We always knew that we would inflict words upon our children relentlessly as both Nath & I share a passion for reading and a shared belief that literature unlocks children’s worlds in a way that nothing else can.
Darcey has a ridiculous amount of books for a one year old. She has 6 bookshelves which are completely overflowing and piles of books on the floor beneath them. We are so happy about how excited she is by books; I wouldn’t say we’ve ‘forced’ her to, but we weren’t going to give her much choice about whether or not she was going to love them!
I am so lucky that my Mum & Dad used to read to me every day as a child and I had a massive affinity with books from an incredibly young age, and still (when I have time!) get so much pleasure from reading. We read to Darcey every evening, under the stars, and she sits on my lap listening eagerly.
She loves anything interactive in a book. Some of her favourites at the moment are a Julia Donaldson flap set that our lovely friends bought her for her birthday.
Our favourites for day time reading are the Muddle books I bought Darcey second-hand. Two of these are from Amazon Marketplace for 1p each! (Plus postage) which proves there really is no excuse for not reading to your children!
Darcey loves magnets so these books are brilliant for her to interact with the story as the pages are magnetised and you can move the character magnets around the scenes to tell the story.
Darcey’s absolute favourites are these two pop-up books. She loves animals anyway and will always pull these out of the bookshelf without prompting. My Mum bought her these from The Book Man who visits the pre-school she works in.
Another, very simple, set of books that Mum bought her are these hard back books which have one or two words and a picture on each page.
My eldest sister organised a baby shower for me when I was about 37 weeks pregnant with Darcey with some of my friends. One of the things she did was to buy a copy of The Gruffalo for me and each of my lovely guests wrote a message to Baby Reed which I will adore forever.
I LOVE The Gruffalo. We know all the words off by heart & we’re going to buy all the plush toys for Darcey for Christmas so that we can act it out. My sister, Gina, is the BEST at ‘reading’ the Gruffalo. She doesn’t need the book, she recites it, verbatim, with every voice and accent you can imagine and all the children listening are in fits of laughter! They love it. One day I hope I can be as cool as her…
Another favourite in this vein is Guess How Much I Love You … Definitely one for a bedtime squish!
Finally, our favourites for a bed time story are our growing collection of Roald Dahl stories. Most of the ones we have are big, colour illustrated ones and Darcey loves them! At the moment I think we probably get more enjoyment out of these than she does but loads of opportunities again for exciting voices and actions.
Edit Even in my adult life I am an enormous Roald Dahl fan – Nath took me to London for my birthday this year to see Matilda and it was one of the best things I’ve seen on stage. He is a complete literary genius in my opinion and I find his stories as exciting now as when I was little!
More than anything, in our very busy lives, our bedtime stories are pretty much the only opportunity in our days where we get to have a little peace and tranquility and quality time with Darcey. We don’t watch television whilst Darcey is awake because we’d much rather be the ones entertaining her and I couldn’t think of a better way to do this then reading to and with her. I can’t wait until her vocabulary grows and she can start storytelling with us!
These are only a handful of the books we have but this post could have been eternal had I talked about them all! Hopefully we’ll be able to give Darcey this blog when she’s older and these words will evoke memories of her childhood that she didn’t realise she had! For now, we’re enjoying every minute that these brilliant stories are giving us with our little lady and we’re always on the hunt for our next best books!