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April Competition


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Our April competition is inspired this month by the Big Read.


Books are obviously very dear to your hearts, as demonstrated by Maz’s recent thread on favourite children’s books. xD So for this competition we are asking you to pick a favourite book (just one, sorry! :unsure: ) and write a review on it. It could be a children’s fiction book, an information book or a book to inform your own practice and provision but it does have to be childcare related! We only want one review per book, so if your favourite has already been chosen you will need to choose a different book.


When you have picked the book you are intending writing a review on, please post in this thread to let everyone know before writing it, so that no one else writes one on the same book and posts it before you get the chance. :o There are no stipulations as to the length of the review or the format of it, but obviously it will need to be long enough to really sell the book but not so lengthy that we all fall asleep before getting to the end. xD Please also make sure that it makes reasonable sense and will be understandable to others. (No txt spk pls! :( )


Please write the books title and author at the top of your review so that it is clear which book you have chosen. Then you need to really sell it to the rest of us, as to why it is such an excellent book. The closing date for submitting a review will be 22nd April, after which all the books chosen will be put to a poll to determine which the favourite book is. (Depending on the number of reviews received we may need to find some way of coming up with a shortlist.) The one with the most votes at the end of the month will be the winner. So it is up to you to put forward a really good review in order to convince others that it is worthy of being the all time favourite. :(


Once the competition is finished all of the reviews will be put together in the book forum to form a useful resource for future members. Steve thinks this is our way of being more environmentally friendly by recycling. He even suggested we have car bumper stickers that say 'FSFers Do it Ecologically!' :wacko: If the winner is also agreeable, the book in first place will become our ‘product of the month’ and the review (with author’s name) published on the site alongside existing product reviews. If you really wouldn’t want this though, don’t worry, Steve won’t make you! In fact, if you are a little shy and would like to submit a review but want to remain anonymous then that is fine too. Just send Steve a private message and he will post it on your behalf. Please don’t send them to me, as I am moving house this week and may not have computer access next week. As an added incentive to get you writing, Steve is offering up £20 as a first prize, alongside our usual runners up prizes of mugs, badges and pens.


Peggy thought it would be a good idea to have a few hints on what you could put in your review. Some of her suggestions were:


Suitable age

Curricular area / areas best suited for

Type of text i.e. rhyme

Comment of illustrations, such as; real photo's, cartoon, lots to look at, (like where's Wally) etc

Suitable for self read or adult supported

Reference, fiction, other etc



Maybe even rate it out of ten for quality


You may find some inspiration looking at existing book reviews. There are some available here on the forum, here's one example or you may find inspiration elsewhere. This is a good site for instance.


However, this is your review so please include your own ideas and thoughts. :rolleyes:


If you would like to hold a Big Read event yourself between the 20th to 26th of April there is more information on The Big Read website. There is also more information and free resources on the UK’s Send My Friend to School Campaign website.


Good luck! :(

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Thanks for setting the scene Carol - and good luck with your house move next week!


I look forward to reading the book reviews, and may well be buying a few extra books this month as a result! :o

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Ohhh! am I first to offer :o


I would like to write a review on this book:-


Not So Fast, Songololo


by Niki Daly


Hope it will be OK to post the review on Monday?? I am not in preschool tomorrow and just want to check a couple of 'facts' in the book before I post - hope that is OK xD

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Sorry my review might have to wait :o I was whisked into hospital on Friday morning and sent home yesterday but now not at work and need to get 'songololo' to double check some facts!!!



Oh dear Geraldine, I've sent you a PM (so as not to 'take over' this topic with get well messages).



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oh dear half way through the month and no entries yet :o

I said I would do a review so here goes!


Title: Not so fast Songololo


Author & illustrator Niki Daly


I really don't know where to start! I came across this book purely by accident in the 'for sale' section of my local library and it is the best 25p ever spent!


The story is about a little boy called Shepherd who is given the nickname of 'Songololo' by his beloved grandmother.


'Gogo' ( the grandmother) needs to go shopping but she is old and bothered by the sounds and sights in the town. Shepherd's mother volunteers his services and he goes off to help Gogo with her shopping. The story is based in South Africa and the words/language in the book is delightful. The names resulted in great conversation amongst the children in my preschool. Characters in the book include Mr Motiki's dog, Uzuti (the baby) and the language includes the currency of 'rands' and the word 'tackies' which is their word for shoes/trainers.


Eventually Shepherd becomes the proud owner of new read tackies that cost 4 rands.


