Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Z Speaks - An interview of sorts

So Z will turn 3.5 years on the 26th of this month, wooohoooo. OK. I thought I would record a little conversation with my little chatterbox.

Yenna ... Mind it!

Here goes:

  • OK, Z let's do some talking. Are you ready big girl?
Ma, middle sized girl. 
  • Oh! sorry so you are ready my middle sized girl?
  • Where is Fizzy? Where has he gone?
To work mum, to office
  • Nice and what does he do at work?
Ma, he works on the laptop and then he has food then he works and then he comes in the red car to home.
  • Right... he comes home in the red car. Good girl. What does ma do?
Ma goes to library, to read story.... and gives paper to all of them and to me also (I guess she is referring to the craft activities). And also sounds and we have cake also (the kids had cake in the last phonics class).
  •  Do you go to work with Fizzy?
Oho... no ma, I go to school, and I do puzzles, pounding-pounding, sounds and world map. And listen to stories.... and in snack time then I eat something.
  • OK, and what do you eat?
I eat 'edly' (idli)
  • Let's talk about colours... what is your favorite colour?
I like yellow and also I like green also. But I like only white edly
  • And when you are a big girl what do you want to do? What will you become
I will go to big school like Riddhi and Shehan (her seniors who have graduated). And I will have my friends only in the school only. Like Riddhi, Rohan, Shehan, Ishika, Jivesh, Jainesh, Umaima and Neha.  And also Vinaya aunty also.
  • What will you do you do when you drown bigger like ma?
I will have sabzi and roti and not edly. Then I will go to ma's library. And I will read stories and do lots of things.
  • So will you take ma to the reading room with you?
Oho ma, ok I will take you. But you sit on the black mat and I will sit on the green chair... OK??? (I sit on a green chair and the kids sit on the mat, so I hope you get the point ;-))

OK bye now.

**These are exactly her words I recorded the voice clip and jotted it down. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

On Mother's Day I thank You Z

Z I have been so busy off late that I have not been able to update the blog (except for a few book recommendations). I have also not been able to spend quality time with my little Ms. Z. We spend the entire day together but Mom has been busy, I'm sorry Z. On Mother's Day people write about their moms, but I'm writing this post just to thank you my pumpkin. 

So a lot of things are happening with Mom's My Little Chatterbox. And whenever someone asks about my journey, I can't stop thinking about you. I would like to thank you for a lot of things, and I know I will only be able to mention just a few.

People know I'm a Picture Book Enthusiast, my professional life revolves around picture books, reading them, narrating them, researching about them. I know I was lucky that my parents introduced me to some of the gems as a child. It was you who re-introduced me to picture books again. I loved reading them to you, discussing about them, exploring books and reading/writing their reviews. And now, I only read kid's books (mostly).

I knew I had the gift of gab, I was good at communication and dramatics in school/college. I remember narrating books to you when you were just a few weeks old. You loved exploring books by 3-4 months. By the time you were 6-7 months you loved listening to Mom narrate you stories. Your wide open eyes, your smiles, your cooos, ooohs, and aaahs. These changed into you trying to copy me, turning those pages and what not. Now you have started demanding for more and more books. After we are done reading, you take your stuff toys and narrate them just like I do. You have been my biggest inspiration and my biggest teacher, my little guinea pig.

I started working when you weren't even a year old. Now you have become used to the fact that mom needs to work, and you give me my space and time.

I was trained in phonics but never thought of taking it up professionally. It was you, who showed so much interest in the way I taught you phonics that made me devise the program, do trial runs, work as a trainee and now a trainer.

So chipmunk, thank you for being my inspiration, my everything. Thanks for making me a mom.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

BZM Picks - The Stone Soup by Ann McGovern

Book: The Stone Soup
Author: Ann McGovern

Z got The Stone Soup in her May Tale in a Mail, and I must say it is an AMAZING Book. Z read it in the morning and started asking for 'stone soup' had to make soup for her, without the stone of course. The version we are reading is written by Ann McGovern. It is taken from folktale, though this one is pretty different from the original. I remember reading one of the versions in school as a part of our curriculum. 'Fancy That'. 

Why I picked it and what was my Reaction: Well, when the team was doing it's research on May Tale in a Mail based on the theme of food, this book was recommended by a couple of moms, it also received amazing reviews, I had to pick it up and check it. When I did pick it up I was smiling, partly because it is a very funny story and partly because it did take me back to childhood.

The Toddler's take: I really have to stop under-estimating Z. I thought she will take some time to understand. She on the other hand found the book to be hilarious. The day I read it to her for the first time, she demanded a stone soup.

What it is about: It is about this poor man, who sees a house and asks for food, the lady doesn't listen to him and tells him there's no food at home. So, this clever little guy tricks the old later and convinces that he can make the most amazing soup out of a stone which would be 'fit for the king.' He insists she puts in more ingredients to add to the flavour of the soup. This book has been in print for more than 30 years now.

How We Read it
: I narrate the story to Z, and as we go ahead and read through pages, we discuss what is happening on each page.

