Thursday, 6 March 2008

Books, books, books

It is World Book Day today and I have just taken delivery of two parcels full of books for C and O. To celebrate this abundant bookishness, today's list is going to be the first part of a one that I have been meaning to put up for a while. A list of my favourite children's books.

The reason I haven't put the list up before now is that whenever I make notes on it, the list just rages out of control. There are so many fantastic childrens books out there. All the ones I remember from my own childhood plus all the ones that I have read for the first time with my own children and so many others recommended or stumbled across.

So to make it more manageable I am going to narrow the list. Today's list is loved books that are being read by O at the moment.

She is at a difficult stage for books. She is only 5, can read well and loves to read, but has not got the stamina to read chapter books. She is past First Reader books but not yet ready for things like Horrid Henry, Milly Molly Mandy, My Naughty Little Sister or The Magic Faraway Tree (all of which I love and cannot wait for her to read!). I want to encourage her, but not put her off by bombarding her with suggestions.

You can see from the picture of O's bookshelves below that she is not short of books - here are the ones from her bookshelf that get read most often at the moment.

Particularly appealing for 5 year olds are small, compact books. I think they find them more grown up after the enormous (though sumptuous) books of toddlerdom. Both C and O at this stage have loved reading the Ladybird classic fairy tales, of which we now have an enormous selection.

They are beautifully illustrated, with a hand drawn colour picture on every double page spread, and the stories are straightforward to read but are not over simplified.

Picture books with more text such as those by Shirley Hughes, Judith Kerr and Janet & Allan Ahlberg really come in to their own at this age. O loves the Ahlbergs' Starting School more than almost any other book at the moment and when I was her age I used to pore over The Tiger Who Came to Tea for hours at a time. I so wanted to go out to supper wearing my nightie and black wellies, didn't you?

Good authors of this type of book who weren't around in the mid-70s when I was little include Janey Louise Jones, the author of the gorgeous Princess Poppy books. Princess Poppy is a little girl who often behaves like a bit of a princess and not necessarily in a good way. The heavily moral conclusions to each story balance the sugary-sweet pastel illustrations. And O just adores them.

We also love these:

Here is a picture of O's bedside, taken this morning, which is the best illustration I could find of how much she is enjoying being able to read!

And here are pictures of C and O dressed up for the World Book Day parade at school today. Dennis The Menace and The Pony Mad Princess (who has a wicked gap in her teeth after loosing two more earlier in the week - quite startling when she grins!).


  1. what a great list of books, it's so lovely when children want to read!

  2. Love the costumes Nancy - fab! Love your book lists too - some great ideas there. Yarrow has just recently made the leap to reading chapter books on her own, and it is so exciting to see her wanting to stay up reading at night when I know she really ought to be sleeping ;) As a family of 'just one more chapter before lights out' types, I can't really play the hypocrite. She's reading My Naughty Little Sister and Littlenose at the moment.

  3. Great list, I used to love (and still do) Shirley Hughes books-I could look at the pictures for hours. My mum still has a shelf at home of our old childhood books-MillyMollyMandy was my favourite, I loved her stripy dresses and the pictures, and YES, I did want to go out for sausages in my nightie and wellies!x

  4. Great costumes! Love the way C gets into character!! We are trying to get a Book Day sorted at school, maybe next year. C's favourite books are The Queens Knickers and No Matter What and H has just started Junior James Bond....!

  5. Books - ooh I do love them so!
    I still buy books just for their illustrations even if they are too babyish! My hasn't C. got knobbly knees! Although I have jst checked F_T and yes it is normal - just how thin should their limbs be!?


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