Apr 262021
Avan’s 30 Friends (Must Reads for 0-4 years) #kbcbookbingojr


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“My friends” (I am sure this is what my little one would say!)

This is our entry for #kbcBookBingoJr which I’m posting on behalf of my soon to be 3 yo.

I have always loved reading. In fact, my bedtime reading routine is a must or I just can’t sleep. Books have always held a special place, but in the past year since we are stuck at home due to the pandemic, books have been more than just books. They are friends, play buddies (I use them like blocks to stack and make roads to drive our trucks on). They are also our food and bath buddies (yes, Mumma has to read while I play in the bathtub pretending to get clean). Sometimes I even sleep on them. So it’s difficult to choose a few from so many I love. So I made my Mumma list a few. But I love all the rest too.. 🙂

  1. A Dino book:

Dinosaur Juniors: Wide Awake by Rob Biddulph

Of the Dino books we have, this is our favorite by far. It’s a rhyming bedtime book about Winnie and Otto. The twins are ready for bed but Winnie can’t sleep. She wakes Otto up who tries to get her to sleep successfully but in the process, he is now wide awake. In true Rob Biddulph style, there are several nuances hidden in the absolutely wonderful illustrations. We love his take on the Twinkle twinkle little star poem too. Awesome for a bedtime read especially if you love dinos.

  1. A book on Good Habits:

Atchoo! By Mij Kelly

This book is about Suzy Sue who sneezes all over her animal friends and her friends do not like it. So they come together to teach her good habits. This is a good rhyming book easy enough for little kids to understand. From covering our mouths while sneezing, table manners to having a bath and not fighting amongst ourselves; this book pretty much covers it all.

  1. A Dr. Seuss book:

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

We love Dr. Seuss books. We love all of them especially Ten apples up on Top, Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish. We also have a Pop up book which we love to pieces (literally and figuratively). But this is a special book. It covers emotions in a simple to understand way for little readers. We find it easier to discuss feelings once we attribute colors to them. For this, an easy approach to a topic which is generally neglected in little ones, we love this book.

  1. A Boynton board book:

Hippos Go Berserk by Sandra Boynton

Hilarious account of a lonely Hippo who ends up throwing a party. And teaches us counting along the way. One of the very first board books we fell in love with. We also discuss the different modes of transport and how we must not play on the roof.

  1. A book that teaches you a lesson: The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino

When the little crocodile didn’t like water (his brothers and sisters loved water) he felt lonely. He tried desperately to fit in. But then he finds out why! This book is very nicely written and illustrated. And sends across an important message. It is OK (sometimes even great) to be different.

You can be different and still be wonderful. You must not worry about not being a crocodile, cause you really might be a little dragon.

  1. A lift the flap book:

More Bugs in Boxes by David A. Carter

An awesome lift the flap, pop up book for colors. My almost 3 year old loves the pop up bugs. A great way to introduce colors like salmon pink, beige and olive green.

Pop ups are great and imaginative. Sure to get little ones to fall in love with this book

  1. A bedtime story:

Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear? by Martin Waddell, Illustrated by Barbara Firth

Big Bear puts Little bear to sleep. But the Little Bear is not able to fall asleep. He’s scared of the dark. A wonderful story of how the Big Bear tries to get the Little Bear to overcome his fear of the dark. I thought it was a bit long when I saw the book. But once we read it, it’s the perfect length with soothing repetitive text. Also this one resonated with my little as he’s afraid of the dark too. We made a red paper lantern which we keep by the bedside too.

  1. A book by your favorite illustrator:

The Lion and The Mouse Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Aesop’s fable lion and the mouse beautifully conveyed. The illustrations make words unnecessary. This book without any words transcends the barrier of age and language. One of its kind. Rare.

  1. A book with a quirky cover :

The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None Of His Business by Werner Holzwarth/Wolf Erlbruch

A story of a little mole who is out to find out who pooped on his head. A tale of the little mole who finally gets his revenge. Along the way he also discovers different animal poops. A hilarious book sure to entertain your little one. A must, must read if you are not offended by poop. We just love this one.

  1. A fairy tale: The Puffin: Baby and Toddler Treasury

A compilation of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, makes for a bedtime read. Our favorite fairytale is the Three Little Pigs where we can huff and puff.

  1. A touch and feel book: Animal hide and seek by Usborne publication

A book about farm animals hiding behind the flaps. Each animal is textured such as wooly sheep, soft chickens, rough tractor engine and the sparkly blue water trough. We have used this book in many ways. To learn farm animal names, sing Old Mac Donald, count the animals on each page etc. Also, there’s a surprise ducky hidden on each page that we love to find.

  1. A book that was gifted to you:

Panchtantra Ki Prasiddh Kahaniyan: Timeless Stories For Children From Ancient India In Hindi by Wonder house books

This was gifted to us by Vandana Bakshi as a part of kbc Christmas Secret Santa book exchange. It’s special as it is one of the few books we have in Hindi. Needless to say, it is a firm favourite. The stories are simple, familiar and value based. We are so grateful for this gift.

