Not since April, when I found two brilliant books in the same month – Jasper Jones (Craig Silvey) and After the Fall (Kylie Ladd) – have I read a novel from start to finish. It’s incredibly frustrating, because I love curling up on the sofa for a regular dose of escapism, but my problem is not going away any time soon, because my two-year-old has decided she doesn’t need a nap. My lunchtime to do list has now largely moved to the evening, and all those books I’m desperate to read are piling up on my shelves.

I don’t want to start anything that’s important to me until I get a good run at it. Therefore, I’ve been getting some rather random and ill-chosen things out of the library, literary heavyweights that I start at about half past ten at night, and struggle through approximately three lines before my eyelids betray me. However, while I attempt to fix this problem and rediscover my reading time, I have been doing plenty more reading of another kind. If it’s by Mick Inkpen, Eric Hill, Lucy Cousins or Julia Donaldson, chances are not only that I’ve read it, but that I can recite it to you verbatim. And the squeals of excitement and enthusiasm they engender in my daughter make these books rather special. I’ve been asked before what books we read together, so here, in honour of my new toddler-imposed reading regime – are some of our favourites right now:

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson and Axel Schiffer. The ending makes me well up every time.

Watch Out Little Wombat by Charles Fuge. We particularly love shouting SPLAT and CROC-O-DILE!

The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Everybody’s favourite – but one of mine because I love hearing my daughter name the foods, and the cute way she says ‘pickle’ and ‘alami’ for ‘salami’, and the satisfaction on her face when she gets them all right.

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough. Despite it’s questionable moral ending when Duck leaves all his helpful mates completely in the s**t, my little one loves it and has great fun getting things ‘stuck in the muck’ in the back garden.

Snore by Michael Rosen and Jonathan Langley. My little girl loves to imitate the snores and animal noises.

Tiger by Nick Butterworth. The illustrations are gorgeous and make me want another kitten!

The Great Pet Sale by Mick Inkpen. We also love Kipper and Wibbley Pig, but this book is brilliant, and the quick-tongued rat makes us both laugh.

If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera. The illustrations are lovely and there are lots of great simple actions for little ones to sing and dance to.

Shhh Little Mouse by Pamela Allen. We do lots of finger to mouth and whispering until the cat wakes up and it all breaks loose.

Follow the Kite by Anna Nilsen and Mark Burgess. A really unusual book with a kite that you can lace through the pages as it blows up and down in the wind.

I’d love to hear your favourites too?col-md-2

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Angela Rivera
Angela Rivera
June 17, 2011 12:46 pm

My little boys love and big boy loved Little Rabbit Foo Foo, they love repeating Little Rabbit Foo Foo riding through the forest bopping things on the head until the good fairy has enough of his attitude and turns him into a goony! I love The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon – Mini Grey, what they get up to after they run away and the pictures are fab!

Anj (@anjwrites)
June 17, 2011 1:34 pm

Luckily, I get a good amount of reading time in at work. But unfortunately, I don’t actually get to choose what I read. This means that I currently have 2 books on the go at home, 2 waiting to be read and countless others crying out to me for my bookshelf. Like you, I have (apparently) endless time to read children’s books to children (my own). Tiger by Nick Butterworth is also one of our faves, but I was thrilled to see The Snail & The Whale…I’d never heard of it, but The Gruffalo (& Gruffalo’s Child) are both HUGE… Read more »

June 17, 2011 1:42 pm
Reply to  Angela Rivera

Thanks Angela, they sound great, we’ll definitely look out for them!

June 17, 2011 1:44 pm

You will love the Snail and the Whale, Anj, it’s my personal fave, and is just beautiful in so many different ways. x

Fleur McDonald
June 17, 2011 3:42 pm

My kids loved any on Lynley Dodd’s books – Hairy McClary, Slinky Malinki and so on. And to be really honest, I loved them too!

June 17, 2011 4:03 pm

Had to laugh as I read your first paragraph Sara. I too loved Jasper Jones and After the Fall, but like you am finding it hard to find time to read at the moment. I’m either too tired or find myself reading a range of picture books to my kids. Thanks for all your suggestions. I have just put in requests for many of the titles at our local libray. A favourite in our house is – Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox. I did love this book at the start but I have to say that after… Read more »

June 17, 2011 6:17 pm
Reply to  Fleur McDonald

Thanks Fleur, I like the look of Hairy McClary very much and will grab a copy asap now!

June 17, 2011 6:19 pm
Reply to  Kathryn

Sounds like you can understand my feelings all too well Kathryn! That’s great that you’ve managed to find some of these titles in the library, hope you like them. And you’ve reminded me to look out for the Green Sheep again too – we had it out from the library but my daughter was a bit too young for it, so thank you for that!

Dale Harcombe
November 7, 2011 12:31 pm

Hairy Maclarey is a gem. My grandkids have all loved him and his friends. Bertie and the Bear by Pamela Allen is a good one for a lot of fun.The Hungry Caterpillar never loses appeal.
Two picture books worth mentioning at present are For All Creatures and Cloud Tea Monkeys. Cloud Tea Monkeys is for older children. I have reviews of both on my blog You’ll find a Review of Hairy Maclarey Shoo! on this blog for May 12 and some other picture book reviews on Sept 8th.

November 15, 2011 6:03 am
Reply to  Dale Harcombe

Thanks Dale, I was away when you posted this so sorry about the delay in getting it on here. I’ll definitely check out your recommendations!

November 17, 2011 7:56 am

I’m sure you’ll enjoy them, Sara.