Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere {Book Review & Craft}

Pumpkins, Pumpkins Everywhere is a brightly coloured story book about pumpkins on their way to a big Halloween parade. There are sad pumpkins and happy pumpkins, scary pumpkins and scared pumpkins, wet pumpkins and dry pumpkins, cat pumpkins and wolf pumpkins and pretty much every other type of pumpkin out there.

The pumpkins – and the people dressed in costume who are carrying them – make it to the parade, where they light up the area and everyone is smiley and happy.

So this isn’t really a ‘story’ – it doesn’t have much of a plot, and has no moral or theme. It’s just words on pages with really nicely done picture, but it’s perfect for beginner readers.Pumpkins Pumpkins Everywhere

For 3 year olds

Aviya liked finding the right pumpkins and pointing them out – so she was able to identify the emotion or action (sad pumpkin or wet pumpkin, for example). With the emotion ones she also made the faces that matched the words, so I think it’s a good, simple and easy introduction to emotions.

For 5 year olds

The book is a bit young for being read to Ameli, but it’s a perfect early reader book because some pages have as few as two words on it, so they can read a whole book  in not too long a time, which I think is really encouraging.

Pumpkins craft

Literature to crafts

Of course we can’t read a book without turning it into a craft, so we printed out pumpkins and faces and glued them on to make a pumpkin garland. You can find the printouts and instructions for the pumpkin garland here.

Pumpkin Garland

If you’re thinking of themed ideas for Halloween stories, have a look at these clever and fun Harry Potter themed lunch box snacks from Eats Amazing.

Zingzingtree’s fabulous bats make a great bunting too, and will complement the pumpkin bunting perfectly!

Spot A Lot Animal Escape Book Review

Spot a Lot

Spot A Lot Animal Escape is such a fun book. It’s not the sort of story line that’s going to win any awards, but it’s not an A-Z story either, in fact, it’s sort of 3-in-1.

The first is the two-lines per page story of a zoo where the animals have all escaped their cages. One giraffe, two elephants, three gazelles and so on, to ten, so it’s a classic counting book for little ones.

They have to “search” for the animals on each page, and in the case of say the giraffe, it’s an easy find, but some of them are a lot more tricky than the others!

As well as that standard book, each page also has a few additional ‘treasure hunt’ style questions – like “find three mice” or “find the missing shoe” – that give you a second run through the book, following something different, and looking for different clues and ‘treasures’.

And then, just when you think you couldn’t squeeze any more out of the book – there’s a third ‘search’ trail: on each page find the turtle, which gives the book a third run through.

My girls are 5 & 3 and they both enjoyed the book and were excited at finding their treasures.

Spot A Lot Animal Escape is available at Amazon UK*, Amazon US* and The Book Depository* who offer free delivery world wide.

SpotMy girls were really keen to draw circles on the page – spot the difference style – but I didn’t really want them to. Instead I Googled relevant images and made a ‘sheet’ so that they could circle what they were finding as we went along. You can print the Spot A Lot Animal Escapes Work sheet here if you’d like to use it!

Spot A  Lot Animal Escapes Work sheet

*We were given a free copy of this book as part of the Paragon Book Buddies program. Our thoughts are our own.

 

Away In My Airplane – A Book To Prepare For Travel

This week we read Away In My Airplane a sweet little book about a boy who takes his airplane out for a spin through the rain, through the sunshine up and down. It’s a journey of imagination and the repetition of the phrases and concepts of ‘through the rain’ and ‘through the sun’ make the book almost rhyme like.

Written by Margaret Wise Brown, and illustrated by Sir Fisher Henry, the illustrations in Away in My Airplane are beautiful, bold, deep and striking. I love full page, bright colours in children’s books, and I think – for me – this book does it just right.

away in my airplane

As I said, there’s a lot of repetition, which makes it nice for children. Nursery rhyme like. It’s nice.

away in my airplane2

Each page has sun and rain/night and day/light and dark.

away in my airplane3

It’s the perfect book for kids preparing for a long haul flight, specially as you can draw parallels to the upside down time zones, and flying through the clouds, above the clouds, shortened or lengthened days.

The only negative from this book, in my opinion, is the font – it makes it quite hard to read upside down, which I often end up doing with two children who both want to sit in front of the book!

Away In My Airplane is available at Amazon UK, Amazon US and The Book Depository, which offers world wide free delivery.

I like doing a craft activity with the children when we’ve read a new book – it gives us time to discuss the themes in the book, and it gives us time to mull over a story, rather than just move on to the next thing.  For this activity I Googled a template for how to fold a paper plane, which the girls then took time decorating with stickers and paints before we took them outside to see how far and high they could fly. 640px-Paper_Airplane

Between you and me this was an interesting lesson in following instructions too: I had two pieces of paper, and followed the same instructions, and yet the planes came out different! Neither flew particularly well either, between you and me, but the kids didn’t seem to notice. They laughed and played and had fun. It was great, really.

Airplanes

*We received this book as part of the Paragon Book Buddies programme. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Carrot Cake Catastrophe – Stories And Cake Recipe {Book Review}

One of my friends told me once that she loved my blog, because I don’t post perfect crafts and that makes her feel like a normal mama when their crafts and projects don’t come out perfect. Well, this one is for everyone who ever has not-as-planned-cakes.

Carrot Cake CatastropheWe received The Carrot Cake Catastrophe by Elizabeth Dale (Author) and Gemma Raynor (Illustrator) from Paragon a few months ago as part of the Paragon Book Buddies project and today we decided it was time to go read it.

Instead of making it into a standard round cake, however, we poured the cake dough into gingerbread man shapes, since our PlayLearning theme this week is around the human body

Well, it didn’t really work out. The dough is way too moist and the resulting cake way too crumbly for it to work that way. It was still absolutely delicious though. So our cake may have turned out a bit of Catastrophe too, but it was still way, way better than Grandpa’s cake from the book.

In this story, a little girl and her grandfather decide to make a cake for her mama’s birthday. That’s all fine and well, but with his glasses on Grandpa can read the instructions, but not identify the ingredients, so he ends up adding soap instead of butter, and so on. Yum. They head into the garden for fresh, juicy carrots, and stir them into the batter – without grating or chopping! It’s a recipe for disaster, for sure.

In the end the birds eat the cake – apparently they don’t mind the soap – and Mama saves the day with a previously baked cake.

At the end of the book there’s the recipe Grandpa and the little girl followed, with instructions, so you can make it at home too.

It’s a very basic carrot cake, making it ideal for little bakers. Even though I’m a very proud and happy Thermomix owner, I think it’s essential that Ameli and Aviya learn to cook the ‘old fashioned’ way, including weighing, measuring and a bit of elbow grease.

The sign of a great children’s book for me is when the girls remember it later. We had to walk to the shop for cream cheese for the icing, and Ameli laughed suddenly, saying she’s glad we didn’t put soap in our cake! She asked me what ‘bitter’ meant (I said it would probably taste bitter from the soap), and asked about the meaning of other words… I love when they learn without knowing they are.

An all round lovely story, great for preparing for birthdays as we are this week – can’t believe Aviya is coming up for two!  – and just a bit of fun and a laugh. Lovely.

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