  1. A book on mythology:

Greek Myths for Young Children (Stories for Young Children) by Anna Milbourne illustrated by Elena Temporin

This is a book that I was always more interested in introducing to my little one. Since I love Greek and Roman mythology, I wanted to share this with my little. Though the book per sé is for advanced readers (Mini myths series more for little ones of which Be Patient Pandora is our absolute favourite), we use it like a story book where I read out to my almost 3 year old skipping out the more advanced details. He loves Pandora story especially (and compares it with the Mini Myth series).

  1. A rhyming book:

Kitchen Disco by Clare Foges and Al Murphy

Amazing amazing book. Funny to the core, a disco song about a fruit party. My little starts dancing as soon as I read this. And reading once is never enough. That’s a clear winner! Also I hum this song while driving sometimes.

  1. A book on shapes/colors/numbers: Walter’s Wonderful Web by Tim Hopgood

We are Tim Hopgood fans here. A great book to teach shapes to little kids. Works as an introduction to different shapes. Also as the shapes are different colors, we use this one for colors too. The Spider Walter is one of our favourites and we look for other ‘Walters’ when we go to the park. Awesome illustrations as usual.

  1. A yellow colored book:

Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins

This is a dad centric book for littles and a great one at that. Daddy woodpecker teaches his little baby bird how to peck. And then the little birdie goes on a pecking spree till he is tired at night and is tucked in by his daddy.  We got a paperback version but so far it has held up well to my little one poking his tiny fingers through all the holes made by the baby woodpecker. An awesome book. Wonderful rhymes. A bird book for those whose littles are interested in birdies.

  1. A funny book:

Ketchup On Your Cornflakes by Nick Sharratt

One of our new loves. This is a hilarious mix and match book. Do you like ketchup on your cornflakes or toothpaste on your head? Funny mixes sure to get your little and you too laughing.

We try different combinations of things to see if we like them. Then we read it by matching colors so things are the right way.

Also when my little doesn’t feel like eating something, all I have to do now is say ketchup on cornflakes, and he is happy enough to try some. Of course we use milk for cornflakes and ketchup on chips. Those are our favs.

This one was tough to choose between so many funny books. A close runner up was Shark in the Park by the same author.

  1. A book by an Indian author:

Kayu’s World Is Round by Lavanya Kapahi

Of the Books by Indian authors we love this one as it’s special to us. One because we had received this lovely book as a part of the #kbcKeepCalmAndReadOn reading campaign. Second because it deals with autism/sensory disorders, a topic which is often neglected. It just goes to say that whatever we may think is wrong with our little ones, it’s because of our limited and rigid perception of the world.

Every little kid is special and unique with her/his own special abilities. It’s up to us to enable them to explore their fullest potential. They can surprise you when you least expect.

In this book, Kayu’s mother is worried about Kayu who only seems obsessed with circles. Kayu also finds it difficult to connect with others. But it all comes together for Kayu when his love of circles overlaps his friends’ love for cricket.

This book is a great way to let parents know that they should look beyond the obvious when it comes to their kids. It’s important to find common ground to establish effective communication. It helps tremendously to speak the child’s language especially when sensory processing issues are involved.

I would recommend this book not only for kids but also for their parents. This book is a simple but wonderful approach to understanding an aspect of autism.

  1. An Informative book:

Oscar and the Moth: A book about light and dark by Geoff Waring

Oscar the kitten learns about light and dark with help from the Moth. This is a simple introduction for littles to concepts of light and dark. It goes over simple aspects like different sources of light, heat, shadows. It provides a great way to start a conversation, spark curiosity in little ones. Appropriate for 2 to 4 year olds. An easy recap at the end too. A base for activities like shadow plays. Also we love the other books in the Start With Science series.

  1. A book on transport/vehicles: The Ultimate book of Vehicles: From Around The World by Anne-Sophie Baumann, Illustrated by Didier Balicevic.

My almost 3 year old loves all things that go. I was looking for something special after he finished the Amazing Machines series. And I found this gem of a book. A wonderful lift the flap interactive book about vehicles. This one covers all vehicles including demolition vehicles, construction vehicles, trains, ships, aeroplanes, space crafts, emergency vehicles, trucks, agricultural vehicles and of course cars and buses.

There are flaps to lift where the little ones can explore the inside of the vehicles including where the passengers sit, where the engine is etc. My little one specially loves the trucks and construction vehicles.

A great way to introduce vehicles, their functions and how they work. Not many words but a great vocabulary builder as lots of new vehicle related terms.

Interactive enough to provide hours of entertainment for a vehicle loving toddler.

The flaps are good quality but can be easily torn depending on how gentle your little one is. Mine is soon to be 3, and since he loves the book, he’s very careful about how he handles the flaps and moving parts.

