The wonderful Sophie Greenwood, owner of Under the Greenwood Tree reviews some great children’s books that you should be reading with your babas:
1. Funny Bones by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg (Picture book)
The iconic, fun and humorous picture book series about three – not very scary- skeletons. The repetitive nature of the language makes it perfect for children just starting to read. “In the dark, dark house, there was a dark, dark staircase. Down the dark, dark staircase, there was a dark, dark cellar. And in the dark, dark cellar, some skeletons lived.” A personal favourite of the Allberg’s.
2. Bizzy Bear Off We Go (Board book)
Bizzy Bear is the lovable star of these robust little board books. Full of detail, with lots of sliders to push and pull, they will keep any toddler entertained as they join Bizzy Bear on one of his adventures. This is the first in a beautifully illustrated series, perfect for children ages 1up
3. Winnie-The-Pooh by A. A. Milne (Young Fiction)
Nostalgic and gently whimsical, young readers will fall in love with The Bear of Very Little Brain and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, beautifully illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard. “Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn’t.” Winnie the Pooh perfect captures the essence of childhood, with characters that are very hard to leave behind. This remains one of my all-time favourite books.
4. ‘Wonder’ by R J Palacio (Older Fiction/Teen fiction)
‘Wonder’ is a story about August Pullman, a 10 year old boy living in New York with a craniofacial abnormality. The story joins him as he is about to start school in fifth grade. He is dreading it. There is little description of what he actually looks like, Auggie has come to terms with looking different a long time ago, he only says that it is worse than you could ever imagine. This is not a story of pity
or pain instead Palacio shows how Auggie gets on with life. The book follows him growing up and facing up to the fact that he is an extraordinary boy. The subject is challenging, funny and engaging. Considering the author has said the book is not based on real life it is convincing, the characters are some of the best I have met. It was the book of 2012 and it will live for a lot longer.
5. ‘I want my hat back’ by Jon Klassen (Picture Book)
‘I want my hat back’ is the beautifully illustrated story of a bear who has lost his hat and he wants it back. The sad bear meets lots of characters on the way who try and remember if they have seen a hat, some of them have never heard of a hat and one of them may not be telling the full truth. This is one of the rare picture books that appeals to adults as much as children. The drawings, text and story are refreshing and funny all in all a modern classic.