Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

Review – Where the Wild Things Are & Peekaboo Farm

Kid’s  Book and Kid’s iPhone App reviews continue. For my “reasons” behind “Why Apps?!” look here. Type “Kids” or “children” or “educational” into the Apple iStore and you get bombarded with Apps. Which to get?! Look no further… As well as our usual Monday Morning Book Club review!

All previously reviewed books can be found on my Amazon store:

Red Ted Arts Book Recommendations on Amazon

Book Review – Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things are

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak. Read together age: 2.5yrs – 5yrs, Read alone age, 6yrs – 9yrs

For me “Where the wild things are” is such a classic children’s book. Max is a naughty boy and gets sent to his room without supper, there he embarks on a magical story to where the wild things are.. My favourite line is “Let the wild rompus start!”. Eventually though he misses his family and heads home… I am a huge Maurice Sendak fan and have many of his other books, so it is only natural that this book should be on my list!

Kid’s iphone App Review – Peekaboo Farm

Peekaboo Farm. No Kid’s iphone App review is complete without the inclusion of Peekaboo farm. Everyone I know seems to have it! It is lovingly designed, so the images are hugely appealing to both children and, erm, me. What it does: you hear an animal sound and get a chance to guess what animal it is. When you tap on the barn door it opens to reveal an animal behind. A child’s voice (American) then tells you the name of the animal. We like how all the animals go to sleep at the end of the “cycle”. Red Ted loved it, though is getting slightly bored of it now (he is 2.5yrs), but Pip Squeak (9mths) is fascinated by it. So it really is a fabulous App for the tiniest amongst us – Red Ted does still play with it, just not as often. It also has a Spanish language option…

Reviews – Hooray for Fish & Dr Seuss – The Big Brag

Kid’s  Book and Kid’s iPhone App reviews continue. For my “reasons” behind “Why Apps?!” look here. Type “Kids” or “children” or “educational” into the Apple iStore and you get bombarded with Apps. Which to get?! Look no further… As well as our usual Monday Morning Book Club review!

All previously reviewed books can be found on my Amazon store:

Red Ted Arts Book Recommendations on Amazon

Book – Hooray for Fish!

Hooray for Fish! Hooray for Fish!By Lucy Cousins. Red Ted’s “first” favourite read – I picked up a hardback copy at Tate Modern Bookshop. He really enjoyed it the most 9 months – 12 months, though he does still enjoy it now, especially since I have brought it back out for Pip Squeak. We love all the different, bright and colour fish! Our favourite bit is probably the very rhythmic  “Eye Fish, Shy Fish, Sky fish, Fly Fish” page, but that is just us. It is all lovely! I now know all the words practically off by heart!

From a parental perspective, it is great, as it has lots counting going on, lots of colours to identify, stripes, spots etc etc so they are definitely learning too!

One of my (!) favourite Lucy Cousins books.

Kid’s iphone App – Dr Seuss – The Big Brag

We were lucky enough to be given this iphone App for review. I ADORE Dr Seuss, I love his books and we already have a number of the other Dr Seuss iphone Apps. So I was chuffed to bits to receive this brand new App for Red Ted and me to enjoy! Hurray. Especially, since I haven’t read the book yet!

What do we think? Well, we ADORE it (almost a given). There are so many things we like:

1) I like the voice over – voice can be so irritating, but they have this one spot on

2) The intro music – very “Dr Seuss” – cheeky, quirky and fun

3) The way, as with all of Dr Seuss’s apps, you can tap on the images and you see the word appearing and being read out – great for additional vocab learning (e.g. “Hill” or “Ears”)

4) How you have Read To Me, Read My Self  and Auto Play modes

Because of these different “Modes” (point 4), this App has appeal to a number of age groups. Red Ted (2.5yrs) use the Read My Self mode like a book when we are on the go and I didn’t get a chance to pack a book. I get to read and gets to tap and scroll. Older children learning to read (5-8yrs), can assist their reading skills with the Read to Me function or go it alone in Read My Self. OR, you can just relax, sit back and use Auto Mode.

The story itself is about a Bear and a Rabbit engaging in a “Big Brag” of who is the best animal in the world. The Rabbit has fabulous hearing abilities. The  Bear has amazing smelling abilities.. and then a little worm comes along and shows how he can see right around the world – we get a wee less in geography and foolish animals… And a little lesson on bragging! All excuted in the well known Dr Seuss drawing style.

WE LOVE!

 That way we get to read it at our pace (which you can anyway by just scrolling through), but also to tap at all the pictures.

