Books to prepare toddlers for a new baby

A lovely selection of books to help toddlers understand what it means to become a big brother or sister.

Books to help prepare toddlers for a new baby

Having a baby brother or sister is a big adjustment for most toddlers as there will be a lot that changes in their home life. Reading books together that show these changes is a useful way to help prepare your little one. We have been collecting a few different titles on this topic recently, mainly finds from our local library. These are the ones that both ToddlerGirl and I have been enjoying the most. (NB: includes affiliate links.)

There’s A House Inside My Mummy
Giles Andrae & Vanessa Cabban

There's a House Inside My Mummy

This is such a lovely book, explaining to toddlers all about mummy growing a baby inside her. I did have a few tears in my eyes the first couple of times we read it together! It’s told through the eyes of a toddler, so the language is simple and relatable, while the rhyming verse makes it perfect for reading aloud. Real aspects of pregnancy are touched on with gentle humour, such as mummy being very tired, which is a good preparation for little ones. A really sweet, positive story to share during pregnancy.

Find There’s a House Inside My Mummy on Amazon…

Topsy and Tim: The New Baby
Jean Adamson

Topsy and Tim: The New Baby

ToddlerGirl loves Topsy and Tim so when I spotted this at the library, I snapped it up. The baby in the book isn’t a sibling for Topsy and Tim; it’s their friend Tony’s baby brother. But it still introduces some useful talking points, such as why babies cry and how Tony as the big brother can help his mum look after the baby. It’s also nice to see the book showing his mum breastfeeding. The overall message is very positive, with Topsy and Tim commenting at the end that Tony is lucky to have a baby brother – and also how lucky the baby is to have a big brother.

Find Topsy and Tim: The New Baby on Amazon…

Lulu Reads to Zeki
Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw

Lulu Reads to Zeki

This is probably both my and ToddlerGirl’s favourite book from the selection. We’ve read a couple of other Lulu books previously, so she is familiar with the character. This time, Lulu is going to be a big sister. The story shows her helping her parents to get ready for the baby’s arrival and then takes us through many common scenarios with newborns: the crying(!), the feeding, bath time, nappy changing, napping. For many of these, Lulu tells a story or reads a book to Zeke to distract or cheer him up, which I particularly liked as, of course, this is a great way to show toddlers how to be involved with their baby sibling. Again, this book has a very positive message for soon to be big sisters and brothers, ending with the whole family giving their time and attention to Lulu to read a story ‘for the best big sister of all’.

Find Lulu Reads to Zeki on Amazon…

I’m a Big Sister / Brother
Joanna Cole

I'm a Big Sister

There are two versions of this book, one for big sisters and one for big brothers, which is useful as ToddlerGirl can really relate to the older sister character. It is told in the voice of the big sister and takes us through ideas such as how little the baby is (i.e. it can’t do much at the moment!), why babies cry and being gentle with the baby (and asking mummy before trying to hold it). Unlike some of the other books, it also really emphasises the importance of the older sibling, which is something I was looking for in particular to provide reassurance for ToddlerGirl. The big sister looks at pictures of herself as a baby, realising that she was little too once. Now she is big and can do lots of fun things the baby can’t do. The best part is the final page, which affirms that mummy and daddy still love the big sister and that she is still very special to them, as she is the ‘only me in the whole world’. This is a lovely message and has been a good talking point with ToddlerGirl.

Find I’m a Big Sister on Amazon…

My Busy Being Bella Day
Rebecca Patterson

My Busy Being Bella Day

We spotted this at the library and I’m really glad we checked it out as it addresses another aspect of being a big sister: the potential to feel a little bit jealous and left out when the baby spends all day at home with mummy. The text is told in Bella’s voice, with some lovely humorous touches, and the illustrations are bold and colourful.

