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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+
June 2021 Book of the Month | Hot on the hilarious heels of Baby's First Bank Heist and Baby's First Jailbreak comes Baby’s First Train Robbery. Blending a rollicking, rhyming text that tells a funny, fully-developed story with characterful illustrations that ooze retro style, this brilliant blast of a book is sure to become a firm read-aloud favourite. Author Jim Whalley and illustrator Stephen Collins sure make a great team. And what of that story? Baby Frank’s frazzled mum and dad are in serious need of a holiday - managing a zoo isn’t easy work! So, they and Frank head off to the seaside leaving the zoo in Grandma’s capable hands. Or are they capable? That’s the question on Frank’s lips. He’s not convinced Grandma will be able to handle looking after all those animals - “Grandma was fantastic when it came to walks and knitting. But did she have the skills required for ape-and-tiger-sitting?” As a result, Frank takes it upon himself to take a train home, and so a nail-biting journey begins, leading to an epic rescue operation.
A great book for sharing with lots of super illustrations. It is written in such a way as to indicate the age markers children demonstrate in their independence. When they can dress themselves, do buttons, zips etc, though I find the skill of undressing definitely comes first!! I like the pages where the child is asked to match socks, recognise front and back and the order you put clothes on. The illustrations to these pages are both colourful and amusing. It is always comforting to know your child isn’t the only one with clothes on back to front with vital elements missing. A delightful and practical guide.
The Time to...is a series of clear and well-illustrated books for very young children to share with their parents and carers. The books are inclusive, embracing all elements of society and offer an instructive and supportive resource for those caring for pre-schoolers. Time to Go to Nursery is a super introduction before that big first day. Often a big first day for adults too. A great book for discussion with fun illustrations involving counting bricks and food. An encouraging and colourful book that would excite and entice a child who might be a little unsure about what nursery involves. It covers everything involved in those first few days, such as meeting people, doing new things and being away from home in a really relaxed and encouraging way provoking discussion and allaying worries.
With very few words and the power of a few scraps of coloured paper, this is a story of acceptance and friendship - and a fantastic first introduction to colour-blending abstract art. A true classic from four-time Caldecott Honor winner Leo Lionni first published in 1959 with a message that will resonate with children today as strongly as it did then.
A heart-warming family story about the importance of home, perfect for bedtime, by Jeanne Willis, winner of the National Trust Literacy Awards and the Smarties Book Prize silver award. The Editor at Nosy Crow Says: “In this beautifully illustrated story, Jeanne Willis combines the wonder of Narnia with a little bit of Where the Wild Things Are, and proves that our imaginations can take us anywhere. The most wonderful adventures are waiting just at the bottom of the garden but, as we all know, at the end of the day, there really is no place like home. This reassuring blend of escapist magic and bedtime cosiness is a powerful story treat and makes the perfect gift.”
Let’s face it, learning to recycle and understand why it’s so important is just about the most important life skill there is right now, so congratulations to Sunbird Books for this bright, engaging board book which explains recycling simply to the very young. Over five jolly spreads, we follow the progress of a tin can all the way from the green bin on its journey from rubbish to shiny, new recycled tin. The text is short, perfectly geared for little ones, and fun to read, and the illustrations are lively with lots to spot and name. A spinning wheel (watch those tins drop into the recycling lorry) and a surprise pull out tab at the end add to the fun. Essential reading for budding eco-warriors everywhere! There's a companion board book Go Go Eco Apple too!
Ever been asked what happens to the apple after you throw it into the green recycling bin? This book takes the very youngest on the apple core’s journey to the recycling plant and on until it is transformed into compost to help another apple tree to grow. In board book format, this is perfect for the very youngest children. The text is simple but stimulating, and the pictures clear and bright, full of things to spot, name and count. Added treats like a spinning wheel so that you can drop the apples into the compost bin, and a pull up tab to reveal the new tree, make it even more satisfying. Fun, informative and engaging, this is the perfect book for young eco-heroes. You'll also love the companion title; Go Go Eco Tin Can!
