Book Review: Goblin at the Beach – Victor Kelleher

GATBWho were the main characters & what were they like?

Miss OWW:  Gibblewort, is a Irish goblin. He was incredibly funny, even funnier than before.  He’s green and he’s got warts on his nose.  He hates baths.

Master OWW: Gibblewort is an Irish goblin. He is so funny because he rode a whale and a dolphin.

Can you tell us what happened in the story?

Miss OWW: Gibblewort rode a dolphin, he also rode a shark and the shark was trying to shake him off.

Master OWW: He fell out of a truck and he said “this isn’t the way to old Ireland”.  He said, “This is just a beach with lots of people running around in their underwear.”

What was your favourite part of the story and why?

Miss OWW:  My favourite part of the story was when he got stung by jellyfish because it was really stingy.

Master OWW:  My favourite piece was him getting a ride on a shark because he got bitten on his warty nose.

Rating for this book.

Miss OWW: I’ll give it 5 stars.

Master OWW:  5 stars.  It was sooo funny!

And to finish up here is Miss Oh Waily’s rendition of the hapless Gibblewort.  She drew him as a gift card for her brother, hence the folds in the paper.



Book Review: Goblin in the Bush – Victor Kelleher

GITBWelcome to the first book review by the Oh Waily kids.  We’re going to give these posts an interview styling, with the questions asked by me and the answers by the kids.

Who were the main characters & what were they like?

Miss OWW:  Gibblewort, an Irish goblin. He was incredibly funny.

Can you tell us what happened in the story?

Miss OWW: Gibblewort got posted to Australia by his friends because he was so mean.  He got pecked in the ear by an emu.  He got pecked by birds in a tree.  He just wanted to get to his soggy wet treehouse back home.

Master OWW: He got pinched by ants on the feet, then got pinched on the ear by a big cockatoo.  He got prickled by an echidna and he wanted to get back to his soggy old treehouse.

What was your favourite part of the story and why?

Miss OWW:  My favourite part of the story was him getting pecked on the ear and poked by the birds because they’ve got very pinchy beaks.

Master OWW:  My favourite piece was when he got pecked by the poky echidna, because he was hopping on one foot like this (insert image of small boy hopping on one foot).

Rating for this book.

Miss OWW: I’ll give it 4 stars because it’s not as good as Goblin on the Beach.

Master OWW:  5 stars.


Montessori Inspired Activities for Pre-Schoolers

No doubt you will all remember me talking about the great changes we were able to make around our place by doing the My Organised Chaos course with Jo Ebisujima a little over a  year ago.

Well I’m here to tell you about her new book.  It’s a great collection of her, and her darling son’s, Montessori inspired activities.

Jo began blogging about doing Montessori activities with her son over six years ago, and I have been enjoying reading about them for most of that time.  She was always one of my inspirations whenever I ran out of ideas to do with the little Oh Wailys.  And now she has a book full of them.   126 pages of them, to be precise.

We’ve done many of the activities in the past, and reading the book as a whole, I am now inspired to revisit some and try others with both of my little people.

There’s a Practical Life section that will have your pre-schoolers (or even some older kids) gaining skills that encourage independence and a Science section that will enthrall and challenge.  If you want to strengthen your child’s sensory perception, there’s a section of ideas for you to try out too.  Then there’s literacy and numeracy ideas, and finally Jo gives art and craft suggestions as well.

We’ve done a number of similar activities here and they are a hit with the kids. Spooning and pincer activities were regulars, and the kids loved the kitchen science of home-made volcanoes.  We have done a version of Jo’s Fallen Leaves activity, which you can see here.

And since it is currently summer in our part of the world I am planning to do the ice based suggestions to get the Oh Waily’s outdoors enjoying the good weather, and learning into the bargain.

If you are looking for straightforward, simple to organise activities for your toddler and pre-schooler then you will be well served by this book.  And I should know as I have several Montessori activity books and this one stacks up well against them.

You can see and buy the book here, or from my favourite, The Book Depository here.

If you want to see some of the types of activities in action you can always look back through our Earlier Posts to get an idea of the sorts of things that are Montessori Inspired.

