A magical Christmas Eve

We were very lucky to have a visit from Heffers in Cambridge the other day and I just couldn’t resist this beautiful Christmas book. I’d come across many of the other Katie books, but not this festive story.

After hearing the first “Atchoo”, the Little Bookworms were entranced. They guessed that it could be Father Christmas straight away, yet they had no idea about Katie and Jack’s exciting journey that would follow.

The Little Bookworms loved spotting the landmarks of London and many of them said that they’d do anything to be one of Father Christmas’ helpers. One of the Little Bookworms wasn’t pleased about working through the night though as it might make her “cranky” on Christmas Day!

After working through the night, Buckingham Palace is the last stop and perhaps the most dangerous when Father Christmas is full of cold. The Little Bookworms held their breath when they saw the corgis sleeping peacefully by the Christmas tree and Father Christmas’ nose began to twitch.

Will they be discovered by the royal family?

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A classic Christmas tale

This has to be one of my favourite Christmas books 🎄

After becoming very familiar with “The Jolly Postman”, the Little Bookworms squealed with excitement when I introduced them to the Christmas version.

The Little Bookworms were initially confused by the Jolly Postman’s first stop – Four Bears Cottage. They insisted that there were only three bears, until it all became clear in the letter. After this unexpected change, they were eager to discover who else the Postman has letters for.

Encountering a dish and a spoon, a beanstalk, seven dwarves, Red Riding Hood, Humpty Dumpty, Gingerbread Boy, the Wolf, Three Little Pigs, Little Red Hen and Father Christmas himself, the Jolly Postman is a very important postman. The Little Bookworms loved making links between the characters and fairy tales, spotting rhymes, and especially loved Humpty Dumpty’s jigsaw!

What’s not to love about this book? Just wait until you see how the Jolly Postman gets home in the snow drift…

A wintery tale of friendship

The Littlest Bear loves playing in the snow, but he longs for a friend.

One night, when he cannot sleep, he goes for a wander and tumbles down a snow hill.

As the Little Bookworms predicted, when he reaches the bottom, he comes face to face with a wolf.

Unlike the terrifying wolves that the Littlest Bear’s Mum has warned him about – wolves that catch bears – this little wolf turns out to also be lost and helpless. What’s more, the Littlest Wolf is afraid of bears!

Can the Littlest Bear and the Littlest Wolf overcome their preconceptions and become friends?

Discovering winter

I love it when it’s time to pull out my bag of wintery picture books. The Little Bookworms loved uncovering this new collection of books and were spoilt for choice when it came to choosing one for today.

The Little Bookworms empathised with Charlie Crow who loves his home and is confused by the “strange happenings”.

Straight away, they realised Charlie was seeing the signs of winter. They giggled to think that Charlie thought someone had turned his bath into glass!

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Seeing Charlie and Squirrel having fun in the snow made the Little Bookworms reminisce about the snow we had at the beginning of the year.

I wonder whether we’ll have a white Christmas…

A troublesome troll

After already being familiar with “The Three Billy Goats Gruff”, the Little Bookworms were intrigued to see how “The Three Witty Goats Gruff” would be different. They loved the expressions on the goats’ faces and really sympathised with their desire for the luscious green grass.

One character they didn’t sympathise with quite so much was the Troll. They laughed at the thought of him still being there with his plate, waiting for his dinner. A couple of the Little Bookworms did feel sorry for the Troll though, since the goats might have been his only hope of food and everyone has to eat!

The Little Bookworms were immersed in this new version of the tale, joining in with the “trip trapping” over the bridge and the Troll’s frightening questions “Who’s that trip trapping over my bridge?”.

Knowing the original story meant that the Little Bookworms came up with great definitions for the ambitious vocabulary in the book, such as “delectable” and “ravenous”. Picture books are a brilliant way to expose children to new vocabulary.

A good or a bad egg?

The original “Humpty Dumpty” left the Little Bookworms feeling sorry for Humpty Dumpty, however, this “true story” insinuates that Humpty Dumpty is a bad egg after all.

Humpty Dumpty dares his friends to stand on the wall and do tricks, yet they all fall off.

All Humpty Dumpty does is laugh when his friends hurt themselves. Despite boasting about being able to stay on the wall, Humpty Dumpty has his comeuppance when he falls off the wall one day. As in the original, the king and his horses put him together again, but they are unimpressed with his actions.

Humpty decides that he’ll never sit on the wall again, yet he does not stay true to his word…

What could possibly happen next?

A well-known unexpected visitor

Most of the Little Bookworms were already familiar with “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and they absolutely loved the illustrations. They particularly enjoyed seeing how mischievous Goldilocks can be. I hope they haven’t been too inspired by her troublesome actions!

The Little Bookworms joined in with the familiar lines, including “Who’s been eating my porridge?”, and had great fun imitating the Three Bears’ voices.

After seeing Goldilocks’ terror when she wakes up and is face to face with the Three Bears, and her decision to change her ways, we discussed whether she could be forgiven for her actions.

One of the Little Bookworms made a great point that it was the Three Bears’ fault for leaving the door unlocked… Something I’d never considered before! Definitely a warning for all bears to lock their doors unless they want an unexpected visitor.

A wily or wonderful wolf?

Seeing a wolf winking on the front cover and hearing the question “Would I LIE to you?” in the first few pages made the Little Bookworms slightly sceptical about the wolf’s side of the story.

The wolf offers an explanation for everything. He depicts himself as a helpful wolf, a good friend to Grandma, and even makes a point about liking vegetarian cuisine.

It just all goes wrong one day when Grandma reaches into her wardrobe to grab her favourite dress, happens to fall over, and she knocks herself unconscious.

The Wolf has had enough of Little Red’s visits and her extremely sticky toffees (they’re not great for Grandma’s teeth). When Little Red makes a familiar comment about his big teeth, he jumps out of Grandma’s bed, and the confusion begins.

The wolf flees in terror as a woodcutter suddenly appears. Unfortunately, he loses the end of his tail!

Is the wolf as misunderstood as he makes out to be?

Truth or lies

Almost all of the Little Bookworms knew the story of the Three Little Pigs, but none of them had ever heard the “true story”.

This “true story” is A. Wolf’s attempt to justify his actions – primarily his reasons for devouring the Three Little Pigs.

Like many traditional tales, he begins his story “Once upon a time”. He is baking a cake for his grandma, but runs out of sugar, so, full of cold, he ventures to his neighbours’ houses to borrow some sugar.

What happens next is all too familiar…

A. Wolf sneezes and the next thing he knows, the straw and stick houses are in ruins with their owners as “dead as a doornail”. As for the brick house, it’s owner insults A. Wolf’s grandma, which sends him into a frenzy.

Building houses out of straw and sticks isn’t exactly wise and leaving food to spoil isn’t a great idea, but should A. Wolf really have gobbled up the pigs?

Surprisingly, the Little Bookworms empathised with A. Wolf, since all he wanted was a cup of sugar.

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