Thursday, 27 November 2014

Mrs Pepperpot Learns to Swim

I love Mrs Pepperpot Learns to Swim, it's a lovely, gentle fantastical tale about a little old lady being envious of the freedom of the children she sees frolicking in the water and deciding to do something about it. I remember reading Mrs Pepperpot when I was a child but I don't think we ever had this one.

My oldest daughter has recently really taken to swimming and is very confident about going on her own to her swimming lessons, as well as loving swimming as a family, so I think this really ticks all her boxes. My youngest daughter really likes it because she spends a lot of time being a frog at the moment and she also likes to swim, but not as much as she likes to pretend she's a frog! Ribbit!

Mrs Pepperpot is very special because she shrinks, usually when she least expects it. In this story she shrinks just as she is jumping into the woodland pool. It suddenly seems like an ocean to her and she panics and is rescued by what seems like a very large frog, who teaches her to swim. She's an unusual heroine, being a middle aged woman whose concerns are mainly domestic, but she's brilliant!

I must say that it has been a real joy rediscovering Mrs Pepperpot and I think we will be reading many more of them in the next year or so - I have my eye on Mrs Pepperpot's Christmas for the season which is nearly upon us (hold back, it's not quite December yet!).

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble by Tracey Corderoy and Joe Berger

Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble is a delightful look at a very alternative type of granny! She's different because she's a witch and this causes all sorts of unusual scenarios! Her granddaughter eventually decides that it might be easier if her granny were to fit it and be a little more normal. But the granny gets quite depressed and finds it very boring so the little girl quickly realises that it's much more fun when her granny is just being herself.

I don't know if it's just me but I don't think that the problem that this book potentially identifies is really a problem for the age group that the book is addressed at. My girls are not bothered at the moment by differences - as far as I can tell and would probably love to have a witch as a granny, as well as keeping their current ones! Maybe as my five year old moves more firmly into school and her relationships with her peers develop this might be something that is more of an issue. Of course it might come in handy in a more subtle way as well, a difference that isn't a witch as a granny for instance! I'll keep you posted (and this book handy!).

However, both my girls really enjoy this book and the rhyming text is lovely to read aloud. The illustrations are great, lots to look at and lovely use of colour. It's one of those great books which we can all read together!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Millie's Marvellous Hat by Satoshi Kitamura

Millie's Marvellous Hat by Satoshi Kitamura proved a hit last week and also provided us with a fabulous half-term activity!
It's the lovely simple tale of Millie who goes into a hat shop after spotting a hat she likes in the window, but when she opens her purse and looks to see if she has enough money to pay she finds it totally bare and so the shopkeeper comes up with an imaginative solution. The text is spare but beautifully written and the illustrations are gorgeous with wry funny touches that mean going back again and again (and again!) is a joy rather than a chore.

We had a lot of fun making our own marvellous hat, although it proved hard to wear for very long! I'm sorry it's not a brilliant photo but you can see the kind of thing we did.

Satoshi Kitamura is actually appearing very soon at the South Ken Kids Festival at the Institut Francais which runs from the 17th to the 23rd November. I wish we could go to this festival, there are more than 50 events on the programme including Quentin Blake, Judith Kerr and Axel Scheffler. You lucky London people!