Picture Book and Play – Builders

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

Last week, I wrote about a lot of our construction themed books and play, and this week follows on from that as we look at a few more of our building themed stories and activities.

Peapod has got two versions of The Three Little Pigs that he really enjoys – the Campbell First Stories board book and one by Nick Sharratt and Stephen Tucker. We love both and have others in both these series that I’d really recommend!

Both have bouncy, rhythmic, rhyming text and interactive parts (the first with moving parts and the second has flaps), with plenty to look at and tall about. And of course both end with wolf burning his bottom in the cooking pot which he finds hilarious! (though his favourite part in the Sharratt/Tucker version is the spider in wolf’s empty cupboard!)

I adlib a bit to flesh out the Campbell version and to add in the traditional phrases from the story and its lovely hearing Peapod joining in with these now too as we read and act it out using some of his animals and construction blocks.

Obviously I helped build the houses, but that was sort of the point as Peapod has a lot of blocks but doesn’t often choose to play with them. So I hoped to get him a bit more into them by using them for this.

It didn’t really get him building, but he liked telling the story and definitely enjoyed being the wolf and blowing the houses down!!

Likewise, this classic from Allan Ahlberg and Colin McNaughton‘s Happy Families range, in which Mr and Mrs Brick worry that their new baby is not a builder like them and all the Bricks that have gone before.

He loves seeing Baby Brick knock all the houses down, immediately chose to play it after we’d finished reading it for the first time and going back to it often this week.

Again the joy was very much in us building and him (sorry, Baby Brick!) knocking it all down, but that was great fun and it’s helped us get playing with the bricks which meant that once they were out and a over the floor he started coming up with his own game.

I had to walk the people through them and they get stuck as their paths are blocked. I then extended this to us building towers in all the directions they were trying to go and he was soon throwing up towers like there’s no tomorrow!

He’s slowly starting to venture into walls, buildings and steps too, and while it’s still mostly us building any kind of recognisable structure, he is starting to have a go.

Peapod’s “house – there’s the door!”

We’ve also been building and playing with bridges, thanks to one of Peapod’s current favourite snack time reads – Iggy Peck Architect by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

We’ve read it repeatedly and thoroughly enjoy it with its zippy rhyming text and wonderfully detailed, funny and stylish illustrations.

Peapod’s favourite bit is, of course the tower of dirty nappies which he thinks is hilarious! But he’s also fascinated by the bridge Iggy and his classmates build at the end of the book too and really pores over it!

We’ve also done some building block printing this week.

This was one of those ‘bite-your-tongue-and-step-back’ activities, as he soon decided block printing was all well and good, but actually painting his builders and printing with them and getting handfuls of paint to make mud/cover them in it was much more fun!

He had a ball, was so involved and then spent a good deal of time in the water washing them too so win-win!

Do your little ones like to build?

Which picture books have you read this week?

Picture Book and Play – Construction Site

Picture Book And Play is a weekly post in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

Peapod has been mad on playing with his builders recently so this is the first of a building site double over the next two weeks!

Yes, that is a Tool Station catalogue – nothing like a bit of ‘real life’ print! In fact, it was that rather than one of his picture books that triggered this interest in his building toys again, as he went and got his toolbox after seeing the hammers and drills in here!

He’s also enjoyed the Let’s Pretend Builders Toolkit which has pop out tools that he likes to get out and pretend to use.

I pushed plastic golf tees a little way into a box then left them out with his hammer.

This is one of those activities though that requires a bit of realism on our part; Peapod enjoyed it but it’s very much a short-bursts, short-lived one – he returned to it a few times a day over a couple of days for a few mins at a time. So don’t go expecting it to fill an hour, but since it takes no time at all to set up it’s all good, and great for hand-eye coordination and motor skills too!

A more long-lived activity, and probably Peapod’s favourite of those we’ve done, was his construction site tray. Peapod loved playing with “Orange Bear” when we had the snow in his tray, so I ordered a couple more of the diggers in that range and set them up in his tray.

We had this out for a good week and it was probably the most played with thing in that time. He spent hours here (and although the tray’s changed now, he is still playing with the diggers).

We used lots of modelling and his books to help extend his play and language in here. His favourite book to use was definitely Busy Building Site – he’s looked at this over and over again! He loves the flaps and the central character of ‘Builder Barney’ who takes us through a build from start to finish.

