April/May Kids Reads

Hello all. Apologies for the lack of post last month…..I feel like I have gone Lockdown Loopy. Currently, doing anything more than homeschooling, looking after the kids, cooking endless meals, washing the clothes and cleaning the house feels like it’s too much. I feel like an overstretched piece of chewing gum right now. When lockdown started, I began an Italian course on Duolingo and even that is stressing me out – I have an impressive 65 day streak on the go but the control freak in me won’t let me have a day off!!! Also, as full on as it is being at home, I now feel ever so slightly agoraphobic. Every time I have left my house I have been desperate to get back to it. I feel vulnerable and edgy when I’m not at home. Does anyone else feel like this???

  • Can I Join Your Club by John Kelly. Illustrated by Steph Laberis.

Duck wants to join a club. But he can’t ROAR like Lion or TRUMPET like Elephant. What’s a duck to do?

Do YOU want to join a club where everyone’s welcome? Then this book’s for you!

What good things have come out of being in lockdown due to corona virus. Ummmmm…..I am saving on shampoo because I no longer wash my hair, I am saving on makeup because, well, why bother and I am saving on washing powder because I am wearing the same pair of joggers everyday. I have basically turned into the slob that I was always destined to be. So what have my kids gained???? I think the most important thing they will get out of this experience is they are now in eachother’s club. Maybe not out of choice but Ceci is now in Edith’s club and vice versa. Edie is having to play with Ceci because there is no one else. Ceci is joyous about this. She has always idolised her big sister and she now proudly announces that they are best friends. This experience must be so hard for only children and their parents.

Can I Join Your Club has been a favourite for a while. Duck wants to make some new friends so he asks Lion, Snake and Elephant if he can join their clubs. He tries to roar, hiss and trumpet but unfortunately he fails and his application is DENIED. Duck decides to make his own club. Unlike Lion, Snake and Elephant, Duck lets everyone into his club because you can’t have too many friends.

We love this story. The girls love shouting APPLICATION DENIED and finally APPLICATION APPROVED. It is a great story about acceptance and kindness.

Here’s hoping that at the end of all this, Ceci is still a member of Edith’s club.

  • The 13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

Andy and Terry live in the WORLD’S BEST treehouse! It’s got a giant catapult, a secret underground laboratory, a tank of man-eating sharks and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you’re hungry! Just watch out for the sea monkeys, and the monkeys pretending to be sea monkeys, and the giant mutant mermaid sea monster . . . Oh, and, whatever you do, don’t get trapped in a burp-gas-filled bubble . . . !

Andy Griffith and Terry Denton’s fantastically funny 13-Storey Treehouse is told through a combination of text and cartoon-style illustrations.

At 6, Edie is a pretty confident reader. Like me she would love to read all night. Unlike me, she is generally awake enough to do so. Tonight is a perfect example….it’s 9pm. I’m heading to bed and Edes is still reading. I feel a little bit like we have lost control thanks to lockdown. I can’t seem to get them to go to sleep and I can’t get them to wake up!!!

When it comes to choosing books for 6 year olds I have got it wrong in the past. Milly Molly Mandy went down like a lead balloon. The Tales of Brambly Hedge were declared ‘babyish.’ No, what gave Edie the reading bug is the slightly vomit enducing Rainbow Magic series. There are parents who loathe these books. In my opinion, anything that captures a child’s imagination is all good. I’m happy for her to read them as long as the pink cocktail of glitter is diluted a bit with David Walliams and Roald Dahl etc.

As much as I am well versed in the escapades of Mildred Hubble and Milly Molly Mandy, I am a beginner when it comes to current kids books. I read reviews and listen to podcasts to get ideas. Every Wednesday when I take the girls to tap, their is an 8 year old boy who waits for his sister. Each week he has a new Treehouse book. When I asked him about them he told me that he is now a reader thanks to these books. He adored them. I decided to buy one for Edes to balance out her Rainbow Fairy obsession. Edie has lapped these books up. They are like kid catnip. She has now read the first three so I thought I should embark on them to see what all the fuss is about.

It must be said that the things that capture a 6 year old and a 38 year old imagination are probably very different. When asked, Edie told me that she loved how quick they were to read. I initially laughed at this but actually I think she has a point. I like a book that I can whip through. I love the sense of achievement that comes with being over halfway with a book. Why should a child be any different? With the Treehouse books it is certainly easy to zip through….there are pages with just one picture on, or just a couple of words. For a reluctant child reader it must make them feel great that they can read a book at such speed.

