Friday, 27 January 2017

Day 25 (Week 4, Day 4)

Day 25 (Week 4, Day 4)

Dear oh dear - what with pantomime rehearsals and assignments needing writing for qualifications, as well as work in general and spending time together as a family, it's not always easy to write up the day for this blog! I'm doing this just as Day 27 becomes Day 28, so nearly three days since we actually read these stories! I'm determined to keep this blog going all the way to the end, though - it's good fun to write down what we've read, and to get the chance to promote reading as a family, even if it does mean there's sometimes a delay in writing it up!

I think we need a bigger house. One with several small libraries within it that I can store books in, because I'm someone who really struggles not to take out a million and one books whenever I go to a library - and as I work in libraries and often visit two in a day for my job, you can imagine this makes it pretty difficult for me!

Luckily, as we're reading so many picture books at the moment, I'm able to refresh our selection often, so when I spot several that I can't wait to take home to read with the kids I know that I'm going to free up space in the house soon to take on a new load.

We just couldn't do the Picture Book Challenge without libraries - no matter how much we love to read, we just couldn't afford to buy this number and so we'd miss out on so many fantastic stories. I've seen a large number of posts from authors about the Public Lending Right (PLR) that makes sure they get a small sum of money for each library loan of their books. It's nice to know that they are still getting rewarded for writing such fantastic pieces of work, even if the book is being taken from a library rather than bought from a bookshop!


Ah, the joy you feel when a book perfectly captures the imagination of a child entertaining themselves on a boring journey! Who hasn't wanted to imagine that a long ride on the train (or car, or plane etc.) is actually filled with dinosaur attacks, or getting held up by bandits, or stopping escaping boulders from crushing everyone, and many other exciting escapades. When Titus Took the Train is filled with creativity, right from the very first pages where you see a sketchbook of the first half of the train journey, through the above mentioned excitement, and to the end where the sketchbook concludes.

It's bright and joyful in its illustrations, a perfect compliment to the ideas within the text, and it's another delightful example of discovering an author for the first time and wanting to head straight out to see what else they've written (we've read books illustrated by Sarah McIntyre before, so it's always great to find a new one that she's done!).

Chris: The kids loved to talk about what had happened and what they thought could happen the next time we take a boring long journey, and what what more could you want from a book like this than to fire their imaginations so well? It felt like reading an Indiana Jones-style adventure, where the hero has to overcome obstacle after obstacle to reach his goal, even if the goal here was just getting to the last train station rather than finding an ancient artefact!

Josh says: I liked when he got to use his lasso.

Xander says: Dinosaur!

2) Elephant Joe is a Knight! - David Wojtowycz (Author & Illustrator)

I love a twist in an adult book, but it's not as often that you'll find one in a picture book; it's great, therefore, when one comes along that both you and your children appreciate! I won't spoil it (so that you're encouraged to go and find out for yourselves!) but the kids loved it because of the surprise, and I loved it because it played against stereotypes, which is something I'm big on encouraging. It's still a classic tale of a hero (Elephant Joe) journeying to rescue a damsel in distress from the evil Dark Knight's tower, itself protected by a dragon. It makes itself different due to the aforementioned twist, and it's lovely cartoony illustrations ensure that this is well worth checking out.

There's also a little frog that keeps appearing and making comments about the story at the bottom of every few pages, which is exactly the take of random and sarcastic humour that I enjoy, so bonus points there as well!

Chris says: I'll always come back time and time again to the story of a knight going on a quest, and I really liked that this played about with stereotypes, something that I'm always keen to do. A picture book is a great way of helping children to understand from an early age that there shouldn't be defined roles in stories (or indeed life) for girls and boys, which helps promote equality and help prevent some of the awful stereotyping that still goes on today.

Josh says: I liked when the dragon melted the sword.

Xander says: Dragon!

3) I Love You, Little Monster - Giles Andreae (Author) & Jess Mikhail (Illustrator)

We've read so many of Giles Andreae's books that it's always a surprise to find one that we HAVEN'T read yet, particularly when I know I've seen the cover of this many times before as the drawings are so memorable and distinctive! Jess Mikhail has drawn two adorable monsters here, and the whole book is drawn with the same kind of care and love that the title suggests. It's very much a book to snuggle up together as a family with, and perfect for finishing off an evening's reading by letting your family know how much you love them. It's also very recognisable for parents of young children, going through a busy day not always getting to say everything you want to to them, explaining why sometimes you get frustrated but that you still love them with all your heart, and it ends on a lovely note as Little (Monster) hears Big (Monster) explain all this to him so he can go to sleep with a smile on his face. It's the perfect illustration of parental love in that respect, and it's not one that you can read without feeling warmth inside for your little ones.

Chris says: It doesn't matter how you end storytime before bed - finishing with an adventure in a fantasy land brings excitement before you settle down, and reading something funny can give you a last chance to giggle together before they close their eyes, but sometimes it's great to finish with a story that is purely about love. I always hope that the kids going to sleep knowing that I love them more than anything, this book is perfect for showing how that love wins out over everything, no matter how many little arguments or stressful times you might have had that day.

Josh says: I like the title of the book.

Xander says: Monster!

So, to summarise Day 25...

We've been on a couple of adventures this evening, firstly on a train with amazing happenings round every corner, onto a far off land where an elephant needs to be the heroic knight his kingdom requires, and finishing off with a story about unconditional love between parent and child. I don't ever particularly intend on the order we read our stories in (I just pick from the pile and see what we get), but it seems to have formed a nice order tonight!

Reading can take you on all sorts of journeys, and we've had some fantastic ones so far for the Picture Book Challenge. Hopefully you'll spot some of these and want to make those same journeys too - do let us know if you've read anything that we talk about here, or if you're intending to go out and get them!

Books Read: 63/1000 (6.3%)

No comments:

Post a Comment