6 of my favourite children’s books

We’ve come to the “Book Review” part of the blog challenge. Last night I realised it was a bit late for me to start reading a book to review (i.e. an actual fiction/non-fiction book written for adults). More so because I was falling asleep by like 7.30pm and that my brain could not get past the cover page.

So, instead, I’m going to share with you six of my favourite children’s books, as voted by Jacob who knows all the words.

1. There’s a House Inside My Mummy
Author: Giles Andreae
Illustrator: Vanessa Cabban
There's a House Inside My Mummy - Giles Andreae

When I first found out I was expecting again, I was really keen to get some books to explain the concept of a new baby to Jacob (who was just under 2 years old at the time). This book came highly recommended and it was really easy to read and used very simple comparisons, and I found it really helped Jacob relate to my pregnancy and to the baby in my tummy. There’s one page I found a bit unnecessary though (about Mummy’s door being rather “tight” – errr….) but other than that, a great book!

2. Peppa’s Car Ride
By Ladybird (doesn’t say the author’s names)
Peppa's Car Ride : Peppa Pig Series - Ladybird

I had to put a Peppa Pig one in, right? (Jacob is obsessed with Peppa Pig) I initially bought one for my nephew and then I found one in an op shop so I bought it for Jacob too. It actually has moving wheels which makes it all the more fun! Jacob loves reading the book and has put Peppa Pig stickers all over it as a sign of his approval. I also love that because the car was taken to Granddad Dog’s garage to be mended, Jacob now uses that word. If he breaks a toy, he says “Mummy, this toy needed to be mended.” Cuteee!

3. Toilet Time for Boys
By Dr Janet Hall
Toilet Time : A Training Kit for Boys - Dr Janet Hall

Okay, I had to add a toilet training book into the mix too! For the record, Jacob’s still not successfully toilet trained at the moment – we tried before Jared was born but he didn’t really take to the idea, or like he didn’t want it to be an ongoing thing (he told me “No more toilet, mum. Nappies please.”). But we do enjoy reading this book however – Jacob loves the whole idea of sitting on the toilet and it just presents the idea of toilet training in a simple and encouraging way. I only have the book but not the full activity pack, so I can’t comment on that, but fortunately we got a Huggies pull-ups pack which included a potty training resource and wall chart that has Lightning McQueen on it (and Jacob is absolutely SOLD! He loves Lightning McQueen) so we will start on that in due time!

4. I Love Mealtime
Author: Joy Berry
Illustrator: Dana Regan

My mum bought this book for Jacob, as well as another Joy Berry book called “I Love Bedtime”. He likes this one better – I’m not sure why, maybe because the main character is a boy and there’s a dog in it too? It’s also sorta ironic because he isn’t a fan of mealtime in real life haha! But this book is nice and clear – it explains why we have certain eating practices/etiquette and why (i.e. if you eat too many sweets, you get a tummy ache). I’m not sure that it has had any effect on Jacob’s table manners, but one can only hope!

5. Sunshine and Snowballs
Author: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrator: Charlotte Cooke
19593965

I absolutely love this book! I’m not sure what it is but there was a certain emotion it evokes – the illustrations are just beautiful too. You might realise by now that I love books with rhymes/poetry because it just has a lovely ring to it (and I love to hear Jacob say the last word of each sentence).

The book starts out with “Summer, summer, in the sun” and it’s funny because there is a little girl at our church called Summer, and Jacob instantly thought the girl in the book was called Summer. It’s so hard to explain the concept of seasons to a little child! And he says that the boy in the book is Jared because Jared has a winter hat like the one the boy wears. So yes, it’s about Summer and Jared playing at different times of the year. I love that this book has helped Jacob make the connection with natural elements – he’ll talk to me about rain and thunderstorms, and the other day we had a foggy morning and he was so excited to experience the “grey, silent” fog. Definitely a favourite!

6. Pull-out “Jonah and the Big Fish”
Author: Josh Edwards
Illustrator: Chris Embleton-Hall

I love these pull-out books – some other stories in this series include David and Goliath, Noah’s Ark and the Christmas Story. Jacob loves David and Goliath the most because Goliath is huge and roars (Oh wait, no, that’s mummy roaring) but he also loves all the others too. I highly recommend these books because they’re interactive, easy to read and fun – and to prove that, here’s a video of Jacob actually reading this book with me (this was a good 4 months ago)!

Happy reading! 🙂

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Children’s Book Review – “Mr Pete, Where are your feet?”

Reading is one of my hobbies, or at least it used to be until I got too busy to do it. Even before I started going to school, I used to churn through 12 books a week. But over the years, I’ve had to put that hobby in the background to try and juggle all the other things I need/want to do (being the social being that I am). And now with a baby, this is proving even harder – I borrowed a book from the local library in March and have renewed it twice but still haven’t gotten halfway through it yet.

However, something I indulge in lately is children’s books! Of course, I try to read them to Jacob who is either completely uninterested or tries to eat my book (and cries when I try to take it away from him). But really, children’s books help me remember my love for reading and spur me on to pick up that bigger “adult” book that I have to try and read a chapter (only to be interrupted by a baby trying to climb the TV cabinet). 

I agreed to review a new children’s book written by Katherine Bartlett, a talented lady with a love for winged creatures (i.e. birds, not bats or flying foxes). Her book has a catchy title – “Mr Pete, Where are your feet?”. With Jacob sitting in his cot at full attention, I opened it up full screen and read it to Jacob (in hopes to get his opinions too).

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The book introduces us to Mr Pete and his family – his winged brothers and sisters, and his non-winged mummy (whom he obviously loves to bits despite her not having wings like him). Anyway, mummy asks him a rhetorical question, “Mr Pete, where are your feet?” and it gets Mr Pete thinking. He looks at his feet and to his dismay, they’re “missing” – he had shorter feet and fewer claws compared to the other birds.

So, he sets off to look for his feet. Along with his birdy sisters and brothers, they search all over the place for Mr Pete’s feet but to no avail. Mr Pete is disheartened and is worried that his mummy will no longer accept him for his flaws, but mummy proves him wrong with loving affirmation.

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While this book addresses the issue of disability and acceptance in society, I think that it also addresses another much more common issue – accepting our flaws. Our world today pressures people so much to groom themselves to perfection that people are increasingly insecure about their shortcomings. However, all we need is a gentle reassurance that we are accepted for who we are.

I enjoyed this book – the illustrations were simple but effective. Repetition is always a great feature of children’s books and I really liked the values the book teaches. Probably a more suitable read for kindy or early primary readers, though I must say it did keep Jacob’s attention for a little while (before he started chewing on the cot railing, le sigh).

An extra bonus at the end was the fact that it was a true story (and we were introduced to all the real-life bird characters!). I think it’s really great to bring the story to life (and perhaps pave the way for a sequel?). Awesome story, Katherine, and I look forward to future books!

You can purchase her book on Amazon here.

I apologise for a bit of self-promotion along with this post, but this brings something to mind that I haven’t thought of for AGES! Back in 2007, I joined a writing competition which won me a trip to Dublin. We were meant to write a 1500 word piece on the title “Helping Hands” – and as I read the piece I wrote, I think “Damn, I was a pretty good writer!” 🙂 

I found the archive of it – read my story here.

And just to prove to you that yes, I have been in the paper before, here is one of the archived articles about my prize-winning experience. Please ignore the terribly ugly picture of myself trying to look as though I’m excited.

Hope everyone had a great weekend!!! 🙂