Tuesday, 31 March 2015

presents for a nerdy in a cool way twelve year old

My second eldest boy has his birthday today! This day twelve years ago I was sitting in early morning rush hour traffic breathing through my nose, gripping the dashboard and wondering if we were going to make it into hospital on time. Of course we did. We were on time for quite a few hours of labour (its never as quick as in the movies, is it?) and were back home by six o'clock, with our little dote strapped into his car seat.
(In retrospect, I'd recommend early release after having a baby to those who live in a five star hotel, not those with a one year old waiting at home, but anyway, we survived to tell the tale.)

Speaking of tales, this was in his birthday pile.
Triton of the Sea is by Manga master Osumu Tezuka and well, I haven't read it but the guy in the bookshop who only likes great stuff recommended it. It wasn't cheap but as it is nearly five hundred pages I think it was worth it.

And at the moment, the birthday boy and his brothers are watching this,
which was also part of the birthday haul. From what I can see from the kitchen, it is AMAZING. Beautiful, epic and with a fantastic score.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Perfect Easter books

If you order this today, you'll have it on time for Easter. (the one I  linked to is even nicer than mine - it is hard cover and has a special little badge with it.) First published in 1939 by the co-creator of  the opera Porgy and Bess, it is the story of an ordinary little rabbit, who dreams of becoming one of the revered Easter Bunnies.

There's a fair amount of text so I suppose its not ideal for toddlers, but for kids four and up, its the PERFECT Easter present. I should have shown more illustrations - they are so, so pretty.

Also nice for Easter is Animalia. At least that was my excuse to buy it. (It was highly recommended by Danzel too, which is a very good thing.)

Its an alphabet book with a massive amount of detail in the illustrations. I know my kids will love it. (as they loved The Eleventh Hour, by the same author.)

And on my bedside table...
I've just started this: (great, as you would expect)

just finished this: (slow, but in a wonderful way.)

and just passed this onto my thirteen year old. (This series gets better and better and better. I LOVE Ross O'Carroll-Kelly!)

Monday, 23 March 2015

perfect birthday present for eight/nine/ten year old

I get up first on weekday mornings in our house. Closely followed by my thirteen year old. I start making the lunches and he gets his own breakfast and asks me when he will be allowed get 18 rated computer games. (When he is eighteen. Funny how that seems to take so long to sink in.) His three younger brothers come down gradually, one by one, and take their sleepy places on the stripey couch. This morning one of them had a book, which he read to his brother.

D C Superpets Character Encyclopedia. (Please ignore the state of our couch. We tried to clean it last week and made it worse.)

They read it on the couch, and then brought it over to the table, to keep them company over breakfast.

It did slow things down a bit but something always does. We made it to school just in time all the same. This book is just over €11 and is quite substantial. It occurred to me that it would make the perfect birthday present for an eight, nine or ten year old. Actually for anyone who can read. Its graphic novel-ish and funny and definitely cool. In fact, think I'll order a few myself.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Sunday morning stuff

I mentioned last week that I might order Animalia to keep my four year old occupied on a flight - and was wondering about The Eleventh Hour, also by Graeme Base. Actually, its been on my mind for a while - look-and-find books are very popular on this house. My kids like finding things and I like seeing them absorbed in a book. I often end up looking too, though(It took me ages to find the colouring pencils in the Louvre in Adele and Simon!)

 Anyways, I found this copy in a local charity shop on Friday. For one euro! I was VERY happy. We read it that evening and my four, nine and eleven year sons were immediately immersed.

Its a mystery - eleven animals are invited to a birthday party and at some point during the day, one of them scoffs the feast. Who was it? My boys peered at the illustrations for ages and ages finding clues and red herrings. They held it in front of a mirror to decipher messages and one of them begged and begged me to let him look at the answer to the mystery at the back of the book. (The answer was no. They had to think and look for at least twenty four hours before peeking.) Still, they LOVED it.

This is a thirty two page picture book but definitely for the older picture book set. There is loads and loads to find in each illustration. Having said that my youngest really enjoyed it, partly though because of the curiosity and enthusiasm of his brothers. A wonderful book and ideal, as its setting is a birthday party, as a birthday present. For ages six to adult.

In other nine year old is loving this:

and I couldn't put this down.

And this is what I keep leaving on everyones bedside tables. No takers yet, but I will persist.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

more books for long journeys

 More great books that are skinny and lightweight and perfect for travelling. My Fathers Dragon is a chapter book and for smaller kids (age four-ish), I'd read a chapter or two a night. The illustrations are black and white and amongst my favourite ever. The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash is funny and daft and ideal for a long journey. Crictor is a book you will read over and over and over again, as is The Big Orange Splot, which I bought for a flight last year.

And...this is the nicest bunch of flowers I've ever been given, (despite the blue stain that handmade vase has left on the window sill).

And family at the St Patricks day parade. (On a stepladder!)

Belated Beannactai na Feile Padraig (Happy Paddys Day!) from Dublin to all my American readers.

Monday, 16 March 2015

Books for the flight 2015

We are taking our four boys on a two hour flight in a few weeks - and as usual, I'm putting together a few books to keep them happy/calm or at the very least distracted enough for me to read a magazine for a while.

This is what we have gathered from our collection for our four year old -  all well loved and importantly, lightweight.
Grasshopper on the RoadDoctor De Soto, MeanwhileSpinky SulksThe Little Lamb(also perfect for adding to an Easter egg hunt, along with The Little Duck) and Hairy Maclary's Bone.

Four our nine and eleven year olds, I had a look in a local charity shop and found this..
Its not lightweight, but was impossible to resist. They have already had a look and loved it. Real boys-own stuff.

Coming in the post for them too, and not to be produced until they take their seats on the plane are the graphic novels Boxers and Saints(these are available as a boxed set but cheaper if bought separately.) They are heavy too - but really, there is nothing better than a graphic novel to absorb a child immediately. I think there should be a pile of them in every waiting room. We all read American Born Chinese by the same author last summer and it was really excellent. And for my thirteen year old(who will also of course read the graphic novels) I've ordered Jasper Jones. It looks like a gripping, spooky read. He is way too cool to get excited about new books on the plane, but, I suspect, not quite cool enough not to be upset if there is nothing for him.

I've bought enough but am tempted to order The Eleventh Hour too. I was searching for something my youngest could look through alone and this or Animalia caught my eye. What do you think? Has anyone read them? Will they keep him happy long enough for me to read Grazia and eat a Kitkat?

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley and The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld

My nine year old just finished this(Thank you Danzel for recommending it!) - and wants the next one. I think its just about right for his age and reading level. We got about five nights from it, so pretty good value for money(often recently I've bought him books that he finished in an evening  - which is expensive!) and he spend this morning in bed with our Grimms' Fairy Tales looking up all the characters mentioned by the fairytale detectives.
While he was doing that I was downstairs finishing this..
..which is probably not great value for money as I only purchased it yesterday, but I LOVED it. I've loved everything I've read by Curtis Sittenfeld (see review of Sisterland here) and even though I realised just after starting this that I had read it before, it didn't matter, it was still a great read second time around. 

Monday, 9 March 2015

The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow and Margaret Bloy Graham

Its a windy, stormy day today. Not great for battling around Bushy Park, but perfect for reading The Storm Book.
This is definitely a sharing book. There are double pages of text and then the same of illustrations. Both created by masters of the arts. I have it hidden under my four year olds pillow for reading at bedtime this evening - and I'm sure his brothers, whose beds are either side of his, will listen in too.

And this is the text size..