Finally, that book review (#1)
Books. They can take you places even when you’re stuck in a queue. They’re the Felicity of every childhood and every adulthood (Latin fēlīcitās, meaning happiness, just in case you did not know). They make for amazing memories. They give you a vacation without limits, right on your couch, a Delos destination every time, if you know how to pick them. Which is why this post, (finally, this post after a sandstorm of sick kids and busy work and broken gates and a whole lot of painting). There are so many books out there and I pride myself on being able to choose a good one (It’s one of my hidden talents, the other being the ability to pack a car or a suitcase really well). So here is my first list of favourites. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
For the Imaginative child
Only A Witch Can Fly. We were given this one by Kai’s bestie. The rhyme is superb, the illustrations are simple and beautiful and the mood is a little dark – I love this for kids as life is not all about rainbows and unicorns pooping rainbows. They have down days too, as little as they are. This feisty witch believes in herself, there is bravery and persistence and a sense of adventure.
I Didn’t Do My Homework Because….. “Because elves hid all my pencils. Because giant lizards invaded my neigbourhood. Because my dog was swallowed up by another dog, so I spent the afternoon at the vet”. And so on. Creative and funny illustrations with a surprise at every turn of a page, this cunning boy with his crafty excuses is just a delight to read about.
For the sensitive child (who may have done something wrong or who may doubt themselves)
I have found this book large and imposing in a magnificent way on many an occasion. It has helped to reassure my 6 year old and it has helped set boundaries and bring grounding to my middle 4 year old child (I hate that term but am learning that it has a place, in the middle lol! – sorry, tired). After reading this one, the kids would often talk about or ask me about it during the day. They would give an example of doing something bad and would ‘ask-state’ that they would still be loved when they do this, even this??! It’s title is: Love is my favourite thing. It is about a dog who do bad things (she can’t resist ice-cream or to tear a pillow as she gets so excited), and even though she is reprimanded, she is still very much loved.
For the child who enjoys reading between the lines
Sarcastic and ironic. If dark humour ever existed for kids, this is it. Not a lot of words, so new readers can follow. A bear has lost his hat (a red triangle of a thing). He questions all the animals and one of the animals he questions is actually wearing it. It’s the rabbit and he lies Trump-style without the bear noticing at first. But when the bear does notice, he runs back and he eats the rabbit – this is implied and never stated. The bear then ends up telling lies when he is asked if he has seen the rabbit. So many life lessons and humour here.
For belly laughs just before bed
Sir Scallywag and the Battle of Stinky Bottom: it’s about King Colin who kept doughnuts and baked beans in his library, together with some old books his dad had put there. He is not interested in books at all, until one day an old dusty book caught his eye…. As soon as you turn to page two to read the words: “One Sunday, Colin told his Queen, Bye diddims, toodle-oo. The royal tum-tum’s grumbling for a little treaty-poo” you will already have them rolling with laughter. Especially if you bring on the voice. Bring on the voice.
For that beautiful kid who is just discovering how to read
Blue Chameleon; the illustrations are superb with a sense of humour all on their own. And the great thing about this one is that the younger sibling who cannot yet read, can join in to name the colours. The book takes you on the journey of the lonely chameleon who starts out blue (of course), then changes to yellow to befriend a banana, then pink to say hello to a cockatoo and so on. Until he finds his multi-coloured friend at the end. Come to think of it, there may even be a deeper meaning here, you make of it what you will.
Good News, Bad News is a tale about a rabbit, a rat and a bear. The good and bad news contrast and alternate as the rabbit and the rat try to have a picnic. It is good news, for example, that they can climb the flagpole but bad news that they then get struck by lightning. The good news is that the bear ran away and so it continues. You can ask your child about different perspectives, why it is good news or bad news and what plans they might make. It ends, of course, with very good news.
It is 4:37am and I can hear the first kid stirring. I hope to post the next chapter of this next week. Take care out there all you brave parents. Keep on reading, stay sane.