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Toddler books to take away on holiday

August 12, 2011
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I love sharing books with my little boy, and have read stories to him since before he was born. So when we’re going to be spending a night away from home, I always make sure that we have some favourite books with us.

Here are six of the best:

Dig, Dig, Digging by Margaret Mayo and Alex Ayliffe
Contains bright, colourful illustrations of diggers, car transporters, road rollers and other working vehicles. The words are rhythmic, almost like a rap. My vehicle-mad son also loves Choo Choo Clickety Clack and Emergency! by the same team.

Elmer by David McKee
One of my favourite ever stories, so I was very pleased when Aled started to love it as much as I do. Elmer is a beautiful, multicoloured patchwork elephant who decides he is tired of being different and disguises himself as a ordinary grey elephant, before realising that the other elephants love him for who he is. I think this message is particularly valuable for boys, as our society puts pressure on boys and men to appear to be dull and drab and not stand out in the way that they dress.

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
A frankly bonkers but really charming story of a boy who flies a small aeroplane ‘higher, and higher, and higher’ and lands on the moon when he runs out of petrol. Fortunately he finds a friendly martian and they both work together to get themselves and their vehicles back home. The penguin from Lost and Found has a cameo appearance too.

That’s Not My Monkey by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
Aled loves shouting out the words and stroking the different textures. He is also very amused by the idea of having a ‘fluffy tummy’ and when I ask him whether he has a fluffy tummy he says, “No – it’s smooth!”

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
I didn’t see the appeal of this at first but my sister’s fiancรฉ told me it had been one of his favourites when he was young, so I gave it a go. Aled’s favourite bit is when ‘Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town’ appears – it makes him squeal with delight!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I remember this from when I was a small girl and I used to love poking my fingers through the holes. I bought myself a board book version years ago, long before Aled was born, and it was the first book I shared with him. When he was a baby he used to gaze at the pictures. When he first started talking, he’d say ‘butterfly’. Now he jumps around and flaps his arms pretending to be a butterfly!

All lovely books, but if I had to just pick one it would be Elmer.

What books would you recommend to entertain a toddler on an overnight stay?

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 12, 2011 5:34 pm

    You know how you always say I’m a bad influence? Well, next time I see you, I’ll show you the “Hairy MacLary ” iPad app, with narration by a certain Mr Tennant. In his natural Scottish accent… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    As far as books to take on holiday, we usually try to have a least one thing by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, with Room on the Broom probably the favourite. When she was younger the geekdaughter always liked a selection of ‘Miffy’ stories, these days it’s more likely to be a selection from the Mr Men or Little Miss series.

    For the geekson we like the โ€Tales from Acorn Wood” series from the aforementioned Donaldson and Scheffler – the flaps keep him entertained! And the “That’s not my…” series always go down well too ๐Ÿ™‚ We’re also just introducing him to the ‘Maisy’ series so a couple of those will probably get taken as well.

    • August 13, 2011 12:42 pm

      Thanks for the reminder about the Hairy Maclary app – we had a play with that last night (on the iPad I borrowed from work) and it’s excellent. Not just because of David Tennant, but also because Aled found his way around it very quickly and loved it! Some pages have been coloured in and have alternative audio ๐Ÿ˜‰ We then had to read the board book to him 3 times, competing to see who could do the most dramatic “EEEEEOWWWFFTZ!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Thanks also for the reminder about other books to try with Aled. I think he’s probably old enough to appreciate Donaldson and Scheffler stuff now. And he’s been enjoying Arthur Lowe reading ‘Mr Noisy’ (which I now have on my iPhone, by the old fashioned method of playing the record and putting the iPhone in front of the speaker with the voice memo recorder switched on). Will also get some Miffy.

  2. August 13, 2011 11:18 pm

    Gosh, Elmer, I love that book. Good observation too. Society which once celebrated boys as the peacocks of society now expects them to be bland and conformist. At the risk of being inflammatory, while there are still clear inequalities in society for women it is now become increasingly feminised. Boys increasingly are having female values imposed on them and the ability to be distinctive, with being able to display their individuality crushed. The assumption has become the men are by default the problem in almost any situation. Boys need to know it is completely acceptable to be themselves and enjoy who they are regardless of what society expects. We are a remarkably judgemental society and now it is detrimental to masculinity. Being sympathetic to women does not require the feminisation of boys

    In other news. I also adore Hairy Maclary, a book which we got for our nephew for his first birthday and I remember reading to the older kids when they were young, excellent choice. The Very Hungry Caterpillar and That’s Not My Money are also rather a joy!

    • August 14, 2011 9:31 am

      Thanks for your comments. Rest assured that I’m going take care that young Aled gets no pressure from me to be anything other than himself, whatever mix of ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits he may have. I can’t fix the rest of society but I can try to ensure that he has all the support he needs to turn from a very hungry caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly ๐Ÿ˜‰


  1. Cross-stitched Elmer « minibreak mummy

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