Tag Archives: First Experiences.

Nursery Bookshelf

You’re Three!
You’re Four!
You’re Five!

Shelly Unwin and Katherine Battersby
Allen & Unwin
Here are three little books dedicated to being a particular age, each one using different animal characters – a small one and an adult.
Celebrating being three is a little alligator; a small meerkat and a parent look at the specialness of becoming four; and a young goat plus parent explore what being five brings.
Weaving in such concepts as basic one to one counting, addition, numbers, shapes, change, seasons, and the senses into her rhyming text, the author gently builds in opportunities to extend the listener’s language while at the same time celebrating each specific age.
Thus being Three encompasses some favourite fairy tale titles, being halfway up and the idea of triplets.

Four introduces compass points, quarters and the seasons;

and Five mentions the vowels, days of the week, questioning words and the senses.

Each book will need a fair bit of adult/child discussion and exploration with the aid of Katherine Battersby’s engaging art; but the most important element every time is the specialness of the child at which ever age they are.
As a teacher I’ve always been concerned about parents trying to make their children look and act older than they are; these small books are a helpful counter to that.

Archie’s First Day at School
Archie Goes to the Doctor

Emma Brown
Cico Kids
The creator of the Shady Bay Buddies books and soft toys, Emma Brown, a crochet expert, started making up the stories when her daughters were young, and these two titles are part of a series that aims to provide reassurance and information to help very young children overcome their ‘first time’ anxieties.
In the first story Archie sets off for his first day at school with Bunny his toy, his big sister, Amber and his mum. He’s greeted at the door by his teacher, bids his mum farewell, chooses a coat peg and then is allocated somewhere to sit
Soon he’s busy making a model and accidentally spills paint on Bunny.

He spills milk on him at snack time: seemingly Archie is rather excited.
Outside play is followed by lunch with his friend Breeze.
After a story, it’s time to go home and Amber is waiting for him, although surprisingly, not his mum. Archie says he’s enjoyed himself but isn’t too sure about Bunny.
In the second story Archie is outside with his sister and being very adventurous on the swing when suddenly he finds himself on the ground with a hurt arm.
He’s somewhat alarmed to hear he has to go to the doctors with Mum.
In the waiting room he meets his friend Breeze who has earache. Soon it’s time to go into Doctor Hodge’s surgery where after an examination of his arm, Archie learns nothing is broken but he needs to wear a sling.

Then after a quick reassuring chat to Breeze, he goes off home.
With interesting mixed-media backdrops (listeners can search for Archie’s bunny at every turn of the page), appealing cuddly toy characters, and stories told simply and directly, these books should help allay first time nerves.

Let’s Go to Nursery! / Will You Be My Friend?

Let’s Go to Nursery!
Caryl Hart and Lauren Tobia
Walker Books
We join Bee and Billy (and their mums) at the door of a nursery. The session is already in full swing with all kinds of exciting activities taking place. The children give their mums a farewell hug and Bee eagerly begins to join in. Billy however, is more reluctant and a tad clingy. He soon gets drawn in though, thanks to a ‘message’ full of kindness …

Happy noisy play ensues until there’s a dispute over ownership of a large toy; but Billy, surely a fast learner, comes to the rescue and all is well once more.
There’s so much fun to be had, so many things to share and so much playful learning – just how it should be.

All too soon though, it’s time to help tidy up; the mums are back and it’s farewell until tomorrow: a happy, exhausting day spent and the prospect of many more to come.
Caryl Hart and Lauren Tobia paint a lively portrait of nursery life without the intrusion of the nursery staff: they, one hopes, are observing and sometimes, gently encouraging and perhaps guiding, unobtrusively from the side-lines.
The first of the First Experiences series for ‘a new generation of little readers’ the publishers say. Perhaps ‘little listeners’ would be more accurate, but no matter which, its intended young audience will find plenty to enjoy; it’s as well that the book is sturdily made with wipe-clean pages as I foresee a lot of enthusiastic handling.

Will You Be My Friend?
Molly Potter and Sarah Jennings
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This is a title from Bloomsbury’s Featherstone imprint and has something of an educational slant: There’s plenty to think about and discuss; and the whole thing is invitingly illustrated with a sequence of vignettes. These are captioned and each spread opens with a question on an aspect of friendship: ‘What do you do when a friend upsets you?’ and ‘What do your friends think of you?’ for instance. Notes from a friendly puggish pup offer further food for thought at the bottom of each right hand page.

A final spread is aimed at parents, although I see this book being used in preschool and KS1 sessions on ‘What makes a good friend?’ too. It’s all very nicely and inclusively done though personally, I prefer emotional and social learning to be part and parcel of picture books’ stories rather than books specially created for the purpose.

I’ve signed the charter