Days of December 2017

Last year I started a hopefully long tradition: taking note of daily memories of December, the advent period, our Christmas itself, the days between holidays and New Years Eve too. Here is the last year’s post.

Now come all the memories of December 2017 day by day in one long post. (This year we’ll be making a paper-based memory booklet as well.)

1st December

The kids were at their grandparents and the Angels have brought us the advent calendar.

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This year the main theme is decorating a Christmas tree with stickers. It’s great as both girls can do it and enjoy it.

Our advent “wreath” is ready. It’s evident we didn’t have much time for it this year either. Perhaps next year.

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2nd December

In the morning we had a family photo shoot in our home. See the photo collage a little further down.

Our annual Gingerbread Party was in full swing by the afternoon. Friends came over and we made and decorated more than a kilo of gingerbread (this time it was dairy- and egg-free. If you’re interested in the recipe, just drop me a line. It’s really tasty and soft.)

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Gingerbread team
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In the making
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When all our guests were gone E. did the washing of the cookie cutters all by herself.

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Mommy’s little helper
And we had some more fun at the dinner table. E. made sure L. can’t take out her hair clip(s).20171202_210414[1]

3rd December

  • In the morning we went to buy winter boots for E. as this week it’s started to snow.
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  • We lit the first candle on our Advent wreath today.

 

  • E. has been singing 12 Days of Christmas all day in birdy voice. (Check out this short video if you want to hear how a bird sings 12 Days of Christmas)
  • We’ve been playing with the choo-choo train nearly all afternoon.

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  • E. read The Gingerbread Man for L.

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  • I read How the Grinch stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss to E. as a bedtime story.

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4th December

This was a quiet day. E. was in kindergarten and I was running errands. Little L. spent the whole day at her Grandma. We picked E. up from kindergarten together and we immediately changed into English.

At home E. found an old English writing practice book and started to work on it.

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L. was  walking around in her pretty red shoes the heels of which light up.26123635_W_1

Of course, more stickers got on our Christmas tree.

5th December

In the morning Little L. and I went to the Helen Doron English session (Toddler’s Best Start is the name of our new course) which she enjoyed a lot because our new topic was vehicles (trucks, cars, trains, planes) L.’s been crazy about them lately.

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But the highlight of the day was the play performed by E.’s kindergarten teachers – St Nick’s glove. It was a cute and loveable show.

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My Mum was taking care of Little L while we were watching the play in the kindergarten. After having arrived home the kids opened some presents that St. Nicolas had brought to their grandma’s house.

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In the evening the girls cleaned their boots and put them out into the window waiting for St. Nick to fill them with goodies. E. was really excited. She wanted to stay up to have a look at Santa.

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6th December

I didn’t have to say twice to the kids to get out of bed in the morning. Within a blink of an eye they were in the living-room checking their boots.

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They opened their gifts with great excitement. Although we were in Hungarian, they got books, and activities in English, some toys and sweets.

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Our native nanny, N. was here in the morning and they tried to paint a magic booklet L. just got from Santa.

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E. met “the real Santa” (as she put it) in her kindergarten.

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In the afternoon Little L. met St. Nick in our main square. At first she was a little scared but then she got a candy (szaloncukor) and she kept saying she wanted to go back. We were in English but Santa and his helpers, of course, spoke Hungarian, still Little L. talked to me in English.

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We didn’t stay out much as it was very cold and windy. All the way home L. buried her little face in my shoulder. At home we made Santa’s beard out of cotton wool balls.

7th December

We had some healthy snacks, like raw broccoli in the market and dried cranberries at home.

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Our native nanny was here and E. showed her what she got from Santa.

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In the advent calendar we found an instruction to put  some Christmas lights on the windows. (If I can take a photo of it I’ll attach later on)

8th December

I was brave enough to give E. our paper-based Days of December album. She was cutting out some photos and I glued them in, but what she enjoyed the most was putting stickers all over the album.

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9th December

In the morning we went shopping with E. as she’d grown so much that all her leggings are short, her socks are too small.

