For the last four years, a group of friends and I have held a joint birthday party for our children. They are all born within a month of each other, so it makes sense to celebrate as a group. Although we don’t manage to get together as a collective often, I’m so happy that we do succeed on occasions; and it makes sense that the kids birthdays are one of our mainstays.
This year our beautiful friend Megan offered to host and set the theme as ‘Julia Donaldson’. I know she did this on the theory that it would be ‘easy’ for everyone but in all honesty, aside from the ‘Gruffalo’, and the very random ‘Goat goes to playgroup’ we didn’t own anyway! But the challenge was set and I thought we ought to swot up!
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted any book reviews but today I can bring you our review of a selection of Julia Donaldson books (with special thanks to her pal Freddie for lending them!) AND a chance to win your own copy of Spinderella by Julia Donaldson and Sebastien Braun: all you need to do is read on…
This was something of a revelation for me: a book that’s a decent length for a bedtime read with an actual story as well. The rhyming style of text has a bit of a different pace but after a couple of times through, I found it was an easy book to deliver at a pace. I always want a book with pictures that you can talk about: ‘What’s happening in this picture?’ ‘Can you find the…?’ etc. The illustrations in this one, certainly gave us a lot to be going on with.
It’s definitely one for the Christmas list as it was fun to do different voices. I can also imagine Thomas would also enjoy it when he’s a little bigger! The word repetition was also good for getting Katie to ‘read’ along – a current wish of hers!
Charlie Cook’s favourite book
This was an instant favourite and I ended up getting a copy for Katie’s birthday. It’s been a common feature of our bedtime reading since – so much so that Katie can recite large parts of it and ‘read’ along!
As Katie says: ‘It’s a good book because I like it, because I love it. When I have to go to bed, Charlie Cook makes it much fun-ner!’
In short, one that’s here to stay!
Room on the Broom
This was one of the books that I was actually familiar with having since the TV adaptation at Christmas. It was certainly Katie’s initial character of choice to dress up as for her party (although this decision changed like the wind)! I suspect that she must’ve heard the story at school too as she can still remember the basic plot line two months later:
When the witch broke her stick she got a new one and the animals were happy. It was a good book because it’s funny.
However, last week (whilst stranded at the airport waiting for a late flight) we stumbled on a 3 for 2 offer for Julia Donaldson books and Katie was adamant that she did not want a copy of this one.
That said – I liked it and would certainly grab from the library to read to Thomas in years to come!
Snail on the Whale
I was a bit embarrassed to not read this one as it was such a mainstay of this year’s Edinburgh festival. However, it was a fun discovery with a nice message – aside from the idea that everyone is important regardless of size, I liked that it encouraged a bit of risk taking and adventure.
It was maybe a slower pace than some of the other books with a bit more to read. But I found that we ended up talking about a lot of things as a consequence – and bedtime ended up being a bit late!
A Squash and a Squeeze
This was a quick read, with a nice message about being grateful for what you have! Katie actually requested it to be read throughout the day several times rather than at bedtime which isn’t that common for her. It’s another one that has stuck with her, as Katie says:
A COW came in and it squeezed in. That was the best bit as I laughed as it was funny.
I think we both enjoyed this book in equal measure – I found the story quite charming and there was lots of parts for Katie to join in on. The pictures were also superb with lots to spot.
Katie was beyond delighted to receive a copy from her Auntie and Uncle for her birthday! It’s been another regular feature on the bedtime list; and I suspect it will remain a favourite for some kind – even with Katie’s avid dislike of cats!
This was actually purchased on the basis that my friend Lisa (who has exceedingly good taste in books) said it was her favourite. It was also the basis of the craft activity for the party which gave me an added incentive.
I’m so glad we bought it because although it does have a sad element to the plot, it’s actually quite a beautiful story line. I think the rhythm of the words makes it my favourite to read as well, with lots that Katie can join in on.
Following the advice of another fabulous friend, Katie and I ventured to Davidson Mains library to see if we could track down more Julia Donaldson books.
Katie found this book a little terrifying to begin with and I wasn’t sure if I should keep reading. It does in fact, have a very sweet and lovely ending; but reminded me that kids don’t necessarily get the rule that stories have a happy ending 9/10! However, a bit of fear and suspense makes for a decent story in my mind; and at least it’s an environment where it’s ‘safe’ to be scared!
Overall, I think we’ve become quite big fans of Julia Donaldson books. But I think we’ve added some absolute gems to our library and look forward to discovering more. On that note, please do enter my Giveaway for your chance to win your own copy of Spinderella! Go enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway – Edit: WINNER NOW ANNOUNCED! Thanks for those who entered!
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