For me stories for children are really important because they teach them so many things. The obvious thing is actually how to read, but reading is more than knowing what the words say. It’s about how things have meaning – which is why first reading starts with pictures. Then there’s the joy of learning that you can relate the words to the pictures. Of course things have an order (we read from left to right, top to bottom). As adults I think that sometimes you can forget these things, or easily take it for granted.
It is only really now with my youngest son that I truly appreciate it all. He is astounding me with how he is taking on his phonics, and learning the order we read (with his visual aid he puts the first object of the second line immediately under the last thing on the first line – make sense? We have to encourage him to start the second line on the left and not the right). He is now “reading” books to me – he’s actually telling me the words that he remembers from the pictures. Even bigger than that he is able to talk about the pictures – and amazingly he even told me how the dog digging up the flower bed was what had made the lady angry (he had originally said sad but corrected himself).
A good book, one children enjoy or can relate to, I think is a big factor in this process. Also depending on what the book is about can make the difference to what message you are passing onto your child. Therefore, I was delighted that my son has taken a shine to The Smartest Giant in Town. This Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler book we discovered at our recent trip to the Squash and a Squeeze Exhibition in Birmingham. He found the book on a chair and just sat down to read it, after flicking through the pages he told me, “You read it Mummy.” He has a short attention span (which is expanding) and it was fantastic to see that he sat and listened all the way through (actually on the very last page I had to tell him to stay sitting and we were nearly at the end but this is a fantastic achievement).
I love the book even more because it has a lovely moral message. George is a giant and he decides to better himself by buying some new clothes. But actually it turns out that George didn’t need bettering because he is already marvellous! That’s how I have interpreted this book anyway. Basically he goes and buys new clothes but ends up donating them out to those who need them more than him – because he is just lovely like that.
This is Day 2 of my Christmas TRH & Book Advent. Today I have chosen to couple this book with this fun Reindeer. He simply was (again) painted brown (it is a good idea to do a batch paint, and also avoids wasting paint), then we added googly eyes, feathers for antler (I picked blue because I want him to be colourful and cheerful), and drew on a smile. Obviously the important part was the nose which was inspired by RedTedArt to use a pompom – I decided on a sparkly one to make it more festive. You could add on some ears, and I’ve seen some lovely ones involving handprints. Personally I thought that he looked complete without.
I have not been asked to review this, I just love the book.