Bella is off to nursery and is fairly grumpy about it, as she’s sure her baby brother, Bob, is having a whale of a time visiting soft play and coffee shops with their mum. After a while, though, she forgets to be fed up and enjoys all the things she can do at nursery, such as singing, dressing up and playing on the seesaw – all things that Bob is too little to be able to do (a point that I make sure I emphasise as we’re reading it!). At the end of the day, she finds out that Bob’s day hasn’t been nearly as exciting as he’s had to watch their mum do housework and he’s spent all the time missing his big sister. This is a really useful talking point to help minimise any resentment the older sibling may feel and ToddlerGirl seems to be catching onto the message that being the big girl can be a lot more fun…

Find My Busy Being Bella Day on Amazon…

The New Baby Sticker Book
Anne Civardi

The New Baby Sticker Book

For something a bit different, try this sticker book from Usborne. Most toddlers love stickers so this could be a good way to introduce the idea of a baby sibling while doing a quiet activity together. We haven’t tried this yet but I’m thinking it could be a useful book to have on hand for the final weeks, when I am huge and wanting to rest a bit more!

Find The New Baby Sticker Book on Amazon…

What books would you recommend to help a toddler understand that they are going to become a big sister or brother?

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Little Bookclub: Spring reads (and a spring-themed book nook)

Hmm, I’ve noticed a definite theme running through many of my posts since the new year: longing for spring, planning spring activities, celebrating the arrival of spring. I guess it would be fair to say I am just ever so slightly spring obsessed…

This made it a pretty obvious choice of topic for our March Little Bookclub – that, and the fact that I had already been hunting down any spring-related book I could find for ToddlerGirl!

Spring books for toddlers - and a spring themed book nook

I always have a little ‘cosy corner’ in our living room for ToddlerGirl to read her books, or just sit quietly (yes, it does happen occasionally!). I like to mix this up every now and then, though, to introduce a themed book nook or an inviting den/camp for her, to subtly reinforce the ideas in the books we are reading, to encourage her to pick up a book to read by herself, or simply to provide an interesting and inviting new space for play.

I decided to create a spring-themed book nook to tie together the various books I’ve found for her on the subject. We’ve got a great cardboard box at the moment that provided the perfect starting point. I positioned this in her cosy corner space, added a cushion inside to sit on, draped it with a yellow blanket and then added some props:

  • a tweeting robin soft toy perched on the top, along with an owl cushion
  • our two fluttery pipecleaner butterflies dangling down
  • a flower garland picked up at a festival last year
  • a ladybird nightlight inside, along with a little rabbit soft toy
  • a soft toy treehouse, with it’s soft toy animal occupants
  • a pull along buzzy bee toy
  • a frog musical instrument
  • a basket of books, with a magnifying glass

ToddlerGirl was very impressed with her new book nook and has been playing with all the toys set out over the last week or so, and is very particular about hanging the flower garland just so over the entrance to the cardboard den! She’s also been enjoying the books set out for her.

So, what books do we have in our spring selection?

Books about spring for toddlers

(NB: List contains affiliate links.)

Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum

This is a National Geographic Kids book and has some lovely photographs of all things spring, including the first flowers poking out of the ground, trees in bud with leaves and blossom, cute little animals and rainy days. The text is very simple but has a poetic quality and matches the photographs perfectly. We had this book last year and ToddlerGirl really enjoys looking at all the pictures. I think it will last a good few years, as it can be suitable for a younger toddler upwards.

Spring by Gerda Muller

We love this series of seasonal picture books. They have no words, which make them great for very young toddlers as well as older children. ToddlerGirl will often choose this one out of the basket herself and study the pictures, which are beautifully drawn and depict various spring scenes. It is lovely to hear her making up her own stories to match the pictures this year.

Eggs and Chicks (Usborne Beginners)

This Usborne Beginners book is a new addition to our home library. It gives lots of facts about birds and eggs, showing nest building, egg laying, hatching, looking after young chicks and different types of eggs. This is all told through clear photographs, with simple text to accompany. ToddlerGirl has been very interested in all the pictures but doesn’t want to sit and listen to all the words just yet. It’s been a good one for us to dip into and have a chat about one particular aspect, and I’m sure we’ll be reading it for a good few years to come.

Eddie’s Garden: And How To Make Things Grow by Sarah Garland

This is a brilliant picture book, telling the story of Eddie setting up his own garden with the help of his mum. The illustrations are lovely and, while the text is quite long, it is very engaging so ToddlerGirl will sit and listen to the whole thing and immediately want to read it again! I think it helps that Eddie has a little sister, Lily, who is more in ToddlerGirl’s age range and who ‘helps’ create the garden in the way all toddlers would do – attempting to eat worms, digging huge holes and wanting to be watered with the watering can! There is also some good information at the end on growing your own garden. In fact, the whole book is great for inspiring little ones to get involved in gardening. ToddlerGirl and I have been making plans to grow our own sunflowers and maybe even attempt a bean den, which we agree looks brilliant!

