Friday, 25 May 2012

I will not ever never eat a tomato by Lauren Child

The title of this always gets me in a bit of a muddle. I'm sure it's supposed to! I suspect this book is really brilliant if you have a fussy eater for a child and you're at your wits end and can't see how they'll ever eat any vegetables. So far Rosie is pretty good with food so I don't love the book for that.

What I love about this is the funny characters and the contrariness of young children that is captured perfectly by Lauren Child. Of course it's a book that's been around a little while so everyone knows who Charlie and Lola are because they now have a very successful TV series.

This particular book tells the story of Charlie having to feed Lola and what a difficult job that is because she doesn't like - in no particular order: peas, tomatoes, carrots, fish fingers, potatoes (even mash), bananas, oranges, eggs and the list goes on. Charlie decides to entice his little sister to eat by calling the food exciting and mysterious names, so mashed potatoes become 'cloud fluff from Mount Fuji' and carrots are 'orange twiglets from Jupiter'. By the end Lola is enjoying herself so much that she even starts to eat tomatoes, or what she call 'moon squirters'.

It's a great book and I have no doubt that Rosie will be renaming all her food very shortly!

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill and Russell Ayto

We've been enjoying this wacky picture book a lot recently. I think it helps that Rosie's at an age to realise that cows laying eggs is a silly concept - I think she realises this! We'll see... the last egg related picture book had her dropping eggs onto the floor (thank you Mini Grey and Egg Drop!). So if she starts asking chickens to 'moo' I'll know it's all gone a bit wrong.
It's the story of Majorie the cow who is feeling a bit low. All the other cows do clever tricks and she doesn't feel like she can do anything half as clever. Cue a bit of plotting from the farmyard chickens and she suddenly discovers one morning that she's laid an egg! The other cows become very jealous and are convinced that it's not going to hatch into a cow. They're right, it hatches into a little chick... a chick that says 'MOOOO!'

A lovely story and I love the illustrations. They're full of life and humour and perfectly capture the whole story.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

This book doesn't need introducing. It's one of the best known children picture books ever and for a very good reason - it's a wonderful book! I have spent hours, days, weeks, possibly a year trying to think up a picture book as good as this. It covers days of the week, the life cycle of a caterpillar metamorphosing into a butterfly, different foods, numbers, I probably could go on!

And then there is the classic, timeless artwork. It has a naivety yet is brilliantly sophisticated at the same time. You can clearly see the influences of Picasso and Matisse in the line, texture and colours. It probably has the most spin-offs in terms of other product (crockery, stationery etc) that any children's book has and this is mainly due to the enduring appeal of the artwork.

We've been reading this since Rosie was tiny and it still is one of our favourites - proof of why it's a classic, it endures! When we read it we spend quite a lot of time on the food page with the cake, pickle etc and choose what we think everyone we know would like to eat off the page. I have also done some butterfly painting with Rosie (when you fold a piece of paper and paint half a butterfly on it and then press the other half of the paper onto it so it's a mirror image) but I think the joy of doing that is when you can do it yourself and she's still a little young.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Gorilla by Anthony Browne

We read Gorilla while at a friend's house the other night and Rosie fell in love with it so when we saw it in our local library (please support them everyone, we need to use them to keep them, and even then that's sometimes not enough, but I digress!) we checked it out straight away.

We already have one of Anthony Browne's classic gorilla stories Willy and Hugh which is about an unlikely friendship between a lonely chimpanzee and a gorilla but the story in Gorilla is far more poignant and captured Rosie's imagination.

Hannah is a little girl who loves gorillas but she spends most of her time on her own because her father is always too busy to take her anywhere or do anything with her. For her birthday the thing she wants most in the world is a gorilla. When she wakes up in the middle of the night and finds a small toy gorilla wrapped up on her bed she's disappointed and throws it into the corner of the room with her other toys. But then a magical thing happens. The gorilla grows and grows and takes Hannah on a wonderful adventure, to the zoo, the cinema and to a cafe. When Hannah wakes up she runs downstairs to tell her dad all about the exciting time she's had but before she can say anything he asks her if she'd like to go to the zoo. Hannah ends the story a very happy little girl!

The artwork is amazing in this book. The sense of perspective and wry touches in each drawing make it a feast for the eyes for both grown-up and child! Although most of us are probably not as guilty as Hannah's dad for not managing to spare enough time for our children it's a valuable reality check for anyone.