It’s a great book with lots of flaps to lift that help show the processes on the site; simple rhyming text to help talk us through it; ‘sound effects’ written on to engage and join in with; and, most importantly, lots of age-appropriate technical vocabulary labelling items on the pages.

Peapod has loved finding out what everything is called, matching it to his own toys where he has them, finding out what the builders are doing abd acting it out in his tray – he particularly likes digging foundations!

We adapted it as we went, adding in this ‘rubbish chute’ and ‘skip’ for example, and while he loved the pebbles and corks, he didn’t touch the bobbins despite us modelling them so I took those out. And Peapod chose to bring his other builders and people into it.

We’re also reading ‘Dig, Dig, Digging’ by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe most days and he likes to match the vehicles in the book to his own toy ones.

While it doesn’t explicitly say its poetry, I don’t know what else you’d call each short rhythmic passage – one for each vehicle, filled with onomatopoeia, repetition and action. A perfect, slightly surreptitious introduction to poetry!

As well as matching his vehicles to the images in the book, he also likes to bring them over to match to his jigsaws!

And of course, it wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t include one of the duds – this week play dough!

I made playdough and put it out with his tools, with the idea of making prints – hammering, drilling, screwing into it etc. – and while he did do this for all of two minutes, the dough quickly became a cake and the screws candles! He enjoyed it and that’s the main thing 😂

Join us next week for more building-themed stories and play!

What have you been reading and playing this week?

Picture Book and Play – At the Vet

Picture Book & Play is a new weekly post (moving to a Friday from next week!) in which we look at a picture book (or books) Peapod’s been enjoying recently and some of the play we’ve had based on it.

If you and your little ones do similar bookish play, we’d love you to join in with Picture Book & Play and to let us know what you’ve been reading and playing too!

It’s a short one this week – we’ve kept it really simple with some vets role play, which Peapod loves.

I’ve written before (many times but in more detail here and here) about how much Peapod loves the Mog books by Judith Kerr, so for Christmas he got a couple of new Mog books including Mog and the V.E.T., which he loves; he thinks its so funny calling the vet the V – E – T!

Mog gets a thorn stuck in her paw and has to go to the vet (or the V- E – T as they have to be called due to how much Mog hates going) Of course, Mog not being a fan of the vet means chaos ensues and Peapod thinks it’s great fun seeing the animals run wild and the vet fall over! As funny and expressive as you’d expect from Mog!

Mog at the V – E – T! (The laundry basket is the car taking her there of course!)

As we’ve been reading it again recently, we’ve been using the Dr’s set and pet care set he also got for Christmas to play vets.

We’ve also used the brilliant ‘Busy Vets’ to help introduce the idea and talk about who might be at the vets, which animals we might see there, what the vet might need to do etc.

The Busy range of board books are so great for this – Peapod loves the moving parts, there’s lots to talk about with illustrations that are lively but informative and questions and captions to extend on the simple rhyming text.

We don’t have pets so this has been a great introduction to some otherwise unknown concepts for Peapod.

Peapod likes to be the “vesinny (veterinary) nurse” and specialises in putting on plasters (it doesn’t matter what animal it is or what ails them – a plaster is the cure!) and the fact that they’re a bit fiddly and great for fine motor skills is an added bonus!

He’s got a little notebook which he likes to record the animals he’s seen in – great for getting a bit of mark making in!

Even unicorns are treated at our vets (with plasters of course!)

Are there any favourite vet or pet themed picture books in your house?

What have you been reading and playing this week?

Peapod’s Picks 15/7/20

A weekly(ish!) round up of some of the books Peapod has been enjoying recently.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

This is never one to sit and collect dust and has been back at the forefront of his choices at bedtime for the last couple of weeks.

He likes to tell us the story now too – “Noooo. Noooo. Yes! Noooo. Rock. Sad. You!” – which is the best! You can read my original review here.

Mini Rabbit Must Help by John Bond

Our other regular bedtime read, this has been chosen almost every night since we got it too. He loves telling us what’s happening in the pictures here too, you can read our review here.

This has been another popular bedtime or pre-bath pick too. We’re big Hairy Maclary fans and I’d love them to do more of the stories in board book format as while Peapod is able to carefully handle a paperback, he finds these much easier and prefers them.

He loves seeing Hairy Maclary hiding from Zachary Quack in this one – “hide!” and giggles away as we do “pittery pattery, skittery skattery, zip” up and down his arms!

It’s a really sweet story of friendship, playing with and helping each other, all set in Linley Dodd’s wonderfully energetic and linguistically pleasing rhyming text. Lots of fun and great to read.