Grow Your Own by Esther Hall

This is another gardening-themed book, perfect for the spring. Sidney lives in the city and doesn’t have much to do with gardens – or vegetables, picking even the mushroom off his pizza! A visit to his Granny’s house changes that, however, when she subtly involves him in the growing and maintaining of her vegetable garden. This is a great book to show toddlers where some of our food comes from and introduce the idea of growing our own food. It could also be useful for any fussy eaters! ToddlerGirl has been enjoying it and we’ve been able to talk about the fact that our vegetables come from the ground.

Ferdie’s Springtime Blossom by Julia Rawlinson

Ferdie the fox is learning all about the seasons in this series of books. He is excited that spring has arrived but, when he heads into xx, is dismayed to see what he thinks is snow everywhere. He hurries to warn his animal friends that they need to go back into winter mode but they soon all discover that the snow is actually blossom! The illustrations are gorgeous, in the yellows and greens of spring, and the story of the sweet little fox and his friends is a winner for ToddlerGirl.

I also popped in a farm picture book and one of my garden bird books. Surprisingly, ToddlerGirl has been really taken by this, flicking through to look at all the pictures of the birds. It’s led us to talk about the birds we get in our garden and to find the pictures of them in the book (and examine them with the magnifying glass!).

What books would you include on a spring reading list?

For some lovely activity ideas to do to celebrate the new season, see my post Spring things!


We’re reading: Emily Gravett #fiveforfriday

Emily Gravett is a firm favourite in this house. Her illustrations are beautiful, the stories often quirky and always engaging. As she has produced a special book for World Book Day this year, Little Book Day Parade, I thought she was the ideal focus for my #fiveforfriday links this week, with five of our favourites plus an activity to go with each one.

Emily Gravett #fiveforfriday

1. Dogs

Dogs

 

 

 

 

We’ve had this book since ToddlerGirl was a baby and it’s always gone down really well. It was simple enough for her to enjoy when she was little and, now she’s older, she laughs at the humour in the text and the images. The dogs are beautifully drawn, expressive and realistic, and we like to pick our favourite at the end. Each spread pairs differing types of dogs together – e.g. slow dogs and fast dogs, clean dogs and messy dogs – which is a good way of introducing the concept of opposites.

Activity idea: Make a dog hat with floppy ears

This is a sweet dog-themed activity from Toddler Approved. Take a length of white card to use as a headband and two long shapes to use as ears. Paint the pieces before attaching them; Toddler Approved used a sponge to give a textured effect. You could also use pieces of paper, felt or other material to stick on like a collage. ToddlerGirl loves making anything that she can wear afterwards, so I know this would be a definite hit!

2. Monkey and Me

Monkey and Me

 

 

 

 

 

Another deceptively simple book that can be enjoyed from baby age upwards. A little girl and her toy monkey visit different animals, mimicking their movements. The soft, pencil lines of the illustrations are again wonderfully expressive and I love some of the animals. This is a great book to get active with once your toddler is on the move as well.

Activity idea: Go on a animal hunt

This is a very simple game to set up: hide representations of the animals from the book around the living room or house and then set off to find them together. ToddlerGirl and I also acted out the different animal movements, which provided a lot of silly entertainment for us both! Read more about it in my blog post Going on a Monkey and Me animal hunt.

3. The Odd Egg

The Odd Egg

 

 

 

 

 

This is a very sweet story about Duck who finds an egg to look after. It’s not like all his friends’ eggs, though. It is huge and covered in green spots. The other eggs hatch, one by one, leaving only Duck’s odd egg to go – and he gets a shock when a crocodile pops out! ToddlerGirl loves the ‘creaking and cracking’ of all the eggs opening and finds it particularly funny when the crocodile follows the duck at the end, calling it ‘mama’.

Activity idea: Decorate foam eggs

This is an Easter activity from The Imagination Tree but would work really well with The Odd Egg. Cut egg shapes out of craft foam, plus an assortment of shapes for decorating. Provide water and a paintbrush and let your little one have fun sticking these onto a window. Water activities are, of course, always a winner and ToddlerGirl was in her element with this one! To tie this in with the book more obviously, you could talk about what sort of creature might be inside each egg.

