Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Holiday Reading and Jammy Dodgers

Even though I am currently one-third into reading The Other Boleyn Girl, I couldn't keep myself away from my shiny new Christmas present aka Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby. In fact I galloped through it in a night and enjoyed it very much, despite being reminded - as I always am when I read his books - of my English ex-boyfriend, who shared many traits of typical Hornby male characters: pugnacious, insecure yet arrogant, a tendency towards misery and moodiness. Whenever I read a Nick Hornby novel I congratulate myself on finishing with the ex and finding a nice man like Fixit to settle down with.

Next on my reading list, and I'm still debating the order, are two more Christmas presents: Escape by Anna Fienberg and the new Nick Earls, The True Story of Butterfish. I'm a massive fan of Nick Earls, I met him when I was working with the Youth Literature Program and have a very precious signed copy of his first, and possibly my favourite, book Zigzag Street. If you haven't read this book you should, it makes me squawk with laughter every time I read it. I'm not quite sure if Philippa Gregory and her Boleyn Girls aren't going to have to stand at the back of the line, even if they are on loan from a friend. The good thing about being on holidays is extra time and energy for reading, so I daresay I'll get through!

A while ago Cherub declared that he wanted a rest from chapter books for our night-time storyreading sessions and so we've had a good time reading some of his excellent picture books, favourites like QPootle5 by Nick Butterworth and Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. But tonight we started Paddington Bear; chapters and not very many pictures. I don't remember ever having read this before despite knowing all my life all about the bear from Darkest Peru, but we enjoyed the lively opening chapter very much, so fingers crossed Cherub will get over his aversion to chapter books.

cherub boxfun

Last night I finished reading the very last book from the Rowan of Rin series (by Emily Rodda) to the boys. We have read all 5 of these books straight through, on the recommendation of Pea Soup, and boy was she on the money. Every night Climber would look dismayed when I finished the chapter and ask for just one more. They are fantasy adventures books, aimed at 8-12 yo's, set in the land of Rin where dwell fantastic creatures like Dragons, Ice Creepers and Grach; and the hero, in a land where the brave and the strong are valued, is a gentle, shy and nervous boy called Rowan. During the series he must battle with very frightening creatures and solve impossible riddles but he makes friends and triumphs in the end, despite what I consider VERY vague "instructions" from the grumpy wise woman. My sensitive Climber, the one who feels he can't stand up to the bolshy boys in his grade, has enjoyed them enormously, and told me one day as we were driving home and discussing how he was coping at school that he really felt that the Rowan books had helped him.


I picked up Don't Look Now, a Clarice Bean novel, (by Charlie and Lola author Lauren Child) when we were at the library last week, more to amuse myself while we waited for the call from the mechanic to come pick up the car. But the wait was long and the boys were bored, so I started reading it aloud, and since they seemed to be enjoying it we borrowed it. Anyway, during the book, Clarice has to go to the shop to buy some Jammy Dodgers. I was pretty sure they were a kind of English biscuit and I googled them the next day and later Climber and I made a batch. Fixit came home and said Have you made Jam Fancies? But I said no. Because Jammy Dodger is a great name for a biscuit and that's what we're going to call them from now on.

Jammy Dodgers


  1. Would you like a real packet for comparison?

    destructoBoy had a thing about chapter books for his first couple of years at school. Like you we did lots of reading aloud to get around it. Going to look in to the Rin series, I think both mine might appreciate them.

  2. J.T. hated them at first too... but now he LOVES them. The trick is to find one (or a series) that suits the reader. I bet Cherub loves Paddington Bear.

    Yum! I bet those taste even better than they look!

  3. These are indeed very good imitations of Jammy Dodgers.

    My boy once came out of nursery having made biscuits. "They're called something like Waiting Melties," he said. They were actually Melting Moments, but his name is better.

  4. So glad you enjoyed the books. I think everyone should read Rowan of Rin.

    My eldest was the shy scrawny gentle boy too and he reacted to those books very deeply.

  5. Oh Man , so much goodness in this post . Love Rowan of Rin and recommend it to everyone at school , Love Don't Look now ! and "don't let the pigeon drive the bus" as well....
    and as for jammy dodgers - they sound like a dodgy pickpockets nickname...You can call me jammy dodger, pleased to meet ya!

  6. Did you really make those most excellent looking biscuits? I dips me lid to you!

  7. Wow those Jammy dodgers looks so tempting... & I am not a sweet loving person! Love the pics of the boys.
    I wish you Love & Joy for 2010 Stomper, & thankyou, for your loyal support. Hugsxx

  8. Paddington Bear, it that doesn't get him over the chapter thing, nothing well. I still love a snippit of Paddo from time to time.
    LOVE the bickies!

  9. Ooh, bikkies look good.

    Reading aloud to my kids is something I miss now, although with one with a developmental delay it lasted longer than usual.

    I still read every word of Harry Potter to her, even though she was 18 when the last book came out.

    The Deltora Quest series is also very good. Gotta love and nourish those reading times with our lovely children, especially the sensitive ones.

  10. Stomper! Bought Jammy Dodgers yesterday at Sainsbury's for the kids. Kids verdict: very stretchy jam but delicious! Love from Librarygirl in London xx

  11. Have you read the DELTORA quest series by Ms Rodda too? Fantastic books. The first one takes a while to set up the background information, but plough on anyway.

  12. Climber has been reading Deltora Quest on his own throughout the year (the Grade 3 Author Focus this year was Emily Rodda) and he's really enjoyed them. I only know the littlest bit about them, the title is based on precious stones:
    Diamond Emerald Lapis lazuli Topaz Opal Ruby Amethyst

  13. Oh my those biscuits look good!
    The boys both got lots of books for Christmas so I shall let you know how they get on with those in case you're looking for reading material in the future.
    Conor is a bit of a sensitive boy too, but in these last six months or so he's really gained in confidence and stands up to the bolshy boys much more than he used to.
    Perhaps its just a maturity thing and your Climber's time will come too?
    I like Nick Earls too and he reminds he of lots of the English blokes I used to work with.
    Glad you had a nice Christmas.

  14. Laura Jane, you are not alone--my dear hubby has a learning disability, and I have read every word of the HP books, LOTR, Narnia, and LOTS of other books out loud to him. Worth every minute, too!

    What a great post! I loved it--I wandered over from Elanorfromthecommentbox's. I want the recipes for the Jammy Dodgers! They look FABULOUS!


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