Tag Archives: children’s books

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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Angelina Ballerina by Katherine Holabird illustrated by Helen Craig

wp-1470895465538.jpgI hadn’t realised the story wasn’t written as recently as I thought having been written in 1983 to many a classic story however I don’t remember having this read to me as a child. The edition we have is a board book published in 2007 by Puffin Books.

The story is about a young mouse called Angelina who wants to be a ballerina however she hasn’t had lessons and she dances all the time when she’s meant to be doing other things such as tidying her room, getting ready for school even dancing around the school yard!

The story continues and I’m sure you can guess what happens, she has ballet lessons and as she has the lessons she doesn’t dance when she’s not meant to be much to the relief of her parents.

I bought this book for Boo for a couple of reasons, after quickly reading the book to myself in the bookshop (love I can do this with young children’s books as they’re not too long) and thought what a lovely story it was.  The illustrations are beautiful and are highly detailed. The cover caught my attention with the little silver hearts and the illustration of a mouse asleep in bed. But the main reason is Boo was given a music box as a present which has a pretty ballerina spinning round and round as the wind up classic music is played she loves it and has tried to copy going round and round many times so thought a book about a ballerina would appeal.

However it doesn’t seem to be the case….yet. I have read the story a few times now to Boo and she’s not very interested. At 20 months I think she’s a little too young for it at the moment as it has a lot of words unlike most of the other stories I’ve read to her recently. The last time I read it to her she got up from sitting on my knee and took the opportunity to play with a full size football of 7 year old Monkey’s while he was out!

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Boo does however like the illustrations which I thought she would as she loves the detailed illustrations in her two Beatrix Potter books.

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At the moment I think Boo would score this 5/10 as she likes the illustrations but the story hasn’t caught her attention yet. I think she will like it more when she’s 2+

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I on the other hand really enjoyed the story. I liked how the story starts with Angelina not having had ballet lessons still practices really hard and also how this can be related to all children who want to busy themselves doing something else instead of what they’re supposed to be doing like tidying their room. I find the illustrations are lovely I have always liked detailed illustrations in children’s books especially reading with an older child where you can ask them to look at the illustrations and point a particular item out. I know this book will grow with Boo and I think I will be asked to read it to her many times repeatedly in the coming years. I will score this 8/10.

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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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The Jolly Rogers and the Monster’s Gold by Jonny Duddle

wp-1468389427861.jpgThis is a story about Matilda who has a pirate family for friends. To the pirates she is a ‘landlubber’ someone who stays on dry land but she is best friends with one of the pirates Jim Lad who often sends her notes in bottles whilst he’s out to sea.

One day she finds a treasure map in a bottle she has fished out of the sea but it’s not from her best friend. Matilda does know though that Jim Lad’s family would like to see the map. The pirate family consists of Jim Lad’s mum, dad, Nugget his sister his Grandpa, Bones the dog and Squawk the macaw.

On the treasure map there’s a message “Dear fellow private….Do ye want to be rich?” And so the adventure begins.

I bought this book for Monkey as a little Christmas present, I just seen it one day in a supermarket and as it was about pirates I picked it up to have a look.

I have to admit I stood in the supermarket aisle having a little read of it and was completely drawn into the story straight away. Not only did I find the way it was written intriguing as a lot of it is written the way a pirate may speak but it also has fantastic illustrations all in black and white but they are drawn so brilliantly and have a lot of detail.

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We’d reached a point with me reading a bedtime story to Monkey where he still wanted me to read to him which I am more than happy to do but the picture books were too young for him but most books with chapters were too long or didn’t have many engaging pictures, so when I found this book I knew it would be a good starting point to move onto chapter books as although it’s in chapters they’re not too long for a child to become too bored or the reader to spend all night reading. The text is very clear, the size of the book is perfect and although being 159 pages long it doesn’t feel overwhelming.

The story is by Jonny Duddle who has written a couple more books in this series The Jolly Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon and The Jolly Rogers and the Cave of Doom. This story was first published in 2015 by Templar publishing illustrations by Jonny Duddle.

Well Monkey thoroughly enjoyed this book and was more than happy to go to bed just to have another chapter read to him and I too even got excited about reading to him again and reading a longer story meant I could enjoy the story too and feel like I wasn’t just reading to him for the sake of it.

Monkey without too much hesitation gives this book 10/10 as it’s about pirates, the story is exciting but not scary and the pictures are “really cool”.

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I really enjoyed this book too. It has a believable story, the illustrations are fantastic and it got me enjoying reading again to Monkey. We were both in fact sad when it finished so we went and bought another of Jonny Duddle’s books the next day which I will review in another post. In the meantime I give this book 10/10.

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A Love of Children’s Books

I’ve always loved books and still love the feeling of happiness and a sense of calmness I get when walking into a bookshop and seeing row upon row of books, classics and newly published books. I even enjoy just going in and having a look around.

I particularly love children’s books and since having Boo who is now 10 months old I have spent a lot of time looking at baby books and also books for Monkey who will be 7 soon.

Since Monkey was little we’ve read our fair share of awful books and equally beautifully written and illustrated stories. Over the years I have read stories which I loved in my childhood such as Spot the Dog and most recently I have been reading him several Roald Dahl books including The Witches and The Twits. We’ve also read more recently published books such as Harry and the Dinosaurs series of books and The Whale and The Snail (a current favourite).

For Boo due to her age so far we’ve only looked at Usbourne touchy feely book series her favourites being That’s not my Puppy and That’s not my Piglet.

In recent weeks though I have started looking for new books or classics I haven’t heard of before, mainly for Boo but along the way I’ve spotted some good ones for Monkey. I’ve become quite addicted and looking at my Amazon wishlist it has grew considerably in the last few weeks from a measly 20 to 150 (at last count).

Looking around the internet shows there doesn’t appear to be many baby book reviews and even after tweeting a couple of times for suggestions and tweeting Waterstones no one it seems had any classic or newly published books for babies they could suggest I read.

Therefore I’m going to continue my search for baby books and will review them here alongside books I’ve read with Monkey.

If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear from you.

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