Today at Crayons

Hans Christian Anderson's The Princess And The Pea

25 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating the wonderful children's author Hans Christian Anderson and his delightful tale of The Princess And The Pea!   It was not easy to choose one story from this author as he wrote so many popular children's stories including The Emporer's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid and, of course, The Ugly Duckling!

So many of Hans Christian Anderson's stories have captured both childhood and adult imaginations alike for nearly two centuries and the tale of a dishevelled Princess arriving at a Castle on a stormy night is one of the most memorable.   The Castle, by sheer coincidence, is the residence of a Prince who wants to marry ...  yet is having trouble meeting eligible Princesses.



This fairy tale is sweet and a true delight and don't be surprised if you are asked for a pea to be placed under a child's mattress to see if it is possible to feel it during the night :-)

Many of Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tales would be available at your local library and of course at Crayons we have our Fairy Tale Collection, which may hold activities of interest to young Princesses and Princes, and we also have our Mermaid Collection too!

Dr Seuss And The Cat In The Hat!

24 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we're tickling our funny bones with the whimsy of Dr Seuss!   Theodore Seuss Geisel was born in 1904 and this talented author, cartoonist and poet wrote under a few different pen names but perhaps his best known, and our favourite, is Dr Theophrastus Seuss.

Dr Seuss's imaginative stories such as Green Eggs and Ham, The Cat In The Hat and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish have helped and encouraged generations of children learn to read whilst simultaneously be delighted by the often outrageous characters and events :-)  Whilst Dr Seuss had been a children's author for a decade or more it was in 1954, after Life Magazine had covered a story about illiteracy amongst school children and surmised that it was due to boring books, that Dr Seuss was challenged by his publisher to write a book that children could not put down.    Several months later, using the 250 words considered to be essential for children beginning school, Dr Suess presented The Cat In The Hat for publication.


Instantly recognisable, drawn with flair and written with a delightful sense of humour and creativity The Cat In The Hat really is fun :-)   All of Dr Seuss's books have been translated into other languages but we think the illustrations alone could be easily be bring joy and smiles irrespective of culture.

Yesterday we featured Edward Lear's famous nonsense poem about an owl and a pussycat going to sea and a century later Dr Seuss brought the world another cat whose adventures also continue to bring smiles.   We look forward to discovering the creativity and imaginative works of this century's nonsense poets and authors!

P.S At Crayons our resident cat is Kimochis Cat - a wonderful soft toy that helps young children learn about their emotions and especially about hurt feelings.

The Owl And The Pussycat

23 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating Edward Lear's delightful poem "The Owl And The Pussycat"!   Edward Lear was a talented author, illustrator and poet perhaps best known for his nonsense Limericks and literary nonsense poems.   The Owl And The Pussycat is wonderful fun and whilst we all know they set to sea in a beautiful pea green boat, at Crayons we do have a fondness for the last few lines :

"They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
   Which they ate with a runcible spoon;   
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
   They danced by the light of the moon,
             The moon,
             The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon."


Despite suffering from asthma, bronchitis, epilepsy and partial blindness later in life, Edward Lear was a man of extraordinary imagination and creativity who was happy to enjoy nonsense on a daily basis :-)   Quoting from Wikipedia ......  "Lear was known to introduce himself with a long pseudonym: "Mr Abebika kratoponoko Prizzikalo Kattefello Ablegorabalus Ableborinto phashyph" or "Chakonoton the Cozovex Dossi Fossi Sini Tomentilla Coronilla Polentilla Battledore & Shuttlecock Derry down Derry Dumps".   These amazingly nonsensical names were evidently based on an old parlour game, the tongue twisting Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.[12].

From his mid teens Edward Lear earned income through illustrations and his exquisite drawing of the ara macao is indicative of his remarkable talent.


We can only imagine what Edward Lear would have imagined the are macao was saying as he sketched :-)   Crayons has both a Creative Writing Collection and an Art for Kids Collection.   Encouraging children to write nonsense can be lots of fun and there is no reason at all why they cannot make up names, places, people and creatures and sketch them all and have a ball doing so!

