Inspiring Young Readers with Julia Donaldson Books

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

When our boys were born the house went from magazine-worthy to mega-mess almost overnight. Our wonky little cottage — that seemed roomy for two grown adults — felt like a bit of a squash.

The kitchen went from clear to cluttered, just hours after bringing them home.

It’s single meagre work surface housed an extra kettle, bottle steamer, gazillions of bottles. Plus various other gadgets needed for our two new little residents.

The table had two extra chairs around it; in the form of Stokke Tripp Trapps. Aptly named as they have rather large feet that have a habit of tripping you up if you’re not concentrating).

The snug suddenly felt very snug; with the arrival of a couple of baby gyms, playmats, bouncy chairs, a big inflatable ring for them to sit in and — six months in — two Jumperoos.

My work room turned into a nursery. Its contents dismantled bit by bit; then shipped out to other areas of the house. Or to my boy’s office 25 miles away.

And on every surface, in every room of the house, there were muslins, various rattles, baby toys and books.

I had the feeling that our little home had been picked up — shaken very hard — then set back down again.

It was chaos for those first few months.

But despite the clutter and disarray, I secretly loved having a kitchen full of baby paraphernalia. I’d waited so long for it to happen. It gave me a sense of elation to see my house resembling a branch of Mothercare.

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Then little by little, as my babies grew, things started to vanish almost as soon as they’d arrived.

The bottles became larger and fewer. Then, as my tiny sons began to have solid food, the Dr Browns and the steamer disappeared from sight totally.

The Jumperoos and bouncy chairs were sold. And the sea of shape sorters and baby toys were replaced by cars and Lego.

Happily, the books have remained —and multiplied.

Inspiring young readers

One of the things I love most about having children is being able to read to them; to transport them to other worlds with words and pictures.

I used to love bedtime stories when I was little. My dad used to do brilliant voices, for all the different characters; I’ve definitely tried to follow suit in that department. Inspiring young readers is pretty easy if they’re engaged.

When the boys were very tiny, Dear Zoo was the favourite. I even wrote a post about it.

But as they’ve got older and their imaginations have started to grow, the amazing books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have totally captivated them. These are definitely now the favourites.

It started off with ‘Hide and Seek Pig’ — which stayed in the top spot for a long time. But now they’ve just moved on to Room on a Broom and Monkey Puzzle.

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

Julia Donaldson’s Books

The Gruffalo, The Go-Away Bird and Counting Creatures are just a few of Julia Donaldson’s books that have been entertaining and inspiring children for years.

I love this blog post on the Pan Macmillan site that lists all of Julia Donaldson books and series.

Photo Credit: The Listed Home.
Reading in the garden
Photo Credit: The Listed Home.

A guide to Julia Donaldson’s books

Reading To Small People

Books aside, I’m pretty sure that our house will never be as it was before the boys arrived.

And I LOVE that.

Give me the colour and noise — and chaos — that two little boys bring, any day of the week.

Who wants a tidy house when you can have chocolate smudged kisses or cuddles from stocky little bodies, throwing their arms round your knees?

What could be lovelier than reading a story to a captive(ated) audience and watching them learn and grow each day?

Caro Davies editor of The Listed Home
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Caro Davies is a former art-director turned writer and content-creator, and editor behind UK lifestyle blog The Listed Home. She writes about home-related topics, from interiors and DIY to food and craft. The Listed Home has been featured in various publications, including Ideal Home, Grazia, and Homes & Antiques magazines.

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49 thoughts on “Inspiring Young Readers with Julia Donaldson Books”

  1. One of my favourite books as a child that I still read to my classes of KS1 children is ‘On The Way Home’ by Jill Murphy, it’s usually one they haven’t heard before but which they always love.

  2. What a gorgeous post! Having twins is chaos but so much fun isn’t it? We do stories in the teepee – the girls find that magical. We read about 2/3 books a night. We are Julia Donaldson obsessed so would love to win this. X

  3. The Gingerbread Man, We’re Going On ABear Hunt and Owl Babies are firm favourites for bedtime and The Gruffalo and Stick Man wherever we go!

  4. I am a huge fan of the Julia Donaldson books having read a lot of them to my daughter when they were still newish. Gruffalo was a favourite and she could recite it we read it that often and then that became a favourite for our little star Oliver and so it will always be special to us. I know what you mean about the baby paraphernalia clutter too and the jumperoo will be coming out the loft before long too. No!!!!! #twinklytuesday

  5. My nephew is obsessed with the Gruffalo and it would be great to win these to show him that there are other books ?
    My favorite ever children’s book has got to be The BFG (or pretty much everything that Roald Dahl wrote).

  6. Me and the kids love reading ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’

    We’re going a bear hunt.
    We’re going to catch a big one.
    We’re not scared.


    • I LOVE Bearhunt!! It’s the only book that I can ‘read’ all the way through without actually looking at the book!!!

      PS — Oh — and Hairy McLairy too!

  7. You know there are so many I think it is really hard to pick!

    Mine would include Five Children and It, Black Beauty, the Railway Children and the Secret Garden :)

  8. He loves Room on the Broom, but at the moment it’s Supermarket Zoo by Caryl Hart/Ed Eaves – he loves it!

  9. We adore Julia Donaldson here and I think we have all but one of those books! Love the teepee as well bit I absolutely love the start of this post telling us about the chaos that ensued when two tiny beings joined you. I cannot, honestly cannot, imagine having two jumperoos!! Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday

    • It was SO chaotic when they were born! The Jumperoos actually took up less space than all the bottles!!! We had so many of the blooming things!! 10 bottles for each baby — that was a LOT of bottles on our little worktop!! So worth it though — I can’t imagine life any other way! :) xx

  10. My girls love julia books currently the favs are the stick man and what the ladybird heard!!

  11. My twins have different opinions on their favourite books! Current faves are ‘Room on the Broom’ and ‘Going on a Bear Hunt’. I can’t wait for them to be old enough to appreciate Roald Dahl and the Famous Five!!

  12. I adore reading to our kids! It’s one of our favorite daily activities. I’m loving your tent though! Where did you get it?

    • It’s such a lovely thing to do isn’t it? :) The teepee was from the Great Little Trading Company — there’s actually a link to it in the post. I highly recommend it — it’s the 3rd summer we’ve had it and it’s still going strong! :)

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