Picture Book and Play – Jack and the Beanstalk

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.

We’ve actually not done a huge amount of anything this week after a busy Easter weekend finally being able to see family, hunting for eggs and going for walks.

So I’ve picked out a story that we return to often and some of our past play activities around it – Jack and the Beanstalk.

I’ve talked before (many times!) about the brilliant Campbell First Stories range (here or here for example). Peapod loves this edition of Jack (illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg), especially finding Jack hiding in the cupboard or chopping down the beanstalk and seeing the giant fall!

The moving parts remain a big draw and the simplified, rhyming version of the story is a great first telling for little ones.

We added the Peep Inside version to put collection too as it’s a slightly longer, more faithful version, including for example the essential “Fee Fi Fo Fum…” lines which are a must in our house! Peapod loves shouting them out when playing!

The rich illustrations and intricate cut outs of the peep through elements add a more grown up touch and make these a really attractive series to read and handle too.

I also really like the way there’s a lift-the-flap style to some of the pages and peep-inside parts, which helps retain an interactive feature that children always enjoy.

The Peep Inside books are the perfect follow on from the Campbell First Stories, and we’ll be adding lots more to our collection!

Obviously, there’s so much you could do with this story; it’s one we could (and no doubt will) return to repeatedly over the years adding in lots of different activities – planting, natural collage, painting, measuring, counting, as well as variations on what we did this time with sensory activities, role play and building/small world.

This was by far Peapod’s favourite – building the castle and beanstalk and using figures to tell the story!

He also used his climbing toys as a beanstalk – climbing up, stealing the gold and sliding down before chopping it down!

He’s been practising his cutting so we started making a giant beanstalk but he lost interest once it was time to add any leaves! Still, we cut and stuck a lovely, long, green stripe!

We made a tray using butter beans, gold coins and green covered cardboard tubes for filling, pouring, hiding, stacking, dropping…

… and building of course! It just wouldn’t have been the same of the builders and diggers didn’t get involved 😂

What have you been reading and playing this week?

Picture Book and Play – Goldilocks and the Three Bears

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.

I’ve talked about the Campbell First Stories range, illustrated by Natascha Rosenberg, before, most recently in our Three Little Pigs post here, but they really are great.

With simplified, rhyming versions of the text and moving pictures they’re so engaging and fun.

I also wanted this Peep Inside version by Anna Milbourne and Mar Ferrero, but it’s not out til next week! I’ve ordered it anyway as these are a great accompaniment/next step to the Campbell ones with peep through pages, flaps and a longer, fuller version of the tales.

Peapod has had his First Stories version for a while now and often takes it down to read, and then “play it?” (I love how he’s started asking to “play” his books!) Mostly this involves him being Goldilocks pretending to be asleep, me being Baby Bear pretebding to cry then him waking up and running away!

So we’ve done plenty of this but we’ve also taken it into his tuff tray with some oats, compare bears and different sized bowls and spoons.

As you know by now, I’m nothing if not honest with these posts so allow me to say now that some of you might find your little ones want to diligently sort by size or colour etc. However, it wasn’t long here before our tray play reverted back to its usual “there’s a road block”/”need tractor”/bury the bears!

But that’s fine. Peapod enjoyed the feel of the oats and the sensation of them falling over his hands and arms.

He did some Goldilocks play which saw him unintentionally categorising and ordering the bears and bowls, and (even once he’d reverted to his favourite games in there) it was great for mathematical language of size and comparison, and problem solving (“it’s going to take me ages to bury these bears with this tiny spoon”… “use the big one!”)

We were lucky enough to get some nice enough weather to take the tray outside this week too, so we did some porridge making!

Let me tell you – this was quick to set up but clean up was another matter 🙈🙈 You’ve been warned!

That said, it was totally worth it. Peapod has lots of fun mixing and scooping and pouring and filling and of course we acted out the story once his porridge making was complete too!

I also got this out – A Chair for Baby Bear by Kate Umansky and Chris Fisher – and Peapod’s been really taken with it.

It’s a great spin-off style story, as we rejoin the Bears as they go shopping to find Baby Bear a new chair. I really like how it mirrors features of the original tale with its “too scratchy/scary/grand” chairs and the way the chairs themselves refer back to Baby Bear’s pretend play on the walk to the shop.

Peapod likes joining in with the “too…” parts and the repeated “please, please, please!” as well as talking about all the different chairs in the shop and which we’d choose. His favourite part is definitely the end which is a lovely way of bringing the story back to the original tale.

Peapod asked to play this one too -“Play it? What need?” – so first we went through the book and found what we’d need. He wrote the things down as we thought of them til we had a full list of props. He also wrote a note for Baby Bear from Goldilocks just like at the end of the story!

Once gathered and set up we spent most of Saturday playing this and it was lovely!

Picture Book Picks – Quill Soup

I was lucky enough to request and receive a copy of this from the publishers. All views and opinions are my own.

Quill Soup by Alan Durant and Dale Blankenaar

Published as part of Tiny Owl’s #OneStoryManyVoices range, this is a telling of the African folktale “Quill Soup”, which will also be familiar to many from the European story ‘Stone Soup’ (and likely there are other versions too!)

When Noko the porcupine arrives in a village after a long journey he is tired and hungry, but it seems no one has any food they can share. Until, that is, Noko starts cooking up his delicious quill soup, which promises to be fit for a king. Then one by one, the other animal families manage to unearth some ‘forgotten about’ morsels to add to the pot.

A story bringing a message of community, of the importance of helping each other and of not turning a blind eye to the struggles of others, this is a timely and important tale.

Noko’s cunning, but also his natural warmth and generosity, are well conveyed by the text, as is the suspicious, self-interested nature of the other animals. There is a conspiratorial air to the tale too as we, the reader, begin to see and share in Noko’s clever plan.

But it’s the illustrations that really take this telling to another level. They are outstanding. Both captivating in their own right and perfectly suited to the story, each spread exceptionally well-matched to the text it accompanies.

I love how the images change as the story progresses. From a more almost urban feel to a more wild and natural one. From segregated, singular animals or groups of animals to a riot of beasts. From a more minimal, and predominantly cooler, palette to vibrant, colourful pages.

The textures, patterns and techniques are perfect for the story and its origins too and make this a truly stunning book to return to again and again.

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?