Happy Book Week Australia! Last year I wrote a post detailing some of our favourite books that we have read from the ages of birth up to two and a half years. This post will be our favourite books from the past year, since last Book Week. As always, reading is one of the most important things you can do for your children to develop their language and reading skills.
Below you’ll find a list of some of our favourite books from the last 12 months, in no particular order. My child was aged 2.5 -3.5 years during this time however many of them are still great options for children younger and older. If you want to read last year’s post with options from birth to 2.5 years, you can find it here.
Thomas Comes to Australia
He received this as a present for his second birthday but it was a little long for his attention span. Thomas the Tank Engine is sent on a trip to Australia and each page takes him to various places around the country such as The Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Sydney and more. Towards the end of 2018 we went on a holiday to Melbourne and when we got back I showed him the Melbourne page in this book. Well, he could recognise the picture and from then on he has sat and listened to the entire book. We then saw fireworks in December and in this book there are fireworks at the end. Being able to make some real life connections really sparked his interest with this book.
We’re going on a Bear Hunt
This is a well known book that recently celebrated its 30th anniversary. A family set out to find a bear and go through all sorts of things like grass, a river, mud, a forest, etc before arriving at the cave. We’ve had this book for ages (and recommended it last year) but he really got into it again leading up to his third birthday. He would “read” it from memory and often act it out around the house or when going on walks.
This is a longer read and I think the only reason he sits still for that long is because he truly loves the moon! Little bilby sees the moon for the first time but notices part of it starts to go missing each night and she asks all the other animals for help to find it. A wise owl reassures Bilby that it will come back and sure enough it does. It’s a great book to help explain the cycle of the moon and we refer to it often when our little one wants to see the moon but it isn’t there.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
We originally started with the finger puppet baby version but have also had this full version for a while. It was only when they started reading it at childcare that he really started to want to read it at home as well. It beautifully teaches the lifecycle of the caterpillar turning into a butterfly. It promotes numeracy with the fruits being eaten and is generally a lovely story to read. Again, the repetition will see children read from memory with the pictures guiding them but I never realised how much my child would mimic me, with the highs and low of volume and the tone I read it in. The book is also 50 years old, so it’s a great children’s classic!
The Three Little Pigs
He originally came across this story on youtube so I ended up buying the book. I never could have anticipated how involved he would get with this – he often “plays” this at home and this story is responsible for quite a few locked doors! Each little pig built a house and the big bad wolf came and blew them down…. but not the house made of bricks! Up the chimney he goes and lands in the pot of water. Ouch! Some of the fairy tales can be a bit scary. In the version we got the big bad wolf jumps out the pot, runs off and is never seen again. In other versions they put the lid on and cook him…… so maybe check the end of the book before buying, depending on how you think your child may react.
A book filled with dinosaurs, that teaches opposites while following a rhyming pattern. My three year old had this one memorised within the week! Great for dinosaur lovers and this would even work for younger children.
Alpacas with Maracas
This was actually the 2019 book for National Simultaneous Storytime and the edition I purchased came with a set of maracas. Chick a chick a cha cha! The illustrations alone are adorable, seriously cute! We see Macca and Al decide to enter a talent show, trying out acts before finally choosing one to perform. It’s silly, fun book, with great rhyming and illustrations to keep the kids interested.
Let’s Pretend: Firefighter (book + puzzle)
This book tells a little story about the firefighters while asking you to find objects on the page. It also has pieces for you to place on the other pages so it’s really a three in one activity for your child, which is excellent if they don’t want to sit still and listen to stories for long. We’ve had it since the beginning of the year but it’s only been the past month where we have really been interested in firefighters so this book has now become a favourite!
Follow that Tiger
I’m sensing a theme with my child…. he likes books where a character will ROAR. This book follows a tiger sneaking through the jungle before finally jumping out at the end. There are lots of different animals to look at in this book.
If I’m being honest this one is one of my favourites but we did go through a stage where he quite liked it. Grandma Poss made Hush invisible but now they are on a mission to turn her back. Except she doesn’t remember the spell! Off they go around Australia to find the food that Hush must eat. It really is a beautiful book. Fun fact – the State Library in Melbourne has a statue of Grandma Poss and Hush. Go see it when you’re next in Melbourne!
Boo’s Adventures At Home (series)
See also ‘Boo’s Adventures at the Pool, Boo’s Adventures at the Farm, Boo’s Adventures at the Beach’. These books are all about water safety in the locations that the book is focussed on. A little alien creature is taught about water safety via the two characters Lifesaver Lil and Wise Owl. It was passed on to me via a workmate and it has been very useful. It’s made by the team at Kids Alive.
What will I have for Breakfast… (series)
See also ‘What will I have for Morning Tea, Lunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner’. These little books were in the book pack given out by CYH and they follow the format of having ingredients on one page with the other page saying “What will I have for breakfast?” and then you lift the flap and it’s a picture of the meal. While they aren’t a story in the traditional sense they are perfect for practicing pronunciation of words and for identifying common foods and perhaps even encouraging your little one to try some new ones.
Pig the Pug (series)
See also ‘Pig the Fibber, Pig the Winner, Pig the Star, Pig the Grub, Pig the Elf’ (we haven’t read the newly released, ‘Pig the Tourist’ yet) Turns out Pig the Pug gets up to all sorts of mischief, sometimes at the expense of his poor friend Trevor. Each book has its own little way of showing behaviours that are not nice (lying, jealousy, etc) and that it is not good to behave in certain ways. Pig always learns this the hard way. Pig the Fibber, Pig the Pug and Pig the Star are probably our most popular choices.
Cranky Bear series (series)
While The Very Cranky Bear has been a long favourite we introduced all the others as well (Hungry Bear, Noisy Bear, Sleepy Bear, Itchy Bear, Brave Bear) and while he hasn’t quite formed the same attachments to them they are still read regularly enough to deserve a mention. There are different characters introduced for each book but all of them follow the original bear.
Tell me about your favourite books!
I hope that you have found some new books to try from this list. We have lots of books so it was hard to narrow them down. The more I looked through the bookcase, the more I wanted to include! We are always on the lookout for new books so please tell me your favourites!