Tag Archives: book blogger

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

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Apologies for the blurred image Boo was trying to run off with the book see her hand

Somehow this book passed me by the first time I became a parent. I truly don’t know how as it’s a beautiful book.

It was written in 2008 published by Walker Books Ltd the edition we have was published in 2011.

Rosie Rabbit getting ready for bedtime reading

Rosie Rabbit getting ready for bedtime reading

The text has a rhyming repetitive way of taking you through the story of explaining that although babies can be born in various places around the world and although they can each look slightly different they (on the most part) are all the same really as they have ten little fingers and ten little toes.

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Without a very young child knowing about differences around the world it’s a lovely way to introduce this subtly. The book however can grow with the child and could be used as a starting point of discussion suggesting where some of the babies may be from and showing them on a globe for example “there was one little baby born on the ice and another in a tent who was just as nice”.

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Each double spread page has illustrations of two different babies born in different cultures and then the rhyme continues over the page with illustrations of all the babies shown already up to that point with the repetitive rhyme “and both of these babies as everyone knows has ten little fingers and ten little toes”

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Boo who is 20 months loves this book she likes the illustrations of the babies and points to each one saying “baby”. It’s been a lovely way to reinforce where her fingers and toes are as I read it to her I get her to wiggle her fingers and show me her toes.The rhyme is not too energetic so it’s perfect for bedtime.

Our favourite part though which Boo gets excited about is the last few pages and where I do actually kiss her on the nose. The rhyme changes slightly in this part and it focuses on the narrator talking about their own baby;

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“But the next baby born was truly divine, a sweet little child who was mine, all mine. And this little baby as everyone knows, has ten little fingers, ten little toes and three little kisses on the tip of its nose.”

I often change the last bit instead of “tip of its nose” I change it for her I could change it for her name instead although this would change the rhyme perhaps too much.

As I noted earlier Boo likes this book, it has helped her remember which are her fingers and which are her toes and where her nose is and has started pointing them out on her doll too. She likes the illustrations and loves the anticipation of the end and receiving kisses on her nose! I think she would give this 10/10.

I wish I had found this book earlier not just for Boo but for Monkey who was born the year it was published. The book can be used for many starting points of discussion as children grow noticing the different cultures, different landscapes, discussing where in the world they could be from. Explaining all babies are the same no matter where they’re from. It’s a lovely book and would be perfect as a baby shower gift or a gift for a newborn I would therefore give this book 10/10.

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Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson


wp-1470776046903.jpgHave you ever fell in love with a children’s book as an adult the quick way a young child does? Where you have to read the story no matter who is around or what is going on. This is what happened to me, we were in a small independent bookshop and there was only myself and Boo (and the man at the till not far away). I read it out loud, smiling and doing the actions the way I knew I would at home. Have you ever read a story and at the end know that even if it wasn’t going to be your child’s favourite book….yet it was now yours! This is truly what happened when I bought this book for Boo.

Tap The Magic Tree shows a tree going through the season’s showing a child how one bare tree at the start of the book can change, have leaves, blossom, the tree has fruit, the leaves change colour, the leaves fall off and then the magic starts again. This is all lovely and simple and has been shown in many books but its the words and the actions which go through the book that even a very young child can join in. A couple of examples are shown below;

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“Brush away the petals (swish!) and blow the tree a tiny kiss.”

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“Pat the leaves be gentle please.”

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“Aha! Now blow a whooshing breeze.”

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The illustrations are beautiful, they tell the story even without the words, step by step a child on their own could easily read and understand just by looking at the illustrations alone.

The story was written and illustrated by Christie Matherson, it was first published in 2013 but first published as a board book edition in 2016 (which is the edition we have). The information in the back of the book says collages were used to prepare the artwork.

Boo really loves this book which is fantastic as I previously said I fell instantly in love with it so I don’t mind reading it several times a day! Boo at only 20 months has already started doing many of the actions which shows she’s not only looking at the pictures she is now listening to the story which I find fascinating. She claps her hands, taps on the tree, wiggles her fingers and blows like the wind. This is set to be a favourite for quite a while as I can see it easily growing with her especially since there is a lovely blossom tree you can see from her bedroom window which looks similar to the tree in the book so when she’s older we can look at the book and decide which picture it looks like in the book. I think Boo would easily give this 10/10 it’s one of only a handful that she brings to me daily and has to have it read all the way through sometimes more than once or sometimes I read it to her and then she sits on my knee turning each page and pointing to the changing pictures.

