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I had originally planned to do my Top 5 books for children but I just couldn’t whittle it down so in the end I settled for 7. Oisín’s bedtime is one of my favourite times of the day. It’s when I have him all to myself and I get to find out what’s really happening in his little world. I’ll ask him questions throughout the day about how school was, or who he played with or what he got up to and I’ll get some semblance of an answer but bedtime is when it all comes out! It’s also when we get to snuggle in his bed and read stories. It’s something we’ve done with him since he was a couple of weeks old and there’s something very comforting about the ritual and such a lovely way to send him off to sleep. These are books that we keep going back to – some of which were borrowed from the library but because we had grown so attached to them we had to go out and buy them!
I thought it would be the perfect time to share these with you in case you’re on the lookout for books for the little ones in your lives this Christmas.
How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens – It’s the classic formula for a children’s book – big animal & small cute child get into some kind of scrape. It’s such a simple story but it works so brilliantly. It starts off with a lion going into town to buy a hat! Need I say more….
The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr – This is one of my all time favourite children’s books. It was originally published in 1968 but the story and illustrations are as fresh as if they were created yesterday. I watched a wonderful documentary on the life of Judith Kerr last year and she had a fascinating and somewhat tragic childhood and is truly an amazing creative talent. She still works today at the age of 91.
Dippy’s Sleepover by Jane Clarke & Mary Mc Quillan – This is a lovely little story about Dippy the dinosaur who’s been invited over to a friend’s house for a sleepover which he’s very excited about until he realises he can’t go because he still wets the bed. This story is the perfect way to broach the subject of bed wetting without making a big deal out of it and it worked wonders for Oisín when we were trying to wean him off nappies at nighttime.
I am an Artist by Marta Altes – This is the story of an artist – a little boy who is so confident in his creative talents that we hear him say “I am SO talented, I just can’t help it. EVERYTHING inspires me”. It’s so refreshing to hear someone talk about them self in such a positive way and is so reflective of how freely creative little children are……..something that unfortunately we seem to lose along the way. It reminds me a bit of Oisín when he paints – I just love to watch him – he has no concern for the outcome, he just paints and is completely lost in the moment. I hope that if I watch him for long enough that some of that freedom will rub off on me for when I paint!
There is also a very likeable exasperated Mum in this story with whom a lot of us will be able to relate!
Ella By Alex T. Smith – My mom bought this book for Oisín in one of my favourite bookshops ever – Charlie Byrne’s in Galway City – a serious treasure trove of second-hand and new books. Expect to lose a couple of hours in this shop!
This book is an alternative take on the story of Cinderella. The Cinderella character ‘Ella’ is a bespectacled ladybird while two nasty wasps Belladonna & Ivy (love the names!) play the wicked stepsisters. Everyone I’ve read this book to (boys & girls) seems to love it, especially when I put on the nasty Belladonna & Ivy voices!
Arthur’s Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar – This is a wonderfully illustrated tale of Arthur’s fantastical dream and his frustration at the fact that none of his family have the slightest bit of interest in hearing about it. This is one of those books that we borrowed from the library but because we loved it so much we had to go buy it.
The Artis Who Painted a Blue Horse by Eric Carle – This book is a classic – a book that I think every child should own. I came across it in another of my favourite bookshops – Vibes & Scribes on Lavitt’s Quay in Cork City. They also have a fantastic art & craft shop a few doors away….between the two expect to while away many an hour! If you haven’t been and you happen to be in Cork it’s well worth the visit!
The book is an homage to the work of Franz Marc, the great Expressionist painter and founder of “The Blue Rider” group. During the 1930’s his work was condemned by the Nazis and removed from German museums.
It introduces us to an artist who paints the world as he sees it not as he is supposed to see it. “I am an artist and I paint a blue horse, a red crocodile,…..a polka dotted donkey.” It’s a very simple story but with a profound message for us all as creatives and certainly a message to pass on to the little creative beings in our lives.
Hope you’ll enjoy these books as much as we have. What would your recommendations be? Feel free to comment below – I’d love to hear from you.