DD drew up this activity sheet for her brother the other night. In her own words, “it has a ‘Find the Differences’ section, a ‘Trace the Dotted Lines’ section and the below is for Di Di to colour”.
And she sat with him patiently, explaining the sections, keeping an energetic younger brother quietly occupied as her father and I leaned back to catch a breather from the long day.
Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.
Trees ~ by Joyce Kilmer I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest Against the sweet earth's flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, And lifts her leafy arms to pray; A tree that may in summer wear A nest of robins in her hair; Upon whose bosom snow has lain; Who intimately lives with rain. Poems are made by fools like me, But only God can make a tree.
Oh crumbs…I’ve started a little thingy I can’t quite stop now.
And the worst of it is, I started it at bedtime last night when I pulled out Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.
For one, it was obviously a very quick silent read when I reviewed it silently before putting it on the kids’ bookshelf. But I sure set myself up for some serious vocal exercise when I chose to do it as a read-aloud bedtime story.
As a child, when I read Roald Dahl, I used to totally ham it up when reading his signature silly rhymes.
So in the book, there’s this catchy little song titled “We are the Window Cleaners!”.
I made up a little tune to go with it, and I think now I’m going to have to sing this more often than I anticipated, because each time we get to the line “The Giraffe and the Pelly and me!”, DS bursts into uproarious laughter and asks for me to do it again. He laughed so hard he couldn’t drink his milk properly, and had me really worried it would spill all over the sofa. (Thank God it didn’t, but it took him and his sister FOREVER to finish because they’d stop and then start giggling all over again. Gah.)
A really funny and heartwarming read, with magic and wit and wackiness thrown in, I also found the text suitable for young minds (meaning I don’t have to censor any grisly deaths or violent actions). [Note to parents: I still censor out some of the Duke's exclamations where I feel I'm not ready to explain the euphemisms used. That, and it's not all that fruitful during a read-aloud at this present stage. But the censorship is fairly minimal.]
This is such a classic that I don’t think you’ll need a synopsis. There are plenty of reviews on Amazon to cover that.
But what I will tell you is how the book had me for keeps at the ending verse -
“We have tears in our eyes
As we wave our goodbyes,
We so loved being with you, we three.
So do please now and then
Come and see us again,
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.
All you do is to look
At a page in this book
Because that’s where we always will be
No book ever ends
When it’s full of your friends
The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.”
A poorly stitched brown teddy bear sits forgotten on the shelves of a little toy shop. Having no mouth, he is unable to speak. The other toys laugh at him and call him Pauper Bear. All Pauper Bear wants is to find a good home and be loved by his owner.
In contrast, Prince Bear, is well-stitched and has a fine little crown. He is very proud and loves only himself, often boasting how he had been specially made stitch by stitch “until I was perfect”.
A week before Christmas, Prince Bear is chosen off the shelves by a rich little girl who lives in a lovely big house. Pauper Bear looks on sadly. A little boy wanders into the shop, and with his small amount of pocket money, asks the shopkeeper, “Please, this is all I have. Is there anything in this shop I can buy?” Pauper Bear leans so eagerly out from the top of the shelf that he loses his balance and falls to the ground. Noticing him, the shopkeeper says he is a teddy bear nobody wants to buy, and gives him away for free to the little boy.
But more than just a story of a prince and pauper and a twist in their destinies and expectations, this story is inspired by the real life story of Emily Lim, author of the book who was struck with spasmodic dysphonia, a neurological voice disorder, in the prime of her career and her experiences of coping with the disorder.
With her heartwarming stories of love, friendship, compassion, selflessness, grace and restoration, Emily has earned multiple accolades for her work, receiving the Independent Publishers (IPPY) Book Awards in 2008 for Prince Bear and Pauper Bear, in 2009 for Just Teddy and in 2010 for Bunny Finds the Right Stuff. Her book, The Tale of Rusty Horse won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award in 2009.
Click here to read more about Emily and her story, and the other books in her series.
kitchen counter dusty with icing sugar
perfect recipe of vanilla buttercream swirled in the mixer
gobs of tissue paper, piled up toothpicks of Wilton deep red and royal blue
kids bent over with laughter and giggles
sugar highs from too much cake
late night papercraft ventures and conversations with your lifelong best friend
of how you will never attempt such a crazy thing again
yet knowing full well that you’ll go ahead and do it anyway and crazier the next time round
three hugs a day for long life
three cheers each meal for birthday celebrations
So sue me, I like corny math story books. But with a title like Sir Cumference and the King’s Tens, you’re not just that wee bit curious of the content?
Noticing that the King has been rather gloomy of late, Lady Di of Ameter suggests to her husband, Sir Cumference the idea of hosting a surprise birthday party for the King. Which is a great idea, except now the castle is burgeoning with guests and more are arriving by the minute, and Lady Di needs a way to figure out how many lunches she needs to tell the cook to prepare.
With the help of the Knights of the Round Table – Sir Kell, Sir Tangent and Sir Lionel Segment, Sir Cumference and Lady Di of Ameter must quickly figure out the most time-efficient and accurate method of counting the total number of guests.
How do we do it?
Line them all in a straight line and count?….Too slow….
Form small circles and total the sum of parts? …Too exhausting…
Cindy Neuschwander cleverly introduces ”place value” in an entertaining and engaging way as the story makes use of tents to illustrate the concept by separating the 9,999 guests that show up for King Arthur’s party into nine groups of one thousand, nine groups of one hundred, nine groups of ten and nine single guests, divided into four tents or number neighbourhoods.
I’ll be keeping an eye out for the rest of the Sir Cumference series now.
Huzzah for more corny math storybooks!