You Can’t Take An Elephant On The Bus by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Books featuring buses, trains and cars (my son is crazy about his vehicles) are usually a hit in our family. We started off with simple baby books or novelty books which make the noises of the vehicles and gradually searched for ones which are more suitable for storytime.
You Can’t Take an Elephant on the Bus (Amazon Affiliate Link) was a Christmas present to Theo from his auntie. I found the book on Amazon and thought it looked fun. The title itself screams “Of course you can’t!!!”, so I was certain that a series of ridiculous events would unfold in this picture book.

True enough, children are presented with ludicrous scenarios such as a tiger riding on a train, a seal driving a taxi, a hippo in a hot air balloon and so on. That’s the beauty of this book – children love being silly and this book allows you to act silly and laugh along with them. It is very humourous.


I put on my “Gosh! This is so silly!” voice when I read this book during storytime. It helps bring the havoc that the animals are creating to life. I also love the British touches seen in the book – London bus and taxi.


And of course, one thing leads to another. Theo brings out his London bus from the toy box and asks if his little cars can have a ride on it.

 

 

 

Daddy is My Hero by Dawn Richards, Illustrated by Jane Massey


Daddy is My Hero  (Affiliate Link) is a book of an ordinary-looking dad who is a superhero in the eyes of his child. Daddy can be a cowboy, a knight, a pirate and even flies a spaceship. He also fends off night monsters to protect his child.

However this dad does not only play heroic roles in the child’s fantasy world, he is also portrayed as a hands-on Dad who does the shopping, cleaning, cooking and gives the child baths.

In today’s world, more and more dads have the opportunity to play an active role as caregivers for their children. Dads are also sharing more childcare responsibilities with mums these days. This book is particularly brilliant in portraying dads having a nurturing role in the family.

It is definitely a heartwarming tale of a child who simply adores his dad even when there are times when they get cross at each other.

Churchill’s Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

The book’s pastel illustration caught my attention when I first saw it. Often, children’s books have bright, vibrant and bold colours to capture their attention. So I thought this was different. I didn’t quite know if it would be well-received at home. But it was on sale at the Frankfurt Book Fair, I bought it for Theo. 

It is a tale about a Pig named Churchill who has lost his very precious tail. His friends knew how upset he was that they came up with ideas to “replace” it. However, Churchill had so much fun trying out the different new tails that he had no more time for the friends who helped him out. He stopped playing with them and talking to them. It wasn’t until he found a new friend who had his tail (and returned it to him) that he started to miss his old friends. 

This is a book to explore themes such as kindness, friendship, and  generosity but in a fun and comical way. 

My boy has his own tail now too. 

My New Baby

Ever since we knew we are having a new addition to our family, we’ve been talking to Theo about Baby Mia. He pretends that he’s also pregnant with his own Baby Mia and has recently introduced his soft toys to breastfeeding. However, I’ve not bought any books about having a new sibling till the Frankfurt Bookfair that took place this week.

I didn’t want anything too complicated or had a story to it. Therefore when I saw this book, I thought it suited my needs. 


The illustrations are bright and the text is simple. It helps open up different topics for discussion with Theo. For example, explaining to him why Baby Mia can only have milk and not the sandwiches or banana on the table. 


I love that it has pictures of mum breastfeeding baby and the toddler actually LOOKS happy. Some of the books with similar topics showcase toddlers getting jealous and upset and while I know it does happen, I quite like the idea that it’s being portrayed more positively rather than say “Hey, you’ll be miserable when you see your little sister suck on my boobs but I still love you!” 

As the book doesn’t refer to the baby as he or she, we pretend it’s Baby Mia. Would be great for those who don’t know their baby’s gender! Even the image of the toddler is quite gender neutral, I reckon. Theo’s been referring to the toddler as himself and the baby as his Baby Mia. 

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell


I bought this book at the Frankfurt Bookfair last year as it came along with a DVD. I was looking for animated stories for Theo to watch and thought this looked interesting. 

It is a story about 3 owl babies who woke up at night only to find their mum missing. They pondered hard over her disappearance with the youngest crying “I want my mummy”. At last, mummy owl returns to the nest safe and sound and they owls rejoice.

Despite being 28 months old, Theo occasionally wakes up at night to look for me. He gets frequent nightmares that send him hysterical. However it has gotten better over the months as he allows his dad to soothe him back to sleep now. When I read Owl Babies to Theo, we pretend that he’s the youngest owl who’s afraid. At the end of the story, I assure him that all is well and that I’ll be there for him in the morning and that I’ve not abandoned him.

Similarly, I also used this story for when he started his new kindergarten. Once the novelty died away and he started having separation anxiety, this story came in handy once again to set an example that mummy will return shortly to pick him up. 

I just love stories like this that we can relate our daily experience with. 

Crocodiles Don’t Brush Their Teeth (鳄鱼不刷牙)by Colin Fancy

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A bilingual picture book with vibrant illustrations, this book explores the differences between human and animal behaviours. Its repetitive (and predictable) text can be a hit with young children and I like that it reinforces positive behaviour such as good manners, brushing teeth, washing hair and so on.

When I first read this book to Theo, I made it a point to frown and sound disapprovingly that the crocodile doesn’t brush its teeth. In contrast, I sounded really proud and happy when I read the child’s line “But I do!”

It is a fun book to read aloud and gets little readers involved too, so there is nothing I would not like about it.

Fat Cat on a Mat and Other Tales

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I did not grow up learning phonics. How did I learn to read and spell? I suppose it was pure memory work. These days you will often hear how important it is to start a child off with phonics and how it has a positive impact on children’s literacy.

Despite it being part of Usborne’s Phonics Readers Series, we do not use this book to “teach” my son any phonics. We use it just like any other storybook – read aloud. I do not suppose he is too young to learn phonics (even if it involves only teaching him a couple of sounds), my aim goal of “storytime” is for us to enjoy reading as an activity together more than the goal of getting him to read independently from a young age.

We love this book for various reasons.

Theo enjoys finding the famous “yellow duck” on each page and the rhythm in the stories. He soon learnt all the characters in the book as they reappear in the twelve stories. Each page isn’t too wordy but means it is suited for very young children who do not have the attention span yet to finish a long book. The plot in each story is also easy enough for a toddler to understand and follow which helps because it provides the adult readers with topics to discuss with their children. I usually ask simple questions like “What happened to Fat Cat?”, “Who built the road?”, “Was there really a shark in the park?” and so on.

The audio CD is a bonus for me. There are times when it would be impossible to get Theo to sit down to read a book because he simply wants to play just like a normal child. I could sit in the room to read aloud to him because it doesn’t bother me that he’s not sitting still to listen, but I also love to have the option of just popping the CD into a CD player.