As our younger daughter nears her second birthday, she's become increasingly enthralled by the wonder of books. Her current favourites include four board books that are fabulously interactive and engage her hands, ears and eyes.
We're Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen (words) and Helen Oxenbury (illustrations), published by Walker Books
A few months ago, when our nearly two year old became quite obsessed with 'Bear Hunt' we decided to order it in board book form to preserve our original copy.
This more robust version is a perfect size for little hands, and still big enough for Helen Oxenbury's beautiful whimsical illustrations to be appreciated. Her swishy swashy grass seems to actually sway in the gentle breeze. You can almost feel and hear the squelching mud.
And the words! They are enticing, addictive, immersive and fun. Who can resist joining in with the "Hoooo Woooo's" of the swirling whirling snowstorm? Or doing the actions of stumble trip. Both our daughters mastered "uh oh" and "oh no!" at a very young age thanks to Michael Rosen and Bear Hunt.
Earlier this year, we were reading this book more than 10 times a day for many days running. We are grateful to a wonderful film of Michael Rosen reading his story aloud, which several times saved our nearly-lost voices.
Touch and Explore Pets by Geraldine Krasinski (words) and Xavier Deneux (illustrations), published by Twirl Books (Abrams & Chronicle)
This pet edition of the highly tactile series is adorable and a sheer delight. We meet an array of homely animals, with fun and amusing facts alongside cute, stroke-able and fur-covered illustrations.
Each spread includes four inviting windows of information, one of which opens out as a flap to reveal extra insights into each pet. The combination of fun facts and hands-on elements makes it a great book to engage both our daughters (aged 1 and 4).
The pages are hard-wearing and the words are in a clear, friendly font. A final spread of more unusual potential pets includes further opportunities for textural discovery.
Rabbit's Nap by Julia Donaldson (words) and Axel Scheffler (illustrations), published by Macmillan Children's Books
This title in the Acorn Wood series is one of our younger daughters most read board books. "Babbit", she calls (which is also her name for her much adored bunny comforter) and "again" she demands, as the final page is read.
The magical combination of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is internationally acclaimed, and this book is no exception. Here their words and pictures alchemy tells the story of a tired Rabbit who simply wants somewhere to sleep. No matter where she goes, a neighbour is making noise - from a builder bear to a wood-chopping fox.
Filled with delightful details (such as carrot curtains) and told with a gentle rhyme, the story is enhanced by clever flaps that reveal each of the noise-makers in turn.
Hush... Little Bear Is Sleeping by Surya Sajnani, published by Wee Gallery (Quato Group)
From a very young age our daughter greatly enjoyed the series of boardbooks from Wee Gallery. This is a stylish, sleek, minimalist book, with simple text and drawings in predominantly white and black with a dash of one other colour (in this case blue).
The pages present a cwtch of nocturnal animals, whose miaow, bark, cricket and twit two are keeping little bear awake. They are brought to life in a second dimension through sound buttons, which enable children and their tiny fingers to hear the animals making their nighttime noises.
This book, and the series of which it is a part, is a sure winner with very young readers. As well as enjoying for yourselves, all of these Wee Gallery books also make a lovely and unusual gift.