Books we read in March

This months the books came randomly. Neither girls has any special interest (except for birds in E’s case) so we just picked books from the big book box.

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Colour coding: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it

E (5y 10m)

Travels of Dr. Dolittle

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Is there anyone who doesn’t like the vet who speaks the language of animals? We read it about 5 times. E loves animals in general, but she always has a favourite group. In this book her favourite one was pushmi pullyu, the two-headed lama-like creature that was presented to Dr Dolittle for healing the monkeys. A fascinating classic.

The smartest giant in town by Julia Donaldson

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This book about kindness and selflessness. The giant on his way home gives away his smart new clothes to animals who need them more. Another message: be yourself, don’t try to be someone who you’re not. Little L enjoyed it more than E but didn’t become a favourite.

George’s marvellous medicine by Roald Dahl

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This was E.’s very favourite book this months. The story is about a boy who makes new medication for his unbearably overbearing and pompous grandmother. The medicine has a funny result, which makes George’s father really excited. We started a wow words! notebook with E. Whenever we came across a word, which was unfamiliar for her (and, to be honest, for me too sometimes) we jotted it down in this notebook with a synonym or a drawing.

Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson

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Another book about what if you don’t fit in. I’m afraid the illustrations are not the best, still the story is great. A duckbill (vegetarian) dino was accidentally born into a T-rex family, where he is criticised a lot with great disappointment. But when he realises that he can swim, he runs away from them (kind of a strange and scary solution, not a very good message for kids as for problem-solving –  my opinion only) and joins a herd of duckbill dinos. What’s more, he becomes a hero, but you need to read it to know why. My kids enjoyed it but weren’t crazy about it. I guess it’s the illustrations.

Wash Scrub Brush by Mick Manning and Brita Granström

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Now this one was read out 20 times… minimum. Children are getting ready for a birthday party and need to clean themselves: cut finger nails, wash hair, clean ears, go to the toilet and wash hands. L. was fascinated by the baby with her “poopy nappy”. E liked the idea that animals clean themselves like birds preen (!new word!), special birds clean the wax out of zebras, or big fish let little fish clean their teeth without eating them. I could read it in 2 versions: a shorter version for L without the extra info about the animals, and a longer version for E. with the extras. At the end of the book there’s a glossary of useful words explained.

L. (2y 3 m)

Little Red Riding Hood by Tony Mitton

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A classic story in a new way. There are very few words in this story, you can decide how much more you say through the story-telling. At the end the wolf just closes up grandma and doesn’t eat her. When Little Red Riding Hood comes, she is not eaten up by the wolf either as the lumberjack stops him. They eat pretty cakes at the very end. It’s kind of strange for me but for Little L. it was more soothing since she was scared of the wolf. E. knew the story doesn’t end like this. Anyway, in this way we had a chance to talk about it in more details.

Come on Everybody, time to play! By Nigel Gray

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A picture book for little children. A little girl is searching for others to play with on Sunday morning. She is looking everywhere (bathroom, kitchen, playroom etc) and finds dogs and cats and her brothers. In the end they all end up in the parents’ bed. There are some flaps to flip but not on all pages. It’s a cute book but my kids weren’t so impressed.

Teddy hunt (Marks&Spencer)

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Again a book for the really young. A little boy wants to go for a picnic and is looking for his Teddy. The child can lift the flaps as the rhyming story goes on and on, as the boy is looking everywhere. Finally he finds his Teddy in the picnic basket. The touchy-feely last page adds an extra on the last page. (My kids started to fight over who should open the picnic basket and pat the teddy.)

Where’s my egg? by Tony Mitton

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A cute little story about Mother Hen who can’t find her egg. She is checking everywhere, at the farm animals. Finally she finds the egg, more precisely her hatched chick. Little L. loved the story, the animals and the feelings (mother Hen is really sad through the story, so much she starts to cry, but she cheers up when she meets her little chick)

Red Fire Engine

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I thought it would be a bigger hit, but Little L is not a baby any more. She still likes pushing buttons, but she is more interested in stories and clearly this book doesn’t have much of a story. This is more for kids under 2.

Look what I’ve found by Nick Sharratt

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We love this series of A Flip-flap book, by Walker Books. In this one a little girl is exploring the beach with her Dad and finds interesting things. My kids’ favourite part is when she finds the ice-cream place.

The girls also asked to read some older books like Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins, Pooh! Is that you Birtie? by David Roberts, or Chocolate Moose for greedy Goose by Julia Donaldson. (You can read a short review and my kids’ opinion about the books on the links)

We also read some Easter books but I’ll write about them in a separate post.

Pompom run

I had to cook. Little L. wanted to play with me. Challenge accepted.