Sophy Henn is an award-winning author and illustrator whose straightforward style and bright colours appeal to all in this colourful, fun look at how to make the toddlers tantrums go away! Arthur is having his worst ever day, so he runs away – right to the very bottom of his garden! It’s not until he feels hungry (and he’s convinced his hair’s grown!) that he decides he must go home…. Meanwhile, a forest has grown in his garden, and he must travel through it to get to safety – meeting some amazing animals on the way. Each starts off roaring, or stomping, or bellowing but soon, as Arthur joins in with them, their unhappy stomps and noises turn to fun and happier play. At last, they find the front door to Arthur’s home, and even though all the animals agree it has been the best worst day ever, they all have homes to go to. Arthur goes in, and ‘it was almost as if he’d never been gone’. A delightful picture book that will help parents and teachers help little ones move from bad to good moods!
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.
Hot on the hilarious heels of Baby's First Bank Heist and Baby's First Jailbreak comes Baby’s First Train Robbery. Blending a rollicking, rhyming text that tells a funny, fully-developed story with characterful illustrations that ooze retro style, this brilliant blast of a book is sure to become a firm read-aloud favourite. Author Jim Whalley and illustrator Stephen Collins sure make a great team. And what of that story? Baby Frank’s frazzled mum and dad are in serious need of a holiday - managing a zoo isn’t easy work! So, they and Frank head off to the seaside leaving the zoo in Grandma’s capable hands. Or are they capable? That’s the question on Frank’s lips. He’s not convinced Grandma will be able to handle looking after all those animals - “Grandma was fantastic when it came to walks and knitting. But did she have the skills required for ape-and-tiger-sitting?” As a result, Frank takes it upon himself to take a train home, and so a nail-biting journey begins, leading to an epic rescue operation.
The Time to...is a series of clear and well-illustrated books for very young children to share with their parents and carers. The books are inclusive, embracing all elements of society and offer an instructive and supportive resource for those caring for pre-schoolers. The pictures in Time to Go to Bed are so good for developing vocabulary, with lots of questions and answers. Where do you sleep – the beach, a bed, a basket? Why do we sleep – for energy, recovery. How do we know we are tired? The useful tips at the back are really comforting to tired and worried adults in need of some practical support and advice!
The Time to...is a series of clear and well-illustrated books for very young children to share with their parents and carers. The books are inclusive, embracing all elements of society and offer an instructive and supportive resource for those caring for pre-schoolers. Time to Care has plenty of interesting pictures providing points for discussion and would be ideal for a reception or nursery class PSHE lesson as it tackles so well the different types of caring – friends, family, environment, and the wider community. It has thoughtful ideas for parents and carers, such as the importance of saying thank you and thinking of the feelings of others.
May 2021 Debut of the Month | It’s hard to make friends when you’re a dragon, Ted discovers; everyone he meets is afraid of him, though we can see he’s very kind and convivial. When the annual Bears’ Picnic Party comes round, Ted has a brainwave. He makes himself a bear costume and sets out in disguise to have fun. Of course, things don’t go quite according to plan, but by the time the bears realise what Ted really is, they’re more than happy for him to stay (which prompts a surprising wave of costume shedding by other ‘bear’ guests too …). Young children will very much enjoy this and they’ll understand why accepting dragons/bears/people for who they are is the best way to be. Lisa Sheehan’s illustrations are full of life too and packed with details that will delight children.
A group of children get together to turn a patch of waste ground into a playground. But their big plans are knocked off course when big feelings get in the way. What to do? ‘Talk it out, talk it through’ of course. After some straight talking, and some ‘sorrys’ the smiles are back and the kids are working together again. ‘Whatever we’re feeling, we’re never alone’ the story concludes and its message of empathy and problem-solving comes over loud and clear. The story works particularly well because the gang of children – different in every way – are so lively, appealing and real, and the playground they created a terrific reward for their hard work. This is a great book to inspire discussions around feelings, and the importance of listening and working together. Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings series is equally good for starting such discussions.
