Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Review: 'It's My Sausage' by Alex Willmore

DISCLAIMER: I was provided with s copy of this book for the purpose of review, but all words and opinions are my own.

Preschooler is going through a very possessive phase at the moment. Well, I say phase - it's been going on for months. "That mine" is one of his favourite phrases, and it's mostly used about things that aren't his. We've had "that mine phone", "that mine backpack" and even "that mine mummy" when I was cuddling Girl Child once.

Well I appear to have found a book about his spirit animal. They even share a love of sausages.



There's one sausage but five cats - and one in particular is determined to claim it as their own.



But that cat needs to keep their wits about them, as the other cats plot to steal the sausage. Who will get to eat it in the end?



I love the simplicity of this book. There's not a lot of text so it's really easy for little ones to follow, but every word is used to full effect to tell the story - even the impressive array of onomatopoeias! It's great fun to read aloud and the words complement the illustrations brilliantly.

Speaking of which, I absolutely love the illustrative style of this book. The drawings are deceptively simple, including lots of details you might overlook at first but that just adds to the cat-and-mouse (or cat-and-sausage) nature of the plot. And the looks on the cat's faces are just delightful in their expressiveness!

I read this with Preschooler and he was very intrigued with what all the cats were up to, although he hasn't quite 'got' the humour yet. I think with a few more reads he'll start to see the funny side! I have to admit I did try to use it as a springboard for talking about sharing but really, this isn't a moralising book at all so that did feel a bit forced! There's no message other than 'look at how funny these greedy cats are' and that's fine - sometimes children's books should just be about humour and playfulness.

This picture book already has a feel of a classic with its distinctive style and concise humour, I'm looking forward to many more reads with Preschooler!

'It's My Sausage' will be published by Maverick Books later this month.

Linking up with #ReadWithMe hosted by Mama Mummy Mum and Kids Love To Read #KLTR hosted by Laura's Lovely Blog, BookBairn and Acorn Books.
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Monday, 2 September 2019

The Beginning Of The End Of The Beginning

The end of the summer holidays always makes me a bit philosophical, but this time it feels particularly poignant. In a year's time I'll be getting Preschooler ready for his first day at school. As I currently worry about how he'll fare with the childminder he'll be going to from this week onwards, I feel like I'm standing at the edge of a precipice. Until now he's spent every day with me, bar the occasional couple of hours. And while I've done this all before, the slow surrendering of my child to the education system, I'm very aware I'll mostly likely never do it again. My days as a mum of a pre-school-age child are drawing to a close.

Playing/reading in our local cafe on the last day of the summer holidays

There's something about being a mum in the early years, isn't there? It feels like a different status to that of school mum. I can't place my finger on why, but it lies within the play group camaraderie, the indulgent looks from old ladies, the leisurely feel of time passing, opening up opportunities for adventures, or just quiet days exploring the world together. I'm very conscious that it's probably a totally different experience for working parents, but for me the early years have held a certain kind of magic.

And also there's the fact that children in their early years are magic themselves. Watching a helpless newborn become a walking, talking, chaos-creating child is an incredible experience. And while there are many exciting advances in the school years, you share so much of that with the teaching staff. You often only see the progress they're making in hurried flicks through exercise books at parent's evening. It's not the same.

And then of course there's my current  school-age one, Girl Child, who will be going into Year 3. Yep, that's Key Stage 2. In a few months she'll turn eight years old, which according to some definitions is the start of the tween years. She's definitely leaving behind the 'little girl' stage, although possibly more slowly in some ways than her peers. But still, it feels like we're passing into new territory with her too. It's a cliché but kids do seem to grow up more quickly now. I'm not sure how longer I can shrug off her requests for make up and pierced ears. Nor do I know how much longer she will retain her Anti Boy stance.  It feels like a whole new world is about to open up.

And in amongst all this is the sense that I'm not quite grown up enough to deal with it. Parents with only school age children, with tweens or even teens, seem so much more mature, patient and together than me. This parenting stage has crept up on me - I still think of myself as a fairly new mum, how do I make the leap to sensible, knowledgeable, seasoned school mum?

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this post is other than to mark this time, this moment on the precipice, before everything changes. And maybe to find out that I'm not alone in this feeling.