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Pre-reading skills: when you know you’re raising a reader
Pre-reading skills: when you know you’re raising a reader

When you know you’re raising a reader

 

My two year old grand-daughter was playing in the bedroom when things became worryingly quiet. I sneaked a peek round the door and she had tucked her teddy’s into bed and was ‘reading’ them her favourite bed-time story, The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

She even turned the book round so they can see the pictures just as I do. How sweet was that?

raising a reader

Pre-reading skills

Sweetness apart, grand-daughter is showing some pretty impressive pre-reading skills.

  • She understands how a book works: she holds in the right way up (even when she shows the book to her audience), she starts at the beginning and turns the pages correctly.
  • She remembers the story and can retell it. It doesn’t matter that she’s not actually reading the words, she’s using ‘book language’ rather than ‘spoken language.’
  • Best of all, she’s motivated by books. Learning to read is hard work and a child who enjoys books is more likely to keep trying. ‘Wanting’ to read is half of the battle.

It was so rewarding to see all those repeat reads I’ve done of The Very Hungry Caterpillar were paying off. Grand-daughter is nailing it.

I’m starting a series of posts about helping your child learn to love reading. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

How are you raising your little reader?

Suzie xx



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Review of pop-up book, Six Brave Explorers

Book review of Six Brave Explorers

I was searching in the loft the other day when I came across some books my own children had owned. Six Brave Explorers is a pop-up book by Kees Moerbeek. My grandchildren immediately claimed it for their own.

Six Brave Explorers

The triangle shape of Six Brave Explorers is intriguing in itself but it doesn’t prepare you for the surprises inside. There’s the ‘rare bird’ (which eats one of the explorer’s but no-one seemed to mind!)

six brave explorers bird

And the hyena (who takes out another explorer)

six brave explorers hyenaIf you’re thinking this all seems a little bizarre, you could be right. Here’s the story in it’s entirety.

Six brave explorers came to Egypt alive. One discovered a rare bird … and now there were five.
Five hungry explorers looking for a store. One asked a Cobra … and then there were four.
Four thirsty explorers taking time for tea. One poured for a panther … then there were three.
Three explorers said, “How do you do?” “Fine,” smiled a hyena … and then there were two.
Two sleepy explorers glad the day was done. ” Good night,” said a crocodile … and then there was one.
One smart explorer finally used his head. He hurried home alone and there he stayed in bed!

OK, it’s not the most interesting plot and, yes, you could use it as a counting book. But you don’t buy Six Brave Explorers for that reason. It’s beauty is in the pop-ups which I have to say have survived my three children and now my grandchildren admirably well.

Shadow Play

We’ve had this story at bedtime for over a week now and, quite by accident found out it is brilliant for shadow play on the bedroom wall. I tried and failed to take a good picture of this but I’m sure you can imagine the crocodile casts a wonderful shadow when back-lit by a torch.

six brave explorers crocodilWere all these disappearing explorers scary? Did the teeth on the crocodile silhouette give the grandchildren nightmares? Not at all. It’s still the book that the 2 year old and the 4 year old chooses.

Six Brave Explorers is now out of print but copies can still be found on Amazon.

This was an unexpected find and a great hit.

Happy reading

Suzie xx



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Book review: Where’s the Dragon

Book review: Where’s the Dragon by Richard and Jason Hook

Where's the DragonWe have a new favourite story in our house. Where’s the Dragon?, written and illustrated by father and son duo Richard and Jason Hook, is a book with gorgeous pictures full of hidden dragons.

Where's the Dragon

With over 70 dragons hiding in trees, mountains and lakes, this is the Where’s Wally of the dragon world. It has fantastic embossed pages and shiny spot laminations which makes the dragons really pop. My grand-daughter loves the ‘bumpy’ feel of this book. At £9.99 it was quite expensive but it is a hardback and doesn’t show any signs of wear after our many, many readings. I think it was well worth the money.

Where's the Dragon

The story tells of George and his grandfather who go on a ‘dragon hunt.’ George can see dragons everywhere but grandfather doesn’t see any… even after they eat his boat. (Grand-daughter loves that part).

Where’s the Dragon has a quaint old-fashioned feel and the dragon is super cute.

Where's the Dragon The suggested age range for the book is 4 – 7 years but grand-daughter loves it and she’s only two.

Where’s the Dragon would make a great birthday or Christmas present.

Happy reading

Suzie xx




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Check out the latest book review of Things Evie Eats

Check out the latest book review of Things Evie Eats

It’s always exciting when you get a book review so I wanted to share the awesome review of Things Evie Eats that I received from the lovely Karen over at  The Next Best Thing to Mummy.

