Tag Archives: Reading

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl illustrations by Quentin Blake

wp-1469372593956.jpgFollowing on from my last post about the summer reading challenge and the discovery that this year marks the 100th year since Roald Dahl was born I thought I’d review another of his great books Fantastic Mr Fox.

The edition of the book we have is dated 2016 and was published by Puffin Books however it was first published in 1970 by George Allen and Unwin.

The story is about a fox family and the head of the family is Mr Fox or as Mrs Fox calls him Fantastic Mr Fox. They live on a hill in the wood under a large tree. Below is the valley where 3 farmers live farmer Boggis kept chickens, farmer Bunce kept duck and geese and farmer Bean was a turkey and apple farmer. All 3 were mean and no one liked them.

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Mr Fox would go to each of these farms and have the best choice of food from each. However one night the farmers have had enough and wait for Mr Fox to try and shoot him dead. Here begins the story of how crafty Mr Fox and the other animals living in the wood find a way to outsmart the farmers and live in harmony together.

For the older reader the story could be used to examine how foxes are classed as pests for farmers stealing and killing their animals. It could also be used to talk about hunting and there is a great number of descriptive language used which could be useful for students studying this topic.

For the younger child such as 7 year old Monkey it was a great adventure to read what the farmers would try next and to see how Mr Fox would escape.

Monkey enjoyed this story and thought the farmers were “silly”. He rated the book as 7/10 as it wasn’t as funny as other Roald Dahl books.

I remember reading this when I was a child however I was older than Monkey and read it one wet Easter when I was about 9 or 10 therefore at that age I could understand the darker side of the Fox family being hunted and knew that Mr Dahl would have ensured this fox family would come to no harm unlike other foxes. As an adult reading this to Monkey I enjoyed it possibly more than I did as a child and as it had been a while since I had read it I couldn’t remember all of the story. The parts of the story about the farmers trying to plot to kill the family and in particular Mr Fox and the worried fox children in the below page “how will they kill us mummy” I didn’t enjoy but this was only because I know how sensitive Monkey can be thankfully he was enjoying the adventure and the sad parts like this are well balanced with the calmness of Mr Fox and the outlandish ideas the farmers have to capture him. I give this story 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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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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Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

This is a favorite of both mine and Monkeys (I’ve read this story to him since he was 1), it is a simple story and we have a hard back copy.  It’s a story about someone writing to the zoo and asking for a pet it has has flaps with animals hiding behind each one making it an entertaining and educational story for young children and could also be used as an early reader.

I hadn’t realized until writing this review that the story was first published in 1982!

Monkey likes this story as he does the sounds of the animals whilst I read the story and he tells our cats the story if they’re in the vicinity! Monkey gives the story 10/10 – I like this story as it can be used as a way to get a young child to do the sounds/actions of the animals in the story so I give this 9/10 – I just wish it was a little longer as it’s such a sweet little book.

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Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill

Ok I admit this book was one of my favourite’s from my childhood – I never owned it – I apparently got it out of the library repeatedly!

I bought this book when Monkey was a baby and yet we still read it and he still enjoys it.

It’s a well known story with Spot’s mum Sally looking around the house for Spot because it’s dinner time. She looks behind the door but it’s a bear, she looks inside the grandfather clock but it’s a snake, she looks in the piano but it’s a hippopotamus, Sally looks under the stair cupboard but she finds a lion, she also looks in the wardrobe but finds a monkey and under the bed but finds a crocodile.  Spot isn’t in the toybox – it’s full of penguins and he’s not under the mat but finds a tortoise who says Spot’s in the basket.  Sally finds Spot and they have their dinner.

It’s such a simple easy read story it’s the kind of story that babies enjoy for the excitement and the surprise factor with the flaps to see whether Spot might be hiding behind each one but even children who are pre-school still enjoy as they can read the story independently even when they can’t read the words they understand the story and could be used as an easy first reader.

Monkey’s favourite part is the bear hiding behind the door as it’s large and unexpected and I like the hippopotamus in the piano as it’s funny to think it could possibly squeeze in!  I give the story 10/10 but I think that might be partly because it was an old favourite as a child and Monkey gives it 8/10.

 

(I couldn’t resist putting this picture)! 🙂

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Read, Give, and Share with We Give Books!

Read, Give, and Share with We Give Books!

I just found an amazing free resource and I wanted to pass it on to all of you.

We Give Books is a free online library of children’s books that enables your kids to help other children around the world while they’re reading. The best part is, your reading will directly impact the great work of non-profit organizations around the world! Their tagline says it all, “combining the joy of reading with the power of giving.” It’s the perfect tool for parents, teachers, caregivers, and anyone who loves children’s books!

When you go to http://www.wegivebooks.org, you’ll be able to read a special selection of books without a We Give Books account, but you have to sign up to access their full library. It’s definitely worth it, though. It’s just a quick form, and once you’re signed up, you’ll have access to over 150 quality children’s books! There are a lot of familiar classic titles, and even more new ones for us to discover. You can sort the books by age level, genre, author, and seasonal selections in the “Featured” section, so everyone can find something they like.

On the Causes page you can learn more about where your donated books are going. This fall, We Give Books is focusing on early childhood literacy across the United States and supporting great causes like Jumpstart for young children. In the winter, you’ll be able to read to support global literacy and give books to non-profits like Room to Read. They also give you the option to donate to help your book donations reach even more children.

We Give Books is a program of the Pearson Foundation and Penguin Group. Penguin works with its authors to provide an outstanding selection of online books while the Pearson Foundation donates print books to charity partners. We Give Books is a great way to get your children excited about reading and to teach them about the importance of helping others.

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Once Upon a time…

Once upon a time a mummy (me) had a little boy called Monkey. The mummy loved to read as a child and always looked forward to having her own children so that one day she could pass on the imaginative world that can be created from reading interesting and fun stories with equally beautiful illustrations. A long time went by before the mummy had her little boy and she soon introduced him to the picture books she remembered as a child such as the Hungry Caterpillar and Spot the Dog.

As the little boy grew, so did his imagination, his mummy had introduced him to the same imaginative world she had been introduced to many years before.  They went to the library every few weeks getting 6 or even 8 books out at a time (even though they had many books at home already). The mummy soon realized some books were better than others and decided it would be fun to share with other grown-ups which children’s books her little boy loved best and which he didn’t like as much, so the mummy has tried her best at making this blog in the hope it will entertain and delight other grown-ups with children.

The end.

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