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Fooling around in the changing room

We were invited to our Helen Doron school to make some advent crafts. I’ve written a separate blog post on it.

10th December

We lit the second candle on our advent wreath.

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The girls improvised dot-market painting. The end result looked like Christmas lights.

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The girls had been eating so much sweets all day that I made them an obstacle race field in our living room where they could burn their energies.

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We’ve started to prepare some Christmas presents and cards with E.

We received our Christmas photos. They turned out pretty well.

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11th December

Our Advent Christmas tree is getting nicer and nicer with all kinds of stickers.

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We finished some greeting cards for Christmas with the girls. (I’ll be writing a separate blog post on the cards and the baubles.)

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12th December

Gingerbread party in the kindergarten. L. is a little snotty so she didn’t come but enjoyed the company of her grandma and grandpa. We could spend the day together with E. in her kindergarten.

 

What she enjoyed the most was she could show me her favourite toys and we could play together both inside and outside, in the playground. After lunch we came home and took a nap. next We prepared some Christmas baubles we’ll give to her teachers.

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13th December

Last Helen Doron lessons of this year for the girls.

Little L. surprised her teacher, Z., with Christmas presents (a Christmassy pen and a Christmas card that we’d made with her hand-and fingerprint) and she said Merry Christmas in the morning.

E. gave her Christmas present to Zs. (her Helen Doron teacher) in the afternoon after her lesson. It was a Christmassy pen, the green-yellow bauble we’d made the day before and her hand Christmas tree card. She wrote Merry Christmas inside.

14th December

Our English-speaking friends visited us. In the morning my friend, B., who speaks only English to the girls, came over and played with E. and L.. She also stayed for lunch too. The kids were excited and a little ill so the whole morning was chaotic and tense. Still, we survived and spent the morning in the company of a loved friend.

After nap time N, our native nanny came to have our last session this year. On Tuesday E. invited her for dinner, so she stayed to dine with us. W. gave N. our little mainly home-made Christmas presents and the girls also got a really pretty Christmas card with N.’s poem written directly to E. and L. How sweet is that?

15th December

I was preparing for Christmas while the girls spent the day at their grandparents. Both of them have a runny nose. I and my hubby is coming down with the same illness. At least we’re done with it until Christmas. (Fingers crossed)

I was lucky enough to buy white and silver lackmarker with which I’ll be able to decorate out Days of December album.

16th December

L. wa s really early bird, got up at 5, I managed to keep her quiet and in bed for an hour, hoping for her falling back to sleep but she didn’t. So we started cooking together. He woke up talking to me English. What a nice start, only if it had been at about 8.

When E. got up we prepared her best friends present. She wanted to save the tatoo for herself, and of course I needed to apply some body art immediately for both of them (Actually this was L.’s first tattoo ever.) What’s more, we found some self-adhesive earrings. The girls got all pretty when they went to the library with their Dad.

In the afternoon we went out to buy infrared heat lamp as we are not getting better.

More fun is to come, stay tuned 🙂

 

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Fantastic Mr. Fox

This September we read Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl and it was a hit with E. So much that she had a great idea: let’s play the story with some props.

As it was a sudden idea we needed to prepare everything on the spot. There was no time to think it over, still it went smoothly and ideas were coming to our mind quickly.

It wasn’t a question who’s going to play the main role.

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Originally I presented E. with a plush fox so we can play the story of Gruffalo.
First, the three farmers gave me a hard time but with help of kitchen roll/toilet paper tubes (for the bodies) and plastic balls (for the heads) I managed to make them come alive. More balls represented the chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys.

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Mr. Boggis and his chicken farm
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Mr. Bunce and his ducks and geese
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Mr. Bean, his turkeys, and orchard

E. made an apple tree as a symbol of Mr Bean’s orchard. She also placed some tractors on 2 farms.

The fox hole was created with floor mat puzzles. (The tree above it was imaginary)

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Mr Fox is jumping back into his hole when the farmers chase him

E. was really creative. When we realized we didn’t have shovels (the sand toys were in the storage room downstairs) she ran to the kitchen to take some spoons.

As we were creating the props the story unfolded itself.

