Mutterings of a Fool

Man, Dad, Runner, Chief dog walker

Tag: book review (page 2 of 2)

Matilda’s book reviews – Winnie the Pooh and the trouble with bees

Matilda took a little break from reviewing books while we were on holiday (I did argue that every day is a holiday for her but she wouldn’t listen), but now we’re back home we’re back being obsessed with books again!

Baby products that have some sort of TV or cartoon character on them are almost guaranteed to have me running for the hills. I really just don’t get why you’d want that for your child. However I do have a little soft spot for Winnie the Pooh, albeit mainly the books and this one is no exception. So for this latest book review from Matilda I give you Winnie the Pooh and the trouble with bees

It was a random find in a local bookshop, one of these places selling books at knock down prices and is now one of our firm favourites. In fact I’d say it’s more of a favourite with the lady of the manor that Matilda which is saying something.

The lady of the manor loves the words that rhyme and flow beautifully, a happy bouncy bit of prose that is fun to read. Her favourite page is “seven bees buzzing followed by Pooh, they bumble and tumble and whizz past Roo”. A really simple concept of counting down from 10 to 1 with all your favourite Winnie the Pooh characters involved. It feels like a book that is perfect for the next stage of reading after bright colourful touchy feely books that seem to be the norm for 1 year olds.

Matilda loves the ‘bees’ that are on each page in the white circles, she likes to touch and feel them and then watch as one magically disappears as you turn the page. She loves spotting the characters on each page and I think enjoys the way the rhyme sounds, certainly she laughs at me, but of course that could be for many reasons.

So a big thumbs up for this book, a great one to add to the collection and one I think will get read for many years even once she can read herself.

Matilda’s book reviews – If I were a duck and Good Egg

I’m reliably informed (although reliably by a man that used to write about cats, so how reliable is that) that my rant below is actually wrong and the book’s publisher is right. Well that may be so but I’m sticking to my guns, If I were a duck just doesn’t sound right and what’s more just makes me want to say it in a west country accent.

Last week was week 3 of these book review posts and I ‘may’ have failed to post anything, I did have a good excuse though what with being on a plane on the way back from California and all. I have to say though I am very disappointed that none of you my adoring readers pointed out this fact.

So this week I am giving you not one but two reviews because I’m just that kind of guy.

If I were a duck

First up is If I were a duck and in a change from all the reviews I have done so far this one is not a good one. Matilda loves it, it has furry bits on the page to touch, what toddler wouldn’t like it? The book is sweet in the way it tells you about all the things you could do if you were  duck and has nice bright pictures  again great for Matilda.

But I despise this book for one very simple reason; the name. Just because it’s aimed at under 2’s I don’t see that as a good reason for bad grammar. Why not call it if I WAS a duck? It still works, there is no rhyming or anything that would be upset. It’s simply poor to publish a book with such poor English. I may just be being picky but these things grate and I can feel the anger boiling up whenever Matilda trots over with it.

Aaaannnddd breath. Rant over.

Good egg

The second book however is a firm favourite with both of us, good egg by Barney Saltzberg is as you might have guessed is about an egg. Each page has the egg doing different things like sit, roll over, shake with cardboard pulls on each page to make the egg do those things. Matilda is obsessed with roll over, it’s the first page she turns to every time, unfortunately she also pulls the egg off the page every time as well. That’s not so fun.

But it’s a fun book, simple concept with movement on every page and helps teach your child what each action means. This one can stay on the book shelf, the first one however may well get lost somewhere.

Matilda’s book reviews – Peace at last

Look at this, one week on from the launch of my new weekly feature and I almost fail to post the second instalment. Oh it may look like this is posting on Tuesday but I’m currently in California for work and it’s still Monday here. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Peace at last is another of my all time favourite books, is it wrong to choose books for Matilda because I like them? In any case this is a fun story. Perhaps a tiny bit old for Matilda still given the amount of words in it and her attention span which is less than a Goldfish’s. But it’s a nice story, a funny story that could be oh so true and ends with a nice cup of tea. What more could you ask for?

If you haven’t heard of it before it’s the story of daddy bear who is trying to sleep but everywhere in the house (and outside it) he goes there is too much noise. This gives great opportunity for impersonating cuckoo clocks, fridges, birds and an alarm clock. Perfect dad reading material.

It of course has beautiful illustrations to go with the words, full of bright colours and things that you can point out to your child to help them learn. Matilda and I always spot where daddy bear is on each page.

Somehow we have ended up with 3 copies of this book, which I guess mean that it’s also a favourite of our friends and family as I don’t think we’ve bought them!