I can't really express how delightful the illustrations are or how the language is so powerful. The grandmother is described as 'Gogo is old, but her face shines like new shoes. Her hands are large and used to hard work but when they touch they are gentle'

When Shepherd gets his new 'tackies' the text says "Shepherd feels so happy that it hurts him just to sit still, he looks at Gogo and gives her a big smile'


Sorry I think I am actually writing a bit of a rubbish review but overall this books speaks volumes about a child's relationship with family members and in particular the very special relationship he shares with his grandmother. 'New shoes' is something close to children's hearts and without question all our children loved this book. It is interesting to see that it has been looked at by children every single day since we got it and part of the reason for that is the utterly delightful illustrations that fill the pages.


OK I give up now but it is available to 'search inside' on amazon so maybe that's a better option!!!

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Bless you Geraldine! I have just got my internet back this morning and was a little disappointed to see that no one had been brave enough or found the time to post a review yet! So I think yours is brilliant and all the better because it's not a well known book, so it has really piqued my interest. :o

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it's not a well known book :o


It was certainly by chance that I came across it but actually the author won the British Arts Council Illustration award in 1978 for his first book "The Little girl who lived down the road'. 'Not so fast Songololo won him a Parent's choice award in the US and was made into a video!


I am off to search the titles of his other books, seemingly he has written quite a few. Perhaps he is an author previously unknown to me because he lives/works in Cape Town. He was born there but came to the UK in 1970 under a contract to write and record songs. He returned to Cape Town in 1980.


Anyway, certainly an author to look out for xD

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The Bungle Jungle Bedtime Kiss

by Ronda Armitage (Author), Edward Eaves (Illustrator)



This is one of our current favourites at Preschool. It has 'touchy feely' pages so everyone can become engrossed in the story at different levels.


The theme of the story is that it's bedtime in the jungle and the baby animals are being sent to bed by their busy Mummies who hurridly blow kisses to their offspring. Naturally, the kisses don't 'land' on the right 'children' and there's a great repetitive "THAT'S NOT MY KISS! I WANT MY RIGHT KISS! MY VERY OWN GOODNIGHT KISS BEFORE I GO TO BED"


Children become involved in blowing kisses throughout the story as each 'Mum' hurridly blows one, and of course joining in with the repeating text.


We have a group hug at the end of the story when the text describes that kisses and 'night night should be done slowly and gently and softly and the timbre of the story changes from jolly outrage to gentle calming.


The illustrations are clear and encourage following of the 'kisses' with a finger as they zig zag and bounce around. The touchy feely nature encourages discussion about textures.


It's a lovely book and one that we need two copies of as one copy is always out on loan! Parents comment on how their child becomes engrossed and really joins in with the telling of the story when they borrow it to read at home.


Suitable age 0 - 6

Curricular area / areas best suited for - group story time or one-to-one in a cosy corner, or bedtime!

Type of text i.e. rhyme - repetitive, suitable for joining in encouragement

Comment of illustrations - good bright colours, encourage children to look and touch, touchy-feely areas

Suitable for self read or adult supported - adult supported although pleasurable for a child to look at on their own. As text is reliably repetitive (ie, no variations in repetition) children can point to the words as they read along with you

Reference, fiction, other etc - pure fiction at its best

Size - about 12" x 12" and an inch thick (Hardback)

Theme - loving relationships at home, bedtime routines

Rate out of ten for quality = 10!




Am I allowed more than one review?

Edited by Cait
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The Bungle Jungle Bedtime Kiss

by Ronda Armitage (Author), Edward Eaves (Illustrator)



Thanks Cait, this is a new one on me and sounds really good :(:(


Just realised the closing date is 22nd April so only a week to go - I think we should keep quiet and not remind anyone :o:(xD then you can have the first prize and hopefully I might get a PEN :wacko: xD :rolleyes: :unsure:

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Just realised the closing date is 22nd April so only a week to go - I think we should keep quiet and not remind anyone xD:(:( then you can have the first prize and hopefully I might get a PEN :( :wacko: xD :rolleyes:

Ooh you're so single minded, Geraldine! I think second prize was a little better than a pen though wasn't it? :o



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Ooh you're so single minded, Geraldine! I think second prize was a little better than a pen though wasn't it? :o



xD:(:(:( I am sure second prize is something more than a pen but you see I NEED an FSF pen! I have the mug and a badge so it will complete my collection - though not sure why I so desperately want one as I won't write with it (anymore than I drink from my treasured mug!)

I think I need to get out more :wacko: xD :rolleyes:

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:(:(xD :wacko: I am sure second prize is something more than a pen but you see I NEED an FSF pen! I have the mug and a badge so it will complete my collection - though not sure why I so desperately want one as I won't write with it (anymore than I drink from my treasured mug!)

