Day 79 (Week 12, Day 2) - Monday 20th March 2017We're safely back in Britain after a wonderful trip to France - the first time that the kids have been abroad and they loved it! Great fun at Disneyland Paris, going on lots of rides and experiencing a different culture (and a HUGE amount of Star Wars!), and also the excitement of getting the ferry there and back (despite such a huge delay on the way home).
We couldn't read yesterday because of all the journeying, but we're back adding to our total tonight!
Here's what we've read:
1) The Road Home - Katie Cotton (Author) & Sarah Jacoby (Illustrator)
Oh, this non-fiction (essentially) title is just absolutely stunning! It's the tale of how different animals (birds, mice, wolves, and rabbits) survive in the animal kingdom, against each other and Mother Nature, and both educates us with it's poetical telling of each species' plight, and enthralls us with the sublime visuals that accompany it.
I love when a story combines non-fiction with a story-based narrative to teach children without them even realising that they're learning. Josh & Xander both loved seeing how the different animals survived against each other, with the birds playing predators against the mice, and the wolves hunting down the rabbits, as well as how the protection that each parent offers its young on this journey means that the long road home is still home.
I can't wait to see more stories from Katie Cotton and illustrations from Sarah Jacoby. Sometimes a story really touches you and I feel such an urge to shout to people about how much I enjoyed this - hopefully I'll get it passed round my colleagues at work for the message to spread!
Chris says: I just loved how beautiful the illustrations are, combined with the lyrical way each animals journey is told. It felt like a genuine honour to read something this beautiful!
Josh says: I liked learning about the different animals.
Xander says: I liked the animals.
2) Odd Socks - Michelle Robinson (Author) & Rebecca Ashdown (Illustrator)
Well, this is a delightfully quirky little rhyming tale! I thought it was going to be terribly traumatic at one point when one of the sock at the heart of the story got a hole in it, but it finishes on such a happy note as both socks end up as sock puppets that I was prevented from having to make something up about sock heaven!
Not that I believed for one second that Michelle Robinson could ever traumatise me in one of her books! Her stories have easily been one of the main highlights of the Picture Book Challenge so far, making us laugh and smile in equal measure as her creativity unfolds at the heart of every page, and brought to life by an array of talented illustrators. The latest of these, for Odd Socks, is Rebecca Ashdown, whose work we recently enjoyed in The Glump and the Peeble. It makes for such a colourful combination of words and pictures, and the kids loved the idea of turning their old socks into puppets.
Great fun, as always!
Chris says: A book that gives us an idea for a creative activity afterwards! What could be better?
Josh says: I'd like to make sock puppets, especially with googly eyes.
Xander says: I like socks!
3) Sidney, Stella, and the Moon - Emma Yarlett (Author & Illustrator)
The premise of this story, that an inability to share for siblings Sidney & Stella causes the moon to be accidentally destroyed, is exactly my type of wonderfully ridiculous plot that I couldn't help but smile all the way through. Having found myself reacting slightly over the top to the kids messing around before, with suggestions of not-even-slightly-plausible things that might happen should they not calm down, this was a good chance to explain why they nevertheless might cause huge problems if they don't share!
Sharing for young children can, of course, be an incredibly difficult thing, and though the outcome here is obviously not realistic, it's still a great chance to discuss why sharing is a good thing to do.
It's wrapped up in utterly fantastic illustrations (particularly the haphazard hairstyles!) that lends itself perfectly to the quirky story, and makes me yearn for more of Emma Yarlett's work (I loved Orion and the Dark so will have to request it from the library again).
A beautifully drawn story with an important message to discuss - excellent stuff!
Chris says: Josh and Xander flick from being wonderful at sharing to terrible at it in the space of a few seconds, and though it's difficult for children to learn and I can't criticise them too much for that, it's always nice to have something like a memorable story to draw upon as a backup for why they need to share better!
Josh says: I liked the glowing cheese moon.
Xander says: I liked the Moon!
So, to summarise Day 79...
We've come back to some lovely stories: one of the most beautifully illustrated picture books that I think I've ever read in The Road Home (with a lovely educational basis to it), more fun from the fantastic Michelle Robinson with lovely illustrations from Rebecca Ashdown in Odd Socks, and finishing another important message about sharing and playing nicely in Sidney, Stella and the Moon.
I might not get these reviews onto the blog very quickly (N.B. I'm publishing this just over a month after we read the books...eek!), but the most important part of it (the reading!) is still such an important part of our day that we're gutted when we go without getting to properly sit down and read. Hopefully we'll put together another good run of days to add significantly to our overall total!