Tag Archives: Fiction

Sneak peek of Half Hour Hara at the 2021 AKADA Children’s Book Festival

Half Hour Hara at the 2021 Akada Children’s Book Festival


I am excited to announce to you that I will be speaking at this year’s Akada Children’s Book Festival, themed “My Happy Place” holding on the 1st -3rd of July, 2021.
The Akada Children’s Book Festival (ACBF) is a fun event to showcase children’s books written by African authors, or books written by authors around the world for a diverse audience of children. Think: Bunmi Aboderin Talabi, Jude Idada, Ayo Oyeku, Yejide Kilanko, Nnenna Ochiche and more …😁 There is also a free writing workshop by accord Literary’s finest: Sarah Odedina and Deborah Ahenkorah!!


Do you know the almost best part? It’s an online event. You can join in from wherever you are on the globe and it is absolutely free. All you need to do is register at akadafestival.org


The best part, on Saturday July 3rd at 1pm, you will get a sneak peek of my book, ‘The Case of the Broken Eggs’, the first book in the Half Hour Hara series!!


See you there!”

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Juba and the Fireball

Title: Juba and the Fireball

Author: Yejide Kilanko

Publisher: Narrative Landscape Press; Ayoka Books

Number of pages: 35

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 4 – 8

Available here: https://narrativelandscape.com/product/juba-and-the-fireball/ ; https://www.konga.com/product/juba-and-the-fireball-by-yejide-kilanko-5096161; https://www.amazon.co.uk/Juba-Fireball-Yejide-Kilanko/dp/1999292073 

Price: N2000, N2000; 9GBP

MY SUMMARY

‘Anger burns like fire. If you don’t control the flames, they will consume you.’

Juba has a terrible temper. He constantly gets in fights, breaks precious things and makes his mum sad. Will he learn to overcome his anger or will it consume him?

Juba and the Fireball is a warm and delightful tale about a little boy’s struggle with anger, personified as a fireball that lives in his stomach.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I absolutely loved the illustration of the fireball. I was thrilled to pieces by the stories Juba’s dad told him and the way he told them and the relationship between his parents. Kilanko has a way with emotions. Again, as she did with “There Is An Elephant In My Wardrobe”, Kilanko breaks down a difficult emotion that many children struggle with and proposes a successful and mindful way of dealing with it. She also helps parents understand what children go through when they are consumed by anger. Her dialogue is realistic. I found myself laughing on the first page at the exchange between Juba and his mother. They could have been my son and I. J

Juba’s father is one of the highlights of this book for me. One of my favourite lines from the book was his:

“When people give us the gift of their forgiveness,

we honour it with changed behaviour”

He reminds me very much of my grandfather. He is a sage and he doles out nuggets of wisdom through proverbs and stories. This book also features the story within a story structure and several poetic devices which make it lyrical. The alliterative ‘s’ sound is a common feature throughout the book. It is definitely a must-read for children. More and more books which discuss negative emotions and how to overcome them must be made for children. Kilanko does a great service to humanity with her books.  

DOWN: None

RATING

4 stars

TRIVIA

  1. Ask your child to tell you three things they can do to calm down when they are angry. Brainstorm some good ideas: reading, exercising, counting breaths, singing, etc.

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK (kinda)

  1. Help your child cope with anger: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/children-and-young-adults/advice-for-parents/help-your-child-with-anger-issues/

CHALLENGE: Juba and the Fireball

CREATE (WRITE OR DRAW)

  1. Write a short story about a time when you were ngry and how you overcame it. (100 words)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Sunday, July 2nd  2021 

Next Book of the Week:

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

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photo credit: narrativelandscape press

Hello Universe

Title: Hello Universe 

Author: Erin Entrada Kelly

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Number of pages: 320

Type of Book: Fiction, adventure, drama, contemporary

Genre: Middle Grade

Age: 8 – 12

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Hello-Universe-Erin-Entrada-Kelly/dp/0062414151

