Monday, 17 April 2017

Day 70 (Week 10, Day 7) - Saturday 11th March 2017

Day 70 (Week 10, Day 7) - Saturday 11th March 2017

It's a very exciting evening today - we're staying in a hotel room before seeing family tomorrow! Always something that the kids enjoy doing a lot, and particularly as it means we get to read our books for this evening in a super-exciting new location!

1) Monkey Puzzle - Julia Donaldson (Author) & Axel Scheffler (Illustrator)

I hadn't read Monkey Puzzle before tonight (can't say that for many of Julia Donaldson's picture books!), but I was delighted to find that this might be one of my favourite stories of hers. It's got her trademark excellent rhyming (and Axel Scheffler's iconic illustrations), and it's humorous with the butterflies well-meaning but not-so-helpful-as-it-happens help (with a wonderful second appearance by an elephant), and also the exact type of sweet ending that can't help but make you smile.

A warm book with a happy ending that's perfect for family reading before bedtime!

Chris says: It's nice to find a book from a classic author that you haven't read before, doubly so when you think it's one of their best. I really thought that the fact the butterfly's children are still caterpillars so don't look anything like him was both wonderfully accurate nature-wise, and a good point to share with children that what is obvious to you might not be obvious to someone else, and not to judge how they make their decisions without talking to them first.

Josh says: I like he found his mum.

Xander says: I like that he found his dad.

2) Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits! - Tim Warnes (Author & Illustrator)

Yes, you already know that this book obviously contains rabbits (imagine the disappointment of a child if they didn't after this tease on the front cover...), but the real question is do said rabbits made me laugh, giggle, and want other people to go and get it from the library? It's three yesses from us over here!

Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits! is the story of a little mole who loves to label things, and his crocodile friend who discover a magic hat that keeps producing bunny rabbits, and the trouble they encounter with trying to get the bunnies back into the hat. It's funny and charming all the way through, though you can sell the book in one very easy sentence by pointing out to your children that at one point the bunnies poop everywhere - no guesses for which bit was Josh & Xander's favourite then! With that visual image in mind, the illustrations are drawn with warmth and care, and perfectly capture the increasing frustrations of Mole (who fails to easily label them all as he wants to) as he and the Lumpy-Bumpy-Thing (the delightfully-named crocodile).

A fun story for anyone who remembers well the frustration of a problem getting quickly out of hand!

Chris says: I know that I shouldn't fixate on rabbits pooping as being the highlight of a story, but I knew the second I saw that bit how much Josh & Xander would love it, and sure enough they were still talking about it half an hour later when trying to settle them down to sleep. In many ways, Mole's frustration at the problem getting out of hand is very similar to that which any parent will have experience when the stresses of trying to calm children down crop up!

Josh says: I loved the rabbits pooping.

Xander says: I liked crocodile magic.


You're not going to have anything other than a wonderful time with a book about a monster competition featuring a 'Smelliest Fart' round, are you? Five fantastically funny rounds are present in this story actually, about a boy and his monster who wants to win the 'Best Pet Monster in the World' competition, but whose monster is far to pleasant to stand a chance. There's no setting fire to people in the 'Hottest Breath' round, or terrible skin afflictions in the 'Hairiest Warts' round, all of which are guaranteed to get huge laughs from children (and adults alike, let's be honest).

I love the little repetitive touches that William Bee has included, like one judge fainting each round, or the slightly pathetic results the monster gets in each round (though we know it's because he's a nice monster really). Kate Hindley does a fantastic job with the illustrations, bringing us a plethora of monstrous beasts for the competition. Josh and Xander really loved seeing all the little details hidden within, like the parasite in the robber costume with a small bag of swag, or the 'Fartometer'. 

It's also apparently inspired a new nickname for Xander. Having just read the bit about one monster setting a judge's bottom on fire, he quite proudly declared, 'I am BOTTOM FIRE!'. Thank you Mr Bee - I'll remember Worst in Show for a long time just for that!

Chris says: There's really nothing not to love about a book that openly embraces everything that slightly-conservative groups wouldn't approve of - making farts one of the focuses of a story should be rewarded with acclaim after acclaim, especially teamed with Kate Hindley's brilliant illustrations. 

Josh says: I loved the 'Smelliest Fart' round the best.

Xander says: I am BOTTOM FIRE! (N.B. Just repeating this for emphasis!)

So, to summarise Day 70...

It seems like on a couple of occasions tonight the kids' favourite bits happened to be about poo and farts, which goes to show that there are some subjects that are never going to fail to entertain! As well as those classic subjects though, there was a definite theme of love running through the stories, with a child's love for its mother dominating Monkey Puzzle, the friendship of Mole and the Lumpy-Bumpy-Thing at the core of Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits!, and a boy's pride at his pet monster evident throughout Worst in Show.

Poop and Love - two of the most important things to children!

Books Read: 139/1000 (13.9%)

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