The Most-Loved Bear
by Sam McBratney & Sam Usher

Do you ever read a book to your child and find that the emotion in the story catches you by surprise? The first time I read ‘The Most-Loved Bear’ I found myself struggling to hold back the tears as it really struck a chord with me. It’s absolutely beautiful!

A long time ago a little girl called Mary Rose buys a bear for sixpence from her local toyshop. She names him Growly Bear because he makes a little growling noise when you tip him upside down. Her Mother embroiders the letters ‘G’ and ‘B’ on to his paws and together the little girl and her much-loved bear have many adventures. Until one day she leaves him on a train…

Growly Bear ends up in the Lost Property Office and when he isn’t claimed he is sold to a little boy called Ronnie who loves him just as much as Mary Rose did. They play together for many years until the boy is too old for toys. The bear is donated to a second-hand shop to make room for Ronnie’s new hobbies.

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Nothing Is Scary With Harry by Katie McElligott & Jennifer A. Bell

Does your child have a favourite blanket or soft toy which they can’t live without? If so they’ll definitely identify with the little girl in this beautiful story.

Katie has a yellow blanket called Harry. When she’s cuddling Harry the world seems less scary so she takes him everywhere with her. He accompanies her on trips to the doctor, snuggles her during loud thunderstorms and nestles in her bag during difficult school tests. She’s ready to take on the world with Harry at her side because he comforts her and makes her feel safe and strong.

However not everybody understands Katie’s relationship with Harry. An old lady at the supermarket tells her that blankets are for babies, a boy at school points at her and laughs, and eventually even Katie’s mum thinks that perhaps it’s time for Harry to be packed away.

But brave Katie stands her ground and eloquently explains why she thinks Harry should be able to stay. In fact, Harry stays with her for many years, until one day she passes him on to someone very special indeed…

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The Everywhere Bear By Julia Donaldson & Rebecca Cobb

The Everywhere BearThe Everywhere Bear belongs to Class One. During the week he sits on a shelf in Mrs MacAllister’s classroom and observes all of his friends as they learn their lessons and listen to stories. At the weekends he goes home with one of the children for an adventure and on Monday they come back and tell the rest of the class what they have done. He lives an exciting life!

One rainy Monday morning he is travelling back to school after a lovely weekend with a new boy called Matt when suddenly he falls out of Matt’s backpack and is washed down a drain. The Everywhere Bear is about to have his biggest adventure yet!

He ends up in the sea, gets caught in a fisherman’s net, is delivered to a fish shop, thrown in the bin and then stolen by a seagull – but will he ever end up back with his friends in Class One?

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The Paper Dolls By Julia Donaldson & Rebecca Cobb

The Paper DollsWe discovered this gem in our local library about 18 months ago and Ivy loved it so much that I bought us a copy that same week. The story is beautiful and I’m not ashamed to say that I bawled my eyes out the first time I read it!

This lovely book is about a little girl whose Mummy makes her a set of 5 paper dolls. She gives them names, plays with them constantly and invents a little song for the dolls to sing about their friendship.

In the girl’s vivid imagination the paper dolls do battle with dinosaurs, tigers and crocodiles. They explore magical islands (on the breakfast table) and dance through forests (in the garden).

Together they come through every adventure unscathed. Until one day they encounter a little boy with a pair of scissors and suddenly the dolls are no more.

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Shark In The Park! By Nick Sharratt

Shark In The Park!Timothy Pope has a new telescope and he’s taken it to the park to play. The park is nice and tranquil – there are birds in the trees, ducks on the pond and children playing happily. Yet, each time Timothy takes a peek down his telescope he shrieks in surprise as he can see a shark!

The clever paper cut outs let you see the ‘shark fin’ each time and then when you turn the page you can see what it really is.  A cat’s ear, a birds wing and even a hair quiff can all look like a shark down the lens of Timothy’s telescope. It’s definitely Timothy’s eyes playing tricks on him because there can’t really be a shark in the park. Can there?

The repetitive nature of this book – and the little visual surprises – make it perfect for reading aloud to toddlers. We’ve now read it so many times that Ivy can anticipate what’s coming next and can recite part of the rhyme!

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The Teddy Bear Secret By Anna Clothier & Gail Yerril

The Teddy Bear SecretThis one is a recent present from Ivy’s grandparents and it’s extremely cute. It introduces us to a little teddy bear called Bear and his human Ben. Ben thinks that he looks after Bear but really it’s the other way round.

Teddy Bears around the world are all part of the Teddy Bear Secret! When their humans are around they stay super still but as soon they’re alone they busy about doing the important job of keeping their human safe and sound.

This is a really sweet book and the illustrations are gorgeous.

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