Sunday, 27 May 2012

Evies Mad Hair Day: Review

Title: Evie's Mad Hair Day
Author/Illustrator: Shane McG
First Published: Templar 2005
This Edition: Templar 2006
Found: Borrowed from library

What's it all about?
Evie has lots to get done in the morning; having a stretch, getting dressed and eating her breakfast. So is it any wonder that she hasn't got time to brush her hair?! She's having a mad hair day. Who cares? Not Evie, she has much more important things to take care of; like boxes that are really cars and brooms that are really horses... She really is too busy brush her hair, that is, until she sees her reflection in the mirror...

I thought this was a lovely story with a great character voice. Very child-like and funny. The illustrations complemented the style of language.
I loved the reasons Evie gave for not brushing her hair and how busy she was in her imaginative play. I also thought it had a good ending with Evie admiting that maybe it was good thing she got round to brushing her hair after all!
It takes a simple, every day snippit of a child's routine and turns it into a a delightful story

OJ could identify with parts of Evie's routine and particularly liked Evie riding in the car!

Book worm rating:
out of 5!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Hugless Douglas : Review

Title: Hugless Dougless
Author/Illustrator: David Melling
First Published: Hodder Children's Books 2010
This Edition: Hodder Children's Books 2010
Found: Borrowed from library

What's it all about?
In a deep, dark cave, a brown bear named Douglas wakes up and decides he needs a hug. So he gets out of his pyjamas, brushes his hair, puts on his scarf and goes in search of one.
He tries everything, but the hugs just don't seem right somehow. He also seems to annoy a lotof the other inhabitants in the process...

It turns out the best kind of hugs are the ones much closer to home in the arms of the person he loves most!

The story is simple, with a lovely message about the best kind of hugs coming from the ones we know and love the most.
The story is full of descriptive/positional language that will develop a young child's understanding and vocabulary. This includes words such as big, heavy, tall, bottom, middle etc.

The story itself is amusing, but what makes it hilarious and a pleasure to read aloud, are the pictures. It kept me giggling. I absolutely love Melling's artwork.
Douglas has so much expression and the situations the pictures portray are quirky and a lot of fun.

For example, Douglas tries to hug a bush that looks cosy, but it runs away! There are legs sticking out of the bottom with lots of pairs of eyes within the leaves. It's Douglas's outstretched arms and dumb-struck expression that makes me giggle. There is also a picture where Douglas has his arm down a rabbit hole, which "He felt something long-eared and rabbity and gave it a tug..."
There is just so much that could be discussed with a youngster in the pages.

Over all, it's a lovely story accompanied by some wonderfully funny illustrations.

OJ really enjoys the story, especially the last page with all the illustrations of various hugs. He  demands that we go through them all at least twice...

Book worm rating:
out of 5!

Scruffy Bear And The Six White Mice : Review

A very quick-thinking bear
Title: Scruffy Bear And The Six White Mice
Author/Illustrator: Chris Wormell
First Published: Jonathan Cape 2011
This Edition: Red Fox 2012
Found: Borrowed from library

What's It All About?!
Scruffy bear does not like the look of the gloomy woods, but when he hears the frightened squeaks of some little animals, he just has to see what the matter is.
He discovers six, frightened mice who fear they will be gobbled up by other creatures in the wood.
Scruffy bear decides to help.

They come across an owl, fox and a snake who are all on the look out for mice. Each time, Scruffy Bear tells the mice to curl up and tuck in their tells to fool the animals. Their is a close shave when one mouse forgets to tuck in their tail, but quick thinking Scruffy Bear finds an explanation.

It's not until the end of the book when the three predators realise that they have been fooled, but is it too late?!

What really does strike you when you read this to your little one, are the beautiful illustrations. The characters are so cute and drawn so well, giving them life and expression.. The scenery really give the characters a home too.

There is a beautiful double page, illustrating the faces of the snake, fox and owl at the point where they stop to realise that they have been fooled and the six white balls were actually mice. It is absolutely fantastic.

I felt the story was rather clever and imaginative. It was simple to follow and really engaged OJ's interest and he really wanted the mice to get away.

I thought it was creative how each time they bumped into an animal, Scruffy Bear had to come up with an explanation for the six white "balls". 

A clever story but kept simple and easy to follow. Children will want to find out what happens to the mice and if they make their escape.

