Friday, 29 September 2017

We Love Bunk Beds!: A Shirley and Doris Book

My ABSOLUTE, MOST favourite book!!!

This book came into our lives through a  second-hand books sale in the neighbourhood. We laughed a lot reading it at the book stall itself and have laughed again and again after every book reading!

 My 4 year old, who  often does not have the patience to listen to stories till the very end, waits for the twist in the tale at the ending of the story.

When I read this book out, I use rhyming Hindi words that go with the page illustrations and  my 4 year old and I have some great laughs.

 Every. Single.  Time.

So what is it about? An inseparable sibling elephant  pair, with the little one (Doris)  following her elder sister  (Shirley) everywhere. Shirley  sometime loses patience but mostly in the book is resigned to her fate ( This is VERY different from our household and when my 10 year old reads it I point out some patient dealings by Shirley  strategically! wink wink! !!!)
Frustrated with Doris's clingy behaviour , their mom suggests buying a bunk bed so that they at least sleep separately that gets every one excited.
All seems to go well till the end and Shirley will finally get to sleep away from Doris but wait... is that what is going to happen?

Guaranteed to generate many laughs and squeals at the end , go ahead and seek this book out.

I am an absolute fan of the author, Paula Metcalf's , work and follow her artwork on Facebook too.  Here is the link

Daddy is a Doodlebug- Buce Degen

Daddy is a Doodlebug  is a fantastic book with a quirky sense of humour highlighting the special bond between a father and a child. Very few books focus on this aspect of parenting- it is either  both parents in the story line or often the mother and the child.  So when I saw this today in my university's library of children's books , I was delighted! My kids have a stay at home dad around them and they do many activities with him around. This surely was going to  resonate with them!

So this is how it goes... two bugs ( a father and his son) do various activities together

" Daddy is a doodlebug . I'm a doodlebug too
We both eat potoodle chips
 While walking through the zoo.
'Cause Daddy is a foodlebug ,
And I'm a foodlebug too.

We padoodle the canoe in the sun and rain
That's what Doodlebugs do

' Cause Daddy is a canoedlebug,
And I'm a canoedlebug too.

It is the play of words, some pun here and there and vivid bright illustrations with humour hidden in them that make the book very appealing. My 10 year old laughed a lot while my 4 year old looked at it with delight.
No wonder, because the author illustrator is Bruce Degen who is popular for his art humour in his Magic School Bus books! Here is a nice short interview of him where he frames humour as his top quality! Now that's my kind of quality . I love to watch kids laugh while reading a book or watching some good appropriate content.

So here's a big thumbs up for this book.It is worth having it in your library!

Monday, 4 July 2016

Dragon Gets By- Dav Pilkey

Dragon Gets By is a really nice book for children beginning to read on their own. It is a series of books featuring the not at all scary, no fire spewing, gentle dragon who is a bit silly.The first book of this series is "A friend for dragon: Dragon's first tales (1991) ." Apparently this series was also made into a TV series but I haven't seen that.

I have only read this one book with my kid who was 6 years old at the time of our first reading, But this is also a book for early readers and younger kids. Here is this dragon barely managing his days through all muddled up chores be it sweeping, cleaning the yard, going shopping. The pictures are really funny and guarantee a laugh and also comforts you if you are a messy homekeeper yourself! ;)

It is always a pleasure to read books that have been illustrated by the author him/herself because there is so much more that the picture conveys. Google books review informed me that the author, Dav Pilkey, is an award-winning author/illustrator of the Captain Underpants series as well. Here is his website for those interested in more of his work:

Also, I have a positive bias towards the use of humour in children's books and when kids get the jokes, I so enjoy watching them laugh . Nothing beats being a silly blue dragon and being acknowledged for silly-ness by a toddler!

The language is easy to read and as I wrote before pictures do so much of the talking. There are five stories in the book and each one involves the Dragon getting into some sort of a mess. By the end of the book you start liking the Dragon and wanting to know more of his simple, easygoing life.
Here are some pages-pictures I took using my mobile camera
just to give you an idea

Friday, 24 June 2016

Fifth Lane series, Madhuri Purandare

I read the two books in the Fifth lane series by Madhuri Purandare several times in these past few days.
First off, I am a huge fan of her work. When I heard about the books I could barely wait to order them from who are actually my favourite publishers of children's books. My colleagues had felt the English translation of these Marathi books was not impressive but I disagree. Both the Marathi and the English versions are worth reading. I quickly gave off the English version as a gift because I wanted to make an effort to read Marathi( it is an adopted language for me) and am very happy I did that. But my 9 year old read it in English and really liked the stories too.

Do read either in Marathi or in English because they are such tender tales with the most gorgeous of illustrations. I kept wishing I could dress up like some of the characters Madhuri P. has drawn in the books.

The books are titled 'Sakkhe Shejari' in Marathi which means true neighbours and Paanchvi Galli or Fifth Lane (The lane in which the building evolved from a bungalow) and it is a set of stories of residents living in an apartment through the eyes of Ketaki, a kid who lives with her single mom . So you get to meet different characters - a single parent, a hearing impaired mother, a stay at home artist dad, a single woman professional - who are all part of our worlds in a children's book.
Madhuri P. has managed to bring in a sense of a real community with people who are different - look different/talk different/dress different weaving in these themes effortlessly as Ketaki goes prancing around and observing acutely like only a child can!

Monday, 13 June 2016

I revisited the  Little Princess series yesterday for our younger one. She is not that into books as her sibling so I had to "trap" her through some lovely videos available on you tube(thankfully)  of the T.V series,,  and then we settled into reading some of the titles we had. Man, the three year old got every single humour! Be it the hairstyle of the princess thanks to the crown, the same style of clothes that she keeps choosing from, the tantrum and the open mouth scream, the admiral with a swimming tube, or the twist of the tongue when the princess writes letters. Hats off the the clever illustration that so spoke to a child's mind.  

Parents- this is a must- explore for your preschoolers  if you want to introduce your kids to quirky humour. The main character is everything that you would warn your toddler about- bratty/ loud/rude/ demanding (most of the books start with a "I want..." title) and yet children get it because it features the joys and frustrations of childhood in the most endearing manner and an impish smile! 

 My favourite title is  "I want to be"

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I want!

I want everything from here:

Santa! Are you listening?! :)

This one especially , " My Map Book" by Sara Fanelli. a wonderful picture book with vivid maps of the author’s bedroom, neighborhood, tummy, heart and so on…

Friday, 5 September 2014

Myths and Legends from India- How and Why tales

Great book. Simple language. Charming stories that explain everyday rituals and practices in Hindu culture and the mythological beliefs behind them. Written from the perspective of a grandmother , the author, Rama Srinivas, committed to paper those oral folklores that gets passed down from one generation to another. Which is why not only they make a great read but are a valued contribution to the existing  repository of mythological Hindu tales. Also, 'Greystroke' a regular on the illustrator circuit has contributed to it. ( Bangalore peeps would probably have met him in the Bangalore Children's literature groups)

I like the stories  because they explain  the why and how of simple rituals practiced in our everyday life. For example, the origin of the practice of knocking on one's head while visiting a temple; or explaining why touching the ears or prostrating before God is common amongst some worshippers. Here is a nice story whose snapshot I attach about the 'One Eyed Crow'.  

Here is a nice note from the author explaining the origins of her book.

The copy I have is from my daughter's school library. It was published by MacMillan India Limited in 1997 and priced at Rs. 18/- However I find no internet trail and am wondering if it was reproduced. What a pity if it is not. 

 P.s. Sorry about the bad quality pictures on this post- taken from my mobile phone and shaky hand.