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Mr Fox’s tail hanging out of his hole
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After the tail was shot off
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Mr Fox is digging a tunnel
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Mr Fox’s arrived at the chicken house
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Mr Fox is stealing some ducks and geese

There was a chapter we left out, the one with the rat as E. wanted the animals to have their feast 🙂
Our story time lasted almost two hours. It was very very spontaneous, imaginative and much fun. A wonderful experience.

September books 2017

It would be so nice if I could connect all the books to the season, a topic we talk about a lot, to the month or some special days. Well, I can’t really. So the books are mostly random, though I really try my best to select them according to the girls’ interests. Not always with success.
What’s more, our reading time has decreased as kindergarten has started for E. and the mornings are really busy and in a rush most of the times. In the evenings we have little time together so I don’t read that much after dinner, we rather play a little more.

E. is getting bored with L.’s “baby books” so I read her books separately in bed as her bedtime story or in the  mornings when she cannot be woken up by anything else but a story. When I read for her little sister, E. brushes her teeth or watches Alphablocks on youtube.

So here are the books for a 21-month old toddler (1st list) and a 5 year old kindergartener (2nd list). (E.’s favouriteL.’s favouriteboth loved it)

List 1

  1. Kittens and Puppies (Touch-Feel-Hear)
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    Well, this touchy-feely noisy book is boring. The girls looked at it 2-3 times but weren’t interested at all, although they usually enjoy noisy books. I’ve put it in the “for sale” box.
  2. Wait and See by Sue Heap
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    A nice autumn board book with animals who wait with the bear under a tree. What are they waiting for? I don’t want to spoil the surprise. E. liked this book and joined us whenever I read it for L.
  3. Happy Birthday, Pookie by Sandra Boynton
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    A cute but a little lame board book about a birthday piggy. L. loved it so much she asked the book by the piggy’s name, Pookie, which sounds like passing wind in Hungarian and we always thought she needed to go to the potty to poo.
  4. Pajama Time by Sandra Boynton
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    A really nice bedtime book about pajamas, brushing teeth, and having fun throughout the bedtime routine.
  5. Hug by Jez Alborough
    51bF-k9INOLBoth of my girls liked this short classic about a little monkey who badly needs his Mommy’s hug. Mind you, there are no other words in the book but “hug” and you need to put the story into words. I really like these kind of books as you can say as much as you want; either going into small details or just run through it.
  6. Does the kangaroo have a mother, too by Eric Carl
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    A beautifully illustrated book by the famous Eric Carl about animals, young ones and adults. Look into it in this video. E. really loved what mother, father and baby animals are called (there’s a list at the end of the book). There were some surprises.
  7. Jungle Tales by Kay Widdowson
    9781743464335A brightly illustrated book about jungle animals. As for me I found it too bright. The kids did not enjoy it as much as the other books on this list. The fascinating thing is that the book pages are not rectangular but rather irregular in shapes. Each page has a hole so kids can peep through to the next page. I bought this book as L. find flamingos funny but not in this book.

List 2

  1. Zog by Julia Donaldson
    91mIHNOELQLWell I don’t think I need to popularise this book as it IS very popular and well-known both with children and adults. E. liked it although she’s not into dragons, but the storyline of Julia Donaldson’s books always fascinates her (just like me). Surprisingly, we read it only once.
  2. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
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    One of my all time favourite children books is E.’s favouite. I feel over the moon. As it is a chapterbook we didn’t read it at one sitting. I saw her “secretly” reading it at quiet time at the weekends. One evening when we had 3-4 more chapters to read she told me the story until the end. She had the idea to role play the story with plush toys and other props like in case of Room on the broom. The story in short: Three farmes decided to kill the fox that is killing their poultry. But Mr Fox is smarter than them.
  3. Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss
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    This wasn’t the first time we’d read this book by Dr. Seus but I wanted L. to have a look as E. was about 2 when she got Great Day for Up and she loved it. Well, L. wasn’t that interested so I’ll save it for later. E. started basic reading with this book.
  4. Whales and Dolphins (Usborne Discovery)
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    This is a gorgeous book about whales and dolphins with real-life photos, all kinds of topics concerning cetaceans like echolocation, swimming long distances, birth-giving, connections with people, being endangered etc. The book includes some internet links where you can listen to whales’ singing for instance.
  5. The Magic Stone (Read it for yourself)
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    Originally I wanted E. to read this book on her own but she wanted me to read it. So be it. There’s a lot of repetition in the book that makes it easy for a beginner reader to read it and enjoy it at the same time. At the end we needed to talk about why the woman felt frustrated, why the tramp tricked the woman  and so on. E. was evidently puzzled by the story.

