Last year research showed that only 64% of parents with children under 7 read their children a bedtime story every night. I find this statistic so sad as we have been reading books to our two children practically from the moment they were born. Not only is it a lovely part of the evening routine but reading to children is also a vital tool in helping them to read. By reading aloud to the you model expression, help them learn new vocabulary and show that text and print has meaning. But more importantly than that it fosters a lifelong love of reading which is perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give your child. When you have a book you really are never alone. You can become someone else, travel to places you have never been and totally loose yourself in another world.
Bedtimes stories are important to us and one of our favourite authors is Oliver Jeffers. Not only are his stories sweet and quirky but the bright illustrations mean that even the youngest child will really enjoy reading his work. Although we have read many of his books we have never actually read the first one - How to Catch a Star so me and the children were really excited to get a 10th anniversary edition to review.
My daughter is in Year 1 at school and they have been learning about authorship and author illustrators so it was lovely to read the letter from Oliver at the front of the book which explains his inspiration behind the tale - and my daughter enjoyed discussing how authors get ideas for their books. I loved the way that he explained how a chance event, such as seeing the reflection of a star in the water, can lead to the creation of a story!
The story itself is about the little boy who we recognised from Lost and Found and his attempt to catch a star - something that every child dreams about. The book begins "Once there was a boy and the boy loved stars very much. Every night he watched the stars from his window and wished he had one of his very own..." and we follow this determined little boy in his attempt to follow his dreams. The concept is really sweet and to me it was teaching children about the virtue of patience and never giving up when you really really want something! I won't spoil the book by giving away what happens next but rest assured the boy and his star end up with their happily ever after.
My two children absolutely loved the book and I was requested to read it a number of times. It's a book that works well on lots of levels. Younger readers will enjoy looking at the illustrations and dreaming about catching their own star, whilst older readers such as my daughter can talk about it on a deeper level and start thinking about the themes that were covered and what the little boy is thinking about the events. My daughter was also very proud that she could read it herself.
I find it's often a really good idea to use a book as inspiration for learning outside of the story and it was great to get some worksheets to do with the children so that we could build on what we had discussed and learnt from the story. They loved the colouring in and dot-to-dot sheets and we are going to be busy making our very own How to Catch a Star mobile this weekend!
So we would like to say a big congratulations to Oliver Jeffers on the 10th anniversary of How to Catch A Star and I would recommend this book as a fabulous bedtime (or anytime) story.
How To Catch A Star is available from 27th March priced at £12.99 from Amazon
One lucky reader will be able to win a copy of this book. Please just put your name and contact details into the comments section and tell me your favourite Oliver Jeffers book!
I will choose a winner at random on 2nd April