Book Review + Competition: 'Make Faces' by Christopher Harrisson and Abigail Burch

The cover of ‘Make Faces’ by Christopher Harrisson and Abigail Burch

It’s book review time again. And, as with our review of ‘Paper Play’, you can share this via various social media channels (see bottom of post) and win a copy of the book!

Despite the sunshine on Sunday, we still had a couple of hours at home to kill while my younger one napped. Now my older son has started school, I have to grab these opportunities for quality time together.

For us, suddenly, everything is about Star Wars. This, I can live with – there’s some good life lesson stuff in there. It’s also all about Samurai Jack, a graphi-cool animated series about a time-travelling Japanese character.

I only tell you this by way of some background to some of my son’s responses to/drawings on certain pages of ‘Make Faces‘.

A bitter lemon and the against-instructions odd couple

‘Make Faces‘ by Christopher Harrisson and Abigail Burch is another book published by Lewes-based Ivy Kids – part of Ivy Press.

It is an activity book like the last book we reviewed. The pages are full of opportunities to add crazy mugs to all kinds of people and things – notes and coins, fish, monsters, stamps etc.

‘Terror at the Bowling Alley!’

When I first picked up the book, I wasn’t sure it would really have the power to engage my son. How far can you really go with something whose pages ask you do the same thing again and again?

Quite far, it turns out. The book’s tagline is ‘A Silly Scribble Activity Book‘. Those with five-year-olds – girls or boys, we all know how I feel about the unisex thing – know how they love a bit of silly.

People do look like their pets sometimes, don’t they?

The instructions on each page, while simple, provide scope for the imagination. My boy, whose concentration levels aren’t all that, really got into several of the pages.

Samurai-hatted, one-eyed, pig-nostriled, hay-chewer (AKA a spy)…

Aimed at: Kids aged 5+, although I think from age 3 they’d get it.

What he did: 

  • drew faces on fruit – a ‘bitter’ lemon, and a pair of pears (instructions said to make them match, and he loved flouting them for a pair of opposites)
  • sketched a scary bowling ball rolling towards some terrified pins 
  • made people look like their pets
  • created a cunning disguise for a top secret agent
  • finished the faces of some hairy characters – he went off-piste again, drawing on each “a chin-like-a-bum (a cleft chin) like Senator Palpatine’s, who is also the Emperor”
  • thought up hideous expressions for three witches. One with ‘blood eyes‘ (“like Anakin Skywalker’s when he becomes Darth Vadar”), one with hairy worts, and a third throwing beans into a cauldron and saying: “More beans“. Apparently they’re creating zombies, so he drew a couple in red off to one side. This page had the longest engagement time.
The zombie-making witches

Engagement time: 45 minutes

My verdict: Surprisingly engaging and imagination-inducing. He said as he closed the book, “I’m finished for now, but I really want to do some more later”. Unheard of.

His verdict: “I liked making the bum-chin faces and not doing what I was supposed to do with the fruit because both made Mummy laugh. When I did the spy face I think it was a good disguise because he was a one-eyed pig-nosed man with a samurai’s hat chewing hay.”

Cloud Faces, ready to fill

Things we haven’t done but will do:

  • cloud faces
  • monster faces
  • bony faces
  • worm faces
  • mathmaticool (faces out of numbers and maths symbols)


It’s probably clear from the beginning of the review that I wasn’t expecting to be that impressed by ‘Make Faces’. But I take that thought back. It’s a simple idea that, although I’ve seen elsewhere, is creatively thought through and illustrated in a painted, sketchy way that I think encourages kids to feel free to do it their own way.

We had a long discussion about what sorts of faces worms would have…

We had a hoot over the bum chins, worty witch faces and Star Wars references.

Bum chins, I ask you… Never mind, eh? The book is meant to be an exercise in silly, I guess!

Father Christmas, a pea, a baby and a goat – all with a chin-like-a-bum

To win your own copy of ‘Make Faces’:

Share this post on Facebook mentioning ‘Little Lewes’ (and selecting it as a link) in the accompanying comment OR

Tweet the link to the post (follow and be sure to mention @LittleLewes in the tweet) OR

Retweet one of the tweets I write about it, making sure to follow @LittleLewes in the process!

Little Lewes will end up with a list of all the shares from which to select the winner at random this Friday 14 February. Ivy will send the book out by next day delivery to be received in time for Monday and the half term week.

‘Make Faces’ by Christopher Harrisson and Abigail Burch is published by Ivy Kids with a RRP of £9.99.

Please note: this competition is only open to UK residents. If you have any questions about it, please email me through the Contact section of Little Lewes.

Disclosure: I contacted Ivy Press a few months ago about reviewing books for them as I thought it would be a good fit for Little Lewes (and of course nice for my children and I!). They are a local publisher and they do some great children’s books. I select the books we are going to review based on my children’s age (21 months and five at the time of posting) and interests. I absolutely always aim for unisex books. Ivy kindly gives us a copy of each book we review to make a mess of, and sends a fresh copy to the winning Little Lewes reader. In return Ivy widely shares each review via its social media accounts. I have not been offered, nor have I accepted, any financial compensation for this or any of my past or future reviews for Ivy Press.

Congratulations to Little Lewes reader Liz Ballan for winning the book! 

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I’m Kate, a copywriter, brand consultant and editor who creates messages that are clear and clean. I create these for brands and agencies both big and boutique, in areas including design, homes and interiors, travel, fashion, lifestyle, beauty, food, and kids and families. I believe clear, clean messages bolster brands and businesses. They evoke emotion and ignite inspiration, and when written well, they’re easier to absorb – and respond to. I live in Copenhagen and am half-English, half-Danish. I write as comfortably in American English as in British, and behind the scenes I'm also studying Danish. Need help getting your message out? Contact me.

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