Her love of books continues! We’ve had another wonderful year of reading, writing and sharing books together. Trips to the local library are still a weekly activity and every day must end with a book. It’s been fun exploring fiction and fantasy stories – her older brother was all about facts and the real world – so this is a welcome change.
In the last year she’s become quite the creative storyteller. She loves drawing pictures and writing words, then turning them into elaborate stories. Each night she relays her stories to her stuffed toys in bed, before finally drifting to sleep.
1. Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: Unicorn Parade by Meredith Costain
Now these books are delightful! They’re about a 7 year old girl called Olivia who loves inventing, exploring and hanging with her friends. They’re so Australian and so current that you could use these stories to explain my kids’ lives right now. They have easy-to-understand language, and are visually beautiful – with a bright accent colour for the illustrations and the stand out words.
In these stories the children are kind to each other, the teachers love teaching, and the parents share the parenting equally. It’s full of role models for us all!
2. Wow I Can Read – Book 5 – Yellow – Set 2
Our little girl is reading, and she still has another 6 months to go before she starts school. Sometimes I feel like I should be slowing her down – I know from the experience of my son that kindergarten will teach her everything she needs to know. But she absolutely adores books and slowing her down is not an option.
Wow I Can Read was the first book we got from the library that she read from cover to cover. Simple, repetitive sentences gave her the confidence to persevere to the end. I’ll always remember her reading it to me from the back of the car while I was driving and me thinking how quickly she has grown.
3. Tabemono by Book Off
Along with Ka-Zu by Book Off, we bought this book on our family holiday to Japan in 2017. They’re the cutest little books, with bright illustrations and simple Japanese texts. Tabemono is all about food – they run through ingredients that you need to make certain Japanese dishes, for example niku (meat), ninjin (carrot) and gohan (rice) to make karee-raisu (curry rice). It’s got a nice rhythm and is fun to read.
I loved learning languages when I was young, and I’m hoping these small introductions I make to my kids will inspire for them a love of exploring other cultures too.
4. The Chalk Rainbow by Deborah Kelly and Gwynneth Jones
This is a lovely storybook about a girl, and her younger brother who has a strong aversion to anything coloured black. The girl talks openly and gently about the stress it causes her family and how she tries to help. The love for her brother is strong, and when she helps him cross the road by covering the road in rainbow chalk it’s brings a tear to my eye.
I sometimes feel like no one understands my son like her sister does, and I hope that she will always be there for him to paint rainbow roads whenever he needs it in the future.
5. Dr. Dog by Babette Cole
A bit of a bizarre book, Dr. Dog is about a dog that lives with a very unhealthy family, and needs to address all their ailments. Published in the 1990s, it shows its age by being blunt and direct with the strong message of ‘don’t smoke or drink alcohol kids!’
My daughter saw the humour in this book (I picked it when she was just 4 months old that she had GSOH) and wanted me to read it over and over. When her Poppy visited for his birthday she sat outside with him and he read this book to her, she hanging off my dad’s every word.
6. Peppa’s Christmas
Peppa and Christmas! Has there ever been a more perfect match for a 4-year-old? Last year’s Christmas was so exciting for my girl – she counted down the days, talked incessantly about Santa and got me to read Peppa’s Christmas at least a hundred times.
Like most Peppa Pig storylines, it’s simple, short and easy to read after a big day.
7. Bluey: The creek
Bluey the TV shows is still my favourite children’s show of all time, with engaging stories, realistic characters and brilliant messages that we can all learn from. The TV episode The Creek is one of my favourites, as it seems to be written about our family’s very own experience of exploring Glenrock State Recreation Area, as we often do in the afternoons after school.
Unfortunately, the Bluey books are a bit of a let down. They don’t capture the essence of the TV shows – they seem to miss the unique Australian-ness and subtle humour that makes the show so special.
8. Ricky’s Rat Gang by Anthony Masters
This book is part of the collection that lived at my mum’s house and one by one made it back here. My son was a massive fan of The Giant Postman when he was 2, which is part of the same collection.
This book is about three mice who discover a pile of spilled sugar, but the mean rats in Ricky’s Rat Gang try to claim it. The story moves to a predictable conclusion (spoiler alert: the rats don’t get the sugar) but it’s fun enough to read. On one trip up the coast my 7 year old read this aloud to my 4 year old and kept her quiet for at least twenty minutes – now that’s a win for the family!
9. The Sheep who Hatched an Egg – Gemma Merino
The Gemma Merino books are all so sweet and this one in particular is my favourite. Lola the sheep has beautiful hair, but after an unwanted haircut it grows back all wild and she simply doesn’t feel herself anymore. A baby bird helps her see the value in her new hairstyle, and makes her realise there’s more to life than simply looking good. It’s a great message told in a very sweet way.
10. Leppy’s Adventures by my little girl
Our four year old loves telling stories, and her grandma has been helping her bring her creations to life. Every Wednesday, my daughter goes to my mother’s house and I’m pretty sure they do everything the four year old wants all day. They’ve come home with many home-made books, from ‘books’ made of ripped paper covered in pencil scribbles, to the more fancy printed versions done on the computer.
A recent masterpiece was Leppy’s Adventures, a nail-biting action-filled tale that follows ‘Leppy’ the Leopard through the jungle as she escapes crocodiles, fights sharks and finds the hidden treasure.
Next year the girl will be in kindergarten and no doubt churning through piles of books each week. I’m looking forward to the next 12 months of reading adventures!