Price: $10.49

MY SUMMARY

This heartwarming tale follows the lives of 4 very different kids with distinct loveable traits, Virgil (the shy one), Valencia (the courageous, deaf one), Kaori (the self-acclaimed psychic) and Chet (the bully). Virgil, the protagonist, is a shy, often bullied, middle grader with one fervent wish, to find the courage to talk to the girl of his dreams, Valencia. To achieve this goal, he enlists the help of another middle grader, Kaori. When Virgil sets off for his meeting with Kaori, he comes across Chet, his nemesis, and as a result, finds himself trapped in an abandoned well, deep in the woods. Faced with the horrible fate on never getting out of the well, he must reach inside himself to find the strength to overcome his fears …

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: As you may have already guessed, I am not a fan of contemporary fiction but this was a delight to read. It has little bits of adventure, humour, tragedy, light romance, great pacing and suspense! I decided to read it because sometime last month, everyone in the #kidslit community was talking about it. I love it because it didn’t disappoint at all. In fact, it surpassed expectations. It was so good that I totally forgot to read as a writer until I was half way through.

I loved the use of multiple perspectives! First, the story was told from the point of view of four different characters, then 3 out of those characters had their stories told in third person while one, Valencia’s, was told in first person using the present tense. It was executed to perfection and each character’s voice was distinctive.

I absolutely loved learning about Filipino culture and folktales. I also really enjoyed the fact that the characters were strikingly diverse; there’s a Japanese-American, a Filipino-American and one with a hearing defect. In Hello Universe, Erin Entrada Kelly celebrates friendship and overcoming one’s fears. Having Virgil, Valencia and Kaori find themselves in the end was nothing short of beautiful. I love happy endings! The last line was absolutely heartwarming. I almost cried! I highly recommend this one.

Note that this book won a NEWBERY!

DOWN: It had a sagging beginning problem! The first few chapters were quite slow! It also did lean heavily towards fate and the powers of the universe and Ouija boards and the like. Not my cup of tea.  

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read an excerpt here: https://preview.aer.io/Hello_Universe-MjQwMDQ=?social=0&retail=0&emailcap=0

CHALLENGE: Hello Universe 

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Read the excerpt using the link above, then write your own ending. (500 words)

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 8 – 12 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, June 13th 2021.

Next Book of the Week:

THE SECRET OF THE PURPLE LAKE by Yaba Badoe

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photo credit: Amazon

Idia of the Benin Kingdom

Title: Idia of the Benin Kingdom

Author: Ekiuwa Aire; Illustrator: Alina Shabelnyk

Publisher: Our Ancestories

Number of pages: 40

Type of Book: Picture book, Fiction with elements of Non-Fiction

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: ;  https://our-ancestories.com/product/idia-of-the-benin-kingdom-childrens-book/ ; https://www.amazon.com/Idia-Benin-Kingdom-Ekiuwa-Aire/dp/1777117925/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Price: $17.99; $13.99

MY SUMMARY

Idia was an ordinary little girl who had an extraordinary dream about a brave female warrior with magical healing powers. Curious, she begged her father to teach her how to be a warrior and her mother to teach her the art of magic and medicine. Little did she know that she would become the brave warrior in her dream as well as the first Queen mother of the ancient Benin Kingdom. Read this story of perseverance and courage to learn about the history of one of Africa’s most illustrious queens.  

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I have read quite a bit on Queen Idia as I mentioned in an earlier post but I have never read a book about her childhood so I absolutely loved this one. The author used sprinkles of rhyme and repetition and lots of lyrical language to make this picture book a great read. Blending fact and fiction, she described the life – particularly the childhood – of Queen Idia with some detail and quite a bit of flair.  

One of my favourite paragraphs:

People buzzed with excitement in the center of the village. The Oba (King) was there. Hands slapped drums. Fires were started to cook the feast. Idia adjusted her beads and greeted all her friends.

The illustrations blew my mind. They are vibrant, detailed, apt, evocative and sublimely different from the norm, they truly gave life to the words and made the book shine!

I also loved the use of Edo words. The icing on the cake was the historical factsheet at the end of the book. I loved everything about this book and I would highly recommend it for lovers of Edo culture and their children. 😀

DOWN: None.

