Mix it up!

New York is book lovers’ heaven. After our NYC trip, we returned with tons of children books we bough at a really low price. One of them was Mix it up! by Hervé Tullet. It’s an interactive book about colours and colour mixing.

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There are several activities online based on the book. You can check them out on pinterest, but I decided to make our own. A simple but fun activity that my 2 and a half year old could do easily and with joy. (You can download your free copy at the end of this blog post.)

Before starting the worksheet, they were just painting for fun in their journals. (We put a piece of cardboard under the page so the paint doesn’t bleed through.)

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Next, I gave them the Mix it up! copy for each of them. First, they painted the primary colours, blue, red and yellow.

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Then came the mixing. Little L. needed help with washing the colours out of her paint brush, but she wanted to do it all by herself.

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E. painted and mixed the colour like  a pro.

In the meantime our native nanny, N. arrived and joined in. They wanted to paint some more so everyone got a sheet of paper and free painting continued.

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Little L. got tired of the limitation of paint brushes and she started to use her fingers. She used more water than paint. In the end she decided to throw her last work of art into the bin. (lucky I could save the others.)

The difficult part came: cleaning up. The girls could choose what to clean up at the end. E. chose to wash the paintbrushes out, L. helped me put away the paint and clean the table.

Now here you can download your free copy of our mixing activity.

I can highly recommend both the book and the painting activity. Have fun!

 

 

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Books we read in May

The girls had their own favourites this month. E. fell in love with Dr. Seuss (again) and L. rediscovered Spot’s stories. Here comes this month’s list with short reviews.

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

E. (6)

My name is not Isabella by Jennifer Fosberry

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This is a book about a little girl who turns herself into famous and great women throughout history, from Rosa Parks to Marie Curie. She is brave, great, clever and loveable.

Nine Ducks Nine by Sarah Hayes

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It’s a witty book about ducks teaching a fox a lesson, directing him to fall into the river in a tricky way.

The peace book by Todd Parr

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At first I though E. will love this book, but finally Little L. asked me to read it many times. The illustrations are really simple and very colourful. The idea of peace is really nicely explained in a simple way. There’s a lot to talk about on the basis of the book even with older children. Mommy,’s favourite too.

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

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Both kids enjoyed this book, like all Dr. Seuss’ books. Surprisingly, Little L. was patient enough to listen to it all the way through. E. likes reading it by herself. Again a lot of rhyming pairs, funny and eye-catching illustration. A great classic.

Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

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This month this book was E.’s favourite. She loves the funny sounds, the more and more complicated story and structures, word games, the rhymes plus the funny and unexpected ending. It’s more difficult to read for her because the spelling is challenging and the words sound similar to each other. Still, she read it out loud few times.

Little Red Riding Hood (Usborne Young Reader)

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My daughter is still not a big fan of classic fairy tales. We read it 2-3 times but she wasn’t much impressed.

Chicken Licken (First readers)

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Repeating all the names of the animals throughout the story many, many time makes even adult readers smile.

L. (2y 5m)

Tractors (DK)

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Surprisingly the tractor shaped book wasn’t a big hit with Little L although there are lots of big pictures of tractors and their parts and what they do on the farm.

The very noisy night by Diana Hendry

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Little L was a little afraid of this book I guess. But E. enjoyed it, mainly the illustrations. Her favourite picture is whan Little Mouse goes into Big Mouse’s bed finally and Big Mouse has hardly any room left in bed. Again there are a lot of things to talk about in this book. The illustrations are really detailed and I can highly recommend this book if your little one is scared of the noises at night.

Little Mole’s adventure from Spring to Winter

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This was E’. favourite book when she was about L.’s age. Both in English and in Hungarian (I have to emphasize here for my Hungarian fellow moms that Varró Dániel’s translation is absolutely fantastic). However, Little L. was unimpressed. E. was still fascinated by it, not to mention the fact that Daddy still knows some parts by heart.

Spot’s garden by Eric Hill

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Though it isn’t a lift-the-flap book, Little L. really enjoyed accompanying Spot through planting his own garden. Probably our planting sessions had a great effect on her, what’s more she loves all the spring and planting songs.

Spot says goodnight by Eric Hill

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A must-have bedtime story. Simple pictures, simple story, a lot of repetition. What else do we need to help the language sink in.

What can you see Spot? by Eric Hill

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Spot goes and explores his surroundings. The illustrations serve a great basis to talk about animals, plants, parks and what we can see in different places. When we go out for a walk we imitate that we are Spot and look for thins that he also sees in this book.

Show me your Smile! A visit to the dentist by Christine Ricci

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As far as I could judge this book is NOT for a 2-and-a-half-year old, but L. fell in love with it and she’s been asking me to read it 3-4 time a week. My guess why she likes it so much is that it’s interactive. Dora asks her questions and she answers them, She needs to find the X-ray photo of her teeth and the crayons she wants to colour with. So she feels she is part of the story. Though I’m not sure how much she understands it.

Books we read in March

This months the books came randomly. Neither girls has any special interest (except for bird 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 sh always have 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 classis.

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.

George’s marvellous medicine by Raold 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 come across a word, which was unfamilar for her (and, to be honest, for me too sometimes) we jot it down in this notebook witha 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 (vegeterian) 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 kid as for problem-solving –  my opionion 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 bird 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 a 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 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 presicely 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 Sharrat

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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 seperate post.

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.