4. Meerkat Mail

Meerkat Mail

 

 

 

 

 

This was a great find in the library. Sunny the meerkat is fed up with his life at home with his huge tribe of a family and decides to travel around the world to visit his mongoose relatives. He doesn’t enjoy it as much as he thought he would, though, as he doesn’t quite fit in with his relatives and ends up appreciating all the aspects of his family life at home that he had wanted to escape from. One of the things I love about a lot of Emily Gravett’s books is the creativity behind the entire design of the book, which may go slightly over the head of a younger toddler but older children and adults will really appreciate. This is a perfect example. Sunny sends postcards back to his family and the book is laid out in the style of these, with lift the flap postcards to look at and little touches, such as the photo albums and newspaper clippings on the inside covers. ToddlerGirl may not understand all the clever aspects of the book, but there is more than enough to keep her interest and make this a winner for us.

Activity idea: Create your own postbox and postcards

I covered a tall cardboard box with wrapping paper, cut out a slit to make the letterbox and stuck a sign on the front saying ‘Post’. ToddlerGirl and I then made some postcards together, using pieces of card that I had precut into postcard size. This can be a nice craft activity as you can decorate the ‘postcards’ any way you like – painting, stickers, colouring in, etc. When we first did this activity, I simply wrote family members’ names on each postcard and ToddlerGirl decorated with stickers. We also turned this into a Christmas postbox in December, making Christmas cards to go with it. For ToddlerGirl, the initial fun of the game was in repeated posting and emptying of the ‘postcards’ in the box. Now she is older, I am redoing the cards with her to add a literacy element to the game, to introduce letters and simple words in a fun way.

5. Cave Baby

Cave Baby

 

 

 

 

 

Another brilliant library find, this lovely book is illustrated by Gravett and written by our favourite, Julia Donaldson. Cave Baby is bored in his cave until he finds a pot of paint and a brush to decorate with. His parents are cross with his artistic efforts, but a woolly mammoth spots them and whisks him off to his home where he can paint as much as he likes! Gravatt’s illustrations are beautiful, with the dark world outside the caves offset by the brightly coloured paintings that Cave Baby produces. ToddlerGirl and I both love this book and it has been taken out of the library on many occasions.

Activity idea: Cave Baby paintings

The perfect activity to go with this book is, of course, painting! A few different coloured pots of paint and a blank piece of paper is all you need – but you could also print out some animal pictures to paint over. ToddlerGirl and I talked about the different patterns Cave Baby made and she had a go at doing some spots, stripes and even zig zag lines before just getting stuck in. The Cave Baby website has a pdf of the wall that you can print out and a dot to dot activity suitable for older children.

Take a look at Emily Gravett’s website for a full biography and information about her work. You can also find a huge list of activity ideas to go with her books on Playing By The Book.

(NB: This post contains affiliate links.)


Ideas for celebrating World Book Day

Lots of ideas for simple ways to celebrate World Book Day with children, including dressing up as a favourite character, book play, storytelling props and book-related crafts.

Ideas for celebrating World Book Day

Reading to my baby has been a very natural thing for me. What I have discovered since becoming a mum, though, is how much more you can do with books for children, using them as a springboard for all sorts of activities. Of course, this works both ways; for children (or parents) not so in love with reading, playing with books is a great way to explore the wonderful world of reading.

With World Book Day taking place annually in March, this is the perfect opportunity to discover new ways to make reading a fun and regular part of family life. Here are a few ideas for celebrating the day (but, of course, they can be for any day of the year!).

1. Have fun with some book play

Creating a fun activity to do alongside a book is great for extending the value of an old favourite or introducing a non-reader to the joy of books. There are so many different ways to approach this, your imagination is the only limit! If you need some inspiration, though, look no further than Pinterest and the blogosphere for some brilliant ideas. My Book Play board on Pinterest has lots of suggestions; a few for some toddler classics include:

World Book Day ideas

2. Retell a well-known story using props

Bring a book or story alive by using different props. One Perfect Day has some lovely ideas including Hey Diddle Diddle stick puppets and this adorable Incy Wincy Spider storytelling box. And I love this simple cardboard tube prop to go with Five Green and Speckled Frogs, from Librarian vs Storytime.

