All posts filed under: we love

We love: giving special | Part II: colouring & activity books

After last week’s round-up of gift books, here’s a little collection of colouring & activity books that would be perfect for Christmas giving. I love a good colouring book. One that encourages exploration & creativity, but gives confidence and structure — a starting point for little hands & minds to build on. Paper & crayons are great, but sometimes it’s lovely to have something special to work on, and, as a parent, having a colouring book up your sleeve (metaphorically at least) can save the day on rainy days, snuffly days, or don’t-know-what-to-do-days. Here are a few of our favourites. 1.  The Scribble Book by Hervé Tullet. Big, beautiful & fun for even the youngest of artists. This would be my choice for those around 2/3 years+. Tullet is also the author of some fantastically fun interactive (in a low-tech way!) board books like Press Here and The Game of Finger Worms which are also great for younger children. 2. The Colouring Book by Hervé Tulle. What are the right colours for happy people? For sad …

We love: giving special | Part I: gift books

A little round-up of some of the books we love the most that would be perfect for giving this Christmas. By ‘gift books’, I mean the kind of thing you might give as a special present: Christmas, birthday, naming day or some other ‘mark-it-properly’ type occasion. Though, let’s face it, who here needs a special reason to give a book? I hesitated about offering any ideas because I’m pretty sure that many of these will already be on the shelf of any book-loving child. So, here’s the deal: let me know what special books you recommend for giving. I’d love to know what the hits are in your home. These are the tried & tested successes in ours. 1. Lavender’s Blue, compiled by Kathleen Lines & illustrated by Harold Jones. All the nursery rhymes you know and all those you have half-forgotten in one beautiful book. First published in 1954, this is the 50th anniversary facsimile edition. We bought T hers for her second birthday & it’s still a favourite five years later. This would …

We love: Ramona Quimby

The terrible, horrible, dreadful, awful thing happened. Ramona threw up. She threw up right there on the floor in front of everyone…Nobody, nobody in the whole world was a bigger nuisance than someone who threw up in school. Until now she thought that Mrs Whaley had been unfair when she called her a nuisance, but now — there was no escaping the truth — she really was a nuisance, a horrible runny-nosed nuisance with nothing to blow her nose on…As she fell asleep, she decided she was a supernuisance, and a sick one at that. from ‘Ramona Quimby Age 8′ by Beverly Cleary T threw up at school last week. I picked her up from the school office where she was sitting ashen-faced, a bucket held between her knees. As we walked home together, we cheered ourselves up by talking about how it was just like when Ramona threw up at school. ‘Yes, but we don’t have any fruit flies,’ T pointed out. ‘And,’ she added, ‘I know I’m not really a supernuisance, because — …

We love: Roald Dahl

I don’t have many rules when it comes to books and children. Deliberate destruction upsets me, but I’ve got pretty good at magical mends over the years. Walking home from school holding a book in front of your nose? Fine, just look up when we’re crossing the road please. Not talking to me for an hour after school because you just have to finish your book? Okay, but I can’t say I won’t be lonely. Staying up hours after lights-out because you just can’t stop reading? I was that child.  Censoring your reading? Never! Or at least I thought never. And then, well, I looked at Roald Dahl’s The Witches and found myself saying, not until you’re seven. Since reading really clicked for T two summers ago she’s made her way through pretty much everything Roald Dahl wrote for children. For a long time she read Danny the Champion of the World over and over. Then, after her birthday last year, there was the Matilda phase. Camping in France last summer, she sometimes read aloud …

We love: Jack and the Flumflum Tree & The Paper Dolls

You can’t catch us. Oh no no no! We’re holding hands and we won’t let go. We’re Ticky and Tacky and Jackie the Backie And Jim with two noses and Jo with the bow! from ‘The Paper Dolls’ by Julia Donaldson I know you don’t need me to tell you about Julia Donaldson. But this week is all about keeping things simple. Calm thoughts, calm words, even if there are two boys thundering round and round me shrieking with laughter. That’s the intention anyway. (I realised, hours later, that the tea I threw into the supermarket trolley this morning is called ‘Zen Again’. I am a marketing person’s dream.) I’m trying to fit in lots of snuggling and reading with my boys before the summer holidays start and my attention is divided into three. (Or three million, depending how you look at it.) So, here they are: two instant Julia Donaldson hits from last week’s library trip. I have a mixed history with Julia Donaldson. There are many of her books that I could read …

We love: King Jack and the Dragon

Jack, Zac and Caspar were making a den, a mighty great fort for King Jack and his men. A big cardboard box, an old sheet and some sticks, a couple of bin bags, a few broken bricks. My friend A. (who also introduced our family to Dogger) is a wonderful present buyer. Which, now that I’ve written it, sounds like faint praise. But as anyone who’s as frequently stumped by gift-giving as I am knows, it is (if you’ll excuse the pun) a true gift. Anyway, for the Pip-Pop’s first birthday back in November she sent him the perfect book: King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently. Not only is it a fantastic story, it’s irresistibly illustrated by the wonderful Helen Oxenbury, and one of the characters (the one who looks most like him!) has the same name as the Pip-Pop. See – magical gift-giving powers. The story is magical too. Jack and his friends Zak and baby Caspar spend the day in the garden building a den and fighting dragons and monsters. Cue …

We love: This Little Cat

The Pip-Pop is fourteen months. His favourite word is ‘cat’. He’s also very fond of ‘hat’. ‘Hat’ involves a long-running joke in which he places a book, a sock, or a buttery piece of toast on his head, smiles his devastating smile and says ‘hat’, then waits for our appreciation. We, of course, laugh every time. Or at least – in the case of the toast – smile and sigh, ‘Oh, Pops!’ while rubbing at his head with a baby wipe. Someone must have taught him this. I fear it was me. Anyway, back to ‘cat’. His Christmas stocking contained the perfect book for a cat-loving baby: Petr Horáček‘s This Little Cat. Its differently sized pages are perfect for chubby little hands to turn and it builds to the most delicious joke: the last cat is ready and waiting to eat you up. The Pip-Pop roars with delight as the final page is turned. He’s even added ‘tiger’ to his repertoire. Quite something for someone who refuses to recognise the existence of dogs – far …

Miffy

The biscuity one sat on my lap for her first bedtime story on Sunday evening. We made it into the National Gallery shop the other week and I couldn’t resist buying a copy of Miffy. Reading to her for the first time was such a lovely feeling, but I’m not sure that this is the right message about motherhood to give to my tiny baby daughter If we could have a baby now, how lovely it would be, said Mrs Bunny, I could shop and cook and sew for three! On the other hand, I’m with Mrs Bunny when she tells the chicks that they can’t play with Miffy yet I’m sorry, Chicks, you’ll have to wait, kind Mrs Bunny said Miffy’s too young to play with you babies must stay in bed! and at least now I know how she fits all of that cooking & sewing in. —– Happy 3 month birthday biscuity xx