Fatherhood²: 10 more great pre-school story books

March 16, 2011 at 8:22 pm

A few weeks ago I posted a list of my 10 favourite pre-school story books, based on the ones that Robert likes to read on a regular basis. At the end I asked for some feedback on what classics I might have missed – and I got a LOT of comments with books I’d missed. As well as that, the next time I went in to Robert’s room and looked at his bookshelf, I myself realised I’d missed several of his favourites! So I thought I should probably do a follow-up post with 10 more…

Once again, these are in no particular order, and simply serve as a way of me sharing some of our favourite bedtime reads for those of you that might be looking to expand your own libraries : )


Where the Wild Things Are

How I missed this one in my last Top 10 is beyond me, seeing as it was a book I used to read when I was lad too. Not to mention the fact that, when I lived in Bath growing up, my sister painted a scene from this book on our back wall – right outside of my bedroom window! So I might have to plead insanity on missing this one! What I will say is that Robert sometimes finds it a little scary, so it might be one for the older children. Incidentally, the flow of the text takes some getting used to, too! : )

Not Now, Bernard!

It’s probably a bit of a cheat for me to put this on the list, since I don’t actually own a copy (again) yet. But, like several other books on this list, it’s one that I myself read when I was a little boy, so I feel confident that as soon as I find a copy, I’ll be getting one for Robert too. An utterly brilliant classic, Not Now, Bernard! seems to have a very odd moral at the conclusion, but it’s just so brilliantly told, that doesn’t matter. Ignore your children at your peril!

Each Peach Pear Plum

Despite the draw of interactive books, eReaders, sound boards and all sorts of other ways that reading can be “interactive” these days, the simple pleasure of helping your child to find the characters hidden amongst the beautiful illustrations of this Jant & Allen Ahlberg classic is just as much fun. It’s also a very short book – which has the double benefit of a) being an easy book for your child to test their reading skills on, if they are at that stage, and b) being a nice quick read if your child is particularly over-tired one evening!

Guess How Much I Love You?

Quite a few people suggested this one when I wrote the last list, so I thought it deserved inclusion in this update. We have a copy of our own, though I don’t think it’s made it in to our own personal Top 10 yet – though the speed at which Robert changes which things are “his best” is remarkable, so who knows. Oddly, our copy came with a CD of the book being read (by Tom Conti, I think) – something we’ve never actually tried out, since I’m not really sure what situation would require that. A long car journey maybe? Maybe I’ll found out one day! But for now, we’re happy with the paper version…

The Tiger Who Came To Tea

The second oldest book in this selection (Where the Wild Things Are was written in 1963, compared to The Tiger’s 1968 publication date) is still a firm favourite in our bedtime reading schedule – amazing considering how quickly children tire of things. The story of a Tiger who drops in to have dinner with Sophie and her mummy – and proceeds to eat them out of house and home – is an enduring one. I’ve never quite figured out how the Tiger managed to drink “all the water in the taps” though – is that how it worked in 1968?!

Six Dinner Sid

Without wishing to detract from the obvious high-esteem a lot of people hold this book in, I’ve not fallen head-over-heels with it myself yet. I bought a copy after publishing the last list, since quite a few people mentioned it in the follow-up. Whilst we’ve read it a couple of times, I can’t say I’m that keen on the ending of the book – which I won’t give away here in case you’ve not read it. Just trust me – it’s a strange conclusion! Having said that, I’m sure it could be one that grows on us over time, so I’m happy to include it in the list on recommendations alone!

Sharing a Shell

As I mentioned last time, Robert and I are such fans of the Julia Donaldson/Axel Scheffler series of books, I could easily make a Top 10 featuring those alone. But I’m going to including this lovely book as a nod to Donaldson’s wider (and VERY wide) catalogue of work without Scheffler. This is a lovely story, with the sparkly pages adding an extra element to it’s reading. It’s even got some great grown-up-friendly puns in too, as a reward for the reader – “Whelk-ome home” being my personal favourite!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Another long-serving classic (first published in 1969), I have no idea how I missed this the first time round. It’s a simple tale of transformation, with some great opportunities for counting in the middle – not to mention those brilliant cut-out holes in the middle section. Here’s a good Hungry Caterpillar fact for you: Despite not having been made (yet), the Film Rights for this book sold in 2005 for over a million pounds. I suspect they’ve spent the 6 years since trying to figure out how to repeat the success of the “Where the Wild Things Are” movie adaptation…!

10 Little Rubber Ducks

Another Eric Carle classic, and another book on this list which features an “interactive” element to it – though once again it’s a little more lo-fi than most today. A little duck-noise squeaker at the end of the book serves to make it twice as thick as it would otherwise need to be (and also seems to make our copy at least fall apart on a regular basis!) but it really adds to the fun of reading it. It’s also another brilliant book for those learning to count – an all-round favourite in our household!

Me and my Dad / Mum

I think these two are relatively new titles, and probably not instantly-recognisable favourites. But they both go down very well in our house, with Dad being the first one we came to love, before I spotted the Mum-version in Waterstones a few months ago. Bizarrely, whilst they’re not particularly let-your-child-read-it friendly (unlike, say, Each Peach Pear Plum), Robert memorised the entire book of “Me and My Dad” after about a dozen reads, and can now recite it along with me when we read it. I guess the rhyming structure seemed to strike something in him! This is one of my own personal favourites!