Now that Noah is older, he enjoys reading longer stories with us, and his current favourite characters include Curious George, and Bob the Builder.
I got him his first Curious George book, Curious George Takes a Train, just before we went on our Taiwan trip (you can read about it here and here), because we were going to take the train from Taipei to Yuli, and even though he has taken the MRT a couple of times, I thought it would be nice to read about a different kind of train that he’s familiar with. We read it a few times before the trip, and brought it along too, since we usually bring a book or two for him when we travel.
Some time back, I noticed that The Groovy Giraffe was having a really good deal on Curious George Stories to Share, so I got it as a “standby gift”, in case I forgot to buy a gift for my friends’ kids, but after I realised that Noah enjoyed the Curious George story, I thought I’d give it to him instead.
Noah was thrilled that there were eight stories to choose from, and took great delight in selecting a story for us to read. After a while, because the first line in the eight stories was the same, he would recite it with me when I read, “George was a good little monkey and always very curious.”
After reading the eight stories over and over again, C remarked, “I don’t know why he likes Curious George so much! The stories follow a fixed pattern: The monkey is curious, he gets into trouble accidentally, then SOMEHOW, the trouble that he creates ends up being something good, and he miraculously gets praised for it.” Haha. I think that’s PRECISELY why Noah loves Curious George: because he himself is always getting into some kind of trouble due to his curiosity!
I like that the stories cover a range of different events and places that are generally common, which means Noah can identify with them, and can relate them to his own experiences, such as going to the aquarium, museum, and fire station. The illustrations are large and colourful, so Noah usually looks at the pictures as I read the text on the pages. I like that the text isn’t too lengthy, which ensures that he doesn’t lose interest before I finish reading the story. I must say though that his attention span for stories is rather good, and he almost never gets distracted when we read to him (unless it’s a Chinese book, which is a story for another day).
Part of Noah’s favourite story from this collection
After the success of Curious George Stories to Share, I decided to get him the other collection of stories. Curious George Storybook Collection comes with stickers at the back of the book, and Noah discovered them before I did, which meant he peeled out quite a few of them, and decorated my floor before I noticed what he was doing. In my defence, he usually enjoys flipping through books quietly on his own while I am busy, so I didn’t expect him to be pasting stickers everywhere.
Another interesting feature of this collection is that it has one or two related activities at the end of each story, which parents can easily use to engage their children. As an ex-teacher, I really like having activities related to whatever stories we’re reading, so this is pretty useful. I don’t usually manage to find or think of extension activities, so this is a good start for sure!
These stories don’t begin with the standard “George was a good little monkey and always very curious” sentence, which threw Noah off initially, but he now completes certain sentences as we read to him, since he has heard the stories so many times. I think children really like repetition, and Noah doesn’t seem to get tired of hearing the same story twice in a row (he gets me to read it to him, then hands C the book and asks for the same story after that). To be honest, we are the ones who are tired of reading the same 16 stories (eight in each collection) to him so frequently!
Part of Noah’s favourite story from this collection
Noah’s also a fan of Bob the Builder, after I got these four titles from The Groovy Giraffe. I’ve seen Bob the Builder around on kiddy rides, and for some reason, I’ve also heard of their tagline, “Can we fix it? Yes, we can!” Don’t ask me why I know it. I have absolutely no clue either!
If your children love construction vehicles, then you should definitely try reading Bob the Builder books with them. The characters are really adorable, and I like how colourful and cheerful the pictures are. There’s a Bob the Builder cartoon series too, but thankfully, Noah hasn’t discovered it yet (he has already discovered the Curious George cartoons).
The text in these books can get rather lengthy, so older kids might be able to better appreciate them, but who’s to say that toddlers can’t enjoy looking at the pictures, right? I always feel that there’s no harm in exposing children to good books from an early age, and even if they can’t sit through the entire story at the moment, they’ll be able to do so after a while. It’s a good way to help them improve their attention spans!
