THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR :: witty and funny, this book has been capturing little hearts for nearly 30 years

Age guide: newborn to 6 years

My two-year-old daughter Ivy is obsessed with bugs! She thinks they’re hilarious and can spot a tiny ladybug from way across the room. So naturally, A Very Hungry Caterpillar is a current favourite.

A well-loved classic, it follows the cycle from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly. Along the way, this determined little caterpillar eats through an impressive amount of food!

It's a great book for talking about life cycle, for early counting and for food identification. And because it's so popular, there's an abundance of Hungry Caterpillar themed activities to explore and keep the fun going:

This very cool macaroni necklace is from Buggy and Buddy.


This very cool macaroni necklace is from Buggy and Buddy.

Here's a fun and colourful project from  Spearmint Baby with a link through to a fabulous Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday party - the cake is gorgeous.


Here's a fun and colourful project from  Spearmint Baby with a link through to a fabulous Hungry Caterpillar themed birthday party - the cake is gorgeous.

This Chrysalis Kit from Butterfly Skye's bug shop looks fascinating.


This Chrysalis Kit from Butterfly Skye's bug shop looks fascinating.

And these from Chic by Chance are good chompers!


And these from Chic by Chance are good chompers!

Ivy and I also like to go on an edible journey with the very hungry caterpillar - we look for other caterpillars, eggs, butterflies - and we eat some of the things the caterpillar ate (do you think a caterpillar could really eat through ALL those things?)

This site about the butterfly life cycle is interesting, it has a link to a printable colouring-in sheet.

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR is by Eric Carle. You can watch him reading aloud in the short video below, see what I mean about the caterpillar eating through ALL those things?? 

PS - If you're looking for something for a very little one or a new baby gift, you might like to click over to this post - the very hungry caterpillar is there, plus 11 other wonderful board books. 

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL :: everything is relative!

Theodore Roosevelt apparently said that 'comparison is the thief of joy' and that's almost always true. But in this great fun story, comparison is the key to all sorts of funny and joyful moments.

 
 

A purple furry creature and an orange furry creature are just about to come to blows over who is big and who is small. The orange creature is bigger than the purple creature, that’s true, but they can’t agree on who is quantifiably ‘big’ and who is ‘small’. 

The orange creature tells the purple creature: “You are small.”

But the purple creature is certain:  “I am not small. You are big.”

They each call in their friends to prove their point. And just when things are getting completely out of control: “Boom!” an enormous green foot plants itself in the middle of them and a bunch of tiny pink creatures parachute into the fray. 

And suddenly the light goes on: they are all ‘small’ and ‘big’. And off they go to lunch. The perfect end to an argument!

For young readers, there’s a lot to connect with here. For example, starting school is always tricky and relative size carries a lot of importance. But for even the littlest child beginning school (or any new enterprise), it’s true that: You are (not) small. 

Understanding relativity in relation to size is one of the building blocks of maths and science, making this a really great early childhood reader.

But, it’s also so important to develop the ability to laugh when a sticky situation is resolved and this is a great book for leaving its readers with a giggle and a smile.

The wonderfully expressive faces of the creatures as they battle through their war of words are pretty funny - they progress from smug certainty to irritated to downright angry and then on to relieved and satisfied. Lots of really good reading clues there and since they are coupled with the limited and repeated vocabulary, this is an accessible and amusing book for early readers to try out their reading and expression skills.

Plenty of human foibles are on display here too – adults and teens will see bits of themselves and the world generally and will giggle along with their little ones. 

Of course, that giggling could easily give way to some thoughtful and important discussions about how we see ourselves and others - and how our personal perspective can lead us to make blanket assumptions that may not be entirely true.

One other quick thought: I love that neither creature is proved right – and I love that the ‘small’ purple creature is not afraid or intimidated by the ‘big’ orange creature. They treat each other with a sort of robust egalitarianism and so when they both come to a new understanding, there is respect and even friendship.

A great lesson wrapped up in a hilarious and fast moving story.

YOU ARE (NOT) SMALL was written by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant - the age guide is newborn to 8 years, but adults and teens will get a kick out of it too.

Exploring the Categories :: FRIENDSHIP

Exploring the Categories :: FRIENDSHIP

Sam’s husband (and my son) Alec was Groomsman for his friend David recently – they’ve been friends since they were 7 or 8 years old. It’s a wonderful thing to have friendships that span decades. 

Wonderful too to have fleeting friendships – the kind that little ones develop instantly at the park.  