I took out some kitchen roll tubes and toilet paper tubes, which I’d been storing for a loooong time so we can play with them some day, and made a very quick, ugly but functional pompom run.

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I cooked and she played in the kitchen, sometimes I joined in too. Everybody was happy.

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I wasn’t considering how great it is from language point of view. While she was making the pompoms run she was identifying their colours.

-T his one is yellow. And this is red. Look, mommy the black one is spiky.

Then she compared their sizes:

– This is small. Look, Mommy a big pompom.

In the afternoon my big girl (almost 6) came home and started playing with it using a pair of tongs. She added some more pieces of tube to the pompom run to boot. (It was difficult for her to cut the hard cardboard.)

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DSC01548She was playing with it for half an hour.

It’s still on the fridge and I keep the pompom close by. They can play with it whenever they want to. And they often want to.

The best is it took 5 minutes to make it. Of course, you can spend more time on it, painting the tubes, decorating it with stickers together with the kids, making more interesting and more exciting ways, use it for addition, etc.

But simple is beautiful 😉

Reading list February 2018

I’ve just realised we don’t have many Valentine’s Day books or books on love. This shortcoming needs to be remedied in the future. Still, we’ve read plenty of books this months too. (And another big batch of books is on the way. Hurray!)

It is very interesting to see that even young children can have favourite authors, moreover, favourite publishers. E. enjoys Usborne books without noticing it. Her favourite authors are Allen Ahlberg, Julia Donaldson, Roald Dahl, and Lucy Cousins.

Little L. herself noticed that we read a lot of Walker books because she truly enjoys them the most. (When we start a book I also read the name of the authors’/illustrators’ and the publisher apart from the title. After a while L. finished my enumeration with saying Walker books at the end.) Her favourite authors at the moment are Lucy Cousins, Tony Mitton, Julia Donaldson, and the Hungarian writer Erika Bartos.

Colour codes: E.’s favouriteL.’s favouriteBoth loved it

E. 5y 9 m old

Secret Garden (Usborne)

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This is a beautifully illustrated hard cover book. We read it on the bus on the way to a musical instrument demonstration for kids in the Opera House. It was a real artsy afternoon. The story’s language is quite basic, perhaps a little too simple for E. but she was immersed in the story of a girl finding an abandoned garden and a strange boy. The two of them make the garden come alive again.

Mummy, Do you love me? by Jeanne Willis

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Another gorgeous book with hard cover and is large in size. This was one of our Valentine’s Day book about a little chick always asking her Mom if she loves him no matter what he does (getting mucky, losing a race, destroying a flower etc). L. was a little frightened when I imitated little chick’s happy chirping louder and louder and she didn’t want to read the book. Careful with funny voices and volume while reading.

Monkey Do! by Alan Ahlberg

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A rhyming book about a monkey who sees an opportunity and use it for his own good and escapes from the zoo. After a lot of adventures he returns to his mommy. The illustration has small details the girls liked to examine and talk about.

Pooh, Is that you Bertie? by David Roberts

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This is a very funny book for kids on the one hand as you can push several buttons on the pages and they give different sounds of breaking wind. On the other hand the book has a lot of expressions how to express breaking wind in a more acceptable way than farting. (We use “fluff” in our home as our first native nanny used it and it just stuck with us)

The flying bath by Julia Donaldson

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A funny story about 3 toys taking the bathtub for a rescue ride until the family is away. When they return they have a surprise for the kids. We’ve read this book about 4-5 times.

My race into space by Annie Auerbach

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Although it’s a board book this is for bigger kids (first I wanted to read it with Linda only but E.’s been into space again and it turned out this book suits a 5-year-old more than a 2-year-old.) It’s a rhyming book about planets and the solar system. As for me it’s nothing special, there are much better books on space but E. quite liked it.

L. 2 y 2 m old

Dora Loves Boots (Scholastic)

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Our official Valentine’s day book. Dora and Boots meet at Rainbow Rock and give each other a Valentine’s day present (something they know the other would love). It’s a typical Dora book with some Spanish words. L. enjoyed counting strawberries in Spanish.

