Listen, Listen by Phillis Gershator

  

Another beautifully illustrated book by Alison Jay which has an antique-feel to it, Listen, Listen lets children explore the different seasons through the sounds of birds chirping, bees buzzing, hammocks swaying in the wind and leaves rustling. 

It offers not just a story; children can play “I spy” and spot the various objects on each page. For older children, this is a great book to talk about seasonal changes and wildlife. 

I like the short rhyming sentences in the book which make it suitable even for babies who are notoriously known for their short attention span. At the same time, this is a keeper for its educational purposes. It also comes in a big, sturdy board book format – perfect for my one year old who’s still into chewing books!

The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton

 

 The illustrations in this book are a combination of collage, drawing and painting. It is so visually engaging that I can’t see any child not enjoying this book. 

This is a story of Peep who wants nothing more than be part of the Dawn Chorus. He wants to be part of a group who sings ever so sweetly. However he can never quite make it for the audition no matter how much he tries. At the end, it’s revealed that Peep is a Nightingale. He finds a special friend to sing their own sweet melodies.  

Most of us can relate to Peep – trying hard to be another person. We know how exhausting that could be. It is only when we meet special people who let us be ourselves that we shine. It’s a great story for children to know that it’s absolutely fine to be different, and that it’s important to give challenges a shot. 

This is one endearing and lovely story to share with little ones. 

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

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The minimalistic black cover of This Is Not My Hat caught my attention. Often, children’s books are brightly illustrated. Hence, I was intrigued by its unconventional choice of colour.

This is a story of a cheeky little fish who stole a hat from a big fish. The little fish thinks that the big fish will never find out who did it and even if the big fish knew, it will never know where the little fish was hiding.

What’s really interesting about this story is that young readers are encouraged to look at the illustrations to know that big fish ACTUALLY knows what little fish has done! Simple lines are used in this story, however, the illustrations provide opportunities for children and adults to discuss what might be going on in the story.

I love the fact that the story ends without clearly illustrating or stating what happens to little fish. It gives everyone room for imagination. Each child is left to create their own ending as to what happened to little fish. I do like such books as it encourages children to speak up, to discuss and promotes creativity and imagination.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

  

 

Gerald the giraffe is mocked by the other animals for not being able to dance. However a cricket’s encouraging words gave Gerald the confidence to do what others think he was awful at. 

When we were growing up, I’m sure we remember being bullied at some point. Perhaps you were not the best footballer in class and no one ever wanted to pass the ball to you. Perhaps you were the slowest runner in class so no one really wanted you in their teams. Perhaps you were not Picasso. Perhaps you were not great at speaking up in class. Perhaps you just had mega huge glasses that made you look weird. 

This brightly illustrated tale will ring a bell or two for those of us who were mocked at in school. You’ll feel sorry for Gerald the giraffe. However when he finally found music that he liked, he was soon swaying away like a professional dancer. 

The playful rhythm will attract attention from young audience at storytime. For older children, this book offers so much. It teaches them not to bully others and to accept others who are different. This book is a keeper. 

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

  
Lift-the-flap books, like Dear Zoo, pique children’s curiosity and encourage interactive play during storytime. I started reading this to Theo when he was a newborn which of course did not result in any world-shocking response from him. As he got a few months older and understood the concept of peek-a-boo, lifting the flaps to expose each animal is THE most thrilling thing ever.

Repetitive text helps build memory skills (don’t the little ones JUST LOVE prediction?) and the flaps fine tune motor skills. The board book is fairly sturdy and I think it is suitable for babies and toddlers who might have the tendency to explore things by tasting them.

It is a great book to introduce animals one might find in a zoo and simple adjectives that describe each of them. Definitely a brilliant book for babies and toddlers.