My Pals Are Here! – Maths

Following up on my earlier, excited, post here is a first look at the new maths books.

I gave Miss Oh Waily the choice of which set to begin with, and naturally she chose the red set (it’s the closest colour to pink, after all).  So we have started off with My Pals Are Here! Maths.

Miss Oh's Choice

Sorry about the photo.  I should have thought about the red on red beforehand.  Anyway, another attraction for Miss Oh were the cute characters inside.  Her favourite (unsurprisingly) being Koogol – that’d be the fuzzy pink one on the right hand side.

Cute characters

Last Monday we started out on our new maths adventure and so far it is going fairly well.  Miss Oh isn’t keen on structured, sit-down (sit still) learning but she is coping with it for the most part.  I’ve been keeping it short – one chapter or section at a time – as seems sensible.

Here’s the contents page for the pupil’s book for you to get an idea of what they cover.  We are pretty much at the end of the Number Bonds chapter after 10 days. (A total of 5 sessions – today’s being shortened due to Miss Oh being a little under the weather.)
Pupil book contents

Next up is the first contents page of the workbook that accompanies the pupil’s book.  It’s all fairly straightforward and there are notes and identifiers (as though you actually need them) to tell you which part of the workbook corresponds to the pupil’s book.
Practice contents

Finally, here are a couple of pages in the workbook relating to counting 1 to 10.
Practice example

We’re currently breezing our way through these exercises with very little difficulty.  At the moment we are really learning how to read and follow instructions, as well as understand how exercise books are set out more than anything else.

Admittedly, if you haven’t been teaching anything to your children in the maths area you will not be whizzing through a section a day (or every second day).  You will be needing to work on the basics of counting, number identification (both numeral and written) and similar.   And, frankly, until very recently I would not have thought to teach number bonds.  Having read about Singapore Maths I decided to add those in to our semi-regular maths/writing/Classical Education session a while back though so Miss Oh Waily is familiar with them.

You will most probably need to supplement the exercise and pupil’s book with more exercises of a similar nature.  We’ve done a lot of number bonds in the past so the ones we are currently doing in the book are very straightforward.  There are many free resources on the internet to help you do this, plus there are the old stand-bys of your own word processor and some simple images.

If, like me, you find that there might be areas that aren’t well understood (number patterns in a graphic form) then this set of books will show it up and you can find other resources to help cover them until you are satisfied that your little person has got it.

The only other issue with the books is the fact that they have the connector blocks (see the image on the front page) as a method of teaching the concepts, along with a nifty number balance scale.  In our home we’ve used some simple manipulatives (wooden ladybugs) and small, square, lego blocks as alternatives.  There’s not much I can do to replicate the number balance scale, but it doesn’t seem to have thrown Miss Oh so unless it becomes more important later we won’t need to figure out an alternative.

So far so good is my assessment of this set.  Miss Oh even likes to colour in her workbook pictures so it keeps it closer to being ‘fun’ rather than ‘work’ most of the time.

What do you use to teach maths?  How have you found it?  (Or, how does your local school teach maths?  And does it work for your little person?)

More Books

In all the excitement about the maths books and then the unexpected journey yesterday, I completely forgot to mention that we also picked up our November set of books from the Scholastic catalogue.

This month we chose the Usborne Phonics Readers set of twelve titles in paperback.  We’ve had a few of these out of the library in the past, so they make good reading to (and now, by) the little people.

And we also picked up the Acorn Space set which features simple books for the kids to read.  The titles being Earth, The Moon, Planets, Stars, The Sun and Astronauts.  They will do nicely when I set up the month of activities around Space and the Universe.

What are your kids reading?

They’ve arrived

Yes, the maths books I was waiting for from Singapore have finally arrived.  I was rather excited by that this morning.  So here are some photographs…

Here is my chunky little box of goodies…

It's arrived

I might have been just a little bit excited. I even took photos as we opened the box.

Open Box

I love getting books. Have I mentioned that before? I must have.  Surely.

