One of the sadder things about watching The Children grow and mature is that they move on from certain childhood favourites. At about this time each year we have a bit of a clearout in readiness for the new toys, books and games that Christmas will bring, and those outgrown items get passed on to friends or donated to charity shops. Some I wave off with glee, but others with a twinge of sadness, as they signal the end of an era and mean that we bid goodbye to particular happy times reading or playing together.
Some items though we just could not part with. At every stage, we've set aside certain books and toys as 'keepers', sometimes because they're special to The Children but more often because they're special to me! They're worth hanging on to because when friends visit with young children we'll have something suitable for them to play with, and perhaps eventually, one day, a long time from now, The Children's own children will enjoy these old favourites too....
Today I want to show you some of our favourite 'keeper' books :)
In no particular order then - or rather, from the top of the pile down, so in size-of-book order!
1. One Moose, Twenty Mice by Clare Beaton
This book is a thing of beauty. It's a chunky board book with colourful images, and on each page you find a certain number of animals - and, somewhere, sometimes quite cleverly hidden, is a cat!
But the reason I totally adore this book is that each page is from an original piece that's been stitched from felt, with little button and ribbon and sequin accents - just stunningly beautiful :)
2. But Where Is The Green Parrot? by Thomas and Wanda Zacharias
This book was a favourite of mine as a child, though this is not my original copy! It's another 'find the hidden item on every page' type book. Mostly the parrot is pretty easy to find, with one or two challenges or red herrings included too. Again, the colours are bright and appealing, but this time the illustrations are simple line drawings.
The main reason for keeping this one though is for the story The Mother always tells, of how I used to insist that in the page where the parrot hides in a tree, he was wearing a hat.... (See the front cover above!)
3. Bears In The Night by Stan and Jan Berenstain
I was delighted to come across this book in a bookshop - I'd completely forgotten it, but as soon as I saw it the memories flooded back! The story is very simple, with lots of repetition, so very suitable for young children.
Look at that cute bear face :) Lots of 'positional language', too!
4. Patrick by Quentin Blake
Good old Quentin Blake - his style is instantly recognisable, and I love his use of colour!
Look how this chap goes from drab and downcast to colourful and jolly :)
5. The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
For slightly older children, a fun tale of a sneaky crocodile who gets out-sneaked!
More stunning illustrations, too - thanks to our friend Quentin Blake again :)
6. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Such a classic, and written by a real character - the Year 2 class I work with got to meet Julia Donaldson recently, though unfortunately I wasn't able to go with them. She's clearly as mad as a box of cats, but in a good way!! This is such a fun story, with a lovely rhythm to it and just enough repetition.
I love that Scheffler gets an equal credit on the cover, though, because the illustrations complement the story so beautifully :)
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Another classic - every child should experience a bit of very hungry caterpillar in his or her life!
I love the holes through the pages to show what he'd eaten!
8. We're Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury
Another simple tale beautifully told, with just the right amount of repetition for a child to quickly become familiar with it. The illustrations are lovely, soft watercolours this time.
This particular copy is special because it was presented to The Tomboy after her class (Year 1 at the time) did a performance of it in an assembly :)
9. There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly (based on a nursery rhyme, author unknown, illustrated by Pam Adams)
Although this isn't my childhood copy, it is just the same as the one I had - on each page there's a slightly bigger cut-out, so you can see the next animal she swallowed!
Interested in the full nursery rhyme? You can see it here :)
10. A Cheese And Tomato Spider by Nick Sharratt
We've got two books like this by Nick Sharratt; in each case the idea is the same - each page is divided into two flaps, so you can mix and match the top of one with the bottom of another for surprising and unexpected combinations!
Bright, colourful, fun and very silly, these have great appeal for children of all ages :)
Whatever books may need to part company with us, these ones are a permanent fixture. These ones stay.
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