock-wallaby, is a very small species of macropod found in northern Australia. It was formerly considered distinct enough to be assigned its own genus, Peradorcas, but it is now considered to belong, like the rest of the rock-wallabies, in the genus Petrogale.

(Source: wikipedia)

One of my very best friends in the world bought a truly inspired present for our girly for her first birthday.  One of the most brilliant children’s books I’ve ever seen.  Not least because inside, we found our first Nabarlek together!  I do not blog for money, none of my posts are advertising fodder or sponsored in anyway.  So believe me when I say that I really do think that ‘The little girl/boy who lost her/his name‘ books are utterly fantastic!

In their own words, “We are three dads and an uncle, who started all this as a DIY project (it beats putting up wonky shelves). The aim was to make the best personalised book in the world. Yeah. We know. But hey, if you’re not going to be ambitious, what’s the point?”. 

I’m just one mum, but I for one think they are indeed the most awesome personalised book that I’ve ever seen.  And there are obviously a few other fans too, because they are now a successful, thriving, fully-fledged business, rather than a part-time, very ambitious ‘DIY project’.  I love a good success story.

The books are personalised and structured around your child’s own name, which is such a special way to involve little people in reading.  The story takes you on a little journey to find the child’s name, meeting weird and wonderful new friends like the nabarlek on the way.

David Cadji-Newby is a British writer, who weaves the most lyrical of stories, using wonderful words like ‘courageous’ and ‘glamourous’.  Charming and witty, and not a goat in a boat or a cat on a mat to be seen.  It is a real revelation in writing for children.

copymarked by me, because it is my photo, but the credit for the creative talent lies entirely with the illustrator Pedro Serapicos.

The books in the series are illustrated by Pedro Serapicos, to whom credit for the illustration above belongs. He has a really fresh, distinctive style, which perfectly brings to life the words on the page.

Our little girl loves looking at the pictures and is so thrilled when we get to the end in a flurry of excitement because we’ve found her name.  Still a long way off, but I am looking forward to seeing what happens when she can read it herself. I can pretty much guarantee that it will be amongst the favourites in her growing book collection.

Did you ever have a personalised children’s book that you loved? Or have you bought one for someone else?  There are so many birthday parties when your children are little, and books are usually my first choice of gift.  Inspiration would be very welcome!

A bookworm’s ode to reading.


Story time

Today is World Book Day.  Our first as parents.  I love that there is a day designated to celebrating reading and getting everyone, but especially the younger generation, buzzing about books.  Reading is a very big thing in this household, and I am so excited about passing on this passion to our little girl.  At the moment she is more interest in trying to grab the pages and chew the corners, but it’s still very early days!   Reflecting on World Book Day got me thinking about the books from my childhood that have particular meaning for me, as well as those books which are already shaping up to be favourite reads for our little girl.

I am grateful to my mum for many things, not least for my early love of reading.  Books as treats were the norm, as were school summer holidays whizzing by with my head in a book, completing inspiring reading quests and book treasure hunts run by the lovely local library.  A life without books would be like being a dog without a stick.  Manageable, but nowhere near as fun!

On my little trip down memory lane, all the usual ones are in there, like the Mr Men series, the Enid Blyton Famous Five and Secret Seven novels, the Roald Dahl classics.  But the ones that immediately jumped to mind are not so main-stream these days I don’t think (if they were then!).  Harriet and the garden by Nancy Carlson was an early favourite, although I remember the lovely illustrations more than the story.  It was one that was read to me while I looked at the pictures, so perhaps that’s why.  The Hodgeheg, by Dick King-Smith was a later one. I think his use of the English language is wonderful and, as a child reading this book, he challenged me and made me excited about words.  He’s an author whose work I definitely look forward to introducing our daughter to, along with that of the fantastic Michael Morpurgo.

I devoured many a Gerald Durrell book around the end of primary school age, although my love for his stories started with My family and other animals.  I was fascinated reading about the exciting far-flung places he wrote from, and the weird and wonderful creatures he found there.  Colin Dann’s The animals of Farthing Wood is another one that sticks out in my memory.  A complex, weighty story about the plight of woodland animals under threat by human activity, and their journey to safety.  Was this children’s book one of the early influencers in my love for the natural world and my angst about animal welfare from a fairly young age?  Quite possibly; I was a very old head on young shoulders!


And what does ‘goat’ rhyme with?!

Our growing children’s book library already has a lovely mix of classics and modern favourites.  There are a bunch of Julia Donaldson books.  The favourite amongst them at the moment is The smartest giant in town. It is beautifully written, with lots of interesting characters and a lovely sentiment.  I adore listening in as my husband sits with our daughter snuggled in, doing his very best goat, giraffe and mouse voice-overs.  It makes me smile every time.  A beautiful set of Beatrix Potter books is still waiting for the right moment for its first reading.  As they were for me, I’m sure that Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and Mrs Tiggywinkle will be enchanting new finds for our daughter.  But I’m not risking it until I can trust that the pages won’t be sucked, scrunched or accidentally ripped.


‘Peek a boo’ fun.

We have been reading Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar quite a bit recently.  It helps that the version we have is a board book, so relatively baby-proof!  But I also like the fun, repetitious text, the simple introduction to a tiny little bit of science, and the bold, colourful illustrations.  I also gave Dear Zoo, by Rod Campbell, a test run the other day.  At the moment I am holding it at arm’s length because all the lift-up flaps and pull-out sections are too delicate for baby enthusiasm, but it was definitely a hit that I think will be in the ‘old favourites’ pile.

I love that our little girl is already experiencing such a wide range of books, some of them not much older than she is, some from when her mum and dad were being read to, some from many years before that.  Such a wealth of treasure to grow a love of reading from.  If nothing else it gives plenty of scope for unusual future World Book Day character costume ideas in the years to come!