So here are the two sets of books laid out. We will give both of them a fair trial and see which one comes out on top for keeping Miss Oh’s interest and is the easiest to use and understand. That will probably be the most difficult thing to figure out since the maths is pretty darned basic in the first half of the year – she’ll know nearly all of it and will probably whizz through the coursework books for that.  Still, I thought it best to begin at the beginning and make sure I covered all of the bases.

Shaping maths

As you can see, each set consists of one course book and two workbooks for each half of the year.

My Pals Are Here!

It will be interesting to see if the all-singing-all-dancing-all-coloured set of Shaping Maths will win out over the coloured course book and black and white work books of My Pals Are Here!

Reviews and comments will follow once we are under way with them.  In the mean time, if you have chosen to use formal instruction (in addition to real life maths learning) what did you chose and why?  Has it been working for you?


Miss Oh Waily’s current bed time story of choice is The BFG by Roald Dahl.   She begs me to read as many chapters as I can, and then asks for more.   As I didn’t read this as a child, which is sacrilege I know, I’m having a good time doing it.  There was absolutely no Dahl in my life except Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in movie form.  Can you say Gene Wilder anyone?

I am quite enjoying getting to know the wacky worlds of Dahl’s imagination in their written incarnation.  And The BFG is full of fabulously ridiculous mish-mashing of words as well as the wild imaginative creations of the giants’ world.

I mean how can I resist words like snozzcumbers, whizzpoppers*, as well as the fact that unbeknownst to me before now that Wellington appears in the story.

‘Wellington?’ Sophie said. ‘Where is Wellington?’
‘Your head is full of squashed flies,’ the Giant said.  ‘Wellington is in New Zealand.  The human beans in Wellington has an especially scrumdiddlyumptious taste, so says the Welly-eating Giant.’

It was all going so well at this point, but by this time in the chapter, I knew what was coming and it wasn’t complimentary.

‘What do the people of Wellington taste of?’ Sophie asked.
‘Boots,’ the Giant said.
‘Of course,’ Sophie said.  ‘I should have known.’

I will forgive Roald for conspiring to say that I taste of boots, because he came up with words like hippodumplings, crockadowndillies, fizzwiggler, humplecrimp, wraprascal, crumpscoddle, disgusterous, sickable, rotsome, rommytot, glubbage,  dogswoggler, frobscottle and many, many more besides.

Tonight I met my first proper tongue-twister and had to have three attempts to get it right.  Oh my brain may ache by the time I finish this one.  See how you go reading this aloud:

‘Catasterous!’ cried the BFG. ‘Upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe!’

Oh, and the only slightly disturbing feature I have found reading this book, and I’d appreciate other folks’ experiences here…

I find myself morphing into some sort of weird, mixed up part-Cockney, part-Devonian hybrid accent while I’m speaking as the BFG.  I just can’t seem to stop myself doing this.

Please tell me I’m not alone in this.  Please.

* just don’t you whizzpop around me, alright !?!

Sleepy Little Yoga

The last time Miss Oh Waily and I went out to the library she spotted this on one of the shelves and said she wanted to take it home.

I was a bit surprised as this isn’t usually the sort of book that attracts her attention but she turned around and said that it was a book from Playgroup*.  So home it came.

It is so sweet watching them do the “actions” as the book is read to them. It has nine very simple and easy to do poses for toddlers and pre-schoolers to do and is helped by the animal references throughout.

Since they seem to like this one so much I picked up another book on toddler and children’s yoga from the library.  This one is not a story book but a way of introducing more yoga to younger children.
It is Yoga Fun for toddlers, children, & you by Juliet Pegrum.
It takes you through poses for children from 3 up to 11 years old.  It covers warming up, animal poses, object poses, dynamic poses, group poses and breathing.
I’m looking forward to trying out some of the ideas and poses with the Oh Waily children.  It should be a nice extension to Sleepy Little Yoga aka Yoga Baby in our house.

Once we’ve had a bit of time to try out the ideas I will let you know if, indeed, we have two Yoga Babies in the Oh Waily household.

* Playgroup is our name for the kids’ fantastic sessional daycare at our gym.  May I recommend Kids World if you happen to be in the Lower Hutt area, both my kids love it to bits.