We’ve also been having something of an Emily Gravett time of things recently, which I am not complaining about in the least, as she’s a real favourite of mine.

In Monkey and Me, we see a child visiting the zoo with her toy monkey, pretending to be all the animals (which of course its also lovely for little readers to do too).

It’s got lovely, simple repetitive text that’s absolutely perfect for little ones to join in with and finish the phrase with the animal, which Peapod loves to do.

I love the layout and how it so carefully matches the animals as well as the images themselves. I also love the very last spread which perfectly sums up the evd of a lovely day out (with an extra bit of fun little ones will love!)

In Where’s Bear? Bear and Hare are playing hide and seek, but Bear is too big to find a good hiding spot…or is he?!

This might just be the perfect book for us at the moment! Peapod LOVES hiding things then we all have to pretend to look for them everywhere shouting out hammed up “noooo”s when we can’t find it.

He’s also loving counting all the time and can get to 6 (to ten if you don’t mind missing 7 and 8!) so the counting element of the book is perfect too.
This is a fab book with plenty of warmth and humour. We love it. I’ve bought him the other Bear and Hare books too, but he hasn’t got them yet!

Ketchup on your Cornflakes by Nick Sharratt

A delightfully daft classic to finish. Peapod has this one in his basket of books by his kitchen and chooses it regularly, loving making odd or awful combinations with the flap style pages and reacting with a loud “ugh!” or “noooo!” Lots of fun!

Have you read any of these?

Which picture books have you read this week?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up 11/6/20

We have continued reading a lot of last week’s choices (though thankfully Pigeon Poop seems to have been forgotten about for now!) and there’s been some old favourites creeping back in too, but this week’s absolute favourite bedtime read has been

On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

Having bumped his knee on our walk, he was utterly taken with this tale of Claire and her bad knee. He now asks for it every night (“knee!”) and often during the day too. He especially likes the witch (if we read it during the day he dashes off to get his cardboard tube Broom!), the giant (off he goes to get Jack and the Beanstalk) and ghost (“wooooooo!”).

It’s one of my favourites from when I was little too (we video called my mum with it the other day!) so I’m loving gushing it on regular repeat! You can read my original review of it here.

The other books that have really grabbed his attention this week are these from Campbell’s ‘First Stories’ range.

We ordered Jack and the Beanstalk after reading Jasper’s Beanstalk a few weeks ago, so decided to get a couple of the other traditional tales at the same time. He loves his Bear so we got Goldilocks and I thought The Three Little Pigs would be good for his current building themed shelf downstairs.

He is LOVING them.

As with Campbell’s ‘Busy’ range of books (which we also love – you can read our review of Busy Railway here) the books have bright and busy illustrations, with plenty to talk about and find on each page and a moving part on each spread.

Little fingers can pull, turn and slide various parts to make the pictures move. He absolutely loves this! The giggles of sheer delight as we find Jack in a cupboard or the wolf in a cooking pot are joyous and everytimr we see Goldilocks make a run for it, he leaps up to leg it round the room too!

Each story is told in short, rhyming sentences over double page spreads. The way the books have managed to tell the tales so succinctly is great and there’s enough scope in the pictures to allow for a longer telling too.

We have been doing just that; sometimes we just read it as is, but often we tell a fuller version page by page, based on the illustrations then summed up with each page’s text.

On the back of the books are pictures of the others in the series. Peapod has picked out Cinderella who he recognises from Each Peach Pear Plum so that’s in our next order, and I quite fancy Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel or The Little Mermaid after that…

(I’d also love a Three Billy Goats Gruff in this range if anyone at Campbell is reading..!)

Have you read any of these?

Which classic, traditional or fairy tale would you like to see in this format?

Peapod’s Picks – All Aboard!

We switched Peapod’s downstairs shelf to trains recently and I realised we were severely lacking in books on/featuring trains.

Following a Twitter plea I got lots of fab recommendations, and these are the books we chose (with a couple more suggestions banked for when he’s a little bigger, notably William Bee and Look Inside Trains…)

Unfortunately, Choo, Choo, Clickety-Clack and The Runaway Train didn’t get much of a look in. But, I really like them and I know they’ll be ones we return to (especially The Runaway Train which is perfect for small world play!) so I’ll come back to review those at a later date!

Poppy and Sam’s Noisy Train, written by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Stephen Cartwright, designed by Francesca Allen and Marc Maynard and with sounds by Andrew Marks

We already had this one, which has been a trusted favourite for months.

