I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog recently but I thought you might like to look at some of the books I’ve been reading. I’m starting with Ten Sheep to Sleep by Nidhi Kamra.
Sammy Jo counts ten sheep to put her to sleep, but tonight, ten more sheep appear. The new sheep are creating a ruckus. Sammy Jo has to find a way to calm the sheep down, count twenty sheep, and ensure everyone is happy so they can get a good night’s sleep.
There was a lot I liked in Ten Sheep to Sleep. For a start, the title is wonderful and the grandkids ran about chanting it after we’d read it.
I liked that Sammy-Jo was pro-active in problem solving to help the sheep and it was fun seeing the things that the other people in the story counted to help them fall asleep.
I’m not an artist but the illustrations have a painted-in-watercolour effect that adds to the dream-like feel. I did worry that my grandson might complain the book was a bit ‘pink’ but it didn’t seem to offend him.
What the grandchildren thought.
At 3 and almost 5 years old, my grandchildren are below the suggested age range for this book of 5 – 8 years. The idea of counting sheep when you couldn’t get to sleep was not one that they’d encountered so we had to discuss this. Grandson promised he’d try it at bedtime.
They had no problem counting to ten with Sammy-Jo, however they’d not tried counting in two’s. The concept went over the head of the 3 year old but the older one was very interested and we had to try out the idea with his Lego blocks. Older children would probably understand the maths already but the book was a nice way to introduce them to little ones.
The final verdict.
Ten Sheep to Sleep is an unusual book which created some interesting talking points and learning opportunities with my grandchildren. It would be equally useful for early readers or as a picture book.
Love Suzie xx
PS Don’t forget about my March giveaway. Enter below.
Win 5x Jill Murphy picture books in the October Giveaway.
My October Giveaway is for 5x picture books about “The Large Family” by Jill Murphy.
These stories are a firm favourite in our house with both the children and the adults. Which parent doesn’t relate to the long-suffering Mrs Large longing for Five Minutes Peace?
The five books in the prize are:
- Five Minutes Peace
- Mr Large in Charge.
- A Piece of Cake.
- A Quiet Night In.
- All in one Piece.
The competition runs until the end of October and I’ll be announcing the winner on the 1st of November.
Entering is easy-peasey – just answer one simple question. Good luck everyone 🙂
Peep inside the Zoo
One of the new books we acquired over the summer was Peep inside the Zoo by Simona Dimitri. My two and a half year old grand-daughter claimed it right away.
I’m a big fan of Usborne books, and the quality of this book is no exception. It’s a chunky book with a lovely silky feel to the cover and the size is just right for grand-daughter. The illustrations are colourful and attractive, and there are lots of different shaped flaps to lift and interesting holes to peep through.
Penguins shuffle when they walk.
They’re birds that cannot fly.
But when they dive into the water…
and flap their wings like flippers…
they’re super speedy swimmers!
It would be a great book to read to prepare for an actual zoo visit.
One of grand-daughters favourite pages features a gorilla cradling a (sneakily concealed) baby in its arms. All say Aww 🙂
There isn’t really enough text to keep my 4 year old grandson interested for more than a few read-throughs but it’s a great book for the 2-3 year old age group – especially as it’s on offer on Amazon at £3.85 at the moment.
Peep Inside the Zoo is part of a fun series of books and are a must for all lift-the-flap fans.
PS. Don’t forget this months Julia Donaldson giveaway. It ends on Sunday.
Win 5x Julia Donaldson books in the September Giveaway.
I just love Julia Donaldson books… and kids do too. So, it was a no-brainer when it came to choosing my September Giveaway.
The books included in this month’s prize are:
- Stick Man
- The Highway Rat
- Tabby McTat
Answer the super simple question below and you could be the lucky winner.
I’ll be announcing the result on 2nd October, just in time for those cozy autumn nights when all you want to do is snuggle up with a book.
Good luck in the giveaway and happy reading.
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?
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?
And the winner of the June Giveaway is…
There were over 500 entries in my June Giveaway for the 5x Famous Five colour short story books and I heard from lots of raving Enid Blyton fans. It was so nice to meet you all.
I’ll be sorry to part with these books, but the mighty KingSumo has chosen a winner. And it is…
So, well done to Jackie and sorry to everyone else.
The summer sun is burning down here in sunny Wales. Hope it’s shining with you but just in case it isn’t, here’s a photo of Aberystwyth beach.
Book review: Where’s the Dragon by Richard and Jason Hook
We 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.
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.
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 would make a great birthday or Christmas present.
The Tale of Mummyhood
I grew up on a diet of Enid Blyton. Oh, how I wanted to be one of the Famous Five; solving mysteries and having adventures.
The first book, Five on a Treasure Island, was published in 1942. It’s a product of a different age. Even though the oldest of the children is just 12 years old, they roam about the countryside unsupervised; they attend boarding school and have parent’s rich enough to own islands. But that doesn’t take away the fact that our heroes still outwitted criminals, solved crimes and had loads of fun.
What I didn’t know was that Enid Blyton also wrote a series of Famous Five short stories for publication in magazines. These have now been released as books in their own right by Hodder. As I’m working on a middle grade book at the moment, I got hold of a few of the books to see what they were like.
Famous Five colour Short Stories
At 80 pages long, they’re not too long for beginner readers and I was happy to find that they have lost their cutesy 1950’s image and look current and fresh for modern kids. Inside, the illustrations are full colour too, giving them an almost comic book feel.
I did worry whether the 1950’s language might jarr alongside the contemporary artwork but I think it stood up admirably.
Readers of my blog will know I’m a BIG fan of text that complements the illustrations and tried to incorporate that into my own picture book design. Jamie Littler, the artist on the Famous Five books, does this really well.
What are the books about?
Five and a Half-term Adventure
George’s dog Timmy sniffs out an adventure when he spots some suspicious-looking passengers on a train. He is very interested in one of them, but what has he spotted? Can the Famous Five solve this mystery?
Well done, Famous Five
The most famous racehorse in England is being trained in Kirren, and the Famous Five are eager to watch. But when the horse bolts the Famous Five need to think quickly to make sure he isn’t lost or injured. The whole of England is depending on them.
Good Old Timmy
After the Five see a boy being kidnapped at the beach, they set out to find him. But where have the kidnappers hidden the boy? Will Timmy lead them to the answer?
George’s Hair is Too Long
Borrowing some scissors is the beginning of an adventure for the Famous Five, as George manages to get mixed up with some burglars. Julian, Dick and Anne are too busy eating ice cream to realise that George is in trouble! Will the Famous Five manage to catch up with the burglars and save the day?
A Lazy Afternoon
It’s so terribly hot, the Famous Five are having a lazy afternoon…but the gang don’t get the peace and quiet they imagined! What are the men on the motorbikes up to? Can they be stopped?
I really liked this new series. I’m sure they’ll be a hit for children transitioning from early readers to ‘real books’ and reluctant readers will love the colourful pages. They are a great introduction to Enid Blyton’s classic series.
I’ll be giving away copies of the 5 books in my June Giveaway, just answer the easy question below.
Thanks for reading
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.
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.
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.
The 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.
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.
British Books Challenge
Ever mistaken a bear for a dog?
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…
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)
Lily is upset but the great twist at the end of the story is when she looks out in the garden and see’s…
Yep, she’s got it wrong again. Cue hilarious laughter from grandchildren.