Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves

Our Picturebooks of the Year

December 2015 ReviewsPosted 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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Christmas 2015 roundup

December 2015 ReviewsPosted by Max 23 Dec, 2015 01:23PM
This is the first year that our daughter, nearly three, has been fully aware of Christmas, and we've watched her excitement at all its wonders - particularly Santa, mangers, reindeers and baubles. This winter, we've enjoyed delving into the immense sleigh-full of picturebooks that focus on Christmas. A few of them, our favourites this year, are reviewed below.

When it Snows, by Richard Collingridge

This was our daughter's first, and still favourite, Christmas book (although it was also a regular request of hers in the summer!). Cinematic illustrations portray the journey of a boy and his teddy's to the North Pole. The scenes of snowy landscapes, gloomy forests, tiny fairies and crowds of elves are beautiful and atmospheric and contain just the right pinch of mild peril to enchant, but not frighten, the youngest readers. Full review here.

The Little Christmas Tree, by Rachel Elliot (Author), Vicki Gausden (Illustrator), Corina Fletcher (pop-up engineer)

A brilliantly combined picture/pop up/activity book, where the reader helps complete the story. A little Christmas tree stands forgotten and alone, unadorned amid the others that have been fully decorated. When the woodland creatures realise, they set about to make it the best tree of winter, with a special visit from Santa to reward them for their efforts. The final reveal is a magnificent pop up Christmas tree, beautifully crafted, with a page of pop out decorations to hang upon the branches. Great fun and very well told.

Socks for Santa, Written by Charlotte Guillain and Adam Guillain,
Illustrated by Lee Wildish

Little George has a plan - this year, to say thank you in person, he will head to the North Pole and take some gifts to Santa. After packing a sack of presents and some spare socks, he sets out on his journey. With help from polar bears, elves and a sniffly Rudolph, George arrives at his destination, but his generosity along the way leaves his bag of gifts empty, and he has nothing left for Santa.

Santa doesn't mind - in fact he says George has demonstrated the very meaning of Christmas, and as a reward he invites George to join Santa in his sleigh for Christmas Eve. There's just one problem, Santa's socks are full of holes. But wait! What else does George have in his bag? A lovely tale with vibrant illustrations this is a fun-filled festive treat.

A Christmas Story, by Brian Wildsmith

This is the most beautiful book we have read this Christmas, with elaborate illustrations embellished in festive golds and reds. It retells the nativity story through the eyes of a baby donkey, following the footprints of its mother, who has left with Mary and Joseph on their journey to Bethlehem. This is sure to become a family classic,and one that will help to connect us to the origins of Christmas.

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