Day 43 (Week 7, Day 1) - Sunday 12th February 2017
Don't you just hate it when for some reason all your work doesn't save? Like this blog post for example, which I spent an hour on the other night and for some reason has chosen not to save everything I did. Hence, after a few days of having a strop with it, I've finally gotten round to re-writing it all.
Anyway, a second night at Noni's house, and some more wonderful stories for Josh & Xander to read! They always love going to any of their grandparents houses and snuggling up for stories - in this case before the long, boring journey home!
At least we know we sent them off to sleep with some exciting tales filling their minds up!
1) Mr Wuffles! - David Wiesner (Author & Illustrator)
Now this was a fantastic surprise - a book with barely any words except an alien language! From a group of alien tourists! And a grumpy cat! Marvellous stuff!
It really is a fantastic idea, too, because it means that virtually every re-telling is going to be unique, as you can decide anew what exactly they're saying and create a new storyline each time (do a certain extent, anyway). I loved the way that all the insects and bugs that the aliens team up with to escape from Mr Wuffles have cave-painting like drawings within their hideout in the walls, and that they all team up to escape from him. It's exciting and well drawn, and there were wonderful touches like the aliens and insects/bugs swap items, like ravioli and alien artefacts, and clearly have delightful conversations about them.
A great chance to tell the same story differently over and over again!
Noni: I think it's great that I can read this with my grandchildren many times, and make the details of the story different on each occasion. Particularly when it's something exciting that they love like aliens!
Josh says: I like them all working together to escape.
Xander says: I like aliens!
2) A Tale of Two Beasts - Fiona Roberton (Author & Illustrator)
This is a story we've enjoyed many times, and one that never fails to make me laugh! I love how we see the same story twice, from the different perspectives of the two main characters, and the second time is all the more hilarious as we see what the 'beast' is really thinking as the little girl 'helps' him. It's a fantastic storytelling technique that I have always loved in any other medium, so to see it executed so well here is marvelous. The illustrations are great to go along with it too, highlighting the beast's discomfort later on in perfect style as he desperately tries to flee the situation he finds himself in.
The whole concept also makes this book perfect for a second read-through; armed with the knowledge of what the beast is actually thinking, the narration from the girl's point of view if just that much funnier, as her well-meaning attempt to look after him is exposed as hilariously incorrect. Josh in particular understands fully why it's so funny, and we've acted out our own little stories before where one of us pretends to do things for the other, not realising that the one being helped isn't after help at all (it usually involves an awful lot of giggling).
Definitely a perfect example of picture books delivering comedy storytelling that grown ups will love every bit as much as children.
Noni says: I did enjoy seeing the story from both perspectives. It's great to know that picture books can offer such wonderful ideas like this that adults will enjoy, and makes for such fun when reading to my grandchildren.
Josh says: I like when the beast escapes.
Xander says: Oh no! (N.B. Not sure what this bit was about...)
3) The Glump and the Peeble - Wendy Meddour (Author) & Rebecca Ashdown (Illustrator)
If you want a story that tells children they don't have to stick to what everyone thinks they should do, and that they are free to try to be whatever they want to be, then this is a great example to read to them. It involves a Glump, a species of creature who are supposed to sit quietly and think, who wants nothing more than to dance, and a Peeble, a species of creature who are supposed to want nothing more than to dance, who wants to just sit quietly and think. The two meet, become friends, and encourage each other to do what they've always wanted. It's a great story about not letting stereotypes stop you doing something different that you want to, which is a positive message for children to learn as early as possible.
The imagination of Wendy Meddour & Rebecca Ashdown in creating these funny creatures (and the gloriously colourful world they inhabit) is marvelous, and brings a superb alien quality to the very human emotions of wanting to do something different. I hope that lots of families embrace stories like this and the messages within, to try and instill a sense of fearlessness in their children from a young age to embrace the challenge of going against the norm!
Noni says: It's great for my grandchildren to be encouraged to try anything they want to, not be consigned to stereotypes about what they ought to do. I welcome any sto98ry that teaches them to try new things!
Josh says: I like when the glump dances.
Xander says: I can dance!
So, to summarise Day 43...
So much creativity on display in this evening's books! Whether it's a story with barely any dialogue that we tell over and over again in a different way each time, a tale from two different points of view, or strange new creatures teaching us important human lessons, these picture books are perfect for inspiring children's imaginations. You'll have an excellent evening of reading if you pick up this particular selection!