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We’re back with another round-up of books we’ve enjoyed reading recently… we’ve certainly been getting through more books than usual during the Covid-10 lockdown. Some of these books are new releases, some of them are old favourites. There’s a mixture of fiction and factual as well as picture books and chapter books. Some we own ourselves, others are borrowed from our local library. All are genuine recommendations, rather than books we’ve been asked to promote.
Reading is a huge part of our family life and we love being able to share our current favourites, as well as hearing your recommendations to inspire our future reading.
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We hope this post will provide inspiration if you’re looking for new reading material for your children. We’d also love to hear about your favourite books so do let me know in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page or you can tweet me on @cardiffmummy or tag @cardiffmummysays on Instagram and I’ll share your recommendations on my Instagram Stories.
For more reading inspiration – for children and grown-ups – see the Books section of Cardiff Mummy Says. You might also like the newly launched Cardiff Mummy Says online bookclub, a weekly discussion during the Covid-19 lockdown.
You’re Called What? By Kes Grey and Nikki Dyson (Macmillan)
I’ve mentioned previously how much my youngest son enjoys the Oi Frog series – humorous books full of animals being told they can only sit on objects that rhyme with their species. You can imagine then that he was thrilled to receive as a birthday present You’re Called What?, in which Oi author Kes Grey teams up with illustrator Nikki Dyson. In this book, a whole host of creatures are waiting at the Ministry of Silly Animal Names to change their names. Each animal would rather have another animal’s name than their own, and each name causes much laughter from the other animals, with characters such as Monkeyface Prickleback, Blue-Footed Booby, Bone-Eating Snot Flower Worm and a Tassled Wobbegong all pointing out how awful their own name is. The final two pages of the book feature photos showing that these animals are, in fact, real, making this book educational as well as entertaining.
The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak (Puffin)
I first reviewed The Book With No Pictures on my blog way back in April 2016 and almost four years on, it’s still making us laugh. As the cover says, there are no pictures in this book. But there are words, lots of stupid words, in different font sizes and colours. The rule of the book is that the person reading it must say all of these words out loud – at the expense of the person reading the book. My children think it’s hysterical listening to me calling myself a monkey and admitting that my head is made of blueberry pizza. Alongside the silly words are an ‘aside’ commentary, voicing what the person reading the book is probably thinking. “Is this whole book a trick? Can I stop reading now please?” “No!” The very first time we read this book my children were pretty much crying with laughter, and it still has the same effect now. You can’t take yourself too seriously while reading this book, and the more you embrace its daftness, the funnier it becomes.
Mr Brown Can Moo! Can You? By Dr Seuss (Harper Collins)
Another book that will appeal to your silly side, this is great for toddlers and pre-schoolers, although my six-year-old still loves it too. From the author of The Grinch and The Cat In The Hat, this book is full of all of the wonderful sounds Mr Brown can make. He can moo like a cow, buzz like a bee, pop like a cork, hoo hoo like an owl, choo choo like a train and so many more. It then asks whether you can make those sounds too, culminating in a page listing all the sounds together, so you can imagine how much fun children have with that. A fun and interactive book that is perfect for younger children.
Lego Star Wars: Choose Your Path (DK)
My youngest child is Lego obsessed so naturally he gravitates towards books about his beloved plastic building bricks too. We have quite a few of these hardback Lego books from DK and although they are not cheap (generally £15-£20), for him they are worth saving up weeks of pocket money for; he pores over them for hours. Some of them are filled with all the different Lego sets and Minifigures from certain ranges, but this one is a build your own story style, where you create your adventure as you go. You chose which character you’d like to be, and then decide what course of action to take, meaning the story can unfold differently every time you read it. The story is brought to life with pictures of the relevant Lego Star Wars characters and spacecraft, and scenery, so even for those who can’t yet read independently, there’s plenty to look at.
The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy (Penguin)
You may well have seen images from this book being shared on social media in recent weeks. The black and white ink drawings, sometimes with a splash of water colour, accompanied by words of wisdom, are empowering and comforting at the best of times, but even more so now as we face the global Coronovirus pandemic. It’s a beautiful hard back book that tells a story if you wanted to read it from beginning to end, but equally you can dip in and out and find yourself drawn to a particular page that resonates with you. This book would make a wonderful keepsake gift. We love it!
Charlotte’s Web by EB White (Puffin)
This is my 10 year old’s all-time favourite book (so far, at any rate). She is constantly re-reading it and dipping in and out to her favourite parts and was thrilled when two years ago it became her class book because it turned out it was her teacher’s favourite children’s book too. I had to make her promise not to tell her friends what happened. First written in 1952, it is a wonderful tale of friendship and loyalty, about a little girl called Fern, a pig called Wilbur and a spider called Charlotte. It’s sad in parts but ultimately heartwarming and a book that will stay with you a very long time.
The World’s Worst Children 3 by David Walliams (Harper Collins)
I have to be honest, some of the stories in this collection make my stomach feel rather queasy, but my children adore the silly and grotesque nature of Walliams’s colourful characters. There’s The Terrible Triplets, who compete as to who can scoff the most bogeys, belly button fluff and earwax; Hank’s Pranks in which things backfire badly on the trickster when his family don’t realise he’s actually in danger; and Bonnie Bossypants who even proves to be a match for TV’s Wondernanny plus several more awful kids. The pages are really engaging, with different sized fonts, colourful illustrations interspersed between the text, and great use of language and words. As you can probably tell by this being The World’s Worst Children 3, the series also contains volumes 1 and 2, plus a World’s Worst Teachers collection too. All equally as yuck-filled.
AniMalcolm by David Baddiel (Harper Collins)
My 10 year old daughter has been reading a lot of David Baddiel books recently, having picked up a few in the library. She says this one is super funny with a good storyline and a lovely message about being yourself. Malcolm is the only one in his family who doesn’t like animals, which isn’t good in a house full of pets. When Malcolm heads off on his year six trip to the farm, a magical encounter means he finds himself changing into a whole host of animals… and learning that they are not so bad after all.
Fi A Joe Allan by Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)
My children are in a Welsh medium primary school (or at least they were until the Covid 19 closure!) and so I encourage them to read Welsh language fiction at home as well as their school reading books, as well as reading to them in Welsh to the best of my ability. We love to support original Welsh fiction, rather than just translations of popular English titles, and as this book is about Welsh football it’s been a hit with all three of my children. My 10 year old daughter read it on her own whereas I’ve been reading it to my eight and six year old sons over the last week or so. It’s an engaging and touching story of Marc Huws – named after the famous player-manager Mark Hughes. He doesn’t have the best relationship with his dad, but that begins to change when the two head to France to follow their beloved Welsh football team during Euro 2016.
For more Welsh language book ideas, see this post 26 Welsh language books for children aged 0-11 and this post 14 bilingual Welsh and English picture books my children love