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I give this book 10/10 as I’m sure you can gather by now I adore this book I don’t often use words like that to explain my love for a book but this really is a delight, it has reignited my love of good young children’s books and as Boo likes the actions so much I am now looking for other beautiful books with actions (any suggestions would be greatly welcomed), I am already hunting out another book by Christie Matherson called Touch the Brightest Star.

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Mr Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter

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I think this may be one of a few Beatrix Potter stories which is less known.

The story is about Mr Jeremy Fisher who is a frog who wants to catch some minnows for supper as he’s having friends round. However instead of catching minnows he has a narrow escape from a trout!

The edition we have is dated 2007 published by the Penguin Group and is a board book which is a lovely shape easy for young children to hold and yet it still retains the original illustrations which Beatrix drew.

The original story was first published by Fredwick Warne & Co in July 1906. The origin of the story as with most of her stories was written in a letter she wrote to a child in 1893. She revised it in 1906, and moved its setting from the River Tay to the Lake District.

I bought this book in the Lake District on a day trip with Boo when she was about 9 months old. She’s loved the pictures since I bought it and will happily sit smiling turning the pages back and forth looking at the illustrations with their great detail. Boo now aged 19 months has started to listen to me as I read the story.

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Although she finds it fascinating looking at the illustrations she is more drawn to the Jemima Puddle Duck story which is in the same style of book. Therefore I would suggest she gives this book 9/10. I too would give this 9/10 it’s not my favourite story but I can’t help but love the illustrations.

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Summer Reading Challenge 2016

A selection of books you might find in your library

A selection of books you might find in your library for your own Summer Reading Challenge

It’s that time again with school summer term coming to a close and then a long hot (well we live in hope in the UK) summer. It’s a time where as a child I rarely went home only going home when playing outside with friends to either get something to eat or drink.

As summer goes on and friends leave for their holidays or you just want some quiet time, reading a book or several during the summer is perfect especially sitting out in the garden in the shade or in the sun.

Have you heard of The Summer Reading Challenge for children? This is the UK’s biggest reading promotion for children run by The Reading Agency and in library’s.

The challenge is for children to read 6 books throughout the summer holidays, the books don’t need to be specific titles they can be non fiction, fiction, joke books, comics, picture books, audio books basically anything your child enjoys reading counts towards the challenge but they must be borrowed from the library. The children need to be aged 4-11 years old. The Challenge started in Scotland on Saturday 25th June and in England and Wales it started on Saturday 16th July.

The Reading Agency states children’s reading practice can dip in the summer holidays, I know from experience my son last year lost interest as soon as school finished (he was only 6 at the time) and this year before he heads off to the junior school in September I want to ensure he reads during the holidays.

The website continues to say “The Summer Reading Challenge has helped get three quarters of a million children into libraries each year to keep up their reading skills and confidence. Because everything changes when we read”.

The Reading Agency have released a book collection list of 72 suggested books to read the list is divided into two – one for younger children and one for older children. A lot of these are new reads which will be published this summer, and many will be displayed in libraries. You can find the list here

There is a different theme each year. The theme for the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge is The Big Friendly Read as it’s the 100th year since Roald Dahl was born.

The Big Friendly Read, features some of Roald Dahl’s best loved characters and the amazing artwork of illustrator, Sir Quentin Blake. It highlights themes such as invention, mischief and friendship all of which appear in Roald Dahl’s most famous books.

Everyone who joins The Big Friendly Read will receive a fold up card wallet, which includes a range of fun activities and space for children to keep track of their progress and rate the books they have read. There are six limited edition Quentin Blake collector cards to collect; some are scratch and sniff!  These slot into the collector folder. Each card celebrates a popular Roald Dahl theme: mischief, invention, adventure, wordplay, child champions, and friendship.  Children will receive one card for every book they read and those who complete the challenge will receive a certificate.

For adults and carers there’s a Facebook page which you can find here

Another great website supporting this is the Summer Reading Challenge it tracks children’s reading all year round, children can enter competitions, has links to YouTube videos about the challenge and author reviews, children can review books, leave messages, it gives book suggestions children have recommended and can be searched by age/gender there are also recommendations from celebrities. The website also has book related games for children to play they include previous games from other summer reading challenges;

  • “Race against the clock to fill in the book title blanks with Title Dash game”
  • “Find unicorn friends as you race around Mythical Maze game”
  • “Chase bats and escape from ghouls in Creepy House”
  • “Help Jeremy save his books from Aesop in Story Lab game”

Visit your local library and join up to the challenge and get involved in the fun activities many libraries offer – there’s a chocolate challenge at our local library next week to celebrate Charlie and the Chocolate Factory you never know what you’ll find at your own library so go and investigate!

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