Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews


Joined October 2018

PBB Library
PBB Library, 8 books
ThePBBNursery, 30 books
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Was read to me 17th March '19

Curious Questions & Answers About The Solar System
Author: Ian Graham
I had the most incredible conversation with a 4-year old because of this non-fiction book... The child already has an interest in space and this morning we looked at this (new to us) non-fiction book together. She quickly absorbed the information and went on to teach me and later the whole class, the order of the planets from nearest-furthest away from the Sun, giving an interesting fact about each planet and a reason for how she knew which planet went where. She also thought of a couple of names that she'd give planets herself if any new planets were ever discovered - "Rust" and "Iblootoe". We used the book to research and discuss the Big Bang theory which felt like a marvellous way to spend a morning! I thoroughly recommend 'Curious Questions & Answers about... The Solar System' to anyone who has an emerging interest in our universe... The bright illustrations and short captions are great for keeping little ones intrigued, while the language used is easy to follow. Though it is aimed towards older children (7+), nursery pupils have shown an interest in this book and the topic in general, wanting to use it to find out more (with the help of an adult). It is a gem!

Was read to me 17th March '19

How to Fly Like An Elephant
Author: Kyoko Nemoto Illustrator: Kyoko Nemoto
We all know that elephants can't fly, right? We wonder if they've ever thought about flying though... Elephants are incredibly intelligent creatures and in this story, a family of elephants are determined to design and build a flying machine that is capable of soaring through the sky, with all three of them as pilots! They show ingenuity, perseverance, creativity and and an unwavering belief that their dream is indeed a possibility - all traits that we would hope little ones to develop through their own explorative learning! Each page shares a nugget of knowledge to consider when planning a flying machine: the weight of the components, the weight of the passengers, the shape and angle of the wings, the space needed for takeoff, the propelling force guiding the craft... There are also flaps and folds within the book that allow the readers to interactively adapt and contribute to the elephants developing designs - "that's my favourite bit", explains a 4yr old, "I made the plane work!" There's also a section which briefly illustrates key moments in the history of flying machines, with hot air balloons, double-winged planes, Concorde etc. One child in the class loved this part because they'd seen the real thing in a museum, so we searched for clips of these designs in 'action' and he became an 'aero-expert'... "that's the red arrows," "I think that's a chinook". The story started a fascination with flying throughout the nursery and inspired our little engineers!

Was read to me 12th March '19

Storytime: My Colourful Chameleon
Author: Leonie Roberts Illustrator: Mike Byrne
Ever wondered what it would be like to have a pet chameleon? Well you might just find out here...
This little girl has her very own cool chameleon, but as you would expect, she does lose it every now and then... Sadly for them both, her whole family think that the chameleon is disappearing on purpose, to be a troublesome nuisance and that it should be 'fixed'. She can't help it though and nor can the chameleon. Changing colour is what a chameleon is supposed to do and that's just the way it is. This brightly-coloured rhyming tale is a lovely opportunity to discuss feelings and empathy with the little ones. Our nursery class felt really sad for the girl and her chameleon as the people around them just grew more and more hostile - "they're not being very nice. Chameleons have to change colour so they can hide," explained a knowledgeable 4-year old. Indeed they do! We all enjoyed the illustrations, spotting the chameleon in its many hiding places and we also learned the special trick to finding them when their camouflage is especially good! We were definitely happy with the ending of the story :)

Was read to me 7th March '19

Fairy Tales Gone Wrong: Blow Your Nose, Big Bad Wolf: A Story About Spreading Germs
Author: Steve Smallman Illustrator: Bruno Robert
From the cover illustration, children everywhere will guess the story instantly, but 'Blow Your Nose, Big Bad Wolf' is a comedic take on the traditional fairy tale. It starts off much the same with the Three Little Pigs venturing off into the big wide world to build their houses of straw, sticks and bricks, however, the big difference is the wolf, (who just happens to be named 'Big Bad' in this brilliant retelling). Big Bad has quite the sniffly cold so is on the hunt for some tissues... but the little pigs don't know this! Misunderstandings and mayhem ensues...
We really enjoyed this alternative tale and picked up the repeated phrases quickly to join in altogether, particularly liking "I just need A-A-A-A-tissue!" The ending is very clever and clearly well thought-out... the logic was refreshing to myself and the littlies! 

Was read to me 18th February '19

The Weather Girls
Author: Aki
The Weather Girls by Aki is an exquisitely illustrated picture book of seasons! It's a weather poem presenting a group of 16 girls travelling up, down and all around. Together, they're ready to explore any type of terrain, to experience and enjoy the variety of each season. 
From summer synchronised swimming to flapping through the falling autumn leaves, and from gazing at the glistening snowflakes to breathing in the fresh spring breeze, this sublime little book takes you sweetly through a day in the life of each season. 
Following the recent snow we've had, it was lovely to talk to the class about how our environment changes with each season, and as our birthday wall also coincidentally depicts the months in their seasons, it helped connect a few dots for some of the littlies in understanding the annual pattern too! 
At the start of the story, the endpapers depict each of the 16 girls with their names labelled below. Even the endpapers intrigued the class - they were asking us to read each name, they explained when the could see letters that matched those of their own names or if they knew someone with the same name, and even wanted to try and write some of them themselves. This story contains a variety of learning opportunities!
I borrowed this beautiful book from my local library to share with the class, but I think I'm going to have to get a copy for our class now... those illustrations are just so lovely!