Favorite Line: 'Fancy That'

Flipkart it:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

My Top Book Finds - Gems

I come across so many book lists off late and I see the same names doing rounds, especially the ones I find on Indian blogs and websites. Some of the lists are beautiful, but many times when I picked a book based on couple of these recommendations, I was left asking for more. That made me decide, to pick my books after a lot of analysis and after I have read the book. Here are names of a few gems, we read in the recent past (most of which you might not find in these lists).

Here goes:

The Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly by Charles Reasoner - You need to be a little weird to like this book, well Z and I qualify and we fell in love with it. I love the rhymes which are so cute and funny. Z was laughing from the word go. If you don't know what sense of humour is, you might want to pass this one. Though it is based on a popular song, it gets twisted as the old lady's appetite goes out of control. 'There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly. I don’t know why she swallowed a fly…'

I'm the Best Artist in the Ocean! by Kevin Sherry- We picked this book on one of our trips to Strand Bangalore Exhibition. I love the fact that a giant squid is shown as the best artist under water. He also ends up making a mess-terpiece. Z is CRAZY after the book, I love the use of only purple and blue in the book. Illustrations are beautiful, it isn't my favorite but a must read. You child will request repeated readings for sure. Be prepared to answer questions like "Can we paint in water?", "Giant squid has a giant brush ma?" if your daughter is anything like Z.

Flotsam - David Wiesner - David Wiesner (multiple Caldecott winner) never disappoints and with Flotsam he spins his magic yet again, this book is a real treasure. I recently picked this book when I heard great things on Facebook. I saw the book, fell in love with it and immediately picked it up. Even younger kids (not babies) will be completely mesmerized with the illustrations and follow the story. Z loves the fact that the boy picks up anything and everything floating by, I guess she connects with it. You wouldn't miss any words in the book, I love the collage on different pages. Wiesner has won the Caldecott Medal for this one as well, very well deserved, I must say.


Bigmama's - Donald Crews (Caldecott Honor artist) This book takes me back to my childhood when I used to travel with mum and my sisters to bigmama's (my naani's) house for summer holidays, Who would'nt connect with that? I personally love the soft use of colours in the illustrations. It's not just about our memories, I have read this book to many kids between 4-8 years and their smiles say it all... they go into a dream world.

Charlie Cook's Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson - When I make a list, Julia Donaldson cannot be far away. This book I think hasn't got its due and has got lost in some big names by Julia Donaldson. I don't think there is a better children's book writer - that is what I feel. I think Axel Scheffler does perfect job with her work. This is an intelligently created funny book, where words and illustrations weave magic. I love the various layers in book and love the fact that book starts and finishes in the same location.  

 What I Like About Me! by Allia Zobel Nolan - A fun book with a beautiful message, this book puts across a beautiful message every child should learn. Another gem picked up from Strand Bookstore. I can go on and on about this one, have done a detailed review on the blog as well.

If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen - Another writer's work which I love, his books are some of the best read-aloud books available...trust me on that. This is the most recent one of Dusen's book I have picked up. I love the way this book encourages young kids to imagine... and how Jack designs the most amazing house on the block. Z loved the book as we turned page after page. Love the rhyming words, especially 'Oh! It may include shapes like a tower and a dome. But I will focus on what makes a building a home.' I won't spoil the fun, the house sounds awesome even to adults... pick up right away. 

Pranav's Picture by Nandini Nayar: A must must read for every parent to gain insight and understand things from your kid's perspective. One of my favorite Indian books published recently.  

 Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el: A true gem of a book, I love the take on the usual dragon folktales. I picked it up because Z is obsessed with dragons, but we got more than just a dragon book. This comes very close to our favorite dragon book Zog.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger: This is a Booklist Editor's Choice Books for Youth Awards winner. The book is so beautiful that I had to pick it up. It introduces kids to shades of 'green' in a beautiful manner. It was a beautiful book to introduce Z to shades...how many times have I used beautiful.... well the book is BEAUTIFUL.


A Blessing from Above by Patti Henderson - We have spoken about Mother of Choco which is an amazing book about adoption, this one is an equally awesome book. It will be liked by your children, and you would fall in love with the story as well. When Z reads this, she calls me Mamma-Roo... another reason why I love it.

Born to Read by Judy Sierra - Another book about books and a personal favorite. It is a must for little bookworms. P.S if you aren't much of a reader, you might not like it much. It really celebrates reading. Z loves pointing her favorite classics in the book... and she insists I read 'Zoe' and not 'Sam' whenever we speak about the protagonist. 


Boodabim by Alankrita Jain - I love the book because of its illustration and creativity. Thanks to Kutoohala for the suggestion.  And which kid wouldn't like a cuddly elephant in different avatars. 


A Visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker - I could so relate to the bear when I don't want any visitor to come and disturb me. What happens when a visitor arrives and makes the bear's day special. It beautifully tells us about loneliness and friendship. Discover the most unlikely friendship. The book is a winner of E.R White Read Aloud Award for Terrific Book


The Runaway by Margaret Wise Brown - This classic again gets lost because of 'Goodnight Moon' by the author. I think both the books are equally beautiful. It brilliantly displays the love between a mom and her child. I love the illustrations.