Sunday, 19 October 2008

My Literature Log...

As predicted, it has become difficult to fit everything in to each week now, let alone day. I feel like I'm juggling lots of balls in the air since I started studying. At the moment they are all staying up - I wonder how long that will last...

Surprisingly, I'm not that bothered by dog hair swirling around the floor anymore or the fact that my garden looks a bit wind-battered. Maybe I'm mellowing into student life. My weeks are flying by and my brain is fit to burst. This weekend I have made a plan - to have a day of rest from uni on Saturday, and then today, Sunday, to get everything up to date from the previous weeks studying. I can report that my plan has worked. I even managed to fit in a quick half hour in the garden, planting the last of the pansies I bought last week.

On Friday we started 2 new modules - English and Maths. The dreaded maths... I've always considered maths to be my weakest subject. After just one lecture and one seminar, I have been inspired to take a fresh approach to it and I feel challenged to teach it well. My brain just seems to say 'aaaargh...' at the mere mention of the word, and I found I was not alone in this! Even with a grade 'B' 'O' level, I was not convinced I had a sound knowledge of the subject. Perhaps I can change my misconceptions over the course of the next few weeks.

I just know I'm going to enjoy the English module. My tutor is particularly brilliant! There is something about her that just appeals to me. Our first seminar was about children's literature and over the course of the next year, I have to compile a log of about 500 examples of children's literature. The work that I've done in our school library over the last 2 years is going to help me enormously, plus it is the perfect opportunity to trawl through the shelf upon shelf of children's books here at home, re-reading and making notes.

My favourite children's author is Eric Carle. I love everything about his books - the rhythm, the richness, the illustrations and, of course, the story. Of all his books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is my absolute favourite. It has an extra special place in my heart as it was Tom's favourite book. If ever he was having a difficult day, I would read it to him or play it on his CD player, and he would usually calm down and eventually smile or get that twinkle of pleasure in his eyes. Have you ever heard the audio version? The music is particularly lovely. So lovely, that I played it at his funeral as an introduction. Whenever I hear the story now, the music is in my head the whole time. It makes me smile.

Before Tom became ill (he was 4...), his other Eric Carle favourite was The Bad-tempered Ladybird. He used to love saying the line 'hey, you, want to fight?'. He was such a gentle soul, it seemed incongruous to hear him say such a thing.

What are your favourite children's books? Any additions to my log will be most gratefully received, so do leave me a comment!


  1. I had forgotten the Bad Tempered Ladybird - he's lots of fun!

    I'm sure you've got classic children's lit covered, but in newer stuff my girls very much enjoy Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean - Lauren Child's illustrations are wonderful.

  2. When we moved here, I got rid of lots and lots of books, but I kept the special ones from the children's younger years.

    Eric Carle is, of course amongst them. I love the illustrations too of the John Burningham books, so have kept those. Owl Babies was a favourite of my kids, along with almost anything written and illustrated by Jez Alborough (No.2 especially loved his books). In fact I think I can still recite most of the words to 'Where's My Teddy?'

    'Nothing' by Mick Inkpen was one I always loved to read.

    As you can tell ... I could go on about childrens' books forever!


    PS Oooh, No.1 has just reminded me of 'What Are Friends For?' by Sally Grindley, and 'Peace At Last' by Jill Murphy. Jill Murphy's books are all fab. Oh, and then of course there is anything by Shirley Hughes!

    Right, I'm going now - I really am.


  3. Oooh, you want a list? Okay then:

    . Hairy McLairy
    . Mog the Forgetful cat (and all others by Judith Kerr)
    . the Blue Kangaroo series by Emma Chichester Clark
    . Meg, Mog & Owl
    . 10 minutes to Bedtime by Peggy Rathman
    . Milly Molly Mandy
    . Duck in the Truck series
    . All Shirley Hughes - but especially love the Alfie & Annie Rose ones
    . Starting School by the Ahlbergs
    . Topsy & Tim

    One of my favourite Eric Carle books is one called Animal Animal - a selection of poems about animals, all illustrated by the marvellous EC.

    Happy reading!
    N. xx

  4. Hi Tracy! I'm loving your studenty updates! I don't know any of those books !!! I think the Roal Dahl books are pretty classic kids stories but I guess they are on your list already!! As for the maths .. I am constantly bamboozled by Jimmy's maths homework and how they teach it these days ... But it was never my strong point!

  5. got to love the gruffalo, and the little house on the prairies series, and the worst witch, and captain underpants - anything that gets boys interested in books gets my vote, and E will sit for hours with his captain underpants books. of course they haven't encouraged the importance of getting your spellings right, but you can't have everything......

  6. My favourite ever book is Rose Meets MR Wintergarten by Bob Graham. In fact I love all of his books.

    Don't be scared of maths. There is a difference between maths and numeracy that should be appreciated. You can be highly numerate, butnot have a memory for maths facts. Go to the education queensland website and look for the podcasts about numeracy and feel good about yourself!

  7. Oooh, I LOVE Rose meets Mr Wintergarten too- used to read it to my kindergarten class and it was a firm favourite. Also any Shirley Hughes books, Millymollymandy, The Tiger who came for tea,The Gruffalo,Where's my Teddy is BRILLIANT, (you can do great voices!)Sigh. What fun you will have!x

  8. Where to start?

    I have an extensive collection of childrens books and really wouldn't know where to begin making recommendations. I love them all

    (except Secret Seven - I loathe the Secret Seven)

  9. Anything by the Ahlbergs, especially Peepo and Each Peach Pear Plum. My two love Dr Seuss, the silliness of it really appeals to them. Quentin Blake has to be one of my favourites, the illustrations in "Cockatoos" are hilarious. Jack is a massive fan of Enid Blyton but I don't think these books are in favour any longer. Anything by Roald Dahl, Pippi Longstocking, Mrs Pepperpot, Michael Morpurgo, Shirley Hughes, I could go on forever but I won't.
    Sounds like you're having a fantastic time!
    Julia xx

  10. 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' is one of my favorite books of all time. And Eric Carle himself is such a nice man. I met him when I was working in a museum in Massachusetts and he was setting up his own museum of children's picture book art nearby. K x

  11. A favourite with my two was The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr and I still love it. There was a programme on Radio 4 not so long ago about it as it's one of the best selling children's books of all times. In a couple of weeks I'm going to hear the author Anne Fine, another family favourite, talk about writing for children which should be interesting.


Hi! Thanks for leaving me a comment, I really enjoy reading them and I will try to reply if I can find an email address for you...