Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves 2nd Birthday competition

Books of the yearPosted by Max 15 May, 2017 06:45PM

It's been almost two years since we started in June 2015. It began as a way to remember the books our daughter enjoys and the fun times we have reading them with her. A few months later our second daughter arrived - she's now developing her own love of books too.

We've been thrilled by the positive feedback we've had from fellow picturebook readers, authors, illustrators and publishers. It's amazing to us that more than 50,000 people have read reviews on our site - and hopefully they've discovered new favourites to enjoy with the little ones in their lives.

To celebrate our site's second birthday we're giving Twitter folk the chance to win their choice of book from our 2015 or 2016 Picturebooks of the Year (pictured above). For a chance to win, just follow us @books4mytoddler and retweet this tweet.

A winner will be picked at random after midday UK time on Friday 26th May 2017 (please note we can only post to a winner with a UK address).

Thanks for all your support!

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Books My Toddler Loves Books of the Year 2016!

Books of the yearPosted by Max 06 Dec, 2016 08:36AM

In this post, we've selected five picturebooks from the 62 we've reviewed this year. They have been chosen for their beautiful art, captivating words and the sheer delight that pours from their pages. All five have been a joy to read, again and again and again.

Lionheart by Richard Collingridge, published by David Fickling Books

Learning to find our inner roar is the central theme of this stunning, cinematic triumph. When a small boy senses the presence of a monster in his bedroom, he runs, clutching his cuddly lion. As he flees through the town, illuminated by the moon, he reaches its outskirts. Then, in a scene reminiscent of the opening to 'Where the Wild Things Are', he wanders into grasses that grow thicker and taller. There, suddenly, he is surrounded - by a menagerie of creatures. They can sense the monster too, and they are afraid.

They all take flight, but the boy runs straight into "something, or someone" - a huge Lionheart, towering above the boy - majestic, strong, fearless and protective. Riding high, nestled in Lionheart's mane, they set off on thrilling adventures, leaping rocks, diving under water, and joining the animals to explore ancient ruins. But their fun cannot last - still they feel the imminent danger of the monster. Finally the boy, his Lionheart and the animals see the monster looming over them.

To reveal the book's ending here would spoil the impact of its extraordinary denouement, and we hope others will discover for themselves its final pages, among which is one of the most dramatic double page illustrations we've ever seen. Despite (or perhaps because of) its generous pinch of mild peril, our daughter requested a reading of 'Lionheart' many days in a row - often a few times each day. Equaling our love for Richard Collingridges's 'When it Snows' was a tough task, but 'Lionheart' quickly found a place among our favourite reads.

A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen (words) and Chris Riddell (illustration), published by Walker Books

When we ask our three year old daughter if she'd like to read 'A Great Big Cuddle', she replies "yay, poems!" We like to think that this reaction is what the creators of this magnificent book were hoping for. The combined literary alchemy of two Children's Laureates (words by Michael Rosen and illustrations by Chris Riddell), is fully realised in this original compendium of "Poems for the Very Young". This is a book of drum beating rhythm, stomping feet, clapping hands, and laughing out loud.

At 73 pages it could be dipped into, but we have found great value in enjoying the flow and music of the book as a whole. Our daughter has been captivated every time, and always wants to read it in full.

This is the picturebook equivalent of a winter's day tucked up in bed with hot tea and toast, taking part in a display of verbal gymnastics, going on a wild tour of menageries and monsters and, indeed, having a great big cuddle, all combined.

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright (words) and Jim Field (illustrations), published by Orchard Books

It's a very helpful life skill to be able to find your inner roar and act like a brave lion, whether it's your first time in the big class at nursery school - or indeed if it's your first time dropping off your three year old daughter for her first day in the big class.

'The Lion Inside' is a pitch-perfect tale of a teeny, meek mouse that goes in search of its inner roar. Jim Field's beautiful illustrations are perfectly matched to Rebecca Bright's fun, lyrical narrative. There are enjoyable moments of genuine suspense as mouse climbs to the top of the rock where lion lays sleeping, and asks with a squeak for help, expecting to become the lion's lunch. They come nose to nose, and a tremendous double page spread reveals the scale of lion's enormous face and mane towering over mouse.

But lion's quiff and expressive eyebrows suddenly become limp and instead of a roar he lets out a huge "EEEEEEK!"; for lion, we learn, is afraid of mice. Realising they both have something to offer each other, they overcome their fears and find the a bond of friendship.

Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo by Amy Sparkes (words) and Sara Ogilvie (illustration), published by Red Fox Picture Books

When a young boy receives to a surprise a notice informing him that he has won a prize to run a zoo for the day, he sets off on his bike without trepidation. As he arrives at the strangest zoo he's ever seen, he finds that the bedraggled zookeeper is off on his holiday. He gives the boy only his best wishes, the key to the front door and his zookeeper's hat.

The boy soon discovers many wonderfully-named bizarre beasts in Amy Sparkes and Sara Ogilvie brilliant 'Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo'. Through a combination of assertiveness, persuasion, bravery and guile (all good attributes for young readers to engage with) the boy soon has them under control. When the zookeeper returns, none of the monsters want the boy to leave.

Sara Ogilvie's colourful, energetic, cartoon-like style is perfectly matched here to Amy Sparkes' musical rhyme and her description of the wild-yet-sweet cacophonous creations. A bird's eye view of the zoo and a fabulous vertical double-page spread are two of our favourite scenes.

Oddsockosaurus by Zanib Mian (words) and Bill Bolton (illustration), published by Sweet Apple Books

Our three year old daughter has recently undertaken a new childhood rite of passage - acquiring a love of dinosaurs. Prehistoric picturebooks have played a key part in her growing fascination. In the excellent 'Oddsockosaurus' the many wonderful facets of a toddler's personality are explored through a humorous take on the Greco-Roman dinosaur names that fascinate our daughter.

The book is narrated by a small boy who acknowledges that he's "very complicated". Sometimes he's a Mudiraptor, jumping in mucky puddles his mum told him not to go near. Other times he's a Readabookadocus, enjoying stories and a love of reading every day; or a Lovelyonychus, which includes being kind to his sister. One of our favourites is Nofocusadocus, when "I just have to look for my favourite toy while putting my shoes on".

Each trait is perfectly matched to a cute scene of the boy dressed up as a different dinosaur undertaking an apposite activity.

A few final remarks for 2016...

We launched in June 2015 as a way of remembering some of the precious reading moments we've shared with our daughter and to help others discover a selection of books that we thought the children in their lives would enjoy.

In the last 18 months, our elder daughter turned three and our second daughter was born (and has now turned one). We've posted more than 100 reviews, received more than 35,000 visitors to our website, and met a community of readers through our Twitter account @books4mytoddler.

Thank you so much for your interest and wonderful feedback. See you next year!

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It's our 1st Blog Birthday!

Books of the yearPosted by Max 04 Jun, 2016 10:07PM


It's our 1st Blog Birthday!

To celebrate, we'd like to offer a small thank you for the 21,000 visitors we've had to our website to date.

We've picked four of our favourite picturebooks of 2016 so far, and we will send a new copy of one of these to one lucky winner, who can pick which one they'd like to receive.

To enter for your chance to win: Just retweet this tweet and & follow us @books4mytoddler by 22 June to win one of these four favourites (UK only).

These books are reviewed here

A Great Big Cuddle by Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell

by Richard Collingridge

Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo
by Amy Sparkes and Sara Ogilvie

by Zanib Mian and Bill Bolton

On 22 June, one lucky picturebook lover will be picked at random and will be sent their choice from these four fabulous books.

Good luck!

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Our Picturebooks of the Year

Books of the yearPosted by Max 31 Dec, 2015 02:49PM

For this post we've selected five picturebooks from the 50 we've reviewed in 2015, chosen for their brilliant combination of art, words, character and sheer joy that emanates in abundance from their pages.

by Rebecca Cobb, published by Macmillan Children's Books

Lunchtime was one of our daughter's first picture books, and it remains a firm favourite. As with all of Rebecca Cobb's wonderful books, beautiful, distinctive illustrations are combined with a fun, well-told story. Here, a determined and imaginative girl is reluctant to interrupt her busy schedule and eat her lunch, only to find that three ravenous creatures (who fortunately think children taste revolting) are more than happy to eat it up for her. Lunchtime is a delicious winner, and it will always have a special place on our shelf. Our full review is here

Norris The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner, published by Orchard Books.

