Earlier this week we visited London Zoo as a half term treat for Ivy. The highlight of her day was undoubtedly seeing the giraffes up close, but for me it was our visit to the gift shop as they had a phenomenal selection of books. From baby books right through to detailed encyclopedias, there was definitely something for every child to enjoy.
Ivy was allowed to select one title from their shelves and she headed straight for this beautiful board book from Ingela P. Arrhenius and Nosy Crow.
She’s three and a half now, but we’ve seen renewed interest in board books of late because she likes to try and read them herself by guessing what is going on in the pictures. This book is perfect for this type of game and as a result I honestly think we’ve read it 50+ times in the last few days!
At first glance, Westburrow Wood seems like a friendly place. All the weasels who live there look the same and they all follow the same rules so there is little for them to argue about. But then there is Wesley.
Wesley likes to wear clothes, which is unusual for a weasel, and his clothes are designed to stand out. Wesley thinks nothing of rocking a baseball cap with earmuffs, two watches, a waistcoat, some cowboy boots and a skirt. And why shouldn’t he? They’re just clothes and they’re a fun way of expressing his personality. Wesley thinks being just like everyone else is dull (and we have to admit we agree!).
The problem is that Wesley’s appearance makes the other weasel’s uncomfortable so they decide that something has to be done. They gang up on Wesley and tell him that he’s weird and needs to change.
The Wonky Donkey has been a firm favourite in New Zealand since it was first published there back in 2009, but to the rest of the world it was relatively unknown until a hilarious video appeared in late August 2018, which quickly went viral.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 9 months then you will know the one I mean! It features a lovely Scottish lady reading the book to her grandson for the first time and giggling wildly as the story gets increasingly silly. You can watch the video again here if you need a bit of a pick me up!
The story is about a 3-legged donkey which the reader sees as they are walking down the road. Each time you turn the page you learn a new fact about the donkey, which slowly turns the rhyme in to a massive tongue twister.
This book is a little controversial in our house as it’s the first Julia Donaldson book that Ivy and I don’t agree on! I personally don’t think it’s one of her best – but Ivy loves it so what do I know!?!
The story is about the ‘Go-Away Bird’ who (as you’d expect from her name…) isn’t a big fan of company. She sits in her nest with a disgruntled look on her face and sends away all of the nice birds who try and make her acquaintance with a loud ‘Go Away!’
She doesn’t want to talk to the Chit-Chat bird, she doesn’t want to share a meal with the Peck-Peck bird and she certainly doesn’t want to fly with the Flip-Flap bird. But then the hungry ‘Get You’bird appears and the Go-Away bird discovers that maybe she does need friends after all.
The majority of the books on our shelves feature cartoon creatures, loud colours and bouncy rhymes – because let’s face it, all kids love a fun story! However at 3.5, Ivy seems to have reached a stage where she’s showing interest in books which require a little more thought (but still have lots of pictures).
This book is perfect for her as it works on two levels. The story itself is simple, but it encourages lots of questions about habitats and environmental issues.
The story follows two little tiger cubs and their mother as they move through the jungle trying to find a new home. Frightened by the sound of men and dogs the previous evening, mother tiger is determined to find somewhere safe before sundown.
The little girl in this story really, really likes cats. She has lots of books about them but what she wants is a little fluffy cat of her very own – so she decides to lay a trail!
She gathers together an arsenal of cat toys, including balls of wool, skeins of ribbon and little jingly jangly balls. Then she visits her Grandmother and learns that they also enjoy playing with catnip, cardboard boxes and newspapers.
Soon her bedroom is full of exciting things designed to entice cats and she sits and waits for them to arrive. She waits all day but she has no luck so she heads to bed and sadly snuggles her cat book instead.
Daddy Fartypants has a problem – he farts ALL THE TIME! And what’s worse is that he never owns up. Every time he does a bottom burp he blames someone else, whether that’s a tiny baby, a snail or a bear on the telly. It’s all a bit too much for his poor son who is embarrassed by both the smell and the white lies.
But then one day Daddy Fartypants gets a taste of his own medicine when his son’s new teacher, Miss Lovelybear lets out a massive paaaaaaarp and blames it on him! Daddy Fartypants is mortified, but is it enough to make him to change his ways?
The Mix Up Muddle Bird is a solitary creature who lives in a nest at the top of a very tall tree. She doesn’t come down because she is scared that the other animals will make fun of her unusual appearance. You see, the Mix Up Muddle Bird is a mix of lots of different jungle animals. She has the head of a crocodile, the body of a tiger, feet like a monkey and the long colourful wings of a parrot! Her only friend is Boris the Bee who lives in a nearby tree.
One day Boris overhears the jungle animals having a disagreement over who should be the ruler of the jungle. The crocodile thinks he should be king because of his snappy teeth. The tiger thinks he should be the boss because of his fantastic pounce. The monkey thinks his climbing ability should make him the ruler. And then the parrot swoops down and says she should get the job because of her beautiful wings. The problem is that no one can agree!
Small children seem to live at 100 miles an hour. These days Ivy talks non-stop and is always on the move. She bounces from game to game, dances, spins and generally makes me feel exhausted just looking at her! This is one of the many reasons that I love to sit and read books with her. For those precious moments, the world stops and it’s just me, her and the story.
If you’re looking for more of those calm moments then this book is a lovely place to start. Mindful Millie is an elephant who is very in touch with the world around her. When she goes for a walk she notices the colour and texture of the leaves on the trees. When she eats she thinks about each of the flavours she can taste. Millie wants to help her friends (and you) to do the same.
Most parents will be familiar with the sense of trepidation you feel when starting a busy day with a small child in tow. You know it’s *possible* that everything could go to plan, but realistically you’re going to be late for everything (if you even manage to get out of the door at all).
Such is the plight of Mama Bear who has a very long list of things she needs to achieve before the end of the day, starting with dance class and a trip to the supermarket.
Little Bella Bear has other ideas though. She wants to bounce on her bed. She wants to wear the red outfit and not the blue outfit. She wants to count the stairs slowly on her way down. She wants an elaborate breakfast (which she inevitably wouldn’t eat!). She doesn’t want to brush her teeth. She might want to use the potty though – but not until it’s time to leave, and not without reading at least 3 books whilst she ‘tries’. Sound familiar?