Category Archives: Children’s

Children’s Hour: Winston Was Worried


It’s my last week at the nursery before I leave for my nursing degree, so I thought I really should do a Children’s Hour post this week. Hopefully I’ll still manage to get a few out from my memory after I’ve left (and I’ve bought the kids some books as a goodbye present so I may be able to review those…if I get a chance to read them)


 

I’ve heard other staff reading Winston Was Worried to the kids, I think generally when the kids pick a book from the bookcase (we have some accessible to the kids and a few ‘nice’ ones which we keep on a shelf but let the kids choose from in group time). Somehow though, even though it’s a popular choice, I hadn’t read it myself until today…and I really missed out on that!

You see the thing that really makes this story is the pictures. All throughout Winston is bemoaning his paw which has a splinter in it

“There is nothing as bad as having a splinter in your paw. I am so unfortunate. Everything always happens to me”

but he doesn’t realise that the friends he is walking away from are much more unfortunate as they have their own accidents. The story itself is very simple, but by looking at the pictures you can add to the story yourself or -as in this case- you can ask the listener questions about what they can see. This is great for making the kids feel that they are reading themselves, and for helping them pay attention to the book- plus they love seeing what is happening to Winston’s friends

Winston is worried is no longer available new but you can buy it used

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Children’s Hour: The Paper Dolls


It been a long time since I’ve done a Children’s Hour post, and I found out this week that I will be returning to uni I am excited but it does mean I’m leaving the nursery- so I’m not sure how many children’s books I’ll be able to blog about, so I really want to make the most of the time I have to read to the kids!

 

The Paper Dolls is a Julia Donaldson book which has been a favourite in pre-school for quite some time. In it a little girl makes a set of paperdolls to play with. The dolls go on a lot of adventures and sing their song

“You can’t (catch) us on no no no,

We’re holding hands and we won’t let go

We’re Ticky and Tacky, and Jackie the Backie, and Jim With Two Noses, and Jo with the Bow”

It’s a lovely journey through a child’s imagination, and the pictures show us what is really happening.

The kids love the song (which my colleague made up a great tune to) and will join in with. We’ve also had a go at making our own paper dolls.

As the reader it may not be the easiest to read, simply because you need to make up the tune yourself- we tried to find a good version on youtube but couldn’t find any where the readers actually sung, which was really disappointing. Also there are subtle changes which once you know the story quite well can be easy to get wrong, trust me the kids notice when you do!

All the same give it a bash, it’s well worth it.

Buy it:

Paperback (£3.49)

Boardbook (£6.99)

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Children’s Hour: Handa’s Surprise (re-visited)


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Handa’s Surprise is a book I originally read to the toddlers back in 2013 , I don’t tend to re-review books unless it’s with a different age group, or if something happened in a re-read which was significant.

Well today we read Handa’s Surprise, and whilst it might not technically be significant the kids were really engaged. One kid was excited to read it because he’s ‘watched it at home’ (I’m guessing the video I mentioned in my books on screen post, which is very good), and he was able to tell me bits of the story (although unfortunately not what was happening on the essential page which was missing from out copy).

The story is simple, and really it’s told in the pictures. In the words we hear Handa’s voice wondering which of the fruits which she is taking to her friend her friend will like best. It would be pretty boring with words alone, but it would allow children to find out about the different fruits. In the pictures however there is another story taking place. As Handa walks to her friend’s village one by one the fruits are taken from her basket by a variety of different animals.

I think it’s this second story which really engages the children because they have to work out what is happening, and that means they can tell the story themselves, and that’s exciting for them.

Buy it:

Paperback (£4.46)

Board Book (£5.99)

Kindle (£3.79)

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Children’s Hour: Nemo’s Friends


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Nemo’s Friends  is one of those let’s make sure parents don’t feel guilty for buying Disney books by making it educational books.

The story is pretty much none-existent. It basically lists Nemo’s friends and gives a fact about that friend, like ‘is a blue fish’ or ‘is a small fish’. The kid’s like it because it’s Nemo, and possibly because they can feel the achievement of knowing which fish is the blue fish etc.

One thing I do like about it is that there will be more sea creatures on the page than the one mentioned so the kids do have to use their knowledge to find out which fish is the fish being talked about.

In terms of story enjoyment, and adult enjoyment it’s pretty low. Even so this is the book other that ‘I Want My Potty’ that the kids seem to want to possess, so it obviously holds some charm. For me it is a way of getting them engaged in knowing things like colour and size, so whilst I don’t find it enjoyable to read, it is at least useful.

Buy it:

Board Book (new and used from £0.01)

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Children’s Hour: What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby?


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

I’ve read What Shall We Do With the Boo-Hoo Baby?  to the toddlers a few times now, and it’s pretty popular. It’s a fairly simple story, the baby is crying and car, duck, dog and cow are trying to make it stop, with little success.

It’s a repetitive story. Each animal makes a suggestion of what to do, and they do it, whilst making their noises, but still the baby goes ‘Boo-Hoo-Hoo’. The kids like the noises, especially when I ‘cry’ boo-hoo-hoo, but I’m surprised that they’re not yet joining in with the repetitive bits. We also managed to stay quiet after reading so we didn’t wake the baby (if only we could manage this when some of the other toddlers are sleeping!).

In general I would say that after 2 it would probably be to basic, but it could work for younger children.

The edition we have is dual language Romanian and English, but you can get it in just English and in other dual languages

Buy it:

Paperback (new and used from £0.01)

Board Book (new and used from £0.01)

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Children’s Hour: Mr Big


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

When I picked up Mr Big  I was a little unsure as to the length for the toddlers, but we needed something new and interesting, so I offered this and another new book (which will probably be next week’s Children’s Hour), and they picked this one.