Previous iphone Apps reviews:

I Hear Ewe (free) – All 5 Duck Duck Moose Giveaway + Giveaway + mini review – Face iMake (free at time of posting) –KidArt – Dr Seusss ABC –The Wheels on the Bus – Duck Duck Moose

Books & iPhone Review – The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business

Kid’s  Book and Kid’s iPhone App reviews continue. For my “reasons” behind “Why Apps?!” look here. Type “Kids” or “children” or “educational” into the Apple iStore and you get bombarded with Apps. Which to get?! Look no further… As well as our usual Monday Morning Book Club review!

All previously reviewed books can be found on my Amazon store:

Red Ted Arts Book Recommendations on Amazon

Book Review – The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business

 

The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business, Werner Holzwarth.

Ok, this one is for the Dad’s. Toilet humour through and through! But I mention it, as it is not often that a GERMAN author is translated into English AND does REALLY well. Did you know this is originally in German? There you go! I love buying books from different countries it really makes “our library” more interesting. Here we have a story of a little mole that wakes up one day, only to find that, erm, someone has done their business on his head. Off he goes to find out who it was… and seeks out revenge (maybe not such a good lesson). Surprisingly cute (?!). Maybe a good one to get when you start potty training – though nothing to do with potties, toddlers often get obsessed with Nr 2s at that stage at may really enjoy it. Go on… you know you want to! Available in German & English (and possibly other languages?).

(PS I bet you are gald I didn’t use this in a “Story + Art” project, eh?!)

iPhone App Review – First Words Sampler & My First Words “Animals” – LITE versions (both free)

First Words: Animals  and    I bringing you both of these, as they are pretty much the same. So, as these are Lite versions and therefore free, you may aswell download both and then decide which you like better!

In essence, this is a spelling game. But there is a lot “of help” so that even youngsters that don’t know their alphabet (i.e. Red Ted who is 2.5yrs) can have a go. Red Ted loves it and although I don’t want to force the alphabet on him, surely it is ok if he learns a litte bit about the alphabet whilst having fun? He learns about words and letters.

You have a picture and the letters to make up a word. Like with puzzles you have to put the letters in the right place to spell the words. The voice tells you the letters and when you have completed the letter puzzle, the letters (in one App) are spelt out again and the whole word (in both Apps) is read out! Then there is lots of clapping & cheering (in one App) or noises made by the word (e.g. Miaow in the other App). Both sweet. Both lovely. Both liked by Red Ted. My First Words also has “levels” – where there is less “help” with the letters. My First Words is also available in French!

There are the free Lite versions available – which contain about 4-6 words. This is more than plenty for a 2.5rs old!

Previous Apps: I Hear Ewe – animal sounds (Free) – All 5 Duck Duck Moose Giveaway + mini review – Face iMake (free at time of posting) –KidArt – Dr Seusss ABC –The Wheels on the Bus – Duck Duck Moose

story + art = great stART – Lost & Found, Oliver Jeffers

  

Reading

 I am on a mission to read this book as often and regularly as possible over the next few months, as our local children’s theatre (Polka in Wimbledon) is doing a special under 3s productions of this come Christmas. Tickets have been purchased and I can’t wait to take Red Ted! And I want to make the experience “easier” for him by making sure he knows the story well! 

Lost and found 

Lost and Found Lost and Found, by Oliver Jeffers. 

Reading age – 5yrs – 8yrs. Read together age: 2yrs – 8yrs 

In the UK Oliver Jeffers has quickly established himself as a modern day “children’s classic author”. I don’t know anyone, who does not adore his books. His stories are simply too cute and quirky and his drawings and paintings gorgeous. Some of you may have noticed that I did a VERY short review of this book a while back – sorry for the duplication! 

Anyway… what is the book about? The books is a lovely story of friendship. One day a little boy finds a penguin on his doorstep. The little boy is concerned that the penguin is not happy and needs to go home, so sets off on a journey to find its home. They end up going on a marvellous adventure on the open sea to get the penguin to the South Pole… only to find… well, I wouldn’t want to give the end away. If you haven’t already read this book, you simply must! 

The Craft project – More Recycling

You know me and loo rolls… well, not only loo rolls make great craft material. I decided to do some more recycling, by using some of my old deoderant roll ons and acryclic paints (poster paint would crumble off). They are marvellously PENGUIN SHAPED! 

