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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+
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.
July 2019 Book of the Month | This witty, hugely entertaining and stylishly illustrated picture book offers an explanation of anger that is absolutely spot on. ‘Swarm of bees!’ cries the narrator, ‘You are so angry! What will you do?’ And the bees are angry, because a boy has hit their hive with a tomato. They swirl from page to page, a furious crowd of yellow and black spots, meeting a variety of possible targets - a sailor, his mother, people in a block of flats. Meanwhile, we see that the boy with the tomatoes has thrown them at everyone in the book – who’s angriest now? Fortunately, the beekeeper recaptures the swarm and a parent similarly calms down the boy. Peace is restored after the busy, buzzing pursuit. Every child understand it can feel good to be angry, but will agree with the message here that it can feel better to stop.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Anteater wakes up with a problem: he can’t remember what he is supposed to eat. The other animals aren’t much help but, when he finds an anthill, Anteater suddenly remembers his favourite food. Children will love being ahead of the story until the big surprise. Pictures and text dovetail together to create a very enjoyable book.
Lydia Monks’ Twit Twoo School stories are perfect for reading with children just about to start school and Rabbit Races Ahead is both a fun adventure story and a cleverly delivered lesson about kindness and thinking of others. Rabbit can’t wait for sports day. She knows she’ll come first in every race, and she does. Why aren’t her friends more pleased for her, she wonders? Fortunately, the long distance race is still to come and instead of rushing to the finishing line, Rabbit interrupts her race to help her friends. She wins a special cheer and realises that it feels good to be kind, even better in fact than coming first. The bright illustrations are lovely to look at and this is a hugely appealing book for the very young.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2019 | Best friends Betty and Maud love doing everything together. And they are sure that their favourite toys, Duck and Penguin do too. But Duck and Penguin do NOT! While Betty and Maud share playing in the sandpit, taking turns on the swings, painting and baking, Duck and Penguin push each other off the swings, crush each other’s sandcastles, and cover each other with paint and cake mix. Can they ever be friends? Luckily they can! Julia Woolf conveys this witty story about friendship – or not – most effectively through the venomous scowls and frowns and ferocious looks between the two soft toys in contrast to the brilliant warm smiles of Betty and Maud.
A funny story told in gentle rhyme from multi-award winner Jeanne Willis about a little girl who finds a baby Martian – and her hilarious struggles to get him to go to the loo in the right place! Almost every receptacle you can imagine is explored – kitchen bin, cowboy hat, bird bath to name but a few – with varying degrees of success and failure, but a great deal of fun! There’s even a Toilet Song to help get things in the right order. With some laughter causing disasters before final success this is a lovely way to underscore the message about Toilet Training for Reception children who may be struggling. Hrefna Bragadottir was longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize – and you can really appreciate why with her softly coloured action-packed illustrations. This is a fun read for all very young children on an important life lesson!
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2019 | Award-winning author/ illustrator Emily Gravett explores the fun of being friends but different in this light-hearted and playful picture book. Sad Cyril the squirrel is all alone in the park until he finds a meets Pat. Together Cyril and Pat have a great time playing all kinds of games and making sure each other is safe – especially from the fierce dog Slim. Does it matter that they are different? Everyone else thinks so but Cyril and Pat know that they can be the best of friends come what may. Readers will love knowing the joke, and the point, before Cyril and Pat get it!
Quirky and original, this will be a real joy for parents to share with babies and toddlers. Full of kindness, Barry, a fish with the special attributes of fingers, uses his unusual feature to delight his friends. Fingers are good for all sorts of things and they are especially good for tickling! But they turn out to be even more useful when Barry saves the puffer fish from disaster by being able to point out the terrible danger that is about to befall him. All ends well with a gloriously fishy romp.
May 2019 Book of the Month | The wonderfully colourful story of Elmer the patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, the story of Elmer is known to millions, and continues to be one of the biggest selling children's books ever, having sold over 10 million copies around the world. The subtle message is that it is OK to be different, and combined with the vibrant colour and cheeky humour of the main character, it’s an essential bedtime story. This is a special 30th birthday hardback edition. Head to over our KidsZone for more Elmer fun! Elmer the Elephant celebrates Elmer Day on 25 May 2019! Visit our Elmer the Elephant feature to find out more about the Elmer books and ways to celebrate Elmer's 30th Birthday!
This thoroughly charming picture book fills night-time with friendly bears and should delight little children. At night, when it’s dark and quiet, the Night Bear hops onto a night bus and sets off to find his dinner – nightmares. Travelling round he finds treats on doorsteps everywhere. Monsters with hideous eyes, dragons and scary pirates are all delicious, but a dream of rainbows and unicorns is so disgusting he has to give it away. The bear is super cuddly and lovable in Thiago de Moraes’ attractive illustrations and this will add fun and adventure to little children’s idea of the night, making it perfect bedtime reading.
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.