It's all about book appreciation here, partly just to spread the word about the books that come to be part of our lives (mine and Emma's) and also as a little motivation for me to read more, and be more constant with my reading.
I try to focus on one of Emma's books and one of mine, usually the one I'm reading at that time, but not always, since this is supposed to be a monthly series and these days I often struggle to get through a book in a month.
My parents sent Emma this book for her birthday - it took ages for the parcel to arrive; they posted it about a month before and it arrived almost a month later! Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, published by Nosy Crow and beautifully illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang, has things to slide or push on each page and there's a QR code that takes you to the song, although Emma knows it very well already. I sometimes hear her singing it to herself - a sort of hum with the words "star" and "high" added in!
We love the page with the dial that you rotate to show different animals running after each other on the ground and birds and balloons and other objects flying across the night sky. The other day Emma started saying "batcha, batcha" and we couldn't work out what she meant. Eventually, she led me into the bedroom where her book was open on the bed and pointed to a picture of a crow. Then I got it; the crow was flying across the top of the dial but along the bottom was a picture of a badger. So I pointed out that badger to her, then showed her another badger in her book A New House for Mouse, one of her favourites. It seems like a pretty random word for her to learn, but it just goes to show how important books can be for acquiring new vocabulary - and not just for toddlers.
I first read Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy when I was doing my GCSEs many many many years ago. I was about 15 or 16 years old and it was one of the books we had to study for English. I remember that I enjoyed it a lot, but now I don't remember much about the story so re-reading it after all these years is almost like reading it for the first time.
Like all of Thomas Hardy's novels, the book is set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex in the 19th century among rural communities and small towns. I haven't read very far yet, but so far there has already been a dramatic change in the circumstances of the two main characters. At the beginning of the novel, Gabriel Oak is a promising young farmer just starting out, having borrowed money to stock his farm with sheep. Bathsheba Everdene is a lively and beautiful young lady without a penny to her name who nevertheless refuses Oak's marriage proposal. The next time they meet, Gabriel has lost everything and Bathsheba has inherited her uncle's farm and become extremely wealthy.
I've found it easy to get involved in the story. The vivid descriptions, details of rural life and dialogue with expressions from the local dialect all transport you to the place and time of the novel's setting and help to draw you in.
Have you come across either of these books before? If so what did you think of them? Let me know!