Each year at Christmas time we give both the girls a book that we hope will be a 'keeper'. The type of book they may not love right now, but over time it is one they won't grow out of fast and it will be read over and over for years to come. Sometimes they do love it instantly but the book has so much to it that they get more and more out of it as they grow.
Finding such books is really hard.
The best ones so far have come from Graeme Base. The Water Hole, Uno's Garden and ol' faithful Animalia. These books have beautiful images that small children can look at, you can make up stories to the pictures or read the written story. As the children develop, the illustrations have things to find hidden in the drawings, important messages about the world and even mathematical equations to work out.
Old classics can also work but most are longer books and not as suitable for little kids. Little Women is on the list for the coming Christmas.
I have also found Ruby Red Shoes.
We all love Ruby Red Shoes.
It is a very simple book about Ruby the hare. Ruby is a very 'aware hare' who lives in a caravan with her grandmother, Babushka Galina Galushka. Ruby has a beautiful garden, with chooks who cheat when they play soccer and who are learning to speak french. Ruby has lots of fun playing with friends and being all cosy in her caravan.
The paper of the book is a high quality thick paper, not 'toddler proof' plastic paper but thicker than many kids books and provides that feeling that you are reading a 'special' book.
Most of all, whenever we read Ruby Red Shoes we are always a teeny bit sad that it is over. We would like to see more of Ruby and her garden and what she is up to.
Ruby Red Shoes is written and illustrated by Australian artist Kate Knapp, Kate and Ruby share a blog, and it looks like they might be in the process of putting together Ruby's next adventure!
Images are from the Ruby Red Shoes website