Friday, 2 December 2016

The Puddleman, The Rainbow Machine and our reading habits

Hunt's The Rainbow Machine (left) and Briggs' The Puddleman
Perhaps it's my fascination for legends - and there's an abundance of them in Philippine folklore - that gets me drawn to children's stories that theorise where things come from. A couple of years ago, we borrowed The Puddleman by Raymond Briggs from the town library. The story is about a boy who encounters the man who puts in puddles. It's just so funny and witty and charming that I bought our own copy. Last month my daughter brought home Roderick Hunt's The Rainbow Machine, which she likened to her very own rainbow projector toy. The book is part of Oxford Reading Tree stories (level 8). Right away I felt the similarity between the two stories though I believe The Puddleman is a more recent book and directed to older readers.

We removed the second shelf or he might
climb on it, still, he found something else
to do: he now empties the shelf and then
sits on it, already a big reader at 18 months.
The town library is a 20-minute walk from our house and it's one of those exercises that I like with an intended destination (if I went out for a walk, I'd rather that we walked somewhere). We haven't been there for ages, only because M has got enough books in her own library. Also, when I go there, I need a pushchair to cart the books we borrow as we usually go up to the limit for one person and borrow 20, most of them hardbound.

In September 2015, M started school (Reception) six weeks before her 5th birthday and when their teacher said all children would be reading by the end of October, I thought, no way that would happen. But the teachers were fantastic -- the Reception Class was rated "Outstanding" by Ofsted the previous year, assuring our children the best start in school. I believe it was the only one that got that rating for that level in the borough. True enough, M got her first set of reading books first week of November and she easily moved up levels after that. We've always read books to her that were quite advanced for her age, but a consequence of that is she requires our speed and she prefers being read to. She would read the easy books to her brother (and he himself is now getting into reading this early, see right photo) but I have yet to see her reading the more advanced books on her own. I'm being patient as I myself didn't read a lot as a child, not even children's books. I started devouring books only when I was 16 and nothing would stop me then. I know M's time will come.

Aside from word of mouth or the internet, the town library and the school are our best sources of finding great children's books. I tend to buy copies of books that we borrowed that I really like, probably not ones that my daughter would choose for herself right now, however, she also gets to buy books that she likes if she asks because, who could say no to books?
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