Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves

Blocks: Let's Share!

September 2017 ReviewsPosted by Max 21 Sep, 2017 07:16PM

Blocks: Let's Share by Irene Dickson, published by Nosy Crow

Our youngest daughter, who is soon to be two, is very loyal to her favourite books, often requesting them over and over again in one sitting. One such current favourite is this simple, lovely board book, which is fitting to feature on International Day of Peace. It's theme is sharing and, ultimately, learning that there is more pleasure to be had in collaboration than division.

The book starts with a peaceful scene of Ruby, building with her red blocks, whilst wearing her shiny red shoes and red stripy top. Ruby is content until...along comes Benji with his enticing blue cart full of blue blocks. For a while, Ruby and Benji play side by side, each with their own coloured blocks.

After a while the allure of Ruby's red blocks becomes too much for Benji and he helps himself to one, much to Ruby's dismay: "Ruby wants her red block back" and they grapple it between them, until - turning to our daughter's favourite double page spread - "CRASH", and they and the blocks all come tumbling down.

Ruby, who has lost a shoe in the melee, and Benji sit amongst the mixed up blocks looking forlorn and rosy cheeked. Happily, it doesn't take the toddlers long to find a new and better way to play - "together" - with both the red and the blue blocks.

Peace is restored and they harmoniously build a magnificent tower of red and blue blocks. But wait: Here's Guy, with a cart full of green blocks! Guy is smiling though, and the sense at the end of the book is that these toddlers will soon find a way to incorporate a third party into their play.

Beautiful, bright, block colour illustrations are a perfect match for the crisp, clear language. It's an ideal choice visually and verbally for an early listener and early reader, and is sure to remain a firm favourite in our home.

For more books featuring peace-making, reconciliation and making amends, try these (all reviewed on our site):

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Edgar and the Sausage Inspector

September 2017 ReviewsPosted by Max 17 Sep, 2017 07:36PM
Edgar and the Sausage Inspector by Jan Fearnley, published by Nosy Crow

Authority is often found in a hat, a badge and a notepad - this is true in many situations and certainly is true in this tale of an alleyway cat called Edgar. When Edgar sets out to get a treat for his sister, he's delighted to find her favourite - a string of tasty sausages.

But as he heads home a rat in a hat declares he is The Inspector. Furthermore, he states that the sausages are required for testing as he suspects them to be "bad" (there have been "reports"). Off scampers the scrawny rat, squeeeeeeezing through a hole in the wall, and Edgar returns to his house empty-handed, much to the disgruntlement of his hungry sister Edith, who is not impressed by his story of the hatted rat.

The next day, the rat requisitions Edgar's cakes, and Edgar feels unable to challenge The Inspector's authority - as he's now added a badge that states his title for all to see. The rat, plumper than before, scoots away.

The third time, rat has added a notebook and pen, and demands Edgar hands over his latest hamper of goodies. Edgar is impressed, but the rat's successes as an inspector have made him large and juicy now, and Edgar is less interested in his credentials and more in his taste...

This is a gloriously funny tale, with great set pieces and a delightfully acerbic ending of cat comeuppance. Fine double page spreads are packed with detail (can you spot the pair of tiny birds in every scene?) and we are treated to a mouth-watering series of Parisian patisseries and boucheries.

The words are lively and some are given extra emphases to help with dramatic retellings, alongside memorable characters that are full of expression. 'Edgar' is a big hit with us and is sure to become a long-term household favourite.

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First Day at Bug School

September 2017 ReviewsPosted by Max 08 Sep, 2017 04:35PM

First Day At Bug School
(by Sam Lloyd, published by Bloomsbury)

Our older daughter starts school next week. It's a happy relief that she's excited, but we're stereotypically emotional. There are many wonderful picturebooks that take on the theme of starting school - which can be hugely useful for helping little ones (and their parents) get in the right frame of mind and ease some of the worries and uncertainties away.

One of our favourites over the summer has been First Day at Bug School. This is a delightful depiction of day one for the new insect intake.

After greeting the children and taking the register, Miss Bee directs the creepy crawlies to their own area of learning. Mr Wincy is teaching the young spiders not to go up the water spout, the crickets are rehearsing a new song, and the little ladybirds are counting each other's spots. The fleas are excelling at PE and the dung beetles are desperate for the loo.

The pages are packed with delightful details and bright, engaging illustrations. A clever and fun rhyme throughout moves the story along at a nice pace. Before we know it, it's home time and the parents are waiting at the gate - met by their children with a great cheer of "can we come again tomorrow?"

This is a terrifically entertaining and comforting picturebook which nicely depicts a balance of the fun and the routine of school, of making friends and trying new things.

Other recommended new school titles include:

School for Dads - Fun and frolics in this tale of child and parent role reversal;
My Busy Being Bella Day
- Superb depiction of the push and pull of sibling rivalry;
School Gremlins - Fabulous flapping fun as gremlins take over the classroom;
I Am Absolutely Too Small For School - Charlie and Lola prepare for school

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