AniMalcolm: Book Review

AniMalcolm is the latest children’s novel by comedian and author David Baddiel, who already has two previously published bestsellers; The Parent Agency and The Person Controller. It is aimed at ages 8 – 11 years old and is the perfect book for any child, especially animal lovers!

The story of AniMalcolm centres around a young boy called – you guessed it! – Malcolm. He comes from a family of animal lovers and has a house full of pets… but the problem is, he doesn’t like them. However, when he attends his Year Six school trip to a farm, Malcolm changes. In many ways. As the blurb says:

He learns what it’s really like to be an animal. A whole series of animals, in fact…

It does make him think differently. And speak differently. And eat differently. And, um, smell differently. But will he end up the same as before?

Because sometimes the hardest thing to become is… yourself!

AniMalcolm, book, childrens story, book review, kids stories, david baddiel, literacy, reading, animal lovers, young readers

Behind the light-hearted humour and imaginative storyline that had us giggling out loud at times, there are hidden depths. The story teaches empathy and demonstrates beautifully how putting ourselves in someone else’s shoes can really change our perspective towards them. The down to earth writing style is wonderfully descriptive with quirky footnotes that really draws the reader fully into the story and keeps them right there throughout.

The story touches upon some insightful points like how one ‘traumatic’ incident in childhood can actually deeply affect how we feel about something and can cause a disconnect. It also highlights how understanding and empathy is essential in creating an emotional connection, which then fosters positive feelings and actions towards them. These underlying messages may not be explicit or obvious to children whilst reading the book necessarily but nonetheless it will help build the right foundations for them.

In conclusion: I adore this book!

AniMalcolm is available to purchase now in paperbook for £6.99 RRP. You can buy it via Amazon here (affiliate link).

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I was sent the book for purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 11: Your Favourite Type of Animal

I love animals, but I do have a few particular favourites that spring to mind. Growing up, dogs were my absolute firm favourite. I would spend many hours learning about different dog breeds, and I had a pet dog who I adored, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Cindy. I would love to have a dog now, but circumstances mean it isn’t really possible in the near future. One day maybe! We love spending time with my dad’s gorgeous Labradors though.

Pets, dogs, labrador, black labrador, golden labrador, furry family, furbabies

Cats are another animal that I have a huge soft spot for. We have two cats, one of whom is desperately trying to stop me typing in order to stroke him right now! We also have two bunnies, so I will count them as a favourite too, I wouldn’t want them to feel left out!

Furry family, furbabies, giant french lop, white rabbit

Last but not least, seals are another favourite. Watching them in their natural environment, seeing them give birth, watching inquisitive newborns interact with Squiggle and other humans… it is simply mind-blowing. Learning about the story of Ropeneck, a mother who was rescued when she got a rope caught tightly around her neck and has since returned to the same spot on the Lincolnshire coast to give birth every pupping season, inspired and motivated me to take more action to protect our ocean mammals. 

Rope entanglement, scarred, seals, pups, ocean mammals, empathy
This is Rope neck. She turned up on Donna Nook beach in Lincs, UK in 2006 with a rope around her neck slowly cutting into the flesh. She was caught and freed, but heavily scarred. Ropeneck now returns to the same spot at the same time every year to pup. (This particular photo was taken by myself in November 2014).

This also led me to discover the story of the Lonely Whale, which then guided me to various other organisations too, all of whom work hard to make positive and lasting changes for ocean health and the well-being of the living creatures who reside in it.

Amazing how one animal… one story… can have such a major impact on our lives!

#Blogtober16

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 5: What Career Did You Have Planned As A Child? 

What were my childhood dreams, career-wise? What did I want to be when I grew up? Good question! I am not really sure I ever had an answer to that question, I think I had ideas of the kind of thing I might like but never anything specific.

As mentioned before, I used to dream of being in a band but I knew this would never be achievable! More realistically, I was absolutely obsessed with animals and wanted to run some kind of shelter. 

One thing I do remember is how my cousin was absolutely adament that she wanted to be a flight attendent so she could travel the world. She now does exactly that. I guess some people have that level of direction from a very young age whilst others take longer. And that’s ok. 

#Blogtober16

Paradise Wildlife Park, Hertfordshire

There is plenty to do at Paradise Wildlife Park. In addition to the wide variety of animals, there are also various other areas such as soft play, paddling pool, sand pit, construction area, go carts, train, woodland walk, bouncy castles and several play areas, as well as shows, talks and feeds. There are also various ride-ons and games for additional cost. The price is reasonable in my opinion, in comparison to similar days out, especially given the amount of facilities included in the price and the high running costs of the zoo. However, there are often discounts available through groupon and similar sites, which makes it somewhat more affordable. More information about Paradise Wildlife Park can be found on their website https://www.pwpark.com

 

 

 

 

 

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November: Part Two

Experimenting with play dough and water- exploring properties
Experimenting with play dough and water- exploring properties

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Drawings of a seal doing an Easter hunt! 27.11.14
Drawings of a seal doing an Easter hunt! 27.11.14

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Writing a list 27.11.14
Writing a list 27.11.14

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Sorting mixed nuts 29.11.14
Sorting mixed nuts 29.11.14

A Typical Week in Home Education?

In reality there is no such thing as a ‘typical’ week for us, we are interest-led and we tend to go with the flow as we feel this suits our needs as a family. The freedom to do this is one of the many reasons we love home educating. I will share more of our personal educational philosophy sometime but that is really a separate subject so I will leave it for now. However, this post aims to give a flavour of the type of thing we might find ourselves doing and a rough gist of what our week might look like. So here is a brief summary of our week:

Saturday

In the morning Squiggle played outside in the garden with her dad. She also picked some blackberries then helped to clean and feed our rabbits. After this we decided to head to the seaside at Southend for the rest of the day.

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Playing on the beach
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Collecting seaweed
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Paddling in the sea

Sunday

We spent some the day at home then decided to pop to Milton Keynes shopping centre for a little while (where she particularly enjoyed the caravan show and studying the inside of a working clock)

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This is the model plane she made at home

Monday

We went to London Zoo for the day.

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We enjoyed seeing the star fishes and seahorses in the aquarium
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Iguana in the reptile house
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The gorilla striking a pose!
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Petting farm
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Squiggle spent a long time playing in the water fountains with an acorn. She had fun designing a science experiment to see which fountains could hold the acorn up in the water. She did lots of investigating how easily the acorn moved in the little stream as well.

Tuesday

We played at home for a while (self- directed learning) then we decided to go to Paradise Park for the rest of the day.

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She decided she wanted to play with some coins that had been left on the table so this led to learning to recognise and sort different coins. We also had a discussion on the value of things.
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Watching how the otters behave
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We enjoyed watching the white tiger take a bath

Wednesday

We had planned to go to a local park to meet up with some friends in the morning then we also went to Leighton Buzzard park in the afternoon.

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Fleetville park
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Counting the shapes then setting the dial to the correct number
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Developing her climbing skills and confidence
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These stepping stones wobble to make this more challenging.
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Balancing skills

Thursday

We stayed at home today so I produced a hidden parcel that had arrived recently, which she was very excited about. It was a zip wire for her hex bugs! This of course inspired her to play with these for sometime, including lots of exploration and discussion about how they work. Activities she later chose included playing Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds on the laptop.

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Hexbugs
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Maths seeds

Friday

Most of our day was spent at the scout hut for art group then ‘meet up and play’.

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Exploring clay at art group
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Doing scratch art