    Whoops… I left one really important book out. Harold and the purple crayon by Crockett Johnson. E. loooooved it and read it a lot all by herself.

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    If you’ve read something with you little one(s) recently that you think we would enjoy, please share it in the comment section. Check out the earlier posts about books we’ve been reading:
    2017June Book list
    2017July Book list
    2017August Book list

August 2017 read-alouds

As I’m writing this post with E. I’ll start with the book I’ve read with her this month (She is 5 years and 3 months old).
(E.’s favourite, L.’s favourite, both loved it)

  1. Shark-mad Stanley by Griff
    It’s a book about a little boy, who loves animals (like E.) and he’s got a gold-fish. But he wants to have a shark too. He compares her goldfish and a shark. What’s his conclusion? Well, read this funny story.51TfUT7j0yL.jpg
  2. The Glow in the Dark Book of Space by Nicholas Harris
    It’s a general book about space BUT there are pages that you can read in the dark because they glow. The new things she enjoyed the most: moon phases, constellation and how the black hole sucks in a star.9780760783139_p0_v2_s550x406.jpg
  3. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
    I don’t think I need to say much about the story as it is a classic. Actually, RD is MY favourite author and I was really anxious to find out if E. would like it or not. And she did like it.  I read it to her one morning when she didn’t want to get out of bed. As the story got more exciting she got more and more out of bed.covers_59482
  4. Monkey Puzzle by Julia Donaldson
    A traditional story of a lost child (monkey) looking for her mum. The rhymes are great and the illustrations make the story come true. According to E. the best part is when the butterfly shows the monkey her children and they look very different from their Mommy. (This is the reason why the butterfly shows wrong Mommies to the monkey.)letöltés.jpg
  5. Miss! Miss! by Julia Donaldson
    A short story of a poor teacher solving problems with a child in school and when she returns home everything starts all over again with her own children.
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L. is 20 months old and surprisingly she enjoys books for older children too. Here are the books for her:

  1. We’re going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen
    This was a hit with both kids. They love it and ask for it every day. I’ve trying to read it out in the same way as Michael Rosen reads it out in this youtube video.maxresdefault.jpg
  2. Maisy plays football by Lucy Cousins
    Another hit. You’ll know your kids enjoy a book to a great extent if they scream GOAAAAAAL! whenever you just touch the book. (E. can read the book to L. and L. can say the names of the characters: Maisy, Cyril, Eddie, Dotty, Tallulah, Charley.)
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  3. Surprise Surprise! Animals by Jeanette Rowe
    There’s a short rhyme on every page, which describes an animal hiding behind a flap. There are 6 animals altogether. Cute! L. can neigh like a horse and say seal and bat and croaks like a frog.6.jpeg
  4. I love my  Mum by Anna Walker
    A short story about what fun mommy and baby do together. The pictures are lovely the words on each page are scarce. My daughters favourite page in the book is full of butterflies.10959141._UY200_.jpg
  5. Feeling great! Just like me! by Jess Stockham
    This is also a fold-out flap book like Surprise! Suprise! Animals! but about feelings. The emotions covered are shy, frightened, excited, grumpy, sleepy.P09-FeelingGreat.jpg

This month we could cover only 5 books for each child as they got really crazy about Maisy and the bear hunt books. And here is a surprise for you. E. is reading Maisy for L. (with a hiccup):

Part 1
Part 2

If you want to check out our earlier monthly book lists, click on the links below:
June2017
July2017

New book routine – July

Another month has passed and we’ve been reading on. Here are the books that we’ve covered in July. I’m trying to take age groups into consideration when organising these book posts.
Most of the time we read 3-5 books at an occasion. Both kids listen to the stories, though E. spends the after-dinner reading sessions playing 30 mins on the tablet instead.

