List by Danielle
"There was never a child so lovely but his mother was glad to get him to sleep."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Blessed, beautiful holiday sleep-ins this month have meant that the kids aren't so tired at bedtime, and are often still widely, loudly, bed-bouncingly awake by the time *I'm* ready to sneak off to bed with my own book. At 3 and 5, neither of them are really reading on their own - though the 5 year old is surely working on it - so they tend to latch onto interactive books (flaps, puzzle-solving, spot-the-whatever type books), or books with simple, funny stories that they can remember and tell each other, or books with plenty of visual stuff going on to absorb them.
Olivia acts out / adapted by Jodie Shepherd ; illustrated by Patrick Spaziante
Assigned the less-than-leading role of "Cow Number 2" in her school's play, Olivia manages to secure her place in the spotlight after all.
A novelisation (picture bookisation?) of one of the episodes of the TV series, this is a tale about drama queen pig Olivia finding out that "there are no small parts, only small actors". A good read-aloud book that lends itself to funny voices and shrieking as Olivia tries to find 'the perfect moo'.
My dad is beautiful / Jessica Spanyol
An illustrated picture book that celebrates the relationship between a little bear and its dad, showing the different ways that fathers can be wonderful.
Spot-on: the bear's dad buys ice-creams, watches cartoons and does all the cool things dads do with their kids. "But it doesn't have eating chippies," says our daughter.
Traction Man meets Turbodog / by Mini Grey
Traction Man, an action figure, teams up with the high-tech but not-so-bright Turbodog to rescue Scrubbing Brush, his missing sidekick, from the terrible underworld of the bin.
A Christmas present from Aunt Kezia, whose quirky choices are always a treat. Mini Grey's Traction Man books are illustrated in an appealing, comic book style, and there are plenty of funny details to pore over and point out. In this title, the underworld of the bin is drawn in loving close-up, from the Yoda-like withered potato to the sinister and menacing piece of pepperoni pizza.
The Viking saga of Harri Bristlebeard : a heroic puzzle adventure / by Jonathan Stroud ; illustrated by Cathy Gale
In this activity book, children relive the heroic adventures of Harri Bristlebeard, the hairy Norseman with the lucky trousers. There are a range of tricky riddles and perilous puzzles to overcome fierce trolls, savage wolves, the World Serpent and other dire dangers.
Lucky trousers! What's not to love. This was a withdrawn book from my mum's school library, and a neat find for our 5 year old. She can mostly remember the quests for each page (a landmark, a hidden raven, an increasing number of disguised lemming stowaways), but there's plenty of challenge involved in tracking things down each time. If you have a puzzle lover in your family, I also recommend the Usborne '1001 things to spot' series for some good, absorbing fun.
There are cats in this book / Viviane Schwarz
The reader is invited to lift the flaps and follow the cats as they play with yarn, boxes, pillows, and fish.
There are cats in this book? There are FIGHTS over this book. I fear for it's future as a library book. The playful fun rockets along as the reader helps out the three cats, Moonpie, Tiny and Andre, by lifting flaps to find wool, pillows for pillow fighting, and a floodwave of fish. This is a gorgeous, simple, and very fun book. (For the record: Dad does the best funny voices.) Oh - plus - check out Viviane Schwarz's most beautiful website!