The three books that we chose this week were…
Grendel: A Cautionary Tale About Chocolate by Davis Lucas
Grendel is a little monster who lives in a cave with his Mum and pet dog. The story is a take on the myth of King Midas who greedily wished that everything he touched turned to gold. Grendel uses his wishes to wish that everything he touches turns to chocolate. When realising that he cannot touch his dog or Mother without turning them into chocolate, he quickly regrets his choice and the mistake he has made. Luckily for him he has one wish left and is able to reverse what he has done.
We enjoyed the subject matter of chocolate! Sophia enjoyed pointing out the chocolate egg and kept saying ‘yummy!’. We also enjoyed the illustrations though they weren’t as bright and colourful as our usual books, Grendel really is a sweet-looking little monster. I think that Sophia (2 years) was just a little young to understand the moral of the story but she happily enjoyed the story anyway. I think that the book is perhaps more suited to children of three and up.
Train! by Judi Abbot
Train! is a story about Little Elephant who is completely obsessed by trains. His parents try to persuade him to play with other toys but to no avail. One day they decided to go for a journey on a train. As you can imagine Little Elephant is beyond excited! He meets some other little animals on the train but unfortunately for him, they all want to play with different toys; they’re not interested in playing trains with him. They go through a tunnel which shakes all their toys up and each of the animals ends up with someone else’s toy. They soon realise that it is more fun when they share their toys and interests.
The story is very simple and repetitive which is a good feature when reading to a two-year old however, I think children past three may lose interest fairly quickly. The illustrations are bright and engaging and easy for little ones to take in. At the end of the book a rhythm of vehicles is spoken out mimicking the rhythm of the train; “Train – plane – digger – digger…”. This was a great feature of the book and created a fun element.
George and Flora’s Secret Garden by Dr Jo Elworthy
We really enjoyed this book, as soon as I spotted it in the library I knew we had to add it to our pile to borrow. It links in perfectly with our Sunflower Series (read about that Here and Here!) as it is all about growing flowers, fruits and vegetables. George and Flora’s Secret Garden is a sweet story that incorporates both fact and fiction. At the beginning of the book we learn that George and Flora are going to gain a new baby brother or sister and, along with their Granddad, they decide to create a secret garden to show the new baby and parents later on in the year. Each page depicts a month, starting from January. On the left page the fictional story is told and on the right it explains which jobs need doing in the garden during that month and it updates us on the progress of Mummy’s pregnancy.
The story is really endearing and we couldn’t wait to get to see the new baby and what George and Flora had grown. We spotted the sunflowers and spoke about how our own sunflowers would soon be tall. The illustrations are unusual but very interesting to little eyes; a mixture of photographic images and illustrations. Overall, this book was a great read and was our favourite of the three we picked out. At this age Sophia was a lot more interested in the actual story rather than the gardening and baby facts but I can see older children being captured by them.
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