I used to love reading as a child, but is that because TV and computers were not nearly as accessible, or attractive as they are now? I wanted my children to have the choice and have tried really hard to offer a mix of their own reading, us reading to them, TV, cinema, computer games on the tablets and a games console. Lucky that we had most of this stuff before we had children and became poor! We push the school books as necessary, but there are also regular library trips for them to make their own choices; every bed time they get to choose their book and who reads it.
I know there are loads of lists of the top 10 books children will love to read, so I thought I would add another one to the saturated market. Mine is a list of what they loved and why, along with some of the sentimental stuff that goes with this parenting lark. And there are 11 titles in the list, so there is a slight difference. These are all books that were either bought for us, or they chose themselves from the library, so don’t judge me, judge them :-). This is a list of books that they loved in their younger days, but they still read today.
In no particular order, here is a list of just a few of the booked my girls loved over and over.
1. Nosey Norman and Hello Dudley
These were bought by a friend of mine; her daughter is much older, so she is a pro. They are monster hand puppets, which are attached to the books, so the reader gets to do the puppet show, voices and all. There is mention of monster poo, so obviously this is popular. Fun and easy to read, they could easily read them on their own, but these are adult participation books in our house. Good one for a quick bedtime read, but be prepared for giggles and a less than calming read.
2. The Wizard of Oz
This was a present from the grandparents. I have to be honest and it may be contentious, but I am not a fan of The Wizard of Oz. It was on TV every Christmas when I was a child; I didn’t like it then and I like it even less now. So their Dad used to get the job of reading this one to them, but I have now given in to pressure and read it too. We were given this around 4 or 5 years ago, so the children were young and the text is hard to read, so be prepared to still be reading this for quite a few years. It is the old favourite; a pop up flap book with music. As you would expect it tells the very well-known story in just enough detail to keep little ones interested. They love it and I know that, my sadly now passed Mother-in-law, would be thrilled to know she had chosen one of their favourites. Guess it is just the right mix of action and sound effects that they ask for over and over again.
3. Who’s Afraid of The Big Bad Book
I don’t remember who this was a gift from, so I am going to say my sister; she is a big reader and has chosen quite a few from this list, so I can be forgiven for thinking she chose this one too. It is written by Lauren Child, who writes the Charlie and Lola series of books. It is illustrated in the same way, but that is where the similarity ends. Herb falls into his own book of fairy tales. Having drawn in it and cut bits out of it over the years, he feels the wrath of the irate characters for his actions. As he travels through the book, he rights his wrongs as he comes into contact with some familiar characters, such as Goldilocks (who is hugely irritating in this book). Is is a challenging read for younger children, but a brilliant book that really challenges their thinking and brings books to life.
4. What The Ladybird Heard
Another gift from my sister. This has been read so many times, I can almost recall the words. Julia Donaldson is a genius, I am yet to find a book of hers that is not well written and fun to read, but I would say this is my children’s favourite. I love a rhyming book as they are so easy to read, but more challenging for children to read, so they were happy for us to read it to them for a few years. It tells the story to the ladybird and the farm animals saving the day when two burglars come to their farm. There is a sequel, but it has not been quite as popular. Maybe one for the younger readers this one.
This is another present from my sister. Sorry sis, but I didn’t get this book. However, in our house, I was the only one that didn’t get it. Reading it you would think it was written in the 50’s, but is actually a modern book. My husband, who was born in the wrong era, loves the pure innocence and simplicity of this book. The girls both really enjoyed it and often asked for it to be read. It it the story of a day in the life of a baby, through their eyes, but told in adult text. Easy to read, but it is definitely a ‘read to’ book in our house. The younger, ‘parent pleaser’ still asks for Daddy to read Peepo. It is a lovely thing they share together, I always groan for effect when she asks for Daddy and Peepo.
