I always choose a book for my children’s Easter basket and if I had babies or toddlers, You’re My Little Cuddle Bug would be top of my list.
The rhyming text is simple enough to engage toddlers, or younger babies will enjoy pointing and naming the bugs and feeling the shapes as they pop off the page. The illustrations are bright, engaging and extremely cute and the loving theme of little bugs cuddling with their parents makes it the perfect book to share with a child at bedtime.
You’re My Little Cuddle Bug is a good-sized sturdy board book and will easily stand up to a young child’s rough handling. It would be a great new baby gift or first birthday present if Easter has already passed you by.
You’re My little Cuddle Bug is currently available for $4.99 at Amazon.com and will be released in the UK on May 3rd. (These links are Amazon affiliate links, if you buy the book via one of these links, I receive a small compensation).
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If you have been waiting for a book for young children that challenges and encourages discussion about gender stereotypes, then add Pink is For Boys to your library.
This timely and beautiful picture book rethinks and reframes the stereotypical blue/pink gender binary and empowers kids-and their grown-ups-to express themselves in every color of the rainbow. With the help of a diverse cast of characters, readers are taken through the spectrum of the rainbow demonstrating that gender does not dictate their favourite colour or hobby.
My family loved it. My teenager asserted ‘ this is great’ and my younger girls said ‘I love this book’. It feels refreshing and not at all preachy. The text is understated, follows a familiar pattern and is clear in its message, without being too obvious. I love the illustrations, the children reflect diverse cultures and look like they are having loads of fun. My only criticism (and this may only be true of my advance review copy) is that the shade of yellow chosen, looks more like lime green.
Using Pink is for Boys in the Classroom
I can imagine using the book in school or preschool to open discussions about gender stereotypes. It would be a lovely introduction to an art or writing project describing their favourite activities entitled ———- is for boys and girls. You could encourage children to bring in photographs of themselves doing activities traditionally attributed to a singular sex and talk about their hobbies. Start your discussions from the things you hear children say, or try one of these prompts.
Are there any boys who go to a dance class? How does it feel to be in a class with only girls? Would it be better if boys were in the class? What stops boys wanting to go to dance class.
Do any children play sports where only girls or only boys are allowed? Would they prefer mixed teams?
What would they say are boys toys and girls toys? Is there a difference? Should there be a difference?
Do boys and girls play different things at recess? Have you ever been told you can’t join in because of your gender?
Coincidentally, when my youngest came home from school today she told me a group of her friends go to girl scouts. ‘I wish I could go to boy scouts’ she said ‘Why can’t I?’. Wouldn’t it be great if it were no longer segregated and children could simply go to scouts! This would be a great talking point for kids – make a list of activities that are segregated by gender. What kinds of activities are they and why do the children think they are segregated. Do the children think these activities should be segregated or inclusive? Older children could write a piece of persuasive writing explaining their views.
Pink is for boys is written by Robb Pearlman and illustrated by Eda Kaban . It is recommended for children aged 4-8 years.
It is released in the US on 5th June 2018 for $17.99 and in the UK on 28th June 2018 for £12.99 pre-order is available.
I love the simplicity of I Am Bat. I can easily hear it being read in my own child’s voice and see her acting out and reciting the text as she does with Elephant and Piggie books. Bat is over dramatic in a similar way to Elephant and this really appealed to my kids. The illustrations evoke the bat’s emotions perfectly. A wonderful book for younger readers.
As a parent of 3 children, I love Middle Bear. It is heartwarming and uplifting without being overly sentimental and conveys perfectly the mediocrity of being a middle child. I love the shell-shocked/glazed expression of the bear and the use of child like illustrations, as they convey perfectly his perception of himself as unremarkable. As the story unfolds, middle bear find out that there are some things he is just perfect for. I loved the way this unfolded and it made me smile. A perfect book for middle children everywhere.
A book by Michael Rosen about stealing chocolate cake. What isn’t there to like? The sumptuous use of onomatopoeia and descriptive language makes it a perfect book to use in the classroom. Chocolate Cake would provide lots of inspiration for children developing their descriptive writing and would be a great opening to language and vocabulary lessons. I love the way the typeface changes to enhance the descriptive words as they work seamlessly with the pictures. The illustrations are atmospheric and the boy’s expressive eyes are skillfully drawn to show every emotion throughout the book. (currently only available in the UK).
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My kids are huge Great British Bake Off fans so my daughter chose a bake-off themed party for her 9th birthday. The idea of ten children all baking together at the same time was a little daunting but I needn’t have worried. I think this was probably one of the most successful parties I have organised.
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When Max and Bird arrived on our doorstep, the illustrations were immediately familiar, but I couldn’t quite place them. They were familiar because Ed Vere is the author of one of our favourite books, the story of a jazz playing gorilla called Mr Big. Mr Big was chosen by the Book Trust as the official booktime book for 2009 and distributed to 750,000 British schoolchildren.
