19 Dec

Books for Toddlers

I’ve always been a book lover. My dad used to complain to me on family holidays that I was more interested in burying my nose in a book than looking at the beautiful scenery that he had paid a lot of money to show to me.

For months now, it’s been obvious that Baby is a chip off the old book-loving block. She likes to turn the pages and pretend she’s reading the stories, sometimes upside-down. She likes me to read her while she plays with her toys. Sometimes, she takes her bedtime story out of my hands and curls up with it.

So I thought I would do a post about the books we love and recommend at 19 months.

The Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi – This has to be at the top of the pile. We both really love this one. It’s such a simple concept: every page shows a picture of an object or animal and then it describes the sound it makes (i.e. “The car goes brrmm, brrmm”, “The cat goes meow”, etc.). For me, it’s great to read because it’s fun to make the sounds and I can get physical with describing the noises (like with the bee, I pretend my finger is buzzing around and landing on Baby’s nose, her shoulder, her belly button, and on and on). The only sound I don’t agree with is “The spinach goes yuck”. I think it goes YUM!

Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett – I love this one because it introduces the child to conceptual thinking in a unique and simple way. It starts out as a simple identify this/identify that book and then turns into something so much more. As the bear becomes an orange bear, a pear bear and an apple bear, the book plays with form and words in a way that is truly delightful.

The Fearsome Beastie by Giles Paley-Phillips – A cross between the Gruffalo and a Hans Christian Anderson tale, this book features the ultimate in bad-ass grannies. The lilting rhyming prose rolls off the tongue and I dare anyone to try reading it without putting on a Scottish accent, even if it’s atrocious like mine. Thank you to Giles for sending me a copy.

Barnyard Dance by Sandra BoyntonAlthough Boynton has a huge following in the States, she isn’t so big over here. She’s scripted a lot of children’s titles in her day – some great, some good, some not – but this is one of the greats. Like The Noisy Book, Barnyard Dance is fun to read in a clap-your-hands-and-swing-your-partner kind of way. There is also an interactive iPad app of the book that keeps Baby entertained when mummy is otherwise engaged. I also recommend Snuggle Puppy and Hippos Go Berserk.

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen – Dry wit from an author who obviously has a hat fetish (see his other title, This Is Not My Hat), this book is another one for funny voices and accents, at least in my head. At the moment, it’s probably more amusing to me than it is to her, but, as time goes by and Baby gets older, she’ll become more aware of the surprise ending. I look forward to the day when she goes, “Ohhhhhhh!”

Hello, Doctor by Michael Escoffier – Another surprise ending, this book shows us that going to the dentist can be just as perilous as being a dentist. And it’s easy to “add” your own elements to the story, talking about what’s not being said in the text. I like this one just because it’s simple, conceptual, and quirky.

A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein – Silverstein is also better known in America than in the UK, but he is such an amazing author and the ultimate in the fun-to-read genre. Reading Giraffe, you may have to take a couple of deep breaths after diving into the rolling waters of his prose. I can only liken it to going for a fast car ride that keeps getting faster and faster and funnier and funnier, with an added dose of ridiculous.

Do you have a favourite book? Please do add it in the comments section!

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