1 August 2017 Susannah

Books for a Special Grandchild

Child Reading

I am so terribly excited. In early December this year I am to become a grandma!!!! My daughter Elinor and her husband Craig are expecting their first baby. Of course, as soon as I heard the news my thoughts turned to literary associations. If this baby really wants to get off to a good start with its grandmother, it will arrive on 16 December (Jane Austen’s birthday). And I’d love little Jane or little Austen to be given a nice literary name – not that I have any say at all in the matter, but one can always hope.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

I have already given the baby its first present – a book! The one I chose was one of the very best books for young children – Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The story is charming, but as well as entertaining a young reader, it also teaches counting, the life cycle of the caterpillar, the days of the week, and a range of food types. Did you know that there is an Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Massachusetts? Eric Carle, who founded the museum, was the author and illustrator of over 70 books for children. It was the first full-scale museum in the USA devoted to picture book art. And just recently the world’s first Dr Seuss Museum opened. It is in his home town of Springfield, Massachusetts and is very interactive.

But there are so many fabulous stories to teach little ones a delight in books. I will be buying my grandchild many old favourites – The Story of Miss Moppet, Dear Zoo, Hairy Maclary, Where’s Spot, Green Eggs and Ham, Crictor the Boa Constrictor, Horton Hatches the Egg, Are You My Mother?, Little Black Sambo (not a p.c. book these days, but kids love it), Where the Wild Things Are, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, Possum Magic, and so many more.

The knitting needles are out, I’m looking at baby clothes in shops with a whole new interest, and I have been giving some thought to grandparents in literature. Which ones are good and kind, which ones are horrid?

download pdf fileMy latest Literary Snapshot, Grandparents in Literature, will update you on the good, eccentric, neglectful and the horrid literary grandparents. Click here to purchase for only $3.00 to download and print at home. This fascinating look at grandparents comes with a recommended reading list to help you enjoy discovering Grandparents in Literature. How many can you name?

I think you’ll enjoy it. You might even be able to send me suggestions of other fabulous or ghastly grandparents who appear in fiction.

Are you a grandparent? Do you have books you especially love to read your grandchildren? Tell me by leaving a comment.

   The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
   The Story of Miss Moppet by Beatrix Potter
   Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
   Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd
   Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill
   Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
   Crictor the Boa Constrictor by Tomi Ungerer
   Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
   Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
   The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
   Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
   The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie by May Gibbs
   Possum Magic by Mem Fox

I only recommend books I have read and know. Some of these links are my affiliate links. If you buy a book by clicking on one of these links I receive a small commission. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but does help cover the cost of producing my free newsletter.


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Featured image credit- Child Reading by David Beale, https://stocksnap.io/photo/J0K0VJPBY4
Body image credit- The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/336162.Very_Hungry_Caterpillar
Icon image credit- PDF Download by Costa Galaktionov from the Noun Project

Comments (12)

  1. Malvina Yock

    I loved reading to my children when they were younger, even through the times they could read themselves. When chicken pox roared through the family when they were in primary school (and all good readers themselves) I remember us all ‘resting’ in the afternoon on my bed, and reading them The Hobbit. They loved it, and so began their love affair with Tolkien. Now I regularly read to my grandchildren, aged from 2 to 8, usually with them draped on my lap, even the 8 year old boy. Last year he and I read Matilda together during a family holiday. This year I’m planning to read him and his sister Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone. All of us can’t wait! I wish I could remember where I read this, but I did find a study which suggested that if you read to a child for 5,000 hours prior to school entry, that child has a very easy ‘in’ to becoming literate. When you do the maths and break it down, I think it works out to 5 hours a week of lap time reading. That’s before-rest time and before-bed time reading sorted! My children and grandchildren have responded to a variety of classic children’s books, plus newies. They also respond to books in their current interest areas, such as dinosaurs, aliens, diggers, insects, crocodiles, pirates, underpants, garbage trucks, whales, the moon and stars, that sort of thing. My one granddaughter is instantly attracted to pink and purple sparkly books with fairies and ballet dancers and such – fortunately there are well written ‘decorated’ books for girls now available. But there are always old favourite picture books, such as The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Dogger, Winnie the Pooh, Possum Magic, The Magic Faraway Tree, etc. I didn’t have many new books to read as a child, so I have probably overcompensated and glutted my children and grandchildren with books. There’s been no complaints!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      That is such an interesting figure. There is no doubt that lots of reading time makes school easier for a beginner. You are a wonderful grandmother, Malvina. Thanks for including some other favourites, and good luck on the Harry Potter journey.

  2. Don’t forget the Little Miss Austen board books–my 3-year-old granddaughter loved them and has now passed them down to her little sister. It gave me great joy to see her carrying them around with her.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Absolutely! I cannot wait to bring Austen into my grandchild’s life asap.

  3. Dear Susannah,
    I now have a Great Grandson, his name is Austin, (i not e)he is so delightful, am I not lucky to not only have 10 grandchildren, but now a great grandson? I gave him a beautiful illustrated children’s bible for his Baptism and at Christmas a book, ‘Winnie the Pooh’ My granddaughter said, we got a bookcase Nana because we knew you would start Austin’s book collection.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I do not think you can give a child a better gift than a bookcase full of books!
      And isn’t the word ‘lashings’ so wonderfully evocative when describing an afternoon tea. I can feel my mouth watering at the very mention.
      I do agree about not being so PC with the Enid Blyton books. They were part of an era, and you cannot begin to go back through all the classics and make them PC.

  4. bechelamer

    I don’t have any grandchildren but I can tell you that Edwina the Emu by Sheena Knowles and Rod Clement was so much a favourite with my son that I can still recite most of it by heart, and he’s 22 years old! The thing I liked about it was that Edwina went out to look for work to support the growing family while Edward stayed home to hatch the eggs, which is true to life and a great lesson in gender roles!

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Edwina the Emu definitely sounds like one to add to my collection. Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Karen Camer

    Hi Susannah
    My granddaughter is 5 months old and of course both my daughter and I have been busily buying books. I can remember growing up with Little Black Sambo and Little Black Quasha and of course these will be read to my little Sophie. Also Struwpeter (might wait a bit for that one). On a recent visit to Aldi, I was amazed at the selection of good quality children’s books including There’s a hippopotamus on my roof eating cake and Hairy McLarey amongst others and only $5. Also the Telegraph has a promotion, buy the Telegraph each day and pay $2.30 for a classic childrens book, so far we have Possum Magic, Pig the Pug, The Angry Bear, The Wonky Donkey with 15 in the series.

    I always think the Where’s Wally books are great for the older child and in similar fashion Where’s Warhol. I had to buy that one for Sophie whilst I was in San Francisco and no doubt it will be a favourite.

    Then there are the Richard Scarry books. I could go on and on…….

    • Susannah Fullerton

      I still have many of the books I bought for my own children, which include Richard Scarry, Hairy Maclary and Where’s Wally. Thanks for the tip about Aldi and the Telegraph promotion. I am already getting so excited about all these children’s books.

  6. Gabrielle Donovan

    Yes many of the above books are favorites of newest granddaughter now an avid book lover aged 15 months.
    Last December I wrapped 25 Christmas themed books for her instead of an Advent calendar. She delighted in unwrapping a new book each day. Some suitable board books others read then packed away for this year. It is a tradition passed onto me from another friend whose grandchild child was struggling with reading at school. Magically developed a love of resding!
    A great idea to pass on to you and your book readers.

    • Susannah Fullerton

      Oh what a lovely idea – far better than an advent calendar that includes chocolate. I will definitely copy that and will have fun choosing the books. Thanks for sharing.

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