The Silver Brumby

21 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are briefly relocating to the cold, windy and somewhat magical Snowy Mountains to enjoy the adventures of Thowra, The Silver Brumby!    Over a dozen Brumby novels were written by author Elyne Mitchell who had relocated from Melbourne to a remote cattle property in the Australian high country in the mid 1930's.    A keen horsewoman and skier, Elyne Mitchell's first book, the non fiction "Australian Alps", was published in 1942 and her last book, "Wild Echoes Ringing", in 2003.  

The Silver Brumby, published in 1948 was reportedly written in response to her difficulty in finding appropriate literature for her then 10 year old daughter, given the isolation of the family's cattle property.   Several other Brumby novels were to follow over the decades as their popularity grew and the books were often illustrated with Elyne Mitchell's own photographs. 

The Australian high country is especially beautiful and the stories of Thowra, the stallion, and the other free spirited Brumbies have delighted children both on the page and on the big screen.   


Anne Spudvila's original cover art illustration for The Silver Brumby is shown above and it is a revelation to read through the list of the many, many books she has illustrated that are so well known and well loved :-)

If you would like to help the young illustrator in your family to develop their ability to draw a Brumby, or other wild horses running free, we have the fun Hinkler Books Funky Things To Draw!

One Thousand And One Nights!

20 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons our Sunday Fun is a feast for the eyes as we explore the extraordinary world of The Arabian Nights, also known as One Thousand And One Nights.   Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Theives, Enchanted Flying Horses, Flying Carpets and Genies released from their bottles are all characters from the wonderful tales "told" by Schererezade over one thousand and one nights :-)  The children's versions of these tales have been retold for millennia, becoming the basis for films, inspiring other authors and also the incredibly opulent world imagined in a variety of artistic styles by brilliantly creative minds.


The above painting of Scheherezade and Sultan Schariar by Ferdinand Keller is a visual feast and the only thing missing are chocolates!

Our Sunday Fun for children who are out and about and have the chance to sit for a while on a rug, is to imagine it is a magic carpet and talk through where it is flying, who they are meeting and what they are seeing.    This can be surprisingly good fun if everyone joins in!

For children staying indoors today we suggest the same - clear a space on the floor and put a rug down, or perhaps use a real small floor rug and let imaginations run wild!    Our colouring in activity is a selection of Aladdin & The Genie images to colour in.   Perhaps it is a chance for dress ups too!  Crayons can deliver a fabulous sword for young Aladdins and heroic arabian princesses.

Older technically minded children may be inspired to design the mechanics of flight for a Magic Carpet, or to draw their own Magic Carpet and the exotic places it is flying over.


The above painting, by Viktor Vasnetsov, could be depicting something out of the Harry Potter series.   If you have not read the Arabian Nights perhaps these winter nights are a fun time to start!

Little Golden Books

19 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating Little Golden Books :-)    By the early 2000's nearly 15 million copies of Pokey Little Puppy had sold in various languages around the world and there would be few homes and fewer libraries that do not have a copy of at least one Little Golden Book on a shelf. Twelve titles were released in 1942 and books such as Three Little Kittens, Saggy Baggy Elephant and Little Red Caboose are timeless tales, proving the longevity of sweet simple stories for toddlers and young children.

One of the groundbreaking developments introduced by the Editors of Little Golden Books was the presentation of everyday situations - from riding on a bus to town, visiting a farm or park, watching the seasons come and go and looking up to starry nights before children settled into bed.    

Little Golden Books hold a place in many childhood memories and they are still reasonably priced to ensure most homes can enjoy the tales of so many much loved characters.   

Designer Ryan Jude Novelline created an extraordinary gown out of Little Golden Books, including using the golden book spines for the bodice. 

