My child has been marinaded in books since before birth. We took it in turns to read out loud to my bump almost every night throughout pregnancy, and were gifted many lovely baby books which we’ve been reading every day since the small one was born. Goodnight World and Guess How Much I Love You are the bedtime staples, and he’s lately started picking up stories for us to read during the day – Hairy Maclary, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Peepo, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and When I Was A Child come out pretty much daily. In fact we had so many that it took me until June to finally sort out a library card…
On our first trip to the library for books as opposed to for Bookbug, I pretty much just picked four things at random to add into our reading rota. Dimly aware of the fact that picture books are skewed towards male characters, I tried to choose some that weren’t. You’re never too young to #ReadWomen.
There’s A Pig Up My Nose – John Dougherty and Laura Hughes
This is a really fun read. One night a pig crawls up Natalie’s nose, and shenanigans ensue. She is sent to school with a deeply suspect sounding note to get her out of PE (Dear Miss Daffodil, please may Natalie be excused games this afternoon as she has a pig up her nose. Yours, Natalie’s Mum and Dad), and her class end up spending the afternoon coming up with increasingly violent ways to dislodge it. The pictures are lovely and I enjoyed reading this out loud and making all the noises. It’s too old for the baby really, but I might buy it when he’s big enough to actually follow it and understand the jokes!
Goodnight Max The Brave – Ed Vere
I am a bit of a sucker for a cute cat illustration and Max is definitely that. In this tale, Max the cat is getting ready for bed which involves saying goodnight to everyone and everything – but the moon is nowhere to be seen! Naturally he sets out on a journey to find it. I felt like the story had slightly too many steps (when Max is climbing higher and higher things it dragged a little) and the first time I read it the baby got bored and crawled away. But he got more into it after a few more reads.
Billy and the Beast – Nadia Shireen
I personally really enjoyed this one. A terrible beast is kidnapping cute forest critters to turn them into soup, but he hasn’t reckoned on a resourceful young girl called Billy who keeps all kinds of useful items hidden in her hair. Parts of the story are told purely through the illustration so this is another one I’ll probably come back to when the baby is bigger and can follow those a bit better (it’s aimed at ages 3 and up really).
The First Slodge – Jeanne Willis and Jenni Desmond
Love love love the illustrations in this book and I really liked the opening but I was a bit disappointed with the direction this went in. Once Upon A Slime (lol) there was a Slodge. The first Slodge in the universe! And she’s female, yaasss. Good stuff given the aforementioned stats about how the most popular children’s books are all about male characters. But very quickly she ends up being rescued from a monster by a second (male) slodge and (spoiler alert) having babies with him. And I don’t know, I wish she’d rescued him and they’d left it at them being pals rather than making them explicitly a couple. I wish she hadn’t started off as an equal participant in the first fight in the world only to immediately be reduced to a damsel in distress. I wish that sometimes I could enjoy a wee picture book without wondering how it’s going to subconsciously impact my child’s view of women and their place in the world.
Still, the nice thing about library books is that you return them at the end of the day and hopefully never mention this again…
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