I was introduced to Camilla via a friend who just knew we’d get on with each other, both being enthusiastic kid’s book lovers. We met for coffee and tried to narrow down our favourites — it was a hard task which lead to her rather brilliant suggestion that we should do top ten lists on Babyccino — so you have Camilla to thank for this series!
Camilla has been a children’s book editor for 17 years and has written a number of books, including Lulu’s Shoes and The Littlest Dinosaur and the Naughty Rock and is currently working with Axel Scheffler (of The Gruffalo fame) on a new series of books for toddlers. Last year she teamed up with an ex-collegue to launch Nosy Crow, a new publisher of children’s books and apps – watch out for some very exciting launches from them soon (I was lucky enough to see one of their forthcoming apps in development and it looks SO SO SO exciting – more on that soon!). Camilla lives in London and has 2 daughters, aged 5 and 3. Here is her list (which she has narrowed down to ‘baby books’ – hmmmm! that might be cheating Camilla!):
1.) Peekabooks: Peekaboo Farm — Emily Bolam
Just ideal for very small babies. Dead simple, a small board book with gatefold flaps, ending in a mirror. I read this again and again with my children and it saw us through many a mealtime. My own copy is now encrusted with food!
2.) Goodnight Moon — Margaret Wise Brown & Clement Hurd
First published in the ’40s and has now become a classic. With a gentle rhyming text and a tiny mouse to spot on every spread, it’s just a lovely book to wind down with before bed.
3.) Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? — Eric Carle
Colours and Eric Carle’s beautiful animals: this is one that children learn very quickly and love reciting with you.
4.) Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy — Lynley Dodd
With its simple, very linear narrative and fun, ’scary’ moment, this is just great for toddlers who want a bit of story but can’t actually follow a complicated plot.
5.) Busy Railway — Rebecca Finn
Sturdy little board book with sliders to move – one of the books that my girls would constantly get off the shelf to be read.
6.) Good Night, Gorilla — Peggy Rathmann
So simple, so charming, with almost no text, this is the story of a zoo keeper trying to get his animals to go to bed, with very little success. Makes me feel better about my own failures in the sleep-training department.
7.) The Tiger Who Came to Tea — Judith Kerr
Possibly my favourite young picture book, it is just perfection – could read it till the cows come home.
8.) Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball — Vicki Churchill & Charles Fuge
A delightful, exuberant text about the sheer joy of being alive.
9.) You Choose! — Pippa Goodhart & Nick Sharratt
This is one of my girls’ favourites still, even though they’re a bit older. It has huge, busy scenes to look at and its very much something parent and child can enjoy together.
10.) The Very Hungry Caterpillar — Eric Carle
Quite simply the best novelty book ever. Genius.
To see other book lists, click here.