Picture Book & Play – Snow

Picture Book & Play is a new weekly post where 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 doing too!

We’ve been lucky enough to have some actual, real snow in the last couple of weeks so since Christmas, we’ve been reading lots of books about snow.

Lots of the activities we’ve been doing are really general and link in to any and all of these, like our snow paintings using cotton wool, corks, cotton buds to print snowflakes…

Or throwing “snowballs” using ball pit balls (no pics sorry, too busy lobbing balls at my toddler!)

Others are pretty general but were done because of an interest in particular stories, like Peapod’s snowmen.

Peapod’s been loving using scissors recently, so I got this ready for him to practice that. I drew the outline of the snowman then he coloured and cut out the hat (with help!) and cut strips of coloured paper for the scarves. He chose to do a second one drawing the face (“eyes, orange nose, draw mouth with finger”) and buttons himself.

We watched this over New Year and then read the book and Peapod has really taken to it. I’m really glad that we have a few copies – one with text based on the film (that we read at bedtime) and other original ones with no text that are brilliant for really looking at and talking about during the day.

As well as our big colour and cut snowmen, we have acted this out a billion times a day and Peapod’s enjoyed our Snowman jigsaws too.

And just to prove it doesn’t always go to plan, is printed some Snowmen for us to add buttons to. Peapod couldn’t have cared less about the buttons but loved making them dance, say hello and explore our house like the snowman in the story!

We’ve also read One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth at least twice a day for the past week and Peapod’s new favourite word is definitely “chuckled” – he loves that “Percy chuckled” – but also just loves retelling the story, so we’ve had a little story basket to do that with too.

But far and away Peapod’s favourite thing we’ve done has been his snow tray, loosely based on Maisy’s Christmas Eve by Lucy Cousins, in which Maisy pulls her friend Eddie out if the snow with a tractor.

We first read this during our Book Advent and he was instantly grabbed by it, since he is obsessed with Postman Pat’s Rainy Day in which a tractor gets stuck in the mud and there’s a road block!

So we used both of those as a starting point, adding packing foam bits, tractors, diggers, a couple of houses and the animals from Maisy to the tray and going from there – the animals and tractors have been stuck and pulled out, dug out or found as the snow plough cleared the snow and much more.

We’ve had a solid two days out of this now playing very little else. It has been a huge hit!

What are your favourite snowy picture books or activities?

Six for Sunday – Snow and Ice

I always enjoy reading everyone’s Six for Sunday posts, based on prompts from Steph at alittlebutalot, and have been saying since about this time last year I was going to join in more often! Having failed miserably, I’m going to try and get into it now ahead of 2020 in the hopes of establishing a routine for getting the posts up…

So, onto today’s prompt –

Books with Snow or Ice in the title…

A book for all ages – The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson

This has always been a favourite fairytale of mine – a cold, charming female villain; a beautiful, wintry setting; a quest to save a missing friend who is suddenly changed and distant with a brave and determined girl undertaking it (hello MG fantasy adventure!); the exquisite violence of shards of mirror to the eye; the imagery and, well, fairytale-ness of the whole thing!

A picture book – One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth

This might be my absolute favourite wintry picture book. I love the Percy the Park Keeper stories – full of nature, kindness, warmth and a gentle humour, these are classic stories which stand the test of time and never fail to make me smile. And One Snowy Night is probably my favourite of all of them too – when all the animals get too cold, they turn yo Pedcy to find a bed in his warm hut for the night. It’s getting pretty full when there’s a strange noise…what could it be?

The cosiest bedtime story going – nothing better to snuggle up together with on a winter night! I love it!

An early chapter book – Bad Nana: That’s Snow Business by Sophy Henn

Bad Nana is brilliant and she’s back with snow and showbiz sparkle ready for the local Winter talent show!

Pacy, hilarious and superbly written (there’s a flavour of Lauren Child but a distinct style and voice too) this is such a great illustrated series for those just starting on chapter books.

An MG book – Snowglobe by Amy Wilson

Magical, imaginative and atmospheric with some fantastic works building and imagery – this is a great read any time of year. You can read my review of it here.

A YA bookA Shiver of Snow and Sky by Lisa LueddeckeTBR!

