Tuesday, 27 March 2012

You Choose by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

One of our current favourite books is You Choose by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart. I decided to get a copy when I noticed that Rosie was really enjoying commenting and assigning various things to people in her life. For example we read one book in which a character enjoys a plate of cakes and she likes to decide who would like the cream one and who would like the chocolate one etc.

It's a perfect book for interacting and talking about different things. But it's not a book to gently sit and read before bedtime. It can take a l-o-n-g time to get through if Rosie wants to assign every picture to a person she knows! It explores different environments to live, different people, different foods, different modes of transport and different hobbies. It really is a lovely mixture of all things fascinating to young children. One of my favourite pages is the 'jobs' page because it's fun talking about the jobs people do and Rosie has quite strong opinions on what she would like to do!

The illustrations by Nick Sharratt are witty and colourful and instantly recognisable. The text by Pippa Goodhart is gentle and compliments the nature of the book without being too intrusive. Because it's almost a catalogue of things the text doesn't really need to be descriptive and so it's more suggestive which is just right. I think this is a book that will grow with us and is also great for sharing with more than one child. We haven't done that yet but I can imagine that you could have a lot of fun with a couple of kids reading this.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Cinderella app from Nosy Crow

I haven't posted about apps as much as I would like but that's partly because I haven't managed to treat myself to an iPad yet!! But they do work as well on my iPhone (and other non-Apple devices I'm sure).

To my shame although I've read about the brilliance of the Nosy Crow apps for the past year or so it wasn't until World Book Day when they were all reduced that I managed to buy any. But I did make up for it by purchasing three in the same day. Bizzy Bear on the Farm, The Three Little Pigs and Cinderella.

Rosie loves all three of them but her absolute favourite is Cinderella. At the moment instead of bringing me a book to read in the morning she is requesting Cinderella on my iPhone. It's ok though - we just read five books instead of three in the evening!

The whole Cinderella app is just brilliant. It has three different setting so you can 'Read and Play', 'Read to Me' and 'Read by Myself'. We use 'Read and Play' the most. As you move through the story the text is read to you but you can then tap on the different characters to hear what they have to say. There are lovely interactive bits such as helping Cinderella to clear up, opening up the invitation to the King's ball, the user appearing in the mirror on the mantelpiece, collecting the mice for the coach and horses, choosing the colour of Cinderella's ball gown (always has to be pink according to Rosie - agggh!) and my personal favourite, changing the music the Prince and Cinderella are dancing to. Finally you can help the Ugly Sisters and Cinderella try on the glass slipper.

I like the voice-over by the child who reads the story and the other characters as well as the music that has been used. The artwork is beautiful too. All in all I think this sets a very high standard in story book apps. We love it! Although we are constantly acting out the wedding of Cinderella at the moment. And the app does nothing to dim Rosie's obsession with ice cream. But that will be lifelong if I'm anything to go by!!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Big Book of My World by Kali Stileman

We were given Big Book of My World a while ago and at first I didn't think that Rosie liked it that much but I think that maybe she was a little young for it and has grown into it now. Or maybe we're more used to reading hardback storybooks and we found the idea of a non-fiction book hard at first.

On the back cover it says 'It's a one-stop, fun shop to give every toddler the best start on the road to learning.' It definitely is jam-packed with content! First concepts are well covered and first words and pretty much everything really! Rosie calls it the 'Owl book' and there are a lot of owls in it, including one to find on every double page.

What I'm finding at the moment is that we're dipping into it every day and spending at least ten minutes looking at a couple of pages. It's not the type of book you would read from cover to cover but it's definitely our favourite to have a quick dip into at the moment! It's probably also worth mentioning that it won an award at the Right Start Best Toy Awards 2011.

I'm hoping there is an app on the horizon since some of the spreads must have been designed with them in mind. We're already trying to drag and drop some of the items from edges of the 'First Word' scenes to complete them. And I can totally see the artwork animated. Hurry up Random House!

Kali Stileman is also the author/illustrator of the lovely Peely Wally book which was shortlisted for the Red House Book Awards and is being distributed by Booktrust's Books for Babies scheme in 2012. I do believe there is a follow-up to Peely Wally coming later this year as well!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

World Book Day! My five favourite picture books for under fives.

In honour of World Book Day I thought I'd do a special post. I've just chosen a few of my favourite picture books for the under fives. There are so many brilliant ones and I'm hard-pressed to choose just five but I thought I ought to put a limit. Otherwise I'll be writing this all day!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I know this is everywhere and it's hard to escape it but there is a reason for that. The artwork is incredible and the book is brilliant. The life cycle of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly has to be one of the most incredible nature stories to share with children. This book manages to pack in counting and days of the week, not to mention food, as well. The little die-cut holes are perfect for small fingers wanting to explore. At the moment when we read this we tend to stop at the page with all the food and decide who out of everyone we know would like a pickle or an ice cream or a slice of cheese. It can take a while! I keep meaning to do some butterfly painting with Rosie to compliment this book. Painting half a butterfly and then folding the paper to reveal the other half is something I know she'll love!

We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Is there anything better than hearing a classroom of children chant this story? It seems to ingrain itself into everyone's consciousness by the age of five! I've got great plans for a reenactment of the story when we're next in Norfolk although Rosie might still be a little young. I just need to find some long grass, a muddy place, a shallow river, a snow storm, a wood and a bear!

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This is such a lovely round up of classic fairy tales and nursery rhymes in one lovely rhyming story with gorgeous pictures. It's been read so much that we can now all chant it off by heart. And if you're feeling a bit gloomy and wintry is there anything better than looking at the lovely plum pie in the sun. Visions of English orchards and bygone days!

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Who doesn't want to go to a cafe in their nightie and eat sausages and chips for tea? An exciting yet gently reassuring story that we read over and over. Part of it's charm is it's domesticity, I like seeing into other people's store cupboards! I would have put Mog the Forgetful Cat in here as well but I think Tiger wins.

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

The story of poor lost toy Dogger and his very worried owner Dave is one that every child can relate to. Although the text is quite long we always seem to get through it easily. It's a classic!

So there you have it. Probably a little bit too traditional and safe for some. What would you have chosen?