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Nothing beats sitting with a baby or toddler on the knee and reading a book together: the best selection of books for babies and toddlers.
February 2020 Book of the Month | Expect this whimsical and gorgeously illustrated picture book to infect children with an urge to go exploring, if not bird-spotting. Otto’s family are obsessive bird-spotters, indeed, so deep is their passion that they’ve turned their home into a hide. Otto though loves exploring and it’s on one of his trips that he finds, and secretly brings home, a very unusual baby bird. He’s able to hide it from his family because his new friend proves surprisingly good at camouflage. But, as the bird grows (and grows), Otto realises that it’s missing its family and recruits his own to help track them down. There’s lots to enjoy in the story and Graham Carter’s glowing illustrations are full of treats too, the camouflage scenes are particularly delightful. A funny, original story with satisfying underlying themes of adventure, friendship and family.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2020 | February 2020 Debut of the Month | 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.
Ron the Rhino reinvents himself in this delightful story, bringing joy to those around him too as he proves that being yourself, making lots of friends and having fun are the only life rules that matter. As the story opens, Ron is struggling with the rhino lifestyle and its rules, which are all about being alone, being grumpy and charging at anything that comes near you. Looking like a rhino understandably means making friends is very hard, but then Ron has a flash of inspiration and finds a way to show his true colours. Reborn as the fabulously flamboyant Rhinocorn, he’s happy for the first time ever. A funny and satisfying story that neatly delivers a message about tolerance, understanding and the importance of being happy in your own skin.Children who love Ron will of course love Elmer too, and vice versa.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2020 | | Award-winning Axel Scheffler’s familiar illustrations are a great introduction to simple concepts for the very young. Fox, Rabbit, Bear and Pig, four friends from Acorn Wood explore Colours, Counting, Friends and Opposites in these four small scale and highly durable board books which are neatly held together in a min-library box.
This witty, stylish counting book will catch the attention of adults as well as the imagination of the very young. A rhythmic, rhyming text and eye-catching illustrations present us with one fox in socks, then two gorillas looking in mirrors, followed by three jolly llamas in pyjamas, right up to the twenty birds who have the last words. Along the way we also meet five goats wearing coats, the goats labelled and clearly identifiable under their coats (Nubian, mountain, angora…). Other favourite spreads include the one featuring sixteen chickens reading (and clearly enjoying) Dickens! A wonderfully original counting book that is as handsome as it is effective.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2020 | | A fabulous story with a great comic twist at the end! Everyday Tom goes up the hill behind his fishing village home to look out for pirate ships. As soon as he sees one he shouts out a huge warning and everyone rushes to hide! But Tom isn’t very sure what a pirate ship looks like. After several false alarms which lead to everyone diving into uncomfortable hiding places all the villagers stop taking any notice of Tom’s warnings. So what happens when the pirates really do arrive? Great illustrations match this story perfectly.
A cheeky, free-wheeling young monkey is the star of Michael Foreman’s new picturebook, which bursts with energy and fun. Milo is determined mot to miss the cycle race as it comes through his town and has no idea of the devastation he leaves behind him as he races to the finishing line – most of it caused by the banana skin he casually chucks over his shoulder as he starts his pell-mell progress. Children will love the scenes of chaos, and the wonderful way in which Milo’s repeated ‘I didn’t do it!’ becomes a triumphant ‘I did it!’ via a surprise ending. Beautiful to look at, simple to read, and it neatly delivers a very satisfying story too. Hear, hear for Milo!
Spring is well and truly here in this bright, engaging board book. Based on the nursery rhyme Sleeping Bunnies, the text is full of bouncy rhyme and repetition, while sturdy flaps hide sleeping little animals, giving young readers the opportunity to shout, ‘Wake up!’ on every other page. There’s still more opportunity for joining in with animal noises as the crowd grows bigger. Laura Hughes’ animal characters are friendly and full of life, and the pages are packed with things to spot and count. Best of all, after a hop, hop, hop, and a mew, mew, quack, quack, everyone ends up quiet, sleepy and ready to sleep again.
February 2020 Book of the Month | Small person in the family with a fondness for vehicles? They will love this book! Though there’s no real story as such, it’s action-packed, every page crammed with brightly coloured vehicles going about their business on equally bright backgrounds, a friendly animal character at the wheel. ‘Which bus would you catch?’ asks the first spread, which presents us with ten different buses to admire; ‘which truck would you drive?’ comes a bit further on. Trains, trucks, tractors, bicycles, boats, diggers, rockets, cars and emergency vehicles all get their moment in the spotlight, with questions and challenges on each page as well as speech bubbles, jokes and descriptions to read out. Bright, busy and so much fun, this will keep littles ones absorbed for hours. Fans of this will also enjoy William Bee’s equally bright and distinctive Wonderful World of series.
Pre-schoolers will have lots of fun on Treacle Street, the setting for Kate Hindley’s new and very appealing lift-the-flap board book series. In this adventure, the residents are looking forward to a special show given by the little bunnies who attend Prima’s Dance School, but poor Prima Pavlova is worried: her star performers have all gone missing. Readers can help her find them by opening various flaps – there are bunnies under the cake cover, hiding in the dressing room wardrobe and – gloriously – inside the grand piano! Fortunately, they’re all in the right place when the curtain goes up. Kate Hindley’s characters are irresistible, and she creates a lovely sense of community for Treacle Street. These chunky board books and their sturdy flaps are perfect for little hands and there’s lots for little eyes to spot too.
