I’m not about to tell you about The Gruffalo, or titles by Janet and Alan Ahlberg – chances are you’ve already heard of them/own copies. Instead I thought I’d share some perhaps less well known books that make wonderful gifts (I’m a big book giver me) and are a genuine joy to look at and immerse yourself in with your littles.
Because let’s face it, when you’ve been requested to read a story for the 58th time it’s not uncommon to lose the will to live. Or at least think about the unopened bottle of Sauvignon in the fridge to the point of no return. At least really excellent books, combined with beautiful illustrations and a dash of imagination, make the whole process that little bit more bearable.
The Bear And The Piano (David Lichfield)
Magical magical magical. The illustrations are beautiful. The message is clear (never forget your life long friends) and I’m a slave to anything that’s based around music. I randomly bought this from the posh services at Gloucester off the M5 (anyone been there?!) along with a pair of ridiculously expensive Hatley wellington boots (I was having an overtly “Mum Guilt” kind of day – it’s a long story).
You don’t have to go to Gloucester services – you can just go to Amazon.
How To Catch A Star (Oliver Jeffers)
We also have “Up and Down” by the same author but this is my favourite. I refer to the two main characters as Mabel and “Sebastian” (her best friend at nursery) which makes her laugh out loud. Which in turns makes me do the same. I love the bright colours and the obvious humour.
When An Elephant Falls In Love (Davide Calli & Alice Lotti)
This is my most recent find. The most heart-warming story with a generous dose of romance and hilarity. At almost-3 I’m not sure Mabel really appreciates the story line but she loves the imagery, and I’m sure she will appreciate it even more in a year or two.
Dear Bunny….. (Katie Cotton & Blanca Gomez)
A lovely tale of friendship and adventure, it’s also essentially about a bunny, which is Mabel’s favourite creature of fluff. And it has gold foiling on the front cover – which makes it undeniably fancy and thus perfect for a special occasion gift.
It’s the most expensive out of my top picks (about a tenner on Amazon) but well worth the investment.
A Bit Lost (Chris Haughton)
I’ve saved the best for last. This is a board book – and I started reading it to Mabel at about 18 months. It’s very different to anything else we’ve got in the reading cupboard, the illustrations are vivid and bold, almost “computer generated” (if I was to even endeavour to give a decent description) and Mabel loves it. It’s essentially the tale of an owl trying to find his mother. Mabel and I do impressions together as we come across the different animal characters – we think we’re hilarious. Obviously.
It’s witty, it’s clever and it’s extraordinarily engaging. I’ve not met a family member who hasn’t fallen in love with it at first browse. And I imagine Mabel will enjoy it until at least she starts school.
What are your children’s favourite books? Do you own any of these titles? Please do share your top picks in the comments section and include ages if you can – I think it will be really helpful to the community.