Thursday, 7 March 2013

Our family in picture books

It's World Book Day today, and I realised that I have been reading some of the same picture books to my children on and off for nearly fifteen years.We've had a few misses - any book adaptation of a Disney film or TV show; also, strangely, Where The Wild Things Are, it gives me the creeps - but most I've loved. It's hard to choose favourites, but here are some of our family's.

You Choose . Our copy is battered and sellotaped and has been loved by all of our children. It's a very simple idea - if you could do anything, go anywhere, be anyone, what would you do? There are pages of choices; hats, food, furniture, houses; every time I read it I change my mind about what I'd choose. Timeless and so much fun. There's a sequel,too; Just Imagine; also very much recommended.

I Want My Hat Back - a new addition to our book collection, but already a firm favourite. It's a delight to read. Gorgeous illustrations, and witty text - the whole book is played out in the rather stilted but funny exchanges between a bear who has lost his hat, and the animals he questions as to its whereabouts. Leaves me smiling every time.

When The World Was Waiting For You - I was given this when Toby was born. A beautiful little story about a family of rabbits preparing for the birth of their new little rabbit - the heartwarming words and sweet illustrations give me a little bit of a lump in my throat every time I read it.

Flat Stanley. There's just something so wholesome about this classic 60's American picture book, and the simpler world it evokes. Stanley is squashed flat but learns to live with his disability; when he wants to visit his cousins on the other side of the continent, his parents simply post him in a letter. He even manages to foil some art thieves before his brother Arthur manages to return him to his old self.

The Smartest Giant In Town. We've had this book for eleven years; I know this as it was bought as a gift for our eldest daughter when Polly, now eleven, was born. It's hard to pick one of Julia Donaldson's books as they are all wonderful, but this one is a particular favourite given its sentimental value. George the generous giant ends up giving away all his clothing and possessions to more deserving causes, from a family of homeless mice to a cold giraffe.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - I had to include this - one that should be in every child's collection, and one that I imagine many parents know off by heart. It always makes me hungry when I read it. I wish I was a talented enough baker to make these Hungry Caterpillar cookies.

When Dinosaurs Go To School. I think I may be able to recite this book in my sleep, I've read it so often. I bought it as a Christmas gift for our eldest daughter when she was four and due to start school the following year - she fell in love with it, and so did I.  

Each Peach Pear Plum- another classic which I remember reading as a child. Lovely, interactive story.

Picture This This one's really for babies, a first book that introduces them to simple words by way of  beautifully detailed illustrations. We're on our second copy.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy. Hercules Morse, as big as a horse. Bitzer Maloney, all skinny and bony. I think this one has to be read in a broad Scottish accent for full effect. 

There are definitely more that I could have chosen, too..... We've tried to switch to buying all of our adult books on Kindle, but there will always be room for picture books in our house. Happy World Book Day!

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