Friday, March 1, 2013

Favourites (Books and TV)

Yup, this time I not only have tooth-achingly adorable children's books to share, but a fun new show; courtesy of my sister-in-law, Rachel.

So the show, Sarah & Duck, is another lovely production by the BBC. From the perfectly digestible 3-minute episodes of Small Potatoes, to 5-minute educational-if-sometimes-mildly-annoying romps of the Alphablocks, and now to the 7-minute adventures of Sarah & Duck, I've been enjoying what the Beeb has to offer by way of children's programming. Not to mention that I can always pop on an 11-minute episode of Charlie and Lola if we're having a difficult time over lunch.

Plus: how cute is the illustration style in Sarah & Duck!? I can't get over the number of fun textures and patterns on display in the background. Plus, Sarah and Duck themselves are pretty fun and (unlike some cartoons) are easily recognizable as a little girl and a duck. (Seriously: I considered getting another book starring a penguin the other day, but the illustrations looked nothing like any penguin I've ever seen...)

So, to recap: Fun animation style, short enough to keep a toddler's attention, cute and quirky music, and an animal that makes its appropriate noise. Nope: Duck doesn't talk. He quacks. Like a duck should. Seriously...check out this show.

Now: on to the books!
When a Monster is Born by Sean Taylor and Nick Sharratt is a brilliantly structured book. For kids still at the age where lots of repetition makes a story easier to follow, this is definitely the book to read. As they tell you at the start: 'When a monster is born there are two possibilities: either it's a faraway in the forests monster, or it's an under-your-bed monster.' This formula is how the rest of the monster's story is told. And if your kid is a budding typography fiend, the authors play around with the fonts for emphasis quite a bit...and I think it works to good effect.

What Small Rabbit Heard, by Sheryl Webster and Tim Warnes is published by none other than the ridiculously prestigious OUP (or Oxford University Press, for those of you not in the know). I don't know why this surprises me so much, other than that I usually associate OUP with editions of Charles Dickens or Sylvia Plath or Richard Dawkins...not children's books.

But this is good fun: Small Rabbit is supposed to head out on a walk with Big Rabbit (we're never sure if this is his mum or sister or some unrelated older female), but he protests that it's too windy outside. Too bad. Fresh air is good for you. As the walk progresses, Small Rabbit has all sorts of adventures as he mishears Big Rabbits instructions thanks to the gusting, biting wind. E especially loves the windy sound effect that comes along every other page: 'Whooooo!' Honestly, I think that's his favourite part of the book.

So there you have it: two fun new books for your toddler. No foreign language entries this week: we're quickly pacing through the library's offering of fun French-language kids' books. I'll have to start taking suggestions elsewhere.

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