1. A Squash and a Squeeze - Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
A hard choice this - not as to whether to include it or not but simply which of Julia and Axel's books to include as they're all just gorgeous and a must for any child's bookshelf! I thought The Gruffalo was probably too obvious a choice, so we went for this one. A lovely story about an old woman who thinks her house is too small - and the very wise advice of an old man culminating in her deciding her house isn't too bad after all!
2. Giraffes Can't Dance - Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
I cannot describe how utterly sweet this book is. The scan, the words, the pictures - just a perfect, perfect read for your child. And a lovely message as well, confirming that it doesn't matter if you're different - a cause very close to my heart as you can see from this blog post here.
I defy anyone not to have a huge lump in their throat at the line "sometimes when you're different you just need a different song".
3. A Lark in the Ark - Peter Bentley and Lynne Chapman
The story of Noah's Ark as you have never heard it before! Lots to do to capture a small child's attention and a hilarious story full of fun! A great re-telling of a biblical story, great for if like us you're not religious at all! We re-read and re-read this one over and over again and it never gets old!
4. The Bad Tempered Ladybird - Eric Carle
Again it was hard deciding which of Eric Carle's fab books to choose. Probably not so obvious a choice as The Very Hungry Caterpillar but we love this story. The obstreperous ladybird fights his way through the book to prove that he should be the recipient of all the aphids on the leaf. Of course he more than meets his match and decides to share them after all. Lovely story.
5. Each Peach Pear Plum - Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The first of three entries from the Ahlbergs. This is a story I grew up with - in fact Emily has my copy! It is just an adorable little book. So much to spot on each page, visitations from favourite children's characters and so much to try and spot on each page. My daughter knows this by heart and still wants it to be read to her regularly, such is the beguiling nature of the Ahlbergs' works.
6. Here Come The Aliens! - Colin McNaughton
Superb book - absolutely hilarious. Particular favourite parts are the description of the different aliens. Who can fail to be amused by "the first mate looks like wobbly jelly, he's sort of gaseous and smelly, he has an eyeball in his belly, the aliens are coming!" The book has a lovely repetitive pattern to it, meaning very quickly the child wants to join in with the refrain of "the aliens are coming!"
7. Funnybones - Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The second we've chosen from the Ahlbergs and probably one of the best known! I can't imagine there are many people who don't know the beginning of this book "This is how the story begins. On a dark dark hill there was a dark dark town. In the dark dark town there was a dark dark street. In the dark dark street there was a dark dark house. In the dark dark house there was a dark dark staircase. Down the dark dark staircase there was a dark dark cellar. And in the dark dark cellar....." Well if you don't know you'll have to read it and find out. Lovely book, frightfully funny and perfect for children to read. There have been a number of subsequent books in the Funnybones series but this remains, in my opinion the original and best!
8. The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark - Jill Tomlinson illustrated by Paul Howard
Now this was MY favourite book when I was younger. I had the audio book on tape (yes I'm that old!) which I listened to until it quite wore out. Emily now loves the story of little Plop and all the exciting things he finds to do to persuade him that the dark isn't frightening. On a practical level this is a fabulous book to share if you have, as we do, a child who is nervous of the dark!
9. Cops and Robbers - Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The final choice from the Ahlbergs and my favourite of the three. The characters are hilarious and how I wish that all policeman were as dashing as brave Officer Pugh. And of course it is still amusing that it is the female baddy that manages to escape, the villainous Grandma Swag! I'm not sure there is a better refrain to be found in a child's book than "ho ho for the robbers, the cops and the robbers, ho ho!"
10. The Nursery Alice - Lewis Carrol with illustrations by Sir John Tenniel
This book is simply gorgeous. A very simple re-telling of the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland just perfect for smaller children to share. The illustrations are absolutely divine. Its a slightly longer book - which probably lends itself to reading over a few nights but it captures the imagination so well. Another book I think every child should have access to.
And two final ones as alternates: -
11. Monkey Do! - Allan Ahlberg and Andre Amstutz
The perfect rhyming and rhythm of Allan Ahlberg
12. Dinosaurs Love Underpants - Claire Freedman and Ben Cort
There are three books so far in this series (the others being Aliens Love Underpants and Aliens Love Panta Claus) but this is our favourite. We love the fact that the extinction of the dinosaurs was brought about by a fight to the death over pants! Plus we can spend many a happy hour choosing our favourite pants from the illustrations. Desperately funny book which will make any child fall about laughing especially at the start "It all began when cavemen, felt embarrassed in the nude. So someone dreamt up underpants, to stop them looking rude!"
I hope you liked our choices in honour of World Book Day - do you agree? What are your must reads for children?