Day 50 (Week 8, Day 1) - Sunday 19th February 2017One of these days I really will make more of an effort to read some of these stories in the morning rather than just before bed when everyone is exhausted (including me!).
Not that we're not knackered in the morning too, of course, but it always seems somehow to be slightly easier to be waking up than falling asleep when you're trying to convince everyone involved that photos of comments on books are an exciting thing to be doing when you've finished reading!
1) Secret Tree Fort - Brianne Farley (Author & Illustrator)
Now this story must ring true for lots of siblings out there! When one of you wants to play but the other wants to read or just relax; the one who wants to play invents increasingly elaborate and creative suggestions for why the other should come and play with them, because HONESTLY, this thing you've got is LITERALLY the most exciting thing ever...
Brianne Farley has truly captured this conflict in a wonderfully creative way, and beautifully illustrated style. As a parent of two kids who experience this from time to time, I've got total sympathy with both sides, and I love the resolution at the end - this fabulous creation that one sister has imagined might not exist, but the other sister know that perhaps they could have fun building it together anyway.
I'd love to see what other conflicts Brianne Farley could tell us about, and the solutions she could create!
Chris says: A fantastic illustration of the difficulties that siblings (or anyone, really) can suffer when one of you wants to do something together but the other just wants to get on with their own thing. Neither of you being unreasonable, but neither willing to budge. A lovely resolution to it and a great chance to talk about how to solve such problems with your kids!
Josh says: A house made of sweets!
Xander says: I want sweets!
2) Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool - Jeanne Willis (Author) & Tony Ross (Illustrator)
If you're one of these folk that doesn't like anything slightly gruesome happening to characters in books then look away now. If you're not one of those strange folk however then do please go and pick up a copy of Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool, because you'll love the cruel fate that befalls the heroine of this story.
Heroine isn't really the best choice of description for Lucinda in all honesty though, because despite having an incredibly misplaced intention to make the world a better place, she's actually rather a shallow individual who thinks that everyone needs to make themselves as perfect as she is, and isn't afraid of hurting people's feelings to get her point across - or at the very least she's totally oblivious to the fact that most of what she's saying would cause anyone to be upset. Once again it's a great topic to talk to your children about, highlighting why tact and acceptance of so important to be mindful of (and not just because you might end up the main course for a hungry monster's next meal!).
Also, it's from the team of Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross once more, so there isn't really much chance you aren't going to enjoy it, is there?
Chris says: You can't not love a book where the main character gets eaten, particularly one who has some kind of cruel fate coming. Anything that invokes the spirit of Roald Dahl is a winner!
Josh says: I liked when Belinda got eaten.
Xander says: Make the monster pretty!
3) This Is My Rock - David Lucas (Author & Illustrator)
Ah, grumpy goats. One of my favourite grumpy animals, definitely, and this little goat is no exception! He does not want anyone else on the rock which he has claimed, until he gets hungry, cold, and bored, that is...
I really do love how the goat insists on having the rock to himself, before realising that maybe he made a mistake, and perhaps he'd better go try to make amends. A great message for kids on not being selfish, and also that it's not too late to try and put right! The illustrations are funny and very effective at demonstrating the goat's initial triumph (particularly the celebratory yodeling and dancing!), and David Lucas might have drawn some of the best (and ridiculously simple) eyes I've yet seen in a picture book.
Hilarious ending, too! We loved it!
Chris says: I just love grumpy animals, and this goat in particular is funny as anything. I especially love how the little bird at the end then tries to claim the rock as his own - only a short extra piece of fun on the last page, but it really topped off a wonderfully funny story for me!
Josh says: This is my rock!
Xander says: This is MY rock!
So, to summarise Day 50...
There's been a fair few grumpy characters today! From sisters who can't agree what to do in Secret Tree Fort, someone who can't accept people being less than perfect in Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool, and the best grumpy goat I've come across in This is My Rock, there's no shortage of characters that start off showing less than their best sides, but end up redeemed (even if one of them gets eaten to achieve redemption...). Isn't is great that picture books aren't afraid of showing our worst sides along with our best?