My youngest turns five next week. He is very excited about being five, planning his party*, deciding what we'll eat for his birthday tea, and what cake we should make for kindergarten. But most of all, he's excited about his presents.
His main focus this year is on Hot Wheels, and we are giving him some of those, together with drawing things, Transformer bubblebath and Lego. They should hit the spot. But I've had the most fun in choosing his birthday books.
There is a wonderful, unassuming bookshop not far from us which stocks a fantastic range of children's books. I go there every birthday and at Christmas to choose books for my kids, and I think I have as much fun in selecting them as they have in receiving them. Here's what The Little Guy is getting for his birthday.
Duck in the Truck is an old favourite in our house. Fix-it Duck is another of his misadventures, told in rhyme. Lovely bright illustrations - the word 'jaunty' comes to mind.
Foam Gliders isn't a story book, but an activity-in-a-book, part of the great Chicken Socks range. These are very attractive books, easy to use and lots of fun. I chose this one because he loves putting models together, and he can share these with the entire family to have races. Loud, impassioned discussions will no doubt ensue over who gets which one, but that will be all part of the fun.
The last one is by one of my favourite children's authors, John Burningham. He has a very quirky and wise way of looking at the world, and his illustrations are fabulous. In this one, poor Edwardo is considered the worst boy in the world. His redemption to become the loveliest boy in the whole wide world is very clever.
After reading it, I'm also recommending that all managers who tell their staff the old chestnut that 'perception is everything' should be given this book as required reading.
*When you're five, the key to a great party is its theme. He's chosen a sporty party reflecting his recent passion for football (soccer) and footy (AFL). In practice, this means the usual party games - pass the parcel, a treasure hunt, bash the pinata - with a sporty flavour. It was most exciting when we stumbled upon a 'pin the soccer player on the field' version of pin the tail on the donkey in our local party supply shop.