If you want to read more about our new book reading routine click on the link.

(Colour codes: E.’s favourite and L.’s favourite and the books they both LOVE)

So here come books for my 18 months old:

  1. Spot bakes a cake by Eric Hill
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    Last months Spot goes to the circus was a great hit so I chose more Spot books from our secret stash. Still, L. tries to tear off the flaps, although less frequently.
  2. Where’s Spot by Eric Hill
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    A library book. Yes, in a Hungarian children library we found quite a few English books for kids. I’m convinced it’s due to the Mums’ English Club that takes place there.
  3. Spot goes to the farm by Eric Hill
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  4. Zoe and Beans – We’re not scared by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    Both Zoe and Beans  books are from the library.
  5. Zoe and Beans – Hello, ladybird by Chloe and Mick Inkpen
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    There’s a squeaky ball in the story. Whenever L. touches the squeaky ball with her finger E. squeaks a squeaky toy behind her back. We buzz when we find the ladybird on every page. It’s fuuuuun!
  6. My Granny (Peppa pig)
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    The least favourite. Neither of my children is a great fun. E. had a period around the age of 2 when she liked it. Mainly she asked for the Bubbles video.
  7. Baby does by Elenor Taylor
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    Very simple board book with a few words. Still, we can talk a lot about the pictures, like identifying toys, or describing action in more details.
  8. Caterpilar’s wish by Mary Murphy
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    A very simple and cute story about the metamorphosis of a butterfly.

For my 5-year-old:

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  1. Doctor Duck (Songbirds – Phonics) by Julia Donaldson
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    Both of my kids enjoy this first reader book. E. can follow the easy text while I’m reading it. Tough I think it’s way too easy for her. L. likes when we sign “hot” and “sick”.
  2. This is the bear and the bad little girl by Sarah Heyes
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    I can’t say that this book has become E.’s favourite. We’d read This is the bear and E. seemed to remember but when we started to talk about how the bear feels when the bad little girl steals him, she wasn’t that happy about it.
  3. Our Baby by Tony Bradman and Lynn Breeze
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    We don’t normally compare our kids but E. really enjoyed to see the loads of things described in the book that her baby sister can’t do but she can. Baby L. was fascinated by the crying baby at the end, and when the big brother/sister makes the baby laugh.
  4. The fish who could wish by John Bush and Korky Paul
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    A strange story about a fish who wished for strange things. Illustrations are funny too, but the kids seem to find it funny.
  5.  Fidgety Fish by Ruth Galloway
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    E. got this book for her birthda. The vocabulary used in the book is quite varied and fun.
  6. Ten Shiny Snails by Ruth Galloway
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    A really nice board book for smaller children (age 3+ I would say) but E. likes counting and L. loves snails so I thought it’s a nice combination. While counting backwards through the story the snails disappear, then at the end there’s a big pop-up page where all the 10 snails gather around a flowerpot.
  7. Wriggle and roar (poems) by Julia Donaldson
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    Lovely short poems with funny illustrations. E. liked some of the poems but  they’re not her favourites. I read it to her when L. wasn’t around because she would be interested at all. I loved this book.
  8. Life Cycles: Ocean by Sean Callery
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    The list wouldn’t be OUR book list with a special interest, ocean book. E. was amazed by the food web/chain depicted on the last page. A very informative book with beautiful pictures. I’ve already ordered another book of this series: Grassland.

One extra: Noisy peekaboo Splash Splash! (DK)

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Once we had an especially wonderful day (among the many horrible, whiny days when nothing seems to work out) I presented them this noisy book as a special gift for behaving like little angels all day. They both LOVE it. It’s noisy, there are flaps to peep behind, it’s about bath-time. There are quite a lot in this series too.

I hope you’ve found some good books on the list above that can entertain your little one(s).
What are you reading now? Let me know in the comment section.