Stanley the Farmer by William Bee, Published by Jonathan Cape (Random House)
Not far from where we live is a small petting farm that specialises in hands on activities for the under 5s. Toddlers are encouraged to wander around, feed carrot cubes to rabbits, and scatter seeds for happy chickens. There are mini John Deeres to ride and an old tractor to climb on. Next to a picnic area is a grumpy llama, of which our daughter does a masterful impression.
The first time we went there our daughter was particularly excited as she had just been given a copy of Stanley the farmer, one of a series of Stanley books by William Bee. These books are highly distinctive, colourful and wholesome, with an array of cute characters led by Stanley the hamster, a most diligent protagonist.
In each, our daughter loves spotting and naming great displays of objects associated with the book's title. Here, Stanley the farmer begins with a wonderful double page spread of rural accoutrement (another favourite, Stanley's Cafe, showcases culinary cornucopia from a 1960s-style diner).
This book follows Stanley through a working day on the farm, including spreading manure, sowing crops and bailing hay. He has help from friends, including Shamus the shrew and his small shrew child - Little Woo - one of our daughter's most adored picturebook characters.
After a long day Stanley has dinner, a bath and is last seen tucked up in bed, making this an ideal choice to read as part of a bedtime routine.