A Perfect Picture Book Picnic

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 Arthurโ€™s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar.

After the story we made paper boats and floated them off down the river.

Then we climbed up a hill to one of my favourite climbing trees, and in we all clambered to read Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia.

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 Youโ€™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.

Finally we made it home just in time to read A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham and Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton.

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-cake๐Ÿ™‚ **

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

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!

23 Responses

  1. Zoe

    Choxbox, you’re in my spiritual neighbourhood!

    Hi Barbara, the boat floating was the biggest hit of the day, which surprised me a little – so simple and yet everyone got really excited about it.
    Zoe recently posted..A Perfect Picture Book Picnic

  2. Zoe

    Hi Bookaholic Mum, yes recipe is going to be sent to Chris (Haughton) who wants it for his blog…

    Thanks Cerys, hope you have as much fun at your picture book picnic!

    Polly ๐Ÿ™‚
    Zoe recently posted..A Perfect Picture Book Picnic

  3. Zoe

    Hi Se7en, yes, it was definitely (y)our sort of day!

    Hi Helen, the Mo Willems book will work well as an early reader too – like his elephant and piggie books, though it’s packaged like a regular picture book.
    Zoe recently posted..A Perfect Picture Book Picnic

  4. Tasha Goddard

    Oh, what an amazing adventure of a picnic you had. We just went down to the local park, though of course we did enjoy ours lots.

    Love the cake! I’m going to have to show the girls this tomorrow, as they adore Oh No, George!

    We really enjoyed Anna Hibiscus’ Song, too, and I thought the pictures were beautiful. I must look out for the chapter books for RoRo.
    Tasha Goddard recently posted..London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony: Pleasantly surprised to feel proud of this country

    • Zoe

      Thanks Tasha, we had a ball. Do have a go at making the cake – it’s quite a show stopper on the table ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hi Isil, I do hope the library has them – they’re all lovely.

    • Zoe

      Hi Jenny, do check out the cake – it was easy to make, and fun to eat!

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