Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Fancy Dress Farmyard by Nick Sharratt

'There's a party at the farmyard'! This is a fun vibrant picture book - it's actually a little young for my three and half year old but she still loves it. What's great is that it's suitable to read to both my children even with a three year age gap. It has rhyming text (tick for pre-speakers), bold contrasting colours (great for developing those eyes) and lots of interactivity (ideal for the 3 year old). Now to be perfectly honest the six month old doesn't do much more than sit on my knee and try to grab the book to shove in her mouth but I know that she is learning (deep down!) about what you do with a book and the great fun you can have with it.
The rhymes are short and not always that wonderful! But my three year old loves to finish them off for me or even recite them in total (sigh - yes it's one of those, we've read it every night for the last month. It's going to be time to hide it soon!). She also loves to shout out who is hiding beneath the fancy dress costume and when we lift the flap to reveal we make the animal noise, for the benefit of the 6 month old.

At the end of the book you lift the flaps of the barn and all the animals in their fancy dress are revealed. We then always have a heated discussion which goes like this:
'Mummy, which would you like to be?' 
'I'd like to be the pirate.'
'No, Mummy, you can be the princess or the fairy.'
'But I want to be the pirate.'
'Girls can't be pirates.' (shouting!)
'Girls can be anything they want to be.'
'No, you have to be the fairy.'
'Ok, but girls really can be anything they want.'
'And boys can too, ok?'
'No, mummy. I'm the princess and you're the fairy.' (pause) 'Daddy can be the pirate.' 

I think I've even been guilty of saying 'girl power' in one of these discussions before. I just cannot believe that my daughter can be so gender specific! It will get better won't it? I won't be having this argument when she's twelve (to pick an age randomly!). One of the first times we had this discussion she got so upset she started to cry about it. I don't think I ever envisaged having a daughter sobbing her heart out about not being a princess when I first had kids.

For all the crazy politics that go with this book it's definitely one of our current favourites and as I mentioned it is great to read with different aged children. 

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