Peapod’s Picks/KLTR – Birthday Cake!

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly(ish) round up of some of the books we’ve been enjoying recently.

It’s ages since I’ve linked up with Kids Love to Read for it (sorry) – between one thing and another I just hit out of the loop, but I’m linking up with them again for this week’s post too!

KLTR is hosted by Book Bairn, Acorn Books and Laura’s Lovely Blog and is a monthly link up to share kid’s book posts.

It was Peapod’s 2nd birthday yesterday (how is he 2 already?!)

Last year I posted about our tradition of buying a special, ‘to keep’ book each birthday or Christmas – Peapod, unsurprisingly, gets SO MANY books day to day that it’s nice to still give him a bookish present that feels extra special.

This year, he’s been mad on Mog and The Tiger Who Came to Tea so his special book gift was The Judith Kerr treasury.

But it’s cake we’re hear to talk about today! Specifically, cake in picture books.

In the run up to his birthday, Peapod has been mostly getting excited about cake…

… He’s made cake in his kitchen, in the sand and in the water, and we’ve read lots of cake-themed books to get in the birthday cake-eating mood!

He’s been enjoying reading Postman Bear by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler in his kitchen and making a cake like Bear does for his birthday.

He’s a big fan of these lift the flap Acorn Wood board books, with woodland creatures hiding behind the ‘doors’, plenty to infer, predict and and talk about and lots to spot in Axel’s inimitable illustrations.

I’ve enjoyed revisiting my own childhood with A Piece of Cake by Jill Murphy. You can’t beat her ability to really capture family life and in particular the adults’ points of view in ways that are warm, funny and relatable.

Here Mrs Large is trying to get the family on a diet, much to their dismay, but a cake sent from Granny proves too much temptation for all providing a funny and uplifting ending!

Mini Rabbit Not Lost by John Bond has made a comeback into our regular bedtime reads as Mini Rabbit hunts for berries to make a cake. This book is hilarious (as is its follow up) and we’re big Mini Rabbit fans here! You can read a full review of this here.

I Really Want the Cake by Simon Philip and Lucia Gaggiotti has also joined our bedtime reads. I thought I’d reviewed this previously but I haven’t! (though you can read my review of follow up book I Really Want to Win here)

Written in perfectly flowing, rhythmic rhyming and almost-repetitive text, we see a little girl trying to fight the temptation to eat a delicious looking chocolate cake her mum has left in the kitchen, along with strict instructions not to touch!

Inevitably, cake wins and on finding herself with a problem, our brilliant protagonist decides she’ll just have to make a replacement cake for her mum with hilarious results.

I’m a huge fan of these books and it has been a scream reading this at bedtimes this week (though perhaps not the most calming, send you off to sleep story!) as Peapod dramatically pretends to eat the cake and clean up the mess. Loads of fun!

Have you read any of these?

Do you have any favourite stories about cake?

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?

Library Love 31/5/19

Library Love is a new regular (ok, as regular as my posts ever are) post with short reviews of the picture books we choose from the library each week.

Our Twinkleboost story at the library this week was The Little Mermaid. Peapod was a big fan of the mermaid toy, dressing ups, bubbles and under sea ‘cave’ (parachute-y thing with dangly bits!)

Then we swapped our books (after he’d practiced his pulling himself up on the book boxes of course!)

What we took back

Some of these have already been reviewed in this week’s Peapod’s Picks, as they were some of our holiday reads. The other two were:

  • Meltdown! by Jill Murphy

Sure to bring a smile, grimace, tear or all three to any parent of a young child – Jill Murphy gets it spot on again as we see little rabbit’s tantrum build and blow as mummy’s nerves fray amidst the stares of other shoppers.

  • A Quiet Night In by Jill Murphy Double Jill Murphy this week! I couldn’t resist this – a Large family book I’d not read! I’ll definitely be adding it to our collection, it has all the things that make these books so special – that characteristic understanding of family dynamics, a highly observant humour and familiar everyday scenarios. I do so love the Large family!

What we took out

What do you think of our choices? Have you read any of them?

Have you been to the library recently?

Peapod’s Picks – Happy Mother’s Day

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week it’s some of our favourite ‘mum’ books (and I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a cheat post as most are links to previous reviews – everyone’s allowed a best bits/recap type post once in a while, especially on Mother’s Day, right?!)

A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton

Little Owl falls out of his best, but luckily Squirrel is on hand to help find the way back to mum. A classic ‘have you seen my mummy?’ story.

