February 4, 2011

Look, There's a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake

With so many children starting school this week sharing a picture book
could be the perfect way to help your child adjust emotionally. It's such a big step and children will often feel tired and confused about what's expected of them. Just sitting still, or listening to instructions, or venturing out into a huge playground can be a bit daunting.

Author, Hazel Edwards has written the
perfect picture
book to suit this transition.
Look, There’s a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake
Illustrated by Deborah Niland

Here are some Q & A to sharing this experience.

Q. My child is starting school soon. How can reading a book, help a child prepare for first day at school?

A. Reading-sharing is a great way to prepare a child for school. First-timers are always a bit worried about going to a new place like school or kindergarten. So are parents. That’s why I wrote this when my children were small and ‘playground’ was used in the title to cover school and kindergarten.
Not having a friend is the BIG worry. Not knowing what to do is another.
The cake-eating hippo is a big friend who has all the answers.
That’s reassuring. Many children have imaginary friends as ways of coping with new situations.
School routines like uniforms, when are the breaks, what do you eat and MAKING FRIENDS are important. It helps to know what might happen.
At a time when parents are worried about their children learning to read and write, children's authors receive wonderful fan letters from very young readers as evidence that specific books have really mattered in a child's life.

Q How should I read it?

A. Snuggle up and make the experience pleasurable. Re-read and use the pictures as prompts to talk about what happens in a school day. Getting dressed. Packing school lunch. Having a peg for your belongings. Going out to play. Using the play equipment. Listening to the teacher tell a story.
Which is a favourite page? Why? Do funny voices.
Deborah Niland’s illustrations have a mischievous hippo flouting a few rules, but always knowing what to do.
My favourite is the playing hide-and-seek where he is a bit too big to fit behind the tree.
Bibliotherapy is the fancy name for reading books that help you deal with problems. Starting school can be fun, not a problem. You just need a sense of humour and a character like the rooftop-cake eating hippo.
In the Year of the Potato,the hippo took potato cake as his special cake to school.
Nanjing Cultural Ambassador & International School Principal Aileen Hall ,’ I recommend this book for students transitioning from kindergarten to school and always buy copies for friends.It even crosses cultures.”’

Hazel Edwards - www.hazeledwards.com

Check http://www.hazeledwards.com/page/look_theres_a_hippopotamus_in_the_playground_eating_cake.htmlfor hippo activities for kids and links to the six cake eating hippo books.

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