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Top 5 Books to Read to Your Kids

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by Helenonthesofa (subscribe)
Freelance writer, mum of two who loves living in sunny Perth.
Published March 27th 2012
With so many books out there on the shelves for children, I thought I would share with you my absolute favourites; those that my 15 month old adores, and more importantly, those books that I can quite happily enjoy reading again and again and again (such is the nature of storytime with children)

A selection of our favourite books

Aliens Love Underpants is a rhyming book full of colourful pictures capturing the adventures of when aliens come down to Earth to steal your underpants! This whimsical story is fun filled and has the aliens playing havoc with your underpants on the washing line and stealing said undergarments to take back into space.

Penguin is a story about a little boy called Ben who is given a penguin who won't talk. This doesn't ride well with Ben one bit, so the the story sees Ben trying all manner of things to get the little penguin to talk, including trying to get a passing lion to eat the little penguin. I love the simplicity of this book and my 15 month old now points to all things penguin related. It's definitely a firm favourite in his mind.

Goodnight Moon is an absolute classic kids book having been first published in 1947, but in honesty was not an immediate favourite of mine when we were given it as a gift. Initially I found the book a little simple, perhaps even a little aged. However, the simplicity is actually why it's such a winner. The book is written as a poem, following a little rabbit's bednight routine. So as you turn each page, you are getting a step closer to the little bunny (and your little one) going to sleepytown. Pay particular attention to the detail in the illustrations; I imagine that this could become a bit of a game for older children - spotting the fire dying down, the time on the clock getting later, the room getting darker, the moon rising up in the window - all the tell tale signs that night time is indeed on its way.

Spot books are a big hit with our family - particularly the Spot flap books which have definitely taken a battering by our little boy (I recommend keeping some glue on hand to repair the much loved peepo flaps!). We have a number of the Spot books, which all tell a simple story, yet keep little minds involved through the use of 'what's under the flap' elements to each book. We were given a Spot's Christmas book last year, and this has been very well received.

That's Not My.... Usborne Hardback book series has a repetitious format whereby each page of the book explores a 'that's not my' theme until you reach the final page of the book where you reveal 'that's my' teddy/robot/tractor/etc. Each page provides the reader with some sensory element to explore - such as "that's not my teddy - it's patch is too rough"; allowing the reader to touch and feel the rough patch. Very easy to follow format for little people, with each page providing a new experience for them to enjoy.

It's never too early to start reading stories to your children, indeed there is a large body of evidence that suggests exposure to early literacy skills through activities like rhymes, actions and story time in the 0-24 age range will have a significantly positive impact on how easily a child ventures into the world of reading and onwards into their education.

I can't conclude this article without also mentioning a few other of books that we've really enjoyed:
Guess How Much I Love You?, Sam McBratney
Sharing a Shell, Julia Donaldson
The Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle
Dear Zoo, Rod Campbell
It's Useful to Have a Duck/Boy, Isol, Elisa Amado

Happy Reading!
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Why? Reading with kids is fun!
Your Comment
You've got a few of the rhyming ones there, they are favourites of mine to read to little kids. Aliens Love Underpants sounds like a fun one!

I don't know if they are still around, but there used to be a series of 'Postman' books that used a similar premise as the Spot books, except for slightly older children. They involved a postman delivering his letters to a series of curious characters, with a little envelope stuck on each page containing the letter. I had one of the books and loved the catalogue that was delivered to the local witch :D

Also still love the Mem Fox books, especially 'Guess What?' (witches again, what will you think of me?), Animalia, Roald Dahl's stories, plus Enid Blyton's books and all the old children's classics.
by Michaelie Clark (score: 2|951) 3384 days ago
Great choices! My daughter loved Penguin and That's Not My books. I don't like the Spot books myself though becuse I found I was forever having to glue the flaps back on after she got a bit enthusiastic with them.

I also love rhyming ones like Dr Seuss.
by Jennifer Muirhead (score: 3|1239) 3305 days ago
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