I Want My Hat Back


I Want My Hat Back

by Jon Klassen

Candlewick Press, 2011

33 pp.

Age: 3+

Interests: animals, mystery, crime and punishment, bears and rabbits

Also by this author: This is Not My Hat



The Kissing Hand


The Kissing Hand

text by Audrey Penn

illustrations by Ruth E. Harper and Nancy M. Leak

Tanglewood Press, 1993

30 pp.

Age: 2+

Interests: animals, family, raccoons, school, dealing with change, separation


The Incredible Journey (1963)

The Incredible Journey (film)

The Incredible Journey

Released: 1963

Rated: G

Length: 80 min

Age: 3+

Scary Factor: various dangerous situations for animals are rather tamely presented, not disturbing at all, and no notable injuries are sustained; cat is swept away in river but later rescued; a man shoots at dog rummaging in garbage can, but mainly to scare him away; cat is chased by a lynx but escapes

Interests: pets, cats, dogs, wilderness, nature, Canada, adventure

Next: read the book The Incredible Journey


The Water-Babies


The Water-Babies

by Charles Kingsley

originally published in 1863

144 pp.

Age: 6+ (read to)

Interests: fairies, magic, animals, nature, religion, bad behaviour

Next: other Victorian fairy stories – The Magic Fishbone (Dickens), The Princess and the Goblin, The Cuckoo Clock, Alice in Wonderland


The Incredible Journey


The Incredible Journey

by Sheila Burnford

Hodder and Stoughton, 1961

127 pp. – 11 chapters

Age: read to – 7+               independent reading – 9+?

Interests: pets, cats, dogs, wilderness, adventure

Next: 1963 Disney movie The Incredible Journey


Role Models for Boys

It sometimes feels like there are a lot – almost too many – male role models out there in the media, but we should be thinking about exactly what they are teaching children.

Here’s a fantastic TED talk by Colin Stokes, “How Movies Teach Manhood”.

There has been an awful lot of effort over the last few years to present young girls with empowering role models that we haven’t spent enough time really analyzing what baggage is being toted by all those male role models we’ve been trying to balance against. Colin is right, they are usually renegades, fighting (always fighting) all alone against the odds, etc. His comparison of The Wizard of Oz with Star Wars is spot on in its implications of the changing face of movies. (It’s also another argument for watching old movies instead of newer ones, in my opinion!)

After my post a few days ago Positive Role Models for Girls I wanted to follow up with some info about boys, and that TED talk really put everything into a nutshell for me.

Here are a couple of great posts from Commonsense Media on the same topic –

Boy Games With Positive Role Models

And in case we forget that boys are just as inundated with media messages about body image as girls are –

Boys and Body Image Tips

Positive Role Models for Girls

I don’t watch much tv these days (who has the time?), but here’s a list of current TV shows with Positive Girl Role Models from Commonsense Media.

My six-year-old is in turns fascinated and mystified by the world of teenagers. She loves to mimic their catchphrases, and even tries on their ‘world weary attitude’ for size. Her classmates are starting to pay attention to teen pop stars and other young celebrities. One problem with this is that so much tween and teen media is rife with girl vs. girl antagonism, gossip, rivalry and catfights. It takes some effort to find shows in which girls are thoughtful, nice, loyal and true friends to each other. And that show girls who have interests other than boys and the mall.

We may have come some distance in media depictions of women. At least we can see women in a variety of non-traditional careers now, but there still remain insidious stereotypes about how girls treat each other and these still need to be turned upside down. And don’t even get me started on the depiction of women in comic books and computer games…

We’ve still got a long way to go, baby.

See also: Commonsense’s list of Strong Female Characters in Books.

And on this blog, type “strong girls” into the search box above to see my list of great female characters in books and movies.

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse

by Ursula Moray Williams

originally published by George G. Harrap & Co. Ltd., London, 1938

253 pp. – 19 chapters

Age: (read to) 4+ ; (independent reading) 7+

Interests: horses, toys come to life, travel, adventures, pirates, circus

by the same author: Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat, The Further Adventures of Gobbolino and the Little Wooden Horse


8 Life Lessons to be learned from Jane Austen

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait b...

Jane Austen, Watercolour and pencil portrait by her sister Cassandra, 1810 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a great post on Huffington: 8 Life Lessons from Jane Austen. A lot has changed in the last 200 years or so, but love and relationships remain constant, it would seem. Not to mention flirtation, attraction and deception. And the allure of dashing young ne’er-do-wells.

I did not read Austen as a young person, sadly, but this post reminded me how relevant these books can be for romantically addled teenagers. If they can get a grip on the language and persevere through the slow parts, they will come away with a sense of the social rules of Austen’s time (“Oh, man! It would suck to live back then!”) as well as some pertinent love advice for their own era.

CBC radio: Peter and the Wolf

Peter, Ivan and Sasha realize that they have c...

The Disney version – from Make Mine Music (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We were listening to CBC radio a while back and caught a great children’s concert by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bramwell Tovey. It ended with this terrific version of Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. There are many versions of this piece available on CD, with a great variety of narrators (from John Gielgud to Dame Edna) and it’s a nice way to introduce your child to classical music.

Perhaps a good choice for a snow-bound winter afternoon sitting cozy by the fire?

(Everything you ever wanted to know about Peter and the Wolf c/o Wikipedia.)

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