Matilda’s book reviews; Dear Zoo

Well don’t I have a treat for you? I am today starting a new regular feature on this here blog. Oh yes, no longer just random brain farts about whatever happens to be occupying my mind at the time but actual planning of posts. I love reading, the Lady of the Manor loves reading so it is somewhat unsurprising that Matilda is OBSESSED with books. I mean really obsessed. If you sit down for even 10 seconds somewhere near where she is playing she will grab a book and crawl over to you with it and demand for it to be read. While the 5th reading of a Bear on a bike in as many minutes might begin to drive us crazy I’ll never complain that she wants to read rather play with some plastic, made in China toy.

So the feature is this, every Monday I will post a review of the latest book that Matilda is obsessed with. There’ll be some comments from Matilda on why she likes it and some from me as Dad having to read them. 

The first book I wanted to share is a classic and a long time favourite. It’s so good we have it in a few different formats, a small buggy one and at least 2 larger format ones. 

What I love about Dear Zoo is the opportunity to do lots of different voices for each animal; a deep scary voice for the line, a Voldermort style hiss for the snake and a grumpy Eeyore voice for the camel. Plus of course all the animal noises that go with them. I also love the simplicity of it, for Matilda’s age it’s perfect to have the repeated phrase and simple story. With the added advantage of being able to pull back the cages etc to reveal the animals.

Matilda mainly likes trying to pull off the cages that hide the animals, she seems to think that destruction is part of the game. But she does do a very good snake impression and laughs her head off as we do the other animal noises together. She also has a pretty scary Lions raw perfected.

So all in all a classic book. Simple, educational, interactive and colourful. It may be the first review but I’m going to be bold and say that this book sets the standard, an essential on any toddlers book shelf.

P.S. The book also started an interesting debate amongst the adults of Camel vs. Dromedary. Did anyone ever hear of a Dromedary while at school? My little cousins who went to school in the States know all about them but the concept was new to me and the Lady of the Manor even when in our twenties.

Book review; A Fathers Journey by Mary Kay

The first few weeks and months as a new dad can be a scary time, as I’ve written before I found it difficult bonding with Matilda during this period. I didn’t have much time off work and the lady of the manor was breastfeeding so finding regular opportunities for quality time wasn’t easy. Something we discussed recently was whether baby massage could have been/could be a useful tool for this, not only would it help Matilda relax etc it also would be something I could do. But this was as far as we went with the idea.

A Father's Journey.inddA new book called book called Baby Massage Experience with My Father; A Fathers Journey by Mary Kay is due to be released on 24th September and I’m fortunate to have a pre-release copy to read. The book is based on the experiences of the author and is about a couple becoming new parents. The father Mike has no experience of babies, lacks any confidence even in holding his daughter and ultimately struggles to bond with her. Both his mother and mother in law come to stay when the baby is born and their old school approach to being a parent whereby a father isn’t involved in the baby’s upbringing further fuels his feeling of being disconnected and unneeded. Add in a mother trying to cope with a lack of sleep and hormones flying round her body (starting to sound familiar) and you are quickly heading for a big problem unless support is provided.

This arrives in the form of their health visitor who suggests joining a baby massage class as a couple. To cut a long story short this finally provides Mike the opportunity to interact with his daughter in a supportive environment and gradually gives him the confidence to look after his daughter and a regular chance to bond with her.

The topics that this book covers are something that I’m passionate about, the common theme throughout is that dads are generally ignored when it comes to providing pre and post natal support. There are very few councils or NHS Trusts that provide any classes or support programs that even include dads let alone are focused on them. I’ve lost count of the number of activities the lady of the manor has taken part in, which not only provide her with skills and knowledge but also the opportunity to meet other mothers and build a support network. This just doesn’t exist today for most dads.

In a world where fathers are now expected (rightly so) to be part of their children’s upbringing and where both parents or just the mother even may work these support systems are essential. So reviewing this book I may be a little bias, but despite this if all new parents could read a copy then it would probably help both mum and dad realise they are not alone in how they feel and that baby massage could perhaps be a good medium for bringing about change.

I will be honest and say that I don’t think this book is going to win any literary awards, it seems to jump a little bit between being written in purely a factual style to being more like a piece of fiction. However the author captures well the emotions that both parents feel at each stage of the story. It isn’t a long book which I think is good, it has enough content to do justice to the story and communicate clearly the main points however it doesn’t delve into the precise medical detail behind issues. Both of these mean that it is more likely to be read (if you’re feeling stressed as a parent the last think you want to do is read 300 pages) while still capturing the essence of the situation.

So would I recommend it? I think I probably would, it addresses a very real issue for new parents today and would help new dads to realise that there are things they can do if they feel lost or helpless. It provides an insight into what baby massage involves and how it can benefit babies and parents alike.

If you are interested in ordering a copy you can find it on the M2BN publishing website here.

I cannot finish writing about this topic and support for dads without mentioning Dean from Daddy Natal. Dean is the only male qualified ante-natal educator in the UK and runs classes just for men and is constantly campaigning for local authorities to provide better (or any) support for dads.

This is a sponsored post, I was given a free copy of the book to review but have not been given any instructions on what to say. All the opinions here are my own.

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