Day 38 (Week 6, Day 3)
First of all, please ignore the horrific formatting of this post. No matter what I do, whenever I move the mouse Blogger seems to drag the text around with it and I just can't get it to stop, so there are random gaps appearing in places or text bunching up round photos, and it's taking too much time to find a solution, so please accept my apologies as I'm fed up now and just leaving it like it is, however that might be!
Oh, it feels good to finally be well enough for some bedtime reading again with the kids! Nasty, nasty stomach bug now over and done with, so finally felt like we could resume the Picture Book Challenge tonight. Three brand new books that we've never read before is a very exciting prospect, with the hope that we'd discover some new classics to add to our 'must re-read' pile.
Let's have a look at what tonight brought us:
I LOVE the penguin on the front cover of this book! I love the illustrations throughout, in fact. They're just that bit different from the normal and ever so slightly quirky, in the same way that Oliver Jeffers and Jon Klassen have such a recognisably different style to anything else out there, and I'd love to see more of Rob Biddulph's work. The story itself made the kids laugh as various animals across the tale tried to drag our hero penguin down from the sky by his kite tail, and I loved the way their adventure was tinged with just a hint of the fantastical as they made an unlikely journey from the polar regions to the jungle and back (with an uninvited visitor on the return journey).
It's got me really excited to read more of Rob Biddulph's stories, so I'll be ordering in everything that he's done up to this point! It's great to discover an author who instantly has you eager to read more of their work - wonderful stuff!
Chris says: Sometimes a book just hits all the sweet spots for you, and Blown Away has done just that for me. Illustrations that make me smile just from the front cover, and a plot that's just delightful with it's slightly liberal distance from Antarctica to jungle. Loved it!
Josh says: I like when the polar bear was picked up by the kite too.
Xander says: Giraffe! Monkey! Elephant!
Well, if you want a book that has an insane number of little ideas happening on every page then this is the book for you! It's about a boy (Ben) leaving his dog with his grandad while he goes on holiday and the list of instructions that he writes, and they are numerous to say the least! They're also delightfully hilarious all the way through, and the illustrations are incredibly effective and beautifully drawn. Anyone who owned a pet as a child will be able to sympathise with Ben in this situation, as I remember it being incredibly difficult to leave our cats in the care of someone else while we went on holiday, and if I'd ever thought of leaving written instructions they might well have become as extensive as these. Nearly all the double page spreads have a new set of instructions told in a slightly different way each time, which takes so much imagination and creativity to keep making them that little bit different, and gives the family reading together a rich and varied set of things to talk about.
There's so much going on that this is perfect for those who like to stop and discuss what they're seeing with their children as they read - there's no way you can run out of things to talk about in this story!
Chris says: I might not be much of a dog lover (I'm a cat person) but this spoke to me perfectly as someone who hated being away from my pets as a child. The sheer amount of differing instructions and ways of telling them that Alex Latimer has created for this story is astonishing, and I love to see books with so much detail in the illustrations as it means children really study them to discover every treat.
Josh says: I like when the dog jumped in the bath.
Xander says: Woof woof! Bad dog!
Now, I'm well-known amongst our friends as having exceptional dancing skills (don't try to deny it, guys...), but I don't think I ever dreamed about finding a book that tried to teach the kids and I three new types of dance! Oh, how they loved this book as it encouraged them to get up and try the same dances that Alfredo tried, however unsuccessfully the titular character may have initially been! It's a book full of delightfully quirky images (just look at Alfredo on the front cover - if that's not a groovy looking frog then I don't know what is!) and a story about not worrying whether you're cool enough for everyone else, just being happy to do your own thing. This would be perfect for any storytime session in a library or a school, knowing that you could get all the kids on their feet and joining in too - you can guarantee that there'd be a fair number who would pick it as their favourite book after that!
Chris says: We had to do all the dances from this book several times before bed! What an absolutely fantastic way of engaging children with the story! Exhausting when you have to keep dancing, yes, but well worth it to see just how much the kids enjoyed it. Marvellous stuff!
Josh says: I loved being able to dance along; it was so much fun!
Xander says: On your marks, get set, go!
So, to summarise Day 38...
It's been an exceptional day for exciting picture books! We read books full of imagination, humour, and excitement, discovering work by Rob Biddulph and Alex Latimer for the first time, and reminding ourselves why Sean Taylor is always going to entertain us, with Chris Garbutt's quirky and colourful illustrations showing us exactly how to dance in several groovy fashions.
I'd highly recommend that anyone with a love of fun picture books copies Day 38 and reads the three of these one evening. We guarantee you'll finish family reading time with huge grins upon your faces, with exciting dreams soon to follow!
Books Read: 88/1000 (8.8%)