(Earlier posts in this series are here: February, March and April 2011).
Having just realised that I missed doing a Toddler's Top 20 for May, and it's now close to the end of June (ooooops ;-), I thought I'd do a combined May-June list of the titles the 28-month-old is enjoying.
The last 4-5 weeks have seen a reduction in the number of different books read on each day, and the emergence of the craving for repetition. C has never been fixated in the past on having the same book read and re-read and re-read again in one sitting, but she is definitely showing this tendency now, especially with the simpler titles she's enjoying.
The reason, I think, is that she is starting to associate the shape of letters and words with the sound they make. She will point at a word, and, using her memory of how the story goes, half-queryingly attempt it: "On? Mama, it is ON?" It is very exciting to me to see her trying to work out the connection between the sound and the shape of the word on the page. The day she pointed to the word "On" in an unfamiliar book and proudly proclaimed "IT IS SAY ON!" was a brilliant one for both of us.
This pre-reading phase is connected, in her as it was in her 6 year old sister before her at about this age, with a desire to "practice" her understanding on familiar titles, and ones without too many words to a page. With a few notable exceptions, therefore, this month's Top 20 veers towards the linguistically simple.
So here is her list:
2. Grug learns to read
3. Grug at the zoo
4. Grug learns to dance
5. Grug learns to cook
Ted Prior's wonderful Grug books somehow managed to pass us by when my elder two kids were toddlers. C discovered Grug at the library and instantly fell in love, and we've since acquired quite a few of the titles in the series. There's an interesting interview with Ted Prior here for fans of the books.
6. On Your Potty!
7. Eat Your Dinner!
8. Get Into Bed!
These three George and Bartholomew books by Virginia Miller were given to my second girl when she was a toddler, and man did she love them. C finds them hilarious, and with the low number of words on each page, she loves to sit "reading" them by herself, turning the pages as she burbles the story off from memory.
9. Look, There's a Hippopotamus in the Playground Eating Cake
10. Guess What? There's a Hippopotamus on the Hospital Roof Eating Cake
11. My Hippopotamus is on Our Caravan Roof Getting Sunburnt
Hazel Edwards' Hippopotamus series have always appealed strongly to us here, but C has really started to cotton on to them in the past few weeks. Her favourite is the playground one - she loves any and all books about school at the moment.
12. Meet Strawberry Shortcake (Justine Fontes)
Yes, yes, I realise it's commercialised and so forth, but C, like her big sister A (who's now nearly 8), has always liked Strawberry Shortcake dollies to play with, and enjoyed the cartoon when it pops up in their viewing time. This book is an "origin story" of sorts, as it's where Strawberry first meets all the friends that become her posse in later adventures. C loves it, and requests it several times a day.
13. Little Baa (Kim Lewis)
14. Goodnight Harry (Kim Lewis)
15. Hooray for Harry! (Kim Lewis)
Two of these are retained from last month, and with a new adventure of Harry's added in for good measure. These gentle, beautiful, watercolour-art, soft-feeling books are just like a warm cuddly blanket, and that's how C likes to use them, requesting them often before her nap or before bed, or when she's in the mood for a quiet cuddle.
16. Inside, Outside, Upside Down (Stan & Jan Berenstain)
This Berenstain Bears book is an example of the simple-language repetitive-text that C is favouring as she gets the hang of squiggles on a page representing words. I don't really like the Berenstain Bears books much myself, but clearly I am not the target audience, and there's no denying they work for toddlers!
17. Wombat Divine (Mem Fox)
C discovered this lovely, lovely Christmas story on the shelf and, with a toddler's fine disregard for seasonality, has put it into regular rotation, along with her Wiggles Christmas DVD. (Christmas in June indeed ;-)
18. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? (Eric Carle)
C likes all the Eric Carle books on our shelf, but this one, with its colour / animal / word repetition nexus, is her current favourite.
19. Olivia (Ian Falconer)
The original book about one of children's fiction's charming pigs. C loves it.
20. Little Tiger's Big Surprise (Julie Sykes)
C has become very attached to this story about a tiger cub getting used to the idea of having a baby brother or sister around - hopefully she's not thinking of new cubs at her house though! (Hint - It. Ain't. Happening ;-)