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When we went to teh park by Shirley Hughes in one of a collection of books in the authors Nursery Collection. The stories are all about a little girl and her baby brother, with the little girl being the key character in this story.
The little girls goes to the park with her Grandad and on the way and whilst they are there she tells us what she sees. As she is telling us what she sees she is counting up to 10, so for example she sees one black cat, two big girls, three ladies and so on. She also gives them some form of description, so for example, three ladies chatting on a bench. After she sees ten birds swooping in teh sky she tells us that she has seen 'so many leaves that I couldn't count them all.' This gives the ending a bit of humour and fun as all children like to play in the fallen autumn leaves. Finally it is time to go home and on the way back she sees the one black cat again and goes home for tea.
The story itself is very simple, yet lends itself cleverly to a number of learning opportunities. Counting to ten, sequencing numbers, one to one corresponddence, lots and one, therefore comparing quanitity, discussion about the park, opportunities to say what your child sees on the way to the park, recognising the written numbers to 10, feelings, relationships, the weather and clothing the list is endless.
I got this book from the library as we have been ging to the park a lot recently and it also seemed suited to the autumn weather we are having. It certainly is a lovely book and the illustrations clearly picture the autumnal, fun feeling of this story.
This book was published by Walker books and has £3.99 as its RRP. This particular book is quite some years old and so the price may have changed, though I am sure you could pick something up on any good online book shop.
I would recommend this book to both boys and girls. My son is 21 months and enjoys listening and counting and naming objects. As the child's age increases there are more opportunities for chatting about the story and therefore I woudl say that this book is suitable up to the age of about 5 years old.
Shirley Hughes is well known for producing great children's books and "When we went to the park" is no exception.
Ms Hughes combines a very simple story about a little girl walking to the park with her Grandpa with a great counting game. The girl leaves home and encounters various things in ever increasing numbers from one black cat through to ten birds in the sky and eventually onto so many leaves that they can't be counted.
The illustrations, in common with many of Shirley's books are an absolute delight and the fully compliment the pitter-patter tale as it unfolds. The illustrations are in a watercolour and ink style and are suitably detailed. They allow flexibility within the reading of this book so that the book can be read as a whole or you can take your time over the pictures and enhance the basic words with a game of "can you see the....". My son loves trying to spot some of the smaller items in the pictures and you can almost see him linking things together (such as the fact that one of the four babies is asleep and has dropped his teddy).
Hughes uses semi-urban settings for her illustrations that make them all the more believable and give the book a very homely feel. It's a relaxing read rather than a challenging one.
The book is a good introduction to numbers. As I read I tend to count out the items, visibly pointing to them in turn, so I might use the words "seven dogs chasing one another" and then I'll count each of the seven dogs in the picture, perhaps asking my son which dog is "best". At 18 months my son has the concept of one through to three but no more and so this repetitive method works well to convey the concept of numbers without being boring. The last pages of the book aid the numbers games as they contain miniature versions of all of the characters seen in the book and these can be counted and recalled. Even at this stage I can say "what's that" to around 50% of the illustrations and my son will at least correctly identify the items. It's a great recap.
The Amazon blurb for this book might suggest that it will also teach shape, size and colour. This is not the case although other books in the "Nursery Collection" do and so, in this regard, Amazon is a little misleading.
Whether you use this as teaching aid or just as a wonderfully illustrated delightful story I'm sure it will give pleasure.
I'd say it was suited to children from about 18 months through to those aged 3-4. I suspect (although don't have relevant experience) that it would also be suitable for early readers as the language is simple and the font clear.