Story Time

One thing I have always done with my children and have always loved myself is reading.  When I was a little girl I remember my special gift always being a new little book.  I remember sitting by myself before I could read and leafing through a pile of picture books with Morty mouse who reminded me of the adorable geckos I would watch on the windows of our house in Malaysia.

There are so many books I have enjoyed with my children and for my first born, who was a terrible sleeper, we would sit together and read Terry Pratchett as part of our seemingly never ending bedtime routine.

There are a number of children's authors and illustrators that I love to read and have bought as many of their books as I can.
  • Emily Gravett
  • Lynley Dodd
  • Oliver Jeffers
  • Julia Donaldson
  • Anthony Browne
  • Graeme Base
  • Sara Acton
  • Anna Walker
  • Jackie French

Here are some of the books that I have had a great time reading with my little ones, some for their beautiful illustrations, some for their fantastic rhythm and rhyme and some for the beauty or poignancy of the story.

Flotsam - David Wiesner
This is a magical journey to share with your child.  Mine are one and three years old and still happier to hear me make up the words to accompany these beautiful images and wonderful story but I have noticed more and more my son asking me to make up a story to go with what lives in that house and has been trying to himself.  This is bookshelf treasure.

Hairy Maclary - Lynley Dodd
  •   Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
  •   Slinky Malinky Open the Door
  •   Slinky Malinky Scatter Cat
  •   Hairy Maclary's Bone
  •   A Dragon in a Wagon
  •   Hairy Maclary Shoo
  •   Schnitzel Von Krumm Forget me Not
  •   Hair Maclary's Catwaul Caper
  •   Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack
Lynley Dodd books are wonderful reading.  I was disappointed with the Dudgeon is coming because Lynley Dodd who is always so wonderful with her rhyme and rhythm seems to have sacrificed language to produce this book but my son still loves reading it, he's three and he also likes Dr Seuss which again is all rhyme and nonsense.

The Tale of Despereaux - Kate DiCamillo

This story is bitter sweet.  A pleasure to read, magnificent illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering and a lovely voice throughout.  The characters are human, not always literally, and I will definitely read this again once my children are old enough to grasp the concepts but not too young to be frightened by some of the darker imagery and content in this lovely book.  I went on to buy The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane but am yet to finish this book as there were too many tears to read aloud.

Frog Belly Rat Bone - Timothy Basil Ering
Great book about a boy who wants to find treasure, a monster he creates, some stealthy thieves, and the wonder of life within a small, dry, insignificant looking seed.  This is a book crying out to be followed up with some gardening.  I am yet to put together my only little treasure box filled with colourful seed packets but this is on my list of things to do with the little people in my life.  There are many books I pick up as a consequence of there being something special about the illustrations and this is one of them.  Frog Belly Rat Bone is packed with full page, unique paintings.

Monkey and Me - Emily Gravett
This book has fantastic rhythm that almost feels like your singing a very percussive song.  Gorgeous illustrations with beautiful freehand pencil drawings.   The simplicity of colour and rhythm in this book will make it a favourite.

Again - Emily Gravett
Another wonderful book, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett.  There are two stories in Emily Gravett's books, the written and the visual.  If your child can sit down and follow the images it begins when you look on the inside cover as you watch the young dragon getting ready for bed and ends with an over tired outburst by an increasingly irritated dragon who's mother has hit the wall before him, the ending to so many bedtime routines.  This is a book you and your child will read again and again.  Again?

Where's my Cow - Terry Pratchett
Whether you are a Pratchett fan or not, whether you have read and thoroughly enjoyed Thud or have never even heard of Disc world, this is a great book to read with your little one and has led on to games with my own children.  The game of the book as you read through making the noises of the animals you find who are not your cow will entertain you and your little person over and over again.  This is the favourite book of the fictional one year old in the story and was for my one year old also.

Great books to teach Art to Kids

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist when we grow up." ~ Pablo Picasso

There are so many different ways to introduce art to children, bringing art into every day life through colour, critical perception and appreciation of every day objects, nature, visiting galleries and of course books.  I love taking my children to galleries and have tried to surround them with art, my own, the art of others and their own creations.   Books are a great way to bring visual art into a child's life and a wonderful conduit for delivering a message, telling a story or conveying an idea.  Visual arts and movement can be wonderful tools for learning all sorts of things.  [read more]

Out of the Egg - Woodblock printing

Out of the Egg by Tina Matthews
Since first reading to my daughter as a little baby, this book has been a favourite of hers.  She was most likely drawn to it when she was young by the beautiful high contrasting white and black lines and the use of splashes of red and green throughout, as these sorts of images are meant to be stimulating.  [read more]

Why Picture Books Matter

"The first art that children see is in picture books. That’s a big responsibility for the illustrator. Leonard Marcus showcases a group of artists who recognize that responsibility and respond with work that challenges and inspires kids’ burgeoning visual literacy. In 21 captivating and intimate interviews, Show Me A Story offers an in-depth look at the passion and vision that these amazing artists bring to their work. No two are alike, except in their remarkable levels of creativity. Their books leave kids amazed and moved. They leave their imaginations energized. And quite often they leave the kids giggling maniacally on the floor." - David Wiesner, Introduction to Show Me a Story: Why Picture Books Matter: Conversations with 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Illustrators, edited by Leonard Marcus   [read more]

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