BUYER’S GUIDE 10 must-read books for your mini-me

Reading a good story together isn’t just great for bonding, junior also learns important lessons, such as on values.

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Your toddler is growing up in a world where it’s the norm to spend virtually all one’s time online or on social media. Therefore, it’s all the more important that you instil in them a strong reading habit while they are still young and receptive.

So, introduce them to a wide variety of books and genres to whet their appetite for the written word. This essential skill won’t just boost your little one’s imagination and improve their vocabulary, a great story can also impart important values and morals. Or help you start conversations about them.

Turn reading into an enjoyable activity for you and your tot ― make it a part of your nightly routine when you tuck them into bed. Entertain them with voice and sound effects, while pop-up books or those with flaps and tabs to be lifted turn reading into a fun, interactive experience. Start with this selection of children’s classics…

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THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR, BY ERIC CARLE

Price $11.78 (board book)
From Book Depository
For ages 0 to 5
What This board book tells the story of a caterpillar who ate his way through a variety of foods from an apple to an ice-cream cone, even a pickle. In the end, the caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, so your little one gets a crash course in biology! Your mini-me will learn about the different days of the week, as well as colours.
Parents say Matthew Chia, whose 3-year-old loves putting his fingers through the holes in the pages as he learns to count, likes the sturdy construction of the book. Easy to carry along on trips, it has also weathered his son’s drool pretty well.

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WHERE’S SPOT?, BY ERIC HILL

Price $10.54 (board book)
From Book Depository
For ages 0 to 5
What This volume launched a series of Spot-themed books featuring the lovable puppy. Every page reveals a different flap where Spot may be hiding under — for instance, a blue door opens up to show a bear who’s feasting on a pot of honey. Other titles to check out include Spot’s First Christmas, Spot’s First Walk, Spot’s Birthday Party, and Spot goes to the Farm.
Parents say Jen Wong says her daughter is excited to lift each flap ― the ple and adorable illustrations also capture her little girl’s attention.

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PEPPA PIG: MARVELLOUS MAGNET BOOK, BY LADY BIRD

Price $14.10 (Board book)
From Book Depository
For ages 0 to 5
What A well-loved cartoon character like Peppa Pig can awaken your young ’un’s interest in reading. Peppa and her little brother, George, are on an adventure, checking out a museum, then a birthday party and even a sunny summer holiday! Your mini-me will use the magnets — featuring the show’s different characters — to complete photos that complement the story. Other titles in the Peppa Pig series include The Story of Peppa Pig, Peppa Pig and the Tooth Fairy, and many more.
Parents say Sharon Ang’s daughter loves playing with the magnets, even demanding to bring them out with them. Store the magnets in the accompanying box once she’s done reading. Ang says she plans to encourage her child to craft her own story on a small whiteboard in the future using the removable magnets.

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COUNTING KISSES, BY KAREN KATZ

Price $11.12 (Board book)
From Book Depository
For ages 0 to 5
What Aptly described as a “kiss and read” book, you’ll have the perfect excuse (not that you’ll ever need to find one) to lavish goodnight kisses on your kewpie! Written in the style of a countdown, the board book starts with 10 little pecks on your child’s “teeny-tiny” toes and culminates in a final kiss on your little one’s “sleepy, dreamy head”. A great book to read and snuggle up to at night.
Parents say This has become Dawn Zhou’s child’s favourite bedtime story ―they read it together we almost every night. The book encourages her child, aged 2, to count along while she plants goodnight kisses on her.

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GOOD NIGHT MOON, BY MARGARET WISE BROWN

Price $27.45 (Board book and bunny plush toy pack)
From Popular
For ages 1 to 4
What A young rabbit is resisting sleep by saying good night to everything in sight and within earshot. Makes a great bedtime activity — as you read, get your tyke to point out the items that’s mentioned in the book. Also comes with an adorable bunny plush toy that your little one can cuddle up to at night.
Parents say Lisa Chong says that the book’s slow and soothing rhymes of work like a charm works wonders in putting her 1-year-old daughter to sleep.

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DEAR ZOO, BY ROD CAMPBELL

Price $21.49 (board book with CD pack)
From Books Kinokuniya
For ages 1 to 4
What If you’re mulling over getting a family pet, use this book to broach the idea with your kid. The writer asks asks the zoo to send him animals that will make the perfect pet. Your tot will be able to lift different flaps to find out which animals are in the crates. It ends on a sweet note when the writer receives the perfect pet — an adorable puppy. The writer narrates the story in the CD, which includes extras like sound effects and even a game played with animal noises.
Parents say Megan Chan says her 2-year-old daughter loves the simple and repetitive lines that are easy to memorise, so much so that she’ll happily recite the story to her instead of having mummy read it out.

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GREEN EGGS AND HAM, BY DR SEUSS

Price $12.96 (hardback)
From Book Depository
For ages 3 to 7
What If your tyke’s fussy about food, this Dr Seuss classic may just win them into trying new foods. The main character ― Sam-I-Am — is persist about getting his pals to sample his green eggs and ham. The naysayers finally relent, only to realise that the dish is as good as Sam-I-Am had promised.
Parents say Rachel Tan’s 5-year-old daughter adored the book so much, especially the whimsical creatures’ illustrations, she read it four times the night the book finally arrived.

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WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, BY MAURICE SENDAK

Price $23.09 (hardback)
From Book Depository
For ages 4 to 8
What When a forest suddenly appears in Max’s bedroom, it signals the start of an adventure where he’ll meet “the wild things” lurking in the forest. The vivid illustrations in this classic award-winning children’s tale are rich in detail. Awarded the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book of the year in 1964, it has since inspired a movie and even an opera!
Parents say Mum of twins Kelly Cheng feels that the story is a good way for parents to touch on behaviour and feelings with their kids as Max’s emotions are a central theme in the story.

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THE RAINBOW FISH, BY MARCUS PFISTER

Price $22.08 (hardback)
From Book Depository
For ages 4 to 8
What Your child gets a lesson on selfishness and vanity in this fable. The Rainbow Fish — the most beautiful fish in the ocean — loses her friends when she refuses to share her shiny scales with them. An octopus advises her to part with her scales, so that she will have friends and be happy. The Rainbow Fish’s holographic scales will shimmer when you flip the pages and captivate your little learner. Your child will also learn how greed and generosity play a part in one’s relationships.
Parents say Michelle Leong, whose 2-year-old daughter loved the colourful pictures, notes that the storybook is a great way to impart the importance of sharing.

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THE GIVING TREE, BY SHEL SILVERSTEIN

Price $21.85 (hardback)
From Book Depository
For ages 1 to 8
What As the title suggests, the book tells the story of a relationship between a tree and a young boy. The simple black and white illustration in this timeless and touching book support an equally simple storyline that’s easy for kids to understand ― to never take someone (for example, you as his parent) or something for granted. The tree is willing to give up everything to provide the boy with happiness, food and money. But the boy does the unthinkable — he cuts it down to make a boat! Silverstein deliberately leaves the moral of the story open for parents and children to draw their own conclusions. Use this book to initiate meaningful conversations with your child on giving and sharing and how to manage relationships.
Parents say James Goh confesses that he had to hold back tears when he was reading iy to his daughter. He adds that the story provided an opportunity for him to discuss with his child the kind of selfless relationship all parents have for their kids.

Main photo: iStock

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