books to share with toddlers

March 9, 2011 § 10 Comments

It’s sooooo hard to narrow down my favourite small children’s books to just five. But that’s the challenge for this week’s listography.

The first one is a relatively new discovery, introduced to me by the other half as his favourite book from his childhood, and now a firm favourite with my 3yo. ‘Bad Jelly the Witch’ by Spike Milligan. Printed in Spike’s own scrawly calligraphy, with additional swirls and doodles, this book is so bonkers it has me crying with laughter before I’ve even passed page one. The characters include Fluffybum the cat, Mudwiggle the earthworm that wears cheese on his hat, and Jim the eagle. Plus it’s brilliantly un-pc. My favourite line: “just then God came along and told the witch to go away.” Possibly not pitched at the toddler audience. But we’ve been reading it to my 3yo for at least a year so I reckon it just scrapes in to the category.

The Blog up North and MummySquared both namechecked Jez Alborough. He’s also one of my favourites. The 3yo particularly enjoys ‘Fix it Duck.’ Hilarious story, with the end of each spread ending in some reference to Fix it Duck…’this is a job for…FIX IT DUCK! oh no, not…FIX IT DUCK!’ It’s a winner for audience participation.
Chicken, Chips and Peas by Alan Ahlberg. I heart Alan Ahlberg’s books. Brilliant for sharing with small children. This one follows Fast Fox as he tries to capture chicken to go with his tea. ‘Chips…yes! Peas…yes! But no chickens.’ There are more eminently readable adventures in the same series including The Hen House and Slow Dog Falling.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. This regularly appears on lists of the best children’s books, and I can see why. It’s just so wonderfully lyrical, the pages turn all by themselves, and I don’t need to read the words they are so firmly imprinted on my memory. Great monster pictures too. There is a film adaptation with the script written by the brilliant Dave Eggers which I keep meaning to see.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I’ve put this one down to represent my 1yo’s favourite. He is at the lovely stage of wanting to jab his pudgy fingers into all the holes. The only word he can join in with is ‘tees’ when the caterpillar eats the cheese. He literally flaps his arms with excitement when we get to Saturday, and all those tasty treats await his finger. My other half and I when bored once tested each other to see if we could name all the foodstuffs on the Saturday page…not as easy as you may think. Although the gherkin is a banker.

And now for the Oscar speech bit where I try and cram in more names although the music has started up…special mentions also go to Marvin Gets MadMog at the Zoo, Octopus Socktopus, Commotion in the Ocean, My Mum and Dad make me Laugh, Each Peach Pear Plum, There’s a Wocket in my Pocket, Would you Rather, ok ok I’m leaving the stage now…


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