Day 81 (Week 12, Day 4) - Wednesday 22nd March 2017
Xander was happily playing with his train set tonight and unfortunately I couldn't coax any coherent answers out of him as to what he enjoyed about each story, though he was in the room as we read them so I'm hoping he enjoyed having stories in the background as he played!
Josh on the other hand sat with me on the sofa as always, thoroughly enjoying what we read. Here's our reviews...
1) Counting Lions - Katie Cotton (Author) & Stephen Walton (Illustrations)
We wouldn't necessarily have picked this book up if it hadn't have been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. It is, for all intents and purposes, a non-fiction book with facts about various animals, and though we've read a few books so far that are very informative they've always been stories (rather than information books) at heart.
I'm so pleased that we didn't skip this, therefore, because it's one of the most breathtakingly beautiful books that I've ever seen, filled with illustrations that you'll genuinely struggle to understand just how Stephen Walton has created. From a distance you could easily mistake them for photographs, and that's really not an exaggeration. If you think about how realistic the digital recreation of Grand Moff Tarkin was in Rogue One, then this is many times more realistic still. They're staggeringly lifelike, and I can't fathom how an artist can be so skillful.
The words are written by Katie Cotton, who we recently enjoyed with The Road Home, and the poetic accompaniments to each illustration she provides are small but highly informative pieces on each species.
Children's books often say so much with so little, and this is a fine example. We loved it in every way.
Chris says: You really can't exaggerate how magnificent these illustrations are. Everytime I look at them again I'm in absolute awe.
Josh says: Is that a photo? (N.B. Referring to the front cover)
2) Ready, Steady, Dig! - Smriti Prasadam-Halls (Author) & Ed Eaves (Illustrator)
This is NOT a book to sit and read quietly together; this is a book to read as loudly and enthusiastically as possible, just like life on a real building site! Josh loved making the sounds and actions of all the various machines throughout, and Xander had to come and see what was happening to join in with them too. Smriti Prasadam-Halls' words and Ed Eaves' pictures guided us through the chaos like a seasoned foreman onsite!
Diggers have always been big in our house, and it's great to read stories that you know the kids have a personal interest in. If you want a book that's great fun with plenty to shout about and noise to make, here you go - this is the perfect story for you!
Chris says: It's a good job we don't look for quiet stories before bed! Loads to shout about noisily with this one!
Josh says: I like to build with Lego bricks.
3) Sir Scaly Pants the Dragon Knight - John Kelly (Author & Illustrator)
It's a bit of an irresistible name, 'Sir Scaly Pants', isn't it? And a proper hero he turns out to be, saving the common folk from a giant where everyone else fails, including the bullying Nasty Knights, with the help of his trusted steed Guinevere.
It's excellent fun and wonderfully colourful, featuring the most fantastically grumpy looking horse in Guinevere since the one from Disney Pixar's Tangled. Josh loved this adventure, and I had to ask him to sit down and stop pretending to be a knight at one point to finish it!
Inspired their imaginations no end!
Chris says: Always going to welcome a story about a knight on an adventure - particularly one with a fantastically fun name! Great way of getting kids excited about reading a book.
Josh says: I like how he defeated the giant.
So, to summarise Day 81...
Tonight, we've had simply stunning and photo-realistic illustrations, irresistible shout-out-loud noises, and heroic adventures. A perfect cocktail for inspiring the imagination (both for children and adults alike!).