OJ loves the part of the story where the animals realise that they have been tricked and can retell parts of the story especially the following:

"...and then the snake said, moon apples? That's ridiculoussssssssssss!"

Book worm rating:
 out of 5!

Thursday, 3 May 2012

The Tiger Who Came To Tea - Review

A timeless classic...
Title: The Tiger Who Came To Tea
Author/Illustrator: Judith Kerr
First Published: William Collins Sons and Co Ltd 1968
This Edition: Harper Collins Children's Books 2006
Found: Borrowed from library

What's It All About?!
Ding-Dong... Sophie and her mummy have just sat down to tea and there is someone at the door, we better see who it is!

"It can't be the milkman because he came this morning.
It can't be the boy from the grocer because this isn't the day he comes.
And it can't be daddy because he's got his key."

An unlikely guest comes to  tea, politely eats and drinks everything in sight and then leaves, albeit politely!

With nothing left in the house for daddy's supper, Sophie's mummy is at a loss at what to do next. When daddy returns home, they tell him what happened. Daddy has a good idea and everything is put right.

An absolute pleasure to share with OJ. A simple, easy to follow story with a lovely ending.

The illustrations are clear and uncluttered. They prompted OJ into talking about; and recognising his own experiences in them. (Bath time and how he enjoys sausages for tea were amongst a few!)

The story is based around a child's everyday experiences (apart from the tiger of course) and so a child can relate to the story. There is also a scene where the family go out to a cafe in the dark, which brought up lots of talking points. Night and day, visits to a cafe, what the characters ate, the fact the vehicles in the picture had their lights on etc.

One thing that did stand out, was the time in which it was written. I had to explain to OJ what a milkman and grocer boy was; but this did not affect our enjoyment of the story.

I liked that the tiger was so polite, yet so rude at the same time. OJ's shocked expression due to the tiger consuming all the sandwiches and buns was so funny. We also liked that because the tiger had drank all the water in the tap, Sophie couldn't have her bath... What a marvellous excuse not to have one!

After reading this to OJ; the nursery nurse trained part of my mind was inspired. The book could be linked into a range of topics within a childcare setting.
Amongst them was the idea that this book would be a wonderful addition to a home corner/role play space. Children could be encouraged to think about who (or what) they would want to invite for tea and what would happen on their visit. In this way it would encourage and develop a child's imagination.

On the whole, I would recommend this as a must-share-and-read for youngsters.

"Naughty tiger... It's a naughty tiger mum-mum!"

OJ thought this was brilliant. When daddy came back from work, Ollie set about telling him about the furry, stripy tiger...

Book worm rating:
 out of 5!

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Amazing Authors #1

Cast your mind back to your childhood and your earliest memory of books, What was being read to you? What did you read for yourself? Chances are, that book is also loved by millions of children today.

Beatrix Potter, Eric Carle, Enid Blyton, Dr Seuss,  Roald Dahl; these are but the handful of amazing authors that come to mind. Books that have stood the test time and have remained favourites. Favourites that I read to children, and those I read to my own.

I thought it would be cool to look at some of these authors in a bit more detail, followed by a review of one of their books.

Judith Kerr

Judith Kerr is the author illustrator of  many well-loved children's picture books, amongst these are the the Mog the cat stories and the title "The Tiger Who Came to Tea"

I really loved the Mog series when I was at school, and remember them being read often at story times. I even remember drawing a picture of Mog for art with pastels.

Judith Kerr was born in 1933, Berlin. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. The family escaped from Germany in 1933 when she was nine years old. The family passed through Switzerland and France before arriving finally in England in 1936.

Judith dreamt of being a famous writer as a child, yet she only started writing and drawing books when her own children were learning to read.

Judith admits that she was"enchanted by the strangeness of cats" and the 17 books of Mog, were inspired by Judith's own cat (also named Mog) and her antics. (With some other cat stories from friends!) The children of the story, Nicky and Debbie have the same second names of her own two children and their father Mr Thomas was based on her husband.

She lives in London, the same house she has lived in since 1962.She says that since the death of her husband writing has become more important than ever[ and she continues to write and illustrate new children's books with Twinkles, Arthur and Puss published in 2008 and One Night in the Zoo in 2009.

Here is a link to a short interview with Judith Kerr which I thought was lovely; she takes us into her work room where she creates her stories and illutrations.
Soon to follow: The Tiger Who Came To Tea review.