This is a delightful book with fantastic illustrations

Things Evie Eats

Especially useful to parents and carers who have a fussy eater

Reviews are like gold dust to authors. You can read the full review HERE while I do my happy dance.

happy dance photo

Thanks, Karen.

Suzie xx



Book review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

Book review: Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

I was really happy to win a copy of Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane recently in a giveaway on GetKidsIntoBooks. I thought it looked like a great story to share with the grandchildren. Here’s how we got on.

pilot jane and the runaway plane

My grandson is into planes at the moment. His favourite toy is “Dusty Crophopper” 🙂 So he was excited to see a new book about a plane. He wasn’t bothered that the plane was pink and flowery in the slightest but I was a little surprised by it’s colour given the books clear attempt to challenge gender stereotypes.

The illustrations are bright and colourful with enough detail for us to talk about, and I loved the characterization of Pilot Jane. Grandson is also a big fan of rhyming text, so that was another point in the books favour.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

The Pilot Plot

The story tells how Pilot Jane and her plane, Rose, go on lots of exciting journey’s. They earn such a great reputation that the Queen asks them to fly her to a party.  Unfortunately, Rose eats ‘cake fuel’ the night before and wakes up with ‘plane flu.’ which means that Jane has to take the Queen in ‘Mighty Mitch’.

Naughty Mighty Mitch is cross that his new pilot is a girl.

Mitch groaned: “A girl pilot! Bother and drat!

I’ll bet she’s slow – or a big scardey cat!”

He starts to behave badly to scare her and to show off. (Grandson liked that he was naughty lol) But there’s a storm coming and that’s where things start to go wrong. Happily, Pilot Jane has the necessary skills to bring the situation under control and the pair ends up working together and becoming friends.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway PlaneThe story kept grandson’s attention the whole time. He insisted on a second and third reading straight away and asked, “Where’s the new book about the plane?” on his next visit. That makes Pilot Jane a definite hit.

Despite the message – girl’s can be pilot’s too – the last line was particularly good.

Whatever the weather, we work together,

Hurray for Girl – and Boy – Power Forever.

Final verdict

After the ‘girl bashing’ in the book I reviewed last, it was nice that the story fostered some much needed gender co-operation. In fact, I grew to like the pink plane. This was a book that showed girls can be girly, as well as strong and able.

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane

British Books Challenge 2017

British Books Challenge

Pilot Jane and the Runaway Plane is written by Oxford-based writer, Caroline Baxter so it was a perfect choice for my British Books Challenge.  You can read my previous reviews here.

Suzie xx




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Ever mistaken a bear for a dog? Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower. Book Review.

Ever mistaken a bear for a dog?

silly doggy

Come on, it’s an easy mistake to make.

Silly Doggy! by Adam Stower is a very funny book that always makes my grandchildren laugh.

The story goes:

Lily, sees something in her garden.

It was big, brown and hairy. It had four legs, a tail and a big, wet nose, and Lily had ALWAYS wanted one…

Silly Doggy

Oops! My grandchildren love pointing out she’s got it wrong.

Lily does all the usual ‘doggy’ things with her new pet. She takes it for a walk, tries to teach it tricks and gives it a bath. But Lily’s parents put notices up around the neighbourhood and find the bear/dog’s owner. (Yes, really)

Silly Doggy

Lily is upset but the great twist at the end of the story is when she looks out in the garden and see’s…

Silly Doggy

Yep, she’s got it wrong again. Cue hilarious laughter from grandchildren.

British Books Challenge 2017Adam Stower is an award winning UK Author/Illustrator who has published books with such awesome titles as The Diary Of A Monster CatcherSlam!: A Tale of Consequences and Grumbug!

Silly Doggy! was my March book for the British Books Challenge 2017. It’s a fun book about mistaken identity and I will be looking out for more by Adam Stower.

Suzie xx



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Book review: The Big Adventures of Tiny House:

Tiny House

I was really excited to receive an advance copy of The Big Adventures of Tiny House by Susan Schaefer Bernardo.

The Blurb

An old farmhouse gets recycled into something new: Tiny, a little house with a big heart and wheels. With the help of his friend Big Truck, Tiny travels thousands of miles across America. Along the way, he meets cool new friends like Shiny (an Airstream), Waverly (a houseboat) and Buster (a converted school bus). In the end, Tiny realizes that he has exactly what it takes to be a real home.

Sounds fun.

I got the grandchildren to put it through its paces.

Tiny HouseFirstly, the four-year old is big into rhyme at the moment, so the rhyming text was a success. He thought it was hilarious when I got my tongue tied on,

If you’re looking for adventure, just follow me,

to the axle-hoppin,’ wheel-stomping, Tiny House jamboree‘.

