Another FRED Reviews… Peace at Last

Tonight we have a special treat with our second #AnotherFRED, featuring John Kirk, who tweets as @jkstorytelling! John offers a lovely insight into his work and bedtime routine before a review of a classic book that T and I have yet to read.

First, let me introduce your reviewers. My name is John Kirk and I am a professional storyteller working in schools and libraries with families and young people. My little girl’s name is Verity, or VBz for short. She has just turned 2 and loves books, or ‘bups’ as she calls them!

I have been following the Father Reading blog for a few months and have found it very inspiring. Working in nurseries, schools and libraries I get to talk to a lot of people and have heard some really sad stories about the value families place on reading (a 4 year old was told by his mother that he didn’t need a bedtime story anymore because he was a big boy). When I work with children and families, I try to promote reading and am always looking out for quality books to recommend. At the same time, at home, daddy has seen the positive effect reading at night has had on VBz – particularly her imagination and vocabulary – so the motivations behind the Father Reading blog have really struck a chord in our household.

Reading is a part of our nightly routine. It helps VBz understand that bedtime is approaching and helps to produce a calm atmosphere for us all at the end of the day. The way we do it is that either myself or Mrs K will be in charge of the reading but VBz will choose the books – this can be a painfully slow experience but we’ll usually get at least one really good book of an evening (You Must Bring a Hat, Dogs Don’t Do Ballet, The Man in the Moon and Never Tickle a Tiger are all quite regular reads). I try to do the reading as much as possible because I feel its real quality time spent and that it strengthens my bond with VBz but my job will often mean I miss bedtime altogether. When we read a story, she’ll sit on my knee and listen – I’ve often thought that these are moments to treasure. I also like to do it because, despite being a storyteller, I’m not a very confident reader and since starting to read aloud with VBz I have really enjoyed speaking verse out loud.

As I’ve mentioned already, we have a growing selection of books which we have bought or been gifted for VBz to chose from of an evening. We have used the local library service and the rhyme time session at our local library is a fixture of our weekly calendar. I have also found talking to other parents and the Bookstart scheme great ways of discovering new titles.

The book I chose to review is Peace at Last by Jill Murphy. It’s a classic book following Mr Bear and his attempts to get some rest in different parts of his house. Peace at Last was the first book VBz ever laughed at and the first book she ever tried to join in with! Despite countless readings, it is still a book that is guaranteed to capture her attention. It’s beautifully illustrated so, as she gets older, we have been able to use the pictures to discuss the book and the way that the different sounds that keep Mr Bear awake are described (snoring, the night animals and the alarm clock) mean that we never get tired of this wonderful book!

Great to gift, borrow or share – everyone will love Mr Bear!

You can get a copy of Peace at Last via the following link…

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