I was looking at our storybook collection last night and it dawned on me that more than 2 years on, we’re still reading some of our favourite books. While Coco has outgrown most of the baby books, she still enjoys listening to some of the old favourites. What’s more, she can now chip in by reading some of the lines aloud!
Claire, on the other hand, is still relishing stories suited for younger toddlers, such as lift-the-flap Maisy books, touch-and-feel and peek-a-boo type books.
So, what is ONE mum to do when TWO girls want mummy to read them both a book at the same time? I thought it would be interesting to share our favourite titles that appeal to both my 19 month-old and 3 year-old little readers, so that you too can prop one kiddo upon each of your thighs and enjoy some two-on-one (literally) story time.
(Before they start elbowing and kicking each other, that is. Or before your legs go numb, whichever is earlier.)
- Lesser-known gems by Julia Donaldson
Now, which toddler (and parent) isn’t already all too familiar with the famous and wildly-popular Gruffalo by this author?
While we like her amicable creature with its orange eyes and knobbly knees, the girls prefer counting along to One Mole Digging A Hole with the aid of its simple rhymes, endearing animals and colourful illustrations.
Conjurer Cow is also a hot favourite in this house – especially when daddy assumes the character of the clumsy, bumbling cow trying his darnedest to make a white rabbit appear out of his magician’s hat. Coco’s favourite part involves flying underwear!
- Animal Pants by Brian Moses
The animals are holding a competition for the best underpants! What an array of underwear they turn up in! Guess who will emerge the winner of this hilarious competition? (Yes, apparently any story involving underwear is a hit with the girls…)
- Penguin Young Readers Series
We chanced upon this treasure trove of stories for young readers when my mum returned from a trip overseas with a copy of Bake Mice Bake (by Eric Seltzer). The Level 1 book tells an endearing tale of busy little mice running a bake shop along with the cutest illustrations! The sentences rhyme beautifully, and are so short and simple that even Coco can recite the entire story from memory.
The Level 2 books involve longer and more complex storylines, and a wider vocabulary. We love Dog On His Bus (also by Eric Seltzer) and Pajama Party (by Joan Holub). Plus, each book costs only $5!
- Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
This is another old favourite from Coco’s younger days. While she has since progressed beyond looking for the animals hidden under each flap and identifying them by name (that’s Claire’s job now!), reading the labels on each animal’s crate is what’s keeping her interested in this story. Through this book, we’ve learnt new words like “danger” and “fragile”.
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
If you don’t already know the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you must have been wrapped in a cocoon all this while! It’s amazing how much punch and detail is packed into this simple tale about a ravenous little grub. Eric Carle has weaved multiple concepts on counting, colours, days of the week and of course, the life cycle of a butterfly all into his well-loved work. While Claire loves shouting out the names of the delicious food that the caterpillar gobbles up (“lollipop!” “ice-cream!” “sausage!”), Coco gladly chimes in with “but he was still hungry!” at every page.
Happy reading, y’all (and good luck reading to two tiny ones at once!)
(All books are available from www.bookdepository.com)