Having the WORST DAY EVER? Turn that frown upside down in this wiggling, hooting, roaring adventure from picture book superstar, Sophy Henn! A fantastic and imaginative take on how to get creative during even the most turbulent of tantrums - the perfect book for parents when their little people are having the Worst Day Ever!
May 2021 Book of the Month | It is an unusual sight to see a completely naked toddler on the cover of a picture book, but you can tell from his smile as he jauntily stomps across the page that this child is gloriously unashamed, inhabiting that brief interlude in early childhood before self-consciousness sets in. Both here and throughout the book Fred is drawn and positioned so cleverly that his modesty is preserved, and the title reassures the audience that he will get covered up eventually. But first he romps and dances through the house revelling in his freedom, while Mum and Dad blithely carry on reading. Nothing to make a fuss about here! We see his natural curiosity lead him to explore his parent’s bedroom and their wardrobes. Dad’s clothes prove too difficult to handle, but from Mum’s wardrobe he makes a dress from a blouse and scarf. He then totters out on some shoes to try his hand at makeup but ends up with a smear of lipstick across his face, just as Mum and Dad discover him. Their reaction - to clean him up and for Mum to show him how to do it properly and then for Dad and the Dog to join in the fun is simply delightful! A shining example of parental love, acceptance and support. You can never be too young to hear a body positive message told with such innocence and infectious delight.
Longlisted for the BookTrust StoryTime Prize 2020 | Ahoy, me hearties, and grown-ups, be warned: the budding buccaneers in your life will demand that you perform Go, Go, Pirate Ship over and over (and over) again! With bright, bold illustrations by the unmistakable Nick Sharratt and a rollicking, rhyming text courtesy of Katrina Charman, this action-packed adventure invites little swashbucklers to join a pair of pirates and their parrot captain on a seafaring quest for a treasure chest. What’s more, while singing the sea-shanty-tastic song to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, there are tonnes of actions to join in with, from raising the anchor and hoisting the sail, to grabbing the ropes and scrubbing the decks. And, like so many classic children’s adventures, our intrepid pirates make it home in time for tea. It’s a bouncy, jubilant joy from start to finish. For more fabulous sing-along fun, see also Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by the same inspired author-illustrator team.
Sonny is playing in the sandpit when he finds a little pink bunny, so soft, so cute, so cuddly. Meemo the dog notices but Sonny won’t share Bub-Bun with anyone, so when we discover on the next page that Bun-Bun is actually Boo’s much loved Suki, what will Sonny do? Fortunately for all concerned – and in a useful lesson for readers – it’s the right thing, though it does take a while …. Caryl Hart’s story is a wonderfully accurate and very funny depiction of toddler behaviour and Zachariah Ohora’s illustrations capture the various emotions on display perfectly.
Mummy Owl does everything she can to make sure Little Owl is all ready for bed. She’s read a bedtime story – and then one more on the promise that Little Owl will settle afterwards. And she’s tucked Little Owl in with all his favourite things. But Little Owl can’t sleep because it is too dark, too noisy and because he is too excited about seeing his Grandma and Grandpa Owl. Mummy Owl uses all her best powers of invention and story telling to make sure Little Owl can go to sleep!
You can always trust Tony Ross to teach little ones a useful lesson with loads of humour and the perfect level of cheekiness. The grown-ups keep telling the Little Princess to wash her hands – after she’s been playing in the mud, after she’s used her potty, and after she’s sneezed, but why, she asks. The maid explains, gleefully and very vividly, and you can guarantee the Little Princess will never not wash her hands again. She still gets the last word, and the last laugh though! Full of Ross's brilliant touches of characterisation and silliness, this will be a hit with toddlers and parents alike.
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.