Handa’s Surprise

22 09 2011

Handa’s Surprise is a book which I’m just not that enamoured by. LBM likes it but I just don’t get excited about it. I think I don’t like it because of the quality of the  illustrations but I can see why it seems to be in every nursery or childminding setting. It’s a simple story, introduces some good vocabulary and has a funny surprise at the end. It does also lead to a sensory experience that even little babies can enjoy. As we walked home from the play cafe today we went to the market. It’s an opportunity to seek out unusual fruit and vegetables (I’ve got to find an activity to do with romanesco cauliflowers which look like they belong on a dinosaur’s back – spikey and green). Anyway we walked through the market and bought as many of the fruit as we could find from the book. The guava was impossible so I ended up having to add a fruit pouch that had guava in it. We have most of the animals except for the goat and a parrot but no-one was complaining when there was a giraffe and a monkey to stick in the spiky leaves of the pineapple.

BBL dived straight towards the banana and was satisfied with that mainly. After reading the story and feeling and smelling all the fruit (except the banana which BBL wouldn’t give up and didn’t want to share) we tasted some. BBL pulled faces at the orange but didn’t bat an eyelid at the passion fruit. We stopped after that because the avocado and mango aren’t ripe enough yet and the pineapple would be better investigated at the table. This activity was great for BBL because he could participate without making too much mess and there was nothing to worry about if he put anything in his mouth. I believe you need to be a bit cautious with unripe green passion fruit skin from wild fruit and wouldn’t recommend anything other than eating the seeds from a ripe passion fruit. There was an incident in the 1970’s in South America where a child died from eating the unripe skins which have cyanide in them. (It still makes them safe to eat now otherwise they wouldn’t be in supermarkets) As with all activities with food involved just check for allergies and keep an eye on the children to make sure they don’t eat bits they shouldn’t.

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