Both her dad and I are bookworms – although we had to downsize our collections when our office/spare bedroom was transformed into her nursery (not that we really minded, of course, as it was for a very good cause).
Freya already loves books, although it would be good if she would stop chewing them while she has some left. I can’t wait to introduce her to my favourites and I’ve kept a few well-worn ones for when she is older. However, I expected to be reading for her pleasure for many years yet without ever thinking that I might also gain something from children’s titles. I realise now that is ridiculously shortsighted.
Looking back on the last 19 months, as well as the That’s Not My and similar books, we have read certain ones which have shaped my early days of motherhood and I thought I would share some of them.
They have included:
I bought this simple board book from the charity shop when she was really small. I’ve read it to her lots and it continues to be a favourite.
It introduces keywords – and when I read it now she will touch her “button nose” or her “ten wriggly toes” but the part I like the most is the last sentence.
“Snuggle down my baby and rest your sleepy head.” And not because it is about going to bed!
This will probably sound silly but reading the “my baby” part over and over helped me when I struggled to bond in those early days and months. I felt disconnected when nothing I did comforted her because of the pain of reflux but repeating “my baby” seemed to help get across that she was MY baby. I told you, silly, but there it is.
I think it will always be special to me and certainly one to go in her keepsake box, if she hasn’t chewed it to bits by then.
I know, a bit out of season with this one but even before she was born I planned to read this to her every Christmas eve, as I have done twice now (although, to be fair, she wasn’t really listening either time).
I want to make this one of our new family traditions, hopefully read in hushed tones as she is snuggled up in bed ready to go to sleep (fingers crossed) before the Big Day.
This version will be great when she is older because each page has a search and find quiz as well as the words of the poem.
I had never come across Dr Seuss before but this look at the “misadventures that life may have in store for us” is not just a lesson for children. Apparently it is a popular gift for students graduating from high school or college but I think the message is clear whatever stage of life you happen to be at.
I fell in love with it on the first read through (and got a bit misty eyed thinking about all the places she will go, which inspired this post). At the moment Freya only sits still for a couple of pages at a time but I hope she will eventually frequently request it as her bedtime story. I will definitely be keeping this for her for when she leaves school as inspiration for whatever she decides to do next.
As I said, I thought it would be a good while before I could introduce her to the books I love and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte would be first on the list.
However, a lovely friend who lives in Yorkshire, and has visited to the Bronte Parsonage in Haworth with me more times than she probably cares to remember, sent Freya this book when she was born. I could hardly contain my excitement.
Now, clearly, it’s nothing like the actual book (as it says on the front, it’s a weather primer) but I love it all the same. Each of the board pages is about the unpredictable weather at Wuthering Heights on the moors and as well as illustrations by Alison Oliver, the style of which reminds me of Tim Burton, it features selected quotes from the book to describe each event from sunny and breezy to windy and stormy.
For anyone interested, the Baby-Lit books cover many popular classics including Moby Dick, Anna Karenina and Jabberwocky, teaching such things as colours, sounds and opposites.
Thank you to Mother Mands who gave me the idea for this post by suggesting I talk about the Wuthering Heights book, which I happened to post about on Instagram. I haven’t been paid for or asked to write about any of them, they just mean something to me.
Have you got a favourite children’s book? What does it mean to you? And any suggestions for what we should try next? Freya has a library card and isn’t afraid to use it.