Friday, 6 March 2020

Look Up! by Nathan Bryan and Dapo Adeola – Story Sack

Since this picture book was published and before it deservedly became such a hit, I wanted to create a story sack based around it. However due to issues (discussed in this blog post) about sourcing games, and plush toys in diverse ethnicities, I wasn’t confident it would be possible. However I am truly happy to say that the stars must have been aligned, as I have manged to source everything relatively easily from standard shops on the high street, which I very much hope is a sign of things to come.
So before we start here is a quick reminder of what a story sack contains…

Story Sack Checklist 

  • A good quality fiction book. (picture book or novel)
  • A non-fiction book related to the story and themes in the chosen picture book.
  • Toys, (ideally a soft toy for younger children).
  • A game or activity also related to the theme of the chosen fiction book.
  • Optional worksheet based on the story and themes off the story sack.


So for our main picture book, we have the vibrant and brilliant ‘Look Up’ penned by Nathan Bryon and illustrated by Dapo Adeola. This book is everything a picture book should be; fun, heart-warming, thought provoking, educational, and fabulous story where the exquisite illustration that truly enhance the text.

‘Look Up’ tells the story of Rocket, who like her Hero, Maye C Jemison, wants to be an astronaut. She lives and breathes everything space, and is always looking up, unlike her big brother Jamal who’s always looking down at his phone.

With a Meteor shower due to be visible that evening, Rocket arranges for the community to come to the park to view the meteors and she even manages to get Jamal to look up from his phone.


'Look Up!' is a story of sibling love, dreams and dedication that all children should read.

I’ve chosen not one but two non-fiction books to accompany ‘Look Up!’ First the lovely highly illustrated National Geographic Kids Meteors, which does exactly what it says on the cover, providing lots of interesting educational facts along with beautiful photographs.

The second book is Mse C. Jemison, picture book biography part of the Woman in Science & technology range by ‘Discovery Library’ by Meeg Pincus and Elena Bia, which gives more insight into the story of Rockets Hero, the first African American woman in space.

For younger readers, I would recommend the beautiful ‘Little Leaders, Bold Women in Black History,’ picture book by Vasti Harrison.

Plush / Soft Toys… 

So, I was lucky that because I squirrel away plush toys when I find them, I had a doll that I could adapt to look like Rocket, so I went about crafting a spacesuit, glasses, and braiding her hair. Although if you are not crafty or just don’t have the time, to source a doll and adapt I have found a Jelly Cat plush that is available online, and in toy shops, that is in a Space Walk suit and has a medium skin tone, called ‘Jellynaught’, RRP £11.99.

I also picked up a Jelly Cat, cat to keep Rocket company as sadly I couldn’t find a doll suitable to be used a Jamal.


So, I found in my local toy shop a ‘PetitCollage’ ‘Shine Bright’ ‘Space Bound’ tin, which has a black female astronaut doll with a host of space outfits to dress her, including a Nasa suit and spacewalking suit. I’ve also included glow in the dark starts to use as the meteors.

So here we are on ‘Look Up’ Story Sack, that was truly a pleasure to put together. Thank you for stopping by, and do come back for more story sack ideas.

Monday, 2 March 2020

William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines – Review

William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines, is a fun vibrant educational non-fiction picture book, with a retro feel that will appeal to adults and children alike.

Full of retro filled illustrations that really have a ‘Rosie’s Walk’ feel to them, the book follows the author/ illustrator titular charter William Bee, as he explores tractors and farm machinery. From small tractors to monstrous ones, he takes the reader on a journey explaining what different types of tractors are used for, as well as bringing in a dose of the history of agricultural machinery.

This book would have appealed to be when I was child, (I could name the tractor make from a single glance from a moving car three fields away), but also to both my children, who loved learning about all things with engines. 

All in all William Bee’s Wonderful World of Tractors and Farm Machines, is a fun educational read, that has the potential to be a future classic as it focuses on a topic that has a perennial appeal to small children.