RATING

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Read it for free via Kindle Unlimited.
  2. Register with http://eepurl.com/g8iB-D to receive a free digital copy of the Idia of the Benin Kingdom coloring and book.
  3. Watch a video trailer here:
  1. For more information about the book, visit https://our-ancestories.com/product/idia-of-the-benin-kingdom-childrens-book/

CHALLENGE: Idia of the Benin Kingdom

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw a warrior queen (4 – 6 year olds)
  2. Find four words which can be used to describe Idia in the crossword puzzle below (7 – 8 year olds)
QUEENMOTHERDX
VNOHGONDSAMAO
KSARESBENGENN
HBGRAYWKBLUCN
IHEALERTIONET
ODSJAAGKNRSRS
OCNKLEWALKSNA
LXSWARRIORPLF

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com.

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, December 13th 2020.

Next Book of the Week:

TRISTAN STRONG PUNCHES A HOLE IN THE SKY by Kwame Mbalia

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photo credit: amazon.com

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

 

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Title: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle

Publisher: Philomel Books

Number of pages: 24

Type of Book: Fiction; Educational

Age: 0 – 4

Available here:http://readingcorner.ng/ProductDetails.asp?SubCatagoryID=621&ProductID=2094; Instagram: @tams_ink; http://www.amazon.com/Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-Eric-Carle/dp/0399226907; borrow it here: http://zodml.org/eachbook.php?id=694

Price: N2,200; N3,500; $5.52; Free

MY SUMMARY

A little bit of science for toddlers. This book tells the story of a caterpillar’s journey to becoming a butterfly. But first the caterpillar eats through amazing fruits, veggies (and the book) until it becomes quite sick! Read this little package to your toddler to teach him about butterflies, fruits, days of the week, etc., in the most fun way possible!

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: I LOOOOOVVVEEEEE this book!!!!! Using brilliant illustrations, this book shows toddlers how to count (from 1 to 5), some fruits (apples, pears, etc.), some food (cheese, cakes, sausages, etc.), some colors, days of the week (Monday to Sunday), and a little bit of science (the very hungry caterpillar becomes a beautiful butterfly at the end of the book!). The icing on the cake? The caterpillar eats through the pages of the book as it eats through the fruits in the book. I recommend this book for all kids aged 0 to 4!

DOWN: None!!!

RATING

5 Stars.

TRIVIA

  1. This book is sold somewhere in the world every thirty seconds![1]

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

    1. Team the reading experience with a visit to eric-carle.com
    2. Watch a video here: 

CHALLENGE: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw and colour 4 (four) fruits found in Nigeria. (4 year olds)

OR

  1. Identify and colour the caterpillar (2-3 year olds)

http://www.eric-carle.com/ColoringSheet.jpg

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 2 – 4 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday, March 17th 2018.

Next Book of the Week:

BUT NOT THE HIPPOPOTAMUS by Sandra Boynton

 

[1] http://www.amazon.com/Very-Hungry-Caterpillar-Eric-Carle/dp/0399226907

 

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photo credit: amazon.com

Where The Wild Things Are

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Title: Where The Wild Things Are

Author: Maurice Sendak

Publisher: Red Fox Books

Number of pages: 48

Type of Book: Fiction; Fantasy

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: (Instagram) @tams_ink; https://www.amazon.com/Where-Wild-Things-Maurice-Sendak/dp/0064431789/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1519811649&sr=1-1&keywords=where+the+wild+things+are

Price: N2650; $6.36

MY SUMMARY

“Wild thing!”, Max’s mother called him one night after he put on a wolf’s costume and a king’s crown and tried to wreak havoc at home with first, a hammer and then, a fork. Sent to his bedroom without dinner, he imagined himself in an exciting new place filled with wild things, with no mothers, no rules and lots of time to play. He was even crowned the King of the wild things! And all seemed well with the world until …

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP:

  1. It’s a classic, first published in 1963.
  2. Oh the places you’ll go … this time, not when you read but when you have an overactive imagination. This book celebrates one of the joys of most childhoods, an active imagination.
  3. Maurice uses vibrant illustrations to turn Max’s bedroom first into a forest and then a forest leading to an ocean and then a whole new world!

DOWN: Monsters! Monsters and more Monsters! Images of huge, yellow-eyed, horned creatures with long sharp teeth and longer sharper claws are splashed generously across the pages of this book. They are stuff childhood nightmares are made of. My almost 4-year-old sat quietly through the reading, no comments, no questions, just silence. We won’t be reading this again, at least not in the near future. Not recommended for night time reading.

