In our house there are some things we do every day. We brush our teeth, go out to school, work or to the park, we talk and share food and we always, always read at least one book together. I’m thinking about sharing “stories for life” with our children, and the kind of books that make great presents – not just Christmas presents either!
When the small boy was Christened, we asked our friends and family not to give presents, but if they did want to give a gift, to give the boy a copy of their favourite childhood book. This meant at the great age of six months my son had a reading library which was full of variety, and each book had a lovely back story attached to it. We hoped that this would cement a love of reading in him. He certainly loves a good story or three at bedtime.
For his Christening we got everything from Rupert Bear and Spot the Dog to a full set of Harry Potter books and of course a host of Roald Dahl classics.
I was the most avid of readers as I child, and over the years my love of reading hasn’t diminished, but the opportunity to curl up for a quiet hour with a good book has. This is something that makes me a little bit sad sometimes.
Looking back, I suppose my favourite book was The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, which is still a much loved classic today. Once I reached the age of 7 or 8 I fell in love with Roald Dahl books and read them all, even the slightly unsuitable ones (I’ve read his NSFW adult books too, but I was over 21).
I’m not sure what books my son will look back with fondness on, but we’re reading a lot of Thomas the Tank Engine stories at the moment. Our bedtime reading is an eclectic mix of the Biff and Chip style books school sends home to read, non-fiction books about transportation, construction and geography (all subjects he loves) and fun books we read with him.
This week we were sent a selection of books to read or give away as gifts from Puffin Books. I think the books they’ve sent us would be absolutely ideal for the the small boy, but I don’t want to be greedy, so I think we will choose to keep just one of these stories for life for Christmas and give the others to other children who might enjoy reading them.
The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter is about a boy who gets a very hungry dinosaur for Christmas. His dinosaur eats everything in sight, including all of Christmas – but as we know, what goes in must come out! This sounds like exactly the sort of book my dinosaur obsessed boy would enjoy!
Max and Bird by Ed Vere is about a kitten called Max who meets bird and wants to eat him. But Max soon discovers that friends don’t eat each other, instead friends try and help each other, so that’s what they do. Max and Bird is on the New York Times Bestseller list and it’s a very sweet story about friendship.
The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin is a wonderful book to read if your child struggles to wind down for sleep and can really help them to drift off to the land of nod. The story is a wonderful tale about Ellen the Elephant who goes on a journey through a magical forest, meeting fantastic creatures along the way, eventually ending up in dreamland.
These are three really, really lovely books. I’d be very tempted to keep them all to share with my son, but this month we are doing a Reverse Advent calendar with our local Foodbank. I’m collecting some small gifts and books for them to distribute to families who have been referred to them this Christmas. I can’t actually think of a better recipient for these stories for life.
What was your favourite book when you were a child?