In this issue
Book of the month | Top 10 books for baby's bookshelf | New books and activities on the website | Let's make stick puppets | Talking to teachers and students

Our February book of the month is TRAIN! by Judi Abbot
Little Elephant loves his toy train and isn’t interested in anything else. When he travels on a real train he finds the other young passengers don’t want to play trains, they prefer their own toys. This book is great fun for reading aloud and joining in; it has a playful approach to words with a strong rhythm perfect for the train theme. 

See our activity ideas. 
Casper’s dad Ben says:
‘Casper loves the book ‘TRAIN!’ and the lovemybooks activities really bring it to life for him. His obsession with all things train-related means he can really relate to Little Elephant. He particularly enjoys pretending to be Little Elephant - shouting 'train' and then running his own toy trains over the book! He also likes reading the book with his stuffed toys sat on cushions as the passengers. He talks them through the story as we read it out loud and throws a great 'terrible train tantrum'!

Thanks Lovemybooks for the great recommendation and fantastic ways for Casper to immerse himself in the book!"
See all our books about Going places
Buy here  and visit our activity page.

Our Top 10 books for baby's first bookshelf
It’s never too early to read or sing to babies. They will tune into the sounds, rhythms and patterns of your voice and will gradually focus on, and delight in, the pictures. Books are a wonderful way to engage your baby in a shared, enjoyable and stimulating activity and a perfect way to spend time together. As babies grow, they will join in with your actions, words and tunes to bring the book to life. This early experience is an important first step on their journey as readers. We hope our top ten selection will remind you of your own childhood favourites and introduce you to some new books which will become future family favourites.
For more ideas also see our classic picture books and our 0-3 collection.

Our NEW Books and activity pages for February      
Dear Dinosaur by Chae Strathie, Nicola O’Byrne (illus)
Real dinosaur facts are cleverly incorporated in this highly imaginative and amusing story. Buy here

The Darkest Dark by astronaut Chris Hadfield
A young boy with dreams of flying to the moon in his own spaceship. Buy here

The Outlaw Varjak Paw by SF Said, Dave McKean (illus)
A novel for children aged 6+ about what it means to be brave, loyal, fair, open-minded and stand up for what you believe is right. Buy here  Also see our activity page on Varjak Paw

Let’s make stick puppets!
Making stick puppets lets children play with the story
Puppets can be a great way of retelling a story, whether this is a folk or fairy story such as Goldilocks and the Three Bears or No Dinner or something from a modern picture book such as Dylan’s Amazing Dinosaurs (there are instructions for making a pterodactyl stick puppet with our ideas for sharing this book) or Betty Goes Bananas (with a toucan stick puppet template).

Simple puppets can be made with the shapes of characters cut out of stiff paper or card and decorated with crayons or pens and then stuck on a ‘handle’ made from a lolly stick or folded piece of card. The cutting might be too tricky for little fingers but your child could definitely join in with the colouring and sticking.

Stick puppet templates for Goldilocks and the Three Bears
You just need to download the templatescut them out so that your child can decorate them and stick them on a lolly stick or card handle. Then you are ready to tell the story together!

Sue McGonigle and Olivia O’Sullivan from Lovemybooks spoke to a large audience of students and teachers at the University of East London (UEL) about using the Lovemybooks website with parents and in the classroom.

The event, a celebration of picture books, was organised by Julian Grenier, head of Sheringham Nursery and Children's Centre, The East London Teaching Schools Alliance and UEL. Other speakers were UKLA representative David Reedy and Nicole Gurvidi,Tower Hamlets School Improvement Team. They spoke about choosing and using books in the Early Years. Newham Bookshop provided a fabulous range of picture books for sale. 

Lovemybooks is all about young children enjoying reading and books with their parents, family and friends.
Lovemybooks is FREE – and ad-free – and created by literacy experts. More about us... 

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