At Sunshines, we think that sharing books with your child is one of the most important activities you can do (see our previous post). We thought that to celebrate World Book Week we would round up some of our favourite titles – is your child’s favourite amongst them?

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, by Michael Rosen.

Chosen by Sam, Deputy Manager at School House and Lauren, Early Years Practitioner at St Gerard’s

Sam said: It’s a super fun story all about a family going on an adventure to find a bear! How exciting!

I particularly like the way the story is written using lots of repetitive words and phrases throughout. I love the way I can use this format to introduce rhythm, beat and over exaggerated action (always a plus!) to support my storytelling and make the story as interesting,engaging and interactive for the children as possible.

Lauren said: I love reading this book to my little boy, it’s one of his favourites. When you read this story you experience the closeness of family, adventure and thrill.

The repetition in this book helps children to widen their vocabulary and it keeps their attention for longer periods of time. It also helps them to learn and join in with the repeated phrases.

This book also encourages children’s imagination. I love to take my little boy on adventures in the woods where we can re-enact the story with our own bear, have teddy bear’s picnics or even just repeating sections of the story whilst squelching in mud or splashing in puddles!

Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson

Chosen by Karen and Helen, Early Years Practitioners at School House

We love this story as there is an element of scary moments mixed with fun rhyming words which softens the scary parts. We like the way that all the characters stick together against the dragon, and that it is a story of friendship and kindness. The illustrations are beautiful and match the story well: the happier parts are colourful and bright and the scary parts have bold and dark colours allowing for lots of shared discussion around the story. The repetition keeps young children engaged. It is a popular story which will be remembered for years to come.

Oi Cat, Oi Dog, Oi Frog and Oi Duckbilled Platypus by Kes Gray and Jim Field.

Chosen by Laura, Lead Teacher

Obviously I couldn’t just choose one book, I had to choose a whole series! These rhyming books are about a frog and a cat trying to make sense of their world. Frog wants to sit on a chair but Cat tells him he has to sit on a log, those are the rules. What follows are the rules of what animal can sit on what object – cats on mats, kittens on mittens, gophers on sofas etc. Children find these books hilarious, while it introduces them to joy of rhyming and encourages them to listen extra carefully to word endings. Much fun can be had recreating your own (actual rhymes or nonsense rhymes – who cares?!) and the illustrations really help these books come to life. And on that note, I’m Laura and I’m off to sit on some Flora!

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr.

Chosen by Karon, Owner/Manager at Sunshines

The children’s classic, written in 1968 by Judith Kerr, tells the story of a young girl named Sophie, whose day takes an interesting turn when a hungry tiger turns up at the door and asks if he can join Sophie and her mother for tea.  Spoiler alert, if you’ve never read the story: he ends up eating far more than his fair share!!  This story has long been a  favourite of mine as I enjoyed reading it to my own daughter, who shares her name with the main character, and always lived in hope that one day a tiger would come to our house for tea.  Although the story is a little dated, (there aren’t many children who relate to a milkman bringing milk to the doorstep) children can still relate to the story; feeling incredulous at how greedy the tiger is and how he gets away with eating all the sandwiches and all the cakes!  As well as being a wonderful story to read it can also be used to further learning and development through various activities such as; supporting emotional development by acting out being a tiger and exploring feelings of being brave, strong and powerful, mathematical development through adding and subtracting, experimenting with food preparation or maybe just hosting a tea party. Children can also have fun developing their own stories by using their own favourite character, such as The Alien / Dinosaur / Witch who came to Tea.      

Elmer by David McKee

Chosen by Sasha, Early Years Practitioner at St Martin’s

This is one of my most favourite childhood books which is still very much enjoyed by children today. We meet a very colourful elephant named Elmer who learns that being different is not a bad thing at all. To learn this he tries to change himself but he soon discovers that he can offer a lot more just being himself. This story reminds you to be true to yourself and it’s OK to be different. The children also love this book as the illustrations are beautiful and so colourful!

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Chosen by Ellen, Early Years Practitioner at St Martin’s

My favourite book is Owl Babies I love this book because it’s such a lovely relatable story for little ones understanding Mummy comes back. I always like to read it to children who are anxious or new to the setting.

There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss

Chosen by Eve Ache, Manager at St Gerard’s 

In his story “There’s a wocket in my pocket”, Dr Seuss invites us to a joyful, fun and silly adventure, in which a little boy welcomes us on a house tour with a twist. In the story we explore the various rooms of the little boy’s house and are introduced to funny, silly and sometimes naughty creatures which live as part of everyday objects, such as the “wasket in the basket” or the “noothgrush on the toothbrush” or even the “zelf on the shelf”. Through using nonsense rhymes and everyday objects, Dr Seuss injects fun and laughter into creating and practising rhyming, an important phonics skills for children to master before they learn to read for themselves.

“There’s a wocket in my pocket” is one of the first books I was introduced by Dr. Seuss. I love the humour and lighthearted approach of Dr Seuss books and the laughter and smiles which are always guaranteed. Dr. SEUSS understands how to capture his audience and invites them to take part in the story with his funny rhymes. He encourages us to use our imagination and to be creative with our thoughts by allowing nonsense and not taking everything and ourselves too seriously. Can you and your child find some nonsense rhyming creatures in your house?