RATING

4 Stars

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Watch a video here:

 CHALLENGE: Where the Wild Things Are

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

Watch the video above, then …

  1. List 3 characters in the book (3 – 5 year olds)
  2. List three characters in the book starting with the letter M. Find them in the crossword puzzle below (6 – 8 year olds)
Z D C Y H N M K S G J B X
V N O H G O N R S R M N O
K B A R E D E E E G E A N
H B G M O T H E R L U E N
I W B U S E A K R R E I T
O D S N A B A G N X A M S
O C O K W E T E G I D B A
L M S S A E L P R U P L F

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Friday, March 2nd 2018.

Next Book of the Week:

ANIKE ELEKO by Sandra Joubeaud

 

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photo credit: amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba

51opAmzCSyL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_-2

Title: Sleep well, Siba and Saba

Author: Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl (illustrated by Sandra Van Doorn)

Publisher: Lantana Publishing

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age3- 8

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Well-Nansubuga-Nagadya-Isdahl/dp/1911373099/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1518566520&sr=8-1 ; https://www.lantanapublishing.com/shop/books/sleep-well-siba-saba/

Price: $12.75; 7.99GBP

MY SUMMARY

In this heart-warming story, Ugandan sisters Siba and Saba lose things (anything you can imagine, slippers, umbrellas, sweaters, sandals, cats!) during the day and find them in their dreams at night! One day, or rather one night, their dreams take an interesting turn … * read the book*

Dream and wake with Siba and Saba to enjoy the sights and sounds of Uganda.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: It gives readers a sneak peek into life in Uganda, from the markets and the beaches to the plants and animals, to the rich culture and a little bit of Lugandan (the language). Readers will go on a safari with the sisters, see and learn about the hustle and bustle of city of Kampala, the sandy beaches at Ssese islands, etc.

DOWN: None.

RATING

5 Stars

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Watch a video here:
  2. Read an excerpt here: https://www.lantanapublishing.com/shop/books/sleep-well-siba-saba/

 CHALLENGE: Sleep well, Siba and Saba

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

Study the picture below, then …

Sleep-Well-Siba-and-Saba-promo-2-e1490285466133

  1. Find Siba and Saba (3 – 5 year olds)
  2. Find three things in the picture in the crossword puzzle below (6 – 8 year olds)
Z D C Y H N M K D G J B X
V N O H G O N D S R M N O
K B A R E D B E E G E A N
H B G R A Y W T D L U E N
I W B U S E A K R R E I T
O D S J A B A G N R I U S
O C N K W E T E G I D B A
L X S S A E L P R U P L F

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 3 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Friday, February 23rd 2018.

Next Book of the Week:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak

 

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photo credit: lantanapublishing.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Day the Crayons Quit

FEBRUARY IS ‘COLOUR‘ MONTH

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Title: The Day the Crayons Quit

Author: Drew Daywalt

Publisher: Philomel Books

Number of pages: 40

Type of Book: Fiction

Age: 3 – 8

Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Day-Crayons-Quit-Drew-Daywalt/dp/0399255370 ; http://readingcorner.ng/P3052-The-Day-the-Crayons-Quit-C621.asp ; http://www.tamsinkbooks.com.ng/product/the-day-the-crayons-quit/

Price: $12:09; N2,200; N4,000

MY SUMMARY

There is a crisis in Duncan’s crayon box. When he opens it, he finds a stack of letters from his crayons, they’ve quit! Red and Blue are exhausted – from colouring so many hearts and apples, rivers and oceans – and need a break. Purple wants Duncan to colour inside and not outside the lines and Yellow and Orange are quarreling because they both claim to be the true colour of the sun. Read the book to find out how Duncan solves the problems in crayon-land.

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: It tickled my funny bone, I loved it. If crayons had voices, they would probably say the things that the crayons in Duncan’s box had to say. Guaranteed to make your little artist laugh.

DOWN: None.

RATING

5 Stars

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

  1. Watch a read-aloud video here:

 CHALLENGE: The Day the Crayons Quit

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw a picture of a creature with 10 colours (3 – 6 year olds)
  2. Find ten colours in the crossword puzzle below (7 – 8 year olds)
Z D C Y H N M K D G J B X
V N O H G O N D S A M N O
K S A R E D B E I G E A N
H B G R A Y W K B L U E N
I W O L L E Y K R O E I T
O D S J A A G K N R S U S
O C N K L E T E G I D N A
L X S B A E L P R U P L F

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 3 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Friday, February 16th 2018.

