What My Toddler Reads | Just Add Ginger

Even from a very young age I've made sure Eric has been exposed to books. Whether it's sensory books, ones with touchy-feely bits or books from my own childhood, reading has been a big part of playtime for us. 

flat lay photograph of a selection of children's books, toys and a carved wooden name sign

Now that he is older his attention span it's a lot easier for us to sit down and read books together. And he now actually expresses interest in what he wants to read. He has a strong opinion. He will indicate to the book he wants us to look at or bring it over to me. And at nap time (the portion of the day when we do the most reading) we are so set in a routine that he can anticipate what story is coming next and will get giddy and excited as I read / recite them to him.

Even though Eric has quite the collection of books already that we do rotate weekly, here are the ones that have currently made their place in his firm favourites. I've picked a selection from his paperbacks rather than board books or hardbacks purely because the latter are the ones he has constant access to so will look at more independently. These however, we tend to just read together as they are a bit more advanced for his age.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

If you want Eric to know it's time to go to sleep then read him The Gruffalo. It is such a strong part of our nap time ritual that I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon. He knows this book like the back of his hand and although he can't read along, he recognises what part we are up to depending on the intonation I use. I put on a voice for each of the characters and really get into acting this one out with facial expressions, hand gestures and alternating pace and tone of voice. And Eric loves it.

The story is great for repetition and the illustrations by Axel Scheffler are just beautiful - perfect to talk through with little ones who are more advanced with their speech. There's also a lovely little BBC adaptation that makes a great accompanying watch which I put on for Eric if I think he needs to calm down before bed.

A Bun For Barney by Joyce Dunbar

This was one of my childhood books and I now think that it is unfortunately out of print. But it is a lovely, lovely book. Again this is one of the books that is a part of our nap time routine but one that I don't always use and therefore is less familiar a sleep trigger for Eric. 

The story is fabulous for counting and it even has a sweet moral about self-assertiveness to it. The illustrations by Emilie Boon are very sweet and probably one of the most stand out features I remember as a child. They are done in such a way that your child can anticipate the next part of the story and are a great talking point.

Cat's Cake by Richard Fowler 

Again this is another book I've passed down to Eric from my childhood collection and it really shows. I loved this book so much when I was younger that some of the pages are being held together by sellotape that is about 25 years old. I absolutely  adored this one and now Eric does too. 

It is not as strong on the educational front but the story is engaging and easy to follow and gives mew lots of opportunities to put on voices and capture Eric's attention. Out of all of his paperback books this is probably the one he brings me the most to read outside of nap time (I keep all his paperbacks in his bedroom). 

The Happy Families Series by Janet & Allan Ahlberg

Once again. these used to be mine. However you can still buy the Happy Families books (mine are just much earlier editions). I chop and change the stories out if the collection so that we are not stuck in the same old cycle of books but Eric will contentedly sit and listen to all of them pre-nap. Short and sweet, these stories are perfect if you want a five minute read before bed or while your little one is in the bath or in need of some quiet time. From time to time Eric will bring me over one of these to read to him (I think this is based on the colour of the cover rather than the story though) but because he is not as used to hearing them he won't be as entertained for as long.

I'm a big fan of the Ahlberg books and this series is no exception. I used to have the stories on audio cassette as a little girl and now I've got the CD on pre-order from Amazon for Eric (we are big on audiobooks for car journeys or during independent play) and I can't wait to hear how they are narrated this time round.

flat lay image of children's books and toys.

What books does your child love to read? Are there any titles or authors I should look out for? Let me know in the comments.

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