It’s been a few months since the last ‘what we’ve been reading‘ post (my apologies), so I thought it was time to write another. The weather is starting to really warm up and we’ve wasted no time in soaking up the sunshine, after all in the UK we never know when we will next see the sun! We’ve spent a lot of time in the garden and have gone on lots of fun days out, including a day out to the zoo. So this week I’ve tried to find some books that relate to what we’ve been up to.
Superworm – by Julia and Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
As I said in my little intro, we’ve been spending a lot of time in the garden. My family on my Dad’s side has always been very green fingered. I’ve always been told stories of how my great-grandparent parents used to grow their own food to combat the rationing during the war and I was always helping my grandparents in the garden when I was growing up, so it comes as no surprise that I love the garden and encourage my two to roll up their sleeves and help. While in the garden we come across all kinds of creepy crawlies, so I was delighted to stumble across this little gem to help mirror what we have already been learning about over the past few weeks.
Superworm is a lovely little story that follows a worm hero. When he caught by the evil lizard wizard his friends all group together to save him before the lizard wizard feeds him to his hungry crow. This is a really heart-warming story about friendship and working together. Julia Donaldson is known for her impeccable talent with rhyme and this is an amazing example of it. The story has the most amazing rhythm that flows really easily and of course Axel Scheffler’s iconic illustrations are just as fun and colourful as always. This is one of my favourite Julia Donaldson stories, so I’d really recommend picking it up if you see on a book shelf.
Amazing Animal Journeys by Chris Packham and Jason Cockcroft
Those of you who follow my blog will know I’m really passionate about the natural world and the creatures we share this beautiful planet with. Again spending a lot of time outside, we have noticed a lot of different birds visiting the garden and the odd flock of Canadian geese who seemed to have missed the migration earlier in the year. It opened up a conversation about animal migrations, so when I saw this hidden away on a bookshelf in a local village shop I had to buy it!
This book explains animal migrations in such a simple way, even really young children can enjoy this book. Monkey is only 18 months and this is one of his favourites before bed. The story follows the different types of migrations there are, why some animals embark on long migrations and the dangers they face on their journeys. It’s such an insightful book with really beautiful illustrations it’s one of my favourites to read with the boys at the moment.
The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and Jim Field.
After our day out to the zoo, I dug out this book from our bookshelf in the playroom. I absolutely adore the illustrations and think Jim Field really brings this story to life. However, I have a bit of an issue about the story.
The story follows a little mouse who is often left out and forgotten, so he decided to learn how to roar like the fierce lion who lives on top of the rock. However the mouse learns that the fierce lion is frightened of mice and realises that within every person is strength and weakness. Overall the message behind the story is quite clever, but a line in the story reads, ‘But if you want things to change, you first have to change you.’ Now while I think it is important for children to know for a situation to change, there has to be a change made by an individual, this line implies that if you want a change to happen then you have to change as a person. As a mother, I don’t want my children to feel like they have to change in order to fit in and so we always leave this line out of the story, which breaks the flow of an otherwise very well written story.
What I’ve been reading – Ashes of London by Andrew Taylor
The book opens in 1666 when the great fire of London is ravaging the city. One narrative follows James Marwood, a son of a traitor working in Whitehall while also trying to keep his father – who is losing his mind – safe. The other narrative follows Cat, a women destined to marry a man she does not love, while living with her aunt and worried for her father who is on the run. As the flames that ravage London are tackled, a body is found in St Pauls Cathedral – a stab wound to the neck and thumbs tied behind his back and another washes up in Fleet Street, again with thumbs tied behind the back.
I really enjoyed this book, found the story very compelling and the pace of it very well put together. Every time I thought I was starting to put together the pieces of the puzzle, there was another twist. The range of characters make for a very interesting story, some I really warmed to and rooted for, others made my stomach turn. The story took me through such a range of emotions and I felt a real connection to the characters. It is a very easy read, so even if history isn’t your strong suit it is easy to follow. Definitely worth a read!