Picture Book and Play – There is No Dragon in this Story

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.

It was Peapod’s Dad’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and Peapod’s gift ‘for’ him were some Castle building blocks, so our downstairs toy shelf has been set up for all things castles and knights and dragons and princesses since then, along with some books to tie into it all.

One Peapod has really taken a shine to is There is No Dragon in this Story by Lou Carter and Deborah Allwright.

It’s one I really love too, so I’ve been really pleased to see him enjoying it so much!

Poor old Dragon is fed up of being the bad guy, so he sets off in search of a story he can save the day in instead!

But no one needs a dragon in their story…until some rickly feathers, one giant sneeze and a blown out sun later, a fire-breathing friend might be just what they’re looking for.

Starring all your favourite fairy tale characters alongside a very loveable dragon, with expressive, repetitive phrases that are a joy for grown ups to read aloud and little ones to join in with.

Peapod loves it when we ‘be’ Dragon asking to be in the story and let him reply as the characters, with a brilliantly pitched “No, no! That’s not how it goes! There are no dragons in this story!” and he makes an impressive giant, putting on his best deep voice for “fee fi foe” – ing with!

He wanted to act the story out this week, so he began gathering figures then we read through the book and made a list of what else we needed, before gathering it together and setting it up.

I do love a story sack or invitation to play, and sometimes I’ll do these, but usually we find the props we need together; it’s a good way to get some writing in and I find it helps with both his engagement, imagination and independence. Also – less advance prep needed from me!

All set up, we acted it out and used a dark cloth to cover everything when the sun goes out. Peapod loved peeking under it and having it put on him to be in the dark.

However, our cloth kept knocking all the characters over so we popped them under his tri-climb instead – perfect!

We also made our own dragon and Peapod had a great time roaring him round the house!

Have you read this book?

What have you been reading or playing 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?