What are your favourite Autumn children’s books?
This week Sandhurst Library have very kind in asking me to lead a storytelling session on Thursday and it’s Autumn themed. I’m so flattered that they would like to hear some bits that I’ve written alongside some Autumn type books.
So here’s a little something I wrote for the occasion:
Autumn – by Kirsten Allen
Mud squishing in my fingers
Brown conkers all around
Golden leaves are falling. What a crunchy sound!!!
Furry squirrels playing hide and seek with the acorns that they find.
Lushes lovely berries!
Types of every kind.
These are the wonderful things I think of,
When Autumn springs to mind.
So it’s been a mad whirl of holidays, teething and 3 year old birthday parties. My youngest has been waking at 5am and then going back to sleep. Oliver then wakes up and while waiting for his younger brother we’ve had a lovely time cuddling and reading a a story before getting ready. He received some beautiful books as birthday gifts which he loves. Including this one which made me smile and he loved it. Can recommend it:
There’s No Dragon In This Story – by Lou Carter & Deborah Allwright
This story is about a dragon. He wants to be a hero….unfortunately for him Goldilocks, The Gingerbread Man, Hansel and Gretel plus others already have their stories. Surely someone needs a dragon to save the day……
This is a fun easy read story for 6years old and under. Have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it!!!!
On another note I came across this interesting article. I have to say, even as an adult I love bonding with people over books they’ve read. Chatting with friends about what they’ve been reading has opened up new genres for me which I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Also, my son loves telling me about stories that have been read at nursery. Children are never too young to be read to!
It’s only half as am only part way through but really enjoying it! It’s a bit advanced for my 3 year old but I’m keen to review a variety of children’s books not just picture books. So taking one for the team I’m reading them myself (and loving it!!!) the one I’m currently reading is The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch. Would say it’s aimed at 9-12 year olds (not as grim as it sounds but mentions death and divorce). It’s about a girl (Cass) and a boy (Max-Ernest) who stumble on adventure. A lady brings a box full of smells to the antique shop Cass is staying at until her mother returns from a business trip. The adventure leads to a magician’s notebook. I’m almost half way through and can’t put it down. Wonderfully woven into the story are little historical facts, and things to do (how to make a compass) and there’s an appendix with useful words and definitions. Please don’t give the end away as am still reading but would love to know if your child (or you!) have read this book and if they enjoyed it?
This is a very useful article for helping children build vocabulary. I strongly believe in repetition with new words and concepts and a little at a time rather than loads of new words.
Also with my 2 year old I try (though slip up quite frequently – especially if it’s a word like “clock” and he misses the “l” 😂😂) to say “Good try!” And then repeat the word back to him in a sentence rather than say “No! That’s not how you say it!” . For him he responds better otherwise if I say “No! That’s not how you say it!” He insists that his way is the right way.
Yesterday’s rhyme was about going on an adventure so in keeping with that this week I’ll review some adventure books.
Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendak
Beautiful illustrations with a fantastic story about a boy called Maurice who is sent to bed without supper for being wild. He falls asleep and his room changes to a moonlit forest surrounded by an ocean. The forest is where the wild things live. Maurice becomes king and tames them. Such a classic book that can be read over and over. My own little wild thing loves this story!
Some children enjoy reading, some need a little encouragement. We keep and take books everywhere for our little ones. Car journeys, going out for something to eat, in their bedrooms, living room, doctor surgeries, a & e, bus journeys. I’ve even used them to occupy in buggies and on the back of his buggy board (it’s got a seat so he can have hands free). There are always one or two in the bag. I have to stress though, this isn’t because I’m forcing him to read. He genuinely enjoys books. What’s important to remember is it doesn’t matter what they read as long as they enjoy it! It can be comics, sticker books, football magazines, anything at all! If you leave them around the house, at some point curiousity will get the better of them. Let them choose their own material. I’ve also read in loads of articles that if parents are seen to be reading then kids are more likely to read (have to say I’m guilty of not reading my own books around them as usually wait until I’m alone and not constantly interrupted but am going to give it a go!)
I love this article and there are some great ideas in here. Particularly the treasure hunt one!
