A dad/climbing frame/ponytail fixer/train track builder to Edie and Arlo and also an award winning blogger! Jamie won Best Baby Blog at the MAD Awards 2016 (Mums and Dads Blog Awards).
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What, you mean apart from a 2-for-1 deal or an aesthetically pleasing bookshop display? Usually a decent review, whether that’s in the media or through word of mouth. Plus, in the last year or so, I’ve also found myself checking out certain titles off the back of praise from like-minded Instagram accounts. Amazing how easily swayed I am by a flat-lay that includes a book and a steaming coffee!
As I’m sure is the same in a zillion cosily lit bedrooms around the world each night, Julia Donaldson’s brilliant characters and Axel Scheffler’s exciting drawings often become part of our bedtime routine.
The perfect rhyme provides a good tempo and makes the tales memorable. Thanks to this, my daughter Edie (4-years-old) can recite a lot of them word for word - to a bystander (not that there should be a bystander at bedtime!) it might appear that we have an incredibly advanced reader! The familiarity is great plus we love searching for the small Gruffalo hidden away in Scheffler’s animation.
I also have a soft spot for Stéphanie Blake, author of Poo Bum – who wouldn’t like someone who wrote that book?! FART! Plus, I really like Sophy Henn and her Pom Pom books. Her stories are charming and her illustrations are so expressive.
Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake. He’s one cool dude right? In his electric blue penguin jacket, bombing along on his scooter. I love his eccentricity but also his sheer joy at the end when he receives his new boot. What a guy.
Edie usually picks her own these days. Like most young children, the draw tends to be an exciting front cover or a character she recognises, but thankfully she has varied tastes so it’s not all princesses and tiaras. Actually, come to think of it, it’s rarely princesses and tiaras, it’s more likely to be raging dinosaurs or wild monstrous beasts with her.
When it comes to Arlo, his favourite thing to do is point out animals or objects in books. He’s just moving away from those ‘baby’s first words’ books now and moving towards short stories or pop-up books (thankfully he’s getting past the stage where every pop-up tab is savagely torn out!). I’ve been reading short stories like Postman Bear (Donaldson/Scheffler – again!) and Dear Zoo (Rod Campbell) to him, plus he loves the ‘That’s Not My… ‘ series by Fiona Watt/Rachel Wells.
We get through a lot of books (Edie has two per night), but these are five we’ve been coming back to a lot over the last couple of months:
The Bear and the Piano
Laura Ellen Anderson
Ferocious Wild Beasts
Rory and the Monstersitter
Tracey Corderoy/Steven Lenton
Shifty McGifty and Slipper Sam – The Diamond Chase
I still love The Gruffalo despite reading it well over seven million times. I’ve noticed bit of a social media backlash towards Julia Donaldson. Perhaps we should be spending our money on up and coming authors who don’t rake in millions each year like she does, but I enjoy this famous tale, and most importantly, so does Edie. Aside from the rhyme and memorable brains versus brawn tale, the characters and their words are perfect for the worst accents I can muster. Just good fun on so many levels.