Bud & Roo’s Spectacular Adventures – The Beach by Jessica Valentine

Fostering a love of reading

I do love a book that inspires a bit of Art.  Bud & Roo’s Spectacular Adventure is about two doggies who dig up treasures and sniff their way to where it has come from.  The Author, Jessica Valentine wanted to create a book that her 5 year old could read on her own from front to back and feel good about reading a whole book on her own and she’s done just that.  Madame who is also 5 and has just started reading can read it from front to back and was also inspired to do this picture based on the Artwork.  Isn’t it brilliant?


Reading with Kids


Kill me now!

Just the other night, I was having a right moan about how painfully dull, the reading scheme books are from school and quite a few parents came back in agreement.  I particularly felt for those parents with several children and have been subjected to the same books year after year after year.

So, who’s up for the challenge?

This is not a reflection on our school, this tends to be across the board.  I do appreciate they’re a necessary evil and her readings coming along nicely, but someone somewhere must be able to write a better scheme than what’s on offer.  I wonder if Jessica’s up for the challenge?

Luckily, we have a huge collection of books at home to supplement what comes home and still manage to foster a love of reading.  Again, I must emphasize, this is not a dig at our school.

I’m looking forward to seeing what Bud & Roo get up to next.

Do you have any other books that you’d recommend for this age group?

Disclosure:  We received a copy of this book for review purposes.



Tears at Bedtime

A Children's Treasury of Milligan
A Children's Treasury of Milligan

This is not a sponsored post in any way.  My lovely Twitter mate, Andrew Butler, AKA @designcredo, wanted to share it and thought it would sit better on Mediocre Mum than his communications blog and I have to agree!

I heard something on the radio the other day suggesting that, possibly contrary to what one might expect, children actually learn more from reading the same story time and time again. I have a friend who’s daughter used to listen to the same tape of Stephen Fry reading of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy every single night. Now, I am no longer lulled to sleep by the dulcet tones of Le Fry from a nearby room but I guess it still happens.

I suppose I once fitted into the category of ‘boys with literacy concerns’, I never read comfortably as a child and now find myself slightly envious of those who can lose themselves in books. But there were some childhood havens and to this day I am never far from a copy of Under Milk Wood, Dylan Thomas and Silly Verse For Kids, Spike Milligan.

Although very, very different there are similarities to be found in these two books. Firstly, and most importantly they are both really thin. When the Penguin or Puffin book clubs came to the North Kesteven Grammar we all had to choose a book. I chose the thinnest and these books have been with me since my school days.

Beyond physical characteristics though, common to both books, there is a delight in words that, although expressed very differently is nevertheless very apparent.

Last night, not for the first time, my daughter’s bedtime ended in tears. The tears were tears of laughter (mine), I was trying to read Nice Doggie by Spike Milligan.

My neighbours have a barking dog
Bow wow wow wow wow
A little black French poodle dog
Le Bow Le Bow Le Wow!

For me laughter at a child’s bedtime is about as good as it can get.

The Milligan thing has now been passed down the line. We used to read from my old version of Silly Verse For Kids but, like me, it is ageing and falling apart. At Christmas I went to Waterstones and asked if they could still get the book. Yes they could, but as an alternative I was introduced to ‘A Children’s Treasury of Milligan’ (Virgin). This lovely book contains stories, poems and even comes with a CD of Spike reading the poems. The best thing is that all this can be had for a frankly ridiculous £8.97 on Amazon but if you can’t wait go to a shop, now.

Around that time, as a result of this find I mentioned the Silly Verse poems on Twitter. There was a tremendous response, from adults who, like me, still treasured these words.

So go get the book, but be warned, there may be tears at bedtime.

The Help

It’s been a long time since I found myself reading into the wee hours of the night (1am).  I’ve been reading The Help by Kathryn Stockett, for my own Book Club and I couldn’t put it down.  I finished it in two sittings.

The Help was set in 1962 in Jackson Mississippi; a few years after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus to make way for white people.  An unlikely friendship develops between, Skeeter the daughter of a Cotton Plantation owner, who’s white, recently graduated from college and dreams of becoming a writer and Aibileen, a black maid of one of her friends, who has raised 17 white babies in her time.

Skeeter wants to write a book from the perspective of the maids working for white families.  However, she needs 12 maids to interview and this is going to take a lot of trust as the consequences to these women are grave.

A lot of the book was predictable, but I found myself laughing, cringing, shaking my head, angry, hopeful, frightened.  I don’t want to spoil the book for people, but it was interesting to read it 50 years on and to see towards the end that there was a glimmer of hope for change.

Have you read it?

What did you think?