You can read my original review here. And if you haven’t seen Tchéky Karyo (BBC’s Baptiste) read this on CBeebies Bedtime Stories, give it a watch – the voices are first class! I’m still hoping he’ll read Chris Haughton’s other books too!

On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

Claire has a bad knee. On her way home, she meets lots of friends and tells them all exactly what happened…or does she?!

This is not strictly a very mum-ish story at all. Her mum only features on the last couple of pages and doesn’t even have a face. But even in this bit part, she’s such a mum – comforting, understanding and reassuring, all the things a mum should be, fetching Claire the very biggest plaster in the box!

You can read my original review here.

The Large Family Books by Jill Murphy

Yes, it’s another Jill Murphy, but I couldn’t possibly mention picture book mums without a huge shout out to Mrs Large!

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the Large Family’s warmth, observational humour and realism and nowhere is this more evident than in Mrs Large, often harassed (Five Minutes Peace captures this perfectly!), the struggle is real but her love for those little elephants is abundantly clear – she’s my mum hero (especially when she caves in to the cake in A Piece of Cake!)

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

Sarah, Percy and Bill wake up to find their mum gone. Sarah is reassuring – convincing herself as much as her brothers that mum will be back, Percy is doubtfully reassured, and Bill…well, Bill just wants his mummy!

I’ve mentioned this in other posts, I know but it’s a favourite and it’s probably the book that resonates most with me, as I definitely have a Bill! This is a go-to bedtime story when we’re having a particularly clingy time (resulting in us reading it most weeks!)

Happy Mother’s Day to you if you’re celebrating!

Do you have any favourite picture book mums?!

Six for Sunday: Bookish Loves

#SixforSunday is hosted by Steph at A Little But A Lot. Each week she gives a book-themed prompt for a list of six and this week that prompt is

Bookish Loves

I’m sure this should be books I love, things I love to see in books etc and it should almost definitely be older books, but 🤷‍♀️

Today I’ve chosen 6 of my favourite picture books on the theme of love.

First off three funny ones – these are always my top choices for a Valentines Day display/table at work (in the case of the first two, I’m not sure what that says about me…)

Both I Love You Stick Insect and Tadpole’s Promise have brilliant twists/’punchlines’ at the end. I love them both and they crack me up.

This one’s a little more tender but still very funny and relatable!

Next up a true story. I’m. Not one for squishiness, but this really is an ‘aaaw’ kind of book!

Mr and Mrs Large are probably one of my favourite fictional couples and the Large family stories represent the love of a family with enough humour to feel much more believable than some of the soppier offerings!

And finally an antithesis to all those romantic happily ever afters. Long live Princess Smartypants!

I promise some more MG/YA in my #SixforSunday choices soon!

What would your bookish loves be? What do you think of my choices? Have you taken part in #SixforSunday? Leave a link to your post in the comments!

Peapod’s Picks 11/1/19

Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (usually for his bedtime story) each week plus a more in depth review of at least one of them – this week a classic- Jill Murphy’s On The Way Home.

*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

What did we read this week?

  • Oi, Duck-Billed Platypus by Kes Gray and Jim Field
  • You’re Called What?! by Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson (inspired by the un-rhymable creatures in Oi Platypus!)
  • Snow Bears by Martin Waddell (After watching Gordon Buchansn with the grizzly bears in Russia!)
  • Ten Little Dinosaurs by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty (Daddy loves this series!)
  • The Wolf, The Duck and The Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (I love anything this pair do!)

and

On the Way Home by Jill Murphy

This was one of my favourite stories when I was little, thanks in no small part to the fact that it was one of my mum’s favourites too! (We are huge Jill Murphy fans – The Worst Witch, The Large Family, Peace at Last…)

So it was lovely to read it to Peapod and look ahead to all the times we’ll read it as he gets older – it’s one of those great books that crosses a wide age range.

Peapod loved the illustrations, and I really like the comic strip style layout and design, as well as the repetition which older children will enjoy (my favourite bit to read is the “Well…!” on each page – it’s the small things!)

It’s a scenario that will resonate with parents and older children – Claire’s hurt her knee and is on her way home for a plaster. But did she get her bad knee falling from a witch’s broom or being dropped by a giant? Has she hurt it bring knocked down by an alligator or a gorilla? Her amusing and imaginative tales are great for some really expressive and dramatic reading, and offer the perfect opportunity for older children to come up with their own ideas too!

First published in 1982 and first read to me just a few years after, this remains a favourite over 30 years later and I’m looking forward to plenty of re-reads with Peapod!

Are you a Jill Murphy fan like us?

Which stories have you read at bedtime this week?