Monday, November 21, 2011

Maisy the Mouse by Lucy Cousins

When you let kids roam free in a bookstore or library, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the wonderful choices of books they can come up with.

During our last trip to the library, the developing reader came up to me with a pile of Maisy the Mouse books. Lucy Cousins' Maisy books are rich in colour and texture yet bold and simple for young readers.

He had the following books in his arms:

1. Merry Christmas Maisy - lift-the-flap and pull-the-tab book - *FAVOURITE*
It's Christmas Eve and Maisy receives Christmas cards and then goes shopping for presents for her friends.

At the store, the kids get an overview of fun stuff i.e. jigsaw puzzles, a tool kit, a train, a tennis racquet and ball, a sailboat, a jack-in-the-box, books, a guitar, a kite, a stuffed bunny, a baby pram etc.

Learned a lot of new words here as they take turns lifting the flaps.

The kids also learned about preparations for Christmas because then, Maisy wraps the presents - again fun with lifting the flaps and the boy tried to guess which friend would get which present.

Maisy keeps herself busy on Christmas Eve baking Christmas goodies - no thanks to her, I've been commissioned to have cookies, boiled Christmas pudding, an iced Christmas cake, a candle and crackers this Christmas hahaha!

Finally, Maisy decorates the place and puts up her stocking. The last page has Maisy welcoming her friends on Christmas day, interestingly, in her pyjamas with a cute lift-the-flap to an "I heart Christmas" t-shirt. Really cute.

Click to buy Merry Christmas Maisy

The kids love the book so much, they thought that their stuffed dog and  teddy bear should read it too:

2. Maisy Drives the Bus
Another hit with the kids, especially the one who can speak because he can count each bus stop (up to No. 5) Maisy stops to pick up a friend. The toddler loves it too because she now lifts her arm in response to "Hello!" and she giggles when she hears me read "Brrm! Brmm!"

Click to buy Maisy Drives the Bus

3.  Maisy Dresses Up - Thankfully, it's not another book on Halloween, which I feel focuses a bit too much on scary costumes.

Instead, Maisy has been invited to Talullah's costume party and she's planning out her costume.

She thinks of several costumes i.e. a pirate, a queen or a fire fighter, she remembers that each of her friend is going to dress up as those.

I love how Lucy Cousins breaks stereotypes here because she presents Eddie the elephant dressed up as a queen and tiny Cyril the squirrel dressed as a fire fighter. This way, the kids don't always have a fixated idea of what queens and fire fighters look like.

I wish that she had Talullah the chick dressed as the pirate and Charlie the crocodile the angel instead :D That would really break the mould, don't you think?

Click to buy Maisy Dresses Up

4. Maisy Makes Gingerbread
My son loves to cook while my daughter loves to eat so this book suits them to a tee.

One morning, Maisy decides to make gingerbread and we read of how the cute mouse gets the kitchen ready with a weighing scale and the ingredients.

Then, she's at the mixing bowl or handling the cooking cutters and rolling pin. After she puts the cookies in the over, like any kid, she licks the bowl! Lucy Cousins pays attention to detail because she also shows Maisy washing up after she's done - a really important lesson for kids who want to have fun with cooking.

She serves her friends, Talullah and Charlie, who drop by for tea, crocodile and chicken shaped cookies respectively.

Now that my son has the 'recipe' for making gingerbread, he told me that I must make gingerbread cookies this Christmas. Ooh, the pressure!!!

Click to buy Maisy Makes Gingerbread

5. Maisy at the Fair
This fun book starts out with a graphic organizer of the various fairground equipment kids might encounter.

After reading the book once, my son enjoyed matching the various animals with their respective rides on subsequent readings of the book.

Click to buy Maisy at the Fair

6. Maisy's Bedtime
This is a great bedtime book particularly for kids between the ages of 4 to 6 years old because they are learning to brush their teeth, change into their PJs and go to the toilet before they turn in for the night.

Maisy's Bedtime does it in an amusing way because she forgets to go to the toilet, which tickles the boy and of course, sends his little sister into peals of laughter as well.

On the nights I read this bedtime story, he would kid his little sister, "Oops! You forgot to go to the toilet!" and laugh like it's the greatest joke on earth.

While the boy liked the funny part, his little sister loved to raise her hands in question whenever I read the part "But where is Panda?" (Maisy's stuffed panda). She'd wait in anticipation as I continue the story and finally laugh happily when she finds the panda.

Click to buy Maisy's Bedtime

7. Maisy's Morning at the Farm
Maisy spends a busy day at the farm driving the tractor, feeding the chickens and the pigs, watching the sheep graze and milking the cow.

In the end, she enjoys a good breakfast of cereal with milk because she had been working hard. I think it's a great book because it indirectly shows the kids that farming is hard work.

Click to buy Maisy's Morning on the Farm

Lucy Cousins' "Maisy" books are great because they are entertaining and educational. Also, even though there's a dimension of fantasy in each book, I like it how she always ends each book by bringing the young reader back to reality, back to their own real life situation.

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