Author: Swapna Haddow Reviewed by: Katy Reeve Age range: 6+ Genre: Quirky humour, animal feuds and Tom and Jerry mind games. If you’re a cat and you’ve learnt Pigeonese… (HA HA HA! As if a cat would be smart enough to learn Pigeonese). This must mean if you are a cat and you are able to read this, you have taken a pigeon hostage so that you can trick them into translating the Pigeonese words into Meow. I demand you release the hostage pigeon now. My book contains TOP SECRET ideas that are NONE of a cat’s business. Your child will enjoy Dave Pigeon if they: Revel in slapstick humour, the sense of the ridiculous and wordplay. Like a story with a quirky, likeable main character. Enjoy a fast-moving plot and ever-changing plans. Are building up their reading stamina, as chapters are short and bite-sized. Want a book that has humorous, detailed drawings that bring the story alive A pigeontastic novel featuring the loveable and hilarious duo, Skipper and Dave, who relentlessly plan and scheme to get rid of the mighty Mean Cat. Skipper and Dave are obsessed with concocting ‘epic plans’, where they will do anything to ensure they end up with all the biscuits and Mean Cat’s abode. Dave Pigeon is the plotter and planner who remains resolutely assured of his own brilliance throughout. His lack of awareness, tall stories and sense of high drama adds to the humour and sense of inevitability when the epic plans unravel and things go awry. Skipper is Dave’s friend who is typing the story, despite him just following orders his persistent questioning ensures he comes across as the more switched on pigeon. The illustrations beautifully match the descriptions of Dave and Skipper, which helps to bring these characters alive. In my house we all love Dave, and we are waiting excitedly for his next adventure.
When growing a reader, you need to let your child get really comfy. Comfy clothes, comfy position and comfy things around them. No one likes to read sitting at a table where it feels like work -if we want children to get lost in a book then the right place to read is important. You need to know your reader and be flexible. Where this takes place might change, some days your child may want to hide away, curl up and get stuck into a good book, others they might want to be sat in hub of it reading away. With a little effort, you can create an appealing and relaxing place that your children will want to spend time in. Here are four simple tips to get you started: 1. Keep it simple. You will need somewhere to store books, seating (such as a bean bag or cosy armchair) blankets and lighting. That’s it. 2. Keep your child in mind. Let your child lead the way as every child will be drawn to a different kind of space. My eldest will often be found lounging on the radiator with a stack of comics in the winter, whereas my daughter likes to hide out in a small den somewhere in the house with a box to keep her props in so she can move it quickly from one place to another. 3. Keep it central. It might be tempting to set up a reading area in a quiet, hidden corner somewhere, but often the most used book nooks are the ones situated in the busiest areas of the house. My book nook is usually built in the lounge, where everyone hangs out, and I can easily join them for a story. 4. Make it appealing. Your book nook needs to be attractive, exciting and well looked after. Updating your book nook every now and again will maintain interest. This might mean adding some new books, swapping a blanket or cushion or changing the layout slightly. I hope you enjoy creating your own, unique Book Nook! I would love to see some photographs or hear your ideas. Click on the link to see 20 Book Nook ideas from
1. Children copy what they see so you have to let your child see you reading books. This can take some effort as they need to see you reading for pleasure and talking about books on a regular basis (an annual read on your summer holiday won’t suffice!) If reading is part of your life, it will become part of theirs too. 2. Read to your child. Build in 5 or 10 minutes each day to read to your child. Choose a book you both want to read so you can enjoy talking about the characters and making predictions about what might happen next. You can start to get a feel for the books your child really likes, this makes it easier to recommend books and for them to start to trust your book choices. 3. Read books that your child is reading or might like to read. You can then talk to them about characters and bond over favourite scenes. They will begin to see that talking about stories and books is an enjoyable thing to do. Value all the books your child chooses equally, don’t be tempted to only see the classics or challenging texts as worthwhile reads. When you know and respect each other’s tastes, you can trust each other’s recommendations. 4. Listen to audiobooks. If you are on the school run or ferrying children to after-school activities, choose a story to listen to on the way. This will be something you can enjoy and talk about together. It may also get them interested in particular authors or genres. 5. Create a ‘book nook.’ This should be a quiet, cosy and appealing area of the house designated for reading. It should be somewhere they want to spend time in and a place they relax and unwind with a book
Books for kids who are just ready for chapter books.
I think picture books should always have a place on a child’s bookshelf, regardless of age, as with the right questions they can challenge thinking and develop inference skills in a way that classic print texts can’t. However, an exciting but often tricky stage is when a child is ready to move from reading books from a reading scheme or picture books to reading longer, more developed narratives, with more words and fewer pictures. Choosing the right book needs careful consideration to excite your child and make them feel like independent and capable readers.
Five things to consider when choosing the right book: Make sure the balance of print and pictures is right, as too many words to start off with will be overwhelming. Print size may need to be the same size or a bit bigger than the reading scheme or picture books they have been reading. Short chapters are a must, as children need to build up reading stamina over time, and it is important they experience being able to finish a chapter before putting the book down. Asking – is it a book my child will enjoy? If they like funny books, then it needs to be funny, if they love animals, then they need to be in the story. Just being a simple chapter book is not enough if we want our children not just to learn to read, but to learn to love reading. Look out for a good series as children get confidence from reading about characters they already know and love. There are lots of recommendations in the what to read next section.
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