It’s half term, so here’s something a bit different.
Sometime before Christmas my 6 year old (due to turn 7 this week) was dragged along to her brother’s swimming training session. Normally she doesn’t have to go, which is a good job, because it is boring for her sitting in the stifflingly hot spectator area. If she does have to go, we normally take books and she reads to me and I read to her. On this occasion we got talking about a book we’d recently finished reading together and discussed the new book we’d just started. It was such a lovely conversation I took out my notebook and scribbled some of what she said promising to write it up as a review interview for my blog. She has asked me several times “Am I on there yet Mummy?” and have felt awful every time I’ve said “Not yet”. So as it is half term this week, I thought I’d finally write up our conversation. The books we discussed were Nina and the Travelling Spice Shed by Madhvi Ramani and Daisy and the Trouble with Kittens by Kes Gray.
Me: So tell me a bit about the Nina book we’ve just finished. What’s it about, do you remember?
D: Well, Nina is late for school and she has to choose a country to do as a school project and because she’s late she is stuck with India. She is cross about this and visits her auntie after school who sends her to the shed for some turmeric, but the shed turns out to be magic and takes Nina to a place in the mountains of India.
Me: That’s right, it was quite good that bit wasn’t it, she didn’t know what was happening did she?
D: No but she meets a wise man who tells her how to find fresh turmeric and what it looks like. Next the shed takes her to that place you and Daddy went that time. (I remind her it is Mumbai). She gets to dance in a film then she goes to a park where she nearly gets got by a Bengal tiger, then she goes home.
Me: Nina learnt a lot of things while she was travelling in India, do you remember some of them?
D: She learns about that Indian festival with all the colours (Holi), how to do Indian dancing and all about Indian tigers and how there are not that many left.
Me: Do you remember how it ends?
Me: Do you want to tell me?
D: You know though
Me: I know, but for this review, do you want to tell me for that?
D: No it will spoil it for others
Me: Ok, but does it have a good ending do you think?
D: Oh yes, the ending is happy for Nina.
Me: So now we’ve finished it, what did you think of it?
D: I thought it was quite exciting and a lot of fun, I hope the writer had fun writing it.
After talking about Nina and the Travelling Spice Shed we discussed more generally Daisy and the Trouble with Kittens which we had only just started, but we’d read Daisy books before ,so sort of knew what to expect.
Me: Right, now we’ve started Daisy and the Trouble with Kittens. What do you think of that so far?
D: Oh my word, Mummy, it is just so funny, especially when Daddy reads it
Me: I know, somehow he makes it so much funnier
D: There’s this really funny bit when Daisy is in the airport and her and her mum are late for their plane and the police come, it really made me laugh. I love the way she’s always so excited (goes on to quote several bits) “I am going to ACTUAL Spain, on an ACTUAL plane..ACTUAL palm trees” oh and I’m learning Spanish.
Me: Oh really?
D: In Spain a kitten is called “gatitos” (said in a very Spanish voice!)
Me: Do you think you will enjoy this one then?
D: Definitely, I wish I had some more (Daddy has since bought her 3 more as a reward for doing brilliantly in a recent ballet exam).
There you go – a couple of recommendations for 6-8 year olds that don’t involve fairies. Later this week my 9 year old does his first review interview. I suspect it might involve magic, vampires, and skeleton detectives!