From an early age, Tiny was obsessed with books. I read to him all the time, and he would often be found in his room, quietly flipping through pages, chatting away to himself. Pickle has been much slower with his obsession – more than likely linked to how much time I have to sit and read to him – but now, at age 18 months, his literary appetite is insatiable.
He spends his days following us around, carrying assorted books, with calls of “Book! More! Again! Up! Book!” At bedtime, we sit in his room and he chooses two stories; at the end of the second, he tries to slide off my lap with an ever-hopeful “More?” Recently, I’ve been making a big effort to stop and read to him when he asks, even when it means reading the same story over and over again.
His current favourites are:
Niño’s Mask, by Jeanette Winter
I chose this for Tiny because I liked the idea of a story based on fact (it is about the fiesta of the tigre, where villagers try to catch the spirit of a jaguar in order to protect their crops), and the inclusion of various Spanish words. He really likes it, but surprisingly, Pickle is the one who has taken a real shine to it. If he isn’t asking for “Gnu!”, he’s asking for “Niño! Mask!”
Where is the Green Sheep?, by Mem Fox
This was Tiny’s favourite book when he was about a year old; Pickle now loves it and I’m secretly quite glad, because I love it too. It just makes me smile, the whole way through.
Hairy Maclary’s Caterwaul Caper, by Lynley Dodd
Dogs barking, a cat yowling…a toddler’s paradise of a book. For the last 30 years, kiwi kids have grown up with Hairy Maclary, and as an adult, they are delightful to read. I love how Dodd uses such grown-up language and makes it accessible; words such as “snippets” and “cacophonous” don’t feature in children’s stories all that often!