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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+
July 2020 Book of the Month | A day in the park with his friends turns into a calamity for robot Bernard. A series of alarming squeaks and clangs points to problems with one thing - his bottom! Something’s clearly wrong with it and Bear has to take it away. That makes Bernard No-Bot again but not for long: his friends are determined to find him the perfect new bottom. This much-loved author-illustrator team specialise in the silly, and this is deliciously daft from start to finish (top to bottom!) and will have small children laughing uncontrollably.
A hungry little mouse strolls through very prettily illustrated countryside scenes, reminiscent of favourite folk tales, and is lucky enough to discover four juicy apples. So far, so good, but then she runs into a bear, a bear who holds that might is right and who refuses to share. Undeterred, the clever mouse finds a way to eat her apples and to persuade her new friend of the joy of sharing. Written in rhyme this is particularly pleasing to read aloud and children will love the story of a lesson learned and friendship formed.
Counting books are very much a staple of the bookshelves at home and nursery but this collaboration between a human rights activist and poet and an award-winning illustrator is so much more than just a tool for learning numbers and could be shared and used throughout the primary age-group for the discussions it will provoke. This is the story of a family that had to run away from an image of a war-torn, smoking settlement. “Hold my hand and count to ten- together we’ll make it better again.” Then the journey begins with 1 boat and 2 hands “lifting us to safety”, then counting through the meals, beds, wishes and books which help them on their way to the 7 days “celebrating our first week in a new land”. With the “gifts” that surprise them with “things they like and need” in the relief parcels and the welcome notices at their new school to the 10 new friends they make there, this is a hopeful and uplifting journey. However, the images powerfully capture the full gamut of emotions the refugee family experience, as well as the love and support they give each other. The book ends with a challenge to the reader by asking how many ways can they think of to be kind? And there is a reminder of the grim statistics that millions of children are running from war or disaster and many of them have no family to take care of them. The end papers have websites and sources of information for the adult reader, no doubt spurred on by the discussions this book will prompt, who wants to help. Endorsed by Amnesty International, this is an outstanding example of how a deceptively simple picturebook can develop empathy and understanding. Highly recommended.
There are lots of things Bear loves, and he tells us all about them in this charming picture book. From playing with friends, to reading with Daddy, to wearing his underpants on his head (surely to be a favourite image with readers!), all is described through a jolly rhyming text and accompanying lively illustrations. Even when he’s giving in to the naughty little voice in his ear and playing tricks, Bear still looks cute as a button, like any toddler. This will be a lovely book for grown-ups and children to share, with so many scenes and activities they’ll recognise.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Awards 2019, Books for Younger Children Category | The primary colours have got everything sorted out in the city so they live in separate areas and never mix. But, when a Blue and a Yellow fall in love and marry, baby Green is soon born and everyone realises that mixing together makes everyone much happier. A love story in a paint box with an important message for all young readers.
From boats and trucks to trains, limousines and hot air balloons, explore a huge range of different ways to travel in this charming board book. With peep-through holes throughout, there's a fun surprise on every page. Part of an original and exciting new series of board books with bright and bold illustrations.
When best friends Betty and Maud have a sleepover in a teeny weeny pop up tent in the garden, Duck and Penguin have to go too. But while the girls are expecting to have loads of fun, Duck and Penguin are not! They don’t like each other, they don’t like sleepovers, they don’t like the onesies the girls dress them in and they especially don’t like sleeping in a teeny weeny tent. When the girls hurry back to the house, Duck and Penguin are left alone to face the scary dark and the creatures in it. How will they manage? Luckily, all ends happily and Duck and Penguin are even converted to camping – almost! Lovely illustrations of this atmospheric night time adventure which blends reality and make believe in a most engaging way.
Penny, the notorious dog-napper, has a host of dogs already but there is one very special dog she is determined to get her hands on. Quick, clever, a master of disguise and very good at problem solving, he is the dog she wants. And he is covered in spots so should be easy to find. Penny’s assistant Pat sets out to find the dog. Can the dog-nappers catch their prize or will they be outwitted by the super-smart dog? Emma Lazell’s energetic and vivid illustrations inject this simple story with great energy.