We made one each, so that Red Ted could copy. Well, I painted the blue and white on mine and let Red Ted stick the googley eyes on them. I restrained myself from touching up his “white tummy” and I let him do some extra painting – you will see a third little friend appear in the final photo (Red Ted refers to him alternatingly as “Boy” and “Monster” – probably thanks to the Monster Cards a few weeks ago). 

It was a great lesson in patience for Red Ted as we had to let things dry at each step! 

 

Isn’t the pleasure on his face on seeing the final product priceless? He was SOOOO chuffed to have his penguins and just wanted to cuddle them. But we had to wait for the eyes and beak to dry… and at bedtime we had to revisit the penguins and the book! 

Another fabulously crafty penguin project is this one by Zoe over at Playing By The Book. I adore it! And one day we will make one of these too!  

 
 

Some Arty Stuff for you

 And if you haven’t had enough of penguins yet, let me introduce you to some of my artwork for children – I paint pop art inspired art for children’s nurseries and bedrooms. I use bright vibrant colours that shine and shimmer as you walk past. So far I am yet to meet a toddler or baby that cannot help to smile or want to touch these paintings (and touch they do, as I want them to enjoy and interact with them!). Here is a set of 3 Penguins that waddled their way into our lives just before Pip Squeak was born. I made them for her “box room” nursery and they look fabulous on her wall! I hope you like too!!
P-p-p-p-p-pick up a Penguin
For mor info on my Artwork visit my Artwork & Paintings Tab. Will ship internationally. 

Previous craft projects: 

stART: Matthews Dream, Leo Lionni & Painting with children 

 stART: Things That Roll & Monster Cards 

stART – Story Telling, Bunnies & Stars  

stART: Giraffe’s can’t dance – a Giraffe Loo Roll Marionette  

stART: Chick – a Pop Up Card  

Book & Cook: Alphabet Cookies – Learning through play  

stART: Busy Airport – Cotton Wool Clouds and, erm, PIGS!  

stART: Hit &Myth – a mix & match book for older children (>5yrs)      

stART: Story & Thank you time – inspirational thank you cards     

stART: Hurray for Fish – one for babies or messy toddlers!      

stART: Bedtime Star – Red Ted, makes a starry night for Pip Squeak’s nursery     

stART: The Way Back Home, Oliver Jeffers – Red Ted makes a plane and a UFO     

Craft: Peg animals – toddlers can help! 

 
 

  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 

  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

    

Finished!Friends

Friends

Finished!

Friends

And if you haven’t had enough of penguins yet, let me introduce you to some of my artwork for children – I paint pop art inspired art for children’s nurseries and bedrooms. I use bright vibrant colours that shine and shimmer as you walk past. So far I am yet to meet a toddler or baby that cannot help to smile or want to touch these paintings (and touch they do, as I want them to enjoy and interact with them!). Here is a set of 3 Penguins that waddled their way into our life before Pip Squeak was born. I made them for her “box room” nursery and they look fabulous on her wall! I hope you like too!! 

Finished!

 

Book, kid’s iphone App & Music Review – When we were very young, I Hear Ewe & Beautiful Creatures

Kid’s  Book and Kid’s iPhone App reviews continue. For my “reasons” behind “Why Apps?!” look here. Type “Kids” or “children” or “educational” into the Apple iStore and you get bombarded with Apps. Which to get?! Look no further… As well as our usual Monday Morning Book Club review!

All previously reviewed books can be found on my Amazon store:

Red Ted Arts Book Recommendations on Amazon

Book Review – When We Were Very Young, A. A. Milne

Reading Age: 6yrs+ Read Together Age: our house from 0 yrs – 6yrs

When We Were Very Young (Winnie the Pooh)“When We Were Very Young” – A.A. Milne.  As a key “Reader to Red Ted”, I asked The Englishman for “their” favourite read… The Englishman didn’t quite get that this was about the books that Red Ted “demanded”, however, he did have a very good point: “I grew up with A. A. Milne, particularly “When We Were Very Young”. I am now immersing Red Ted in the same. Most people know A. A. Milne for Winnie-the-Pooh – however these forty-four poems – first published in 1924 – are a cracking read. Red Ted loves them – as much as I do. For Winnie-the-Pooh fans, he makes one of his first appearances in this book (thirty-eighth poem in the book, Teddy Bear)”. The point I want pick up on, is the fact that he reads some things with Red Ted that he grew up on and tha9 he loves. This brings passion and pleasure to reading and helps the little ones get into it too!

