I’m a big fan of books and always had my nose in a book when I was a child, so when the opportunity arose to do a shop for Collective Bias® and their client all about our favourite books, I jumped at the chance. N is a big fan of reading too, obviously taking after me rather than his father, so we’re always on the lookout for new finds to add to this preschooler’s reading list.
We’ve been undertaking a picture book challenge this year for which we’re aiming to read 300 books. This means we’re discovering lots of new books, but also means I have the chance to introduce N to lots of my favourite books from my youth. I love that there are so many books that stand the test of time, with many of them having special anniversary editions available now.
We buy books from a range of places, charity shops, nearly new sales, books shops and independents, but our shop of choice this week was Waterstones. N’s a big fan of the window displays, so we always have a look and see what’s on show. He loves The Gruffalo so seeing the animals in soft toy format in the window always goes down well.
N spent most of the shopping trip wandering round holding Room on the Broom which he enjoys in book and film, but as we already have that, I had to encourage him to choose a couple of different books. I always find the special central displays so inviting and essential when looking for picture books; browsing them is so much harder than adult novels when you don’t know exactly what you’re after.
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Our perfect children’s reading list harking back to favourites from my childhood includes (in no particular order):
1. The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark – I remember this as a paperback short novel, but we have it in picture book format
2. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – we somehow have duplicate copies of this, one is a the anniversary edition. I remember this as an action and sound story rather than a book though.
3. Each Peach Pear Plum – a bit of a younger book, but I love the rhyming and the I spy nature. N loves spotting the characters. It’s definitely a classic toddler book.
4. The Tiger Who Came to Tea – I remember my younger brother loving this book, and it’s one of N’s favourites. We’re not as keen on Judith Kerr’s other books, as the narration of this one flows so much better.
5. Rosie’s Walk – I spotted this in Waterstones having not seen if for years, and had to get it. I remember this from years ago, and N loves anything that relates to farms so it’s perfect for him. I love the retro 70s colour scheme design as well.
6. Zog – we love any Julia Donaldson books (on our shopping trip we picked up a new one for us, Tiddler), but the Zog story quite often gets chosen ahead of the others. It’s great seeing the dragons learning to roar, fly and kidnap princesses, and N had a sword and shield for his birthday, so his imagination will hopefully be running wild on role play games about fighting dragons.
7. The Snowman – N is a big fan of The Snowman and The Snowman and the Snowdog films, so it was apt we included one of these on our list. We found a copy of the Snowdog version on our shopping trip. There’s a cd included so we can even have it on in the car on long journeys. Christmas isn’t Christmas without The Snowman, so it’s brilliant that N is so keen as well. He quite enjoys the Father Christmas book too, and as there’s no words in that, it’s easy for him to tell the story as he sees it.
8. Brambly Hedge – I used to read the series of these when I was younger, and have many a discussion about these stories when I get together with a friend of mine , reminiscing about them and trying to spot them in charity shops for our children. Although they’re quite dated – the illustrations are much ‘gentler’ and softer than the bright bold colours of more modern picture books, N does quite enjoy them. Definitely one for children who’re keen on animals and the countryside.
9. The Christmas Tale of Peter Rabbit – N is one of Peter Rabbit’s biggest fans. His favourite soft toy is Peter, and he loves the tv show, but it does mean he gets confused about the book only having Peter and Benjamin in, and not Lily! I had lots of the small books when I was young (I was big on collections of books). I don’t remember much about reading them though. My main memory of Beatrix Potter books was my brother and I using them to play tennis with ping pong balls against my bedroom wall.
10. Paddington – another classic that I used to love as a child. It’s great when books have a link into real life locations or events as it means there’s more to talk around the book with children. Hopefully N will get into Paddington Bear stories, and when we go up to London, I can take him to Paddington station to see where the bear arrived into.
To liven up our reading this weekend, we decided we’d try and act our one of our favourite stories. I debated We’re going on a Bear Hunt as you can do some brilliant sound effects as you’re reading, but the weather wasn’t really playing ball. As N loves role playing with play food and drink we tried The Tiger Who Came to Tea instead.
Of course, we couldn’t find his soft toy tiger anywhere, so we adapted with his little plastic tiger figure – not quite the same as a bigger toy, but N didn’t seem to worry.
We got out his toy food, a few picnic plates and jug and got to talking about the story and what happens. If you’re not familiar with the book, a tiger comes to tea with Sophie and her mummy, and eats all the food and all the drink in the house.
N loves to finish the sentences as I read to him (his ‘gulp’ sound is something to behold!), so it was great fun hearing him tell me about what the tiger was eating and drinking. Of course with a toddler, we ended up a bit off track, as the imagination runs wild.
There’s always a need to watch out with N as if there’s any real food involved (we had vaguely finished breakfast before playing) or drink, he tends to want to practise his pouring and cutting which means there’s food everywhere. I’m not entirely sure that croissants featured in The Tiger Who Came to Tea, but our tiger enjoyed ‘eating’ N’s breakfast leftovers with him.
N loved pretending the tiger came to ‘tea’ with him. I think we’ll have to look down the rest of our list of books to see if there’re any others which would work well in acting them out.
What books that you remember from your youth do your children enjoy reading? What are your thought on our list? Do share your suggestions in the comments below and we’ll check out any we’ve not read.
Disclosure: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. All writing and opinions are my own.