It's a rare week when Catherine Rayner's wonderful creations don't feature during bedtime reading (we've also reviewed Smelly Louie and Solomon Crocodile). Her illustrations are stunning and the messages that underline her stories are those of adventure, fun and the value of persistence. This was the book that inspired our daughter to invent a song, "I see a Ploringe". Our full review is here

The Storm Whale by Benji Davies, published by Simon & Schuster UK

We're big fans of Benji Davies' work (we've also featured On Sudden Hill and Grandad's Island), and The Storm Whale remains our favourite of his work, its rain-soaked pages capturing a heartwarming tale of loneliness and friendship, set in a salty landscape of raw, wind-swept rocks and the cold beauty of the sea. Davies' immersive scenes feel like they've been frozen in time, his words are minimalist yet rich, and his characters as bright and memorable as Noi's and his father's yellow mackintoshes. Our full review is here

Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek, published by Walker Books

Petr Horacek's books are among our daughter's most requested. His distinctive, colourful and full of life animals and birds are vivid wonders to behold. Here, his illustration is combined with a charming story of Peter, a small puffin, separated by a storm from his best friend, Paul - a noisy, funny and colourful puffin. This is a highly satisfying adventure, filled with vistas created by sweeping brushstrokes, and a sweet, happy ending. It's a perfect depiction of the value of friendship and loyalty. Our full review is here

I Love You Night and Day Words by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Alison Brown, published by Bloomsbury Children's

This was one of the first books our toddler loved and our first ever review. It's a perfect example of a picture book where the words and illustrations are ideally matched. The comforting sentiments are sweet and true, the illustrations are full of life and movement, and the gentle rhyming helped our toddler read along to the story. Our full review is here

A few final remarks for 2015...

We launched in June this year as a way of remembering some of the precious reading moments we've shared with our daughter and to help others discover a selection that we thought they would enjoy.

Since then, we've posted more than 50 reviews, received more than 11,000 visitors to our website, and met a community of readers through our Twitter account @books4mytoddler.

Thank you so much for your interest and wonderful feedback. See you next year!

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THANK YOU!! Reflections on our first 60 days

Books of the yearPosted by Max 19 Aug, 2015 12:02PM


We started BooksMyToddlerLoves as a way of keeping a record of the books our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter enjoyed, so that we'd be able to remember both the joy of reading with her, and the moments of laughter and fun we've shared that we might otherwise forget.

We also wanted to create a way to show our appreciation for the amazing talent that exists in the picturebook industry - the wonderful writing, the beautiful illustrations and the passionate, sometimes risk-taking, agents and publishers.

Since we launched our site on 22 June (60 days ago), we've posted 31 reviews, had 4,950 visitors and more than 400 followers on Twitter (@books4mytoddler).

The feedback we've had from authors, publishers and picturebook lovers has been far beyond what we'd ever imagined. A summary of the responses is below. We're planning many more reviews in the coming weeks, months and maybe years!

Author feedback about our reviews:

Catherine Rayner ('Norris the Bear Who Shared' and 'Solomon Crocodile'):"Thank you for the loveliest review. I'd love to hear the 'Plorringe' song! Very very happy you like my creatures!"

Pip Jones ('Daddy's Sandwich'): "Lovely new site for thoughtful, detailed reviews of picturebooks here....Gorgeous review of Daddy's Sandwich. Thank you very much!"

Chris Haughton ('Oh No, George!'): "Your toddler has very good taste in books! Lots of my favourites there"

Rebecca Cobb ('Lunchtime' and 'Paper Dolls'): "Thank you very much for a lovely review!"

Jim Field ('Oi Frog!'):"Thanks for the lovely review. Bonus point for using the word juxtaposition, a fave of mine"

Linda Sarah ('On Sudden Hill'): "Thank you SO much for a gorgeous review. The box-tree-house-post-office...made me so happy!"

Smriti Prasadam-Halls ('I Love You Night and Day'):Thank you SO much for this wonderful review. Delighted that you liked the book"

Ed Vere ('Max the Brave'):"Thanks guys...Great site!!"

Benji Davies ('Grandad's Island'): "Thank you for the wonderful, thoughtful review - so pleased you liked the book"

Louise Yates ('Dog Loves Books'): Thank you very much for your lovely review. I enjoyed reading many of the others too"

Laura Sassi: "LOVELY NEW BLOG - What a great way to remember the books you and your toddler love (and share your faves with others)"

Steve Antony ('Please Mr Panda'): "Thanks for the great review!"

Peter Bently ('Meet the Parents'): "Thanks for the lovely review!"

Petr Horacek ('Puffin Peter' and 'Animal Opposites'): "Thanks for reviewing the book so nicely, really glad you like it"

Nicola O'Byrne ('My Little Star'): "Such a lovely review!"

Sam Usher ('Snow'):"What a lovely review - thanks!"

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