What We’ve Been Reading

We’ve been reading some new books from The Dinosaur train series. Lady Bird Books. They have quickly become part of our bedtime story choices. Initially, I was slightly sceptical about dinosaurs that ride a train but my son, he has no such objections. He has no issue differentiating between the fantasy aspects of the stories; dinosaurs taking a train and the factual aspects; this particular species eats meat and this one eats fish. He enjoys the book on both levels.
The books feature the Pteranodon family, fish eating raptors, and Buddy their adopted T’Rex. We’ve been reading; ‘I am T’Rex’ and ‘A Surprise for Mum’.

His verdict: “I like them they are about friendly dinosaurs”.

Straightforward recommendation from a five-year old boy. My boy is in his first year of school, it’s all about learning to read. School send home reading books, sometimes he is keen and sometimes he isn’t. It’s been useful to introduce these books at this stage in his reading. He has an expectation that the books we already own are for reading to him rather than by him. These change that and the layout is perfect.  The text is simple and broken into small chunks,  spread across the page. I read the bulk of the text and he tackles the little bits. It doesn’t feel like reading practice, it feels like reading together and that is a special thing. We’ve taken a step in a new direction.

It’s good to find a story book that engages and appeals to him, it’s not gender specific, but they are good book for boys, without being overly boyish.
We have also been doodling and colouring-in the Charlie and Lola; My Doodling and Colouring-in Book. A Puffin Book.

You discovered a whole other world of television when you have a child, suddenly it’s 6 am on Saturday and Cbeebies is the only way to cope with the un-Godly hour, some of it makes me groan, Some of it we’ve come to Love. Charlie and Lola unites us a family, it has an appealing charm. We have been long time fans the books.

The Doodling and Colouring-in book presented a challenge. My little boy isn’t a great one for colouring, his drawings are minimalist in inspiration. He has never had much interest in activity books. It is something I want to encourage as it helps his developing pen control and writing skills. Given our collective family love for Charlie and Lola I hoped this might be the book to change that and it did.

It a big thick book packed with activities, this isn’t a one train journey colouring book – this books goes and goes. Full of imaginative prompts on a Charlie and Lola theme.

Small conversations to be read aloud between Lola and Charlies lead onto activities, Lola thinks it might rain, there’s a picture and she’s holding an umbrella. The book suggests drawing storm clouds
“How would you draw them?…… scribble, smudge or paint?….. cut them out of coloured paper”
On the other page there is Charlie he needs his umbrella drawing, of course Lola’s is there to copy. The text is simple and again it’s another opportunity to sneak in a bit of reading by him, rather than me.
Interesting prompts but room enough for children to use their own imagination. The format of the book is large and we sit together, him and me, I colour Lola’s dresses on one page, channeling my inner designer, while he draws and colours Charlie on the opposite page.  The activity suggestions make for conversation. We discuss what Charlie and Lola might like to buy in the supermarket. “Pink Milk, of course Mummy”. While Charlie likes vegetables; “Carrots and Peas”.

We have books that never seem to leave the shelf. These books have become part of our everyday. When I tidy up in the evenings I find them on the floor in the living room or bedroom. They are books my 5 year old returns to on his own. That’s a very good recommendation.

We were sent these books to review. Ladybird and Puffin have useful websites where these books can be found. There’s other lovely information; events, book club and author information on Puffin. New books and reading and book advice on Ladybird. Disclosure: All words and opinions are my own.

What books to your children currently love?


  1. Asturian Diary

    I am very aware that we will have to really nurture Jack´s English reading skills as he won´t be taught to a native level in school so am always on the lookout for books that can help. These sound like they´d be right up his street. Right now we´re mainly all about storybooks and being read to but have also got some ´first readers´ to introduce the idea that he will be able to read himself one day soon! He can´t wait, and likes to pretend that he can read already, making up words that he carefully enunciates as if reading out phonetically whilst running his finger along underneath! Very sweet.

  2. Fiona Flores Watson

    We get Dinosaur Train on TV here – the kids love it, especially my son (6) ‘ always some educational facts from their resident paleontologist.

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