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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.
It’s hard to believe that this is the 27th Elmer storybook as it feels as fresh as one of the brilliantly coloured flowers in his jungle. The elephants are all set to play a trick on Elmer on his birthday. They tell the other animals to act as if they’ve forgotten, nobody is to wish him ‘Happy Birthday’. Lion thinks it’s a funny kind of joke, and lots of the other animals seem confused but the elephants are so excited they don’t stop to listen. Perhaps they should though, because the surprise doesn’t work as they’d hoped. Even so, everyone is laughing and enjoying cake on the last page. David McKee never fails to entertain and surprise, and Elmer and his many friends remain top company for the very young.
September 2019 Book of the Month | This lovely book is packed with a whole host of ideas so that parents, with the help of their children, can throw a fabulous party themed around Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much loved Room on the Broom picture book. It’s all there, from invitations to party games and decorations, to tasty food – cauldron sandwiches and ice cream potion anyone? All the ideas are fun but straightforward and well-explained, while extras helpfully include photocopiable and traceable pages. Guaranteed to make the party preparations lots of fun while the two hours party time itself will fly by!
A bestselling title which well-deserves its classic status. It has become the staple of pre-school life across the globe. Told in a simple rhythmic text that's full of action and it is matched by Helen Oxenbury’s wonderful illustrations which perfectly capture the fun and the wide range of emotions of the family day out that the story encompasses. The perfect present for all fans of the much-loved family favourite, this lavish 30th anniversary facsimile edition of We're Going on a Bear Hunt comes with a unique signed limited edition print.
September 2019 Book of the Month | A warm, family-centred story, full of humour and with a totally unexpected ending, The Bookworm is classic Debi Gliori. Like young children everywhere, Max is desperate for a pet, but his parents reject all his suggestions, from puppy to dragon (they don’t exist, says Daddy). But then Max finds a pet in the garden that’s just right for him, and is soon best friends with his story-loving worm. The illustrations are hugely appealing, full of well-observed details that will be recognisable to all families, and there’s a freshness to the telling that makes it particularly charming. This is certain to be a real favourite.
August 2019 Book of the Month | Inside this sturdy and pretty little box, children will find the story of Alice in Wonderland, but told via 20 double-sided puzzle pieces (and with some thoroughly modern twists – the White Rabbit sports a natty baseball cap and unlocks flamingos from what looks a lot like a bike docking system). It’s up to readers to put the pieces of the story together which, of course, allows for endless new and different versions. The illustrations by Anne Laval are bright, lively and attractive, and surely Lewis Carroll would have thoroughly approved of the concept. Great fun for children who enjoy reading and creating their own stories.
Join Maisy, every toddler's best friend, for her first experience of going to hospital. Maisy has broken her leg playing on the trampoline, and now she's in hospital for the night. At first it's a bit scary being all on her own, but she soon makes friends with Dotty in the next bed, and when Cyril and Tallulah visit the next day, Maisy begins to feel much better!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2019 | Temper tantrums are brilliantly visualised in this witty story about how Ravi deals with his. Poor Ravi! The youngest and smallest in the family he is always the slowest and the shortest and the last one to get what he wants. It makes him feel terrible! And when Ravi feels terrible he ROARS. His face goes red, he grows two furry ears, sharp teeth and a stripey tail. Now he can get what he wants but there is a price to pay: will anyone want to play with him? Tom Percival’s illustrations keep the message light hearted without trivialising it.
Follow The Very Hungry Caterpillar on a journey through nature in this book packed with sticker scenes, puzzles, colouring-in and games. Discover wonderful weather, glorious greenery, colourful creatures and lots more - all without leaving the pages of this book! Big stickers make this the perfect first activity book for little nature explorers everywhere.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2019 | Rebecca Cobb’s warm and uncluttered illustrations capture the importance of friendships and how they can best be made. Here, an eager little girl expresses her delightful enthusiasm for sharing everything including indoor and outdoor play, packed lunch and more while in pleasing contrast the boy who is the focus of her attentions shows that friendship can also take longer to develop. A sweet story which also provides a lot of scope for thoughtful conversation and reflection.
August 2019 Debut of the Month | There’s a real feel of Richard Scarry’s Busy Town to this sturdy board book, though it’s totally contemporary, and packs in a satisfying little story too. It’s a bright, sunny morning on Treacle Street and Marcel is busy delivering the post. His bright, red trolley is full of parcels – lift a flap and peep inside to see them – and over the next pages we find out who they’re for. There are leg warmers for the dance school, eggs and flour for the pie shop, and new wheels for the garage. On each page there’s a friendly new character to meet, a flap to lift, and lots and lots of things to spot and count, all illustrated in Kate Hindley’s bright, vibrant illustrations. A lovely book for pre-schoolers.
Bestselling author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lydia Monks have teamed up for another brilliant picture book. Right in the farmyard among all the noisy animals with their MOOs! and QUACKS! and BAAs! and OINKs! lives a tiny silent ladybird. This beautiful glittery creature (little fingers will love to feel her sparkly shape) is so quiet that she hears two crafty robbers plotting to raid the farmyard. And she comes up with a very clever plan to stop them, helped by the very noisy animals all around her. A wonderful adventure with gorgeous stylised illustrations.
This is a book to delight all young fans of heavy machinery. A little puppy gets a dream wake-up call: ‘Dugger Dugger Digger’. Sure enough, there’s a Dalmatian driving a digger past his window, and before long with a ‘Brmmm Brmmm Whee’ there’s a camel in a crane. What’s making the ‘Dump Splat Crash’? Turn the page to see a duck in a dump truck. There’ll be even more excitement too when the final page reveals what all these machines and workers have been creating! Rebecca Elliott’s trucks are satisfyingly chunky, loud and vibrant and there’s lots of fun to be had in joining in with the sounds they make. To quieten things down, see if children can spot Dalmatian’s friend Little Mouse, who’s hiding on every page.
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.