Toddlers are inscrutable little people. You may chance upon one perched in their parents arms. You can scrunch your face and make cooing noises at them and a Godfather mafia boss could look back at you. Their physical dependence on those around them is inversely proportional to the love they command. Toddlers are curious about the world around them, constantly exploring and learning. They can often be found licking couch corners, assessing the taste of the decorative shrub, digging into mud and splashing in the water. They are busy taking in this place they find themselves in. This is a great time to introduce them to books. Of course, there are plenty of board books and feeling books for very young children.
Pre-schoolers love hanging by that rope while they try to climb the mountain. They will stumble and trip, but they will pick themselves up and go right on climbing. A pre-schooler testing their new found skill of the alphabet is endearing. It also means they are confident to try new things and conquer new words.
Both toddlers and pre-schoolers love illustrations of all kinds, preferably one that covers the whole page. This little selection can be a good place to start as any.
Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett is a fantastic book that plays on the four words in the title over and over again in several permutations and combinations to hilarious effect. Gravett’s superior illustrations make this book an everywhere accompaniment.
Age Range: 1 – 4 years
Grade Level: Preschool and up
Tuesday by David Wiesner is a spectacularly illustrated picture book that reads more like a movie.The reader is transported to a surreal world with page after page of beautiful watercolour images. Tuesday is the winner of the 1991 Caldecott Medal.
Age Range: 4 – 7 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Harold And The Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is a brilliant book that every little child can identify with. The almost hairless hero conjures new world all with a line here and a curve there with his purple crayon. If you flip the pages in rapid succession the book plays out like an animation. Many happy adventures in which pies are eaten, a balloon ride taken, an anchor is laid are undertaken before bedtime. The author has captured the idea that nothing can match the imagination of a child.
Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Lexile Measure: 490
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a perennial favourite that explains the lifecycle of a butterfly. The caterpillar devours pretty much anything on its way to becoming a butterfly. The gourmand journey is expressed unusually through holes in the book – eaten clean by the hero of our book – the caterpillar!
Age Range: 1 – 3 years
Lexile Measure: AD460L
My Mother’s Sari, written by Sandhya Rao and illustrated by Nina Sabnani is a beautiful Indian book. Children interpret the five-metre long fabric in their own way. It is a train to one and a blanket to another. It can also be a nose wiper! Sabnani showcases actual saris in some of the many different styles it is found in. Bengal cotton, synthetic, ikkat and the beautiful hand-printed one. All in all a treat for young minds.
Age Range: 4 – 7 year
Grade Level: Preschool
Lexile Measure: AD330
Read to the toddler, read to the pre-schooler, let them relish running their fingers over the words and get familiar with the book, even it means chewing a page. Answer when they repeatedly ask you about a picture or a word. Let them hold that oversized book tight as they go to sleep. After all aren’t children made readers on the laps of their parents?