Day 1 (Week 1, Day 1)An exciting day this, as we launch the Picture Book Challenge! We've picked three books at random to read, and provided a mini review of each to share with you.
As you can read about in the About section of this blog, these reviews are all designed to be positive. That's not to say that they aren't all 100% honest, but this challenge isn't about saying 'I didn't like this bit, didn't like that bit' etc. - it's about reading as many books as possible and saying what we enjoyed about each, and encouraging others to get involved in reading by seeing what there is to enjoy about them.
With that in mind, let's move onto the three reviews...
1) The White Book by Silvia Borando, Elisabetta Pica, Lorenzo Clerici
Something ironic here, starting a reading challenge with a book that has no words! It's about a boy who paints different colours on to walls, and each time he does so it reveals different animals hidden in the paint, that come to life and interact with him in different ways. An excellent chance though to highlight that you can still enjoy a book together as a family by talking about what is happening in the pictures - after all, half the fun of a picture book is the pictures! Illustrators often include running gags or secondary storylines in their pictures, so it's worth examining them in detail. This is funny, exciting to tell to children as they guess what the different animals will do, and it's got a nice ending to round it off with.
Chris says: It's great fun pointing out what's happening in the pictures of a book and hearing your children's reactions, whether they're laughing or explaining their feelings, and a book with no words is of course based entirely on that! It's a key skill for a librarian to have too, of course...
Josh says: I love the way the animals in the pictures come to life and play with the boy.
Xander says: Doggie! DOGGIE! (N.B. no surprises for guessing his favourite animal in the story!)
2) Mr Large in Charge (The Large Family) by Jill Murphy (Author & Illustrator)
Chances are you've read Five Minutes Peace, the classic story about a mother (Mrs Large) who can't seem to find any time to herself with her family of four children. There are several in the 'Large Family' series, and we've enjoyed them all. This one sees Mr Large promising his sick wife that he will look after the children for the day while she recovers in bed. As most parents would agree, that's never quite how things work out when you're ill...and sure enough, Mrs Large gets constant interruptions throughout the day by her children who let her know everything that doesn't quite go to plan. It's something that those parents will smile at as they can identify with it personally, and at its core is a message of love between families. It's everything you'd expect from Jill Murphy!
Chris says: I can NEVER seem to get any peace when I'm ill! Though, really, there's nothing better than your children to cheer you up when you're under the weather, so I think we'd all secretly admit that every time our children burst in to give us an update we're actually pretty pleased. It's a good one for parents to smile at their own memories!
Josh says: I like looking after Mummy and Daddy when they're ill too!
Xander says: Can I have some water please? (N.B. felt very mean making him wait until the story had finished!)
3) The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Author & Illustrator)
Arrrr, a pirate book be our third choice! And who would pass up the chance to read a pirate book? The perfect opportunity to go on a swashbuckling adventure just before bedtime! Except this time, the pirates come to a sleepy village while they repair their ship, and manage to cause a bit of discomfort for the local villagers! But will the pirates be forgiven when they leave all the residents a little surprise on their way out?
This one is beautifully illustrated, told in a rhyming-style, and makes good fun of people who complain about others by judging them before they know them, and then getting very hypocritical when they've gone. A good message for children not to judge a book by its cover!
Chris: The kids love pirates and they thoroughly enjoyed seeing this crew come and stay. They love the rhythm of a rhyming text, and this is a fairly lengthy-feeling tale so it has plenty of it. There's another book in the series which we've read and thought was great so we'll have to look out for that again later in the year!
Josh says: I liked the rhyming and the pirate ships - giddy up, me hearties! (N.B. He's combining pirates and cowboys a lot at the moment, hence the 'giddy up'!)
Xander says: PIRATES!
So, to summarise Day 1...
Three lovely books to start off our challenge; one with no words, one with regular text, and one with rhyming text! All worth checking out for yourselves, but if you want something completely different then The White Book is a great choice simply for the fact it has no words! Josh and Xander particularly love how the animals come to life and how much it makes them laugh, and the lack of words clearly doesn't affect their enjoyment of the book.
Bring on Day 2!