It’s Farmer Dray and Dolly the horse to the rescue when Poppy and Sam take a trip on a steam train with their class and it breaks down.

Full of old-fashioned, rural charm but with a bright, light feel. Peapod loves playing and joining in with the sound effects, naming people/things in the pictures and – of course – finding the iconic Usborne duck on every page!

Busy Railway from Campbell, based on the original Busy Railway by Rebecca Finn and illustrated by Jo Byatt

This is one I’d already ordered as I’m a huge fan of this range (and their similar ‘First Stories’ range which I’ll be posting about soon).

We see steam engines, a modern train departing the station and a fabulously broad and busy spread with both passing through.

With simple, rhyming text and parts to push, pull, turn and slide on each page, this is a great little train book packed with things to spot and discuss.

There’s questions on each page asking children to find things and it’s easy to do this yourselves too – we spend ages pointing things out with Peapod and getting him looking for things too. And, like the Usborne duck, there’s a bee to spot on each page too!

These have, without doubt, been Peapod’s favourites (with The Train Ride taking the lead early on but Oi! Get Off Our Train making a late comeback!)

The Train Ride by June Crebbin, illustrated by Stephen Lambert

This is a lovely book which I’ve seen in passing before but never really paid any mind to. My mistake.

A child’s train ride (and yes, one of the things I love about this is that nowhere in the book does it say if the child is a girl or a boy. I think they are *meant* to be a girl, but in our house they’re either a ‘they/them’ or a boy)

Anyway I digress – their train ride takes us past farmland, through tunnels to a seaside town where grandma is waiting, with the story ending in a big hug of welcome.

Peapod LOVES this book. He opens his arms wide for a hug both to ask for it and to join in with the hug at the end.

He enjoys pointing out, naming and making the noises for all the things they see on the journey, especially the farm animals, tractor and ticket collector.

It’s also lovely to see him joining in with the rhythmic, repetitive text (written wonderfully in that sort of train like clickety-clack, clickety-clack pattern) and asked for it today with a “See! See!”

A firm favourite that’s made the transition from our shelf as it changed over to his bedtime story basket.

Oi! Get Off Our Train by John Burningham

A little boy is told to leave his toy train set and get to bed. From there, we see him and his pyjama case dog embark on a fantastically illustrated night time train adventure, with various endangered animals joining the trip along the way.

Peapod loves the animals and trying to join in with the repeated phrases. We name colours and flowers and talk about weather, playing and places.

And while it is enjoyable just as it is, with its repetitive text, animals and of course trains, there’s also huge potential for more for a huge range of ages from small world play to talk or work on endangered species and geography.

And that’s not to mention the artwork – wonderfully rich and varied, its like a gallery in a book. There is much to look at and it’d be perfect for children to explore the many techniques and media used too.

Do you have any railway favourites you’d add to our collection?

Have you read any of these?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up

A look back over some of the highlights of our reading week.

I can’t lie, it’s been a long and trying week here. I think cabin fever is setting in all round, bedtimes are awful at the moment so we’re all a bit frayed, and toddler-dom is taking its toll.

So, it’s a shorter than usual round up this week, not because we haven’t been reading much (we have!) but because I’m just too worn out to recall it all.

Some of our main reads this week then have been…

Superworm by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

We have read this over and over again this week. Every time we see a worm, real or in one of our games, out comes Superworm! Peapod loves us naming the bugs and things in the pictures. I don’t dislike it and the occasional read is fine, but it’s not one I’m loving reading several times a day and I’ll be glad when we move on to something else!

Speaking of repetition, both If I Had a Sleepy Sloth by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow and Paddington by Michael Bond, illustrated by RW Alley have been bedtime reads this week.

I can’t even tell you how many times we read them, because after both Peapod’s Dad and I had read them through and he’d looked at all the pictures several times, one if us has had to read whichever book it was that eve on a continuous, increasingly quiet loop until Peapod fell asleep!! The things we do…!

He’s also been enjoying It’s Mine! by Rod Campbell, with lots of animals hiding in the jungle that he likes to spot and a rather blood-thirsty pop up lion at the end which is miraculously still in one piece!

Our favourite book at the moment though is another classic – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

We first reviewed this just over a year ago, when Peapod was only about eight months old, so returning to it at nearly 21 months has been just as lovely but very different!

