“ Genre: Junior Books / Author: Claire Freedman / Paperback / Reading Level: Ages 4-8 / 32 Pages / Book is published 2006-07-31 by Candle Books „
After having such a good response from my son from reading and using Benjamin Bear says Please to help him to say please I was keen to try another book in the series. Now as any parent of a toddler will tell you there are some moments you dread when your child will do something unpleasant to another child such as snatch a toy of them or worse hit them in frustration. One of the things my husband and I were keen on were from him to learn right from wrong and if he did something naughty or that upset another child was for him to say sorry to that child. But equally for him to understand why we had to say sorry and this is where this book comes in handy for helping us get this message across.
About the Author
Claire Freedman has written several children's books possibly the most well know of these is Aliens love Underpants. She lives in Essex and is continuing to write books currently. Steve Smallman the illustrator has being illustrating children's books for about 30 years and has provided all of the illustrations for the Benjamin Bear books.
About the Book.
This board book is tells the story of Benjamin and his friend's on a bright and sunny day. Benjamin is feeling full of bounce and is looking forward to having some fun with his friends. He gradually comes across his friends in the park first he meets Snippy the crocodile who is fishing Snippy lets him have a go with his fishing rod and by accident Benjamin knocks Snippy's hat into the water. Rather than say sorry to Snippy for this Benjamin runs off and we see a sad Snippy in the water saying "it would have been nice if Benjamin had said sorry" The accident prone bear then goes one to upset two more of his friends with them all uttering the same line of " It would of been nice if Benjamin had said sorry" Benjamin is then himself a victim of someone doing something upsetting to him by accident to him as he utters the Line of "it would have been nice if he said sorry" he realises he has just upset his friends by not saying sorry for the accidents he caused and he then goes to say sorry to them which they like and puts things right again so they can have fun together.
The book seems to get the message across in a simple way that if you say sorry when you have upset some one even by accident it will make people feel happier, appreciated and you can still remain friends . The language used is clear and simple and doesn't include any words that a toddler won't have heard, meaning that they can focus on the story and the message behind it. The publishers say that the reading age of the book is for 4 years plus so this would probably make it a good book for school age children to read to younger siblings.
The illustrations themselves are very charming and funny. The animals all have wonderfully expressive faces showing happiness, sadness and enjoyment. The artist has managed to capture these emotions I think whilst still retaining the animal characteristics of Benjamin and his friends.
The story certainly appeals to my toddler as he seems to like the idea of some of the fun things Benjamin and his friends get up too. He seems to be able to understand that Benjamin's friends feel sad and upset if he doesn't say sorry. Equally he can identify that Benjamin himself gets upset when someone runs over his strawberries and then doesn't say sorry to him.
We have used this book generally as part of his bedtime book selection for several months now. At first as he couldn't say sorry we would ask him did he think Benjamin should of said sorry when he ran away after upsetting his friends and most of the time he would say yes. Once he had learnt to pronounce the word sorry we would ask him what word should Benjamin of said and he would mostly say sorry in response. At the end of the story we would then ask were Benjamin and his friends happy again after he had said sorry for upsetting them and he would reply yes. Now the impact this little book has had has been great alongside our usual prompts. He has learnt to say sorry when he has upset someone and often if he knows he has done something wrong or done something by accident such as knocking his dad's glasses off, he will say sorry straight away without being prompted. There are still a couple of types of incidents were he will refuse to say sorry however and these are generally when he has got into a quarrel with one of his friends when they have taken something he has been playing off him. He has then either snatched it back off them or hit them or done something similar to get it back. In these situations where two people need to sorry he still struggles to understand why he needs to say sorry, he will accept an apology but won't give one back till he has calmed down. After these occasions we generally make sure that night we make a point of reading this book to reinforce the message again that he needs to say sorry too.
Even though he now says sorry when appropriate about 60-70% of the time it is still part of his bedtime books for he chooses from and it is still often picked by him for either me or my husband to read to him on an evening. This I think shows how brilliantly the books author and illustrator have done in making an educational book fun and enjoyable to read as he still laughs and makes comments about Benjamin's and his friends exploits. At between £3-5 for this book depending on Amazons offers I can recommend it enough aid in teaching your child to say sorry.