Books My Toddler Loves

Books My Toddler Loves

Lulu and the Noisy Baby

Preparing for a new arrivalPosted by Max 12 Nov, 2017 07:43PM

Lulu and the Noisy Baby by Camilla Reid (words) and Ailie Busby (illustration), published by Bloomsbury

We've written before about some of the many brilliant books that helped us and our elder daughter prepare for the arrival of her little sister. Now that she is four, and her sister is two, we've found it helpful at times to revisit these, and also others that are specifically about what it means to be a big sister.

One of our long-standing favourites, Lulu and the Noisy Baby is an interactive, reassuring and (in our experience) accurate depiction of becoming a big sister to a new baby. When we are first introduced to Lulu, we see her enjoying life as an only child - reading, painting, dressing up and having fun with her mummy. Clever flaps help us uncover Lulu from beneath her monster costume, and reveal her behind the window of her playhouse.

Lulu notices that her mummy's tummy is growing, and her parents show her a picture of the baby scan - "I'm going to be a big sister" she says in delight. While mummy rests, we see her making a fairy castle with her daddy and then, a few weeks later, granny arrives to help out. That night mummy and daddy say "see you soon" as they depart for the hospital.

The next morning, Lulu and granny keep busy building towers (with a clever flap that opens up several times as the tower grows), playing pirates and hide and seek (behind the curtain flap). Then, just as granny has fallen asleep on the sofa as they watch a cartoon, Lulu "hears a noise" - ""Waaah" Waaah" Waaah" - and, as we look behind the door and lift up a flap on the baby basket her parents are carrying, we see her new baby brother smiling up at her.

She is happy to have a brother, showing him the princess castle, the cat, and helping to get him dressed. Here, a variety of flaps allow us to choose multiple options for his outfit for the day. Next, we are asked to help Lulu and her daddy find the ingredients for dinner, hidden behind a variety of flaps in the kitchen.

The book ends with scenes of Lulu having fun with her mummy and daddy, as well as some of the less fun aspects of having a little sibling (he can be noisy, and sometimes they quarrel) but he's a great playmate too. Finally, with the help of a large flap against a height chart, we see Lulu and her brother grow from toddler and baby to school age children, and drawings on the wall showing them as great friends.

This delightful book is carefully crafted, with well thought-through interactive elements that remain engaging and fun after multiple reads, high quality card pages and an eye-catching glossy cover. The illustrations are bright and colourful, and the text is minimalist and easy to read. Happily, it's one of a series and we look forward to joining Lulu for more adventures.

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Stories for a Goodnight

BedtimePosted by Max 01 Nov, 2017 08:49PM

Bedtime stories have been an established part of our youngest daughter’s bedtime routine for some time now and these two picture books are ideal for winding down before saying good night.

Goodnight Like This by Mary Murphy, published by Walker Books

We were already fans of Mary Murphy’s “Say hello like this”, so were pleased to find this bedtime version in our local library.

Starting with bunny rabbits, each double page spread visits a different pair of creatures carrying out their own bedtime routine. The bunnies are “yawny and dozy, twitchy and cosy”, the cats “snorey and furry, stretchy and purry”. The reader can peek under the flaps in each page to see the sleeping animals.

The illustrations, painted in all the colours of dusk in the countryside are both beautiful and calming. The gentle rhyme of the words adds to the welcome soporific effect, fitting the final message of “everyone’s tucked up in bed - now it’s your turn, you sleepyhead”.

Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton, published by Walker Books

We love Chris Haughton’s distinctive illustrations and bold colour palette and “Goodnight Everyone” is a lovely choice for a bedtime read.

It’s the end of the day and all of the forest animals are sleepy, with heavy, drooping eyelids. The mice are sleepy, the hares are sleepy, the deer are sleepy, Great Big Bear is sleepy, all are sleepy, except, of course, for Little Bear with his big wide open eyes.

For a while Little Bear tries to entice the other little animals to play with him, but eventually he lets out a yawn and acquiesces when Great Big Bear carries him home.

By this time, all of the animals are sleeping and we visit each snoring family, depicted in beautiful sunset colours. Finally, Little Bear is cuddled up, under the twinkling night sky, “goodnight everyone”.

An extra treat in the end notes are the solar system and constellation graphics, of course depicting Ursa Major (Great Bear) and Ursa Minor (Little Bear).

Previous reviews of other great bedtime reads can be found here:

My Little Star
I Love You Night and Day
Bedtime with Ted

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I Love My Birthday

Family funPosted by Max 15 Oct, 2017 07:44PM

I Love My Birthday by Giles Andreae (words) and Emma Dodd (illustration), published by Orchard Books

"Happy Too Too" declares our two year old daughter, reaching for this marvellous celebration of a young child's birthday. Her adaptation of the Happy Birthday to You song has already become one of her catchphrases.

This book is part of the excellent series written by Giles Andreae and illustrated by Emma Dodd, which depict the unconditional love of a family for its littlest members. The smooth and light-hearted rhyme is perfectly matched to the pastel and primary palette of the bold and engaging illustrations.

The book follows the whole of the little one's birthday, starting with the early morning wake up (at 6.05am according to the clock in the parents' room) and morning cuddles (at 6.10).