This time around, he gets up to do the actions of the song we know about a caterpillar – cocoon – butterfly at the different parts of the story, joins in with some of the words and loves making the caterpillar eat the toy food (in fact he asks for this one by making ‘nom nom nom’ type noises!)

Have you read any of these?

Which picture books have you read this week?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up – Dog Days!

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m going to split this week’s Round Up into a few posts then have a rethink as it’s getting longer and longer.

Yesterday we looked at bedtime books today I’m going to highlight some of the books he’s been choosing from his bookcase during the day.

There’s a fair bit of crossover, but I’ll only post in his daytime reads those that he’s choosing to repeatedly go back to.

What have we read during the day this week?

Peapod has a real thing about cats and dogs. We don’t have pets but he loves seeing them when we go out (we have been known to go out just to try and see some!) and he loves books about them.

We’ve talked about Axel Scheffler’s Pip the Puppy before, but along with that these are probably his three favourite ‘dog’ books and we have been reading them for months now!

100 Dogs by Michael Whaite

A rhyming, rhythmic book full of things to spot, including the ‘lost dog’. It bounces along, is full of fun and features every dog you could possibly think of!

Peapod’s favourite thing is to find the dogs doing a wee and a poo (of course it is!) and I love the final spread which shows all the dogs.

This really is an enjoyable book to read aloud – we’ve read it countless times over the past couple of months and I’m not tired of it yet!

Dogs by Emily Gravett

I love Emily Gravett’s illustrations and she captures beautifully all manner of dogs here.

A great way of looking at opposites, similarities and differences this is a lovely book that takes a more realistic look at the different types of dog you can find, with a great ‘surprise’ ending that Peapod loves!

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

We’re big Chris Haughton fans so back at the start of the year when Peapod started showing such an interest in dogs, I knew we had to get the board book of this! As you can tell, it’s been well-loved!

George’s owner Harris goes out leaving George trying to resist the temptation of cake, soil and a cat to chase…

We love this! Chris Haughton’s unique illustrative style with bright, bold, blocky images is so expressive and the story is brilliant in the way it manages to be predictable and fresh! The way the repetition, build up and reveals gradually lead us to the ending are so clever and very funny and the ending itself is brilliantly open but funny regardless!

Have you any favourite dog books? Have you read any of these?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up 26/3/20

Peapod’s Reading Round Up is just that I hope – a chance to record what we’ve read at bedtime as well as any library books or board books and any he’s been particularly drawn to during the day.

What have we read at bedtime this week?

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you – it feels like a lifetime since our last round up! All great, though nothing new.

I know we’ve read Tad by Benji Davies, Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Hug by Eoin Mclaughlin and Polly Dunbar… and I know there’ll be others!

What else have we been reading?

Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back is still being enjoyed – “Hat! Hat” – as is Axel Scheffler’s Pip the Puppy (both in our last couple of round ups)

He’s still enjoying the Jane Foster books too, mostly ‘Let’s Eat’ and ‘Dress Up’ because he loves the moving parts.

They’re lovely books – I spotted them on someone else’s blog (I can’t remember whose, I’m sorry! If it was yours, let me know and I can credit you properly) and ordered them from work as I love her illustrations.

The sliding parts are fab, and they have a really stylish, modern and colourful feel. And with each page relating to everyday things they’ll be familiar with and a direct question about the items on the page they’re brilliant for vocabulary, language and understanding too.

My only minor grumble is with some slightly flimsy flaps (were down a butter knife already!). But, would I still buy them (or a new one in the series of they do one)? Absolutely, yes!

We have also been reading these two on repeat, about a billion times a day!

Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury was never one I was fussed over. I liked it but could take it or leave it, but after reading it over and over (and over and over!) it’s really grown on me and I love it!

It’s the sweetest, warmest book that is just the best for sharing as it manages to capture something so personal and encourages lots of touch and play with your little one, whilst at the same time delivering a clear message of diversity and showing that what we have in common being more important than our differences.

I have to say when Peapod toddles over with this one, backing his way onto my lap demanding “knee!” and we sit and share it, just us, it really feels special…and also very funny, as we tickle and argue about whether the baby is having medicine (which he just flat out refuses to believe because it’s on a spoon not a syringe!)

I’ll be honest, I can’t say quite the same for Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, which I really do like but am rapidly tiring of after countless reads a day!

I brought this on myself. I bought this last week after countless readings of Ten Little… and an urge (no matter how special it is!) to branch out just a little.

Peapod has taken to it like you wouldn’t believe and we now have to read it at least seventy billion times a day.