A gorgeously warm, funny book about everything a friendship can be - for anyone who's ever had a friend. Wherever you're going, I'm going too. Whatever you're doing, I'm sticking with you. It's wonderful to have good friends to see you through the good times and the bad. But sometimes, friends can also be a bit . . . well . . . overbearing. This completely irresistible rhyming text by Smriti Halls is perfectly complemented by artwork from fantastic new picture book illustrator, Steve Small.
Join the little pirate bunnies on a seaside treasure hunt, and help them find ten golden coins cleverly hidden under flaps. Together you can splash, splosh, splish through the shallows, swoosh, swoosh, swish with the dolphins and squawk, squawk, screech with the parrots before doing it all in reverse running back to the beach. The story follows the classic structure of the bear hunt, but here the scenes are seaside, seashore and tropical forest, the sea sparkling beautifully in Laura Hughes’ gorgeous illustrations. Children will love joining in with the rhyming, onomatopoeic text and they’ll relish the thrill of finding the coins too. All the fun of a day by the sea!
June 2020 Book of the Month | Check your bookshelves, everyone. We bet they’re full of books about bears, yes? Well it’s time to make room for books about alpacas, starting with this one about alpaca Alfonso! Alfonso loves a good story and when he realises that all his favourite books star bears, but don’t feature any alpacas at all, he sets out to change things. He persuades his friend Colin – a bear – to help, but succeeds only after energetically demonstrating just how great alpacas are. This has to be one of the liveliest picture books of the year, and Alfonso’s passion, enthusiasm and determination gleam from every page. While it makes for wonderful reading, it’s also saying something very important: everyone should see themselves represented in books, and all our reading experiences will be the better if they do.
Eleven little children, the ‘Yoga babies’, are shown doing different yoga poses, always with a parent or adult nearby, and the benefits are clear: yoga is just right for stretching, developing physical skills, calming and relaxing – and it looks great fun too. The text is in rhyme, perfect for reading aloud, and the illustrations are full of details that little children will recognise, while also clearly demonstrating ten different yoga poses. Fearne Cotton clearly finds yoga hugely satisfying and helpful and the book conveys her passion very well indeed.
A greedy pig gets his comeuppance in this very funny and beautifully told picture book, but there are useful life lessons for us all. Pig has come into some gold and decides he needs a house. He strikes a deal with some builders - a cat, a dog and a hen - and they duly build him a very nice house. Overseeing their efforts from the comfort of his deckchair though, he decides it’s not big enough and gets the team to add an extension, more rooms, more floors. Things come to a head when they come for their payment, and Pig learns why it’s best to be totally honest in your business dealings! The story builds to a wonderful conclusion and everyone will enjoy seeing Pig get his just deserts. Katie Cotton’s rhyming text is a joy to read aloud and Tor Freeman’s illustrations are full of character and extra treats for readers (especially those fascinated by building sites!).
After the success of Yoga Babies, the best-selling duo Fearne Cotton and Sheena Dempsey are back and this time the babies are hungry! Mealtime is a joyous and often messy occasion and these babies are shown thoroughly enjoying their food. From picnics to birthday parties, cooking and shopping the book carries a positive message about being relaxed and having fun with food. Written in rhyming text and accompanied by detailed and brightly coloured artwork this is a perfect book to share at bedtime, and might help soothe a worried fussy eater!
What fun to discover colours with Elmer, everyone’s favourite patchwork elephant! Each colourful page in this new book shows off a different colour and is packed too with Elmer’s friends and the his distinctive jungle flora. There are so many things to spot and count including eight bright little teddy bears. There’s no-one quite like Elmer and this is a lovely first-learning book.
Of course you shouldn’t call an elephant in an emergency, he’ll just tangle the fire hoses and cause a flood. Don’t let lemmings fly the rescue helicopter either, or rely on an anteater for a cave rescue (he’ll disgrace himself). These are just some of the ridiculous scenarios dreamed up by Patricia Cleveland-Peck in the latest in this hilarious picture book series, illustrations by David Tazzyman, his scribbly detail catching all the chaos and possibilities of the action. It’s great to read aloud and the action builds to a perfect, and perfectly funny conclusion. Peck and Tazzyman are the consummate picture book partnerships and each double-page is an brilliant adventure in its own right.
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.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.