Picture Book and Play – Shark in the Park!

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.

Shark in the Park/Shark in the Dark by Nick Sharratt

We love these books, and they have a real enduring appeal; I remember using Shark in the Park with my very first reception class over ten years ago – they couldn’t get enough of it and now Peapod is just as taken with it, excitedly shouting “shark in the park!” and vehemently shaking his head “nooooo!” when we reach the “shark in the park” peek through parts!

Timothy Pope has a new telescope and he’s sure he’s spotted a shark! But as we turn the page, we’re relieved to see it’s not a shark after all, but a cat/crow/sail/ice cream…! Phew – there are no sharks today…are there?!

This is such a brilliantly devised series of books (we’re not-so-patiently waiting for Shark in the Park on a Windy Day to arrive, which I shamefully have only just found out about!).

There’s the drama and excitement of seeing a shark through the telescope-peepholes to the next page gives way to relief and laughter as we see what Timothy had mistaken for a shark.

And then we have the repetition of Timothy looking through his telescope makes them perfect for joining in with, both verbally and with actions… and of course the perfectly played out endings, which are all about the visusl humour and the reader knowing what the characters do not – Peapod absolutely delights in the endings!

Of course, we couldn’t read these and not make a telescope like Timothy’s could we?!

Super simple – we used kitchen rolls and rolled up coloured card, Peapod decorated them with stickers and tada!

I also added some coloured cellophane and we had loads of fun seeing everything change colour as we put different colours on our telescopes, as well as just holding them up to look through! We talked about what happened of we looked through two together as well.

We didn’t do it yesterday, but this would be a great way to play I spy with initial sounds/colours/shapes etc too, and this is probably something we’ll play with our telescopes in the next few days.

Naturally, we couldn’t have a telescope to spot sharks with no sharks! So Peapod coloured and cut out a shark puppet too!

And of course he had to get the Shark out to play with in the bath last night too!

Have you read these books?

Which picture books have you been enjoying this week?

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?

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?

Library Love 10/5/19

After posting about our first trip to the library with Peapod, I’d wanted to try and make a library post a regular thing.

This week, we went to a new storytime session (new to us not the library) run by Twinkleboost. It’s designed to be very multi-sensory and really promote speech and language development (it’s run by S&L therapy assistants and they also work with schools and nurseries).

We really enjoyed it, especially because they use Makaton signing which, while it does differ from BSL, isn’t so different from the signs we learn and use at Tiny Talk (a baby signing group also designed to help communication).

Whether either actually help, there’s stories and songs and puppets and toys and ribbons and scarves and we’re out of the house, so they help as far as I’m concerned!

Well, I’m enjoying myself anyway!

Since we’re planning to keep going to this on a Thursday, my plan is to also make Thursday our main library day, with a Library Loves post on Friday with the books we took out and the books we took back.

(Doing well with that plan already as it’s nearly Saturday and I haven’t posted it yet!)

What we took back

  • Socks by Elizabeth Lindsay and Nick Sharratt Perfect for fans of Pants or Octopus Socktopus, and taking a very similar approach in taking the familiar and everyday and turning them pun-tastically sockish! The only thing I didn’t like (and god, it really did wind me up more than it should have) was the repeated refrain of “Socky Wocky Doo Dah!” We’d borrow this again, and if I can get past SWDD, we’ll buy it.
  • Doug the Bug that Went Boing by Sue Hendra An enjoyable enough book taking on friendships, fairness and falling out with the aid of a bug ball game and a dangerous mission to retrieve said ball.
  • Poo in the Zoo by Steve Smallman Let’s face it, a picture book about poo will always be popular. This one falls somewhere in the middle for me, I didn’t love the storyline, but the actual poo-related parts were quite informative, funny and well written. No gratuitous poo here.
  • Puffin Peter by Peter Horáček We really enjoyed this one. A twist on the traditional ‘Where’s my mummy?’ story, Peter has lost his friend Paul and sets out to find him with the help of a whale. Of course they find all sorts of other black and white birds, but no Paul. I liked the way the similarities between the birds built up over the story, great for animal lovers as an introduction to features of different birds, and the illustrations are gorgeous. We’ll be buying this one.

What we took out


We don’t read any in the library (we look at their board books instead) so they’re all a surprise – to be reviewed next Friday!

Have you been to the library recently?

Have you read any of these?

Peapod’s Picks: late and lazy!

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 review of at least one of them.*His social media alter ego, not his real name!

This week has been a long one. Peapod and I have both been full of cold. So, I’m a day late and it’s a round up rather than a single review this week. Please take pity on my poor knackered self and let me off!

What did we read this week?

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland

After reading Dinosaur Roar last week, we bought this one too. We enjoyed it, but as a Dino book we’d stick with the original Dinosaur Roar book, and as a counting book, we’d go for Ten Little Dinosaurs from Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty.)

I Totally Don’t Want to Play by Ann Bonwill and Simon Rickerty

We bought this after reading about Hugo and Bella’s fancy dress antics in I Don’t Want to be a Pea, which we thought was fab. Unfortunately, this one didn’t quite match it – it was still an enjoyable enough read, but it lacked some of the humour of Pea.

Pants! by Giles Andreae and Nick Sharratt

Who doesn’t love a pants-themed picture book?! See more here!)

Delicious! by Helen Cooper

I am such a huge fan of the Pumpkin Soup trilogy. It always upsets me that every child at some point will do Pumpkin Soup at Halloween/Autumn in nursery or school but they never seem to read the others. If you only know the first book, please give Delicious and A Pipkin of Pepper a read too!

Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

I’d heard great things about this, and it’s been shortlisted for the illustrated category of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize so I had high hopes. I wasn’t disappointed – it’s wonderful; simply told with beautiful illustrations that are a brilliant mixture of the fantastic and the realistic, this is an empowering, positive and joyful read.

A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton

We ended last week reading Owl Babies because of Bill’s cries of “I want my mummy!” which feel very apt at the moment! So we followed it up with A Bit Lost in which baby owl falls off his branch and has to find his mum again with the help of a keen but not overly perceptive squirrel.

I’m a big Chris Haughton fan (Shhh! We Have a Plan is my favourite and Goodnight Everyone is our afternoon nap read) and this has all the things you’d expect – fab, slightly quirky illustrations with his unique style and palette (which Peapod loved), a repetitive pattern and humour especially in the ending. Also owls serving biscuits.

Have you read any of these?

Which picture books or bedtime stories did you read this week?