Friday, 30 May 2014

Storytime: Big! by Tim Hopgood

We have been BIG fans of Tim Hopgood ever since we came across a copy of 'WOW, Said the Owl', a colourful insight into the world of an owl who decides to stay up all day. I love the simplicity of Hopgood's books, taking themes that young children will engage with and bringing them to life with bold illustrations. Big! has been on our 'to read' pile for a while now, so on a rainy day when we were both feeling a bit poorly, me and Sofia decided that this was the book to brighten us up.

Big! is a refreshingly simple book that celebrates growing up. The stylish art work give life to an endearing little boy to life as he contrasts himself with an ant, a bear and an elephant...The boy grows throughout the story, and by the end he's bigger than his best friend. This book confronts a preoccupation of every child, and every child will recognise and empathise with this little boy's wish to be BIG!

Sofia is forever telling me off when I refer to her as a little girl, always insisting that she is in fact big! We had lots of fun reading the book and exploring the items around us that were bigger than her or vice versa. The book may come in handy for exploring feelings about other children at nursery being bigger or not being able to do everything they would like to do right now. 

To bring our own story time to life, we thought it would be fun to make a life size Sofia drawing.  Using a large roll of poster paper and a felt pen, we set to work. 

Once all the giggling was out of the way, we were ready to set to work in getting messy and decorating our figure. If you plan on having a go at this activity, it's a great way to incorporate a little messy play in to your day. We used a mixture of colouring pens, paint and glued various bits and bobs that we had in our craft box. Let you imagination run wild!

We stuck to a straightforward self-portrait, that allowed Sofia to express how she sees herself in the here and now but you could always ask your little one to draw themselves how they see themselves in the future. A ' want do you want to  be when you grow up ' painting would be fun to keep. Whatever you do, I am sure it will have a fun filled afternoon, like us. We just need to find a place to put our masterpiece.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Father's Day Picture Books

The UK will be celebrating Father's Day on the 15th June, so there is sure to be ties, socks, mugs and beer galore in every shop we walk in. Much like Valentine's Day, I am sceptical about the commercial aspects of Father's Day but it is hard to be too cynical about a day that encourages love and thanks. I am sure that my daughter will be looking to the much more simple and fun aspects of Father's Day, like breakfast in bed and a trip to the park with Daddy.Spending time together on Father's Day can mean a nice walk in the park, treating the family to lunch out or simply enjoying a cuddly story time session together. Here are our favourite Father's Day inspired stories, that offer a different Father's Day gift idea

The Barefoot Books of Father and Daughter Stories

A lively collection of tales about the daughters of kings, merchants, warriors and peasants, and their relationships with their fathers, drawn from different traditions around the world. Discover how fathers learn to love wisely and well, and how daughters achieve independence. The anthology includes such folklore favourite's as ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘The Frog Prince’, as well as introducing less familiar titles.

Shopping With Dad

We love this fun tale from Barefoot Books. It is great for reading aloud to large or small groups and is ideal all year round, not just for Father's Day.Venture to the supermarket with this father-daughter duo on a very lively shopping trip. As their trolley swings down the aisles, a minor calamity occurs. The rhyming, bouncy text teaches an important lesson about accidents and responsibility, all with a healthy dose of humour.

My Daddy is a Pretzel

A book that is for all of the family really but always seems to get a smile out of the Dads that spot it on our shelves.Twist your way into this story that introduces both yoga and professions. The nine yoga poses show how the practise of yoga relates to everyday life, and encourages readers to stretch both their bodies and their minds. There are tips about practise and preparation, yoga life, and having the right attitude. A great book to inspire ongoing child/parent interaction and a unique way to introduce family exercise.

Daddy, Papa and Me

Some children are lucky enough to have not one but two dads and this book celebrates the special bonds within a family with same sex parents. With simple text and engaging illustrations, this book will be great for children with same sex parents or for any families or educators to share stories of diverse family dynamics.

For those children who may not live with a person that they recognise as daddy, Picnic in the Park is a great book that celebrates the wonderful diversity of families. Take a trip with a group of children who all meet up for one big, friendly picnic and see them have fun together, regardless of their family set up.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Junior Book Club: Tales of Mystery and Magic

Tales of Mystery and Magic proved to be a hit for our recent book club sessions, as we hosted a storytelling spectacular. The book, a collection of short stories, was a nice little change from our standard independent reader books. The group was tasked with reading the collection, choosing their favourite short story and planning to bring the story to life during our session.

So off we stepped into a bewitching world of mystery and magic that awaited us. We met singing elves with magical feet; skeletons that move of their own accord; and a heroic blackbird who outwits a powerful king. Inspired by Master storyteller Hugh Lupton, with his exceptional storytelling we had a fun filled session, full of noise and laughter.

Tales of Mystery and magic is a great book to inspire children to read aloud and understand how they can enhance their storytelling skills and it would also make a great session for parents who are looking to keep older children interested in reading. Our session kicked off with a quick brainstorm on what makes good storytelling and how we can best engage with our audience.

After listening to one tale told by Hugh, on the accompanying audio CD the group were inspired to tell their favourite tales. Everybody had brought their own props but we helped out with a selection of drums, bells, audio clips, plastic bags and general bits and bobs to help create some of the spooky sound effects that the stories conjure up. It was wonderful to see the children getting so involved with their chosen stories and brilliant to see the support given to one and other, as the different reading levels  in the group are embraced. The session ended with the group coming together to share the story of ' The Strange Visitor ', with great repetition and just the right level of scary, it was fun way to bring the group together and end the session. We love book club!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

May Book of the Month: Chandra's Magic Light

We are very excited to announce the arrival of May's Book of the Month, as we have been eagerly awaiting it's release for a while. Chandra's Magic Light is an enchanting tale, in the ever increasing multicultural Barefoot bookshelf and is sure to light up a smile on the whole family.

Join sisters Chandra and Deena at the market in Nepal. A man is selling lamps that are powered by the sun instead of kerosene, and Chandra knows the magic solar lamp would help her baby brother's cough. But how will they afford one? As ever, the art work commissioned by Barefoot is exquisite, with dreamy images of Nepal's countryside that makes you want to hop on a plane. This lyrical tale will be a joy to read and also acts as a great educational tool, as you teach your children about Nepal and it's surrounding areas. There is also a craft exercise at the back of the book, that will help you create your own pizza box solar oven!

We realise that we are very gushing about this book but it really is so, so lovely. We love though provoking books, that encourage an understanding of different countries and cultures and more importantly a genuine desire to learn and care about the people that inhabit different countries. We are looking forward to hearing your reviews, so please let us know what you think about Chandra's Magic Light.