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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.
Winner of the Galaxy Children's Book Award 2010. Book and CD edition. The creators of the best-selling Gruffalo have invented a delightful new character – Zog the little dragon who always wants to do best at school. Zog’s determination to win gold stars leads him into loads of mishaps but luckily he always gets help from a little girl. And she is just as helpful when he needs a princess to rescue. Soon Zog, the princess and the prince who wants to marry her are off to do good in the world in this witty reinvention of the role of dragons. On receiving the award for WH Smith Children’s Book of the Year, Julia and Axel said: “We are delighted that Zog has won the Children’s Book of the Year award for this year’s Galaxy National Book Awards. We have worked together on creating picture books since A Squash and a Squeeze in 1993 and are continually pleased to see children and families loving our books. It is wonderful to know that Zog has captured everyone’s imagination and is a new favourite.”
Winner of the Galaxy Children's Book Award 2010. The creators of the best-selling Gruffalo have invented a delightful new character – Zog the little dragon who always wants to do best at school. Zog’s determination to win gold stars leads him into loads of mishaps but luckily he always gets help from a little girl. And she is just as helpful when he needs a princess to rescue. Soon Zog, the princess and the prince who wants to marry her are off to do good in the world in this witty reinvention of the role of dragons. On receiving the award for WH Smith Children’s Book of the Year, Julia and Axel said: “We are delighted that Zog has won the Children’s Book of the Year award for this year’s Galaxy National Book Awards. We have worked together on creating picture books since A Squash and a Squeeze in 1993 and are continually pleased to see children and families loving our books. It is wonderful to know that Zog has captured everyone’s imagination and is a new favourite.”
Award winning author/ illustrator Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler tell a rollicking story of fire breathing dragons, sword-swishing knights and a princess with a difference. Schoolboy, Zog has a lot of learning about flying, breathing fire and princesses. Being a good boy he tries his hardest to get a coveted gold star for his efforts. But not all the hard work in the world can stop things going wrong! Luckily there’s a feisty young princess on hand who knocks all the conventions for six in the nicest possible way.
Join the loveably lively Zoe and her devoted dog Beans in a world full of fun, friendship and magical adventures. It's a case of hide and seek as Beans loses his favourite toy. There's now a delightful new adventure about Zoe and Beans, called The Magic Hoop. Click here to see this title.
A delightful adventure sprinkled with magic. When Zoe persuades Beans to jump through the hoop she has no idea what will happen to him next! Beans is transformed by the hoop which turns out to have rather special powers… Zoe has to do everything in her power to get beans safely back! Click here to see the first Zoe and Beans story, Where is Binky Boo ? Visit www.zoeandbeans.com for magical games, activities and fun!
Favourite characters Zoe and Beans are back in this delightfully magical adventure. When Zoe tempts Beans to jump through the hoop with a handful of Choccy Bears she has no idea what will happen next! Poor Beans! The hoop is magic; Beans comes back – but not always as a dog. Can Zoe get the real Beans back? Luckily she can -just. A funny and heartwarming story to join the other Zoe and Beans stories. Visit www.zoeandbeans.com for magical games, activities and fun!
Another excellent first concepts book from Usborne. A little zebra daydreams about being different colours, pink like Flamingo, green like Crocodile, or even a multi-coloured combination of all, before deciding that black and white is best for playing hide and seek. Clever cut outs on each page turn zebra from one colour to another, and there’s a nice big flap to lift as an extra treat on the final page. It’s a lovely way to teach children colours and there’s an important message too about being happy with who you are. With lots to name, count and spot on each page, it’s great for sharing. ~ Andrea Reece
Brilliant fun in this alphabet book with a difference! Zebra is determined to get every letter of the alphabet matched to the right animal in the new A-Z he is creating. After all, it can’t be that hard, can it? All goes well except that moose is a little bit impatient! Barging in on E he scuffles with Elephant who wants none of him on his page and then tries to find himself a corner on H, I and J! Poor Moose! Luckily M is not far off now…Young readers will love the joke about the alphabet in this wonderful collection of illustrations which will make it forever memorable.
Big and bold illustrations portray the title of this collection in no uncertain terms whilst also capturing the big dramas that lie at the heart of these eight favourite nursery stories. Grandmother is dramatically gulped down by the wolf before being equally dramatically rescued by the woodcutter in Little Red Riding Hood, while the three billy goats gruff face a huge, hairy troll in their attempts to cross into the grassy meadow. There’s more eating in other stories as well as a very careless Goldilocks breaks the bear’s furniture before they send her packing. A new look in a big book format filled with some familiar classics.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award A party invitation is at the centre of this highly entertaining and amusing story. It states that guests must bring a hat, but it appears that there are more entry requirements too, and as the story goes on they become increasingly absurd. Kate Hindley is given some truly wonderful scenes to illustrate and rises to the challenge superbly. Characters featured include a monocle-sporting badger and elephant forced into a tutu. There’s lots to look at on every spread and the surprise ending will send everyone back to the beginning to check for details that might have been missed. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece
There’s all sorts of useful advice in this picture book. Not only should you not let an elephant drive a digger, it isn’t advisable either to let a polar bear cut your hair, or a seal prepare your meal; and you should never go to the loo with a kangaroo. In fact, it concludes, it’s far more sensible to forget about letting the various animals help and just play with them instead. Each zany situation will have children laughing out loud and they’ll soon be joining in with the lively rhyming text. David Tazzyman’s illustrations inject an extra layer of wild excitement and anarchy, and this deserves to become a huge favourite with readers.
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.