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Nothing beats sitting with a baby or toddler on the knee and reading a book together: here are the best selection of books for babies and toddlers from 0-2+
January 2021 Book of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Chris Naylor-Ballesteros has followed up his acclaimed picture book, The Suitcase, with an equally mesmeric tale of friendship, and how true friendship adapts and grows throughout our lives. Through stunning but simple illustrations, and a minimal palette, we meet the beetle and the caterpillar; the friends eat, watch the moon rise and share time together until one morning beetle awakes and there is no sign of the caterpillar. After a while of waiting the beetle goes in search of his friend...he thought he saw her from a distance but as he grew closer realised it wasn’t her and now he feels lost. But, the joy!, his friend came looking for him! Whilst the beetle had been searching, the caterpillar had turned into a butterfly! A moving, gentle tale of acceptance and how friendship grows through ages and changes.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Worries – they’re easy to acquire and then, before you know it, they’ve taken over and are with you all the time, interrupting your fun, spoiling playtime, keeping you awake at night. Don’t worry though, help is at hand. The little boy in this story takes his Worry to a Worry Expert who has lots of advice and suggestions that successfully send the Worry away, even though it has got really big. The Worry is portrayed as a colourful, lively scribble, cheerful and smiling though clearly a real pest. The approach taken will help children prone to worrying feel they’re not alone and the Worry Expert’s advice will work for everyone. Written in a fluid rhyming text and with bold, child-friendly illustrations, this is a great book to share and will be really helpful for anxious children. You can find more books on this theme in our Anxiety & Wellbeing collection.
January 2021 Debut of the Month | The lives of the inhabitants of a small town are transformed by music in this elegant picture book. The music pours out of a small window high up in the eaves of a house – readers can see it, a stream of flowers, blossom and delicate leaves. The melody banishes a young boy’s loneliness, makes an old lady feel lively and full of joy, gives everyone the thing they are missing and prompts kindness and generosity. When the music suddenly stops, the townspeople work together to help the musician, whose identity will surprise everyone. This gentle story celebrates the power of music in all our lives, as well as the importance of community and love. The illustrations come as close as you can get to a visual representation of music and are full of warmth and fellowship.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Brought to life with charming pastel pencil drawings, a little girl sits on the back of her daddy's bike as they cycle to school, stretches out her arms and becomes a bird. Ca-caw she shouts at the passing birds as they cycle along the seafront and through the park, and all the people she sees wave back and smile. The little girl seems full of joy until she encounters a lady who does not smile nor wave which the little girl can't understand. She begins to fear seeing the serious looking lady each morning, and stops singing to the birds, until a chance encounter shows what the little girl and the lady have in common. A touching story of empathy and of celebrating our similarities.
Two Can Toucan, a contemporary creation myth by the inimitable David McKee, is full of quiet, surreal humour, one of the things that always sets his picture books apart. The story explains how the toucan got not just his name but his colourful plumage. At the story’s opening, our hero is all black and because he has no name, is laughed at by the other animals. Unhappy, he leaves the jungle to walk to the city where he finds a job carrying cans of paint – you can probably guess where the story is going. Carrying two cans is no problem, but he overreaches trying to carry three. With bright new paint-stained feathers he returns to the jungle and is welcomed back by his old friends. As he shares his adventures with them, they all laugh together – readers will join them. Though written over fifty years ago, the story has lost none of its appeal and McKee’s glorious jungle and cityscapes are as bold, vivid and fresh as if he’d painted them yesterday.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | Who likes bath time? Certainly not Little Owl. He thinks bath time is boring. How can Mummy Owl persuade him that having a bath does not ever have to be dull? What about if she makes bath time include a trip to Bubble Mountain? And throws in some dangerous towelly-gators for good measure? Mummy Owl’s ideas may be helpful for all those trying to make bath time more exciting – they certainly do the trick for Little Owl! A welcome addition to an excellent and reassuring series about everyday toddler experiences.