Noah’s Ark by Lucy Cousins

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As Little L. likes Lucy Cousin’s books she got this as a name day present. Both kids enjoyed it, not to mention the part when we sang the song, The animals came two by two. E. noticed that the pictures are painted. She realised the markings of a paintbrush. The story is a classic from the Bible in a simple way with interesting illustrations which gave us a lot to talk about. (For instance, there are 2 roosters going onto the ark. E. realised in this way chickens wouldn’t have survived the great flood as “you need a mommy and a daddy chicken to have little chicks” – sic)

The Runaway Tractor (Usborne)

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Another name day present for Little L. for her nameday. This series of Farmyard tales contain many stickers in the middle with which kids need to fill the missing parts of the story. It is absolutely amazing how this helps kids memorise the story itself. While I was reading the story I always stopped where we had a sticker and L. said the word the sticker replaced. Not to mention the hidden ducks on every page your kids need to find. 3 weeks of enjoyment. (The story is about Ted losing control over the tractor which ends up in the pond. Another farmer comes to the rescue with his horse)

Let’s get ready for bed (Bear in the big blue house)

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We do not watch Bear in the big blue house but we do have difficulties with the evening routine. This book nicely describes what activity comes after the other, like taking a bath, brushing teeth, getting into your pj and reading a bed time story) There are moving parts in this book which L. liked a lot but it was quite difficult for her little hands to move, like a toothbrush or the moon in the sky)

Horsey horsey (IglooBooks)

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This is our 3rd book in this series of IglooBooks but unfortunately the tune does not match the one we know with this song. Anyways, Daddy made up a new song to this tune although it’s in Hungarian:

Áprilisi zivatar, nem tudja, hogy mit akar
Össze-vissza zivatar, ez egy nagyon hülye dal.

The kids love this song to a great extent and the tune is so catchy I sometimes sing it in the middle of the night.

Lulu’s Loo by Camilla Reid

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We’re trying to potty-train Little L. with not much success yet. Though this books ahs helped a lot. There are fasteners to fix Lulu’s nappy, pink and squishy plastic potty to touch, toilet lid to lift up, big girl knickers of different patterns to touch etc. The book is really motivating, still L. is unwilling to go to the loo.

Now I am 2 (Parragon)

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I think it was a January book but we read it a lot in February too. This little board book list things that 2 year olds can do (say Mommy, clap, walk etc.) This book is short so at the end I always added quite a few things Little L. can do (and whenever I told her she did them, like I can sing a song, I can wave goodby, I can blow a kiss, I can point at my nose, I can hug my sister, I can drink from a cup etc.) I think she truly enjoy the end rather than the book.

This month we’ve read quite a few Hungarian books (Anna, Peti és Gergő  and other rhyme books by Erika Bartos, Oszkár by Doris Lauer, Pipacska és Kockapaci by G.V. Szapgir, L.A. Levinova, Mi történik a kórházban? – Scholar) and we didn’t have so much time for new English ones. The other reason for fewer books this months is that they ALWAYS wanted the same books, their favourites (Dora Loves Boots, The Runaways tractor, The flying bath, Pooh, is that you Bertie?)

 

2018 January – books of the month

E.’s list is a little shorter as we’ve started to read chapter books. What’s more, we read them like 3-4 times as she couldn’t get enough of them. A real bookworm. Little L.’s list is longer as she enjoyed the many books she got for Christmas and hadn’t had time to read them due to the busy holiday seasons.

I read for E. before the afternoon nap time when she’s home and before bedtime. L. doesn’t hear these stories as she is too young for these books. But E. is present when I read the books for L.

Colour codes: E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, Both loved it

E., 5 y 8 m old

Gulliver’s Travels (Usborne)

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The story covers only Gulliver’s travel to Lilliput. The story is divided into chapters. It is large print and the language is quite easy so E. could read it for herself. We read it twice and I suppose instead of getting dressed in the morning before leaving for the kindergarten she read it once more.

Jack Frost by Kazuno Kohara

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A classic winter story about a little boy who hates winter as he misses company. But then he meets Jack Frost and they have lots of fun. There is one rule only, he shouldn’t mention anything warm or Jack will disappear. Can he manage?

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

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Another winter story. Unfortunately E. didn’t enjoy as much as I did. What a pity as it is a really funny book about Stick man who gets involved some dangerous adventures when a dog wants to play with him or when a boy uses him as an arm for his snowman.

The Wizard of Oz (Usborne)

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Another chapter book for E. The same applies here as in case of Gulliver’s travel. A classic story in an easily readable form. I needed to read it 4 times and E. read it another 2. I think her interest escalated when I told her the story of one of my carnivals when my whole class got dressed as the characters in the Wizard of Oz.

Quarks by Ruth Spiro

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As we live together with a scientist, I had to buy this book at full price. But it was worth it. It is a baby book but not so much. In a very simple way and with wonderful illustrations atom and molecule structures

The Giraffe, the Pelly, and Me by Roald Dahl (the absolute favourite of the moths!)

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An absolutely fantastic and a typical Roald Dahl book. The story is about 3 window cleaners who get the best job in the world. While starting to the job they catch a burglar. We read it 3 times and I was about to make some activities to elaborate some outstanding vocabulary of the book, but alas I had no time. I might try to do it at another time.

