You Can’t Take An Elephant On The Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Books featuring buses, trains and cars (my son is crazy about his vehicles) are usually a hit in our family. We started off with simple baby books or novelty books which make the noises of the vehicles and gradually searched for ones which are more suitable for storytime.
You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus (Amazon Affiliate Link) was a Christmas present to Theo from his auntie. I found the book on Amazon and thought it looked fun. The title itself screams “Of course you can’t!!!”, so I was certain that a series of ridiculous events would unfold in this picture book.

True enough, children are presented with ludicrous scenarios such as a tiger riding on a train, a seal driving a taxi, a hippo in a hot air balloon and so on. That’s the beauty of this book – children love being silly and this book allows you to act silly and laugh along with them. It is very humourous.


I put on my “Gosh! This is so silly!” voice when I read this book during storytime. It helps bring the havoc that the animals are creating to life. I also love the British touches seen in the book – London bus and taxi.


And of course, one thing leads to another. Theo brings out his London bus from the toy box and asks if his little cars can have a ride on it.

 

 

 

Daddy is My Hero by Dawn Richards, Illustrated by Jane Massey


Daddy is My Hero  (Affiliate Link) is a book of an ordinary-looking dad who is a superhero in the eyes of his child. Daddy can be a cowboy, a knight, a pirate and even flies a spaceship. He also fends off night monsters to protect his child.

However this dad does not only play heroic roles in the child’s fantasy world, he is also portrayed as a hands-on Dad who does the shopping, cleaning, cooking and gives the child baths.

In today’s world, more and more dads have the opportunity to play an active role as caregivers for their children. Dads are also sharing more childcare responsibilities with mums these days. This book is particularly brilliant in portraying dads having a nurturing role in the family.

It is definitely a heartwarming tale of a child who simply adores his dad even when there are times when they get cross at each other.

Reading before School

  
Theo  started attending playgroup last week. He will be spending at least half the day there once the familiarisation period ends. While I’m keen on him learning German, I’m a little concern that he’ll not be read to as much as he is currently getting from being home with me. 

I know children pick up languages from daily conversation, however, reading expands a child’s vocabulary by leaps and bounds. So, it’s really important to me that we spend a few precious moments in the morning to read a few books from the book box. It’s cuddle time for Mama too! 

How to read to kids who can’t sit still

  
Ever since Theo discovered crawling, he’s EVERYWHERE. He is always on the move unless he’s asleep . And because he’s so active, many friends ask how I manage to read to him daily and keep him interested in books. I thought I’ll pen my tips down and hopefully give parents who would love to read to their active child some hope.

1. Interactive books – Read books that require you to do actions such as wiggle your hips, shake, clap your hands, stomp your feet, roar like a lion! Make reading come to live by performing what’s in the book. Don’t just read word for word. Singalong books are great for kids who can’t sit still too.

2. Keep it simple – Too many words on a page and your toddler runs away. Don’t give up at this point. Shorten the stories. Or, don’t read the entire story. It could very well be a “point and see” activity such as “Look! Bear’s got a pink ball!” Say it with much excitement and your child will be interested too.

3. Know your child’s interest – Jungle animals, dinosaurs, fire engines, and so on are common themes that entertain young children. Bring them to your local library and let them pick the books they enjoy. Know what interests them and read those books aloud. 

4. Read when they are at their calmest – After a nap, before a meal, after a bath, before bedtime. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. 

5. Just carry on reading – your child may be all over the room but he/she can still hear your voice. Continue reading aloud. 

5 Tips for Raising Readers

  
“My baby won’t sit still and read.”

“My baby just chews on books.”

“My baby is too young to understand.”

“I sound silly reading aloud to my baby.”

These are the top most common statements I hear from parents who don’t read daily with their children. Often, these parents know that reading is important for a child to develop literary skills and they do want their children to develop good reading habits. However, the reasons they give stop them from reading daily with their little ones. 

Whenever my friends tell me any of the above reasons, I urge them not to give up and simply keep trying. 

1.  Start young

I never quite understand why it’s too early to read to babies simply because they won’t understand. It’s not as if we stop talking to babies because they won’t understand us. The whole point of speaking and reading to them is so they get used to our voices, pick up vocabulary as they grow and learn communication skills. It’s NEVER too early to read to the little ones. If they won’t sit still to look at the pages, so be it. They haven’t got the attention span but they can still hear you speak the words. 

2. Make it a routine

To encourage reading, make it part of their daily lives. Many people encourage reading at bedtime. I recommend reading whenever your child is in the best mood for it. It could be in the morning, afternoon or before going to bed. In our home, I try to do it 3 times a day. We have two piles of books by the bed which we read in the morning and night time. It’s really nice to snuggle up close to read a few books before starting the day. In the day, we read by the bookshelf in the living room and we spend about 30 to 45 minutes just reading and looking through books. 

3. Let your child pick the book

I make sure my son has easy access to his books. He’s free to pull them off the shelves and flip the pages. Paperbacks are placed higher up and can only be read under adult supervision because he is not exactly the most gentle being on earth. He gets to pick whatever book and I’ll read them to him. It doesn’t matter if he decides on a different book after I’ve read a couple of pages. I let him take the lead.

4. Make it fun

Go beyond the print on the pages! Make silly noises because kids love it when you make a fool out of yourself. Be animated, and ask questions. Even if you’re reading to a baby, ask questions and provide the answers. One fine day, he or she will respond positively and you’ll feel so rewarded. 

5. Keep reading

Don’t give up just because your child doesn’t seem interested. Who cares if you sound or look silly reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar out loud surrounded by your own four walls? If you do it often enough, you’ll soon know what your child likes and dislikes, and how to get his/her attention. 

No Matter What By Debu Gliori

  


Sometimes as parents we are so overwhelmed by work, housework, text messages, emails etc that we unknowingly neglect our children. In No Matter What, Debi Gliori reassures the little ones that they will always be loved. Be it when they are grumpy or scary like a crocodile, we will always love our children. 

This story of unconditional love is one which every parent should read aloud to their little ones. The illustrations are funny and the questions put across by Small are cheeky. Definitely one to make both adults and children laugh. 

My favourite line in the book is

“It’s like that with love – we may be close, we may be far, but our love still surrounds us…wherever we are.”

It’s the one sentence I’ll repeat to my boy who has extended family living away from us and I want him to know that they love him too despite the distance. 

Bear in Sunshine by Stella Blackstone

 
The Bear titles published by Barefoot Books is one of my favourite series. In Bear in Sunshine, bear enjoys different fun-filled activities in the various seasons. From singing in the rain to painting when it gets misty, each page opens a wide range of topics to discuss with children. 

My son LOVES balls. Anything that’s round is a ball to him. The first thing he spotted on the cover page was bear carrying a ball. Using the ball as an object of interest, I’ll ask him to point out the ball to me in the book. The bear series is fantastic for playing I-Spy with little children. There is always something to spot in these vibrantly illustrated pages. 

This is also a good book to introduce little readers to the four seasons and weather changes. It offers lots of room for discussion on what your little one might like to do on a rainy day or a windy autumn day.