Tuesday, 10 July 2012

10 Loved and battered picture books

Whilst trying to bring order to children's books, it struck me that the battered and repaired books were generally the most loved. Many of these are books that we have read to all five children over the last 18 years.

 These books are not the latest but have stood the test of a few years. They may not even be the best-we have found some great books recently but are books that I've probably read hundreds of times.


  • Richard Scarry's Busy Workers looks at all the people who help

  • Peepo! by Janet and Allan Ahlberg didn't appear until child number 3 but has been read enough to fit into the Loved and Battered class. Evocative pictures from the Second World War and memorable rhyming text.

  • Alfie's feet by Shirley Hughes was brought second hand in 1995. Each child has wanted this book read again and again. They can probably empathise with Alfie's problem.

  • Another Alfie book is Alfie gets in first again by Shirley Hughes. Alfie gets in first and locks his mother out. What family doesn't have a story akin to this in the archives?

  • Another Shirley Hughes book, yes, we love her books, is Out and about through the year. This is a simple anthology of her seasonal poems for children. This isn't so battered-the original was replaced. When we go to the sea, I find myself repeating the Seaside poem
Sand in the sandwiches,
 sand in the tea,
Flat, wet sand running
 down to the sea.


  • Parables of Jesus by B Ramsbottom is part of a series of books about New Testament events that have been published over the last few years. This is one of the older books in the series and is well loved for its simple but clear text and full page colour illustrations.

  • God is everywhere by Carine Mackenzie is again part of a series of books. These are about God's attributes. We really preferred the older editions with slightly dated photographs rather than the more modern cartoon-type pictures. We still have one or two of the older books around but most have just worn out and had to be replaced with the newer series. The text is clear and well suited to smaller children.

  • Benny the breakdown truck by Keren Ludlow and Willy Imax is a collection of five stories.
There is a yellow breakdown truck
And Benny is his name.
He works at Smallbills Garage
And breakdowns are his game.


  • Kipper's birthday by Mick Inkpen seems to deal with a difficult concept but is much appreciated for also covering the important subject of birthdays.

  • The blue balloon, again, by Mick Inkpen is fantastic fun-the fold outs have been sellotaped but no one seems to care and I know it almost off by heart.
Just 10-there are many more.

 I would love to know about other people's loved and battered picture books.