Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Five AWESOME Books for Toddlers

Whether it's a tiger coming to tea, a caterpillar with a food fetish or a Gruffalo's kid having a wander - there are so many amazing, fun and educational books out there for toddlers.

Since my first daughter Grace arrived, right up until now with our second, Anna, on the scene, reading has been an essential part of our night time routine. There's not many better feelings as a dad than having your kid on your knee for story time. It has definitely helped build a strong bond with my daughter and I also put a big part of that down to the books (and authors) themselves.

I have read a few absolute stinkers in my time as Head Reader of the House. Honestly, some of the cheap knock off versions of old fairy tales are awful and I'm not a massive fan of Disney's book versions of the films. So I reckon I have the experience now to distinguish the wheat from the chaff.

Presented to you is my top five recommended reads for toddlers (or any age really!) I'd love to know yours in the comments.

Fox's Socks (and the rest of the Tales from Acorn Wood series)

Written by the queen of books for small children, Julia Donaldson, this is a gem along with it's companions in the series. Lift and flap books are always fun but with Axel Scheffler's beautiful illustrations and Julia's simple yet engrossing mini-stories, the fun is doubled. Her characters are so personable that your wee one will very soon know them and identify what kind of animal they are.

Great Line: " In a cupboard up high, he finds his bow tie".

"WOW" said the Owl!
Tim Hopgood's book is the perfect way for your wee one to learn their colours. And I don't know why but my daughter Grace absolutely loves owls so all the better. We've been reading this one to her since she was a couple of months old and it is still a permanent fixture on the elite pile. The mix of watercolour and pen compliments the simple story of a curious owl discovering the day time and all it's amazing colours.

Great Line: "She couldn't believe her eyes! The sky was a warm and wonderful pink".

The Tiger Who Came To Tea
This one is the oldest in my list, having been first published in 1968. Written by the creator of the Mog the Cat series, Judith Kerr, The Tiger Who Came to Tea is a fantastically surreal tale of...well, a tiger coming to tea. I love the fact that the tiger isn't even a figment of the young girl's imagination (the mum can see him too) and the story doesn't try to be clever. It is purely an exercise in stretching the imagination. The drawings too are wonderful; really representing its time. There's definitely a reason why it is still being printed now.

Great Line: "The tiger didn't eat just one bun. He ate all the buns on the dish."

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Another one from the late 60s (might say something about my own tastes) is Eric Carle's enduring tale of the chunky caterpillar. On one hand the story is a great way for your kid to learn about different foods and colours. While on the other hand, the plainly positive moral message explains that as you get a wee bit bigger, you blossom into your own perfect individual self (in this case a butterfly!)

Great Line: "The caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf, and after that he felt much better".

Room on the Broom (in Scots)
Seeing as it's Halloween this weekend, I have to mention another top book by Julia Donaldson, translated to Scots by James Robertson. It's a wee bit longer but an engrossing story of a witch picking up a succession of cheeky hitchhikers. We have the Scots version of the book, which a) makes it a bit more of a challenge for me and b) hopefully will expand our daughters' vocabularies in their native tongues.

Great Line:"'Aye!' cried the witch, sae the burd flaffed on board. The witch chapped the bizzum and wheech! aff they soared."

Honourable mentions

I could really just make this a list of seven but I'll just give quick mentions to The Gruffalo's Wean (in Scots) by Julia Donaldson and How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers.

Grace's album of the week

This week, we have been boogie-ing along to The Wild, The Innocent and the E-Street Shuffle by Bruce Springsteen. I, I mean Grace, have always been a fan of Bruce's stuff from Born to Run onwards but just haven't given the time to the first two records. But on the recommendation of a friend I picked this one up at HMV. Only £12.99 as well, which is too good to pass up. And I'm totally glad I did as it shows Bruce demonstrating his lyrical chops via storytelling brilliance.

Anna's score prediction

It's a biggie this weekend for the Gers, away to Hibs. After a rocky start, the Hibees are on a streak but then the Gers are on an even better streak. Oduwa didn't play against St. Mirren, which was just as well, given the thug Goodwin was on the field. But Hibs ain't a dirty side and their expansive play should allow Oduwa to exploit spaces in their play. Anna reckons however, that the Gers simply have better players and think a 2-1 away win is on the cards.

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