by Phyllida Jacobs
Buy Will & Nill
Anyone can tell you that I adore books, but what you might not know is that before I was at Tiny Owl, I worked as a teaching assistant in a kindergarten. I really enjoyed my time there, and I learned a lot. When you work with young children, you often find that they teach you as much as you teach them, perhaps more!
My favourite part of the day was always reading to the children and seeing them get excited about stories. Each time we would let one child choose a book to be read out loud, either from our collection or the bag of books we borrowed from the library every week. A good book would inevitably result in cries of “Read it again!”
Of course I adore all of Tiny Owl’s books, but there are a few I think are especially lovely! Here are my three favourites, and why I think children will love them!
The Elephant’s Umbrella
Understanding the importance of sharing and co-operation is so important, but it can be difficult for young children to grasp. This can often lead to disputes over legos, toy cars and dinosaurs that may end in tears. This sweet book shows children that when we share what we have, everyone benefits. Many children have a strong affinity with animals, and will become strongly attached to their stuffed animals or pets. My class would often scream with delight when they saw a cat in the garden! Animal tales like The Elephant’s Umbrella are a great way to tell a story with a message without the moral feeling too forced.
Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me
I will admit that as a dog person, I’m probably biased in my love for this collection of poems about a cute puppy! But Thinker has a lot more going on than that. As well as Ehsan Abdollahi’s beautiful illustrations, the beauty of Eloise Greenfield’s poetry just sings off the page. Younger children respond incredibly well to rhythm and rhyme, so poetry is a great way to engage their attention. If you ever need a gaggle of excited three year olds to calm down and be still, try getting them to recite a song or poem they know well. I’ve read a lot of children’s books, so I can honestly say that Thinker is special. One thing that struck me when reading it was how refreshing it was to see a black family depicted in a book that wasn’t about race. It’s vital for their self-esteem and sense of identity that children of all ethnicities see themselves represented in the books they read, and that these books are seen as universal rather than being sidelined. The book will show children that they should be proud of who they are, a sorely needed message.
Will & Nill
The story of Will & Nill is deceptively simple – two alley cats, one lazy and one industrious, look for food. It’s a perfect illustration of the saying ‘the early bird catches the worm’. Whether it’s reading, numeracy, drawing or sports, every child has something they find difficult. This book encourages them to be like the cat Will and never give up! It will show them that if we always try our best and are kind to others, we can achieve our goals.
So don’t delay, the child in your life needs these sweet and inspiring books!
Phyllida Jacobs is an intern at Tiny Owl
- Watch the fab trailers for Thinker, The Elephant’s Umbrella, and Will & Nill!
- Read a blog: Ten reasons to read The Elephant’s Umbrella!
- Thinker picked as the best diverse children’s books by The Evening Standard
- Author of Will & Nill nominated for the Hans Christian Andersen Award!
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