Bob the Builder: Wendy’s Busy Day When Bob catches a cold, Wendy steps in to make sure that some important roadworks are finished on time. The work goes well – until Dizzy discovers you should never play football in wet concrete!
This was the first Bob the Builder book that Noah read, and he was really amused by it. He kept imitating Bob’s sneezes, and laughed hysterically whenever Bob sneezed in the story. He still has a little trouble remembering the names of the different construction vehicles (I do too), but can recount the plot accurately, and occasionally talks about what happened in the story. I liked that Wendy offered to help Bob out, and that she decided not to disturb him when she encountered a problem, so I talked to Noah about that, and reminded him that kindness is a virtue.
Bob the Builder: Wendy’s Busy Day
Bob the Builder: Spud the Dragon Bob and Wendy are laying loft insulation at Mrs Pott’s house, while Spud is helping Mrs Percival prepare for the school play. But when her back is turned, Spud finds a dragon outfit and decides to have some fun. Of course, he causes havoc.
Noah was initially a little apprehensive when we read Spud the Dragon, and I could feel him tensing up a little as I read it to him. When Wendy said, “There aren’t any dragons around here.” Noah repeated that line a few times, as though he was trying to reassure himself. Haha. He was also rather curious about the insulation that Bob and Wendy were putting into Mrs Pott’s house, as it’s something new to him. I was bombarded with “Why?” questions throughout this book: “Why (did) he want to dress up like a dragon? Why (did) they want to put the insulation? Why they don’t know it’s Spud?” I guess it’s time to start getting him to play dress up, build toy houses, and have more pretend play!
Bob the Builder: Spud the Dragon
Bob the Builder: Bob Saves the Hedgehogs When the road reopens, the hedgehogs will need a way to cross safely, and it’s up to Bob and the team to help them. CAN THEY DO IT? YES, THEY CAN!
Noah didn’t know what hedgehogs were, but he thought the pictures of them looked rather cute. He was rather concerned when the hedgehogs were almost run over, and we had a short conversation about how it is important to be alert when we’re driving. He liked that they built a tunnel for the hedgehogs, and I plan to get him to use his blocks to build roads and tunnels soon, to engage him further.
Bob the Builder: Bob Saves the Hedgehogs
Bob the Builder: Travis Paints the Town When Spud delivers an important message from Farmer Pickles, Travis hurries off to help him. But Spud has been up to his usual mischief and plays a trick on Travis. Oh no! Bob must stop Travis before he paints the whole town white!
Spud seems to be the resident mischief maker in this Bob the Builder series, and I think Noah doesn’t quite like him, which is good, because I definitely don’t want him getting ideas from Spud! He kept asking me why Spud was behaving like that, so I took the opportunity to tell him that Spud was playing a prank on Travis, which wasn’t a very nice thing to do, since it inconvenienced so many people/vehicles. In case you can’t tell, I like to use stories to teach Noah about values. Gotta make sure he understands the stories, and learns something from them, right?
Bob the Builder: Travis Paints the Town
If you’re looking for slightly longer stories with attractive illustrations, then do check out both the Curious George and Bob the Builder series. The stories are engaging and fun to read, but be warned: you would probably have to read them over and over again! Well, at least that means it’s money well-spent, right?
Buy the Book Curious George Stories to Share (Hardcover) Curious George Storybook Collection Bob The Builder: Wendy’s Busy Day Bob The Builder: Spud The Dragon Bob The Builder:Bob Saves The Hedgehogs Bob The Builder: Travis Paints The Town
Other Similar Titles Curious George Takes a Train Reading Fun with Curious George Boxed Set (6 Early Reader Books Set) Curious George Schoolhouse Fun Set (3 Books) Bob the Builder Pocket Treasury: Includes 9 Stories Bob the Builder: Flex and the Fix-it Day Bob the Builder: Gripper, Grabber and the Sports Stadium Bob the Builder: Pilchard and the Big Surprise Bob the Builder: Scruffty and the Goat Hunt Bob the Builder: Travis and the Tropical Fruit
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