Top Reads For Tots | A World Book Day Special

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Looking for some amazing books to fill your child’s shelves?

We’re super passionate about reading in our house. In fact, things have perhaps worked out a little too well. Once again, this morning saw me being woken up before 6 a.m., by a very insistent toddler, shoving books in my sleepy face. Resisting the urge to roll over, I lifted him into bed, and reminded myself that this love for reading, is a wonderful thing.

Early to rise and late to bed

We all know the importance of reading to our children – but did you know that if a child reads for just 20 minutes a day they’ll hear 1.8 million words per year? They will have read for 851 hours before starting secondary school and on standardised tests, they will likely score better than 90% of their peers.

With those figures fresh in our minds, I thought I’d make a list of our family’s favourite reads.

We’re Going On A Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury

We’re NOT going on a bear hunt again!

Nothing gets my son more animated or excited than reading this wonderful masterpiece of children’s literature.
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I can genuinely say that this book accelerated my son’s speech and communication levels practically overnight. He delights at using the new words he’s learnt, and enthusiastically completes every sentence we read together. Most importantly, according to him, everyday is now a “beautiful day”.

With the main passages of the book being repeated on every other page, it really makes it easy for children to pick up those new words and feel included in reading the story. As a family we now regularly go on ‘Bear Hunts’ – we use the story as motivation to get out the house and go for a walk. The prospect of hunting for bears really helps get my son in the car! We’ll repeat the story together, whilst driving and then again when walking, which just adds magic to our adventure.

There’s A Monster In Your Book – Tom Fletcher with illustrations by Greg Abbott

Yes – that’s an extortionately priced stuffed Gruffalo.

This is a delightful hands-on and interactive book from the multi-talented Tom Fletcher. Definitely a day time read – as excitement levels can be too much for sleep! Each page encourages you and your child to get a cute monster out of your book, using a variety of physically engaging methods, such as shaking the book and tickling the monsters feet.

Pages are big, bright, and really colourful.
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Also, because he loves the story so much, my two year old son has now learnt to take care of this paper book. It’s so refreshing to see Tom Fletcher in the public eye, celebrating both fatherhood and bonding with your child.
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Tom’s highly entertaining book reflects these sentiments beautifully.

All Julia Donaldson Books…

There’s more on another shelf

Few book franchises have such a wide commercial appeal.

My wife is actually obsessed. We have the toys, clothes, and an empty bank account.

It started when my son was very young, and my wife purchased The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child board books, as a set. The books are crammed with Axel Scheffler’s gorgeous illustrations, complemented by wonderful rhyming passages, that are woven into entertaining and engaging story lines.

The Gruffalo was the only book that held my then 1 year old’s complete attention. He would sit super still and listen to the whole story, again and again.

Our current favourite is Zog – we all loved the Christmas Day premier of the animated adaptation. Only last weekend we went on one of the new Zog Trail’s set up by The Forestry Commission England (Find your nearest trail here: which made for a superb day out.

My brother ( a father to two beautiful girls) is convinced Julia Donaldson must sleep on a bed of gold…

Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown with illustrations by Clement Hurd

Goodnight nobody

This is an oldie but a goodie. I can’t finish the story without yawning my head off. I guarantee it will send you to sleep as well as your kid! We picked this story up for 50p, from a ‘Nearly New’ NCT sale, and it’s since become a firm favourite. Similar to “We’re Going On A Bear Hunt”, the pages alternate between black and white and highly detailed and colourful pages. The subtle repetition again helps to reinforce the learning of new words and their meaning.

This is a great bedtime book, which gently settles your child, and helps reinforce the concept that it’s SLEEP TIME.

P Is For Peter – Beatrix Potter

The Bear Necessities

No children’s book collection would be complete without an entry from Beatrix Potter. This delightful ABC book, beautifully illustrated, showcases all the characters from the world of Peter Rabbit.
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Each letter of the alphabet is given a wonderfully whimsical caption: “A is for…a cosy dormouse, B is for…snoozing bunnies.” It was our son’s favourite bedtime book for a long while, and the only story that would send him to sleep. My wife, after reading the book for the umpteenth time, recorded herself reading the story on her phone, and left it on repeat until he feel asleep. Pro tip!

Reading with my son has honestly created such a special bond between us. I now look forward to spending those precious moments together reading. I would love to hear a few of your favourite reads in the comments below.

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