6. Monkey and Me
This was bought for my oldest daughter by a baby group friend, when our children were 6 months old. Sadly, we lost touch, but if she reads this, I would love her to know it is one of the girl’s favourites. Very simple and easy to read; we added in sound effects for each of the animals they went to see. Monkey and me go out to see people and then head home for tea; that is it, but for some reason, they love it. This has been read over and over again for 7 years, second daughter came along and loved it equally. They still read it to themselves. I know it word for word, which is not much of an achievement as there are not many words.
7. Princess Smartypants
This is one of my choices, but they really enjoy the story too, mainly because they like the idea of the naughty princess. This is a twist on the old story of the Princes trying to win the hand of the Princess. In this story the Princess just wants to spend life unmarried, living with her animals. She treats her suitors terribly and ends up happily on her own. It is a great one for the modern woman, just to prove that we can live happily ever after without a husband. Fun and easy to read, suited to a slightly older reader. The girls now easily read this on their own.
8. The Top Secret Diary of Pig.
This one is a library find; a trilogy about the life of Pig (I don’t have pictures of the other 2, but they are easily recognisable). The only downside is that these books introduced the word fart into our world, amidst much shrieking and giggling. Fart has probably replaced pump as the word, but I guess they are 7 and 6 now, so it could be worse. Pig writes his own diary in Pig language (which luckily, we can read), he tells us of his adventures on the farm and beyond. I read the first one to them when we were on holiday, so it brings back good memories. They begged me to find the second one as soon as we got back. I chose a West Country accent for the voice of Pig, along with many other voices; I possibly had more fun than them. Brilliantly written, they found them all so funny, but definitely for the slightly older children. They read the third on their own, so the text is simple enough for young readers.
9. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
This is a classic, which even if you chose not to read it to your children, they will probably get to re-enact it at school, or pre-school. I have a friend who says she hates this book, so it is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s popular with my two. We all know the story of the bear hunt and can make it as active and interesting as we like. It was normally a bedtime book in our house, so we kept the actions low-key. After many reads, like many people out there, I know all the words, so we used to do ad-hoc Bear Hunts on many an outing. Too old now though, so catch them young with this one.
10. Turn It Up Doris
This is by Sam Lloyd, who wrote Nosey Norman and Hello Dudley. I have added this one as a stand alone though, as it is slightly different from the other two books. It has more of a meaning for my girls; they still read it now. The oldest is particularly shy and suffers from anxiety. She turned from this uncontrollable ball of energy to this terrified mute when she joined school. Don’t get me wrong, she likes schools, but is so quiet, it is hard to hear her when she does finally speak. She giggles a lot to make up for it. In this story, Doris is too scared to speak up in a school performance, but needs to find her voice when her brother falls down a hole and they need help. I don’t know if this book holds any significance for my children, as they don’t say anything about being nervous to speak out, but they frequently asked for the story, and still read it themselves. They love the bit where they can shout out loud, and obviously the hand puppet is popular. Fun and easy read, you can’t go wrong with a puppet!
11. Rainbow Magic – Amber the Orange Fairy.
Last, but not least is a never end series of books about the adventures of Rachel and Kirsty. Over the years, they have had numerous adventures with the Fairies of Rainspell Island, but ‘Amber the Orange Fairy’ is the favourite because of the name. I am in trouble with DD2 though, as I chose a name that is not very well-known and so far there is no fairy for her. We were given these by their cousin, who is now 16, so they have been out there for a few years now. These are written to appeal to readers from early years up to 9 or 10, the books get more complex for the older readers. Not wanting to gender assign, but they are probably more appealing to the girls. They are easy to read and my two can read them quite quickly, which appeals to them; they have short attention spans. We did World Book Day as Amber the Orange Fairy as our first none Disney character.
So that’s a list of books that appealed to 2 little girls, who enjoy reading, but are not great readers. They are short and sweet, fun to read and easy for them to take over when their reading skills developed. We have tried longer books, but so far nothing has caught their attention in the same way these did.
Happy reading everyone.
Please read this with my usual apology for spelling and grammar.