Ed Vere is also the author of Banana which was very popular with the pre-schoolers, but very reader dependant. ‘Mr Big’ tells its own story. The story is about Mr Big who is so big that everyone is scared of him, and all he wants is some friends. Mr Big buys a piano, and the beautiful music he plays lets everyone see his soft side.

It’s a beautiful story about not judging by what you see, about emotions, about the importance of friends, and the beauty of music. You could probably write an adult book on the same themes if you padded it out a bit.

Anyway, yes the kids did miles better with it than I thought they would. They actually listened (or at least most of them) and the only way really they didn’t sit nicely was because they wanted to leap up and see the pictures and point at things- which you can’t really say is a bad thing.

Ed Vere’s pictures are bright, and beautiful, and engaging, they really helped the kids to see Mr Big as a person and to want to know about him (him being a monkey probably helped too)

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

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Children’s Hour: I Want my Potty


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

We have got quite a few toddlers potty training recently so it was time to get out I Want My Potty.  It’s a book which has been popular with plenty of toddlers over the years I’ve been working at the nursery, but this particular group seem to be obsessed.

The story follows The Little Princess as she learns to use the potty, and how she grows from disliking it to finding it fun. She does some silly things with the potty, which I know some readers wouldn’t find helpful, but our kids find it funny, and you still talk about whether that’s what we do with a potty which gets a conversation going.

In one scene The Little Princess decides to wear the potty on her head! Two of our toddlers did this with our play potties and came to show me laughing and saying they were the princess! (I wish I could show you a picture, it was so cute!)

They have also taken just to carrying this particular book around. Not necessarily to read, more to possess (oh little budding bibliophiles!)

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.94)

Hardback (£4.99)

Kindle (£4.49)

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Children’s Hour: My Mum


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

When I was in pre-school earlier today one of the children came to show me My Mum, I have seen it before, but never discussed it on here. She first wanted to show me all the pictures and told me the story in her own words, then she asked me to read it.

The story is pretty simple. With each picture there is a description of what the child’s Mum is like “My Mum is as soft as a kitten, and as tough as a rhino” with the pictures showing Mum like that. The pictures are obviously the Mum because they wear the same pattern as her. Each section ends with a variant of “She’s really nice, my Mum” which gradually makes Mum sound even better.

The combination of pictures and the repetitive formula make it an easy story for the kids to read to themselves, but isn’t so repetitive that it’s boring. The pictures are beautiful and well thought out.

Buy it:

Paperback (£6.99)

Hardback (£5.99)

Kindle (£4.99)

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Children’s Hour: Mr Bear Says ‘Can I Have a Hug?’


Children’s Hour is a  feature here at Lucybird’s Book Blog every Thursday where I’m looking at children’s picture books. As I work in a nursery I get plenty of opportunities to look at picture books, and to see what the kids think of them so it really makes sense to use those experiences.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

Mr Bear Says ‘Can I Have a Hug?’ (or Owl as one of our children calls it) is just right for our current group of toddlers, quite a few of whom don’t have the focus for a longer picture book. I managed to read this and another in the same series before I felt they wouldn’t focus for any longer. In this one Mr Bear is looking for someone to hug, but nobody i quite right. The spider is too small, the owl’s feathers make him sneeze, but baby bear is just right.

It reminds me a little bit of the That’s not my… books, but with more variety of descriptive words. The kids loved it when we acted out hugging the different animals, which made this one more popular than the other.

Buy it:

New (from £706.99)

Used (from £0.01)

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Children’s Hour: Messy Baby


Children’s Hour is a feature posted every Thursday here at Lucybird’s Book Blog. Children’s Hour is my time for reviewing children’s picture books. In my job in a nursery I encounter lots of children’s books, and these are the books I use for Children’s Hour.

You can find links to past Children’s Hour posts here.

I’d love to hear everybody’s experiences of the books I review too, and feel free to post me a link to your own reviews, I’d love to make this a bit interactive.

The image (if you were wondering) is taken from Shirley’s Hughes’ Alfie and Annie-Rose books which I loved as a child.

One of the new children in toddler room (she has just moved up from babies) loves books, and her favourite seems to be Messy Baby. There is nothing I can see that’s great about the book, it’s one of those books which names items, but it is trying to be a story too. It pretty much fails at that but I think that may be what the kids like about it, they can basically read it themselves, they just have to say what they can see most of the time.

For adults it’s a boring book to read, but at least it isn’t annoying (like some books I could mention)

Buy it:

 Boardbook- new (from £3.99)

Boardbook- used (from £0.01)

 

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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum


This book was read as part of the To Be Read Pile Challenge, and is on the Rory List

Synopsis (from amazon)

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are in for the ride of their lives when a tornado drops them off in the Land of Oz. Can Dorothy and her new friends survive the perils of Oz to reach the Wizard and find a way home?

 

Review

I’m sure there is nobody who hasn’t at least heard of the film of The Wizard of Oz, and most people have seen it. It was my first introduction to the land of Oz so I couldn’t help but compare the two. I do like the film, despite it’s cheesy-ness.

One thing I was surprised about was the lack of appearance of The Wicked Witch of the West in the book. Yes she is there, but she isn’t as much of a major character. The wizard himself is less likeable too, but more like the film version of himself.

I did like the story. Although I think if I didn’t know elements of the story so well I would have enjoyed it more. There’s a little note at the begginning about it being written for children’s pleasure rather than any moral lesson. It certainly is more fun than moral, however I do think there was a bit of a lesson, about how you can improve yourself, or how people change I suppose.

3/5

Buy it:

Kindle (FREE!)

Paperback (£4.49)

Hardback (£12.99)

Other Reviews:

Owl Tell You All About It

Alison McCarthy

 

 

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