Jonathan Stutzman’s second Tiny T. Rex tale is a dream of a picture book for dinosaur mad toddlers, with Jay Flack’s stylish, warm-hued illustrations a perfect partner for the heart-warming, empathetic sentiment of the story - how to make a friend feel better through a hug (even when you have teeny, tiny arms!). Tiny T. Rex faces something of an existential crisis when his poor friend Pointy is feeling sad and needs a hug to cheer him up. Alas, Tiny, observes, “I have tiny arms. It is very difficult to hug with tiny arms.” But, never one to give up, never one to let down a friend, Tiny T. Rex resolves to “try anyway. Pointy needs me”. After going to considerable lengths to improve his capacity to hug, Tiny is thrust back to Pointy and - though still small of arm - his vast heart provides his pal with the biggest hug EVER!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | There’s lots of laughs here! An elephant on a bus, a whale on a bike, a hippo in a hot air balloon – none of these is a good idea as soon becomes clear in the attractive and bouncy rhyme of this witty picture book. The catastrophes that lie in store in each case such as the bus toppling over when nudged by the elephant, the enormous whale teetering on a tiny bike and hippo on a collision course with a chimney pot are wittily illustrated by David Tazzyman, much loved for his illustrations for Andy Stanton’s delightfully disgusting Mr Gum.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | There’s huge fun to be had in this gloriously interactive book which is a spur to imaginative play as well as a great introduction to familiar colours and shapes. A singing button, a tickle button and many more. All young readers will be delighted by the invitation to press each one. Once they have done so many possibilities open up as they head off into whatever invention they choose to imagine. Sally Nicholls uses her word carefully and with pleasing simplicity and Beth Woollvin’s illustrations add special details of their own.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | A celebration of the wonder of reading! Mabel HATES books. She gets given loads of them but has no interest at all in reading them. But, one night, the books piled up in her room come alive. The stories jump out of their covers and off the pages so that they can show Mabel their story worlds. She is intrigued by a detective adventure, excited by the chance to board a spaceship and take a trip to the moon, delighted by the thought of accompanying a knight on his quest to seek castles and to duel with dragons. But, there is no way she can find out what happens next in these stories unless she begins the read the books! An entertaining celebration of why reading is such fun. We were lucky enough to ask Emma a few questions about her debut picture book..find out more!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | Global best-selling author/ illustrator Tony Ross’s I Want My Potty! celebrates its 35th anniversary this year with a new edition of a classic title. Launching the now much-loved Little Princess series, the hugely enjoyable I Want My Potty! is the perfect introduction to the sometimes tricky subject of toilet training. When the very determined eponymous heroine decides that ““Nappies are YUUECH! There must be sometime better” the Royal household set about providing a number of suitable potties. The Little Princess has strong and not always favourable views about the Royal potty but gradually she gets the hang of it! Timeless fun for all toddlers and their parents.
When Mr Benn visits the little fancy dress shop, he enters a fantastical world of adventure as if by magic... In this story, a red suit of armour catches Mr Benn's eye, and when he tries it on he finds himself transported to a land full of castles, dungeons and dragons!
With five delicious eggs to find and count, it's a perfect springtime adventure! Can you help the bunnies climb trees, peek into nests and look under leaves to find their eggs? You'll have to lift the flaps to search for the tasty prizes - and there might be some surprises along the way too!
Young children will find lots to laugh at in this jolly story of a little dragon who can’t help losing his temper, and they’ll learn ways to manage their own anger too. When Fergal gets cross, he really gets cross, and being a dragon this results in burned buns (he couldn’t wait to eat them), scorched suppers (he didn’t want the veg), goalposts burned to cinders (he really didn’t want to play in goal). It upsets his friends and it’s making him unhappy too. Fortunately Mum has a useful suggestion – take a breath and count to ten. It works, while Fergal’s friends have helpful tricks of their own too. Robert Starling’s illustrations are full of life and character, and this is very good for sharing.
A seasonal sequel to the beloved Dogger | Forty-three years after the publication of Dogger, where we first met Dave and his very precious toy dog, 93-year-old Shirley Hughes has gifted a new generation of children an equally beautiful story, which I am quite sure that parents and teachers who grew up with Dogger will relish reading to their children. Dogger of course was a huge success and won not only the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal but was voted by the public in 2007, their favourite winner of the medal in 50 years of the annual award. In this sequel we see that the family has increased to include toddler Joe and Dave is a little older too and his taste in toys is changing, but Dogger is still taken to bed every night and is as important as ever. Big sister Bella still has her teddies as well, but tells Father Christmas in her letter that she did not want any more ‘because she had seven already’. I love all the little references back to the original story where, as I am sure you all remember, Bella heroically gave up a big new teddy that she had won, so that she could reclaim the lost Dogger for Dave. We suspect that people have been buying her teddies ever since to make up for it! It will probably come as no surprise that Dogger goes missing again and in such a way that will be instantly recognisable in every home and strike terror into every parent’s heart! Needless to say, it is Bella that saves the day again and all ends well. Even though we must assume the book is set in the 70’s, it has a timeless quality and it’s nice to see a Dad helping with the cooking, childcare and cleaning. Shirley’s beautifully naturalistic style captures every nuance of body language as the family makes their preparations for Christmas. A Christmas full of nostalgic detail, family traditions and kindnesses which remind us all of things that really matter. A wonderful Christmas classic in the making!