World Book Day ideas

3. Dress up as a favourite character

Most children love to dress up; it is certainly a popular activity in our house at the moment! Create a story-book themed costume together, read the book and then see where the pretend play takes you… Simple ideas for book character costumes include:

  • Where the Wild Things Are masks made out of paper bags from the wonderful Red Ted Art
  • Cardboard butterfly wings from Fun at Home With the Kids, which would go really well with The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Butterfly, Butterfly.
  • This no sew skirt from The Imagination Tree, which lends itself to lots of different costume ideas, including the witch from Room on the Broom (add a cardboard tube broom and a witch’s hat), Angelina Ballerina (with some cardboard mouse ears) or any fairy books.
  • An easy spider headband from Fantastic Fun and Learning that would be perfect for Incy Wincey Spider or The Very Busy Spider.

World Book Day ideas

4. Get arty

It’s easy to bring books into your art activities:

5. Have an audiobook-fest

Audiobooks are a good way to introduce a new book or to bring a familiar story to life. We own the brilliant Gruffalo and Stories CD as well as What the Ladybird Heard, which feature the voices of well-known UK actors including Imelda Staunton and David Tennant. We both enjoy listening to the stories, often putting them on while we have lunch. (They are also very useful for long car journeys!) As we own many of the books featured, we sometimes have an audiobook-fest, piling up some cushions next to the CD player along with a stack of books to follow along as we listen. Try out some audiobooks for free from your local library.

6. Create a book nook

Set up somewhere inviting for your little one to read and play. This doesn’t need to be elaborate – a mat and some cushions, along with a few books in a basket makes a sweet and cosy corner, and a cardboard box draped with fabric makes a great book cave. But why not get into the spirit of World Book Day with a book fort like this one from The Pleasantest Thing or by giving your book nook a theme, like our under the sea, jungle/zoo or cosy autumn book dens.

World Book Day ideas

7. Cook up a book-inspired feast

Use the theme or characters in a book as the basis for some baking or to put together a storybook picnic. Again, your imagination is the only limit but you could try:

  • A Very Hungry Caterpillar themed picnic with all the foods the caterpillar eats through the week. Or I love this cute caterpillar sandwich from Frost Me with a tomato head and round sandwiches to make the body.
  • Gruffalo chocolate cupcakes from Sun Hat and Wellie Boots
  • Monster sandwiches for any monster-themed book (we like Pip and Posy: The Scary Monster and the touch and feel book Little Monster)

World Book Day ideas

8. Set up a simple play scene

Match your toddler’s favourite toys with a book for a simple invitation to play and read. ToddlerGirl had lots of fun recently playing with her toy tractor and a few farm animals, which I laid out alongside a touch and feel tractor book from the library. Or set up a simple zoo scene to go with Dear Zoo; a train track to go with a Thomas the Tank Engine book; various cars, boats, planes and trains alongside Choo Choo Clickety Clack; a bucketful of dinosaurs and building blocks to go with Harry and His Bucketful of Dinosaurs… You get the idea!

9. Dance along to some book-inspired music

Julia Donaldson has written songs to go with many of her most loved books, including The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom, What the Ladybird Heard and A Squash and a Squeeze. We have them on our Gruffalo audiobook CD but a few are also available on the Gruffalo website. They are all great fun to dance around the living room too, either before or after we have read the books. We also love many of the Barefoot Books stories and music. A favourite activity is dancing along with the Creepy Crawly Calypso band and ToddlerGirl adores the Animal Boogie. You can find a whole playlist of songs to go with their picture book titles on the Barefoot Books YouTube channel.

10. Make your own book

Put together a homemade book as a fun craft activity with your little one. I made a very simple one for ToddlerGirl when she was a lot smaller using an empty photo album and pictures of different animals, and it is still a favourite of hers today. Or cut pieces of card or paper to use as the basis for your book and print pictures to put inside. They could be of your family, photographs from a holiday or recent activity, nature images… anything that your toddler will enjoy. Or decorate the cover and leave the inner pages blank for a colouring book. For a quick and easy way to bind the pages, follow this example at Mama Smiles and use pipecleaners!