Children like rhythm and rhme, so a book of poems for children really should feature in all children’s libraries. There are many wonderful nursery rhyme books to choose from, but why not get something more “classic”?!

When  I try and pick this book up to read it to Red Ted, I get a VERY CLEAR “No Mummy Read the book! Daddy read!” – this is one for Daddy and Red Ted only. No mummies allowed! And I am sure it will form part of Red Ted’s treasured childhood memories of his bedtime stories with Daddy.

I think that that is lovely!

iPhone App Review – I Hear Ewe

  

Ok, a little bit of a funny one to review, as I don’t much like it. There, I have said it. But these are reviews about things for our children, and not everything Red Ted likes, I like and vice versa.

So I decided to bring it to you anyway, especially since it is another FREE App. And so long as they are free, what is the harm in trying them out?

So what is the App and what does it do? Basically, it is  a whole range of pictures – predominately animals, but a page of vehicles too. Press on the image and a voice says “This is the sound a xxx makes” followed by the pretty realistic sound. Red Ted is able to spend AGES playing with this.

What I do like about it, is that you can change the language to English, Spanish, German (ha! There you have it) and Chinese! You know I am keen for the English/ German bilingualism, however, I am also keen for Red Ted to get an understanding that there are other languages too (he loves saying “Au Revoir” and “Ciao Ciao”). So, we sometimes play with the languages on this App.

It has languages. It teaches a bit of vocabulary and it is free. So give it a go and see what your toddler thinks!

Previous iPhone Apps:

All 5 Duck Duck Moose Giveaway + mini review – Face iMake (free at time of posting) –KidArt – Dr Seusss ABC –The Wheels on the Bus – Duck Duck Moose

Music

With all these “rhyme time” and “music” classes available for our toddlers, parents often forget that they can enjoy music together at home. I have sought out nice music for us to listen to together from the beginning and am always keen to try out new things, as well as expose my children to classical music.

So I was very pleased when the lovely people at Beautiful Creatures asked me to review their children’s music album.

Beautiful Creatures is fab new music production from South Africa. I was chuffed to download their original Beautiful Creatures album. We have always enjoyed eclectic music and have all sorts from the very traditional nursery rhymes to American vintage songs to alternative music such as Putumayo. What Putumayo is to “to the world”, Beautiful Creatures is to Africa. Catchy tunes with an African twist (lots of African animals of course). One song reminds me a little of the Rocky Horror Picture show (Lucas the Lazy Lion), whilst others are wonderfully mellow (Down comes the rain). When we put it on for Red Ted, he started jumping up and down and twisting and turning. He particularly like the Mafutha song (“More Tut Tut Tut more!” – Tut tut tut = Elephant in Red Ted speak).

You have adults singing the lead with chidlren in the chorus. No annoying high pitched or patronizing adult voices. Proper singing! What says it all for me, is that The Englishman will put on this album! He isn’t very good with  the normal children’s music…

If you are uncertain about buying you can preview it on the Beautiful Creatures blog, but I do think this is worth adding to your music library!

story + art = great stART – Matthew’s Dream & Painting with Kids

 

During Summer Get Crafty, I was reminded to not forget the “babies amongst” us and that they too are budding artists.

As part of this, I decided to do some “permanent” canvases with both Red Ted (2.5yrs) and Pip Squeak (8.5mths).

matthews dream

 

 

But first to our book:

Matthew's Dream Matthew’s Dream, by Leo Lionni.

Reading Age 5yrs – 7yrs. Read together age: 2.5yrs – 5yrs

Many may know Lionni’s little mouse Frederick – it is often used in art classes for primary schools. Leo Lionni obviously loves colour and one book that really represents his passion for art and colour to me, is one of his slightly less well known books Matthew’s Dream. Matthew is a little mouse setting out to discover what he wants to be when he grows up. A trip to the art gallery helps him discover his passion for colour.. He also meets another little girl mouse and that night he has a dream. And unlike many of us who leave dreams as dreams, he follows his dream and becomes a successful artist. Inspirational. Lovely. I love all Lionni’s little mice stories – beautifully illustrated and for me “classics”.

Nurturing the Budding Artist

So. What did we do? I decided that the little mouse Matthew was the perfect role model to “Nuture the Budding Artist” within my children. We used acrylics as they last better and are actually easy to get off the children (though not clothes, wear old things).

Red Ted helped me do some background colours – he chose blue for him and, erm pink for Pip Squeak. Not wanting to gender type my children so dramatically, I mixed in some yellow to get a nice orange. We had toddler meltdown. Goes to show – don’t interfere with their craft. Or don’t “ask them” and then “don’t give them”. I learnt my lesson.

