Reading lists

Annabel Karmel’s favourite picture books for children

Picture books are great for unleashing the imagination of kids. Within seconds of opening a book they can be launched into space, thrown into the world of dinosaurs and even jet across the world to learn about other countries.

Go to Sleep, Monty! by Kim Geyer

This is an adorable book by Kim Geyer. It’s about a little boy who gets the dog of his dreams, but he soon realises that looking after a puppy isn’t as easy as it looks! I absolutely love dogs; I have three of my own and am very lucky to have them in my life. Dogs have this ability to change your mood, relieve your stress and they give you constant affection and happiness – although they do make a mess once in a while!

I Don't Like Salad by Tony Ross

Getting kids to eat salad can be tough, especially if there isn’t an irresistible dressing so it’s no wonder The Little Princess refuses to eat her lettuce & tomatoes. The best way to combat fussy eating is to encourage kids to get involved with the growing, preparing and cooking of a meal. Whether it’s picking out the ripest apples in the shop, or washing and chopping the juiciest tomatoes, there’s lots of fun to be had. For The Little Princess it wasn’t until she planted a tomato seed and watched it grow, that she began to like the taste of tomatoes. 

The Best, Best, Baby! by Anthea Simmons, Georgie Birkett (Illustrator)

Older siblings everywhere will love this story by Anthea Simmons. Its showcases the fun, cute and also annoying qualities a new baby brother brings – like pulling hair, breaking toys and crying in the night. But despite baby brother not being able to climb trees or run around, big sister soon learns that no matter what he does, he’s still the best, best baby that a sister could ever ask for. This is sibling rivalry at its best and is great for helping children understand what happens when there’s a new addition to the family. It’s certainly challenging.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson captivates kids by taking them on journey with the mouse and the make-believe gruffalo. Her descriptions are great; I love the gruffalo with his knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of his nose. Like my New Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner which I wrote 25 years ago, this book will be passed down through the generations because it’s a classic bookshelf read.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

This is a good book to help children enhance their reading skills, with lots of basic rhyming pairs such as house and mouse, box and fox. The message in this book is really simple which is; you can’t say you don’t like green eggs and ham until you’ve tried it. This is very true of my recipe cookbooks too. Fussy eating is a very difficult stage but with a little patience and persistence, there are ways to overcome it.

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