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Inspiring young readers with Julia Donaldson


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 with the addition of our two gorgeous babies.

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 and 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.

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Small Babies = Lots Of Mess

My work room turned into a nursery and it’s contents was dismantled bit by bit and 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.


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, in the place of milk, 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, and 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.

Reading in the garden

Noise and Chaos

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?

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