Day 21 (Week 3, Day 7)
And just like that, we've reached the end of Week 3! We've had a few days over the last three weeks where we've not read any books towards the Picture Book Challenge due to the kids falling asleep on the way back from trips out etc., but we're still well on target to read 1000 picture books in 2017. We're re-reading some old favourites and discovering some fantastic new ones as well, both newly published and from the last few years, and we hope that some of you have spotted some books that you'd like to read as a family too!
So, here's how we finished off the third week of the Picture Book Challenge...
1) Big City Kitty - Susie Linn (Author) & Lindsay Dale (Illustrator)
We're a cat family first and foremost, and so we'll happily lap up anything to do with a feline friend, even if it looks like the kitty in question might end up in a bit of peril! This particularly little kitty ends up lost in the big city when a scary sound sends her running from home, but when the big city turns out to be scarier than life at home, will she find her way back again?
I mean, you know what the answer is going to be here of course, but a heartwarming story with a feel good ending can never be a bad thing, particularly as a nice way to send your children to sleep with happy feelings before bedtime. It's lovingly illustrated and fun to guess what the scary noise was that sent Kitty running in the first place - and I laughed a lot when I found out what the noise actually was, as it's something that can certainly cause a bit of pain to the ears when someone is just beginning to learn it! No spoilers, but maybe that's given you a clue...
Chris says: Watching your children turn round at smile happily at you when they realise everything has turned out okay and the hero of the story is safe is one of the nicest things about reading together, and so this is a great choice for anyone who wants to send their child to bed in a happy mood. I love to go on an adventure across the high seas or in a far off fantasy land with them too, but it can be nice to balance that out with something calmer!
Josh says: I liked finding out what the noise was.
Xander says: I'm just doing digging! (N.B. Apparently if I wait more than three seconds to ask him a question when we've finished reading, he'll already have moved on to his next task and can't be disturbed...)
2) Don't Call Me Choochie Pooh! - Sean Taylor (Author) & Kate Hindley (Illustrator)
Seriously, look at the expression on the face of that dog and tell me you aren't going to enjoy this book? A grumpy animal is always going to be a winner with me, and Don't Call Me Choochie Pooh! is an absolute treat if you're the same. From the ridiculous (and completely recognisable) things that this dog's owner calls him, to the social embarrassment that it causes him in front of bigger dogs, this is perfect at imagining just what would go through our pets' heads if they thought the same as humans. Heck, let's face it, with cats it's pretty much a given that they are constantly thinking all this, so it's nice to see it from a dogs point of view for a change! The illustrations make this even better, with that impatient and frustrated image on the front cover making me laugh just by looking at it.
If you want to have a giggle next time you go to the library, make sure you look for this one!
Chris says: I just laughed and laughed with the kids at this one. You can't beat a grumpy animal, and this dog is particularly grumpy. A lot of people who find the attitudes of some pet owners to their animals will have double empathy with the dog here too! A great way to laugh together and put the children in a good mood before bedtime.
Josh says: I like what the story is called, and the silly things the dog owner said.
Xander says: (N.B. Xander just sung the Imperial March from Star Wars at this point when I asked him what his favourite bit was, so I've absolutely no idea what was going through his mind...)
3) Blue & Bertie - Kristyna Litten (Author & Illustrator)
When Bertie the giraffe gets lost, he finds Blue, a giraffe who's a little different (i.e. entirely blue!), and who will help him find his way home. Will Blue find a new home in the herd too, even if he's a little different?
It's kind of impossible not to love giraffes, so it's kind of impossible not to pick up a picture book about giraffes when we spot one. Combine that with a story about a new friendship and how it doesn't matter if you're different, and you've got a great book to finish off our third week!
Chris says: Sometimes, I find illustrations that just make me smile, and Blue & Bertie had me smiling all the way through. They feel warm and drawn with care, and the little smiles that the giraffes wear make it impossible not to smile with them. It's also a great chance to show how being different shouldn't stop you making friends and being part of a crowd, something we need as much of as possible at the minute.
Josh says: I loved the blue giraffe!
Xander says: Giraffes!
So, to summarise Day 21...We didn't particularly intend to read three animal books today, but that's obviously been the theme of our evening! There's been one story returning to the comforts of home, one to make us laugh out loud, and one about forging new friendships and being welcomed no matter how different you may be.
It's been been a proper feel-good evening of reading, and that's exactly what we love about reading together as a family - books and stories allow you to share these feelings and adventures together, bring you closer and giving you lots of quality family time. The words and pictures can transport to you on infinite adventures together, and I've no doubt that the authors and illustrators that put these together can be some of the most important influences on our children from an early age.
Thank you once again to all the wonderful authors and illustrators that have provided our stories so far - and we can't wait to discover hundreds more this year!