I had high hopes for Max and Bird and it didn’t disappoint. Max and Bird is charming from start to finish. Ed Vere is wonderfully skilled at portraying emotion through his characters’ eyes and even before reading the text, you can’t help but fall in love with Max and Bird. The opening
This is Max.
Max is a kitten.
Kittens chase birds.
This is Bird.
Bird is a bird.
Birds get chased by kittens.
is a perfect introduction to the humour and tenderness present in every page.
Max and Bird is a book about friendship. Max wants to be friends with bird but also would quite like to eat him. That isn’t what friendship is about, so when bird needs help learning to fly, the two discover a way to celebrate their friendship in a way that is much more fun.
The tension in the relationship and playful humour was a hit with my youngest daughter, an ‘Elephant and Piggie’ fan. The girls particularly loved the British phrase “Not a sausage” and the manic, show off pigeon who tries to show Bird how to fly.
It isn’t often I receive a book to review that I instantly fall in love with. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, an absolute must for all teachers, librarians and parents. I have no doubt it will become a classic, favourite in our household. Now I’ve been introduced to Max, I can’t wait to read the other Max titles, Max the Brave and Max at Night.
Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase any of these products by following these links, I will receive a small commisssion.
If you haven’t heard of Boys Town Press before, as I hadn’t, Boys Town Press produce resources for educators, parents, and other youth-serving professionals, that give practical, real-world skills you can use to manage behavior, build strong relationships, and teach social skills to children.
Noodle finds it so hard to feed his cat, take out the trash, and (especially) get his homework done when there are a lot better things to do instead. Noodle puts them off until he is hopelessly behind on homework and has a very hungry, angry cat. Noodle’s mum says he has become so good at procrastinating that now she considers him a pro at it. A PROcrastinator.
Noodle’s mum teaches him strategies to manage all of his responsibilities and have plenty of time to play new video games with his friends.
The book is written with child friendly phrases and includes many scenarios that children will identify with. There is plenty of humour and the strategies for managing tasks are simple and clear. The book is perhaps a little wordy but you could easily paraphrase it for classroom use.
Mindset Matters by Bryan Smith – teaches children how to see problems and dilemmas as opportunities to learn and grow, and reveals why failing doesn’t make them failures. Written for readers in grades K-5, this storybook also includes tips to help parents and teachers foster a healthy “ get it done” mindset in every child.
My middle child has been learning all about growth mindset this year at school, she thought her teacher would love this one. The illustrations are bright and cheery with lovely expressions on the characters’ faces. Though I liked the message, this one wasn’t my favourite, I found the story a little dry and it felt a little too worthy for my taste.
This book for younger readers has beautiful illustrations and a simple text and is perfect for children who hesitate to try new experiences. It would be a lovely read aloud book in a classroom or a sweet bedtime story.
Freddie the Fly: Motormouth by Kimberly Delude. A humorous take on the problem of never opening your ears while always flapping your yap. Appropriate for readers in pre-k to third-grade, this colorful storybook teaches kids how to control their conversations and be excited about listening to, and learning from others.
The illustrations are bright and comical and I think young children would love them. There are great characters in this book. I like the way the author describes how it feels to have an unstoppable urge to talk, but some of the descriptions are a little wordy for younger children. The message of the story is really clear and the strategies simple. Freddie learns the pleasure of listening as the story unfolds. I particularly like the tips for parents and educators at the back of the book.
I’ll definitley be looking to Boys Town for books about social and emotional learning in the future.
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The girls are totally hooked on the television survival series Alone and eager to go out into the woods and test out their skills. My 6-year-old can often be found attempting to whittle a stick with a pair of blunt ended scissors. It worried me that she didn’t have the correct tools to do this properly and I felt it may be more dangerous to whittle with scissors than with a suitable knife.
My husband bought my eldest a knife when she was younger, so we discussed when might be a suitable time to introduce the younger girls to knife skills. I always believe that when children show a strong interest in learning a skill, then the time is right to introduce them to the appropriate tools. My youngest has very strong motor skills and co-ordination and follows instructions well. The girls are able to peel vegetables with a peeler and have practised chopping fruit and vegetables with a small kitchen knife. With this in mind, we decided the time was right to buy the girls their first knives.
My husband researched the knives used by a local wilderness school and decided on the morakniv fixed blade outdoor knife. The knives are the perfect size for little hands. They have a grip handle, sharp blade and a sheath with a clip belt. They come in a variety of colours. We chose neon colours, so they would be able to see them easily.
The first lesson was how to get the knife out of its sheath. They were a little frightened at first but soon got the hang of it. These knives have a bump at the side to remind the children of the correct way to face the knife when removing it from the sheath.