January 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | Charming Little Owl returns for a new amusing and reassuring story about an everyday occurrence that will be familiar to all: bedtime! 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!
There are lots of reading jokes in this book within a book, within a book: pirates and robbers settle down with their favourite stories and the Three Bears discover Goldilocks reading their favourite book (after having eaten their porridge, of course). It’s all written in bubbly rhyming verse matched with vigorous illustrations which make extensive play of the central joke.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | Award-winning illustrator and commentator Posy Simmonds is brilliantly entertaining in this touching story about the death of a pet. Sophie and Nick love their cat Fred very much. They and all the neighbours remember him fondly as one of the laziest cats in the world. Now he’s died and Nick and Sophie discover there is a whole other side to their beloved cat. Far from sleeping all the time, it turns out that he is one of the most famous cats in the world! That night, as all the cat’s in the neighbourhood come out to give Fred a rousing send off, Nick and Sophie learn the true story of their beloved pet. A review from Andrea Reece; This is a really special book, three cheers for Andersen Press for bringing out this new edition! Sophie and Nick are sad when their cat Fred dies and in a poignant scene, the family buries him in the garden. As far as they knew, Fred was a lazy old thing who spent most of his time asleep. Not so! Sophie and Nick find out who Fred really was that night, when they’re woken by the neighbourhood cats who have come to give ‘Famous Fred’ a proper send-off. The two children join in with the cats’ tribute – a wonderful ‘caterwauley-wailey-woe’ – and dance all night at the wake. It’s all described in Simmonds’ sparkling, beautifully observed comic-strip and is funny, touching and true. An anthem to the secret life of cats, this is also a meditation on loss and the importance of sharing memories.
A beautiful, limited edition of Guess How Much I Love You to celebrate 25 years of being a heartwarming children's classic. Best-selling and glorious Guess How Much I Love You has delighted children – and adults - for a quarter of a century. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare want to tell each other just how much they love each other. But how do you measure love? Luckily, the two Hare’s know just how much they mean to each other. And Anita Jeram’s illustrations convey that brilliantly.
Enjoy and encourage imaginative play with your baby in this joyful finger wiggle book! Poke your fingers through the holes of this brilliant board book to make wiggly legs for eight little babies as they go about their busy day! Kick, shuffle, and tap those toes while you and your baby share the joy of reading together. With bright, high contrast illustrations and finger holes to explore, this book is the perfect start to a lifelong love of books.
Celebrate Valentine's Day - and love - with the number 1 bestselling Crayons! Love is yellow and orange. Because love is sunny and warm. Discover all the bright colours and subtle shades of love with this charming new book, featuring everyone's favourite colouring crew. The perfect gift for that special someone on Valentine's Day - or any day of the year - and a must-have for fans of The Crayons.
Generosity, unexpected kindness and warm welcomes are at the heart of this story, making it perfect Christmas reading. It’s closing time on Christmas Eve in a big department store and all the shoppers and staff have gone home leaving only Clawdia the cat – and a family of lively mice. They lead her a merry dance around the shop, stopping occasionally to point out scenes that make her rethink her ‘bah, humbug’ attitude to Christmas. A surprise ending sees Clawdia and the mice enjoying a proper Christmas day. The message is lovely and the hectic chases around Christmas displays are lots of fun. As good as any John Lewis ad!
December 2019 Book of the Month | ‘‘Twas the night before Christmas …’ but we’re on a snowy hillside where a lonely tree shivers in the cold. As it longs to be in the brightly lit little town below, suddenly footsteps suddenly approach. Somebody very important collects the tree and puts it at the centre of some special celebrations, before leaving with the familiar words: ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’ Taking inspiration from Clement C Moore’s classic poem, Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ new book is filled with the joy of Christmas, and captures all its sense of magical anticipation. In a handsome small format, there’s a full page illustration on each right hand page and they tell the story with as much vivacity as the lines of verse opposite. It all concludes with a sparkling double page spread, the tree glowing in the foreground as St Nick flies off into the Christmas night silhouetted against the moon. If this doesn’t set you up for Christmas and its jollities, nothing will!
Don't tickle the lion! You might make it roar... Little ones just won't be able to resist tickling the touchy-feely patches to hear each animal make a sound in this hilarious novelty book. At the end, readers will find all the animals being noisy at once. An exciting new series for babies and toddlers, from the creators of That's not my...
December 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | Winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal | A stunning near wordless picture book which will inspire the story teller in all of its readers. While Matthew Cordell draws on some themes familiar from the traditional Red Riding Hood story he has created a quite different and hugely heart-warming drama about trust and friendship. Dressed in a bright red coat a little girl sets off to walk home from school. Snow is beginning to fall. At the same time, a pack of wolfs, including a young wolf cub, set out into the same falling snow. The snow turns into a blizzard and soon both the little girl and the wolf cub are lost. How can either of them survive? Luckily, they come together so that bth can get home safely.
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.