Celebrate the changing seasons and the world around them with curiosity-sparking reads
I’ve just got into a cosy new habit with my eldest – choosing a ‘big book’ and reading a chapter per night at bedtime. He’s about to turn five, and his reading is coming along at school, but the thrill of a big, long book with lots of pages makes him feel really grown-up. It gives us both something to look forward to, and we like to talk about what might happen in the next chapter, what we thought about the characters and chat about new words.
I can feel his imagination really working, and as we’ve started out on my favourite childhood book, The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton (remember the Magic Faraway Tree?), it’s a lovely nostalgia trip for me, too. But we’ve been discovering some new favourites as well as old, so I thought we’d share with you some beautiful, colourful reads that really celebrate nature and the world around us, and have a feel for brighter, lighter, warmer weather.
See if they set off an imaginative spark in your little ones.
Best age: 0-4 This sweet, wordless picture book, full of beautiful illustrations (see above) is about Flora and her flamingo friend, who learn an elaborate dance together while exploring the ups and downs of friendship. Full of fun and interactive flaps, it has a splashy ending they’ll love. Great for tinies but would enchant up to five-year-olds.
Best age: 0-4 The animals in the forest are sneezing away, and every time they do, something funny happens – Blue Bear sneezes and his round ears pop off to the next page, where Fox thinks they’re blueberries. ‘Achoo!’ Then Fox sneezes and his triangle ears fly off too! At the end is a surprise creation from all the sneezing. A fun way to discover colours and shapes.
Best age: 0-4 Pacovska’s modern, unique illustrations gained her the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award for children’s book authors and illustrators in 1992, and it’s easy to see why. With plenty of windows to open and hidden characters to discover, this bright, magical adventure through the world of colour entices wonder in children of all ages.
Best for: 3-5 Great for enquiring minds – especially preschoolers and reception age and little nature lovers – this is the tale of a tiny seed that blows from its plant and travels over seas and mountains, surviving hazards and eventually finding soil to grow in. It then grows into the tallest flower around, before the wind blows again, scattering yet more seeds onto exciting journeys.
Best for: 3-5 Join intrepid little Mouk as he sets off around the world discovering different cultures and new friends. With fabulously detailed and colourful illustrations, little readers will find delight in the many different scenes and adventures. Extra-thick, glossy pages and padded covers keep it from getting spoiled – and there are 40 reusable stickers to boot. Hours of fun.
Best for: 4-6 Welcome to the wonderful world of Moomintroll, who lives in Moominvalley with Moominmamma, Moominpappa and all of their friends. They wake up in the spring after hibernation and prepare for adventures. These timeless tales are now available as a set of six from The Book People, with this particular book comprising nine short stories, perfect for bedtime.
Best for: 4-6 A Fussy Favourite, where delightful chaos ensues when Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree and tries to get it out by throwing up crazier and crazier objects (orangutan, anyone?). From the imagination of award-winning and best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers (who can do no wrong in our house), your little ones will be laughing out loud.
Best for: 4-6 We never tire of Belle and Boo, the beautifully illustrated books about a little girl and her adorable bunny friend. When Boo is hungry, but only wants cake, Belle thinks of a clever way to introduce him to fruit and vegetables. This edition even comes with a beautiful pull-out recipe print for Grandbunny’s Spiced Biscuits – just right for making with your little bunnies.
Best for: 5+ My favourite book as a child (which I’ve recently revisited with my son), let their imaginations run wild as they immerse themselves in the world of Moonface and Silky the fairy. The first in the Faraway Tree series, this can be read to early readers then, once they’re more practised, they can go off and discover which land is at the top of the tree themselves.
The last of our Christmas gift guides! And there's something extra special about Christmas when there's a baby in the family, even if they don't know quite what's going on (and, let's face it, you're so tired, neither do you...). Here's our gorgeous selection of gifts, featuring small and unique Brands We Love so you can support the independents as much as we do.
Festive gift inspo for the little lords in your life. Whatever they're into, we think we've found something to bring a smile to their face this Christmas morning. Focusing on classic, quality gifts that will inspire curiosity and encourage creativity, these should keep them busy beyond Boxing Day.
Festive gift inspo for the little ladies
We love to review toys for Busy Bird - but sometimes the best review is just watching a child open the toy and play with it, that way you get their honest reaction. And this is just what happened when we were asked to be part of an 'unboxing' for goodtoknow.co.uk recently. Let's just say Wet Head is no fun when it's Mummy's head getting wet...