It was an impromptu long weekend with my sister and her family and so the usual reading material, and the weekend papers, were replaced with picture books and creative tasks (and I didn’t switch my laptop on once!!).
1. Geoff Waring – Oscar and the Bat. A Book about Sound
2. Geoff Waring – Oscar and the Frog. A Book about Growing.
3. Julie Aigner-Clark and Nadeem Zaidi – Ten Stars Twinkle.
4. Toy car ‘museum’
5. Coloured propelling pencils – San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
I have two fabulous nieces. The elder of the two is now five (and a quarter) and her sister is three years and two weeks younger and, like many kids, both have a great love of books. Being the family book worm, I am the de facto reader of bedtime stories and purchaser of books. For their birthdays this year, and aware that with an already substantial library that I was likely to purchase a book they already owned or had borrowed from the local library, I bought book vouchers for both nieces. It didn’t take either of them long to rifle through the shelves of the local Waterstones to find something of appeal. It was a good day for Hello Kitty, Charlie and Lola, and Peppa the Pig.
Sitting on my bookshelf at home, waiting for their visits are three less well known reads. When I bought Julie Aigner-Clark’s Ten Stars Twinkle, illustrated by Nadeem Zaidi, I completely underestimated the significance that this book would play in explaining to my eldest niece my trips back and forth to Sydney and my attraction to that great city. It is one of the few books, beyond those based in London, New York and Paris, that brings the city and Australia so definitively into the book. And despite now being well past the recommended age of 36 months, it remains her favourite bed time read, although the glittery stars throughout and illuminated moon on the final page may have something to do with that!
More recently acquired, because two nieces are the best excuse to acquire picture books, are two of the the beautifully illustrated Oscar books. Although illustrated books rarely go out of fashion, of which Harold of purple crayon fame and Madeline are a good examples, these have contemporary graphics that would make great posters.
But it’s not all about the books. Our parents saved a couple of key toys from our childhood. My wooden building blocks and Lego, rediscovered during Mum’s annual Easter weekend clear out, are responsible for my career in the built environment, apparently. My sister’s hoard includes her car collection that her girls were instantly drawn to. Her racing car, beach buggy and open top saloon (complete with her teeth marks) are joined by a Ford Granada towing a caravan, a hovercraft and fuel tanker, and assorted wooden and battered metal vehicles, that negotate the street map carpet, a much applauded addition!
And then there was the drawing, stamping, glitter painting and colouring in…..
It was a great weekend and we’re now home for a rest. Much to the dog’s relief!