October 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Award-winning Oliver Jeffers will capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike with this story of a father and daughter making plans to build a world that will keep them safe in the future. Brimming with hope but not ignoring the possibilities that the world and what happens next in it will present challenges, What We’ll Build is founded in the mundane (almost!) as the father and his daughter assemble building tools including a hammer, saw and drill – and a pig! What they go on to build including a place to store love, a hole to hide in, a wall to keep enemies out and a gate to let them, a tunnel to anywhere, a road to the stars and much more and the reasons why they may need them it is summed up in the briefest of texts and Jeffers magical, vividly coloured story- telling illustrations. Inspired by becoming a father, What We’ll Build is a childhood classic that will be shared over and over again.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2020 | Snowman, snow woman, snowperson? Best-selling illustrator David McKee gives the magic of building a someone out of snow a new twist in this witty, wintry picture book. Waking up to snow, Rupert tells his dad and then his mum that he is going to build a snowman. Why snowman, they ask? Why not a snowperson? But when Kate says she’s building a snow woman both mum and dad think that’s great. But what can Rupert and Kate do when the snow man and snow woman run off together? Luckily they come up with a great solution in is gently non-sexist story.
Renowned author Eoin McLaughlin and award-nominated illustrator Rob Starling join forces to create a hilarious, not-so-spooky tale. A brilliant tale that reassures children, makes them laugh and gets them ready for a peaceful night's sleep.
From the inventive author-illustrator of the award-winning There’s a Bear on My Chair comes this smart sequel, and boy has Ross Collins delivered again. It’s a rollicking, rhyming, visually-pleasing treat in which it turns out that Bear isn’t terribly keen on getting a taste of his own medicine (to begin with, at least). The cause of Bear’s irritation is the presence of Mouse in his house (yes, the very same Mouse on whose chair Bear presumptuously sat in the first book). In Bear’s outraged words, “That rodent can’t live here, oh no! I’ll tell him that he has to go.” Of course, Mouse refuses to leave and proceeds to cause chaos in Bear’s house, before a mob of partying mice turn up. But then - the twist! – when Bear realises “Hey! These mice are nice!” With wonderful interplay between text, illustration and design, this is excellent for reading aloud - the kind of book that will have toddlers urging for it to be read again, and again (and again) while completing the rhymes before adults have chance to read them.
October 2020 Debut of the Month | What a roar-some romp this is! With its read-along rhymes, fun flaps to lift and energetic animals, toddlers will adore grrr-ing, snapping, ooo-ing, hissing and ROARING their way through this jamboree of jungle dwellers. It’s a joy to read aloud, ideally with exuberant accompaniment from little animal lovers. The rhythmic, rhyming text invites readers to engage with larger-than-life animals in their natural habitats - a tiger hiding in tall bamboo, a crocodile lurking in a lilypond, a snake slithering through leaves, a monkey curled in a tree, a lion prowling a plain - while sharing information about their physical characteristics and - of course - the sounds they make. It’s a beautiful book to behold, too - Katerina Kerouli’s style is both bold and understated. Her palette has an elegant mid-century feel, and her animals are oh-so chicly expressive.
The words provide a language of communication long before conversation is possible and the joy in recognising them over many re-readings provides endless shared pleasure while the pictures can be enjoyed first jointly and then by the child alone as they pour over the images they love.
Included in our selection are a range of really sturdy and interactive books suitable books for babies and toddlers for the bedroom, the car, the bath, the buggy and the playroom. Books that even the tiniest baby will enjoy alone and with their parents.
Titles in this section will be refreshed each month with a range of new and older titles that we feel should not to be missed by any baby or toddler.
There are some excellent free reading activities on the Small Talk website small-talk.org.uk/0-6-months
And click here to read some helpful tips from top childrens' publisher Egmont.