Day 83 (Week 12, Day 6) - Friday 24th March 2017
Friday might be the end of the working week and the night a lot of people like to flop down and do nothing, but for us it's just as good a time as any to read some more as a family! Though it would be fair to say that after a long week at school, Josh tends to be a little more tired on a Friday night and doesn't always find getting ready for bed to be the easiest thing to do...
Anyway, on with tonight's stories...
Aye-Aye wants nothing more than to be in a picture book (which is a noble dream, indeed). The two twin rabbits in his class are scathing of his plans however, and hardly fill Aye-Aye with confidence. When a competition is put on the blackboard, Aye-Aye tries to be the best at each of the changing criteria, but he always seems to lose out to the twins. But when the truth about who has been changing the criteria is revealed, Aye-Aye's helpfulness might just see him rewarded in the way he has been dreaming of all along...
It's a story, then, of trying hard and being helpful to those around you, which is a fantastic message for children of course, and a great way of starting off an evening's reading! The illustrations are delightful, capturing Aye-Aye's determination to be helpful and slight despair at how the competition seems to be falling away from him perfectly, and when you realise it's Richard Byrne behind the story (he of This Book Just Ate My Dog!) then it's no wonder it's so enjoyable.
Great for a story where the hero gets just what he deserves, and where you have a chance to talk about the important moral messages behind it with your children.
Chris says: If you've followed this blog at all then you'll know that I love a story with a good moral behind it, and 'be helpful and kind to those around you' is always going to be a winner. It's also great to see Aye-Aye rewarded for using his creativity! Great messages for children in this.
Josh says: I like that he got to be in the book at the end.
Xander says: I like painting.
Zot lives in a world without colour. When he spots Earth, he decides to journey there and take all its colour for himself to take back to his planet. But when he sees how sad it's made a young boy to now live in a world without colour he returns it all, satisfied with taking back just one bright orange balloon. It's a nice tale about how just a small bit of colour can brighten an entire world, and if you want to use it as a metaphor with your children then it's easy to translate into a slightly different scenario (a single kind word can bring a moment of happiness to someone's life, for example). There's also the moral as well about not invading a place and taking everything for yourself without seeing how it would affect those already living there, but I don't think that one is supposed to be the main focus of the story!
Visually, the book does a great job of proving this point; the opening pages, though nicely drawn, are definitely drab compared to those in full colour (as is the intention), and I know that myself and the kids are much happier to live in a world with fantastic colours around it!
A nice story about how one little thing can brighten a person's world!
Chris says: I don't always twig when there's a metaphor hiding in imagery, but I think I understand this one! A bit of colour really does brighten the world, whether it's literally a splash of blue or red in a sea of grey, or a spark of happiness for a person in a bad place.
Josh says: I like that he put the colours back when he saw the boy was upset.
Xander says: I like the balloon.
It's not easy for anyone of any age to stick at something until they nail it, particularly if they're struggling to succeed or they're afraid of what they have to do, so this story of a little bird who can't quite bring himself to learn how to fly is quite inspirational in that sense. It takes a bit of desperation when the nest he's living in is no longer beneath his feet and he finds himself falling, but when he tries his hardest George finally succeeds in learning to fly, and continue on South for the winter.
Stories like this help to show children why it's important never to give up, even if something is difficult (a message that I wish Josh sometimes heeded when he declares himself too tired to get ready for school in the morning and gives up part way through getting dressed...), because the reward for doing so is just around the corner. It's illustrated delightfully in watercolour (at least that's what my minimal knowledge of art leads me to believe!), and it's a book that fitted perfectly for us at the end of a nice evening of reading!
Chris says: Lovely message and easy for children to understand. The perfect type of book for parent's to read with their kids!
Josh says: I like that he was able to fly in the end.
Xander says: I like to fly!
So, to summarise Day 83...
A very good evening for positive messages tonight, whether it was about being helpful to others (This Book Belongs to Aye-Aye), always looking to put a bit of colour into the world (The Colour Thief), or never giving up (George Flies South). Picture books are great for getting across these messages in simple but effective ways, and I do enjoy having the chance to talk for just a little bit with the kids about what we think the important message behind each story is.
It's also great that the vast majority, like these three tonight, are just jolly good fun to read!
Books Read: 166/1000 (16.6%)