Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Recommendations: 5 Children's Fiction Titles We Love

I first posted this on my other blog. But since it is about books, I had to include it here. 

Every mother who is a book lover herself will do everything in her capacity to raise a book lover. For that, it is important to surround our kids with good books and enough reading opportunities. Especially when kids are very young, reading helps in developing vocabulary and language. 

Here are our 5 favourite Children's Fiction books; and let me tell you, I love them as much as my son does. I find them extremely interesting as well as full of opportunities for learning, no matter how many times we read them: 
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThis is my most favourite book. 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle begins with a tiny and hungry caterpillar coming out of a small egg. He spends the entire week eating all sorts of fruits and other food items. Each day he keeps eating more and more, which leads to stomachache. He therefore eats through a green leaf to relieve his pain. At the end of the week, he turns into a big, fat caterpillar. He builds a cocoon around himself, and stays inside for 2 weeks. At the end he emerges out of it as a beautiful butterfly. It is amazing how such a simple book, with minimum words and simple illustrations, provides immense learning opportunities for children. The illustrations are vibrant and child-like. Right from learning the name of different fruits to numbers, from days of the week to lifecycle of a butterfly, there is so much to learn through this concise yet beautiful story. To top it all, there are tiny die-cut holes on the pictures of food items, which the caterpillar has supposedly eaten. This book is also available in pull-out pop-up format, which can add extra interest to your storytelling. An older child would like the bigger book format or bigger board book, while there is a mini-board book for very young kids.

2. I Udderly Love YouIt is an adorable book about unconditional love. The story is told from the point-of-view of a Mamma cow to the baby-cow. The lines are rhythmic and yet not too wordy. The story has been narrated with a whimsical twist by altering the spelling of few words to words related to cow. For example, 'utterly' becomes 'udderly', 'music' becomes 'moo-sic', 'movement' becomes 'moo-vement' and so on. The Mamma-cow tells her baby that she loves everything about her, every part of her, every mood, everything she does and how everyday is special with her. It also offers opportunity to learn body parts. 

3. The Going To Bed Book by Sandra BoyntonThis is an extremely popular book for reading to young children at bed time. It starts from the setting of sun to the entire process of getting ready for bed, i.e., taking bath, brushing teeth, wearing pajamas, exercising (I still don't get the point of exercising before bed though) and turning off the light and going to bed. It comes in lap size also which is handy for the kids to hold and turn the pages. The text is minimum and rhythmic. 

4. The Little Gardener by Jan GerardiThis book has flaps on every page. Though it is a board book but it is tear-able, especially the flaps. So, with really young kids, you need to be careful. I have had to put the flaps back with sellotape because my son suddenly discovered it was fun to tear the flaps apart. This book explains the process of gardening to young environment lovers. This is a colourful book with bare minimum text on each page (on most pages there are only 1 or two words) with very beautiful, child-friendly illustrations. Even this book is quite environment friendly - printed on 80% recycled paper with soy ink and water-based varnish. This book is useful in inspiring love for gardening and environment in young kids.   

5. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel SchefflerI bought this book recently and frankly, I was quite doubtful about its potential for a 2 year old kid. I was skeptical if this relatively long story with quite a lot of text will interest such a young child. But the fact is 'Gruffalo' is a lovable character rather than intimidating. It is an interesting story about a mouse who uses his intelligent to trick a lot of other animals who were preying on him, and saves himself. The text is rhythmic and quite enjoyable. It can be sung with voice modulation to create drama and generate interest (I read it that way). My son calls this book 'Goilla' (he means Gorilla since he finds Gruffalo similar to Gorilla).

The story is about a mouse, who is passing through the woods. He meets a fox, an owl and a snake one after another. Each wanting to trick him into going to their house, with the motive of feasting on him. But mouse tricks each of them into believing that he is going to meet 'Gruffalo' and creates an intimidating picture of Gruffalo which scares the, and they run away. Mouse laughs at them, safe in the knowledge that there is no such thing as a Gruffalo. But he is accosted by Gruffalo himself who also wants to eat him. The shrewed mouse convinces the Gruffalo to follow him and see for himself how all the animals are afraid of him (the mouse). Gruffalo watches snake, owl and fox run away on looking at the mouse (though actually they are scared of Gruffalo himself but Gruffalo does not realizes that). Eventually, when mouse tells Gruffalo that his favourite food is Gruffalo, the latter runs away too. And mouse is left alone. So, the intelligent mouse takes everyone for a ride and saves himself. 

NOTE:I realize that all the books I have mentioned are from foreign authors. I admit, most of the books which we have got so far are from non-Indians but I have got a list ready of some interesting Indian books for kids. I have a few books from Karadi Tales but I will recommend them for a little older kids (they are not in board book format and I have already suffered). There is an Indian rhyme book (with CD) from Karadi Tales which my son finds extremely captivating. Here is the link for that book.

So, do you have any good Children's books to share?

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