Blog Image

Books My Toddler Loves

First Day at Bug School

Starting school Posted on 08 Sep, 2017 04:35PM

First Day At Bug School
(by Sam Lloyd, published
by Bloomsbury)

Our older daughter starts
school next week. It’s a happy relief that she’s excited, but we’re
stereotypically emotional. There are many wonderful picturebooks that take on
the theme of starting school – which can be hugely useful for helping little
ones (and their parents) get in the right frame of mind and ease some of the
worries and uncertainties away.

One of our favourites over the
summer has been First Day at Bug School. This is a delightful depiction of day
one for the new insect intake.

After greeting the children
and taking the register, Miss Bee directs the creepy crawlies to their own area
of learning. Mr Wincy is teaching the young spiders not to go up the water
spout, the crickets are rehearsing a new song, and the little ladybirds are counting
each other’s spots. The fleas are excelling at PE and the dung beetles are
desperate for the loo.

The pages are packed with
delightful details and bright, engaging illustrations. A clever and fun rhyme
throughout moves the story along at a nice pace. Before we know it, it’s home
time and the parents are waiting at the gate – met by their children with a
great cheer of “can we come again tomorrow?”

This is a terrifically
entertaining and comforting picturebook which nicely depicts a balance of the
fun and the routine of school, of making friends and trying new things.

Other recommended new school
titles include:

School for Dads – Fun and frolics
in this tale of child and parent role reversal;
My Busy Being Bella Day
– Superb depiction
of the push and pull of sibling rivalry;
School Gremlins – Fabulous flapping fun as gremlins take over the classroom;
I Am Absolutely Too Small For
– Charlie and Lola prepare for school

School for Dads

Starting school Posted on 04 Dec, 2016 05:52PM

School for Dads, by Adam and Charlotte Guillain (words) and Ada Grey (illustrations), published by Egmont

This week we are visiting prospective primary schools for our older daughter, who turns four next year. It seems inconceivable that this could be happening so soon, but she is excited by the idea of “big school”, to where many of her nursery friends departed over the summer.

“School lessons” is one of her favourite games to enact at home – with her as the teacher and her mummy and daddy as “girl” and “boy”. “Come on girl, it’s time for your painting lesson”; “now, does anybody need the toilet?”; “don’t fill up on snacks”.

Certainly one of the inspirations for this is the terrific ‘School for Dads’, a tale of role reversal where children are teachers for a day and their dads are the pupils. The dads have a lot to learn, starting with their behaviour: “Don’t ignore us when we want to play, and stop looking at your phone. Don’t tell us it’s time to go and never answer “no””.

A full programme follows, including scenes of the dad’s trying their best at art and P.E., as well as a “loud and rowdy” lunchtime. Soon, the children realise that it’s pretty hard work being a grown up, and decide to end the day with a celebration of what they appreciate about their dads, from cuddles to playing football to making hot chocolate. The dads all get a “well done” sticker and they all go home happy.

A fun and pacey rhyme is accompanied by illustrations that are engaging, full of bright colours and scattered with details. One of our favourite scenes is the dads travelling to school – on bikes, skateboards and even a pogo stick!

A diverse group of dads and children are depicted and the book helpfully challenges a common gender stereotype in picture books where it is almost always the mums who go on the school run. This is an ideal choice for children turning their minds to school or starting in the older class at nursery. It would make a perfect choice around Father’s Day, too.