We love books – obviously – and we often review latest releases. But I’ve been a parent for nearly twenty years, and I know that the older books sometimes get overlooked by new parents – and they’re missing out on a gem or two of bedtime reading. I think we all know the Very Hungry Caterpillar, of course, but I find newer parents may not know Albert Le Blanc, Little Tiger or Spot. There have been some beautiful picture books that we’d like to re-introduce into your life – I welcome you to the Sunday Picture Book series :)
It’s actually quite hard to imagine a nursery without a copy of Dear Zoo. Surely every parent knows this one?
Rod Campbell’s classic lift-the-flap book is pretty much the perfect toddler read – you’ll soon know it word-for-word (I’m pretty sure I can recite the whole thing even now, and I haven’t looked at it for six or seven years, probably). But as is always the way with the good ones, you really won’t mind – it’s like having an old friend along at bedtime.
Dear Zoo has been a firm favourite with toddlers and their parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982 – I’ve never met a child who didn’t want to lift the flap to find out what the silly old zoo have sent this time, and laughing excitedly when we have to Send It Back.
The bold, simple artwork is easy on a toddlers brain, the range of animals allows for some perfect animal-noise practice, and the repetitive theme and easy-to-say refrain make it impossible to read silently. Dear Zoo is a must for every child’s bookshelf – and make sure you get the chunky board book version. Looking at the battered state of our copy, I suspect a paperback just might not do the job of standing up so well to small eager hands.