Reading with Sam


Animal Railway


DK Children’s Encyclopedia


My Digger is Bigger


Look and Say What You See on the Farm


199 Things that go



Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall

Sam and I have read this book together so many times! We’ve renewed it from the library again and again. We initially chose it because Sam loves spotting and naming the different vehicles that we see when we’re out and about. He was certainly drawn to all the familiar buses, trucks, cars and motorbikes in the book. The text is very simple: lists of vehicles with their colours. The real richness is in the illustrations. They tell separate stories to the words and this is why we love Red Car, Red Bus so much. There’s so much happening on each page; the street scenes are packed with life. There are characters and plots to follow from page to page. You choose who or what to follow and you create the narrative. The book can be different each time you read. We certainly noticed new things every time.

Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012.



A Recipe for Bedtime by Peter Bently & Sarah Massini

I chose this book for us to read together at bedtime because the little curly haired blonde boy in the story looks just like Sam! A Recipe for Bedtime soon became one of Sam’s favourite bedtime books. The similarity between our bedtime routine and that in the book really helped. Sam clearly identified with what was going on.  Sarah Massini’s illustrations are gorgeous.

Published by Hodder Children’s Books, 2014.






Let’s Look at Buildings by Britta Teckentrup


Published by Boxer Books, 2015.



Wow! What a Body Can Do






365 Penguins



Garden Sounds by Sam Taplin & Federica Iossa

This is the first book to become Sam’s favourite. It’s the one he chooses above all others on his bookshelf. He will happily sit and read it to himself and spends ages looking through the pages. He’s learnt to press the sound buttons and I think that, for him, this is a big part of the book’s appeal. He also loves the touchy-feely elements; the pages are die cut and provide loads of tactile interest.

Published by Usborne, 2016.



Baby Sparkle: Things That Go

Sam loves this book and returns to it time and time again. It’s the first book he actually chose to read rather than chew!

He likes looking at the different vehicles; his favourite is the truck. He enjoys listening to the onomatopoeic words, in particular the ‘Clickety-clack! Clickety-clack!’ for the steam train. The glittery pages that pages glisten and sparkle when they catch the light have caught his attention too.

It’s been a real hit and I can’t quite bring myself to return it to the library just yet.

Published by Dorling Kindersley, 2015.



Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett

Sam and I have read this book many times since borrowing it from the library. He seems to have really taken a shine to it. It helps that the text is beautifully simple: two words per double page – a colour and an object – making it just right for his current attention span.

Emily Gravett’s illustrations are stunning and gave us lots of interesting things to look at and talk about. We really liked how, on each double page, Chameleon had changed to a different colour and shape. There were lovely patterns to look at too.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books, 2010.



Animal Opposites by Nicola Killen

This is a gorgeous board book that Sam enjoyed a lot. He particularly liked the fold out pages and watching how they made the pictures bigger. The onomatopoeic words on each page (whoosh, stomp, flip flap…) made him smile too. It was like having sound effects as I read the book aloud and it really helped to bring the story alive.

The illustrations are beautiful and we liked the range of animals included in the story. We were particularly pleased to see the penguins as Sam has lots of toy penguins in his room and he really likes them. We thought this was a super book and a lovely introduction to opposites.

Published by Egmont, 2013.



Funny Bunnies Up and Down by David Melling

This is a terrific board book full of bunnies on pogo sticks! It’s a humorous tale of opposites where the bunnies get into all sorts of scrapes. It’s told simply, with lots of repetition. The story also rhymes which makes it fun to read aloud. Sam definitely enjoyed listening to this book and we read it several times before returning it to the library.

Published by Hodder Children’s Books, 2014.



This Rabbit, That Rabbit by Jane Porter

This was Sam’s Easter book from the library and we read it several times over the Easter bank holiday weekend. He enjoyed the sturdy board book format and, now that he’s getting better at holding things, he reached out to grab and touch the pages. The book further helped his sensory development because this is a shiny touch book where the pictures are high gloss and feel nice to the touch. I really liked the rhymes in the book and, even though Sam is too young to understand them, it’s important (in terms of story enjoyment and phonic awareness) for him to hear rhymes from an early age. The bunnies were fun and full of personality and we really enjoyed reading the story.

Published by Walker Books, 2013.



Betty goes bananas by Steve Antony

Sam was transfixed listening to this book. I think that the large illustrations of black and white Betty against the colourful backgrounds really stood out and caught his attention. I’m sure it’ll be a book that we return to as he gets older; the repetitive storyline and language are perfect for sharing with young readers and, of course, the topic of toddler tantrums will no doubt start to ring true.

Published by Oxford University Press, 2014.



Big and Small by Britta Teckentrup

This is a beautifully simple book with one word per page. It’s a book of contrasts: the mountain and the snowflake; the tree and the acorn; the bird and the worm. The colourful illustrations were eye catching and appealed to baby Sam. He particularly enjoyed the double page with the shark and the fish, perhaps because his nursery has an under the sea theme. The book lent itself to plenty of book talk, for example I used the pictures to explain the link between an apple and a seed, and a sunflower and a bee. Big and Small, the first book Sam ever read, was definitely a big hit with this small baby!

Published by Barefoot Books, 2013.