The Great Piratical Rumbustification

The Great Piratical Rumbustification & The Librarian and the Robbers

Margaret Mahy, text

Quentin Blake, illustrations

J.M. Dent & Sons, 1978

2 stories: 41 and 18 pages

Age: 6 +

Reading Level: 8 +

Interests: pirates, parties, robbers, libraries, humour

Also by this author: The Dragon of an Ordinary Family, A Lion in the Meadow, The Seven Chinese Brothers, The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate






by Anthony Browne

Farrar, Straus and Giroux: 1992

24 pp.

Age: 6+

Interests: animals, zoos, animal welfare

Also by this author: Gorilla


Way Home


Way Home

Libby Hathorn, text

Gregory Rogers, illustrations

Andersen Press, 1994

30 pp.

Age: 8+

Interests: poverty, city life, homelessness


Just for fun… Lego birds!

I love this, and it opens up the delicious possibilities for Lego projects beyond Stars Wars…

via. – Gardener Hopes to Teach Kids About Birds Using Legos

p.s. If you’ve never done a Lego kit with your child, it’s fun, satisfying, and (I found) strangely soothing as well. (Instructions are brilliantly simple – a cut above ikea!) Can a zen state be achieved through Lego? Discuss.

Summer Reading – Don’t Stress About It

This kind of thing makes me crazy. I followed a tweet to this link, presumably giving reading lists and tips to keep kids reading through the summer. Something I could get behind, and share with my readers, I thought. So what heads the page but the following dire warning:

MOMS & DADS, your kid could fall TWO YEARS BEHIND IN SCHOOL this summer!

Aaaah! What the….? Is that kind of drama necessary to get people to read your book suggestions?!

(Which I might add, seem cobbled from lists of Newbery award-winners and classics, with the blog author’s own books slyly inserted amongst and in between.)

A study is cited, but something tells me that there’s also a study somewhere about how students can get back up to speed in the fall, and presumably remember where they were in their reading.

Living in a high pressure kind of city, I am all-too-used to crazy marketing like this. I get countless brochures in my mailbox for private schools, tutors, summer camps, all trying to instill fear in me that I’m not working my child hard enough over the summer. Why should children get to take it easy and stop thinking for two whole months??

Umm, because it’s summer?!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for summer reading, and will do my best to encourage it. What I won’t do is set a goal of x number of books for the summer, and establish a daily quota of pages to read to get to that goal, as this site recommends. A perfect way to suck the joy out of an activity!

(And I’m not doing it to myself, either. No “you must read these books before you die” or motivational reading lists for me.)

Summer is a time for unregulated thinking, extracurricular daydreaming, and blessed downtime. Keep books handy, sure, wander into the library from time to time, and be a role model (carve out quiet reading time for yourself), but don’t stress out or they will too. As in don’t be a bummer. Chill.

Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales


Sleeping Beauty and Other Favourite Fairy Tales

Angela Carter, translation

Michael Foreman, illustrations

Victor Gollancz Ltd, 1982

128 pp. – 12 stories

Age: 7 +

Interests: fairy tales, adventure, magic, princesses, princes, castles, ogres


Websites and Apps for Kids – Recommendations

Here’s a grab bag of recommended sites for the technologically inclined parent and child.

ALA Recommendations

Some really interesting sites here on the American Library Association recommended websites for kids.

Commonsense Media

The Commonsense Media site covers a lot of ground, but I’ve just been checking out (and appreciating) its great listing of apps, complete with reviews, that is searchable by genre, age level, etc. Get the low-down on some of those ultra-popular games and find out if they are really age appropriate for your child…

Khan Academy

Math Topics, Grade 1 to Adult – Here’s one that a friend recommended for math practice, with topics well organized, and linked so you can do them in a logical order.  From the main page, click on Practice and you will see this chart of topics.  (Site also has videos on many topics for adults as well. As the website says, its goal is to provide a “A free world-class education for anyone anywhere.”)

Poisson Rouge

Preschool and up, all topics –  I’ve never plugged this website on this blog (that I can remember), but it’s been my favourite of the many we’ve checked out since my daughter first went online. Poisson Rouge is a non-profit educational site that is beautifully intuitive to navigate, has alphabets and vocabulary in several languages, as well as all kinds of learning games and entertaining animations and puzzles. I always loved it because she didn’t have to know how to read to explore it, and there are tons of surprises and oddities woven into the site. The games are lovely and stress-free (no points to earn, no high scores, no obsessive replaying). PLUS the art, music, and sound effects are beautiful and well-done. There’s something interesting here for any age of child. Some website games really wind kids up – I find this site to be more hypnotically transfixing…

Peep and the Big Wide World

Preschool Science and Math – If you’ve seen this PBS show you’ll know it covers basic science topics for the very young and inquisitive. The site has very simple games and is quite entertaining.

Keeping it Simple with Toddlers!

The next time you are tempted by expensive toys for toddlers (especially those posh developmental toys!), here’s an excellent reminder of the beauty of simple pleasures:

“Remember these 4 words and you’ll always have Things to Do with a Toddler”

Keep it simple!

All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.