At the moment, if you ask Ivy to go and pick a book then this is the one she inevitably comes back with. We read it every day and she’s even made me construct a sparkly beard out of an old headband so she can pretend to be the main character!
The story is about a girl called Peg who is utterly fed up of living with her wicked Step-Great-Grand Auntie. Her only refuge from all the chores she has to do is her beloved collection of adventure books.
One day she takes the cat for a walk and discovers that the pirates have come to town and are looking for new recruits to help them find treasure. Seeing a way out of her miserable life, she asks if she can join them but they rudely refuse. They tell her that she’s too nice, too small and, most importantly, she doesn’t have a beard therefore she can’t ever be a pirate!
Brian is a piranha who loves nothing more than to tuck in to some fruit and veg – but his piranha friends think he’s bonkers because their favourite pastime is nibbling on tasty humans.
Brian’s attempts at converting them fall on deaf ears and soon they’re fed up with him waving bananas and plums in front of their faces. He agrees to stop but on one condition – they need to actually taste one of his fruit and veg platters. Will he be able to convince them to swap knees for peas or will they continue with their carnivorous ways?
Ivy finds this book hilarious, especially as it features the word ‘bum’. Always a winner with toddlers!
Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks is a lovely little book about sharing and friendship, which we have read over and over again.
The story is about a little hermit crab who is looking for a new home. He finds a lovely shiny shell and moves right in but then he meets an anemone who wants to move in too! He really doesn’t want to share his shell but the anemone explains that he can help ward off predators so will earn his keep. The crab reluctantly agrees and soon realises that having the anemone around is really helpful and they are very happy living together. Then up rocks a bristleworm who also wants to move in. Again, the crab isn’t keen but relents when he realises that the bristleworm will keep the shell nice and clean.
Our copy of The Singing Mermaid by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks looks a little the worse for wear as it’s seen a LOT of love in the 18 months we’ve owned it!
The story is about a mermaid with a beautiful voice. One day she is discovered by a circus owner called Sam Sly who convinces her to leave her lovely beach to join his circus and sing to the crowds. He promises that if she goes with him she will become rich and famous. Excited, she agrees to go despite the protestations of her friends.
She makes lots of friends at the circus but surprise surprise, Sam Sly does not turn out to be a nice character. He keeps her in a tiny fish tank and the riches he promised never materialise. Instead she feels trapped and longs to return to the sea.
The Snail And The Whale is one of our favourite collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. There’s a real sense of adventure but the rhyme is also very calming so it’s perfect for bedtime.
The story is about a little snail who longs to travel – but her family thinks she’s a little crazy and don’t understand at all! She’s determined to see the world so she hitches a lift on the tail of a humpback whale. On their magnificent journey the snail sees icebergs and volcanoes, beautiful beaches and strange animals. She is amazed at how big the world is and this makes her feel small and insignificant.
I bought this book based solely on the beautiful cover and when it arrived I loved it – but if i’m honest I wasn’t sure if it would hold Ivy’s attention. I was very wrong!
The story is about a little girl, living in a city who likes to watch the river through her bedroom window. As she sits there she imagines the journey the river takes as it moves towards the ocean.
The illustrations are a joy and my initial assessment that it might be a bit old for Ivy was immediately proved wrong when we read the book together and she was completely memorised by the pictures. The river moves from the city to patchwork fields, then through rolling mountains, over a waterfall and in to a jungle rich with animal life. Finally we move through mangroves of crocodiles before reaching the ocean and gazing at the sea life beneath the little girl’s imaginary boat.
Luka lives by the seaside and is fascinated by the ocean but his family don’t share his interest at all. He really wants to learn to swim but he doesn’t have anyone to teach him so instead he watches the waves and wonders what it might be like.
One day he spots a girl having fun in the water and she moves so gracefully that he thinks it must be a mermaid. He watches her for a long time until she swims up to the pier and is pulled gently out of the water by her father. He is so mesmerised by her that he barely notices the fact she uses a wheelchair on land – all he can see is her smile.
She tells him that her name is Sylvia and she offers to teach him to swim. By the end of the next day Luka is able to float on the waves all by himself and his family are very proud of his achievement.
Ivy will be going on her very first beach holiday this year so we’ve started to read some books about it to get her excited and so that she understands a little about what to expect.
This one, by Rae Rankin, follows a little girl called Penny as she enjoys a much anticipated day at the seaside. We watch as she does cartwheels on the shore, builds sand castles with her dog, collects shells, plays with a Frisbee, explores rock pools, and even flies her kite. I particularly like the fact it shows your child all the wonders of the beach but also takes the time to point out that you HAVE to put your sun cream on before you can run and enjoy it!
I was fortunate enough to grow up near the beach and this book conveys the excitement of a beach day perfectly. The bouncy rhyme carries you along and the adorable wide-eyed illustrations highlight the wonder and innocence of each fascinating new discovery.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2rolB9b
This lovely book is based on the traditional folk song of the same name. This beautifully illustrated print adaptation has a twisting, turning rhythm which gradually gathers pace and takes you on an adventure to the bottom of the sea.
Featuring a whole host of underwater creatures – including a shark, an eel, a crab, a snail and a squid – it explains the underwater food chain in a really simple way.
The weeds absorb the sun. The snails eat the weeds but are then in turn eaten by the crabs. The crabs are eaten by the squid, then the squid are eaten by the eels and ultimately the eels are eaten by the sharks. The illustrations are soft and gentle to avoid any potential anguish over the animals all eating each other!
The book comes with a bonus CD which features both an audio version of the song plus a video animation. And if (like us) you happen to lose the CD then the video can also be found on YouTube here.
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2GDjEjH
This fantastic book by Todd Parr is all about the little things that we can do to make a big difference to the earth. The concepts are explained in a really simple way so that your child can see a tangible reason for being environmentally friendly.
Tell a child that they have to colour on both sides of the paper or that mummy has to take her own bags to the supermarket and they probably won’t understand why. This book connects those actions to preserving trees and shows you that without trees then owls won’t have anywhere to live.
We love Todd Parr’s bold illustrations and Ivy loves naming all of the colours as we move from page to page. A gorgeous introduction to the wonders of the earth and why we should preserve it. This book is a New York Times Bestseller and we can see why!
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2GxHb5h