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.

Let Your Child See You Reading 

As parents, we’re role models for our children. These little beings look to us for guidance while they try to figure out everyday life. If we have to lead by example to make sure they learn good manners, have great values and so on, we should also show our kids that we’re readers ourselves if we would like them to be one themselves. 

Take your book and sit down and read in front of your child. Give him/her a pile of picture books to look through. It doesn’t matter if he/she flips through a couple of pages before diving into another book. The whole point of letting your child see you read (your own book) is to show that reading is fun and that it’s part of family time spent together. 

We tried this out and it worked so well. Without a doubt, Theo can’t read by himself. However when he sees us taking our books to sit and read, he runs to his bookshelf to get himself some of his favourite books and joins us on the sofa. He proudly exclaims, “Thedore reads! Theodore reads!” 

Do not expect uninterrupted reading time because toddlers will do a million things to try and get your attention. In our case, he might attempt to rip a flap off a book or simply point out a random animal on the page. When Theo tries to describe something on the page, we respond why asking him questions and letting him take his time to answer (sometimes he doesn’t even answer!). It’s all about ENCOURAGEMENT at this stage, I believe.

Illustrated Stories from Aesop


I spent a lot of my childhood reading Aesop’s fables. The short stories are great for young readers learning to read independently. I vividly remember reciting the moral of each story just to sound intelligent. (#bookworm)

This beautifully illustrated padded hardback is published by Usborne. It is a collection of more than 30 fables categorised thematically with chapters such as “Pride”, “Cunning”, “Friendship” and so on. 

The recommended target age group is 3+ but I bought this for my 15 months old son. Papa reads two to three fables to him at bedtime which he thoroughly enjoys. It’s a fabulous read aloud book. 

I’m definitely going to try reading this at my next Storytime Together. 

P.S. If you live in/ near Frankfurt and would like to purchase this book, please do contact me. 

How to read to kids who can’t sit still

Ever since Theo discovered crawling, he’s EVERYWHERE. He is always on the move unless he’s asleep . And because he’s so active, many friends ask how I manage to read to him daily and keep him interested in books. I thought I’ll pen my tips down and hopefully give parents who would love to read to their active child some hope.

1. Interactive books – Read books that require you to do actions such as wiggle your hips, shake, clap your hands, stomp your feet, roar like a lion! Make reading come to live by performing what’s in the book. Don’t just read word for word. Singalong books are great for kids who can’t sit still too.

2. Keep it simple – Too many words on a page and your toddler runs away. Don’t give up at this point. Shorten the stories. Or, don’t read the entire story. It could very well be a “point and see” activity such as “Look! Bear’s got a pink ball!” Say it with much excitement and your child will be interested too.

3. Know your child’s interest – Jungle animals, dinosaurs, fire engines, and so on are common themes that entertain young children. Bring them to your local library and let them pick the books they enjoy. Know what interests them and read those books aloud. 

4. Read when they are at their calmest – After a nap, before a meal, after a bath, before bedtime. Even if it’s only for 5 minutes. 

5. Just carry on reading – your child may be all over the room but he/she can still hear your voice. Continue reading aloud.