11. Host a picture book party

Combine several – or all – of the ideas above and hold a book party. Invite some friends and their little ones round, or just keep it low key with you and your child(ren). Celebrate a much-loved picture book with food, games, crafts and of course, some reading! For inspiration, check out Rainy Day Mum’s Romping Monsters, Stomping Monsters party.

12. Visit a library or bookshop

Take a trip to your local library and check out as many books as you can carry! I’m discovering new shelves in our children’s library all the time: we started with the baby board books, moved onto to the toddler picture book bins and I am now realising that there are all sorts of interesting non-fiction titles to explore, including books about feelings and emotions, or the natural world around us. There are often other activities going on in the library as well; we have enjoyed colouring in, sticking and, most recently, making shadow puppets. Last year, we took a special World Book Day trip to the library to find books about reading.

Phew, there you have it! So many ways to enjoy books this World Book Day – and every day. What are you doing to celebrate?

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Tips for encouraging reading #fiveforfriday

You’ve probably heard that reading with your child is one of the best things you can do to help their learning and development.

Tips for encouraging reading

There have been many studies and reports to back this up, including research by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in 2002, which highlighted that reading for pleasure was the single biggest influence on a child’s educational success. For more information about reading and literacy, see these interesting reading facts from the Reading Agency.

Importantly, the key words are ‘reading for pleasure’. Children need to enjoy reading and be motivated to pick up a book outside of school lesson requirements. But what can we do as parents to help that to happen?

My #fiveforfriday links this week look at some top tips for encouraging children to read, starting from baby/toddler age.

1. Encourage reading through daily activity

This post from Delightful Children’s Books gives five tips for encouraging your child to read. There are some great suggestions for finding books, limiting screen time and making books available.

2. Don’t put your child off accidentally

There are lots of things you can do to raise a reader but what about the things we do that may unintentionally put our children off books? This is a great post from No Time For Flashcards pointing out common ways parents can accidentally discourage reading.

3. Don’t despair if your child won’t sit down to read

If you have a very active child who doesn’t sit still long enough to engage in a book, try these useful tips from A Mom With A Lesson Plan on reading with active kids.

4. Display books for easy access

Making books available for your little one to access by herself helps to encourage reading through the day. This great round up on Babble features twenty ideas for displaying books in your home. I just love the tree shelving in particular!

5. Create a cosy book nook

As well as making books readily available, having a dedicated area for reading can also help to invite your little ones to settle down with a book. These spaces can be cosy or fun, elaborate or simply a mat and a pile of cushions! For inspiration, check out this reading nooks round up from The Boo and The Boy.

Of course, exposing your children to a wide range of reading material is also important. Take a look at my Pinterest boards, Themed Booklists for Toddlers and Toddler Bookshelf, for lots and lots (and lots!) of ideas on what to read with your kids. You might also like to visit our Little Bookclub page for some of our personal favourites, along with activity ideas to bring the books to life.


We’re reading: The Paper Dolls

 

We’re big fans of Julia Donaldson in this house. Perhaps best known for The Gruffalo, the former Children’s Laureate has written so many wonderful books for toddlers that, just as we think we have read them all, we are still discovering new titles.

Our latest find at the library is The Paper Dolls. Both ToddlerGirl and I adore this book. A little girl makes a chain of quirky paper dolls with her mum and then has lots of fun playing with them. They escape from dinosaurs and tigers and visit desert islands, singing their catchy song: “You can’t catch us. Oh no no no! We’re holding hands and we won’t let go.”

The Paper Dolls

ToddlerGirl loves to ask me the names of the paper dolls and giggles when it’s time to sing their song each time. The dolls and their adventures are brought to life by the lovely illustrations by Rebecca Cobb which have a childlike quality that really complements the story.

And then, into this happy tale, comes a little boy with a pair of scissors. Oh no! He snips the paper dolls into tiny pieces, seemingly putting a stop to their adventures. But the story doesn’t end there, as the dolls reform, holding hands tightly once more, in the little girls memory, where they find all sorts of other items (and a kind granny) that have been lost to this world but not forgotten. Fast forward some years and the little girl is now a mum herself and digs out the memory of her paper dolls to make some with her own daughter.

In my super hormonal pregnant state, I cannot read this book without wanting to bawl. It is so moving and beautiful. I have tears in my eyes just writing about it!

ToddlerGirl obviously isn’t as affected emotionally as I am… We pause to comment what a mean thing the little boy does when he snips the dolls but she is happy to move along from this and enjoy the rest of the story.