I think I need to get out more :rolleyes: :unsure: ;)


I did drink from my precious mug all the time, which made it all the more distressing when whilst rushing around getting things packed for moving I dropped it xD and broke the handle on it. :ph34r::ph34r: Rich had to throw it in the bin for me - I just couldn't face doing it myself. :o:ph34r:


If the pen was your preferred prize then that would be fine. :( At the moment it looks pretty safe that you'll get something, unless we get a few more entries!


And I'm afraid you can only submit one review Cait. :ph34r:

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My son has an amusing review for the Bible somewhere

Well that probably wouldn't count under Beau's rules anyway Cait - it wouldn't be your original work. However if you can dig it out it might make amusing reading anyway! xD


Oh and Geraldine: I was apparently thinking of a different competition - pens/mugs etc are the runners up prizes so you're still in with a shout! :o



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However if you can dig it out it might make amusing reading anyway! :o








10 December 2007

A Bible Review from Amazon


106 of 144 people found the following review helpful:


A ripping tale of good, evil, betrayal , redemption, etc., 16 Nov 2005


By A Customer


This book is shrouded in mystery and controversy. It centres around a jewish man called Jesus, perhaps the Son of God, apparently born about 2,000 years ago of a virgin called Mary. Jesus grows up - the story recounts very little of his childhood days - and becomes well versed in Jewish religion. He claims special powers, preaches about universal love and forgiveness of one's enemies, is recognised by his followers as the Son of God come to fulfil his father's law, but eventually winds up Jewish elders after a heated episode in the Temple who not long after hand him over to the Roman's for crucifixion. The Roman's crucify him, he dies, is put in a cave, but three days later, so the story goes, he comes back to life and gets out. He goes back and sees his friends and followers, hanging around for a while before going back home to his father who lives in heaven.

Thats the gist of it, but the problems start with the fundamental question of who wrote it. Some people called Christians who rather like this story say that God wrote it about his Son Jesus. But that is difficult to believe as there are clearly four versions of the story, all a bit different, written by four men called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. At times the story gets a bit repetitious, and one suspects that Matthew, Mark and Luke copied their stories from one earlier unnamed source. The version by John is a bit more mystical and fanciful and departs from the narrative of the other three authors a little too much for my liking.


Another problem has to do with whether this book is God's final word as the Christians who love this book would have it. They believe it is part two of a two volume set (the first part of which is known as the Torah and which is also dictated by God to a man called Moses - those who prefer the first book over the second call themselves Jews). Many others believe this is just part two of a trilogy which ends with another book dictated by God to a man called Mohamed and which is known as the Quran. Indeed, its more complicated than that, as people called Mormon's believe there is a fourth installment, dictated to an American called Joseph Smith (by God), and they call that book the Book of Mormon.


When I was young and this book was given to me to read it all seemed rather simple. There was one book - this was it - and God wrote it. But as I've gotten older I've realised that whatever the truth behind this book is, its been rather confused and convoluted over the years of telling and retelling. But I do like the central message of this man Jesus - love others as you would love yourself, and forgive people for doing bad things to you. Thus, despite all the confusion and controversy, I recommend this book as a good read whether or not you think its all true, partly true, or a work of utter fiction. Happy Reading.

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Ok, I'm a bit nervous about putting a book review up, as my mind has gone a bit blank as to my absolute favourite children's book or my most fascinating and useful education book, BUT I really really really would love to have an FSF mug, so here goes!


I have really enjoyed reading Eddie's Garden, by Sarah Garland with my class and also with my own children.


Eddie is a little boy who wants a garden of his own, so his mum helps him make a garden in the corner of their garden. The book goes through the whole process of making a garden from the digging to the shopping, the waiting, the slug removing in the middle of the night(!) and finally the eating everything you've grown.


The illustrations are fantastic - she reminds me of Shirley Hughes as the illustrations are very warm hearted and humorous. Eddie's baby sister, Lily can often be seen in the background getting up to mischief, eating worms and burying herself in holes.


After reading the book with my little girl last year she was desperate to have a bean den like Eddie and Lily for her and her baby brother to hide in, so we followed Eddie's lead and bought the beans, constructed a den, sowed the beans, planted them out, watched them grow and grow, played in the bean den and ate them!


I've used the book at school and it has inspired us to grow our own vegetables and flowers and it has helped the children to learn about what plants and other living things need to grow. There is also a helpful information section at the back of the book that explains how and when to grow the plants Eddie grows in the book.


Most of all I love this book because it has such a warm view of family life and makes me smile!


