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.

 

 

 

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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.

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. 

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.

The Beeman by Laurie Krebs and Valerie Cis


Children’s books are fantastic – they allow us to enter a different world, where everything is magical, and they let our imagination run wild. But there are times when I want to actually teach my son some facts too. 

Back to when I was a child, I learnt facts from textbooks, flashcards, newspapers and encyclopaedias. While the latter can be interesting, the child needs to be able to read and/or understand quite a bit before benefitting from them. Therefore, I’m all for NON-FICTION picture books.

They are educational yet engaging enough for toddlers. In The Beeman, the little boy introduces us to his Grandpa who is a beekeeper. The entire process is of course simplified, but it covers areas such as equipment used, how a beekeeper dresses, how to care for a hive, the different types of bees, how honey is collected and enjoyed. At the end of the book, there is even a muffin recipe to try. 

The rhyming text is a hit with my son. He’s at the age where he loves completing familiar sentences from books he has read. The vivid illustration of bees excite him too. For educators, there are additional informative pages at the end of the book should you decide to use this book for a classroom activity. I personally find them very useful to talk to my son about bees when we see them flying around.

The Lion Who Wanted to Love by Giles Andreae

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Leo is a brave young lion who has been asked to leave the family by his mum as he takes no interest in hunting other animals. Unlike other lions, Leo just wants to befriend other animals. He is different.

I tend to like children’s fiction that features a character who is different to others. It sends the message to children that everyone is different and that’s perfectly alright. We should not mock or think that someone different is lesser.

Instead of simply fitting in, Leo sticks to his believes and befriends the other jungle animals, winning them over with his big, loving heart. The is a beautifully written rhyming story with bright illustrations that will capture a toddler’s attention.

Shelfie

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For the past couple of years I’ve been gathering ideas for bookshelf ideas. I wanted one that shows off the beautiful book covers because I think it helps encourage Theo to select a book he wants us to read to him. Now that he finally has his own room, I got my act together and used some Ikea Ribba wall shelves to display his books.

Unlike our regular bookshelf, it does not hold that many books. Most of his books are on the main shelf in the living room. However, I love being able to rotate the books on these wall shelves in the corner of his room.

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It is not exactly the most cosy reading corner, but it’s a “work in progress” on my part. He simply goes into his room, calls out for me to read all the books on his shelf.

The shelf also comes in really handy as I can display the beautiful art print his Auntie got for him, and the Chinese calligraphy of his name.