Category Archives: Books for Kids

The Bear of Very Little Brain

There once was a little boy who had a favourite teddy bear. He named him after a real-life black bear he’d seen in a zoo and went on to add a surname borrowed from a swan. He spent many happy hours of play with the bear and a bunch of other stuffed toys.

Although he lived in London his vacations were spent in a holiday home some 50 kms away. The home overlooked a forest called the Five Hundred Acre Wood. This boy called Christopher Robin Milne became the inspiration for his father who wove a story around him and his bear friend including his other toys as well. He set it in an imaginary forest called the Hundred Acre Wood.

No clues for guessing the name of the bear. It’s the  delightfully loveable if somewhat unintelligent – Winnie the Pooh who was brought to life by by AA Milne.

WINNIE_THE_POOH___t_2000x2000

The boy was Milne’s son and the other characters –  Piglet, Tigger, Eyore, Kanga and Roo were all his toys. The only ones that Milne made up were Owl and Rabbit.

What makes Pooh as much a favourite with adults as the kids is the fact that he isn’t exceptional in any way (except perhaps that he’s yellow in colour and wears a red tee that barely covers his belly). And yet there’s something more – he has this amazing ability for friendship and a naive charm in the way spells out perfect life philosophies, inadvertently of course.  Above all he has his priorities right – a pot of honey and a friend by his side – and his life is sorted.

Here are some quotes that make me enjoy his stories

This one is just so ‘Pooh’

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”

This one on being different

“The things that make me different are the things that make me ME”

On valuing an individual

“Weeds are flowers too once you get to know them.”

On Friendship

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey”

And this one is so ‘me’

“One of the advantages of being disorganised is that one is always having surprising discoveries”

PS: Have you ever played a game of Poohsticks?

*********

Linking up to ABC Wednesday for the letter W, with grateful thanks to Mrs Nesbitt who get’s me writing every week.

abc 17 (1)

Making a Case for the Grinch

All the maudlin love that’s been on this blog for the past two weeks would have made this week’s character wrinkle his much wrinkled and very green nose in disgust. He would probably have dunked a big bucket of gunk on Elizabeth and Darcy for good measure.

Ladies and gentlemen! Presenting ….. The Grinch from How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Grinch

The Grinch

If you have missed this gem of a story by the irrepressible Dr Seuss, here’s what happened :

The Grinch lives in a cave high above the land of Who-Ville. Friendless and alone he watches the people, hating them with intense dislike. Each year as they come together to celebrate Christmas hand in hand, singing the Christmas song, his dislike grows to bitter loathing. Finally he can take it no more and sets out to ‘steal Christmas’. He disguises himself like Santa Clause and goes house to house picking up Christmas trees, stockings, presents and even the feast. Smug in his victory he retires to his cave. And then he hears it – the singing. The people of Who-Ville are singing. Even without the gifts and the lights, the trees and the food they are singing. What’s worse, they sound just as happy, just as cheerful.

That’s when The Grinch has his epiphany.

The Grinch quote

Down he comes to the people of Who-Ville, with the gifts and goodies to celebrate the true spirit of Christmas.

Isn’t that the best feel-good story of all time? No one can tell it quite like Dr Seuss. No one can create a villain quite like him.

And yet can you blame The Grinch?
Even when he was mean and bad I had the tiniest soft spot for him. Imagine living on your own, in a cave, not a friend in the world and having to watch everyone else creating a hoo-haa about a festival you don’t even like. Enough to turn anyone grumpy. Despite his evil bluster and the bit about hating-the-noise he had to have felt envious. What’s more he puts up with it for fifty-three years before he sets out to steal Christmas. That’s something.

The film just makes it more believable with that sad back-story. What would you expect of a child who has been bullied and then ostracized? Who has been laughed at by all the other kids? Yeah, a Grinch he shall become.

******************

Linking up to ABC Wednesday where we’re doing posts on the letter ‘G’. Do drop by and check out other Great posts.

abc 17 (1)

Ms Daisy is Crazy (My Weird School series) – A review

Miss Daisy is Crazy
(My Weird School)
Dan Gutman

download (3)

A teacher who doesn’t know how to spell and read, or add and subtract. Weird, isn’t it? Well it should be, since this is the first book of the ‘My Weird School’ series by Dan Gutman.

Miss Daisy takes second grade by surprise when on the first day of school she confesses she doesn’t know how to read or spell. She furher confesses that she doesn’t know any math too. Teacher-student roles get reversed as the children begin to help Ms Daisy learn the basics. Meanwhile, AJ, a second grader who hates school, has a brilliant idea that of buying the school and converting it into a gaming arcade. The principal doesn’t quite agree but does strike a deal – ‘Read one million pages and you get to convert the school into a gaming zone for a day’. As an add-on he agrees to dress up as a gorilla that day!

The school goes into a frenzy of reading and AJ’s dream comes true. But what about Ms Daisy? Can she really not read or is she putting on a show? AJ never does get to know.

Meet the characters

Meet the characters!

My Weird School is a delightful series for reluctant readers. Written in first person by AJ, they offer a quick connect. Which child doesn’t hate school at some point? Or dream of converting it into a gaming arcade? No patronising or moralising here and the kids come away with a vocabulary that’s richer by a word or two. The book is best suited for children starting out on chapter books.

Note: You might also like to try other books in the series Ms Hannah is Bananas or Ms Lilly is Silly.

Note 2: This series is tried and tested successfully on two very reluctant readers.

Linking up with Mommynificent for the Booknificent Link-Up Party

Booknificent-Thursdays