Whilst Crayons does not carry Little Golden Books we do have Fashion Designer kits for inspired and creative young designers :-)

Robinson Crusoe

18 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are celebrating Friday :-) and what better novel than Robinson Crusoe!   This captivating story, written by Daniel Defoe close to three hundred years ago, originally had a wonderful title:   "The Life and Strange Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, Of York, Mariner: Who lived Eight and Twenty Years, all alone in an un-inhabited Island on the Coast of America, near the Mouth of the Great River of Oroonoque; Having been cast on Shore by Shipwreck, wherein all the Men perished but himself. With An Account how he was at last as strangely deliver'd by Pyrates".


A tale of adventure, independence, ingenuity and survival, Robinson Crusoe is considered to have been inspired by the real life survival of castaway Alexander Selkirk who did live alone for four years on a Pacific Island.   Appealing to children and adults alike this tale has inspired other novels, such as The Swiss Family Robinson, films and tv (helloooo Lost in Space :-)

For very young Robinson Crusoes seeking adventure we do have an Island Hideout they can play in while avoiding Pirates.   And for Pirates of all ages Crayons has its Pirate Collection to provide inspiration to young swashbuckling imaginations.

And what does Friday have to do with Robinson Crusoe?   If you don't know then it might be fun to read the book.  We won't spoil a good story!


The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz!

17 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are enjoying learning about L.Frank Baum, the author of numerous children's stories and best known for his tale of Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man - and, of course, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz!    With an Emerald City, Munchkins, tornadoes, wicked witches and a sweet little dog named ToTo this memorable story has delighted so many generations of children and will continue to do so for quite some time to come.   This must be in no small part due to the entertaining film by the same name :-)

Like many children Lyman Frank Baum started writing stories at a very young age and was also able to print them thanks to his father's purchase of an inexpensive printing press.   In later life L. Frank Baum's professional interests were not only literary but also extended into the theatre, fireworks, stamp collecting, breeding hens as well as publishing the first journal on shop window decoration and trimming.  The ideal window display, in his opinion, had some form of mechanised movement to ensure that passing crowds would stop and watch the display :-)

At Crayons we have a Creative Writing Collection and a Wind Up Toy Collection to help inspire today's young imaginations!

Books For Children In Hospital

15 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we were researching suitable books for children going to hospital and were delighted to discover the great U.K. based site Little Parachutes.    Little Parachutes highlights "picture books to help children with life's challenges" and features well known publishers and authors such as Lucy Cousins and Anna Civardi.    There are books on a very broad range of topics including many of the emotional issues children may experience at some time in their young lives.

The Hospital & Operations selection features books that will reassure and inform children about what to expect in hospital as well as books to help prepare children for visiting Doctors and Dentists.   We rather like the selection for children needing to wear glasses and "Eliot Jones Midnight Superhero" rather took our fancy!

For parents with children on the Autism spectrum, the Friendship Circle Special Needs Resources site has a list of 10 Ways To Help Prepare a Special Needs Child cope with an emergency hospital visit to hospital.


Crayons has a fun collection of activities, gifts and toys that are suitable for children in hospital or for those needing some quiet recovery time at home.   A little Quiet Time can also be helpful at any time for kids of any age and with most children heading back to school, or about to, Quiet Time sounds rather fine :-)

Moving House & Starting New Schools

12 July, 2014 0 comments Leave a comment

Today at Crayons we are happy to have discovered a selection of children's books written especially to help children who may be on the move - now or perhaps later in 2014 or early 2015.  There are some fine books listed including Usborne First Experiences Moving House,  Boomer's Big Day,  Big Earnie's New Home and What About My Goldfish?

For children moving schools there are a variety of books and it may be best if you search with your favourite stockist or ask at a local bookstore ( who would be happy to help :-)

There is some fine guidance on children moving schools at the excellent Raising Children site and we can highly recommend the advice there.   There is also the selection 14 Books to help ease transitions which may be of help if other family-life events are concurrent with the move.

At Crayons we know from decades of experience how much comfort children can get from holding on to something soft and cuddly when there are changes afoot in the household.   Our Flat Friends Lambskins are and have been a wonderful comfort for children of all ages :-)

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