Next Book of the Week:

SLEEP WELL, SIBA AND SABA by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl

 

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photo credit: amazon.com

 

 

 

 

 

Dad Goes To School

dadgoestoschool-Screen Shot 2016-06-06 at 8.46.38 PM

Title: Dad Goes to School

Author: Mandy Collins

Publisher: Mango Books, an imprint of Quramo Publishing

Number of pages: 32

Type of Book: Fiction; African

Age: 4 – 8

Buy it here: http://quramo.com/content/dad-goes-school-0 ; Terra Kulture, 1376 Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island Lagos.

Price: N1000; N1200

MY SUMMARY

Nandi wanted Dad to stay in school with her so she wailed and wailed and wailed until Dad promised to go to school with her for a whole day. The very next day, he did just that. But things didn’t quite turn out the way Nandi hoped…

THUMBS UP AND DOWN

UP: This book was shortlisted for the 2014 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books, one of the best prizes for African Kid’s Lit! Perfect for every child with a love for early morning tantrums, it reminds me of the line, ‘Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it!’

DOWN: None.

RATING

4 Stars

HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK

Watch the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB2cV0Dkp1s 

CHALLENGE: Dad Goes to School

CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

  1. Draw Nandi and Dad in Nandi’s class (4 – 6 year olds)
  2. List 2 characters in the book? (7 – 8 year olds)

Find them in the crossword puzzle below (7 – 8 year olds)

Z D C Y H N M K D G J B X
V N C H D O N D S A M N O
K S A R I D I E A I D A E
H J O N T D W D O M H I N
I D T H D O L A R O E I T
O D S J A I S K T N S U S
O C N K I L T E E O D N A
L X S D A N G L S A K L F

 

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com

Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 4 – 8 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book.

Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Friday, February 9th 2018.

Next Book of the Week:

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

 

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photo credit: quramo.com

 

 

 

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

FEBRUARY IS ‘COLOUR’ MONTH

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Title: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?
Author: Bill Martin Jnr, Eric Carle
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Number of pages: 26
Type of Book: Fiction; Educational
Age: 0 – 4
Buy it here: https://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bear-What-You-See/dp/0805047905 Borrow it here: https://thebookwormcafe.libib.com
Price:$6.19
MY SUMMARY
A teacher uses a peculiar method to teach his class about animals and colors. He makes the animals and kids believe that they are being watched!

‘Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?
I see a red bird looking at me

Red bird, red bird, what do you see?
I see a yellow duck looking at me’

The kids are introduced to 9 (nine) different colors like red, yellow, blue, purple, green etc. as well as 9 (nine) different animals like the gold fish, horse, frog, bear and bird, etc.
THUMBS UP AND DOWN
UP
: There were many highlights. First off, the pages were filled with bright and colorful pictures of animals. Then, the book featured lots of colours and colours are our theme for our 0 – 4 age group for the month of February! Then, its edutainment quality. It introduces kids to different animals and teaches them to identify sight words as well as similar words! Kids will be able to ‘read along’, after a few reads. Finally, the icing on the cake: the use of rhyme and repetition.
I recommend for all 0 – 4 year-olds. It’s a sturdy book too so it will survive those destructive little fingers.

NB: this book was first published in 1967, 50 years ago!!
DOWN: None
RATING
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
HAVE FUN WITH THIS BOOK
1 Sing, instead of reading. Better still, make it a call and response song. So sing
‘Brown Bear Brown Bear, What Do you see?’
And let your toddler respond with
‘I see a red bird looking at me’
2 Try the exercises below
3 Try making animal sounds
CHALLENGE: Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?
CREATE (WRITE a Story/Poem OR DRAW)

1 Draw and colour 4 animals. (2 – 4 year olds)
OR
2 Colour the animals in the sheet below

image

Send your answers to ugochinyelu.anidi@gmail.com
Entry requirements: Entrants must be within the 2 – 4 age range. The first correct entry will be announced on this page and will win a copy of this book. Answers must be submitted before 12:00am on Tuesday February 21st 2017.
Next Book of the Week:
THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT by Eric Carle

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photo credit: amazon.com