He also likes anything with wheels and he’d never seen anything resembling the quirky tiny houses. It was also good when he got to see the hammers and saws used to change the farmhouse into a house on wheels.

Tiny house goes on his adventures around America, stopping at New Orleans, Texas and the Rocky mountains. Grandson liked the maps and the place names didn’t phase him – I don’t suppose he would have known British places so they made no difference.

There was slightly too much writing to keep the attention of my two-year old grand-daughter.  but she enjoyed looking at the pictures and shouted ‘Beep Beep’ every time she spotted Tiny House.

The illustrations

The pictures are gorgeous and there was lots of detail for us to look at and talk about.

Tiny House picture

The verdict

This is an unusual and fun book which both me and my grandchildren enjoyed.

It’s message is a lovely one:

He could be a home anywhere, because home wasn’t a place,

Home was a feeling, a smile on your face.

Although my grandson concluded he wouldn’t like to live in a tiny house because he’d never know where to find it. You have to laugh.

The Author/Illustrator

This is the third book by talented author/illustrator combo Susan Schaefer Bernardo and Courtenay Fletcher. Best friends since they met during a Mommy and Me class, their other books are Sun Kisses, Moon Hugs and The Rhino who swallowed a Storm, which was co-authored with Reading Rainbow host, LeVar Burton.

Order information

The book is due for release on April 25th but it’s available to pre-order from www.ShopOnceUponaTime.com.  If you order before 31st of March, you could win a $50 gift certificate. The author is also donating a portion of sales to Makes a Village, an organization that builds tiny houses to help people facing homelessness.

Tiny House preorder

Happy reading

Suzie xx


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Things Evie Eats book video
Things Evie Eats book video

Things Evie Eats book video

Remember the trouble I had making the video for Better Buckle Up? I’m happy to report the Things Evie Eats book video went far more smoothly. (Probably only a pain point 4/10)

A video is a great way to get a feel for a book before you buy from a new author and is good for entertaining your child when you’re busy.

… I still cringe when I hear my accent though lol.

Hope you and your little ones enjoy the story.

Suzie xx

PS You can get a copy of Things Evie Eats for Kindle or in paperback … for the times when reading it yourself with snuggles are in order.



 

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It was bedtime in the Jungle: book review for your little adventurers

It was bedtime in the Jungle: book review for your little adventurers

Bedtime in the Jungle

We have a new favourite book in our house. It was Bedtime in the Jungle by John Butler is a gorgeous picture book. Honestly, I want to cuddle up with the animals as their parents settle them down to sleep as night falls myself.

bedtime in the jungle

There are crocodiles and rhinos, monkeys and wolves and a fold up extended page with baby elephants.

bedtime in the jungle

The book works on two levels. On one hand it is a counting book; count the baby animals (and even the little white moths if you’re feeling enthusiastic).

On another level it has a gentle repeating text with just the right amount of rhyme to settle down baby humans too.

It was bedtime in the jungle, And the stream was shining blue,

A monkey made her bed, For her babies two.

“Rest,” said the mother. “We’ll rest,” said the two.

And they rested in their bed, By the stream shining blue.

bedtime in the jungle

bedtime in the jungle

bedtime in the jungle

There is so much to see and talk about in the artwork which is realistic yet cuddly.  It comes highly recommended by me and the grandchildren.

British Books Challenge 2017John Butler is a UK author/illustrator who has written more than a dozen books for children and illustrated over sixty. His books have been published in more than 20 countries. It was Bedtime in the Jungle is my February book in the British Books Challenge.

Suzie xx

PS This is the second time I’ve written this post due to my website being hacked! Some people need more to fill out their day.


 


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Better Buckle Up book video – read for you by SuzieW

Better Buckle Up book video

There were many stages in the making of Better Buckle Up book video.

  1. The making of the flash file that turned the pages of the ebook.  Pain point 6/10 – only involved slight swearing at InDesign.
  2. The recording myself reading the ebook and turning the page at the same time.  Pain point 7/10 – used Camtasia for screen capture. Hard to keep the mouse in the right place to turn pages nicely.
  3. The hating of hearing my voice on the recording. Pain point 10/10 – I thought my Northern accent had mellowed! Spent more time listening to voice artists on Fiverr. Couldn’t decide. Went back to me.  
  4. The making of the animation for the Intro and Outro of the video. Pain point 0/10 – because I didn’t do it 🙂
  5. Cutting the video together. Pain point 8/10 – involved copious amounts of swearing at Premiere Pro. Was OK once hubby decided I was unteachable and just did it for me.
  6. The adding of the music.  Pain point 9/10 – not that this stage was unpleasant but it took forever to audition possible sound files in Audioblocks library. Then a further forever to cut them together with the video.  

 

Hope you like it.

Suzie xx



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