Sarah Garland has also written other similarly lovely family life books with less text that 2-3 year olds especially enjoy. AND there's a sequel to Eddie's Garden - Eddie's Kitchen - in which Eddie and Lily cook for their Grandad's birthday party. I have to include this in my Sarah Garland praise as we followed the recipe for carrot and orange drizzle cake and it was absolutely delicious!!


Don't know how that went for a book review - I could have reviewed lots of others! I've been thinking about which book to review since the thread started, but saw the deadline coming up so decided to take the plunge with Sarah Garland!


A mug (or badge or pen!) would be very exciting!

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Well done Emmajess,


That's a lovely review so you shouldn't have been nervous about it. And another book I haven't read before - what have I been doing with my life? :o

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AAAAK!!! (As our revered Founder might say...)


I have no time to write reviews!!!


ECA due, and two more assignments......... :( ... :o


Good luck everyone! xD


PS, yes a great review.

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The book I have chosen to review is "Like Bees, not Butterflies: child-initiated learning in the early years" edited by Sally and Phill Featherstone, published by A&C Black Publishers, 2008 - IBSN 978-01-906029-76-0


This is a very timely publication, coming just as the EYFS has enshrined as almost holy the notion of child initiated learning. There have been lots of conversations on the Forum about whether and how to plan for children's learning in the scary place practitioners now find themselves since topics and themes are considered out of favour. So I was more than a little surprised on opening the book at the introduction to find our own beloved Forum mentioned on page one! The editors quoted a post from 2007 from Guest_tabithawebb_* which you can read here which they feel articulated most eloquently the problem for practitioners who "feel themselves under pressure to provide something they are not sure how to do".


Several renowned early years experts and advisers have each written a chapter on a topic of their own choosing, and whilst they all stand alone as a kind of personal manifesto which outlines the author's ethos, they combine to produce a book which has a dual purpose for the reader, depending on their need. For the practitioner who is unsure where the differences between child-initiated and adult-led activities lie, there is ample definition of both terms, and explanation of what child-initiated learning looks like in practice.


There are lovely examples of real children following their own interests (some illustrated with photographs) which demonstrate the value of providing resources which provoke children's thinking and of giving children time and space to indulge their thirst for learning. There are bullet pointed lists of skills that practitioners need to develop and tactics they can employ to support children as they pursue these lines of inquiry without taking over the child's experience and turning it into an adult-led activity. In a chapter about the High/Scope approach, the author quotes a pedagogue who urges the reader to "surrender yourself to the moment [a child sponaneously becoming fascinated by something], take that moment and add to it, but resist the temptation to develop it into a topic".


For the reader who is interested in how research underpins practice, the authors explain the research that has shaped and informed their own personal theories and beliefs. So through careful and clearly worded explanations, we learn about how gender differences can affect play, how the links babies make between brain cells must be strengthened by practice and revisiting newly learned skills in order for them to be 'hard wired' into the brain, or how bilingual children are more flexible thinkers and are better information processors. Each chapter is followed by a list of references which should satisfy any student's desire for more information about a subject they find particularly interesting.


I would recommend this book because it all makes such good sense whatever level you are at on your own learning journey. There really is something for everyone: whether you need practical hints or seek theoretical knowledge. Whether you're interested in emergent writing, bilinguilism or are want to know how the EPPE research underpins much of the EYFS and why, you'll find it here and more besides. Jan Dubiel's chapter on assessment is a thoughtful exploration of what assessment is for and how it should be used. Sue Palmer urges us to get 'up close and personal' with the children we care for. Helen Bilton issues a rallying call to ditch the bikes and fill our outdoor spaces with materials which encourage children to think and solve problems and work together to achieve an aim.


The title is inspired by this quote from Anne Meade and sums it up rather nicely and is a good not on which to end, I think:-


"When observing young children... adults often think they are like butterflies, flitting from area to area. That may be true some of the time. However when integrated learning is taking place, another metaphor might be more appropriate; that of bees which gather nectar to integrate into something of significance".


There is little doubt in my mind that this book will help practitioners to stimulate and encourage child-initiated learning in their settings so that they can encourage the bee-like industry of children as they seek to make sense of their world, and develop the skills they need to become effective and life long learners!

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The book I have chosen to review is "Like Bees, not Butterflies: child-initiated learning in the early years" edited by Sally and Phill Featherstone, published by A&C Black Publishers, 2008 - IBSN 978-01-906029-76-0


:o WOW xD what a review :(:(:(

All I can really say is that I hold you entirely responsible for the fact that this book is now in my 'amazon basket' (along with a few others) :wacko:


Many thanks

Edited by Geraldine
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