Once dried, we then got painting. Red Ted insisted on pink for his canvas, which I was absolutely fine with, so I also gave him a little yellow to add variety. He started off very detailed, even did some leaf and hand printing and then it got messy..! But he had fun! And I love the result.

Pip Squeak on the other hand, being only 8months, was confused. She tried to eat the paint brush, which none of us were happy about, least of all her. Then got painting. I gave her two different greens. My recommendation: do this with children 14 months +. A friend of mine did and their results and experience were much more positive (though I am still happy to have done this).

Ta-daaaaa:

Previous Kid’s Craft Projects:

 stART: Things That Roll & Monster Cards

stART – Story Telling, Bunnies & Stars 

stART: Giraffe’s can’t dance – a Giraffe Loo Roll Marionette 

stART: Chick – a Pop Up Card 

Book & Cook: Alphabet Cookies – Learning through play 

stART: Busy Airport – Cotton Wool Clouds and, erm, PIGS! 

stART: Hit &Myth – a mix & match book for older children (>5yrs)     

stART: Story & Thank you time – inspirational thank you cards    

stART: Hurray for Fish – one for babies or messy toddlers!     

stART: Bedtime Star – Red Ted, makes a starry night for Pip Squeak’s nursery    

stART: The Way Back Home, Oliver Jeffers – Red Ted makes a plane and a UFO    

Craft: Peg animals – toddlers can help!

Book & iPhone App Review – The Tickle Book & Faces iMake

Kid’s  Book and Kid’s iPhone App reviews continue. For my “reasons” behind “Why Apps?!” look here. Type “Kids” or “children” or “educational” into the Apple iStore and you get bombarded with Apps. Which to get?! Look no further… As well as our usual Monday Morning Book Club review!

Book Review – The Tickle Book

The Tickle Book: With pop-up surprises The Tickle Book, by Ian Whybrow and Axel Scheffler.  

Reading age: 5yrs – 8yrs. Read together age: 18mths – 4yrs.

Another favourite of Red Ted’s. He adores the tickle book – especially on the first page where he loves to “knock on the door” to find the tickle monster… I think that the anticipation of the tickle is the fun thing. He even learnt to pull some of the pully things from around 18mths onwards (if you helped him). Note: do NOT let your little ones play with this one on their own, it will get destroyed, as The Englishman found out one morning. “Me” was not happy… a new went on order. Tut tut. We do let Red Ted “play” with his books, but I do take care with the ones that have high damage risk – simple flaps he’s ok with, but the tickle book was just too exciting and interesting… how does it all work?! It was just asking to be pulled apart.

The drawings are classic “Scheffler” drawings, so if you like his illustrations, get this book!

All previously reviewed books can be found on my Amazon store:

Red Ted Arts Book Recommendations on Amazon

Kids iPhone App Review – Faces iMake

Faces iMake icon Faces iMake   App Review Faces iMake

 Age: 3.5yrs – 99 yrs.

Ok, so this is one, that is really for me. When I first downloaded it I got soooo excited.

But let’s start at the beginning. This App is an Arty App. I am always on the look out for crafty and arty ones (as well as decent music Apps, please do let me know if you have any top tips). Faces iMake is one of those lovely Apps that is ABSOLUTELY free. Yes Free (or at least it was when I downloaded it last week). And free things are not always bad. Download it. Give it a go and if you don’t like it delete it.

Self Portrait

So, why do I love it so much. Firstly, it comes with the most fabulously little catchy tune (ok, some of you may find it irritating, but in Kiddie Land, I like it!). It is a happy, light hearted App. You are encouraged to draw faces using all sorts of manners of things. Like a 3D collage on the iphone. Doodling with objects. You have a choice of veg, kitchen equipment, toys, tools etc etc and you, well make a face! This App is even better emulated at home, with real things, as children let their imagination run wild and get to feel lots of tactile objects.

What I also like about the App, is that it has some “tutorials” – to me – they are lovingly produced – I love the guy talking, he has a passion for art and a passion for creating fun faces with things. He encourages you to have a go and think about what things represent. If you were doing daddy, who likes cooking, which items would you use etc?

A lovely App. Probably for the slighly older children (and yourself), though Red Ted (2.5yrs) does play with it. He just doesn’t quite get it yet.

Previous iPhone Apps:

KidArt

Dr Seusss ABC

The Wheels on the Bus – Duck Duck Moose