Thursday, May 19, 2011

Reading Notes - Toddler's Top 20 for April 2011

(Earlier posts in this series are here - February's books - and here - March's books).

Continuing on my monthly wrap-up of toddler's top-rotating picture books, the past month or six weeks has seen a transition towards longer titles on the whole, with one or two exceptions. At almost 27 months, C's sense of humour is burgeoning, as is her ability to predict narratives and rhymes. This has led to the retention of two of last month's favourites in this month's list - they have remained stalwart on daily rotation because of their humour (in the case of Too Many Pears) and rhythm (Where is the Green Sheep).

C is also engaging with more complex stories and characters, and her lengthening attention span is showing in her capacity to follow plot points across an entire book. Her narrative sense is emerging and, like her sisters, she's part of a storytelling and story-hearing clan, and she's drinking it up. We were born for the tale, all of us ;-)

This month, daily books on most days have included at least half of this list. We've been reading, on average, 25 books a day - C is in a very beautiful phase with books at the moment, of wanting to sit down with me for extended reading sessions and cuddle and explore the text. I remember this stage with delight from my older two and I'm very much soaking up having it back again. Unfolding the written word to a beloved child must be one of the purest pleasures in parenting, I think.

So this month, the top reads have been:

1. Good Night, Little Bear (Patsy Scarry)
All of my children have enjoyed this one. We have it in a Golden Book form.

2. The Kitten Who Thought He Was a Mouse (Miriam Norton)
This is a classic and another Golden Book - ah, how I love the Golden Books! Mickey Miggs is one of C's favourite fictional characters of all time.

3. Piglet and Mama (Margaret Wild)

Hey, lookit - another charming pig in children's fiction! Piglet and Mama is very sweet, and very much part of the repeating-pattern little-lost-animal school of picture book (as are both Little Baa and Little Lamb, listed below).

4. Little Baa (Kim Lewis)

5. Goodnight Harry (Kim Lewis)
Kim Lewis is a particular favourite of mine in the children's picture book arena. Her soft watercolour illustrations team perfectly with the themes of her stories, and the countryside is like another character in the books, always waiting just outside the window. C loves Harry deeply; this is probably one of her two or three absolute favourites at the moment.

6. Little Lamb (Piers Harper)

7. I Know a Rhino (Charles Fuge)

8. The Poky Little Puppy (Janette Sebring Lowrey)

9. The Saggy Baggy Elephant (K & B Jackson)

Both The Poky Little Puppy and The Saggy Baggy Elephant have emerged from the Golden Book section of our library this month in triumph. Our own dog is called Pokey (named after both this book and the Hokey Pokey) so C finds that an endless source of mirth.

10. Ten Apples Up On Top (Theo LeSieg)
Is there a better early-counting book than this classic?

11. A Fish Out of Water (Helen Palmer)
This was my husband's earliest memory of being read to - an early school teacher reading A Fish Out of Water to the class. He picked up this copy in a secondhand bookshop in Echuca last year and it was instantly adopted as a favorite by the older two girls. C is just ready for it now.

12. Charlie and Lola - I really, really need actual ice skates (Lauren Child)

13. Charlie and Lola - I will be especially very careful (Lauren Child)

Yes, we're back to Charlie & Lola again. She spotted these two titles at the library and nothing would do but that we should borrow them and read them, many, many times. Le sigh.

14. Too Many Pears (Jackie French)

15. Where is the Green Sheep? (Mem Fox)

16. Hop on Pop (Dr Seuss)

17. Cuthbert's Babies (Pamela Allen)
I love this Pamela Allen story of Cuthbert and his quintuplet baby sisters, and so, it seems, does Miss C.

18. Are You My Mother? (P D Eastman)

19. The Sea Mice and the Stars (Kenneth C Steven)
This is a very appealing little book indeed, and while I would have thought it was too old for C, she listens intently and devotedly to the story of Ashenteen and Willaby gathering the fallen stars to light up the mouse village. A lovely story to read over and over, too - it has adult appeal.

20. The Wish Cat (Ragnhild Scammell)
This is such a favourite of mine! It's the story of Tom, the beaten-up, scruffy but endlessly good-natured stray who is definitely *not* the answer Holly expected to her shooting-star wish for a sweet, fluffy little kitten.


  1. Informative post. I liked it. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I hear your le sigh for Charlie and Lola, but isn't it such fun trying to imitate their accents?