Wednesday, January 14, 2009

summer reading for kids

These 3 books make wonderful holiday reading for kids. They accompany us to the beach every year. It's good to see that 2 of them are by Australian authors!

Pamela Allen Grandpa and Thomas

I bought this for my son Thomas the moment I saw it, because it describes so well his relationship with his beloved Pa. It's a gently illustrated, gently told story for toddlers and preschoolers, about a grandfather and his grandson Thomas.

They spend a day at the beach, splashing through the surf, munching sandwiches under a green umbrella, decorating a sandcastle, and wriggling their hands through it to find each others' fingers (remember the joy of doing that as a child?).

As they walk to the beach, Thomas independently carries his bucket and spade; by the end, Grandpa carries everything home including Thomas, while the tide comes in and washes their sandcastle away. And all to the repeated refrain, which sighs like the waves through the pages: "Splish, splosh, splash sings the sea".

Alison Lester Magic Beach

I dearly love children's books which describe the wonders created by a child's imagination - and this is one of the best.

One page depicts, in rhyming words and a beautifully detailed picture, one of the wonders of a beachside holiday: splashing through the waves, building a sandcastle, searching for stones and shells washed up by the tide.

Turn the page, and it shows a smaller, round picture, like a peephole into the imagination of a child experiencing each of these wonders: sea horses thundering towards the land, a castle complete with prince and princess, an overflowing treasure chest. I love to celebrate and encourage my children's imaginations, and this book does it with me.

Shirley Hughes The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook

Anyone who's read any of Shirley Hughes's books has probably fallen in love with them - especially the ones about Alfie and Annie Rose. Alfie is a loving and loveable preschooler, Annie Rose his toddler sister.

Scruffy haired and rosy cheeked, they enjoy all the normal childhood experiences: arranging soggy cornflakes around a bowl, setting up shop in the backyard, putting boots on the wrong feet, going to the school fair.

One of my favourite Alfie stories is the last one in this book. Do you remember finding that perfect childhood treasure, a smooth, round stone which fitted exactly into the palm of your hand? This is the story of how Alfie's special stone, Bonting, is found, lost among the anonymous stones at the beach, and found again. Perfect beachside reading.


Pam said...

We have (and love) all of these! There is a sequel for the Grandpa and Thomas one, did you know? Grandpa and Thomas and the Green Umbrella, I think it is called.

Do you know Dogger, by Shirley Hughes? I still have trouble reading this without crying and I'd love to figure a way to use it at Sunday School!


Wendy said...

Thanks for these Jean - we all love Magic Beach here too. I'll look out for the others now also. Wendy

Jean said...

Pam, I know of the sequel, but haven't read it - what's it like? And I adore Dogger: one of my top 5 Alfie books (a topic for another day?!).

Happy reading, Wendy!

Valori said...

I was reading about your first two books and wondering if you had ever read the story about Bonting, and voila--it appeared next! I have been reading the Alfie books to my boys for years, so now I will have to check out the ones by the Australian authors :). And, yes, Dogger is wonderful. For littler children, I love the Alfie comes in First story. It always comforted me when I had small children to know that all moms had those absolutely crazy days. But then they all catch a moment to sit down for tea!

Jean said...

Valori, Alfie Comes in First is one of my other top 5 Alfie books - how about that? Maybe we should play "guess the other 2".

Valori said...

It's way too hard to choose, Jean! They are all so precious. Maybe the one where Annie Rose is screaming at the same time that the house is flooding while the babysitter is there? Or the cute one where Alfie is camping out with his dad and the pig tries to get in. Sorry I can't remember the names of those. For some reason, I don't own any Alfie books (except Dogger, which is actually about Dave and Bella). I always check them out from the library. I think I need to ask for them for my birthday :).

Pam said...

I don't own the sequel to Grandpa and Thomas but we have borrowed it. From memory, it was good. Maybe not quite as good as the first but nearly.

But I need to go to bed so maybe I have just lost enthusiasm for everything...

I have a couple of old Ludy and Tom books which I love looking at; also "Helpers" is older than all the others by the looks of it and a nice read, too. Oh, and the Katie and Ollie books. We love those, too. My two youngest are just about their ages now. They have a few lovely poem books in the series.

Oh (I keep remembering more Shirley Hughes books!) Rhymes for Annie Rose is just gorgeous. Love it, love it. Specially "Duck Weather".

Jean said...

And how about the Shirley Hughes Katie and Olly books (Hiding; Chatting; Colours; When we went to the park)? We love all of those, too.

Like you, I adore the poems. So many lovely ones! The one where Annie Rose wakes up to greet the dawn; or where she goes flying through the night sky; or the footprints of the bird in the snow ... wonderful!

Pam said...

What about a book title swap?
Just write a list each of other books we love and maybe someone else will pick up some that they didn't know?

Jean said...

Great idea Pam. Only I have far too many picture books I love to make a list! Maybe I could give it a go.

I'm planning a list of chapter books for primary school age kids soon. So get your thinking hat on!

Pam said...

Well, I'd love to write a list but I'll give you one book we discovered late and a list to peruse.

The book is Cock a Moo Moo by Juliet Dallas-Conte and Alison Bartlett and you can get a look at it at Amazon. It's for littlies and it's gorgeous.

The list: go to which is a homeschooling curriculum based on picture books. There are wellknown ones and lesser known ones and their selections are wonderful.

Does anyone else love Roxaboxen?