Some parts are more prone to be  dismantled like moving people parts so parental supervision is required.

  1. A sound book: Vtech: Touch and Teach Word Book

A sound and touch book where pressing the objects to say the name of the object and sound it makes. Our favorite is the animals page especially when the owl goes whoooo!

  1. A one word title book:

Duck by Randy Cecil

Duck is a wooden carousel animal with wooden wings. She looks at other real ducks and dreams of what it would be like to fly. Her days are pretty routine until a real lost duckling turns up in the amusement park. She takes care of the little duckling like a mother. And like a mother, she realizes that the little one must fly away at winter time to be safe and warm. But how can a wooden duck teach a real duckling to fly?

A beautiful book, serene colors, simple words that will tug at your heartstrings. It teaches about love and loss and doing the right thing and sacrifice. This one made me cry. Surely a book that can evoke such strong emotions is a special thing.

I wasn’t sure if it would appeal to my little one but he does pull this one out of the box often enough for me to know he likes it.

  1. A book on any festival:

Festivals of India by Om books

A great compilation of quite a few Indian festivals with information regarding when and how they are celebrated along with the significance each has. An easy way to introduce festivals to little ones.

  1. A book that has siblings:

Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep by Joyce Dunbar, Illustrated by Debi Gliori

Little Willa can’t go to sleep as she is scared of a bad dream. So her brother Willoughby asks her to think of something happy. It’s a sweet book about how the elder brother helps his little sister fall asleep. The words are soothing and illustrations are awesome. A great depiction of sibling relationships.

  1. A book about animals/birds:

Brown Bear treasury by Eric Carle

Amazing combination of 4 books and tons of animals and birds which my kiddo loves. The book starts with Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and all the animals and birds he sees. This part explores colors. This is followed by exploring animal sounds (Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?), animal movements (Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? and Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See?). It has a nice rhyme to it. It’s a great book for any animal /bird lover. If you need to get just one book for your toddler then this is the one!

  1. A book on space/solar system:

Usborne: Look Inside Space

We got this one as we love all things space. It is advanced for my almost 3 year old. But the pictures are lovely and he loves lifting flaps. We learn new words too. Our favorite is the moon page with the crescent moon after lifting the flap inside the flap.

The book quality is great and the flaps are quite sturdy.

A great book for a space lover. And a special gratitude for Usborne books that we have come to enjoy and fall in love with over time. We also have the books, What are stars? and What is the Moon? in the Usborne: Lift-the-flap – Very First Questions and Answers series. But we chose this for the sheer beauty of the lift flaps and images.

  1. A picture book:

Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick

A picture story with no written words. It’s about a family of owls that live on a tree. One day a family of bats arrive and choose the same branch as their home. But being different, both families choose their sides and remain separate. Until a storm uproots them both. The kids are lost and it is up to the mamas to find them. It’s in this time of crisis that mommy owl helps find the bat baby and mommy bat finds the owl baby. The families realise that the strength lies in unity and overcoming their differences.

A wonderful lesson in coexistence. United we stand

  1. A sea creatures book:

Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck, Illustrated by Valeria Petrone

Little boy is diving for treasure and comes across wonderful sea creatures. Perfect for introducing sea beings to little ones. We have pegged this as a bathtime book with me reading it and my little one identifying the sea creatures in his bathtub. And then like the boy in the book, my little one also finds treasure (we use a large plastic chip!) for his mummy.

  1. A monster book:

The Great Monster Hunt by Norbert Landa and Tim Warnes

This is our pssh pssh grr book. A great way to teach how we make mountains out of molehills. Duck hears a sound and is too scared to investigate. Enter a team of animals who each add their own exaggeration making a monster out of *spoiler alert* a mouse.

This book is a favourite, it gives a lot of scope for making funny/scary sounds which my little loves. A story with a moral too.

  1. A book with magic:

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

This is an awesome interactive book. Like the title suggests, there is a simple yet magical tree. As we turn each page and follow the instructions, we unveil the magic of transformation of the tree.

We love the different ways to interact with the tree, our favourites being jiggling the tree, patting its leaves and blowing a kiss.

This also gives an insight into how the tree changes with the changing seasons and the circle of life. This is as simple as it can get to combine interactive learning with love for nature. A great point of discussion as to how the tree changes especially for older kids. The young ones like my two year old just love the interactive play.

Illustrations are colourful and brilliant. This is a magical book indeed.

[Note from Team Kids Book Café: For your convenience, affiliate links (MARKED IN PINK) to some of the book titles & images have been added to enable you to buy the books from AMAZON, should you wish to! A very small amount of money comes to kidsbookcafe.com when you purchase a book via the amazon affiliate link provided (at absolutely no extra cost to you!). Do let us know if you need information about other children’s books by writing to asha@kidsbookcafe.com.]

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