Reading with Felicity: Favourite books up to age one

Happy World Book Day!

As I’ve blogged about before, after the very early enjoyment of high contrast books and rhyming books, Felicity’s bookworm impulses all but disappeared (aside from noisy books of course) until the age of about 7-8 months. Then suddenly she seemed to twig that books were fun and would sit down and enjoy stories with us.

Here are a few of her favourites up to the age of one, that I haven’t shared already in my Reading with Felicity series. I’ve been meaning to share these for ages, so what better occasion than World Book Day?

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Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek
We’ve noticed Felicity goes through phases of being obsessed with different books which mysteriously become the biggest love of her life before she completely switches off from them again. So far Puffin Peter has been the longest lasting love so far, although it is starting to wane now as it is quite a long book for her. I’m slightly in love with this book too – Horacek was a new author and illustrator to me when I picked this up in the library (because it had a puffin on and who doesn’t love puffins?!), and I’m a big fan now. The illustrations are gorgeous and I’m hoping the plot is sufficiently engrossing we’ll be sharing this together for a good few more years. It’s also the nearest a picture book gets to an introduction to bird identification so Will is a big fan too! There’s even a whale so we get to practise our Dory from Finding Nemo whale voices. More seriously this is a very clever book which is touching and engaging as well as gently exploring how much using the right words matter.

Global Babies published by the Global Fund for Children
A classic of the first books genre is the ‘photos of baby faces’ book, and a lot incorporate photos of babies with other basic plot or rhymes (see This Little Baby below). Before Felicity was even born I bought this lovely little book. It’s very simple, with photographs of babies from many different cultures across the world who are all ‘beautiful, special and loved’. I thought it was a lovely way to introduce the idea that there is a whole world beyond our white Western bubble. Also, without getting too philosophical over baby books, frankly these days I think anything that teaches the concept that wherever you are from in the world every human has a lot more in common than anything that divides us is very valuable. She really really likes it as well, which is fairly crucial!

Orla Kiely’s Colours and Numbers
Will said I was being ridiculously pretentious when I bought these cheap at an NCT sale. Then Felicity loved them so I say it is never too young to introduce mid-century inspired design. They’re lovely, traditional picture books with a colour or number to a page, but with Kiely’s trademark patterns and eye for colour. They are very enjoyable objects to handle as well – board books but with lovely thick covers too so they feel like a proper grown up book.

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Annie Kubler.
I don’t think I grasped the point of books that illustrated songs or rhymes – couldn’t you just sing the song? But this is very much enjoyed when we sing it, and the pictures help show where to point on your face and body. Having a book with lyrics in it also allows a pre-verbal baby to request a bit of singing, as they can point to the book and know a terrible performance from Mummy or Daddy will be forthcoming.

Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson
It is a rule that any of these lists I write has to have a Julia Donladson book on it. Tabby McTat was a great loved favourite (in fact this reminds me I need to get it out of the Library again). It’s all about how Fred the busker’s cat gets lost but finds a home and family along the way.

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Penguin by Polly Dunbar
This has a slightly bizarre plot involving a silent penguin, a lion and an epic tantrum. I enjoy its slightly quirky humour and this is one of those books that makes me glad we offer Felicity a wide range of books as I could never have predicted how much she would love this at quite a young age. As with Puffin Peter, I think the plot about exploring strong emotion and disappointment (and not, er, firing penguins into outer space) will mean this comes back as a favourite when she’s a bit older too.

My Beak, Your Beak by Melanie Walsh
The lovely Jennifer from Pastry & Purls bought this for Felicity and my goodness it’s such a hit. Thank you Jennifer! It links together different types of animals, both everyday and more exotic, and notes their similarities, ‘penguins live in the snowy South Pole, robins live in the garden, both have pointy beaks’. We have had finger points to this quite regularly consistently since she got it, so I’m quite sad it’s gone out of print as clearly it is one of those ones that just appeals really visually to her.

This Little Baby by Sandra Lousada
Another one that’s sadly gone out of print, this simple black and white rhyming board book with photographs of babies doing a variety of things has been a regular book we enjoy sharing for ages now. Felicity has started to say ‘hello’ to the baby waving at the beginning and gets very sad at the crying baby ‘making lots of noise’. She loves the end when she sees her own reflection in the mirror and we say ‘and this is the baby I love the best’ with big cuddles.

Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr
I was surprised Felicity would sit through the whole of this book as Mog is quite long, it must be something to do with her great love of cats! I grew up with Mog and indeed this copy was actually one I used to read at my Gran’s house. If you’re not familiar with Mog then I thoroughly recommend getting hold of one of the books in the series. This is the original story about egg-loving, forgetful Mog, who manages to accidentally become a crime busting super cat!

That’s Not My Hedgehog, published by Usborne
We only have a few of this very popular and long running series, and this one about a prickly hedgehog was her favourite at her childminders just before her first birthday. She really likes the texture of the prickly hedgehog at the end.

I hope you had a lovely World Book Day. I’m so looking forward to when she’s a bit older and I can help Felicity choose a fun costume. I’m sure parents of older children will correct me about how differently I’ll feel when the pressure is on to come up with something she’ll love!