The children have to follow the following rules and guidelines:-
They are only to use the knives under adult supervision
Always put the knife back in its sheath when not in use.
The knives are to be stored in a special drawer and always put away after use.
Never cut towards their hands (they’ve seen what happens if this rule is broken on Alone).
Always sit down when using the knife
Always keep their eyes on what they are doing. If they need to look away, put the knife away first.
The girls loved whittling sticks and were desperate to try other projects. I bought them a book on whittling, The Little Book of Whittling. Some of the projects were difficult with their knives because the blade was too long. On our camping trip this summer, we bought them a multi tool with a smaller knife. With this, they were able carve more successfully and new skills were learned. They learned how to fold it safely and we only had one small accident when my youngest closed it a little to close to her hand. This made the girls more careful in future.
Whittling has been the favourite pastime of the summer. I had to spend a lot of time supervising them, and my garden is littered with bits of wood and splinters but they have had so much fun and learned a lot.
One of my favourite projects, was sharpening sticks to put in the ground and make a playground. They added string to join pieces together and made a zip wire, slide, climbing frame and monkey bars.
They spent a lot of time stripping bark from sticks. Some they used for tent pegs, some they sharpened to make arrows and sometimes they simply whittled the sticks for fun.
They also learned to split pieces of wood with a knife. They used a thick stick as a hammer to push the knife through the wood.
They attempted to make a spoon, like one of the contestants on Alone, but hollowing out wood was a little tricky with their knives. They found it much easier with the multi tool.
They came up with all kinds of imaginative projects,some more successful than others. In the video my daughter demonstrates how she is making a rain collector. The large stick on the floor is the one they used as a hammer, to split sticks. You can clearly see the difficulty the girls had with hollowing sticks. This project remained unfinished, which is just as well considering we haven’t had any rain this summer!
I can’t wait to see what they achieve as they become more skilled.
Disclaimer: This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. If you order this item by clicking this link, I will receive a small commission. All opinions are my own, no payment was received for reviewing this product.
As a family of five, remembering the girls after school class schedule can be a challenge. Add in appointments, school events, birthdays, parties, concerts, rehearsals and homework deadlines and I regularly have a pin board loaded with lists and timetables.
I’m a little old-fashioned when it comes to making lists and organising events. I use digital calendars but I like to have a physical calendar to help me see the whole picture.
It can be difficult to fit my family of five’s activities in one small square, so family organiser calendars are the perfect choice. I love the Busy Family Calendar from Quarto Books, because it has space for a family of five to record all their activities on separate lines. Furthermore, the 2018 calendar lasts for 17 months, so I can start it at the beginning of the academic year and keep it going until December 2018 (by which time I may have remembered to buy a new one.)
Additional features are a large calendar grid and handy storage pocket for appointment cards, invitations and such. The charming seasonal artwork by Alison Cole is bright and cheerful to complement it without distraction. I particularly like the additional stickers for birthdays, medical appointments, school breaks etc. as they really help these events stand out on the calendar. Some even have space to add your own content, like chores and meal planners.
The Busy Family Calendar is available in Canada and the US for an rrp. of $15.99 US and $18.99 Canada
clear plastic or sheet of glass from a photo frame
bowl of water
I bought sun sensitive paper for my girls as a gift, but today was our first trial. We set out to find objects to place on the paper. Our first attempt used loose parts.
1. Create your designs inside, away from sunlight and put the paper on cardboard or a tray to help carry it outside.
2. Cover the picture with glass to stop it blowing away and keep it flat and place in the sun for 3-5 minutes. The paper will turn white.
3. Remove the glass and the objects. Place the paper in a bowl of water for 1 minute, to stop the chemical reaction.
4. Remove the pictures and leave to dry.
As you can see, one of the pictures came out clearly, whereas the other had only faint prints. The girls discussed why this might be.
Why did mine work better? I thought mine was in the sun longer but the other one was definitely in the sun for longer, so I don’t know.
It wasn’t because my things were heavier because I used sequins too. Maybe it wasn’t pressed on as hard?
I suggested they try another, to see if they could work it out. This time we searched the garden for natural materials. Usually, I only let the girls use natural things from the ground, but this time I gave them permission to pick flowers and leaves. They searched the flower bed and found things they hadn’t seen before, climbed the tree to reach leaves and lichen and we found that even weeds could have interesting shapes.
They chose their favourites to make a design.
And left them in the sun to develop
This batch was both successful.
I love the detail of the smaller leaf. The girls reflected on the success of these pictures.
I think it worked better this time because we laid the leaves really flat before we started, or perhaps it is because we left it in the water for longer? But I don’t think that would make a difference.
Even the little sequins came out this time.
We saved a few sheets for their big sister to try, it will be interesting to see what she will create. I also ordered bigger sheets because some of the bigger leaves didn’t fit on the 5×7 paper.