Books are a big part of our life. Both my husband and I are avid readers with books adorning the walls of our house from top to bottom so it was natural the kids would be introduced to them from an early age. I recently had a reorganisation of the children’s books in their bedrooms, and it got me thinking about all the books they love. Most nights it will be the same old favourites trotted out for bedtime story so I’ve started taking them to the library every week to choose some different ones. Despite this helping a little (if only to relieve my boredom of reading the same books over and over!), the kids still have a group of firm favourites.
Of course I have to mention The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, as it’s a classic. Our dog-eared copy is holding itself together by a thread – it’s seen us through DS’s early years and has now been passed on to DD, who loves it just as much as he did.
Rod Campbell is another classic, with Dear Zoo being on most children’s book shelves and Oh Dear! is of a similar vein but equally loved. In addition to those two, we also have I’m Not Scary! which remained DS's favourite for a long time before he outgrew it.
Judith Kerr is another hit in our house – The Tiger Who Came to Tea prompted DS’s first visit to the theatre when the stage show was put on in London, and who doesn’t love Mog the Forgetful Cat?
But I don’t want to talk about all the well known books like these, as wonderful as they are (and believe me, my kids love Julia Donaldson as much as the next) but instead want to share some of the more unusual ones we’ve found.
DS was recently bought Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg and he just loves it. Right now, we are reading the book together at least twice a day and today I saw him sitting on the sofa reading it himself. The book shows kids how mistakes can be turned into something else, and how you don’t always need to start over - such a great idea! It has bright colours throughout, and lots of flaps & pop-ups for little fingers.
I remember scouring the shops for books about bedtime when DS was a baby, and I found The Big Night-Night Book by Georgie Birkett. Both my kids have loved the rhyming text and touch-and-feel elements to the pages but best of all it really conveys the concept of bedtime in a way they can understand. Reading this book became a staple part of DS’s bedtime routine!
Somebody bought DS The Story of the Little Mole – Plop-up Edition by Werner Holzwarth for his second birthday and I have to admit I wasn’t keen at first glance so put it away for a few months. He stumbled across it one day and loved it right away – it has bits to pull, move or turn and the subject matter is extremely appealing to children as Mole investigates to find out who did a poo on his head!
Gallop by Rufus Butler Seder is a “scanimation picture book” – both kids loved this one from an early age, as turning the pages causes the pictures to move!
One of DD’s current favourites is The Busy Little Train by Anna Claybourne & Jo Moon. Again containing that rhyming text that kids seem to love so much, it follows Monkey as he drives his train picking up all his friends on the way. It is beautifully coloured, and the pages contain more detail than you first think, enabling the child to find new things with each reading.
The Magic Bed by John Burningham is a really lovely story – and another huge hit! A boy is bought a magic bed and after saying the magic words, flies off on different adventures round the world each night.
I found The Teeny-Weeny Walking Stick by Karen Hodgson & Sally Anne Lambert in a small independent book shop, and the owner told me it was one of his favourites. I think kids can really identify with the story – Edward finds various things in his garden that he feels are proof there are tiny people living there, and spends the book trying to convince his sister Hattie to believe him.
And I love that a couple of my own childhood favourites are now appreciated just as much by my kids: The Fuzzy What-Was-He by Peter Seymour, The Best Nest by P.D. Eastman and Harry The Dirty Dog by Gene Zion.
Have you recycled any of your childhood books on to your kids? What books are your kid’s favourites?