H is for Shirley Hughes
Have read anything by the delightful Shirley Hughes? She is our latest author in our Author Study Alphabet project. As part of our year of homeschool preschool, we are taking a different approach to Author Studies. We are looking at authors using the alphabet. If you haven't tried it, Author Studies are a fun way to discover new authors and different books as well as an opportunity to talk about thematic topics, similarities and differences, and writing or illustrating styles. It is also helpful for discussing the people behind the creation of books. Our first author study in the our Author Study alphabet was Allen Ahlberg and we've been wandering the alphabet since collecting wonderful additions to our home library.
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Shirley Hughes is one of those authors that revisiting immediately brings warm memories of my childhood. She is an English author with over 50 children's books to her credit. If you haven't had the opportunity to immerse yourself in her wonderful books you should get a stack from the library today. Shirley Hughes is a genius at capturing the simplistic, often magical moments of childhood. Further adding to her books are her detailed, colorful, and creative illustrations. Children are drawn into her stories by their endearing characters, inviting illustrations, and accessible stories.
As mentioned above, Shirley Hughes' books are too numerous to share here and several of them are out of print in the United States. Below are my personal favorites and those of my twins in no particular order.
This book captures a young child's love of stomping in puddles, with the common confusion of putting shoes on the wrong feet - two truths for every child. Alfie gets a new pair of boots and is thrilled, even though they don't feel quite right. Finally he figures out that they are on the wrong feet. His mom comes up with a creative solution to solve this problem. 2+
Alfie Gets in First
ALFIE GETS IN FIRST is the story of young Alfie who runs ahead of his Mom and sister, Annie Rose. He slams the door excited to have arrived first and gets stuck inside with Mom and Annie Rose on the other side of the door. Various friends and neighbors come to his assistance, but Alfie finds a way to solve the problem himself. This is one my children's favorites. 2+
An Evening at Alfie's
AN EVENING AT ALFIE'S starts as a typical babysitting experience and is my personal favorite of the Alfie series. Alfie's parents go to the a party and their neighbor, Maurine, is babysitting. She reads Alfie a story and puts him to bed, but he cannot fall asleep because he hears a sound coming from the hall. It is a growing "drip drip drip" and when he goes to investigate he finds water falling from the ceiling. What follows is a child sized adventure in the most perfect sense. Her illustrations are filled with warm, engaging details - my favorite is the little noah's ark play set - that encourage you to look closer at each page. You and your child will want to re-read this again and again. 3+
Alfie's A B C
"A is for Alfie and his little sister, Annie Rose." Sweet alphabet book filled with delightful everyday moments captured. Fans of Shirley Hughes will recognize many of illustrations from previous books. Any child will relate to the common family and home related alphabet. 3+
Don't Want to Go!
Have you ever dropped off a sad child who didn't want to stay, only to pick them up a few hours later and they don't want to leave? So is the case of Lily in this tale. Lily's mom is sick so she has to spend the day at a friend's house. Not thrilled by this change she doesn't want to go. Over the course of the day she slowly warms to the situation. By the time her dad comes to collect her she is content and does not want to leave. I grew up with Alfie, so I naturally lean towards those stories, but Lily is beloved by my twins. 2+
Bobbo Goes to School
Another delightful tale about Lily. In the midst of a tantrum, Lily throws her beloved Bobbo onto the top of a departing school bus. Bobbo has an adventure, while Lily and her mom desperately attempt to locate him. 2+
The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook
A collection of Alfie stories and poems about playing outside. In the age when outside play is dwindling across the US, this is an inspiring group of every day moments your child will love. My favorite is about Alfie's rock Bunting and their trip to the seashore. 2+
Ella's Big Chance: A Jazz-Age Cinderella
A unique take on the Cinderella story. The general story flows throughout, but with a snazzy, roaring 20s flair. Ella has a particularly delightful amount of spunk. My daughter, the Cinderella fan, loved this one. 3+
*Chart families. Compare your family to Alfie's, Lily's and/or other families you know.
*Go on a puddle stomping adventure like Alfie's trip to the park in Alfie's Feet.
*Do a story study of Noah's Ark - my favorite detail in An Evening at Alfie's. Read several versions of the story and re-enact it together.
*Add Ella's Big Chance to a Cinderella story study.
*Create your own ABCs inspired by Alfie's ABCs.
Books Reviewed Below
*Read more books by Shirley Hughes. I've only added our very most loved of her books, there are so many great ones. One of the treasuries would make a lovely addition to any home library.
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