Having recently hosted our daughter's second birthday party with a large group of family and friends, we empathise with the parents' effort of entertaining, clothing and feeding the children with one hand and blowing up balloons and hanging banners with the other.

But, as ever, it's the small things that count - the child in the book is of course excited about his presents, but is most thrilled by helping to make the cake, with its "naughty treats" and chocolate flakes.

When it come to the page with the lit candles our daughter loves trying to help blow them out, while we adults join the boy's mum in giving "a little sigh" when the front door closes as the last guests leave.

This brilliant book rightly celebrates a special annual event, but is a perfect choice to read throughout the year.

(You can find our review of I Love You Baby, from the same series, in our A-Z search)

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Leaf-fall favourites

Seasons and naturePosted by Max 07 Oct, 2017 03:13PM

Autumn has very much arrived - the chill in the air and a carpet of crunchy leaves, our walk to school coloured by gorgeous orange, brown and yellow hues.

Here are some lovely books on the theme of the changing of the seasons that our youngest daughter has been enjoying.
Alfie in the Woods by Debi Gliori, published by Bloomsbury Childrens

This is the tale of Alfie's autumnal adventures in the woods one morning with his father.

Alfie is joined by a host of woodland creatures, who come peeking out of the trees, for his imaginative play in the russet leaves covering the forest floor. Each double page spread depicts Alfie imitating an animal, with a "snuffle, rustle" or a "buzzzeee bizzzeee" and the use of some forest props.
Debi Gliori's distinctive illustrations bring Autumn to life, and we can almost hear the crunch of all those fallen leaves. Our daughter loves joining in with the sound effects for each of Alfie's imaginations.

The end of the tale sees Alfie carried home by his Daddy, thoroughly worn out by his outdoor play and hoarding his forest treasures.

We find this book ideal for the transition from board books to longer picture books for our youngest daughter as it holds her attention with an ideal word-to-picture ratio.

Up and Down - A walk in the countryside by Rosalind Beardshaw, published by Nosy Crow and the National Trust

This is a lovely autumn/winter tale, in board book format and is a collaboration between the National Trust and Nosy Crow.

The book follows a pair of friends as they adventure their way through a chilly, snowy day. Each pair of pages bears just two words in opposite, starting with "inside" and "outside", as one puts on her cosy boots and the other is already outside in the snow.
The fun begins "up" the hill and whizzing "down" again on a sledge. The pair enjoy all the countryside has to offer on a winter's day, from the tall to the short, the quiet and the loud, all the way to the end of the day when they happily return home to the inviting light shining from the house, leaving the darkening skies behind.

Each double page spread is beautifully illustrated and depicts all kinds of fun and discoveries that a walk in the countryside has to offer.

Your Hand in My Hand by Mark Sperring (words) and Britta Teckentrup (illustrations), published by Orchard Books (Hachette)

This beautifully illustrated story follows another walk through the countryside - this time a mouse and their little one.

The walk starts in the depths of winter, progresses through spring, summer, then autumn before returning to winter again. It's a lovely story to introduce little ones to the joy that can be found in observing the passing of the seasons. The gentle verse rightly observes "the world's full of wonders, there's so much to see".
The book demonstrates the wonders to be found in each season, whether it's splashing in the puddles of autumn or the "long hazy days" of summer. The message of having fun in the outdoors whatever the weather or season will resonate with parents of young children - allowing the children to burn off seemingly endless energy and the fresh air giving the next best thing to a caffeine shot for the parents.

Some other books we've reviewed previously, which also feature the changing of the seasons:

Wow Said the Owl by Tim Hopgood
Snow by Sam Usher
Apple Pigs by Ruth Orbach

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Blocks: Let's Share!

FriendshipPosted by Max 21 Sep, 2017 07:16PM

Blocks: Let's Share by Irene Dickson, published by Nosy Crow

Our youngest daughter, who is soon to be two, is very loyal to her favourite books, often requesting them over and over again in one sitting. One such current favourite is this simple, lovely board book, which is fitting to feature on International Day of Peace. It's theme is sharing and, ultimately, learning that there is more pleasure to be had in collaboration than division.

The book starts with a peaceful scene of Ruby, building with her red blocks, whilst wearing her shiny red shoes and red stripy top. Ruby is content until...along comes Benji with his enticing blue cart full of blue blocks. For a while, Ruby and Benji play side by side, each with their own coloured blocks.

After a while the allure of Ruby's red blocks becomes too much for Benji and he helps himself to one, much to Ruby's dismay: "Ruby wants her red block back" and they grapple it between them, until - turning to our daughter's favourite double page spread - "CRASH", and they and the blocks all come tumbling down.

Ruby, who has lost a shoe in the melee, and Benji sit amongst the mixed up blocks looking forlorn and rosy cheeked. Happily, it doesn't take the toddlers long to find a new and better way to play - "together" - with both the red and the blue blocks.

Peace is restored and they harmoniously build a magnificent tower of red and blue blocks. But wait: Here's Guy, with a cart full of green blocks! Guy is smiling though, and the sense at the end of the book is that these toddlers will soon find a way to incorporate a third party into their play.

Beautiful, bright, block colour illustrations are a perfect match for the crisp, clear language. It's an ideal choice visually and verbally for an early listener and early reader, and is sure to remain a firm favourite in our home.

For more books featuring peace-making, reconciliation and making amends, try these (all reviewed on our site):

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