We’ve been a member of Yes Bebe book club since it started and have had some lovely books come our way. This month saw changes to the club with increased age bands and different categories of books that you can choose from – fiction, non-fiction, Waldorf old, Waldorf new and activity books. This month we went for the 3 years+ category fiction and Waldorf new.
The Yes Bebe book club link – here
Firstly, let me tell you about the fiction category book, One Fox. It’s written by Kate Read and published by Two Hoots. They give a guide age range of 3-6 years which I think is perfect, mind you I think my little one would have enjoyed it from before three too. Floss just loves it. It’s got some wonderful words to extend your child’s vocabulary. Before every meal right now my daughter’s apparently ‘famished’, just like the fox!
Using a fox and hen figures Floss has been acting out the story independently and I think she’s close to being able to recite the book off by heart she loves it so much. She’d not been as interested in numbers recently, but this book has given a huge resurgence in number play. Current favourite game is matching up the SumBlox numbers to the numbers in the book and putting them in order. For older children you could help them to learn spelling numbers one to ten as they are written fully as well as numerals.
The sentences are very simple and perfect for early readers to help take part in reading or picking out words they can read using their developing phonics skills. Floss is very keen on letters and words right now so I made these little cards to go with words from the story. I find adding objects really helpful, yet you could just as easily draw or print off pictures.
Depending upon where your child is in their reading journey will determine what activities you do. You could get them to identify initial sounds if they are not ready to blend words together. If you want to find out more what blending is – a part of phonics – check out my phonics blog post series here.
As I mentioned Floss has been increasingly interested in letters and words and what they say. So, I’ve organised a little letter matching activity for her using my homemade moveable alphabet. Initially, I’m going to give her the tthree letters in each word so that she can arrange them in the correct order. For children who have begun to spell words you could leave the whole alphabet with them and let them find the letters themselves. Removing the written words would then add an extra challenge.
- Using the last page (which has chicken feet stamped across it) as inspiration, make your own potato stamp designs to make pictures.
- In Autumn you could use orange/ red leaves to make a fox or hen nature collage.
- Make chocolate egg nests.
- Learn about the life cycle of a hen.
The Moveable Alphabet
The Moveable Alphabet is a Montessori tool. They’re brilliant. Children can get on with the action of learning to spell words without being held back by fine motor skills and having to remember how letters are formed. Traditionally, the vowels are blue and the consonants are red – I haven’t got around to dyeing the red ones yet! As I say, mine is a DIY version with an advent draws unit without the draws and wooden letters. You can also buy them online from places such as Absorbent Minds and Amazon too.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is by Gerda Muller and published by the wonderful Floris Books. The age range guidance is 4-7 years old. I was thrilled to receive this one as I’d seen it advertised as one of the new releases. This will be a book we share together, snuggled up, cosy in a blanket or outside in the dappled shade. We’ll spend hours pouring over the drawings and seeing what we can spot. Floss and I love books like this that the more you look, the more you find. Each time a new little treasure to be discussed.
Floss found the well and decided to put her Grapat mandala pieces everywhere to show the water flooding. She’s already decided that she’s like to make a ‘broom person’ out of sticks to go in the scene. When she gathers props like this she’s showing me she’s understood what we’ve read together and helps to cement the story more in her mind.
Books like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice are great for talking about emotions and why people may feel a certain way. I like to think that the moral from each book we read together will plant a little seed that she may use to grow into the person she will become.
There are so many lovely discussion points to have with your children in this book to expand vocabulary and start to unpick the thinking behind the author’s choice of words. For example you have ‘a lump of dry bread for breakfast’ in one part of the story and a ‘plate of delicious stew’ in another part. Why might Gerda have used the word ‘lump’ what’s it telling you about how the boy was feeling?
Often you can find some children’s books to be quite repetitive with language such as repeating ‘said x’, ‘said y’. This book gives you a world of alternatives from simply asked and replied to cried, murmured, wondered, shouted, begged and pleaded. When I worked in the Early Years and Infant classes you could always tell the children who had been immersed in a diverse feast of rich, quality texts. When they began to share their story ideas and write, the flood of imagination and vocabulary would pour out.
- In the book it says the illustrations were created using gouache, coloured pencils and graphite. Use these materials to make your own pictures.
- Discuss what you would have done if you were the Sorcerer.
- Consider in what time the book may have been written in. What clues do you get from the pictures? Could you draw a version of the story for now, what would be different?
- Make magic nature potions just like a Sorcerer would.
- Learn like a Sorcerer’s Apprentice – research plants and mushrooms.
- Use a feather and ink to write/ mark make.
- Learn to use weighing scales to measure ingredients.
The Perfect Book
It can be quite tricky to get the ‘perfect’ book for a child. Depending upon their developmental readiness, interests and reading participation it can make things challenging. However, there are so many purposes for reading and sharing books together and often different books can suit different purposes at different times.
For example, a board book isn’t going to have many words, however, a good board book has beautiful illustrations that help develop your child’s imagination. They are sturdy, so your child can be independent with them learning to turn pages. Often what is written is short and they can learn to ‘read’ the story by telling remembered lines. All these are such important skills.
Of the two books we received this month the content is very different (see image above). At first glance, you may think they wouldn’t be suitable for the same child. One being quite minimal on words and the other quite lengthy. What they have in common is stunning artwork that draws you in and rich language that will build vocabulary and imagination. However, I hope you can see from the activities I’ve discussed above that although they are different there are so many opportunities in both.
I’m very excited to receive next months’s books and share with you. I’d love you to share any ideas you have too.