Tuesday 11 September 2012

Meeow and the Blue Table by Sebastien Braun (Boxer Books)

Now here's an interesting little book, and one that had a rather unexpected reception from Charlotte. Watching her read this with my wife was quite fascinating because it's the first time we've sat down with Charlotte and books, and seen her put into practice the structured learning and sound learning she's picking up at school. So it's sinking in, definitely :)

Meoow and the Blue Table is the story of cute little cat Meeow and his animal friends as they play dress-up and let their imaginations soar. They make lovely outfits, and props and then decide to turn the blue table into a castle.

Books that bridge the gap between a story picture book and an actual learning / early readers book are tough to get right. Often, early readers books concentrate on the sterile repetition of words, and the story gets completely lost on the child. Linking early reading skills with large print, repeated word-sounds and large colourful illustrations showing scenarios that are absolutely familiar to a child (playing dress-up, cooking in the kitchen with mummy and daddy, etc) are what mark the Meeow books out and make them stand out from the crowd.

For me, it was a delightful moment that showed me the crack of light behind the door to Charlotte's reading future. It's the first time I've really seen her hungry to learn how to read rather than sitting back and letting us (mummy and daddy) read the story to her. Really impressed with how this book affected that stage and how great it was seeing her do that. Hat tip to Sebastien Braun!

Charlotte's best bit: "The Cow is Me!" (yes, alas we still get this all too often with any books. Charlotte instantly identifies a character that becomes 'her' for the duration of the story, in this case a cow who dresses up as a princess!)

Daddy and Mummy's favourite bit: Seeing Charlotte putting her school work into practice and her learning journey essentials (sounding out different sounds in words like "SSS" or "OO") really sinking in and being used. Top Job, Mrs Smales!