And then there are the friendships that go through difficult stages but endure. Or the surprising friendships – the ones that start off prickly and end up tender. In celebration of friendships of every kind, here's a selection of books you might like:

Read More

Can't wait for :: THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA

Can't wait for :: THE STORY OF DIVA AND FLEA

There was a time in 2003 – 2004 when the absolute favourite books at our house were the newly released series The Spiderwick Chronicles for the older kids and Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus for the younger kids. We read them both over and over and the kids took them to school to be read aloud and passed around. There’s a healthy dose of nostalgia surrounding those wonderful reading days for our household. 

Now – even though we technically don’t have anyone in the recommended age range – we’re really looking forward to The Story of Diva and Flea

Read More
Comment
Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger …

HOME :: a beautiful book about home as a place, reassuring and stretching, rich with detail

HOME ::  a beautiful book about home as a place, reassuring and stretching, rich with detail

Age guide: 2 to grown-up

When Max was 11 his Christmas Eve book was Wildwood by Colin Meloy. It’s a great story – we all loved it. But it was the illustrations by Carson Ellis that really moved me to buy it.  So appealing and interesting.

Now, Carson Ellis has written and illustrated Home – and it’s every bit as gorgeous. But this time it’s the sentiment that moved me. Home as any place, as a reflection of who we are, as something that binds us to our community, as something unique and special - all of this is reflected in Ellis’ charming illustrations and simple words.

Read More

ILLUSTRATORS :: Robert Ingpen

ILLUSTRATORS :: Robert Ingpen

Robert Ingpen has written and/or illustrated dozens of beautiful books and we love his style. It’s soft around the edges and even when dealing with really difficult subjects it’s calming and reassuring. Here are a few favourites:

Read More
Comment
Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger …

COLLECTIONS :: 8 favourite books about endangered species

COLLECTIONS :: 8 favourite books about endangered species

There’s an art installation happening in New York on Saturday night (1 August 2015 NY time)  –  images of endangered animals will be projected onto the Empire State Building. It's the brain child of Travis Threlkel - this from NYT, “Illuminating the Plight of Endangered Species, at the Empire State Building” :

Read More

HALF SPOON OF RICE :: harrowing, important, triumphant and inspiring

HALF SPOON OF RICE :: harrowing, important, triumphant and inspiring

Age guide: 10 and up

Roger and I recently visited Cambodia – Angkor Wat had long been on my would-love-to-visit list. (It was just as fascinating and beautiful as expected.)  But we were unsure about visiting The Killing Fields and S21 Prison.

We’d read a bit about the Khmer Rouge and that awful time and of course we’d seen the movie - in the end we decided to visit both sites. I’m so glad we did. In spite of ‘knowing’ a reasonable amount about the history, it was a whole different experience to be there and ‘feel’ the history.

Read More

TED :: a fun book about searching for and finding the puurrfect friend.

TED :: a fun book about searching for and finding the puurrfect friend.

Age guide: 2 - 8 years

Sometimes it takes a while to find a perfect friend or to recognize the greatness in someone who might be your friend. 
Sometimes we can overlook someone’s best efforts just because they don’t match our expectations.
Sometimes we might not see the kindnesses we are being offered or the fun that is waiting for us. All those things happened to Ted.

Read More

ANATOLE :: a charming French mouse teaches the joy of contributing

ANATOLE :: a charming French mouse teaches the joy of contributing

Age guide: 1 to 9 years

Anatole is a mouse who is completely content with his life. Until he gets a new, paradigm-shifting perspective when he hears some people talking about mice. He had no idea that people thought:

“To be a mouse is to be a villain!” 

For Anatole, this revelation puts his pride, honour and self-respect at stake. So he sets out to remedy the situation. 

Read More

THE TABLE WHERE RICH PEOPLE SIT :: you probably have one at your house

THE TABLE WHERE RICH PEOPLE SIT :: you probably have one at your house

Age guide: 4 to grown-up

This story was first published in 1994, perhaps intended as an antidote to 90’s consumerism. There’s certainly a flower child, peace loving vibe about it – I love it!

A young girl tells us in a conversational way about a problem she has with her parents. She thinks their family doesn’t have enough money.

So she calls a family meeting to discuss the matter. And in the course of trying to convince her parents of the need for ‘better’ jobs so that they can ‘buy a lot of nice new things’, the girl becomes convinced of the value of the life they live. 

Read More

GUT: THE SECRET POWER OF A LITTLE-KNOWN ORGAN :: a fascinating look at the gut - and poo!

