Monday, 2 July 2012

My Favourite Childrens Books

I love books and I think a love of books is a wonderful gift to give your children. We always have lots of books around the house and my children love being read to or just flicking through them looking at the pictures (and sometimes tearing them out).

However after I became a mum I soon learned that not all childrens books were created equal. Some are pretty dreary and my heart sinks a little bit when I'm requested to read them. I know I may get struck down for this but I find the Thomas the Tank Engine books extremely dull and the so called "really useful crew" seem to be anything but useful.

I also find some of the longer books hard work, especially at bedtime when a G&T awaits me downstairs. In these instances I am ashamed to say my children have been treated to some "abridged" versions of stories. However as my daughter has got older she has started to cotton on to what I'm doing and any attempts at cutting a long story short are met with a very suspicious look and a comment of "I think you have missed a bit mummy".

But luckily there are some books which are absolute treasures and appeal to adults and children alike so I thought I would share my top 5 with you:

1. The Tiger Who Came To Tea. (Judith Kerr)
Whats not to love about this book? A tiger comes to your house, eats all your food and you get to go out for sausages and chips instead. Surely its every child's dream! I adore the retro 1970's feel of this book and it takes me back to my own childhood. Children love the idea of a tiger knocking on the door but I often wonder if it really was a tiger who drank all of daddy's beer. I have a sneaking suspicion that it might have been mummy who did it and then claimed it was a tiger as the kids had been driving her mad and she just couldn't be bothered to cook the tea.

2. Dig Dig Digging, Choo Choo Clickety Clack, Emergency (Margaret Mayo & Alex Ayliffe)
A series of 3 books dealing with the important issues of diggers, vehicles and "nee naw cars". My little boy adores cars, trains and diggers and these were the first books to really capture his imagination and get him to sit still for more than 10 seconds. The rhythmic prose captivates little ears and the bright pictures are great to look at together with your children.

3. Angelina Ballerina - An Invitation To The Ballet (Katherine Holabird & Helen Craig)
My daughter is quite a tomboy but she does love ballet so this book gives me a chance to wallow in pink fluffy marshmallow girlishness before she reverts back to playing space dinosaurs again (don't ask!). Angelina gets invited to a production of "Cindermouse" but who can she take with her? On each page there is an envelope with a different letter or postcard that your child can take out and read. It makes the book really interactive and certainly holds my daughers attention - and mine!

4. Peace At Last (Jill Murphy)
Mr Bear and I both share a problem and its a big one - a partner who snores. Oh how I feel for poor Mr Bear who can't get to sleep due to his wife's snoring issues. It appears that Snoreaze hasn't captured the lucrative bear market yet so Mr Bear trys sleeping in his sons room - but thats just as bad as unsurprisingly baby bear is pretending to be an aeroplane. The hapless bear then trys different locations in his house until he manages to finally find some peace. This is a great bedtime story and my children love making all the various noises that are keeping Mr Bear awake.

5. Dragon Stew (Steve Smallman & Lee Widish)
This is a new favourite in our household. I was first alerted to it when I heard my husband reading it and sniggering in a rather schoolboy fashion. Yup - it was about poo...a big pile of dragon poo in fact. And there were bottoms in it too...and even the word bum! In short this book is great for children  (and adults) with a lavatorial sense of humour. Don't worry you can appease your concience by telling yourself that as its about vikings its actually teaching your children about history too.

I hope you enjoy these books - and please do comment if you have any books you would like to recommend.


  1. A great list of books, lucky children!

  2. Some great choices there, and some I've not read either. We've just got Dragon Stew and are enjoying that too. If you like to share picture books, would you like to join in a new Picture Book review meme/linky starting tomorrow? Thanks!

  3. Hi childledchaos. Would love to join in the meme! Love the blog name by the way - sounds very much like our house ha ha.

    1. Thank-you, that would be brilliant. The chaos gene has it's good and bad points (am currently ignoring the mess!) :-)

  4. Lovely list, we have only got 1 and 4 so I will look out for the others. My daughter (2.5) just received an Angelina poster from her Grandma, and has started asking about ballet, so I am sure we will need to check out the Angelina books soon.

  5. Where the Wild Things Are! Off beat, great language, weird rhythms, fantastic illustrations and the chance to 'roll your eyes and show your claws' Grrrr. Love 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' too!