3 Children’s Book Reviews

Travel Tips

Whether we are at home or on the go, story books are an essential part of our daily repertoire. More often than not, Noria gets attached to a few, which we then read for weeks on end (much to my dismay). At some point, I try to cleverly introduce new ones into the scheme, so that I don’t have to read or improvise a thousand times on the same themes, but I don’t always succeed. So I resign, re-read and wait to smoothly move on to other stories :).

In this article I’m going to present you 3 of the books that Noria was most attached to at certain times. The first one is already out of the repertoire, the second one is on the way, and the third one still haunts us, literally and figuratively :).

Let’s see what it’s all about!

AREN’T YOU SLEEP, BEAR?

**What the story is about

A bear cub cannot fall asleep, even though his mother bear repeatedly puts him to sleep in the cozy crib. The little bear is afraid of the dark in the cave. His mother brings him lanterns of various sizes, directly proportional to his fear :). The last lantern brought lights up the whole cave, but the little bear keeps tossing and turning in bed and can’t fall asleep. Now that the whole place is lit up, he fears the darkness that looms at the entrance to the cave. The bear tells him that they will go outside together to show him something. He takes his hand and they walk slowly towards the mouth of the cave. It’s dark outside, and the little bear snuggles even more scared in his mother’s fur. Until an enormous moon surrounded by stars melts away the darkness. The little bear calms down and falls asleep instantly, and his mother brings him back to the cave, asleep in her arms. She doesn’t put him back in the crib anymore, they fall asleep together, hugging.

**What you can discuss with the child

One can discuss the relationship between parents and children, care and protection, what makes us feel safe. Noria immediately identified with the little bear, and obviously associated me with his mother (“Nana is that little bear”). Terms such as “fear” and “love” can be introduced and explained. Of course they won’t understand at first, but we have to start somewhere when we teach children about the world, about emotions and feelings, right? The new words Noria learned after reading this book were: lantern, cave, darkness, tumbe (“tubes”). 🙂

**Where it would be advisable to be careful with the explanations

[Poveștile sunt instrumente incredibil de puternice în formarea copiilor iar cuvintele îi pot influența enorm pe aceștia, în sensuri pe care uneori nu ni le dorim.]

  • Children who are not afraid of the dark may begin to claim that they are. I always took care to explain to Noria, as best I could, that darkness is something approachable, that we don’t have to be afraid of.
  • Babies who sleep in cribs may start to want to fall asleep in their parents’ arms too, just like the little teddy bear :). I have nothing to say here, I’ll leave it to you 🙂

**Where did I get the book from?

I found it discounted at the Gaudeamus Book Fair and it was “love at first sight”. It appeared in the “Children’s Book” publishing house. Authors: Martin Waddell and Barbara Firth

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POGGLE AND THE TREASURE

**What the story is about

Two friendly creatures, a kind of combination between bears and rodents, named Poggle and Henry, play on the beach, digging holes in the sand and looking for treasures. One day they find a big egg and wonder what’s inside. Henry offers to sit on it to keep them warm, but Poggle runs to his seaside hut to fetch a scarf and wrap the egg. Soon the egg starts to crack, and Poggle and Henry get scared, thinking a monster will come out of it. They jump into the dug hole and hide. When they finally work up the courage to go outside, they meet the egg’s former tenant: a turtle. Poggle brings him a bowl of milk, the frog drinks it, then starts running down the beach until he trips over a sandbank. Poggle and Henry bring her back to where she left off and meet the frog’s mother, who has come to pick her up, take her into the water, and teach her to swim. Poggle and Henry are happy because they found “a real treasure”. Returning to their sand pit, they find more eggs, from which frogs hatch. All are reunited with their mother.

**What you can discuss with the child

About a bunch of things, such as: sea animals (more appear in the illustrations), tidiness and cleanliness (Poggle’s house is very neat), kindness and care for others, the relationship between cubs and their mothers (Noria’s favorite moment , which she shouts out loud, every time we read the book is “Her mother has come!”), the way some animals are born, the way turtles lay their eggs. In addition, many new words are learned. One of them would be “shell” – Noria learned to say: “let’s not take the boscuta’s caaapacea, it’s her little house!”.

**Where did I get the book from?

From an extremely cheap bookstore in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) – but I suspect it can also be ordered online. Published by Egmont Press (UK). Author: Michael Evans // www.egmont.co.uk

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PIXI AND THE LITTLE GHOSTS

**What the story is about

The book is part of the popular series called “Pixie”, which debuted in 1954, in Germany. Pixi is a dignified and empathetic elf who lives in a forest with his friends, with whom he has all kinds of adventures. In the present story, Bunny, one of the friends, is socializing one evening in Pixi’s house in a hollow tree until it gets late and he decides to go home. On the way, the Bunny meets a ghost, who later turns out to be just the Raccoon dressed up and on his heels. Frightened, the Bunny returns to Pixi’s house, who suggests that they also dress up as ghosts. In turn, the Raccoon is scared of “ghosts”. They all decide to have a ghost party, if they still dressed up. The bunny gets another scare when the costumed Owl flies by, believing her to really be a ghost.

**About what you can discuss with the child & where it would be advisable to be careful with the explanations

You can discuss what fear means and when we should be scared/worried. Honestly, I personally got completely fed up with this little book, ending up regretting at certain moments that I bought it, because Noria has become a real obsession and night after night she has to hear the story of “cotton swabs“. Besides that, he developed a new game, in which he tells us: “There, mom, brush me with a cotton swab. It was atoll!”, laughing from ear to ear, of course. In a way it seems ok to me, as if it were some kind of technique for managing the concept of “fear”, in another way I’m tired of so many”cotton swabs“.

You should also think about what feelings you want to cultivate towards “ghosts”. There is? Does not exist? What are they, exactly? Does it only exist in stories? Are they scary? Are they harmless? Etc 🙂

**Where did I get the book from?

From the Eminescu bookstore, near the University (Bucharest). 4 lei a piece. In general, Pixi books can be found in almost any bookstore that has a children’s section. We hunt them, so that we have as many of the series at home as possible. They have a very small and friendly format, they lend themselves to being carried anywhere.

I wish you nice readings!

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