Five awesome books to inspire a love of reading in your child … using authentic story lines, humour, intrigue, amazing images and most importantly, the recognition that little people adore a good story too.
April Underhill by Bob Graham
Genre: modern fairy tale
This book is a gem! How could a little family of bohemian tooth fairies who live on the edge of the M42 outside of London not be? The story tells of the adventurous rite of passage for the little fairies April and her sister, Esme, who collect their first tooth. While the story draws on an age-old concept, it’s set in a totally modern context – April gets her first assignment via mobile phone; they live in the city, next to a heavy traffic zone – dad has a ponytail, mum has a tattoo. The story has great connections that any young child understands such as losing a tooth, convincing parents they’re older and using texting to communicate. It also has a great problem-solving element, which supports the idea of a fave researcher of mine that “we rely on stories to sort out the world”. The pictures are gorgeous – imagine mum semi-drying her hair and keeping her little fairies floating in the air with the dryer as she’s talking with them in the bathroom.
Are we there yet? by Alison Lester
This fab story tells of a family who leave their Victorian property at Binnum (and their Nan and Pop) to travel around Australia visiting the major natural Australian attractions such as Uluru, to far north Queensland, down the east coast, over to Tassie and back to their home. The illustrations provide you with a clear glimpse into Australian geography, history and everyday culture – from fixing a flat tyre to playing footie with some local Aboriginal kids in Alice – and is set with a heart-warming backdrop of humour, beauty and education. The book is full of great words to help little ones grow their vocabulary but is told by a little girl with two brothers (one who is always asking ‘Are we there yet’), which pitches it perfectly at young curious minds.
The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner
Genre: mystery thriller
The Terrible Plop is a clever humorous mystery thriller about a little rabbit who proves its bravery against the bullish behaviour of big brown bear. It begins with six little rabbits happily munching on chocolate cake, when a terrible ‘plop’ sound scares them – and the rest of the animal kingdom. Pandemonium strikes. However, the smallest, littlest, most nervous rabbit is forced by the bear to go back to confront the fear where the little rabbit discovers there is nothing to worry about. The story immediately captures the imagination of everyone who is reading it because you want to know what that frightening terrible plop is. The book uses cute rhymes which are great to help young kids predict words (good for supporting young readers) and it has attractive imagery using a mixture of real pictures mixed and animation.
Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base
This lovely book is highly imaginative, wildly colourful and will help young children with words and numbers. It’s packed with alliterations such as ‘Leaping Lumbybums’ and ‘Timid Tumbletops’, and has a message with a green conscience. The illustrations are powerful in that they can really help children understand what happens when we don’t look after our planet – but it has a happy ending. As for the numbers – there are lots of them so great opportunities to practice early familiarisation of numbers, counting and sums.
Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Genre: modern fairy tale
Zog, written by the creators of The Gruffalo, is a beautiful imaginative story about identity, courage, self-awareness. Zog is a young dragon at school learning how to breathe fire, learning to fly. As all young risk-takers go he keeps hurting himself and each time this happens a mysterious young girl comes by to tend his wounds. Eventually, Zog has to capture a princess but fails until the mysterious girl announces she is a princess and offers to be caught by Zog. A Knight comes by to rescue the princess but she insists she doesn’t want to be rescued and explains she wants to be a doctor. The story is written in rhyme which is great to help young ones learn to predict words, which in turn helps their reading. Most beautifully, Princess Pearl breaks the stereotypical mould of the helpless damsel and instead becomes a strong and independent role model for young female readers while the knight also provides a refreshing example of a male role model for young boys because he decides to take Pearl’s advice and join her on her healing quest.
See our beautiful French Storyteller mobile to inspire children to love reading and bring a world of fantasy to their nursery or room.
What is one fave book that inspires a love or fascination of reading in your little one?