Day 40 (Week 6, Day 5)We've got some catching up to do, so with a bit longer in the evening than normal we decided we could fit four books in instead of three! And it's a good mix of four different types of story, too, as we adventure on a far off dinosaur island, look at the love between parent and child, and talk about a couple of important issues.
Bring on the books!
1) Treats for a T-Rex - Adam Guillain (Author), Charlotte Guillain (Author) & Lee Wildish (Illustrator)
An exciting adventure to start off tonight with! It's a trip to a far off island where dinosaurs still roam for young George and his dog, who spend their time teaching dinosaurs all sorts of doggie tricks to stop themselves being trampled or eaten. I particularly love how colourful the illustrations especially the absolutely gorgeous landscapes, which really gave the children a feeling of being transported with the characters to a prehistoric island. Xander spent the entire time shouting rahhhhhhhh!, which made it a bit hard for him to actually hear what I was reading, but it seems like he loved it plenty anyway for that not to matter! For children that know dogs can be taught tricks (and particularly if they've played with them personally this way) this will be extra exciting I imagine, as it'll give extra hope of one day having a dinosaur as a pet - despite the probable protestations of parents!
Chris says: Beautiful to look at, humorous use of teaching dinosaurs tricks (particularly tickling a T-Rex belly!), and a great adventure to take before bedtime! Well worth a read - it's got everything!
J: I liked tickling the T-Rex's tummy.
X: Roar! The mummy dinosaur (N.B. Xander liked it because it looked like it had a baby in its belly, just like this mummy!)
2) I'll Love You Always - Mark Sperring (Author) & Alison Brown (Illustrator)
If you want a book that is sweet as sweet can be about the love between parent and child, then this would be a perfect choice. All the way through it is illustrated with simply adorable images of a mother and child mouse spending the day together, with the mother telling the child that the love they have will outlast any measurement of time, because it's forever. Going off on adventures before bedtime is one of my favourite things to do with the children, but sometimes it can be just as perfect to read a story that leaves them in no doubt that they are the most important things in your life, and that the bond you have together is the strongest force in the universe.
Chris says: I'm a big softie, and though I'm not usually one for getting mushy at a book (TV or film, yes, but strangely not usually literature), I can't help but smile at the thought of this story when comparing it to the love that I have for Josh & Xander (and baby number 3 currently growing in my wife's tummy!). The look of love between the two mice as they snuggle up together captures exactly the love that I have for the kids, and I'm sure everyone else who chooses to read it as a family will feel the same way.
J: I liked the loving parts (N.B. He's chosen not to specify which, but there are a LOT of loving parts with this theme!)
X: Yep (N.B. Short and to the point, but a positive assessment of this story it seems!).
3) Copy Cat - Mark Burchall (Author & Illustrator)
I'm sure that all friendships, particularly with younger children (and siblings!), have had moments where one person has felt that they need a little bit of space to do their own thing. This book is a great way of discussing with your children how it's fine to feel this way, but to make sure that you don't try to shut out a friend for too long as you'll start to miss them, and that you're friends for a reason - because you like to spend a lot of time together!
Chris says; I know that Josh sometimes wants a bit of time alone when Xander follows him around (it's pure older-brother-hero-worship), so this is a useful way of showing him how it's fine to feel a bit frustrated, but that he'd be sad if Xander wasn't there to play with. A nice gentle way of talking about a topic that might arise from time to time!
J: I liked when Dog was going into space
X:Oh-oh! (N.B. Not entirely sure what he was worried about here, but imagining it was either the dragon or the illness!)
4) Don't Pick Your Nose, Pinocchio!- Steve Smallman (Author) & Neil Price (Illustrator)
I have absolutely no idea if Josh & Xander paid any attention to the idea that they shouldn't pick their nose after reading this, because they were clearly having too much fun laughing at Pinocchio doing it to properly listen to me! This is the second book in the A Story About Hygiene series that we've read (not for the Picture Book Challenge, or not yet at least!), and we've enjoyed the nice and daft approach that they take to trying to teach children a bit better hygiene. Though as I still pick my nose like it might contain hidden treasure, I'm probably not the best person to be trying to get this message across...
As an opportunity to discuss said hygiene issues with your children, however, this is a great series, and though I doubt anything in the world is going to stop a determined nose-picker, I find it surprisingly rare that this topic is actually brought up in picture books! When it's a genuinely humorous way of touching on an important topic, I think this is a good choice.
Chris says: It's true that picking your nose can be bad for you. I once picked a particularly sharp piece of bogey and cut under my fingernail. Took me at least a couple of days to get over that one and go back to picking my nose. Terrible times.
J: I liked when Mr Cricket got stuck up his nose.
X: I'm a boy too!
So, to summarise Day 40...
A proper good mix tonight! Funny adventures in a land where dinosaurs still roam; an adorable story of the love between parent and child; a thoughtful tale about not taking friendships for granted; and a good opportunity to discuss hygienic behaviour.
Sometimes it's nice to have a running theme for the evening, but equally it can be nice to get a great variety of stories. There was certainly plenty to talk about when we were finished, and smiles on both Josh and Xander's faces as they drifted off to sleep!