Good luck and I’d love to hear how it goes or if you have any other tips for parents.
Moving on to today’s book review…can’t believe this book series is over 30 years old!!!!
The Demon Headmaster – by Gillian Cross
This is a book that I’m sure children will still enjoy. When Dinah is fostered she worries about fitting in with her two foster brothers. However, this should be the least of her worries!!! At her new school all the children apart from her brothers are robotic and keen to please the headmaster. The three children decide to investigate but Dinah finds herself doing and saying things she has no control over. It turns out it’s the Headmaster. First he wants to control the school and then he wants to take over the whole nation! A great book for approximately 8 – 11 year olds. I’m sure we’ve all had a teacher like this at some point….haven’t we?
Today’s classic book review is one I read a lot as a child. We even went to see the play. Very happy memories of this one!
Wind in the Willows – by Kenneth Grahame
If this one isn’t a classic then I don’t know what is! The opening chapter is where Mole meets Rat. Mole is fed up with the spring cleaning and heads off out and discovers a river. He befriends Rat and here’s about Badger (a grumpy old Badger set in his ways) and Toad (who likes fast cars and seems to get into various manic scrapes which his friends need to get him out of) There are so many adventures and of course the obligatory baddies (stoats and weasels). It’s a lovely old fashioned book. The reading age is 8+ though I think children as young as 5 would enjoy having it read to them. Be warned – you might not want to put it down! I can still read this book and enjoy it today!
Now going back to Tuesday’s Challenge – it was to shut eyes, open then make a rhyme or story from the first 3 things you or your child see. Oliver is 2 and George is 8months so needed a little help! However, sitting in the living room we saw a rhino (footstool but we pretended it was real!), a cookbook and leaves (through the window outside). Hope you enjoy!
The Hungry Rhino
by Kirsten Allen
In his chair a rhino sat,
Stroking his fluffy Persian cat
And wondering (as rhinos do)
How on earth one cooks tasty leaf stew.
Does one fry it or boil it, grill it or simmer?
The rhino was desperate for stew for his dinner.
Does one chop it or mix it or slice it in half?
Wash it in a basin or dunk it in the bath?
What to do? What to do?
He wanted his stew!
His eyes fell upon a big book on the shelf.
Titled: “Are you a Rhino? How to feed yourself!”
He clapped his hooves and laughed with glee.
For there he found the recipe on page fifty-three:
“Delicious homemade leaf stew for your tea!”
Hope you enjoyed last week’s challenge? Let me know how you got on!
Now for this week’s challenge:
Wherever you are (unless driving, operating heavy machinery, about to walk into a lamppost etc) with your child close your eyes and when you open them try and create a poem or story based on the first 3 things you notice. It’s good fun! We’ve made up silly rhymes about cats on trains and in cars. Clouds, planes and the sky….. the possibilities are endless!! Enjoy and let me know the results!
Moving on to the book review. This week I thought it would be nice to look at some classics. Particularly with the school holidays there are loads that older children can enjoy reading.
Danny Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
I remember this was one of the books we had to read at school. Normally I loved reading but not reading books that I was told to read as felt it was quite restrictive and hated picking them apart at the end as felt it took away the enjoyment of reading for enjoyment’s sake. However, I loved reading this book which is aimed at around 7-11 year olds. Couldn’t put it down! It’s about a boy who is raised in a caravan by his father and together they come up with a plot against a nasty wealthy landowner using pheasants. It’s amusing and touching (the relationship between father and son is lovely) in equal measures and one that all children (and adults!!) should read at some point in their lives!
I was really interested to find out why children love the same books over and over and over and over again. So I did a bit of googling. Turns out there’s been an experiment done on 2 groups of children. The first lot got the same book with a few made up words and had it read to them repeatedly. The second group had different books but the same made up words e.g. “Sprock” appeared in all of them. The group that had the same book repeated remembered the new words more easily. Think this will give me more patience when reading Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone (a lovely bedtime story about a bear going on adventures on various modes of transport) for the gazillionth time!!!!
And here’s a bear story for the day:
Brave Boris and the Bear
Brave Boris woke up one dawn
And thought about adventure on this bright morn’.
