Thursday, 20 February 2014

Muddypaws' New Friends - Parragon Book Buddies

I love being a member of Parragon's Book Buddies, it's introduced Squeaky and I to all sorts of books that we may not otherwise have found, and they've matched so well with her interests it's like they can read our minds.  In fact she took last month's book, Everybody Loves Butterflies in to school a couple of weeks ago for a book day where the children all shared their favourite bedtime stories & the teacher declared it the prettiest book in the class.  That might be because she hasn't yet seen this month's book - Muddypaws' New Friends.
 Muddypaws, our hero, is an adorable Labrador or Golden Retriever type puppy (I'm never too sure), and the book follows his adventures with his best friend, Ben, when Ben takes him to Puppy School, where he meets two more very cute and cheeky puppies.  Mischief and hilarity inevitably ensue.

What really surprised me about this book was how accurate the illustrations are.  Full page illustrations throughout the book, and they are far from the cartoon style pictures you usually expect from children's books, the dogs look real.  Not photography real, but like actual art type illustrations, I can't think of another way to describe them.  I almost thought this might put Squeaky off a little, maybe being a bit too old for her, but I was wrong. She loves Muddypaws and his friends, and we've spent even more time than normal playing puppies and puppy training.  It's a great book for lighting up her imagination, and she adores imaginative and pretend play

The only drawback I can see with this gorgeous book is the increasing demands for a puppy of her own. It's certainly helping her get over her fear of dogs, and helping her understanding that different people (puppies, etc) learn at different paces, and that's just fine.  The difficulty with bringing up a bright spark is they can struggle to understand why others can't keep up, and it's led to a few uncomfortable questions about why so-and-so can't do this when she can and it's really easy.

I am learning so much from being a parent, and reading with Squeaky. As a child, I believed almost all books, with the exception of very obviously non-fiction books, were just for entertainment.  Now I'm sharing books with Squeaky I can see how the vast majority are a learning opportunity, not just learning to read, but learning about different subjects, relationships, people. Where it's hard sometimes to spark a conversation on a subject, there's undoubtedly a book on the shelf that will help.  One of Muddypaws' friends is a Bassett puppy, so we had a chat about how I had a Bassett Hound just like that when I was a little girl.  Cue questions about "where was I when you were a little girl, Mummy?"  Ah well, that was inevitable I guess.  Stick to easier subjects next time, Mummy!

(Oh, and a quick explanation for some slightly looking photos this time around.  I got a new phone last week, I'm still working out how it all works, but it certainly seems to have some interesting ideas about what shape a photo should be.  Any experts on LG phones, please help!)

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