I have a confession. I can recite these five books from memory but I can’t remember my home phone number. There are so many wonderful children’s books out there, imagination-exploding stories told with beautiful illustrations and well-crafted words. But our favourites, the ones that are picked for bedtime without fail, are those tales that are carried with rhythm and rhyme.
These are five of my favourite rhyming books for toddlers. Hope they bring as much joy to your home as they have to ours!
1. Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett takes you on a sweet little journey as the main character, a little girl, visits animals, big and small, with her toy monkey in tow. A great book for littlies to learn names of animals and its simple rhyming words would make it equally suitable for an older child learning to read.
2. Smelly Peter, The Great Pea Eater written by Steve Smallman and illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy. It seems you are never too young to understand the humor in flatulence. Smelly Peter tells the tale of a young boy whose love of peas (and the wind it causes) takes him on an adventure into outer Space to the planet of Krell, where the inhabitants are green and don’t mind that Pete is “incredibly farty”. Sure to fill your house with giggles!
3. There’s an Ouch in my Pouch written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Gary Parsons tells the story of a little wallaby who no longer needs the security of his mummy’s pouch but doesn’t yet know it. On his journey to independence Willaby Wallaby meets a number of other ‘mummies’ willing to lend him a pouch, even a dingo, who as Willaby discovers, “has no pouch”! A wonderful tale about growing up, perfect for toddlers exploring their own independence.
4. Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement. Edwina and her partner Edward find themselves new parents to TEN baby emus. Like all new parents, they are faced with the prospect of supporting their growing family and so Edwina embarks on a hilarious search for a job. From ballerina to chimney sweep, Edwina epitomizes the notion of ‘giving it a go’. Perhaps my personal favourite, the illustrations are fantastic and the story never fails to make me smile.
5. Time for Bed written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Jane Dyer. Mem Fox is a genius in my eyes. Her stories are timeless: captivating child and adult imaginations over generations. Time for Bed is the perfect bedtime story. Carried along by a calming rhythm, we say good night to baby animals, from mice and fish, to calves and foals until all have gone to sleep. Combined with a warm bath and a squeezy cuddle this story is a sure way to lull an active toddler to sleep.