Thanks to the very generous folk at Walker Books I got to do something which makes me very happy earlier this week – read aloud lots of fabulous picture books with friends and their kids, and then give the books away, all part of a Picture Book Picnic…
The day started early, baking “Walker Bear” Gingerbread biscuits…
With the first of our “emergency supplies” ready for scoffing, we got to to the main business of the day – reading together!
We started with The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems, humorous take on why it’s so nice to be polite.
Full of chocolate chip cookies (we used this recipe) and cold milk I then read How to Get a Job by me The Boss, actually by Sally Lloyd-Jones & Sue Heap. After a long conversation about what everyone wanted to be when they grew up, I interviewed the kids for the post of Explorer. All the kids sailed through their interviews (Do you like being outdoors? Yes! Are you afraid of snakes? No! Do you like climbing trees? Yes!) and so we got down the map of our local area and off we set on our bikes to have an adventure.
We set up our first camp by a sunny stream, perfect for a reading of Arthur’s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar.
After the story we made paper boats and floated them off down the river.
Anna Hibiscus’ Song is an exuberant, joyous book about what makes people happy – just perfect for me on a day doing what makes me happy!
Anna Hibiscus (yes, the very same character as in the fabulous early chapter books also by Atinuke with illustrations by Lauren Tobia, although you absolutely don’t need to be familiar with the chapter books to love this picture book) has woken up in a good mood. She’s so happy, but she’s not quite sure how to express her happiness and so she goes around her family asking them each what they do when they are happy. Some love to dance, others love to sit still and be quiet, some love to walk on their hands, others love to be active and energetic because being happy gives them strength.
Anna sits up in her mango tree, listening to the birds. And then it strikes her – what she wants to do with her happiness is to sing, and so sing she does.
Anna Hibiscus’ Song is a pure delight to read. It’s the sort of tonic that will absolutely brighten your day. Atinuke keeps the emotions authentic and vibrant, never veering into soppiness. I’m so glad that Lauren Tobia’s evocative, warm illustrations have been given a starring role; they really add something special to the Anna Hibiscus chapter books, but it’s wonderful to see them take centre stage in this generous picture book.
After a snack of some fresh and dried mango, we also read You’re a Hero, Daley B! by Jon Blake & Axel Scheffler, about a rabbit who doesn’t know what he is, but for a while lives the life of a squirrel (up in a tree). Whilst we couldn’t eat acorns (as Daley B does) we did try all sorts of other nuts.
Then it was off to the playground to let off some steam, pretending we were at the Olympics. Here we read A Walk in London by Salvatore Rubbino whilst we had chips for lunch; Rubbino mentions that a favourite meal in the UK is indeed Fish and Chips.
Late in the afternoon we moved on to a nearby meadow to read George Flies South by Simon James and Butterfly, Butterfly by Petr Horacek. We played frisbee (inspired by George’s nest which goes flying off all over the place) and hunted for the minibeasts and butterflies we saw in the Horacek book.
The day was full of books and food – our last treat was George’s purple and orange cake. **UPDATE: The recipe I used for this cake is now available on Chris’s website: http://chrishaughton.com/oh-no-george-raspberry-and-strawberry-cake **
As you can see it was a jam packed day with enormous amounts of fun had by all. The kids have already requested we do it all again next week… (and do you know what, I’m totally up for that )
So that was our Picture Book Picnic. *Thank you* Walker Books for enabling it – a lot of book love was spread at our picnic!
Our picnic was just the first of 10 over the coming 10 days, each focusing on a different book out of the 10 mentioned here today – do stop by Rainy Day Mum tomorrow to see her Picture Book Picnic!