I love picture books which encourage kids to embrace their unique qualities and this new story from Kes Gray and Fred Blunt is one of the best I’ve seen in a while.
Flinty Bo Diddle is a musician and he’s trying to write a a new piece of music to play on his fiddle. He lines up all the musical notes on the page and then starts to play. It’s all going very well until he gets half way through the tune and one little diddle goes dum.
The little diddle apologises for messing up the music but explains that that’s just how he is. He’s a diddle but sometimes he can’t help going dum.
On Christmas Eve, Santa was kind enough to make a special trip to our house to leave a book, a teddy and some festive pyjamas for Ivy. A new tradition which really helped with getting her settled for bed in all the excitement. Santa didn’t disappoint with his choice of book and the whole family was entranced!
The Sleeping Beauty is part of a wonderful series called The Story Orchestra which introduces children to classical music. The books are beautifully made and the illustrations are truly wonderful. They each feature a host of diverse characters and there is a lot of detail in each picture for little ones to explore.
I’m not going to lie – children’s music drives me bonkers. I totally understand that I am not the target audience but why does it have to be so annoying!
We listen to a lot of music at home and Ivy and I generally take it in turns to pick songs as our tastes are very different. This means poor Spotify regularly bounces between Peppa Pig and Fleetwood Mac, with some nursery rhymes thrown in for good measure.
However we recently received the newest album from family singer songwriter David Gibb – Rolling Down The Road – and I think we have finally found some music we agree on. David has a great voice and the songs cover an eclectic mix of genres, from rock and folk through to jazz and country.
Every now and again a book pops through our letterbox which completely takes us by surprise. It doesn’t happen often, but when Pop Reads Publishing sent us a little parcel of their titles it completely changed our whole morning. When the post arrived we were quietly having breakfast in our PJs but within 10 minutes of opening this set of books we were having a mini disco in the kitchen and introducing Ivy to a host of new songs. Why? Because Pop Reads have created beautifully illustrated lyric books for kids!
The parcel contained 5 titles but Ivy’s immediate favourite was ‘Can I Kick It?’, a 1989 song from American Hip Hop collective A Tribe Called Quest. I part read/part sang the words to her and she loved the trippy, graffiti-style illustrations which ran alongside.
If you have a child who rejects story time because they don’t like to sit still then Bumpus Jumpus Dinosaurumpus might be the book that you’re looking for. The infectious rhyme encourages your child to dance around and I defy anyone to read this aloud without wiggling a little themselves!
The story introduces you to a whole host of dinosaurs as they take part in a Dinosaurumpus – a noisy, bouncy and frankly bonkers celebration of who they are. They twizzle, spin, bomp and stomp together until they hear a giant roar. What on earth is making that scary noise and will it want to eat them up or just join in the fun?
We’ve read this one so many times that Ivy joins in with the ‘chorus’ and bangs the sofa like a drum in time with they way I read the rhyme. We started off just reciting it but these days it’s more like (extremely amateur!) performance art as I rap the lyrics (badly) and she bounces up and down and squeals with delight. It’s definitely not a bedtime book in our house!
I have been reading this wonderful book to Ivy since she was just a few months old and this is our second copy as the first was so well-thumbed that it had started to fall apart! It’s written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees.
Gerald is a giraffe whose skills include standing still and eating leaves from tall trees. They don’t include running and they most definitely don’t include dancing, which is a shame as every year all of the animals get together for the Jungle Dance and everyone has to take part.
On the night of the big Dance, Gerald watches the warthogs, rhinos, lions, chimps and baboons take to the floor to roaring applause, but when his turn comes the reaction is very different. As soon as everyone sees him they start to laugh and call him names because they know he is so clumsy. Devastated, Gerald takes off in to the jungle where he meets a wise old Cricket who teaches him that everyone can dance – they just have to find their own song.
One day little Kaya stumbles across her mother meditating. She is also humming an unfamiliar tune which Kaya finds fascinating. When she asks what it is her mother explains that it is her heart song – the song which her heart sings when she is happy.
Kaya would very much like a heart song of her own but she doesn’t know how to find it so instead she goes out to play. She follows a butterfly in to the jungle and there she finds an old man guarding a broken-down elephant carousel.
Drawn to the elephants, Kaya climbs on top of one to try and free it from some vines. She imagines what it would be like to be a beautiful princess riding the elephant through the jungle and suddenly she hears the soft beat of music in her ear.
Ivy is partial to a boogie so we are big fans of this musical number by Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt.
The raucous rhyme runs through a whole orchestra of animals, each playing a different musical instrument. It’s really fun to read and has also been a great way for Ivy to learn the names of animals that don’t often show up in kids books.
She particularly likes the crooning crayfish and the bison who plays the cello!
There is something hauntingly beautiful about The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield – and this is another one where Ivy feels compelled to stroke the pages when I’m reading it to her.
The story is about a little bear cub who finds an old piano in the woods. Fascinated by the sounds it makes, he visits every day until he is an accomplished pianist, but he still doesn’t really understand what the piano is.
His playing begins to draw a crowd and eventually Broadway comes calling. He would really, really like to play his piano for audiences around the world but he’s scared of leaving his home and family behind.
What will happen if he takes a leap of faith? And will his friends forget all about him once he’s gone?
This is a really powerful book about how following your dreams doesn’t have to mean losing your roots.
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2ip1J1O