I love reading under any and all circumstances, so I always enjoy reading with my toddler – although I’ll admit, on a 7th consecutive reading, a Peppa Pig book can wear a little thin.
To alleviate that tedium, we’re members of the library (called the Ideas Store, round these parts). It’s a great way of giving our reading a bit more variety, even if some of the books have seen better days. Plus, I’m often surprised to find a book I’ve randomly grabbed in the library becomes a favourite and gets an ‘again’ and ‘again’ and ‘again’.
Here are some of the books that have been a big hit over the last year or so.
The first two were good when concentration and comprehension levels were less developed.
This is an amazing book without any words at all. The illustrations are beautiful and detailed, and contain loads of visuals jokes that are lost on toddlers (although there’s plenty of entertainment for them too). I loved this book and so did a ten-year-old who looked at it with me, searching for all the funny things we could find. I won’t spoil it for you, but look for the similarities between the human visitors and the inhabitants of the zoo.
The first baby present I was ever given (way before she was born) was a couple of Alison Jay books – I hadn’t heard of her before. We’ve now bought a few because they’re so good.
I’ve also become a big Dr Seuss fan and this one is good for younger children, because it’s basically a succession of silly noises (and it’s short compared with, say, The Cat In The Hat). It’s a long-standing favourite with my toddler and now she joins in.
She knows with certainty the noise that a hippopotamus makes when it’s chewing gum, which is bound to be useful in later life.
We’re now moving onto storybooks like these.
There are loads of Slinky Malinki stories, plus other books featuring other fantastically named animals in the family (Schnitzel von Krumm is the best name ever for a sausage dog). They’re all written in pleasing rhyme which is nice for kids who like to join in or guess what word comes next. This one is my toddler’s current favourite because of the surprise appearance of tough cat, Scarface Claw, at the end. I read this three or four times before I noticed – see if you do better than me!
Like everyone in the universe, we enjoyed The Tiger Who Came To Tea, but at the moment, Judith Kerr’s Mog is a firm favourite. We’re working our way through them all.
You might have noticed a bit of a cat theme in our reading. Yes, we have one, who rules over us with a mighty paw and even comes to listen when it’s story time.
Of course, we love all the Julia Donaldson books we’ve read, and there’s a good supply in the library.
So this is the last one I’ll share today. With its detailed illustrations and things to spot, it’s the nearest you can get to playing ‘I spy’ with someone who can’t yet spell. Again, it’s good for children who aren’t ready to listen to a whole story and want to be active in the reading process. Or parents who are sick to death of reading the same story again and again…
All these books, except the last one, are in most libraries or can be bought cheaply second hand. Look a Book is a bit more pricey but makes a good present.