My Body by Bloomsbury Discovery and illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy, large format non-fiction boardbook with flaps, published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc in 2014.
Most children love lift-the-flap books, and this one has dozens of flaps that open to reveal lots of fun facts and information about the body. A wonderfully engaging book for preschoolers and children in lower primary, My Body covers human evolution and the various body systems in a detail appropriate for this age group. The main illustrations were plentiful, detailed and clear, showing a good life-like representation of the human body. There were also lots of other illustrations on every page with more facts, and these had more of a cartoon quality about them.
The flaps were a big attraction for my preschooler, but once we started reading, she really got into the information too. She asked a lot of questions while we were reading, she came back to the book later to look through it again herself, and asked me to re-read a few sections to her. We ended up reading the whole book in one sitting as she was enjoying it so much. The information contained within this book was detailed enough that my second grader also found it useful and enlightening. I have heard my preschooler repeat several facts she learnt from My Body, especially that people shouldn’t eat snot because it contains germs!
Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor, a Rookie Toddler boardbook, published by Children’s Press (Scholastic) in 2014.
This boardbook introduces young children to some of their body parts. It contains clear photographs of children pointing to their own ears, eyes, and other parts. Seeing children just like them can help toddlers and young children to engage in learning new things. And with only one large print word per photo, and a sturdy board construction, this is a great book to start learning body parts with babies and toddlers.
Ten Tiny Toes by Caroline Jayne Church, boardbook, published by Cartwheel Books in 2014.
A simple and engaging book for toddlers celebrating their bodies. As I read through Ten Tiny Toes with my son (15 months old), I encouraged him to point to each part of his body and do the actions in the book. He liked looking through the book and pointing to the pictures, and especially grabbing his toes when we read ‘and ten tiny toes!’ He did laugh and giggle when we touched his tummy too. The text was large with rhyming language, and the illustrations were simple, yet nice. This story helped us to focus on learning parts of the body in a fun way that many toddlers will enjoy.
Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath, paperback non-fiction, first published by Dutton Children’s Books in 2005, this edition published by Puffin Books in 2008.
Amazing You! is a basic look at the reproductive systems for young children. Aimed at preschoolers, this book provides information on body awareness and answers questions about ‘private parts’. It is a good first journey into what can be an awkward topic for many parents.
The text and illustrations are clear and simple, using anatomical names and easy to understand language. There is also a helpful section at the back of the book for parents on talking about sexual curiosity and where babies come from with their children. When it comes to describe how babies are made, it does not go into extensive detail, but sticks to the basics of egg and sperm, all a preschooler really needs to know. The book mentions that sexual curiosity is natural and normal, including masturbation and asking questions. It also reminds us that our bodies and our sexual organs should not be a source of embarrassment or shame, because they are all part of us, and we are amazing!
Diary of a Wombat by Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Whatley, boardboard picture book, first published by HarperCollinsPublishers Australia Pty Ltd, this edition published in 2007.
This is a delightful children’s book about the life of a pet wombat. She sleeps, she eats, she digs holes, she sleeps, and she causes all sorts of destruction and mayhem, she sleeps again. Her human family continue to love her, as she digs up the flowers, chews the doormat and demands lots of carrots.
My children love this book, it is definitely a favourite. They love all the trouble that the wombat gets into, they think it is very funny! The story is written in a diary format, with short, yet descriptive entries for each part of each day. The illustrations are very distinctive, perfectly capturing the wombat’s mood. This is a wonderful book to share with preschoolers and lower primary school children, it will entertain them and it will make them laugh. You’ll probably find yourself chuckling too and wondering why you don’t have a pet wombat to liven up your days!
Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, non-fiction paperback, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1993, this edition published by Red Fox in 1995.
Dad and Mum have decided to tell their kids where babies come from. They tell the kids that sometimes dinosaurs deliver babies, or they can be grown from seeds, made from gingerbread, or they can even be found under rocks! And in this case, the kids exploded from a huge egg that Mum laid on the couch. The kids think this is hilarious. They quickly begin on a journey to set their parents straight, including lots of drawings explaining just how babies are made.
A light-hearted look at reproduction, this book is perfect for younger children from preschool up. The drawings are humorous, educational, and appropriate for the intended audience. The language is easy to understand for children, and the subject matter is treated without any of the seriousness that sometimes surrounds this often delicate topic. I think this book would be especially good for parents who are a little nervous about having “the talk” with their kids, it is a great way to lighten the mood.
Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. I think that it is the best introduction to the sensitive subject of conception and reproduction that I have come across. It is honest, frank and amusing. I particularly like the pages that show how mummies and daddies fit together, some truly awkward and hilarious positions! My kids laughed at the ridiculous stories that the Mum and Dad tell their kids, as well as at many of the drawings throughout the book. It covered the basics, and my kids were happy with the content, re-reading it several times, asking questions and discussing it. A really nice book, I am very glad I purchased Mummy Laid an Egg!
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, non-fiction hardback, published by Seven Stories Press in 2012.
This book is bright, colourful and simple, and suitable for young children who are first becoming curious about where babies come from. It introduces sperm and eggs, and the concept that both are required to create a baby, but it is quite vague about how this actually happens. In fact the whole book is rather vague. It is one of the most abstract non-fiction books I have ever read. However, while it doesn’t present detailed information, it does provide prompts to begin the discussion of this issue in as much detail as a parent thinks is appropriate for their particular child at the time. It also provides opportunities for kids to ask questions. This book could be used to start a discussion that many parents find difficult to conquer.
I read this with my preschooler and second grader. They both thought the illustrations were a bit odd, especially the people that were coloured with blue or green or purple skin. My preschooler said a few times that people are not that colour! They were also amused that the sperm and egg had been given faces and that they perform a special dance together to form a baby. I think this book was actually too abstract for them, and they were quite distracted by the less than life-like pictures. They asked a few questions, but it didn’t develop into a deep conversation about how babies are formed, instead, it left them with a very superficial view of how life develops. We used this book as a first stepping stone onto more detailed texts.
The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins, paperback non-fiction, first published in 1986, this edition published in 2006 by Annick Press.
This is a simple look at our bodies, and the different parts that make them up. With basic language and clear illustrations, this is a nice book for toddlers and preschoolers. It introduces each part of the body, with some illustrated examples of each, such as pushing arms, hairy nipples and stamping feet. At the end of each page, it asks the child to locate that body part on themselves, which is a great prompt for learning body parts and for body awareness.
My preschooler liked the pictures, and had fun locating all her body parts as suggested by the book. She enjoyed perusing this book on her own too, looking at the pictures, and pointing out what the different parts of the body were doing.
A while back, I had bought some re-usable baby food pouches so we could put our own baby food into them for use when we’re out and about. They are really handy, and we can use them for yoghurt, custard and pureed fruit for the older kids too. The ones we have are called Squeeze ‘ems, but there are a number of other brands available now, and they come in a range of sizes. I bought ours at Baby Mumma, but they can often be found at modern cloth nappy and eco-ware web stores.
When we’re in a hurry to get out the door in the morning, sometimes Baby T doesn’t have a chance to have a good breakfast at home. He loves Weet-bix, so I tried making a quick breakfast in one of the re-usable pouches to take along with us.
I placed some canned peaches in first (well, these were actually in a plastic tub, but I still think of them as canned or tinned). I gave the peaches a bit of a squish through the pouch to break them up, before adding a Weet-bix biscuit, and some full cream milk. I sealed the top of the pouch and let it sit for a few minutes. This let the Weet-bix soak up the milk and become soft. Once it was all soft I shook it and squeezed it to mix the peaches with the weet-bix, and make sure there weren’t too many big lumps that wouldn’t fit out the nozzle.
Mixed up and ready to eat.
Baby T loves this breakfast on the go. We use other soft fruit in it too, such as canned pears or apricots or fresh banana for variety. It is easy and quick, and I can give him a solid breakfast even on days when we are dashing out to school in a bit of a rush.
I always have some puff pastry in the freezer for when the mood hits me to bake something quick, easy and yummy! This time I found a lonely banana in the fruit bowl, and a jar of chocolate spread (we had Nutino) in the cupboard. Bananas and chocolate are pretty good together, and in puff pastry, they make an excellent desert.
Before folding the parcels.
I cut one puff pastry sheet into quarters. On each quarter I placed some of the chocolate spread, and a few slices of banana. Then I folded them diagonally to make triangular parcels, and used a fork to seal the edges of the pastry together. In the oven they went until golden brown.
Ready for cooking.
These were a big hit, though the kids thought I could have put some more chocolate spread into them! Sometimes I wonder why I don’t just give them a spoon and the chocolate spread jar for desert… much less washing up :) These little parcels of deliciousness would have gone really well with some ice-cream or custard too, except we didn’t have any. I will have to be a bit more organised next time!