Last month saw some rather grim weather – as evidenced during our nature walk a few weeks ago. I adore the autumn, it is my most favourite time of the year but I really don’t like the amount of rain we had!
There really is something wonderful about the crisp autumn air and I love nothing more than getting the wellies on and stomping off in the parks hunting for conkers with the children. It is incredibly fulfilling and I sometimes have to pinch myself as I reflect on my very generous lot in life.
Autumn also means that we are getting closer to the time of year when it’s cold enough to put the woodburner on; perfect for those lazy afternoons of hot chocolate drinking, playing with the wooden farm or creating ever more complex games with their imaginations. It also means we spend more time snuggled up on the sofas and beanbags reading together. Something the children, and I enjoy oh so very much.
There seems to have been a real change in Mr D during the past few weeks. We don’t particularly push his learning to read, all three of them will learn to read; they can’t help it in such a literature-rich environment, but we do encourage it by having a range of early readers about for him to access. I intend to write more, or perhaps vlog, our approach to reading at a later stage. Another change is that both he and Miss E are sitting for ever longer and more complex stories. Whilst he still delights in the classics such as Tabby McTat and Hungry Caterpillar, they don’t satisfy that thirst for more. We visit the local library each week and leave with an armful of books and I’ve been impressed with some of the books that have really captured their imagination. I thought I’d share some of the picks of the releases from the last month or two.
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The Glassmaker’s Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyer (illustrated by Jane Ray) is an unusual choice for Mr D. I don’t know if it is the story or the illustrations that had grabbed him, but he really does enjoy this. The illustrations are lovely and remind me somewhat of a puppet show. The story follows Princess Daniela who is grumpy – who can make her smile? It’s a lovely story and allows children to reflect on what happiness is and how to find it, a lesson that is important at any age.
Run, Elephant, Run is just so charmingly illustrated. It is set in the Indonesian Rainforest and is such a lovely book to read aloud. The baby elephant is the star of the book, but there are some 35 other rainforest animals to spot along the way; the end pages give you the animal’s names and images to help you go back and spot.
The perfect introduction to the amazing rainforest and the need to protect. The illustrations are superb and the use of light and dark are wonderful – causing the children to reach and out and touch the pages.
We have also been enjoying The Creature – a fabulous story that really ignites the imagination – both Mr D and Miss E kept guessing at what ‘the creature’ was. I’m not sure we ever got a consensus but I think we might follow up and do some activities creating our own creatures and a little story for them.
A perfect autumn story is Hibernation Hotel, which tells the story of Bear, who just wants some peace and quiet and to get his hibernation started. It’s a lovely story and great for bedtimes and a little reminder about home, and what matters.
Other picture and story books we have enjoyed this month include Mrs Noah’s Pockets, a retelling of the storyof Noah’s Ark but through the eyes of Mrs Noah, and Pirate Baby – this is quite a funny and light hearted read and helps to challenge some stereoptypes that exist around pirates and children – a lovely fun read.
In addition to these Mr D has really been enjoying his non fiction books – he really does enjoy books with facts and figures in and there are two that are very regular features here. First there is the Look Inside Your Body Book which we were sent by Books & Pieces as part of their parents panel (read here to see how you can get yourself a discount for the site) and the fabulous Big Book of Trains which Damian’s brother bought for Mr D last year. He is completely enthralled by both these books and has spent hours leafing through them and asking me to read the detail to him.