This December, at the top of Zach’s ‘Read To Me On Repeat’ list is The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet sound book with ‘8 pooptastic sounds’, which makes him laugh SO much. If you’re after a gift to make (you and) a little reader giggle non-stop, look no further.
In between reciting ‘Danny and Dinosaur liked to have fun. Some days they had lots, some days they had none . . .’, at the top of my festive reading pile was Matt Haig’s A Boy Called Christmas. It’s reminded me that Christmas is all about the joy of truly believing; now Zach’s nearly three and realises Christmas is a pretty big deal, it’s up to us to create and bring to life the festive magic for him.
So our tree is up, I’ve given him a guided tour of the chimney and last weekend, phase one of Festive Fun truly began, with a family visit to see Father Christmas at Shugborough Hall in Staffordshire. There was (a) snow (machine), decorations galore and letter- writing and posting to Santa.
Afterwards, Zach and his cousins Rachel and Jack waited patiently in Mother Christmas’s kitchen (they stirred the pudding whilst I admired her festive spirit),
before an elf took them off to meet Father Christmas and receive their presents.
No plastic tat for the children visiting this particular grotto, because their presents turned out to be books, glorious books. Three crackers in fact, in the shape of Dogger, The Gruffalo’s Child, and coincidentally for me, James and the Giant Peach.
The novelty and pride of seeing my blurb on the back of a Roald Dahl classic never wears off, especially when it’s my niece clutching the book. Pretty great gifts from Santa we agreed, and whilst we’re on the subject of brilliant gift books, here’s a Top Five list for little readers this Christmas, whether you want something charming, funny, classic, interactive or all of the above!
1. Alfie’s Christmas by Shirley Hughes
This book is an absolute treat to read with Zach and makes us both more excited for Christmas every time we open it. The illustrations are stunning, and Zach loves pointing at Alfie and exclaiming ‘That’s me!’ – Alfie with his scooter, Alfie posting his letter to Father Christmas, Alfie opening his presents, he enjoys identifying with it all. Slightly baffling is when he points at little Annie Rose and says ‘That’s you mummy!’ – it must be the wild hair. But at least he isn’t confusing me with Great-Uncle Will.
2. The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
More laugh-out-loud fun with a festive theme for young fans of picture books, presents and poop! For a preview and to hear an excerpt read by the authors, don’t miss their book trailer here.
3. Happy Christmas Spot! by Eric Hill
With its bright colours and lift-the-page format, Spot’s Christmas antics are also on Zach’s ‘Read To Me On Repeat’ list; Steve blowing his trumpet and Helen the Hippo with her ice skates amuses him every time he opens it up.
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Board Book and Block Set by Eric Carle
A perfect gift if you want to combine a classic story with something to play with. This is Eric Carle’s iconic tale, complete with colourful number and picture blocks – hours of fun (and building towers to be knocked over and rebuilt again and again).
5. The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
*Confession* This book is so charming, funny, classic and interactive – it’s sublime – and I was delighted to see Zach take such an interest in it. But his small hands grabbing at the delightful envelopes and their wonderful contents gave me palpitations; I kept finding myself holding it aloft. It’s a beautiful, award-winning book and the attention to detail is astonishing, so for now, reading it to him is punctuated with ‘Careful!’, ‘No!’ and ‘Be gentle!’. However, it’s here to be enjoyed so I’ll get over that I’m sure (takes another deep breath). Can’t recommend this highly enough, such a lovely gift and addition to any household’s bookshelves.
So that’s all from us for 2015, Merry Christmas to you all and we’ll be back in the New Year with more #LadybirdMum toddler tales and adventures.