Last night, Betsy handed me the well thumbed copy of Ten Little Fingers that we own and told me to give it away.
It is for a baby, she said. I’m not a baby.
And indeed she is not.
I put it on a different shelf.
For the moment anyway.
I cannot give it away just yet. Betsy might be ready but not Mammy. Too many nightime snuggles and rhyming memories for me to reduce to nostalgia just yet.
So a long overdue post must now come to pass- before the books are given away and the past is packed away. Here are a collection of the most beautiful, sweet and effective books to read to small children, from our humble experience, for you to peruse.
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes
Suitable for babies up, the singsong rhyme and repetition was loved by Betsy. Tickling the picture babies from all over the world and counting three little kisses on the end of our noses was part of family life in our home for quite some time. This board book was a gift for Betsy and we are ever grateful for the moments of joy it brought us.
This story of a baby and their busy, lovingly cluttered home was another adored read in Beth’s bedtime routine when she was a cot dweller. It shows an older English world with giant black perambulators, buckets of coal and the universal comfort of safety. The unique part of this story is the peep hole into each new image and the chance to repeat- Peepo!
What timeless classics Spot books are. My earliest memories of the local library was the Lift the Flap Spot book that did the rounds. The whole town knew who probably ripped the door from the grandfather clock page. Now Betsy has inherited the love of these books. We are on borrowed time with them- I cherish this walk into the past with Betsy.
These are a wonderful idea and a particular joy for book loving parents. Each text is a toddler primer (numbers, colours, shapes) told using the bare bones of a classic novel. Having Betsy request the lickle women Mammy is like a warm cuddle for me. Counting the marriage proposals in Sense and Sensibility is charming as is looking at the ten thousand pounds per year that accompanies marriage to the notorious Mr Darcy. These books are marvellous and there are many to choose from. You might find your own favourite novel adapted for said purpose.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The best pop up book of all time. You might want to protect this one a little, as it rips so easily, but it is joyfully dramatic and a kinesthetic dream if you want to just let them at it. When that butterfly emerges…wow!
The Little Miss/ Mister Men series
Aside from the controversial Mr Skinny who lives in Fatland, these are another long shelf life classic that will bring you a little further than the toddler years. Learning about emotions and abstract elements of personality through primary coloured blobby people is perfect for this age group. And there are too many to choose from! Just…perfect.
And finally for today…The Tiger Who Came to Tea
A proper read. Gigi loved this as a toddler but it still makes the grade for a bed time choice. The thought of such a visitor clearing out the cupboards and in doing so forcing a late evening visit to the coffee shop for sausages, chips and icecream with your parents is simple, magical and almost- almost- credible.
Just a few ideas for gifts, World Book Day, a library visit or a splurge for home life- these all come highly recommended by the Paper children and their Mammy and Daddy.