I do like it and I can’t deny it’s been fantastic for language and understanding and making connections as we name and talk about things in the pictures.

His favourite thing is pointing to the bears in turn and as I name them “daddy bear, mummy bear, baby bear” he then points to each of us.

My favourite us getting him to do his witch’s laugh on the Wicked Witch page!

So there’s lots to love but, oh, I am so done with reading it for a bit!!

We’ve started on Owl Babies, which is going down a treat, he still has his Bear Hunt story basket so we read that quite often too and I’ve ordered Hairy Maclary as a board book as I know he enjoys thode stories.

But what else – throw me your recommendations for this sort of short, classic style, story-not-interactive, rhyming, rhythmic or repetitive board books?! Which have I forgotten about?

Peapod’s Reading Round Up 4/3/20

Peapod’s Reading Round Up is just that I hope – a chance to record what we’ve read at bedtime as well as any library books or board books and any he’s been particularly drawn to during the day.

What have we read at bedtime this week?

If I Had a Sleepy Sloth by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow

This is still a firm favourite and, especially at the beginning of the week remained Peapod’s first pick at bedtime for a second week running! You can read our review of it here.

Collecting Cats by Lorna Scobie

We read this when we stayed at a friend’s a couple of weeks ago (thanks Scrumplet!) and just had to get a copy of our own! Not only does it have loads of cats in (“Tat! Tat!”) it’s hilarious in the understated, deadpan way I love.

Today I am going to collect cats. At the moment, I have no cats. But I do have a plan…”

Our protagonist sets out to find some cats for her collection using cheese to tempt mice to tempt cats. But her plan goes a little too well with alarming and very funny consequences.

Not only did we love the writing style, plot and simplicity of this but the illustrations are stunning and wonderful for really looking at all the differences and details in.

We will definitely be keeping an eye out for more from Lorna Scobie.

Secret Agent Elephant by Eoin Mclaughlin and Ross Collins

We’re big fans of Ross Collins’ animal illustrations and love Eoin Mclaughlin’s Hug, so we had to get this one.

It’s loads of fun and delightfully daft without veering into being silly for the sake of it.

Our elephant is going through the tests to make it as a secret agent, with some disastrous but very amusing results as he tries and fails rather spectacularly at not giving the game away or being distracted by mini pizzas.

But he does look good in a suit so he gets the gig. Now he just needs to save the day.

With loads of laughs (both visual and through the text) and plenty of word play and references for grown ups to giggle at too, this is a brilliant addition to any picture book collection!

The Pirates Are Coming! by John Condon and Matt Hunt

We were very lucky to be sent a copy of this from Nosy Crow to review and it’s safe to say after being chosen for bedtime reading several nights this week, it’s a hit with Peapod (and us!)

It’s a pirate-y take on the classic tale of The Boy Who Cried Wolf with a fantastic, fun twist at the end! We loved seeing what the ‘pirate ship’ the boy had seen actually was and older children will no doubt relish knowing that he’s wrong and guessing what it might be instead.

What I especially liked about this twist was that it was left for the reader to figure out – after leading us to it, the penny was left to drop on its own rather then laborious explanation to ram a point home.

It’s written – and demands to be read – with bags of energy and expression and will be a great book for older children to join in with – what child wouldn’t enjoy yelling “PIRATES! THE PIRATES ARE COMING!”?! (I’m hoping to use it for a storytime at work in the summer for this very reason!) – as well as having loads of play opportunities following reading – hide and seek, making big cardboard box boats and ships, role play …

The illustrations are just as expressive and lively, with loads going on – there is so much to notice and talk about. I especially like the ever so conical spreads where everyone hides.

This was a brilliant book – very funny and so much fun to share! Highly recommended!

What else have we been reading?

Peapod has been choosing this a lot from his, shelf this week – he especially loves “reading” Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back himself – “ha” (hat) then signing ‘thank you’ with his own approximation of “thank you anyway!

And Oliver Jeffer’s ‘A Little Stuck’ had been repeatedly taken down with the instruction “knee” as he plonks himself on top of us to read it! We love the full version but this is a fantastic shortened version for little ones and I love the repetition of “stuck” which I suspect will be joined in with soon!

What have we borrowed from the library this week?

We made it to the library for the first time in ages this week! We’ve not read our books yet (except Trees which Peapod has carried round pretty much everywhere to look at) but we borrowed…

Have you read any of these? Which picture books have you read this week?