Day 33 (Week 5, Day 5)
It was a stressful afternoon/evening as it was our first pantomime performance tonight, but it was also nice and relaxing to read a few stories together as a family before I had to head on out! There's nothing like reading to calm stress - literally, as it's scientifically proven to be one of the most effective stress relievers after just six minutes.
I'm still determined to up the number of books that we read per day for a little while to make up for some of the time we've lost through early sleeps and illness, but there wasn't time tonight, so we'll have to pick those up in the coming weeks.
And the pantomime went very well indeed :)
If you want to read a Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler story to make you feel warm inside all the, way through then The Smartest Giant in Town is an excellent choice. It's great for sharing the idea with your children that you don't need to have the best of everything to be happy, and that sharing with people can be much more worthwhile. It's not an iconic story like The Gruffalo or Stick Man, but in many ways I prefer this one because of the positive message that is has throughout. I'd look forward to seeing a TV adaptation of this, anyhow!
Chris says: I always appreciate a story where there's a nice moral that we can discuss afterwards. I'm lucky that Josh and Xander are already quite generous, but it's good to be able to show them more good examples of where having a selfless outlook can be the best choice!
Josh says: He was a very nice giant and it was really nice of the animals to bring him a crown at the end.
It's nice discovering all the Mr Men & Little Miss characters in newer stories (not that I can remember exactly what happened in all the originals from my childhood!), and I suggested in a previous post that we'd be reading many more of them for the Picture Book Challenge. This is the story of Little Miss Sunshine helping to thwart the actions of a wicked witch who is turning many of the characters into animals. It's a proper punch-the-air triumphant tale for children where Little Miss Sunshine succeeds in tricking the wicked witch and saving the day, and there's not a lot that can beat an exciting magical tale before bedtime! The illustrative style of all this series is so iconic that it's great to have our children discover and fall in love with them too, and I think it must be one of the most recognisable series of the past few decades.
Chris says: It's definitely one of the best things for a parent about reading with your children, when they love the same books that you loved as a child - or at least from the same series as here! I love them discovering stories that will become classics for them to remember and read with their children too, but it feels that bit extra special when you learn that you're sharing the same affection for the story.
Josh says: I liked it when the witch got turned into a cat and was scared away forever.
Xander says: Bad witch!
We've read another Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs book already in the Picture Book Challenge, despite my usual insistence upon reading book series completely in order, so it felt right to go to the very first book for our next installment in the series! I can remember the feeling of discovering toys that belonged to older members of my family whey they'd long since stored them away, and I bet all parents look back on those feelings as fondly as I do when they get stirred up by a story like this. Harry discovers all his dinosaurs in Gran's attic, cleans them, and then transports them around with him in the titular bucket, and I don't think it needs saying really just how much I approve of his research sessions in the library!
It's a great chance to teach kids the names and species of some of the dinosaurs too, as all the books in the series take great pains to make sure that the dinosaurs are named frequently. The pain that Harry feels when he accidentally leaves the dinosaurs on a train is also very deeply felt, as we've all lost a favourite toy somewhere in public where it's very unlikely we'll get it back, and having a replacement just doesn't seem the same. Therefore it's a great book for hope when Harry does manage to get them back again! People love this series for a reason, and that's because they're informative, fun, delightfully illustrated, and guaranteed to put a smile on your children's faces with their happy endings. We'll read many more over the next year!
Chris says: I really hope that the children never lose a favourite toy in public because it's so heartbreaking when it happens, but at least this story will give them hope of finding it again! I like going back to the beginning of a series to remind myself how it all started, and Josh and Xander certainly like coming back to this one to see how Harry found his dinosaurs all over again. It's great to have series that they like to come back to time and time again, no matter which book in the series it is!
Josh says: I like when Harry tipped his cereal on his sister's head.
Xander says: Dinosaurs!
So, to summarise Day 33...
We've had a day revisiting favourite authors and series! Whether it's an author who doesn't really do series but has classic book after classic book, or it's a series where we can read any entry and know that we'll have a fun time doing so, sometimes it can be the most relaxing thing in an evening to curl up with something you know well and retread old memories. There's a reason we go back to certain things again and again - familiarity is good!
I once came up with 'The Three R's of Reading - Reading, Re-Reading, and Reading-Again', which I feel should be adopted as some sort of national literacy slogan. I'm certainly one for reading an old favourite over and over!