Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves

Animal Opposites

June 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 29 Jun, 2015 07:06PM

Animal Opposites
, by Petr Horacek, published by Walker Books

This is a pop up book of antithetical creatures big and small, fast and slow, quiet and loud. It's a marvel of paper engineering and beautiful illustration. Petr Horacek brilliantly captures the essence of the adjectives assigned to his creations, and the pop-ups are ingeniously crafted to add visually impressive movement.

Our favourites include the strong gorilla doing push ups, the colourful peacock whose feathers open out to a magnificent plume, and a fast cheetah that launches across from one side of the page to the other.

It's a great book for helping young children get to know the names of animals, a selection of words to describe them, and an understanding of how to compare one with another, in a way that's fun and dynamic.

In the final pairing, a small ladybird is placed alongside a big elephant - the latter unfolding from the size of a single page to a magnificent four page poster - an ending that is always met with a great reaction from our toddler.

With thanks to Petr Horacek for allowing the use of his cover image with this review. Puffin Peter, another favourite of ours by the same author, will be reviewed soon.

Feedback from the author: @PHoracek said: "Thanks for reviewing the book so nicely and really glad you like it"

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When It Snows

June 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 28 Jun, 2015 08:42PM

When It Snows, by Richard Collingridge, published by David Fickling Books

Although summer is around the corner and it's 6 months until Christmas, the magic and beauty of When it Snows can be enjoyed all year round. We discovered When it Snows a few weeks before our daughter's first Christmas. We've read it frequently since, and I'm sure it will be enjoyed for many more years to come.

With his debut When it Snows, Richard Collingridge has created a perfect picture book. His words and illustration convey pure adventure, joy and wonder. This wintry tale, a small boy's journey through a mysterious and enchanting snow-covered landscape, benefits from many reads.

Over time, through our daughter's eyes and her new understanding, we discover revelations we'd not seen before: A fresh paw print in the snow, the face of an elf previously unobserved in the flickering candlelight, a creature of the night prowling the shadows of the woods. Collingridge treads carefully to avoid it becoming too dark, narratively and visually, and in doing his creation is akin to the very best of the Brothers Grimm.

And after a satisfying ending to the boy's adventure, we find that he has been reading the same book as us all along, safe and warm by the fireplace, equally as able to close the book tight as he is to read it again and again (for as the final line says: "We can go there every day, because our favourite books takes us there").

With thanks to Richard Collingridge for allowing use of his beautiful cover alongside this review.

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Happy Harry's Cafe

June 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 27 Jun, 2015 08:34PM
Happy Harry's Cafe, Words by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Richard Holland, published by Candlewick Press

It's a great moment when your toddler starts saying the lines to books she loves before you've even started to read it. This is what happens when we begin the excellent Happy Harry's Cafe (our toddler announces: "The Soup is Good, Daddy!"), a brilliant combination of Michael Rosen's surrealist narrative and Richard Holland's fine, distinctive illustrations.

It's the tale of a lunchtime rush for 'great soup' in a 1950s-esque diner, where all the customer's can't wait to get their spoons into Happy Harry's renowned tomato-based creation. Only there's a problem with one of the regulars - Matt the Cat is missing his spoon!

[Maybe I've read it too frequently in the last few weeks, but to me the book has something of the atmosphere of an episode of the Twilight Zone, particularly given that Matt the Cat is reading a copy of the Daily Miaow, a cat newspaper featuring mug-shots of two feline felons, alongside a headline "Wanted!"]

Fortunately, a potential crisis is quickly resolved, laughter fills the cafe and, before long, Matt joins Harry in a musical tribute to their favourite dish.

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Time For Bed, Fred!

June 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 26 Jun, 2015 08:09PM

Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail, published by Bloomsbury

This is a book filled with fun, with wonderful illustration and strong, clear language that is perfectly suited to be read from the earliest months and still enjoyed years later.

The playful, mischievous and loyal Fred is one of our daughter's favourite characters from her picturebook collection (an ideal companion to Chris Haughton's 'George').

It's a great option for helping young toddlers who are just starting to talk to learn about emphasis and tone - "That's not your bed, Fred. That's my bed".

It's a book that also helped our toddler to develop an understanding of the bedtime routine and that, after a day of digging soil, chasing cats, having a bubble bath, and getting cosy, it's time to settle down in your own bed for a lovely night's sleep.

On turning to the final page, our toddler always joins us in saying "night night" to Fred and wishing him sweet dreams.

With thanks to Yasmeen Ismail for allowing use of her cover image with this review.

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Oh No, George

June 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 25 Jun, 2015 08:51PM

Oh No, George! By Chris Haughton, published by Walker Books

We think this may have been the first book that made us, and our toddler, laugh out loud at the same time. Chris Haughton's unmistakable, bold and brilliant illustrations are combined with perfectly timed dead-pan humour and superb character expression in Oh No, George!, the tale of a dog trying so very hard to make amends for instinctive and opportunistic mischief.

After coming home to find that George has been digging soil and eating cake, his superbly-named owner Harris is placated by the offer of George's favourite toy. They set off for a walk, which proves to be filled with temptations. George refrains from more trouble and stays on his best behaviour:

"George doesn't even try to chase Cat. Even Cat is a bit surprised". The look on Cat's face, of simultaneous relief and disappointment, is one of the best expressions I've come across in picture books to date. Can George resist a final Siren-like pull, presented by his favourite thing in life, a bin full of rubbish?

With intermittent opportunities to say "Oh No, George!", this has become a frequent bedtime treat.

With thanks to Chris Haughton for permission to use his book's cover image with this review.

Feedback from the author

From @chrishaughton: @Books4MyToddler your toddler has very good taste in books! lots of my favourites there! :)

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