A Mummys View

Telling it like it is

Book Review: Giraffes Can’t Dance – Part of @Homedad’s #FictionFriday

It’s that time of the week again where we hop on board with @Home Dad and join in his #FictionFriday blog hop

This week I’ve decided to feature Giraffes Can’t Dance (Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees) one of my daughter’s favourite’s

This is a fabulous and beautifully illustrated tale of a giraffe called Gerald and his longing to take part in the annual jungle dance. The cruel animal taunts at the dance however make Gerald freeze on the spot and  and creep off home feeling all sad and alone. On his journey home an encounter with a friendly cricket sees Gerald realise his potential and his dreams of dancing come true.

“Gerald felt his body do the most amazing thing. His hooves started shuffling making circles on the ground, his neck was gently swaying and his tail was swishing around.”

As Gerald loses himself in the music all the animals that had taunted him earlier in the evening begin to gather around and watch in awe.

The moral of the story is that

“We all can dance when we find music that we love”

If you want to join in with #FictionFriday why not hop on over to @HomeDad’s blog to join in the fun and find out more

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A little reading each day goes a long long way!

As children both my husband and I were bookworms, there wasn’t a day went by that we didn’t read in some way shape or form and I remember it being like that for as far back as I can remember. Both sets of parents had instilled into us the importance of reading and had enjoyed sharing story time with us. Some of my favourites that I can still remember today were Topsy and Tim, Meg and Mog, Spot the Dog, Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree stories, Famous Five collection and The Wishing Chair to mention a few

As we have grown our love for and passion for books and stories hasn’t waned. My husband loves his Kindle that I bought him and I have to say I am rather fond of it too, not least because he can store his books in one place now rather than any more room being taken up in our house, he is a real book worm and we were running out of space! Looking back through school reports recently I noticed that I always had a reading age higher than that of my age throughout school and that was obviously testament to the time I spent reading both on my own and with my parents. Whilst I may have found the attraction of shopping with my friends and going out more attractive in my teenage years and may not get the chance to read myself as much nowadays I still take the opportunity to pick up a book when I can and now love having daily stories with my little girl.Reading is so important for children in helping them develop.

An International Study from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recently examined the long-term impact of parental support on literacy.  The OECD analysis, based on teenagers in 14 developed countries, found on average, teenagers whose parents had helped with reading at the beginning of school were six months ahead in reading levels at the age of 15.

Leading education institution Kumon states there are Four key reasons for reading to your child

  • Improve their literacy – the more you read to your children, the more competent they will become.
  • Quality time – Time spent reading with them will not only improve their reading skills, but also benefit their well-being and self-confidence. Feeling close to your parents is something that every child needs.
  • Improve their general knowledge and imagination – Every book is different and will display a whole new world to your children.  This can really help their general knowledge and will develop their creativity and imagination at the same time.
  • Calm them down before going to bed – Reading to your child before going to bed is the best way to end the day and relax them before falling sleep. 

Surely these are fantastic ways to give our children the best start in life?! I’ve been reading a bedtime story to my daughter every night since she was a few months old and I think this did help as a key part of her bedtime routine, it let her know that it’s time to sleep now and helped wind her down after a busy day.  We have also been taking our daughter to Bookstart Rhyme Time sessions at our local library since then too and I think they are fantastic. They combine a short story with music and rhymes and the children absolutely adore it and are on their feet dancing and taking part in the action rhymes and songs. If you join the Bookstart Bear Club every time your child attends the library to read, takes books out or attends a Rhyme Time event you get a stamp and every six stamps you get a Bookstart certificate, which is even more encouragement for your little ones to take part and enjoy reading as they feel a sense of achievement.

My little girl may only be 18 months old but she’s already building quite a collection of books and absolutely adores them. Below are just a few of our favourites:

She also likes lots of ‘lift the flap’ and sound books such as:

  • Find That Freight: Lift-A-Flap Sound Book [With Soundboard] (Thomas & Friends) by Publications International
  • Heads (Mathew Van Fleet)
  • The Wheels on the Bus: A teddy bear sing a long book (David Ellwand)

There’s many, many more but these are just a few of our favourite recommendations. I am aiming to review a few of them and hopefully some more as I develop my blog so keep checking back and please do let me know if you have any recommendations of your own. What books do your children love?

Happy Reading!

TIPS, LINKS AND FURTHER INFO

Places to purchase children’s books and to fin out more information about books

The Kumon Institute believes there are five good ways to help children read within the family environment:

  • Read to each other
  • Ask questions about the story
  • Enrol at the local library
  • Look up for unknown words
  • Be a good example

The Words for Life website also has a great range of information about helping your child along the way including tips for reading bedtime stories, fun things to do for different age groups and important milestones.

March 1st is World Book Day which celebrates authors, illustrators and books. Their website is fantastic and has a host of information from resources for parents, nurseries and schools, book recommendations, games and competitions. I would strongly recommend a visit!

On Thursday 1st March 2012, 9.30 – 10am you can visit www.worldbookday.com to view The Biggest Book Show on Earth where you can watch the following authors and illustrators live:

Nurseries and schools may also be giving away £1 vouchers to children to use to purchase any of this year’s nominated World Book day books so don’t forget to see if your nursery or school is participating!

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