The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)

I don't know if it's the bright collage illustrations or the holes that you can poke, but this classic book is wonderfully entertaining.

You can now buy official Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric in a range of prints, so I couldn't resist making a skirt out of it for my little girl.

Richard Scarry's Biggest Word Book Ever!

I eagerly tracked this book down, because it reminded me so much of the few gigantic books we had in our primary school library. The pages are 2 feet tall, it's really sturdy and crammed with wonderful little illustrations. I loved Richard Scarry books as a child (I'm sure there'll be more of his in the list by the time I'm done). When Amelie was quite little she would crawl over the pages, and at 2 years old, we play 'eye spy' with it. Every now and again I tuck it away for a while, and it's a huge hit when I bring it out again. If friends with kids visit I like to bring it out, and the expressions on their faces when they see the size of it is priceless!

Big Red Hen & the Little Lost Egg (Margaret Wild)

A motherly (but childless) hen finds an abandoned egg and looks after it, waiting for it to hatch, not knowing what type of baby bird will appear.

I enjoy reading this book as much as my daughter does. It embodies the instinctive love a parent has for their child, regardless of who they might turn out to be. I think it would actually be the perfect book for adoptive parents to read to their child. My favourite line in it is when the hen says to the egg: "Do not be afraid. I am here. Waiting". I said much the same thing to my belly while I waited for Rowan to arrive.

As for Amelie, she loves the pictures and the description of all of the various types of birds that are mentioned in the story, especially if I use a different voice for each one.

The Poky Little Puppy (Janette Sebring Lowrey)

This book was a gift for Amelie when she turned one, but at that age she wasn't ready for it. She always wanted to turn the page well before I'd read her all the words, and the text to picture ratio wasn't right for her.

Fast forward to age 2 and it's perfect. We've read it so much she knows it off by heart and quotes it often. If we hear a fire engine siren she will say "I can hear something!". Or if she's lost something she'll say "Where is in the world is that..."

It's beautifully illustrated, and I was thrilled to find that you can buy Poky Little Puppy fabric now. I'm chuffed that Amelie's favourite item of clothing is a skirt I sewed for her. To make it, I used a tute I found on the web here.

This lovely blog template

Before I catalogue any more books, I just wanted to say how much I love this gorgeous blog template, which I was able to customize with my choice of images, with a bit of fiddling around.

For those who are interested, this is what you have to do:
  1. Open up the template's .xml file in Notepad, and find the banner jpg file. If you want to jump straight to it, it's here.
  2. Save that banner image to your computer by right clicking and selecting Save Image As.
  3. Open that file up in Photoshop. You need to put your own photos on top of the original images that are already there (or perhaps you could take your paintbrush and paint over the original pics with white to erase them, if you prefer, and then put your own photos onto the rectangles).
  4. Open up an image you want to put onto the clothesline in Photoshop. Drag it onto the banner jpg, which you also have open in Photoshop. Place it roughly where you need it to be.
  5. Use Edit/Transform/Scale and also Edit/Transform/Rotate to get your image to be on an angle like the original banner pics were. Tip: by holding down the shift key while you transform the scale, you preserve the perspective of the photo and it won't 'warp'.
  6. When you're happy with the placement of your photo on the clothesline, hit Enter.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 with the other 2 pics on the clothesline.
  8. When finished, save that banner file as a jpeg onto your computer with a new filename.
  9. Upload the banner jpg to your photo storage website of choice (eg photobucket). Copy the direct link for your banner jpg.
  10. In the wooden fence template .xml file, opened in Notepad, search for "bg_header". You need to select the entire weblink (that ends in "bg_header.jpg") and replace it with your photobucket (or similar) direct link address for your customized banner.
  11. Save your template file with a new name eg Wooden-Fence2.xml.
  12. Load your Wooden-Fence2.xml file into Blogger via Layout / Edit HTML.
  13. Sit back and admire your work!

The Tiger Who Came To Tea (Judith Kerr)

Welcome to my very first post! This blog is a collection of wonderful childrens books that my kids and I treasure. First up: the classic Tiger Who Came To Tea. We absolutely adore this book. It's perfect for my 2 year old, so well written with lovely illustrations. It's about cheeky tiger who turns up at the door and eats little Sophie & her mummy out of house and home! Luckily Sophie's daddy has an idea to save the day.

What's even more gorgeous is that you can now buy the book with a little porcelain tea set to have your own tiger tea parties! It's available from The Book Depository.