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There is nothing my daughter loves more than being read a story (well, I’m excluding dancing to the Peppa Pig theme tune).
It’s such a wonderful part of my day, curling up with her and sharing a book. Even though she is still too young to always understand, or even stay fully engaged for the whole story, she interacts with the pictures and really seems to enjoy it. In fact, book was one of her very first words (after Daddy, Mummy came months later….).
I have been trying to find new books and stories for her, and was inspired by a wonderful article on Gwyneth Paltrow’s website, Goop. She shared favourite books that her friends (such as Julianne Moore) loved themselves and their children loved. I thought that this was such a great way to share old favourites and discover new titles, that I sent an email round to some of my parent friends to see what books they had loved as children or which ones their little ones adore today.
Andrea and Harry (aged 1 and a half)
Where is Baby’s Bellybutton? By Karen Katz
Who knows why books become favourites to new readers, but Harry is mad about this bright and cheery, lift the flap book, in which he lifts up flaps of baby’s clothes to find various body parts.
Cars, Trucks and Things that Go. By Richard Scarry
You need look no further than Scarry's classic for proof that nature trumps nurture. This book sat untouched on my nursery bookshelf, a hand-me down from one of the brothers, my son, on the other hand, can not get enough of the diggers and trucks and other things that 'go'
Buster’s Birthday. By Rod Campbell
Another unassuming little lift the flap book that is an absolute favourite. Simple, crisp pictures of a twee little birthday party. Perhaps it's the thrill of 'opening' the flaps to reveal all Buster's presents again and again and again......
The Little Engine That Could. By Watty Piper I don't remember particularly loving the book as a little one but it's probably the story I think about most from that time. Throughout my early childhood whenever I found something tricky or hard my father would tell me to "think about the little engine that could", I still do. A good example of how a little book can shape a little character.
Love You Forever. By Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
I remember enjoying this book when I was little and spent ages looking over the detailed pictures, however it wasn't until I become a mother that I truly understood what it was about.
Once There Were Giants. By Martin Waddell
I picked this book up in a library in the first school I taught at and within the day I had bought one for every mother I knew. Penny Dale's pictures are the stuff of girls' dreams and this story is beautiful. Simple language and repetition accompany
snapshots of a little girl growing up until one day she is the 'giant' of the house and becomes a mother herself. A reminder of the fleetingness of childhood.
(FYI, on this recommendation I bought this book and read it to my daughter yesterday, and it really is a wonderful buy. I wish I could say it didn’t make me cry, but I’d be lying!)
Julie and Lucy (aged 1 and a half)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown: This is our number one. Sweet and timeless and adored by both me and Lucy.
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney: A bit of a cliche, but hey, some of the best books are. And what a sweet way to end a day!
Five Bouncing Babies by Susie Lacome: Probably encourages jumping on the bed, but Lucy loves it so we are fans. It is a bit tricky to source copies of though, so if you see one, grab it!
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
The Lonely Doll by Dare Wright: Lucy now has my tattered copy. According to my mother, I could not hear this story too many times...
The Bumper Book by Watty Piper (the same author who wrote Andrea’s favourite, The Little Engine that Could): I loved this book. A collection of classic stories and nursery rhymes.
Emily and Kiki (aged 1)
What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson. Written by the author of the Gruffalo, Kiki adores this sound book, with beautiful illustrations and a sweet story.
What’s That Noise Spot? By Eric Hill. A wonderful Spot the Dog story to teach sounds, noises and words.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. A delicious story about a naughty tiger, causing havoc over tea!
The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. My all time favourite, which I will make sure Kiki enjoys when she is a little older
Victoria and Isabel (1 year)
That’s Not My…. By various Authors from Usbourne Children’s Books. This is a series of books that Isabel loves, with lots of feelings and words to learn. Bright colours and good illustrations.
Spot Bakes a Cake By Eric Hill – another favourite for the daytime, that she always picks up and bring to me to read. (Victoria makes the most wonderful cakes, so I’m sure Isabel is inspired by her talented mum and this book!)
Snuggle Bunny - Lets Get Ready for Bedtime By The Templar Company This book is perfect for pre-bedtime. Isabel loves it as it has a bunny puppet in which she loves to hug and tickle - so sweet!
The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (two votes, it must be a good one!). I absolutely loved opening all of the letters in this book!
Vivien and Chris (aged 29…he happens to be married to me) and Emily (aged 27)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. An American old faithful that is a perfect book to read before bed.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. An old classic, that both my children loved (and still do!)
The Tiger who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr. A beautifully illustrated story about how the friendly tiger ate the family out of house and home, including ‘drinking all Daddy’s beer’ (kids love that bit!), so they had to go to the café for supper)
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. Ferdinand the Bull is a gentle, peace-loving bull who prefers smelling the flowers to fighting. Lovely illustrations, and you can’t help but love this sissy bull.
Vivien also added that if I included video’s (for anyone under the age of 15 reading this, video’s are old fashioned DVDs), they had to rent E.T 17 times for Emily. They could have bought multiple copies for the amount it cost them to rent it!
Anything by Enid Blyton (I could not agree more, Saint Enid reigns supreme in my house!).
Anita and Alex (aged 27…me) and David (aged 30, my naughty big brother)
Postman Pat By John Cunliffe. My son could not get enough of the happy little Postman Pat stories. He learnt all of the words off by heart, so I could never skip a page, even if there was a gin and tonic waiting for me downstairs.
The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton Alex was (and still is) obsessed with anything Enid, especially this book, which was great when she was younger. It tells of magical worlds at the top of an enchanted tree, inhabited by a wonderful assortment of woodland folk (the second book in this series is called the Folk of the Faraway Tree, and Alex struggled to say the word folk for years, it was very sweet!).
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis. This amazing book inspired me but sadly terrified my daughter for years, to the point where we couldn’t say the word witch without her bursting into tears. For years it was referred to as The Lion, The W and the Wardrobe.