GUT: THE SECRET POWER OF A LITTLE-KNOWN ORGAN :: a fascinating look at the gut - and poo!

Giulia Enders is a twenty-something microbiologist and she has written a blockbuster bestseller book about the gut and poo. It's pretty fascinating - I heard her interview with Natasha Mitchell on Radio National Life Matters today and loved it.

One part that I found super interesting was that the gut has its own nervous system. It's a system that's big, vibrant and active enough to rival the brain!

Read More

DEAR ZOO :: lift-the-flap surprises and fun on every page, just add noises!

DEAR ZOO :: lift-the-flap surprises and fun on every page, just add noises!

Ivy (23 months) read me her first book last week, it was a well-loved copy of ‘Dear Zoo’. We were sitting on the floor and she ran up to me book in hand, so I asked if she'd like me to read it to her. To which she replied “No, I read." She plopped herself down, opened the book and started:

‘What will be next? Elephant!’ (insert elephant noise here!).
‘What will be next? Raff!’ (Giraffe) (apparently Giraffes growl :))

Read More

THE LITTLE WORLD OF LIZ CLIMO :: every single page is a laugh, so good for the soul!

This is such a funny book. Liz Climo draws amazingly appealing animals in all sorts of situations - but her talent extends way beyond the drawings.

How she gets the humanity into them I don't know, every situation is completely relatable to ourselves or to someone we know. I've had the book sitting on our coffee table for a month or so now and it brings giggles from everyone who picks it up.

It's wonderful for kids but I've tagged it for adults because it's the kind of book that makes a perfect present for so many hard-to-buy-for people - I'm thinking of my uncles!

Here's Joan's relatable, she bought the print and it's now on their kitchen wall. And I'm liking this one to add to my Christmas cartoons collection.  

There's a sale on at National Geographic Kids!

There's a sale on at National Geographic Kids!

Have you seen the National Geographic Kids site? It's great to explore with kids and I really like their straightforward no-frills explanations for myself.

Try this link for an example, in their Science and Nature section. It drew comments from kids like: Too scary for me - WOW - Awesome! - That is so cool -  Tsunami's are pretty powerful! How many horse power?

Read More
Comment
Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger …

MILLIE :: a 'lesson' about unconditional love

MILLIE :: a 'lesson' about unconditional love

There's one particular book that I've read and re-read to my class this term. The first time it was my idea, since then it has been requested over and over: "Could we please read that Millie book again Jesse?"

With an age guide of say 4 to 9 years, Millie by John Marsden with Illustrations by Sally Rippin is a book of less words, more thinking. It begins with the line:
“Everybody loved Millie. She was so good.” 
The reader is led to believe that everybody’s love of Millie is BECAUSE she is so good.
“Millie ate her broccoli and cauliflower, peas and pumpkin”
But there is something not right, as the next page reveals…

Read More

WILFRED GORDON McDONALD PARTRIDGE :: a loving look at memory loss and friendship

WILFRED GORDON McDONALD PARTRIDGE :: a loving look at memory loss and friendship

Ages baby to 8 years and grown-ups
Some years ago, after my grandmothers died, Roger and I realized that our children didn’t have any old people in their lives. (They had their own grandparents of course – but they hardly qualified as old.) That’s a major gap in a child’s life and one we tried to fill with elderly friends from church and other grandparents and great-grandparents of friends. 

I think that one of the reasons we realised this was so important was that we had both read Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge dozens and dozens of times.  

Read More

Found On The Web :: a gorgeous bookplate embosser

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
— Stephen King

It's wonderful to lend books to friends, to have the pages turned and softened by other hands. And it's helpful to all if there's a little something on the fly leaf to show where the book actually lives.

Plus, how nice when you're the recipient, to see a familiar name in the front. Even nicer to run a finger over that name and feel a lovely tactile surface.

We're all pretty excited about finding this embosser - if you'd like to see more about it just click here or on the image.

Comment

us

Share
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger …

COLLECTIONS :: 12 beautiful board books, for baby showers, newborn gifts, or simply for love

COLLECTIONS :: 12 beautiful board books, for baby showers, newborn gifts, or simply for love

Baby Oliver has arrived! My fourth grandchild. He’s number three in his family, after Savannah and William, so when I visited I took a board book version of The Boss Baby.  It's sturdy enough to stand up to three little ones playing with it and amusing for parents who know just how much a baby is the boss!

In celebration of Oliver’s arrival here are a few board books that are great for baby showers or newborn gifts or simply because you love a baby or the parents of a baby.

Read More