My Little Homie (And Other Stories)

AB To Jay-Z | The Little Homie

This is funny (and has the edge over the ‘123’ companion volume). It’s the picture book equivalent of the song in I-liked-it-too kids’ movies where adults laugh louder than the children. If you’ve got any kind of flow (I know I don’t) your kids will most definitely share your fun. They may want to hear some of the songs… If you’re keen to avoid those awkward phone calls from concerned nursery parents about the protection racket your daughter/son is running from the wendy house in Purple room (not to mention those words that there aren’t Makaton signs for) you really do want to avoid the ‘Parental Advisory’ versions. Googling the song title plus ‘clean radio’ gets you some of the way (and throws up some amusingly pixilated videos), but there might still be some lyrics that are tricky tricky tricky to explain, so preview first. Ms Chiha does stand accused of showing too much love for the West coast and hating on the East (No Q Tip? No KRS One? No Chuck D? No Jazzy Jay?), but maybe I’m just showing my age, or wishing I’d thought of it first.

Here We Are | Oliver Jeffers

No bicoastal beef here, just a warm blast of feel-good humanism from Belfast via Brooklyn. You hopefully have this already (and it may well have been on Little Spree Instagram already). If not, the illustrations have a level of detail worthy of Richard Scarry at his finest and the message is both timely and timeless.

A River | Marc Martin
The Dragon Machine | Helen Ward

I do my best to keep up my picture book geek credentials, but every so often things pass me by. Here (above) are a couple of slightly dog-eared beauties I’ve come across in schools recently.

If all children grew up in Reggio Emilia (Italy) the world would be better place in my opinion, simply because the nurseries there are second to none. Anyone who wants to do something creative with their preschooler(s) will find sparks here and here. Brought to mind by a recent talk by Debi Keyte-Hartland. Check her out here.

Comet In Moominland (special collector’s edition) | Tove Jansson

Finally, our bedtime story for maybe as long as two years now has been Narnia and we’ve now got to the last chapter of the last book (we saved the prequel – The Magician’s Nephew – til last and started with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which has worked well; A Horse and His Boy is skippable in my opinion). I’m hoping Comet in Moominland (above) will be a worthy successor : same imaginary-world real-world interface, same anti-Nazi subtext. Wish us luck!

Tom (Daddy to Tabitha & Marlow, and Educational Psychologist)