L., 2 y 1 m old

Tough Trucks by Tony Mitten

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As Little L. is into vehicles this book is the absolute favourite for her. But E. liked it. I can’t recall how many time we read it but approximately 50-60 time minimum. The book presents big vehicles like trucks, articulated trucks, refuse trucks, tow-away trucks and so on. The description is rhyming and the CD that goes with it is really handy. I was especially delighted as the book uses British English vocabulary. After a while L. could finish the end of each line (the rhyming pairs mainly). E. knows the whole book by heart.

The Snow Storm

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I love Usborne book, and this farmyard series is so close to my heart. Not for my kids. E. was not interested in it after the first read. Little L. wanted to see only the lamb in the bush (that was born under the hedge). Nice illustration and a fun snowy book though.

You can do it, Sam

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L.’s other favourite after Tough Trucks. The story is about a little bear who prepares cakes early in the morning with his mum and deliver them to their friends as a surprise. The little bear needs to be very brave as he hast to take the cakes from the truck to the doorsteps in the big snow. Mama Bear say “of course” several time during the story. Every time L. added “second course”  because for her these 2 phrases sound so similar. 🙂

Maisy goes shopping by Lucy Cousins

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Maisy is still in. Read it a million time. As much as they don’t like Peppa Pig, they adore Maisy. l. compared herself and E. to Charley and Maisy. Charley who’s got a bike in the story was E. and she, herself was Maisy. She rides a tricycle.

10 chuckling ducklings by Sally Crabtree

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A typical count-backwards board book with plastic 3-D ducks on each page. There is also a button to push to hear the quack-ing. For me it was too much for the kids… well, they were fighting for the button to push or to finger the ducks.

Getting dressed (Mark and Spencer)

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A board book teaching kids the order of getting dressed. You can touch different items of clothing. The story is in rhymes. Both kids like the sensory books so a lot of argument was involved around this book too.

A birthday for boots

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L.’s been interested in counting lately hence the second count-backwards book. This was E.’s first favourite Dora book. She liked the stories I told her about the time when we’d read it together. L. learnt some of the Spanish numbers from this book. And of course, the shout at the same time: Swiper, no swiping!

This is my puppy (Usborne)

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Touchy-feely puppy board book that examines every important dog parts: ears, paws, tail, nose adding a touchy-feely experience and the joy of making the doggie woof-woof with the button.

Fox’s Socks by Julia Donaldson

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Little L. enjoyed this board book as well. Julia Donaldson’s rhymes are so easy to learn that she could say the rhyming pairs after a few reads. Lifting the flaps adds to the fun. No wonder the fox finds his clothes in strange places. E.: – Mommy, this fox is very untidy.

Bird feeders

Last December E. made some bird feeders at her one-day winter camp. She loved the idea of feeding the birds when they have real difficulty in getting any food during winter so much we needed to make some more.

The first bird feeder idea came from our Helen Doron school.

PINECONE+PEANUT BUTTER BIRD FEEDER

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What you need:

  • pine cones (you can buy them but easier to collect your own)
  • peanut butter (of any kind)
  • seeds (you can buy canary food in a pet shop, but we mixed our own: corn, sunflower seeds, millets, smashed walnut, sultanas, dried cranberries)
  • knife
  • thread
  • bowl

How to make it:

  1. Mix the seeds, dried fruit, nuts in a bowl

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  2. Spread the peanut butter with the knife between the scales of the cone

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  3. Roll the cone into the seed bowl

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  4. Tie a string or thread so you can hang it up on bushes or trees
  5. Go to your garden, balcony or, as we did it, into a park nearby and hang out your bird feeders

We went back to check on the bird feeder and seeing the seeds and the peanut butter disappear gave E. tremendous joy.

We made the pinecones with our native nanny, N, in English. We spread them around E.’s kindergarten area with I.-Grandma in Hungarian. When we went back to check them we were in English again. So we covered a lot of vocabulary in both languages. (bird feeder, seeds, corn, hang out, hide, quiet-busy, visible, don’t migrate, robin, blackbird, finch etc.)

TANGERINE RIND BIRD FEEDER

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What you need:

The same as above except for the pine cone and the thread. After pressing some orange/tangerine juice for the girls I kept the rind. Quite a lot of seed mixture remained from the previous bird feeder project so we used it.

How to make it:

  1. Take the pressed out tangerine (or orange) rind and line it with peanut butter.
  2. Sprinkle the seed mixture in it
  3. Place it on and under bushes or just in your patio or on your balcony.

  4. Return to check how fast the seeds are eaten up.

In the second case again we made the little feeders in English and the next day we went out into the snow to play (we were in Hungarian) and put out the tangerine bird feeders.

It’s a lovely winter project even with little kids and you can save the tiny song birds that do not migrate in the long, cold winter. Through this topic you can build your children empathy and teach them how to take care of nature and its creatures.