Before you read this, full disclosure, I have just become an Amazon affiliate. In saying that, this editorial is in no way influenced by Amazon. Amazon just happen to stock some of missy’s favourite books so I have linked to them.

I have always loved buying books for tots. Being a word nerd makes this a requirement really. But let’s face it, when most of us buy a gift we want it to be “the” gift, right? You know, the one that becomes the favourite, be it the soft toy that is kept on the bed until the kid goes to university, or the dog-eared picture book that is loved well beyond age-appropriateness. The challenge is knowing what books kids like. So, below I share the favourite books of my 18-month-old in the hope that it will help others. I also include some of my favourite books for her, because, let’s face it, if you have to read them over and over you might as well enjoy them!

A Bit Lost
Oh, how I loved this book. Note, the past tense. Oh, OK, I still love it, but I have read it hundreds of times (and no, I’m not exaggerating). This little gem is adorable. Beautifully illustrated, it’s about a little owl who falls from her nest and – with the help of a, let’s face it, daft squirrel – goes searching for her mummy. I think the kickers here are having mum in the story, and the suspense leading up to – spoiler alert – finding mummy.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy
An oldy but a classic. I was surprised by how much little miss loved this tale of a dog who meets up with his friends, before they run into the neighbourhood cat (best part of the book as far as missy is concerned). What makes this book so great? I don’t know. It could be the rhythm, it could be the excitement of running into the cat. I like to think it’s my fabulous story-telling abilities, but whatever!

Spot Goes Shopping
Any Spot book works really. I think it helps that Spot is always doing things with Mum, Dad and Grandma. And every-day things too. In this one it’s shopping and missy delights in saying “beep beep” when Spot and his mum reach the cash register. What’s not to love? These books are simple, easy to follow and a little bit boring for the adult reader! Missy loves them. In fact, it’s the only book she requests by name. Fortunately, they’re over pretty quickly!

These next two are my favourites. Don’t get me wrong, missy loves them too, but I think I love them more.

I Want My Hat Back
I fell in love with this book at the bookstore (that’s right, I still shop at a book store). It’s cute, adventurous, and just a tiny bit dark. It’s the tale of a bear who has lost his hat (kinda in the title) and goes searching for it, only to (spoiler alert again) eat the woodland creature that had the nerve to steal it. At least, that’s what’s implied. It’s a bit of a giggle, and takes a while to get boring.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
I first heard this book sitting on the library floor with my daughter. It helps when a comedian reads it. My tip is to make sure you have a run-through on your own before you tackle this with a  toddler. It doesn’t read like your every-day book, and it’s so much fun for it. This book is about a pigeon who is desperate to drive a bus. Your job as the reader is to not let him! This is a great book for any toddler who likes to say “no”. A real giggle.

Already I’m noticing some new contenders making their way into the regular book cycle (thankfully); Pants and Never Shake a Rattlesnake being the front contenders. I’ll keep you updated. For the moment though, any story with mum, dad or a little bit of an exciting conclusion wins every time. Hopefully these tips help you choose the childhood favourite!