Hugless Douglas by David Melling

Chosen by Claire, Early Years Practitioner at St Martin’s

This really lovely story shows us that sometimes a hug is just what we need. The book explores us who we should hug, (its a good starting point for discussing stranger danger as the perfect hug only comes from Douglas’s mum), and explores feelings and reactions from others. The book has some mathematical language in it (tall/short/round/back to front) and it’s fun to try out all the different types of hugs with your child. My little one thinks that bit is hilarious!

The Last Noo Noo by Jill Murphy

Chosen by Sarah, Early Years Practitioner at St. Gerard’s

The story is all about Marlon, a monster who won’t give up his noo-noo (dummy). His grandma and mum want him to give it up, even the bullies try to make him give it up. Mum throws away all of his old noo-noos and the bullies create a ‘noo noo snatcher’ to steal the noo noo off of Marlon, but Marlon can only give it up when he is ready.

This story has been a family favourite for so many years, it all started twenty-five year ago with my niece, who loved her dummy so much she often had three! When my daughter arrived, I bought her a copy which we still have on our bookcase today. It is a lovely story for little ones struggling to give up the noo-noo.

Shark in the Park by Nick Sharrett

Chosen by Sandra, Manager at School House

This story is a lovely rhyming book with lots of repetition, making it a firm favourite with the children. It’s punchy and short text keeps everyone entertained and it’s fun story line makes it good for a giggle. When I read it with the children, we often get out our own telescopes to search for different things, so there are lots of activities associated with it. A great all rounder for every bookshelf!

Snatchabook by Helen Docherty

Chosen by Ali, Manager at St Martin’s

This is a suspenseful story without being scary. The Snatchabook behaves badly because he feels left out and doesn’t have any friends. Eliza encourages him to put things right and he ends up joining all the families for bedtime stories. With lots of rhymes and a lovely moral this book is definitely a favourite of mine to share with the children.

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson

Chosen by Sylwia Early Years Practitioner at St Gerard’s

This is a fantastic story about Stick Man and his journey through the seasons to be home in time for Christmas. The rhyme and repetition makes it easy for children to remember and join in with the story, as well as being full of great ideas of things you can do with a stick! The illustrations are so iconic and the book has been translated into many languages.

The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson

Chosen by Debbie, Senior Practitioner at St Gerard’s

As with all Julia Donaldson books this book incorporates rhyme and repeated refrains that engage children. Although large and awkward looking, the giant is gentle, kind and considerate and therefore is a good role model to the children. This book has a real “feel good” feeling to it, and is fun to read with the children.

Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough

Chosen by Mandy, Early Years Practitioner at St Gerard’s and Kelly, Early Years Practitioner at School House

Mandy: This story was in a “Book of Bear Stories” that I used to read to my children when they were small. We loved reading it using different voices for each of the characters and loved the rhyming aspect, the intrigue and element of surprise at the end.

Kelly: I enjoy encouraging the children to join in with the rhyming text when we read “Where’s My Teddy?”. We like to use different voices for the characters too and I love having discussions with the children about their own bears at home.

You Choose by Nick Sharratt

Chosen by Emily, Early Years Apprentice at School House

One of my favourite books to read with the children is You Choose! It gives each child a freedom of choice and explores their imagination. The children love interacting throughout as they make their choices  to create a different story each time!

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Chosen by Mary, Early Years Practitioner at School House

Dear Zoo is a simple and fun book which the children can participate in by guessing which animal is behind each flap after hearing simple clues. The book encourages listening skills and is short but engaging which holds children’s interest.

The Three Little Pigs – Traditional Tale

Chosen by Mandy, Manager at St Martin’s

 I really enjoy reading the ‘Three little pigs’ as children of all ages can recall the story and join in with the repeated refrain such as “I’ll Huff and ill puff and I’ll blow your house down” making it easy for them to retell the story in their own words.  The story offers lots of opportunities to ask open ended questions to extend children’s thinking and is fun for all the family to read together.  At Sunshines we use the story to support children’s story telling and creativity through making tabards and face masks of the characters so they can act out the story.  We also use indoor and outdoor play to explore natural resources and build our own houses and dens,  and engage in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths) projects to create structures and explore the properties of different materials.

Superworm by Julia Donaldson

Chosen by Gis, Early Years Practitioner at St Martin’s

I like reading Superworm, one of many books written by Julia Donaldson, to the children. It is perfect for children aged 3 to 4 years old.  

The story is beautifully written, rhyming with a pacy rhythm that the children love to join in with. Superworm is a local hero to all the other bugs and so when he is in trouble everyone works together to rescue him. 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Chosen by Deb, Manager at St Gerard’s

I used to read this book to my children and still enjoy sharing it with the children at Sunshines now. It is lovely to read it in the Springtime when children can explore the life cycle of a caterpillar promoting their understanding of the world. The story can also be read at any other time of year as it encourages mathematical development with counting, sequencing and talks about the days of the week.

We hope that this has given you some inspiration to share some fun and enjoyable stories with your little one. But remember, story time is never about the story: it is about the closeness you child feels when they spend some one to one quality time with you. This is the most important gift you can ever give to your child so snuggle up, get reading and go on an adventure!