Our little girl still loves reading! She likes listening to stories, telling stories, writing stories and, now that she’s started school, reading stories. Reading to her is one of the only ways to keep her still.
1. Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend by Meredith Costain
Olivia’s Secret Scribbles makes the list for a second year in a row! We’ve read every book in the series at least three times, and I have to say they still manage to keep both of us interested. There’s something so sweet about Olivia and the challenges she has at home and school – perhaps because they mirror everything our daughter is going through.
My New Best Friend is a particular favourite, as our little girl started school this year. Just like Olivia, she has had to navigate the difficult and wonderful ways of playground friendships.
2. HotDog Book 8: Art Time! by Anh Do
Another Anh Do series, Hot Dog is about a sausage dog and his two friends Lizzzy the lizard and Kev the cat. This bizarre grouping solves mysteries, goes on camping trips and performs in the circus. It has simple yet entertaining stories that are easy to listen to before bed.
When the baddies stole the Llama Lisa, a priceless painting of a llama, our little girl was captivated by the action. When the Mona Lisa was mentioned on the TV a week later she shouted, ‘Mummy, they’ve copied the Llama Lisa from Hot Dog!’… How dare they!
3. Ten Little Princesses by Mike Brownlow
I’ve tried to encourage our little girl to be gender-neutral, but it’s almost time for me to give up on that noble goal. When she was three, Ten Little Pirates was on the Top 10 list. Now she’s five, it’s all about pink, princesses, dancing and a lot of Katy Perry music.
Ten Little Princesses is still a good story to read, even though I cringe at how one princess gets distracted by a handsome prince. I guess there are worse things that can happen, like being eaten by a troll (as one of the poor princesses discovers)!
4. In My Heart by Jo Witek
This is not a book she asks for every night, but whenever I pull it from the bookshelf she’s very happy to turn the pages and listen to the feelings.
This book made it on the 1-year-old list and the 3-year-old list, and here it is again – when she is five. Her feelings have evolved over this time, and she’s much more aware of the range of emotions she now feels. When I ask her at the end of the book how she feels right now, she usually answers sad, which is her way of saying she’s read enough and now wants to drift off to sleep.
5. I really like slop! by Mo Willems
The Piggie and Elephant books are hilarious! They are easy for beginner readers to read themselves, and they match our daughter’s sense of humour.
Piggie loves slop and is sad when Elephant says he doesn’t want to try it. Eventually Elephant caves and agrees to try the tiniest amount. Unlike Green Eggs and Ham, the slop turns out to be actually quite terrible. Our favourite line? “How do you get that old shoe taste?” Old shoes.
6. Ella Diaries: Christmas Crackers by Meredith Costain
Ella, the older sister of Olivia from Olivia’s Secret Scribbles, has a series of her own. Even though Ella has a lot more in common with our daughter – she likes craft, dressing up, and hanging with her friends – the books are not quite as fun to read.
The Christmas Crackers book is sweet though, as our daughter absolutely loves Christmas. By reading this one in the middle of the year we were able to trick ourselves into thinking that her favourite time of the year was just around the corner.
7. The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey
These books have a great concept – a wolf, a snake, a shark and a piranha get together to prove to the world that they can actually be good guys, and maybe even save the world. The banter between the four of them is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and our daughter loved having these read to her before bed.
Even though I’m disappointed that the only female characters are a sexy fox (blergh!) and an old crocodile with no teeth (OK, that’s kinda funny) overall, this is a pretty good series to read.
8. Hen in a Hat by Speld Decodable Readers
When our son learnt to read in kindergarten three years ago, the books sent home were mainly about matching the words with photos and learning through repetition. This has now changed, with much more of a focus on phonics and sounding out words, even if they’re not commonly seen words.
My daughter has flown through these ‘decodable’ readers and is reading so well after just 6 months at school. Hen in a Hat is one of these books that she now reads so easily on the tablet at school and home.
9. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Oliver Jeffers
Our fact-loving son didn’t care for these books much, but our daughter, with her sense of humour and love of colour, thinks these books are just wonderful. Duncan’s crayons that left home in the previous book, are now sending postcards back, describing they’re amazing adventures.
Our daughter is becoming quite the little artist, so what can be better than a book about crayons that talk?
10. Wolf Girl 1: Into the Wild by Anh Do
Another much-loved series from our favourite author, Anh Do. This one featured in the Top 10 Books Loved by my 7-year-old son, so I thought I’d try them out on my daughter too. We’ve been reading a chapter or two a night before bed and have just finished the first book.
Gwen is separated from her parents in the forest, a mystery that continues for the whole first book. She befriends a pack of dogs who become her family and learn to live in the wild. My daughter hangs off every word as I read.
Our daughter is at the time where she’s close to reading whole books on her own. Next year I have no doubt the list will be full of books that she’s read herself, and our nightly ritual of reading together will come to an end.