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Hachette Children’s

I Am Too Absolutely Small For School
by Lauren Child

If your child is nervous about starting school then this reassuring story might be just the thing you’re looking for – especially if they are fans of the Charlie and Lola cartoon.

Little Lola is about to start school but she really, really, really doesn’t want to go. Although she is a big girl she’s definitely too small for such a big change, plus she has so many important things to do at home that she doesn’t think she’ll have time. Lucklily, big brother Charlie is on hand to try and change her mind.

If she can only count to to ten, what will she do if eleven elephants want her to give them each a biscuit? If she doesn’t learn her alphabet then how will she write a letter to Father Christmas? And if she doesn’t learn to read, then how will she be able to understand the secret messages written on the fridge?

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Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada
by Jimmy Fallon

Ivy is 4 now but I can clearly remember the days when we were eagerly anticipating her first word. Would it be Mama, Dada or something else entirely? If this sounds familar, then you’re probably going to like this hilarious book from American comedian Jimmy Fallon.

The story follows a range of farmyard fathers as they try to get their children to say ‘Dada’. Naturally it doesn’t quite go as planned! As the dads say ‘Dada’ over and over again, the babies all insist on responding with their respective animal sounds.

This is a book of few words – in fact, until you get to the end of the book there’s only one word per page!

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Where The Sea Meets The Sky
by Peter Bently & Riko Sekiguchi

When Sophie the baby sea otter learns about the horizon she is determined to swim all the way there. Her Mum warns her it’s impossible but Sophie thinks it doesn’t look that far, so she sneaks off on an epic journey.

On her travels she finds a magnificent lighthouse, befriends a walrus, meets a whale and dives deep under the water to swim with colourful tropical fish – but no matter how far she travels that pesky horizon eludes her.

As night falls Sophie realises that perhaps her Mum was right. Tired and alone, she bristles with fear when she spots a mighty ship heading in her direction. She has swum so far, how will she ever make it home?

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Toddler’s World: Feelings
by Pat-A-Cake & Villie Karabatzia

This chunky board book from Pat-A-Cake is an ideal introduction to feelings for little ones. It teaches small children what it means to be happy, sad, brave, angry, scared or jealous.

Each double page spread is dedicated to a specific emotion. The illustrations and text show us multiple different scenarios which might make you feel this way, so for example you might feel angry when you are tired, when someone is mean to you or when you want something which you can’t have. It then offers practical suggestions to help you overcome the emotion (where relevant) and reassurances that your feelings are perfectly normal. Each page asks the child to recall a time they felt this way and to talk about it with an adult when the emotion feels too big to handle.

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A Climate in Chaos by Neal Layton

Whilst we were playing in the garden yesterday Ivy noted that there are more animals around than usual, and she’s right. Over the last few weeks we’ve spotted lots of birds, a family of squirrels and even a baby fox venturing in to our little patch of South London. The current situation means that, with fewer cars on the roads and fewer people in the streets, the animals are starting to claim back their territory. And it’s wonderful!

I  jumped at the opportunity to have a little chat about how humans have encroached on the natural world and later we grabbed this book off the shelf and explored the subject further. She’s only 4 so she’s a little young to grasp the enormity of climate change but Neal Layton has done a fantastic job of breaking down the science so that it’s easy for childen to understand.

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Goodnight, Aliens by Pat-a-Cake Books & Kat Uno

This adorable little board book from Pat-a-Cake follows a family of aliens as they move through their bedtime routine. We see the three baby aliens playing with their toys, eating their dinner, having a bath, listening to a bedtime story and then snuggling up to sleep.

The rhyming text is short and repetitive which gives it a lovely sing-song feel. It’s a soothing read for babies, and toddlers will love memorising and repeating the lines back to you.

The colourful illustrations are super cute and there’s the added bonus of a pop up surprise on the very last page.

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Waiting for Wolf
by Sandra Dieckmann

This stunning picture book helps children understand their grief after a bereavement and teaches them that, although sometimes difficult, life will go on.

Fox and Wolf are the best of friends and do everything together. They laugh, they talk, they swim and explore. Life is beautiful when they are in each others company. But then one evening, as the sun sets and the stars come out, the old Wolf wraps a paw around Fox’s shoulder and tells him that tomorrow he will be starlight.

The next day Fox heads to Wolf’s den to play, excited to see if he is shiny like a star, but Wolf isn’t there. Fox searches all day but cannot find his friend so he heads up in to the mountains and pulls the stars down from the sky. He wraps them around himself like a blanket, but still Wolf does not come.

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My Pet T-Rex by Fabi Santiago

The T-Rex is Ivy’s favourite kind of dinosaur so she squealed with excitement when she spotted the cover of this book! Set in prehistoric times, the story follows a little girl called Kiki as she learns to look after her new pet T-Rex, Petunia.

At first it seems like having a dino will be easy – but Kiki soon learns that a pet is a big responsibility. Petunia needs to be washed, fed and exercised, plus she needs lots of sleep and visits to the vet. Just when Kiki thinks it might be a little bit too much, Petunia gets lost!

Wil Kiki be able to find her and if she does, will she want to keep her?

If your child is hankering for a pet then this is the perfect book to help them understand how much work they can be. It highlights all aspects of pet care and also teaches that you can’t just give them back if you don’t want to put in the effort anymore.

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Every Child A Song by Nicola Davies & Marc Martin

Written for the thirtieth anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), this beautiful book celebrates the worth of every child.

Using the metaphor of song, the story shows us how every child is unique and brings something new and wonderful to the world.

At the start of the book we see a newborn baby bring a new song in to existence. That song is nurtured with love, shelter, protection and a sense of belonging. Afforded these basic rights, the song soars and explores. On its journey it finds new songs – some loud and some quiet, and some long and some short – but each wonderful in its own way.

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Amazing Daddy by Rachel Bright

The little panda in this story thinks her Daddy is simply amazing! He makes her yummy food, he loves to snuggle and he smells like ‘safe and warm’.

The gorgeous rhyme follows the pair as they go through their day. To an observer, nothing they do is extraordinary – they eat, they play, they have a bath – but to the baby panda every little moment is special because she gets to spend it with her Daddy.

We love this one because of the gorgeous illustrations and the cheeky humour. There are lots of fun details hidden in the pictures – keep an eye out for Daddy’s aftershave –  ‘Old Panda Spice’ – and the very important pieces of paper on the table in Daddy Panda’s office!

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