Peapod’s Picks – An Octopus, Some Whales, A Tiger, An Elephant, A Dinosaur … But definitely not a mouse in sight!

A rather belated Peapod’s Picks this week as I continue to struggle to find a new blog routine after going back to work!

But here we are.

There have been many books we’ve read in recent weeks (if you haven’t read our review of If I Had A Unicorn yet, this is still a firm favourite!) that should have been included in a Peapod’s Picks post, but it’d take too long to recap them all, so I’m going to talk about three (or really five?!) books that we’ve been reading over the past week.

First up Octopus Shocktopus by Peter Bently and Steven Lenton.

I’m so glad Peapod has taken to this and allowed it into our nightly bedtime reads basket, because I love it!

Written in bouncing, rhyming text and accompanied by bright and joyful illustrations with an eye-popping neon octopus at their core, this is the best sort of picture book – firm themes of friendship, acceptance and of the extraordinary and absurd, but not a hint of a moral or message. This is a story to simply delight in.

And we do.

A family find one day that an octopus has, taken up residence on top of their house. They’re a bit bemused and neighbour is less than convinced. But as they begin to involve the octopus in their daily lives – games of football, substitute washing line, DIY, garden slide, pet rescuer – they quickly come to live having it around and are bereft when it vanishes as suddenly as it arrived. Will it ever come back?

I love everything about this, especially the ending and Sid the baker. Peapod loves the teddy in the toilet tale (naturally) and we all love reading it.

We follow that with one that’s just as daft and just as brilliant.

The Whales on the Bus by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt.

To be sung to the tune of The Wheels on the Bus, there’s a whole host of animals travelling in various hilarious ways in here – from goats in boats to baboons in balloons to a dragon in a wagon!

Peapod loves the zooming bees on skis and laughs and laughs at the muddy sheep in the jeep and the poor splattered cow they pass.

I love listening to him sing the first verse (“whales bus round town…all day long”) and look forward to him picking up more of it.

I also love that I am absolutely NOT allowed to sing “ducks on trucks go quack, quack, beep” – if I sing it correctly I’m just met with a “noooooooo, mama!” and have to add an extra quack instead. Turns out in Peapod’s world tigers can fly gliders, and snakes can ice skate but ducks absolutely cannot beep a horn!

This is a great one to read together with lots of silliness, sound effects and laughter during the day and I can’t wait to read it at storytime when we’re eventually back up and running again too! Love it.

Next up I was going to post about ‘I Can Roar Like a Dinosaur’, the third book following a marvellous mouse who’s nothing of not sure of himself! But then I found I’d not posted about the two books that came before it and since we’ve been reading all three at bedtime, it seemed only right to feature them all together.

I Am a Tiger/I Am Not an Elephant/I Can Roar Like a Dinosaur by Karl Newson and Ross Collins

We loved I Am a Tiger, with a mouse who is convinced he’s a tiger, so convinced in fact that he manages to convince everyone else too…including tiger!

There’s some great “noooooooo!” opportunities in this – Peapod loves giggling as mouse assures us of his tiger-y-ness and the ending is just great!

I Am Not an Elephant sees Mouse having to convince the other animals not that he is something else, but that he definitely isn’t an elephant. Especially not a parping sm-elephant!

Of course Peapod loves the noises we can make reading this one, especially the parps and giant burp! But is it a burp…or a roar? Maybe mouse isn’t a mouse or a melon or a moose, but…

A dinosaur!

Mouse’s latest tale might just be our favourite of the three, as mouse tries to convince everyone he’s a dinosaur, teaches them to roar, calls a T-Rex a chicken then discovers he’s actually a bird! Phew!

Peapod loves doing the actions as mouse instructs the others on how to roar. He even ‘reads’ the book to us now: “arms, side-side, shake, teeth”! And this is another that will be great fun to read at storytime when it gets going again!

Peapod’s favourite thing about this book though is definitely the end pages showing mouse as a bird. He gets me to point to them all (and us, starting to do it himself, over-exaggerated shock and all!) saying “bird, bird, bird, bir-wah! That’s not a bird, that’s a mouse!” He laughs and laughs at this and I love it!


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