Some of my fondest memories growing up are snuggling up on the sofa with my dad while he read Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton to me and my brother and sister aloud – he always did excellent voices for the characters – the BFG had a booming Yorkshire accent while Julian from the Famous Five was very effeminate with a lisp – Dad regularly had me and my brother and sister in stitches.Now I’m a parent I’ve got the chance to share some of these amazing books with my son. Reading together is special time, when the mobile phones and tech devices are put far out of reach, the television is switched off and we concentrate 100% on reading together, admiring the pictures, guessing what’s going to happen and practising our accents….

With World Book Day just around the corner, here are some of our favourites, especially good for reading aloud with grandparents, cousins, aunties and uncles.

For the youngest readers:

Daisy – eat your peasDaisy eat our peas

By Kes Grey and illustrated by Nick Sharratt

If your little ones have ever been through the fussy eater phase (or are still in it) this book is a must. Steely-eyed Daisy refuses to eat her peas, even when her mum reaches desperation point and offers her a new bike, a chocolate factory and even a space rocket.

Talking points:

Discuss what foods you’re not too keen on, and what might persuade you to eat it…

We’re going on a bear hunt We're going on a bear hunt

By Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

The words in this beautifully illustrated book take on a rhythm of their own as even the youngest children get carried along with the adventure of trekking through woodland and marshland in search of the elusive bear.

Talking points:

Be sure to do all the actions as you follow the family on their journey. We can’t go under it [get down low on the floor]. We can’t go over it [stand up tall on tiptoes!]. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it [cue stumbling and struggling, parting the grasses with your hands or lifting your feet as you clamber through the mud].

The SnowmanThe Snowman

By Raymond Briggs

The words in this beautifully illustrated book take on a rhythm of their own as even the youngest children get carried along with the adventure of trekking through woodland and marshland in search of the elusive bear.

Talking points:

This one’s perfect for snowy holidays in the Highlands – make your own snowman with a wide smile, big round satsuma nose and tartan scarf.

The Elephant and the Bad BabyElephant and the bad baby

By Elfrida Vipont and illustrated by Raymond Briggs

The bad baby takes centre stage as he goes on a crime spree with a friendly elephant and his very long trunk, which rather likes ice-cream, sausages, buns and crisps…. But does he remember his pleases and thankyous?

Talking points:

Everyone can join in the loud “rumpeta rumpeta” bits! And see who can remember who is running after the elephant and the bad baby as they race from shop to shop? Clue: the ice-cream man, pork the butcher…. Who else?

For over 5s:


By Roald Dahl

With his delightfully complex language and amazing imagination, the BFG, believed to be Roald Dahl’s favourite of all his creations, takes Sophie (and the reader) on a journey through snozzcumbers and peachy fruits in this fun read.

Talking points:

Ask the little ones to share their dreams – what would they eat? What would the world look like? What would it smell like? What could they hear? Who would be there with them? What would they do there?

The enchanted woodThe Enchanted Wood

By Enid Blyton

Moon-face, Silky the fairy and the Saucepan Man are just some of the memorable characters who bring this story to life as they take their new friends Joe, Beth & Franny to the Land of Take What you Want, Toyland and the Land of Ice and Snow.

Talking points:

What fun imaginary lands can your little ones think of? The Land of Doughnuts or the Land of Lego? Perhaps you can see an enchanted wood or even a magic faraway tree from your large holiday house…

Flat StanleyFlat Stanley

By Jeff Brown

Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning to discover he has been crushed by a board and is as flat as a pancake! He quite likes being able to slide under doors and reach into small spaces, and he loves the low air fares that mean he can travel to California for the price of a first class stamp! But his little brother Arthur is less than impressed…

Talking points:

Make your own Stanley kite to fly in the garden and plan where in the world you would travel if you were as flat as Stanley.

So next time you’re packing for a large group holiday with multiple generations or friends and their kids, take a few moments to pack some fabulous books that the kids will love reading together.


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