If you can find a copy, I highly recommend The Paper Dolls. Neither of us want to return it to the library!

(NB: Post contains affiliate links.)


Little Bookclub: Love and friendship

You may not realise but it’s Valentine’s Day this week. Oh, what – you knew that already?!

OK, you’d probably have to be living under a rock to escape this particular date in the calendar. While I’m not really into the idea of doing lots of Valentine’s themed activities with ToddlerGirl – and at the risk of jumping on the bandwagon – I thought it would make a good theme for this month’s Little Bookclub. The titles we’ve been reading explore different aspects of love and friendship for toddlers.

Little Bookclub: Love and Friendship

(NB: This post contains affiliate links.)

Pip and Posy: The Super Scooter
Axel Scheffler

Part of the Pip and Posy series by Gruffalo illustrator Scheffler, this has been a firm favourite in our house for a long time now. Pip turns up at the park with a shiny new scooter. His friend, Posy, decides that she really likes the scooter and snatches it away from him to have a go herself. She falls off and hurts her knee, at which point Pip comes and takes care of her. This is a sweet story with a good message about respecting others’ property and the kindness of true friendship. ToddlerGirl returns to it time and again and, now she is a little bit older, it gives us some useful talking points.

Forever
Emma Dodd

This is a really lovely book about the love a parent has for their child. The text is simple and rhyming, talking about all the ways in which the parent polar bear will look after, support, guide and cherish the baby polar bear. The images are bold and beautiful, focusing on the polar bears and their snowy environment. In our edition, the pages are also embellished with silver foil, which adds a gorgeous sensory touch. Emma Dodd has written a few other titles in a similar vein; we have enjoyed the ones we’ve read, particularly ‘You’ featuring a cheeky little monkey. I think Forever may be my personal favourite, though. In my hormonal state, I tear up every time we read it together! ToddlerGirl obviously enjoys it too as we had to read it five times in a row the other day.

Sharing a Shell
Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

So, we love love love Julia Donaldson books in this house and this one is no exception. A little crab is finds a shell to make his home in a rock pool. He is soon joined by two new friends, Brush and Blob – he provides them with a home and they help him defend it and keep it clean! An argument between the crab and Blob disrupts the domestic harmony until Brush brings them all back together again and they realise that, whatever niggles they may have with each other, life is so much fun ‘rollicking around the rockpool as three’. The story is entertaining and energetic and ToddlerGirl loves the rhyming text and colourful illustrations – with added sparkle on each page! Definitely another Donaldson hit.

Mine!
Rachel Bright

Ah, the tricky concept of sharing! Anyone with a toddler will understand what a hard lesson this is to teach. This brilliant book is a good tool to help underline the message that sometimes we have to share our things with friends or siblings, as twins Frankie and Fifi find out when their beloved Funny Bunny becomes a casualty of their fighting. The humour in the story shines through the text and the images, which are bold and colourful, and stops it from being ‘preachy’. We have had this on loan from the library repeatedly over the last year and I really think it’s time I purchased our own copy as it never fails to grab ToddlerGirl’s attention.

I Love You
Giles Andrae and Emma Dodd

This is a really lovely book that takes us through all the things in a child’s daily life that bring happiness and love: parents, grandparents, friends, special toys, the natural world. The simple, rhyming text is paired with bold, bright images making it a very easy and engaging read. We have also read the I Love Daddy book in this series, which went down very well with ToddlerGirl, but I personally prefer this one for its uplifting message that we are surrounded by love and wonderful things. It makes a great wind down read.

Hugless Douglas
David Melling

A little bear wakes up after his hibernation in need of a hug. He sets off to find the perfect one, cuddling all sorts of unsuitable objects including rocks, trees, rabbits and sheep before he realises that the hug he was after was from his mum. This is such a sweet story, told with a good deal of humour in both the text and the illustrations. There is a bonus spread at the end picturing the sheep demonstrating all sorts of different hugs, which ToddlerGirl finds hilarious. We first tried this book when she was about eighteen months old and she didn’t really take to it then. She really enjoys it now, so it may be that it’s best suited to slightly older toddlers.

What books would you recommend on the theme of love and friendship for toddlers?

See the Little Bookclub page for more book selections and activities.