OK, while I could think of a fair few YA books with snow in the title, I hadn’t actually read any of them (yes, I need to up my YA reading game!) but this is one I’d like to try based on its blurb!

An adult book – Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

I love this – inspired by a fairytale (though not one I know) it’s a wonderful winter read, perfect for cosying up with.

Although, I should also add that while magical and atmospheric and hopeful it is also heartbreaking at times, with both the loss of and longing for a child main themes.

Snow in the Garden – A First Book of Christmas

 

I was thrilled to receive a review copy of this in exchange for a review – Shirley Hughes is such a special author that has played a large part in so many childhoods; from Dogger (my sister’s favourite) to the Alfie stories (my own) via Lucy and Tom and her poetry – she has a style, both in her illustration and text, that is reassuringly warm and charming, so she is a surefire hit for a bookish Christmas treat!

In this book, her stories, poems and artwork are accompanied by plenty of traditional, but timeless Christmassy things to do: paper lanterns, shortbread and paper robins, for example and it’s a perfect match.

I was transported back to my own childhood by the activities: I could see the flour dusted kitchen counter, smell Christmas biscuits baking and feel the excitement of a rainy afternoon spent indoors with scissors, glue and glitter!

Likewise, the poems are incredibly evocative – seeing your breath on a cold, winter morning, bare branches and wrapping up warm for walks in the park; being cosy and warm when it’s dark and cold outside, and – of course – the magical build up to and wait for Christmas.

The stories also bring back plenty of memories – school nativities, snowy days and family life. And that is what Shirley Hughes is so good at, in both the text and the expressive and detailed illustrations – describing everyday, family life with warmth, honesty and humour.

This is a beautiful book, and will make a wonderful addition to a Christmas collection. The combination of activities and stories/poems/illustrations make it ideal for dipping into throughout the season and, while there’s a wonderful sense of nostalgia and old fashioned charm, there’s also plenty for new, young readers to love and relate to – playing in the snow, going for wintry walks and acting in the school nativity – and the activities are timeless: Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without paper decorations, homemade cards and gingerbread!

A cosy, nostalgic hug of a book and an absolute delight – it’s one we’ll be getting out year after year.

Peapod’s Picks – Book Advent Days 1-5

I decided to do a book advent for Peapod, so this week’s picks are all the books we’ve read so far.

This year, the books aren’t wrapped or hidden or anything – they’re just all out together.

There’s a few I’ve not yet read – Grandpa’s Christmas and The Night Before The Night Before Christmas are a couple – but on the whole I’ve read them so Dad is choosing one a night for Peapod’s bedtime story, which is nice as he’s not read most of them, and we’re just reading the board books whenever we fancy!

This week, we’ve read:

That’s Not My Snowman and That’s Not My Penguin – Peapod loves the touchy feely bits in these books!

Where’s Mr Penguin? – The felt flaps in these are ingenious and withstand Peapod’s eager grabbing. Plus he loves the mirror at the end!

Kipper’s Snowy Day – Mick Inkpen

OK, not strictly Christmassy but everyone knows snowy books and Christmas books go hand in hand!

A classic character in a story so full of snowy fun you can’t help but smile – makes you want to go and play in the snow.

snow

Snow is My Favourite and My Best – Lauren Child

Another book featuring favourite characters, this time Charlie and Lola, and more snowy day fun.

This book perfectly captures the building excitement of waiting for the snow, seeing it start and finally getting out to play in it…as well as the disappointment when it melts which is dealt with in a really fun and clever way!

maisy

Maisy’s Christmas Eve – Lucy Cousins

Yet another well-known character! With bold illustrations, simple, bold text and a story combining preparing for Christmas, friendship and a mishap in the snow it’s a great book for younger readers!

Santasaurus – Niamh Sharkey

I first read this book at least 10 years ago with my first reception class in my very first teaching job. I’d forgotten all about it until I saw it in @FatherReading‘s book advent pic. It brought back such lovely memories that I had to order it. It’s the illustrations I love best – beautifully detailed and coloured!

santa

Aliens Love Panta Claus – Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

Another of everyone’s favourites – those Aliens who Love Underpants are back causing more mayhem (and, yes, saving the day!) in this pants-tastic Christmas tale. Guaranteed to make you giggle, I can’t wait to read this one with Peapod when he’s older.