I am a book lover, so is my partner. Therefore my children had no choice but to be book lovers themselves! We frequent the marvellous local libraries in our borough and we have a lot of books that we read over and over again. I wanted to use this opportunity to show you all our top five favourites (in alphabetical order, links to purchasing sites when you click on the titles)…
1. BURGLAR BILL by Janet & Allan Ahlberg
One of our favourite books, namely because Mama loves doing the voices of Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty (Got to love a glottal stop, or seventeen!). And we love ‘Boglaboll’. Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s books were really popular when I was a child, and they always seem to get it right. Their stories are timeless, and this is one of the classics for sure.
2. CHARLIE & B by Helen Webster
This book is very special to us. It was written by the mum of a very dear friend, who lives in Johannesburg. It is set in Swaziland, where my partner grew up and where Nathi was born. It reminds us of the wonderful landscape of the country and features some indiginous creatures like porcupines and caracals. It’s funny and gorgeous, and the illustrations by Jess Jardim-Wedenpohl really capture the beauty of Swaziland… and dogs!
3. THE GRUFFALO by Julia Donaldson
Julia Donaldson never gets it wrong. Her stories are so easy to read, so entertaining and imaginative. The Gruffalo will be on many of your top-five lists, I’m sure. It’s a wonderful story with a very brave and courageous, and slightly cocky, protagonist!
4. POO BUM by Stephanie Blake
I think this is my favourite children’s book ever. When I first read it, I howled with laughter. Originally written in French, with the title ‘Caca Boudin’ (which is wonderful, isn’t it), the book follows a young rabbit who can only say ‘Poo Bum’. So, when a wolf wants to eat him, he replies ‘Poo Bum’. He is then subsequently eaten by the wolf, who then becomes poorly and calls the doctor. I won’t spoil the last part of the story because you need to find out for yourselves, but I urge you to find a copy of this book asap.
5. THE TIGER WHO CAME TO TEA by Judith Kerr
A childhood classic for generations and generations. I love this story because the family just seem to be OK about a tiger coming to tea. I admit I have never really understood the underlying message of the story… Is Sophie telling her daddy a story (which would seem plausible given the language of the writing)? Was it a story to cover up the fact that Sophie and her mum had a massive feast and ate everything in the house? Or is it simply a girl’s idea of what it would be like if a tiger did come to tea? Any suggestions welcome, and I’m sorry if I seem dense!
So, these are our top five. What are yours? Do you have any books that you read over and over again, to the point that you don’t actually need to physically read them anymore? I often read ‘Poo Bum’ to Khaya when we didn’t have the book, and I remembered it word-for-word. I also remember being in Cape Town with my partner’s cast mates and asking them all to take turns to read it in their own way. It was very entertaining! I think my partner reads it best. His wolf voice is perfect.
Happy World Book Day to you all, and I hope you have all had fun, not stress, getting your kids ready for the celebrations at school! Let’s all keep our libraries going by regularly visiting and borrowing books. Kindles are great, but you can’t beat a proper book, especially for children.