Monday, 9 November 2015

Sometimes you want a burger, not fillet steak (apparently).

So, we had a bit of a discussion, C and I, about bedtime stories recently.  He'd asked for The Hobbit, but then had started reading it in shared reading at school, so that stalled.  "Anyway", he said "I've not enjoyed the bedtime stories we've had really, since Cosmic." C adored Cosmic. It was about a slightly geeky boy who liked computer games more than actual life, and who liked rollercoasters, and didn't want to be lonely.  It could have been written for him.

I was unsure what to do.  I am evangelical about story reading to older kids, probably to the point of being quite annoying.  But I didn't feel comfortable saying "But you have to have a bedtime story because it's good for you, and I say you do." C has enough of that in his life without me picking a battle about something he's supposed to enjoy!

I tried a different tack, asking me to tell me about a bedtime story he enjoyed.  He picked Horton Halfpott by Tom Angleberger, which, invariably, was one that I thought was overwhelmingly average, at best. "He's written some about Star Wars puppets, can we have those?"

I firmly believe that a major benefit of reading to older children is to give them access to books that might be too difficult for them to read independently.  However, they absolutely have to be on board with this, or there's no engagement, and no point.  I am hoping that this will return.  However, for the moment, I am reading an entire series of books set in an American middle school about the adventures of a wise origami finger puppet in the shape of Yoda.  I am attempting to see it as an exercise in comparing UK and American English.  However, I think it's more likely that C is learning that unlikely romantic scenarios (the cool class beauty falling for the geek) are commonplace, and that going to school in America is much more fun than going to school here.

What makes these books for which I am absolutely NOT the target audience just about manageable is that C is really enjoying his bedtime story again, and A sneaks in to listen most evenings. "It's quite a good tale really", she says. I try not to pull an unconvinced face, because, actually, this evening I was quite interested to know whether or not Origami Yoda would solve the issue of the girl in drama group with body odour.  In case you're wondering, he did, but rather unsuccessfully, in my considered opinion.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A year on - a resolution to blog again! And some fantastic CDs

It was drawn to my attention by the On This Day Facebook app that the last time I posted to this blog was a year ago.  I am not sure quite what happened - I blame mindless Internet use (for most things actually!) I am not sure how I feel about this app. Whilst I love being reminded of some wonderful moments, and adorable pictures, it kind of feels like my life slowly ebbing away, documented coldly by Facebook.  Also seeing many smiling pictures of my late-twenties self is not great for the late-30s ego, especially first thing in the morning, when I tend to check it.  I was also prompted by a friend, who has started to write a rather wonderful 1930s blog, which I will link to when I work out how!

Anyway, I am determined to start again - I really enjoy writing this blog, and am ready to dive back in to the world of children's fiction (not that I ever left it - I just stopped blogging about it!)

Our most successful recent purchase is not a book, but has led to a great love for several books. These wonderful CDs from The Book People were bought for BabyM when he was far too young to appreciate them.  However now that he is two (although still, resolutely The Baby, as I fear he will remain, thanks to the 7.5 year age gap between him and his nearest sibling) he is greatly enjoying them.

The CDs are based around a story for young children.  The story is read with musical accompaniment, and then songs and activities follow.  Some are longer than others, We're Going on a Bear Hunt seems to go on for decades (disclaimer, I am the only person ever to HATE this book), and Owl Babies is too short (meaning that you have to listen to it about eight times in a journey of any length). However, they are fantastic.  BabyM now knows all of the words to Owl Babies, We're Going on a Bear Hunt and Guess How Much I Love You, and loves reading those books at bedtime (the pack doesn't come with the books, but you will not be surprised to hear that we have most of them already!)

We haven't listened to a couple of them yet, for example The Mousehole Cat, as I think BabyM is a little young to appreciate their subtleties.  However, for £9.99, this is the perfect Christmas present for the toddler in your life.  Their parents may or may not hate you, depending on their tolerance for listening to Baby Owl Bill singing "I want my Mummy" on repeat.  The toddler will love you though, and that's the main thing.