My adult feeling when reading this was that I felt Roald Dahl would have done it better. I’m very biased as I was brought up on Roald Dahl but I just felt that the brilliant detail that pours out of Dahl’s books and captures children’s imaginations was, well, lacking. I wanted to know more about the treehouse and the inventions. The book was so jam packed with ideas and so fast paced but I wanted to know more. It has to be said that the books improve as the series goes on. The later books managed to coax a wry smile from me. I particularly liked Andy Griffiths’s thinly veiled digs at reviewers criticisms were brilliant.

If you have a reluctant reader, they are definitely worth a shot.

Sometimes it’s hard being in the middle… You’re not the biggest, you’re not the smallest, you’re not the cuddliest, you’re not the tallest. And you just don’t know where you fit in.

This is Ceci. She is my middle. She is not as outgoing as her older sister. She is shy. She hates being looked at. She has the most amazing hair which people always comment on. She hates it….”mummy I don’t like people saying things about my hair.” When getting dressed in the morning, she always requests to wear a dress and then asks me worriedly “do you think people will look at me?” She is the complete opposite to her big sister who dresses for the sole purpose of being looked at. When Edie wakes up in the morning she reaches for her lipgloss and clip on earrings….I like to think she is a young Bet Gilroy. Edie often says to me “mummy, I wish people would like my hair like they like Ceci’s.” I guess that’s siblings for you. πŸ’„ πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„πŸ’„

I was worried that Ceci would struggle when Maisie came along but I am happy to say she has impressed me beyond belief. She is very proud of being the only one in our family who has a big sister and a little sister. She tells me frequently that being the middle is very important….”because mummy, a sandwich without a middle isn’t a sandwich at all.” πŸ₯ͺ πŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺπŸ’“πŸ₯ͺ

Lil is a pirate, a good sort of pirate,
and when there is someone to save, she’ll do what is right (if it takes her all night).
Yes, she’ll always be bold and be brave.οΏΌ
Oh the joys of homeschool. When I look back on this crazy year I know I will forever more have a humongous appreciation for teachers. When Edie had her class zoom call last Monday, her teacher said it had been 60 days since she had last seen them. Edie was off for a week before that. Homeschooling has made me a shell of the woman I used to be!! A shell I tell you! Whilst reading the Swashbuckle Lil books with the girls the other night, I started to empathise with the clearly exasperated Miss Lubber. Edie and Ceci hate her. They think she is horrible. I, on the other hand feel her pain – Lil must be a pain in the arse to teach. Since I have started teaching my children I think I need to speak up for the Miss Truchbulls and the Demon Headmasters of children’s literature. Teaching primary kids is an epic feat. It requires the patience of a saint and I now understand why Miss Trunchbull threw her students in The Chokey….I am planning on building one myself. Anyway, back to the book. Lil is a great character for kids. She is tough, brave and canny. My girls love her. The book is told in rhyme so it whips along at a nice speed. It’s a nice book to read aloud to the kids but Edie also reads it herself and the rhyming helps with her fluency. There are two stories in each book. Ceci in particular likes the story Croc Ahoy because Miss Lubber gets covered in poo. POOR BLOODY TEACHERS – she made me read that particular bit again and again. It’s funny, has short chapters, is perfect for KS1 readers and it has brilliant illustrations by Laura Ellen Anderson of Amelia Fang fame.

  • Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to be introduced to a set of books that turn into a HUGE hit. Last month, lovely Aunty Laura sent us this series about Eva Wingdale and her adventures in Treetopolis. Both Edie (7) and Ceci (4) love them. OK they are a little bit sugary but not in a vomit inducing way and for those of you who like your children’s books to have a nice wholesome message you will not be disappointed.

Writing these books as a diary is a brilliant idea. I would have loved this as a child. The layout is perfect for my girls – plenty of lists, pictures and Edie is now a committed diary writer….”mummy, me, Samuel Pepys and Eva Wingdale are the same.” πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ Although there is no Great Fire or Black Death to document in Treetopolis, Eva writes about things that are of utmost importance to my children – friendships, new children in school, horrible people in school, ghosts and weddings!!πŸ˜‚ Rebecca Elliott has covered ALL bases. They would be perfect reading fodder for YR 2 or late YR1 children but they are also lovely books to read aloud.

Hope you all have a lovely month and thank you for reading.

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