He put on his trousers and favourite old shirt.
Found socks and shoes and got on his horse – Bold Bert.
With a whinny and neigh they went off on their way!
Through fields and forests they galloped and rode.
Through mud and rivers the gallant horse strode.
Now tired and hungry, Brave Boris sat down to rest
And eat his scrummy picnic – (he liked cake the best!)
When all of a sudden he heard a roar and a yowl!
Suddenly came a screech and a howl!
Brave Boris realised he was picnicking near a cave…
And all of a sudden he didn’t feel so brave!
But then he felt curious, he wanted to know:
What was making that noise.
Should he look?…Should he go?
He paused for a minute to try and decide
What he should do – investigate or hide?
He heard another loud “ROAR!”
And “Someone help! I’ve hurt my paw!!!!”
Soon followed by a very big yelp!
So Brave Boris went right in to help.
He looked inside and saw a bear crying.
“Please help me!” He said “I’ve been trying and trying!”
“What’s the matter?” asked Brave Boris, (who was still not too sure.)
“Please help!” said the bear “I’ve got a thorn in my paw!”
“A thorn in your paw? No wonder you cried!”
The bear said “It won’t come out – I’ve tried and I’ve tried!”
Brave Boris looked and scratched his head.
“I’ll get it out for you. First sit on your bed.
Now hold out your paw…be brave! Just a little bit more…”
With a heave and a ho
It came out in one go!
“As a thank you” said the bear.
“I’d like you to take
A very big slice of my honey cake”.
Brave Boris was happy as happy could be and gobbled the honey cake up for his tea!
Today I thought I’d share some of my favourite books growing up. There are soooooo many to choose from but here are a couple of my favourites would love to hear about yours!
Meg and Mog – Helen Nicoll
A classic picture book about a cat and a witch who’s spells seem to always go haywired.
Lowly Worm’s Apple Car-Richard Scarry (Richard Scarry books are brilliant- lovely illustrations and really lovely for children to pick up and look at themselves) This particular one is about Lowly the Worm who has to make deliveries in his apple shaped car.
Funnybones- Allan & Janet Ahlberg Funny picture book about some skeletons that want to find someone to scare!
Ivor the Engine – Oliver Postgate<!–
I had “The Dragon” and “Snowdrifts”. I have a feeling these might be books that can only be bought second hand now (have seen them on eBay I think) but I enjoyed them so much I couldn’t resist adding them on the list. It’s about an engine called Ivor and his driver Jones and adventures chugging around the valleys. If your children are into Thomas, they’ll love this series!
Milly-Molly-Mandy Stories – Joyce Lankester Brisley
Lovely very sweet old-fashioned stories of a little girl and her family who live in “the nice white cottage with the thatched roof”. It’s a book that means a lot to me as I got it at primary school along with a certificate as a prize. (While others got theirs for being maths geniuses or amazingly talented at sport I got mine for “effort”…they didn’t even say what I’d “efforted” at 😂) Anyhow, a lovely book for around age 5/6 year olds.
Well I ummed and ahed about which book to review today……Far too many childhood books to choose from. In the end I went with one (or in fact a series) that I used to read in bed, in the car (travel sickness allowing), at breakfast, at lunch and dinner (parents allowing!) It’s a great series of books and one I’d forgotten about until thinking of childhood books this week.
The Brer Rabbit Collection – By Enid Blyton
So this collection is by one of my favourite childhood authors. It’s based around the stories from African-American and Native-American folklore. The main character is a cunning rabbit (Brer Rabbit) who gets himself into (and out of) lots of situations and plays tricks on others using his cunning and wiley ways. Other characters include Brer Fox and Brer Bear. Would probably say children the age range is 6-8 but they may enjoy having the stories read to them from about 5. I really loved this series!
As we’re covering childhood this week thought I’d add my own short verse of how I remember some of mine and hopefully how my boys will remember some of theirs. (This was pre-phone/tablets/computers so we’ll see!!! 😂) Hope you enjoy x
By Kirsten Allen
Riding bikes as quickly as we can
Running after the ice cream van
In the park
Playing out until dark
Jumping in puddles