1. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae/Guy Parker-Rees. This was the first proper book we read to our son and it has been a constant favourite. Charting poor Gerald the Giraffes horror at being singled out as a rubbish dancer. He slinks off and is given a pep talk by a philosophical cricket. With his help he learns to shake it with the best of them. It still makes us laugh remembering my son replying to anyone who asked that a monkey says ‘cha cha cha’!
2. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson. Don’t think you can do a book list for kids without this one! It can be pretty scary for the younger or more timid reader and even at age 3 my sons imagination goes wild. It has been the book that brought on my sons speach the best as he learnt the story quickly and reads aloud along with us. Beautifully illustrated and now has an accompanying film. A huge hit.
3. The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr. A brilliant read that is the perect length and one that you will be able to repeat word perfectly after a few reads. The children seemed drawn to this and very quickly remember the story-which isn’t good if you try and shorten it they won’t be long in telling you! ‘No mum you missed the eating all the food in the cupboards!’
4. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. A really interactive read with the animals hidden behind little flaps. It is a good way of geting them involved as you can ask them what the animal is behind the screen and get them to open the flap
5. How Many? By Rod Campbell. This is a first numbers book and even at the age of 3 my son will pull it out and count the animals. It has been a fanstastic book that has stood the test of time. We started well before he could count but we read it and did the animal noises as we counted along.
6. What The Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson. So much going on in this funny tale about a pair of robbers and a farmyard full of animals who get the better of them with the help of a ladybird. The illustrations by Lydia Monks are a visual treat and there is much to be pounted out by little fingers and as they get older there is more to take in.
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. An oldie but a goodie as they say. I remember reading it when I was younger! When they are very young they enjoy the repetion of the ‘but he was still hungry’ part. As they get older it’s a good way of introducing how butterflies come about and is also another good counting book as they can count the fruits. A firm favourite.
8. Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddie. For dinisaur fans this is a must. A really fun take on the boy who cried wolf about 4 small dinosaurs on the look out for the huge gigantosaurus. Lots of repetition and a pull out page they enjoy it immensley especiallly all the noisy bits – lots in BOLD for you to shout out as you read! A fun read.
9. The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl. This is our first foray into the older fiction for our son. He is a big book lover and this went down really well. It is quite a long read compared to what he has been used to but he will happily sit through the whole thing. About a big crocodile on the hunt for juicy children to eat! Lots of brilliant illustrations and a really fantastic story. I enjoy reading it and watching my son get excited and angry about the characters! A great start if you are looking to move on from picture books.
10. Paddington by Michael Bond. Couldn’t leave this little gem out. A wonderful tale about a clumsy, stow-away bear. Not sure what the appeal is for the children but my pair will both sit and read it with me and I always get ‘again’ when we reach the end. The new film that was released was a big hit with us too.
So this is my list. I have a 3 year old son and a 1 year old daughter. The books that my son has moved on from are now coming back to life with my daughter – all the black and white baby books and the ‘that’s not my’ books are big hits. We also have a huge range of animal, dinosaur and farm picture books. But the books on this list are books that have lasted now from when we first started reading to my son to now over 3 years later. I’m so very glad that both children seem to have inherited my love of books it makes my heart glad to see them grab their favourite book and curl up with me on the couch. Long may it last. Wether is be those first peek-a-boo books or more in depth story telling I believe it’s important to nurture any spark of interest. Stories bring about imagination and there is nothing more exciting than seeing blossoming young minds.
What are your families favourite reads? Are your little ones big readers? Get in touch and share your stories.