Best children and parenting books January 2014

Animals, dinosaurs and an old favourite from Roald Dahl gets a refresh...

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It’s the New Year and there are plenty of new titles and authors to keep your reading list full in 2014.

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Age: 6 months+

Baby Sparkle is one of the first titles to be published in Caterpillar Book’s new Baby Look series. Featuring high-contrast, eye-catching illustrations, these board books are aimed at stimulating your child’s vocabulary.  The chunky pages are great for little hands and every page has a touch of sparkle making them even more appealing.

Published by Caterpillar Books, £4.99

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Age: 18 months+

Baby Animals from the My First Lift and Learn series is the perfect introduction to the world of animals and their mums. Featuring chunky pages and a carry handle, this book encourages hand-eye co-ordination as the little ones spot the animal and then lift the flap to find its mummy. Great for enhancing memory skills and building vocabulary.

Published by Little Tiger Press, £5.99

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Age: 3+

Yikes, Stinkysaurus comes from Pamela Butchart, a fresh new voice for 2014. Poor old Stinkysaurus is the pongiest dinosaur in the whole world – he doesn’t even clean his teeth. However, the other dinosaurs have had enough and decide it’s time Stinky had a bath. But will he agree? This is a lovely story with charming illustrations from acclaimed artist Sam Lloyd that will ensure even the most reluctant bathers clean up their act!

Published by Bloomsbury, priced £6.99

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Age: 4+

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen is a very beautiful story about a little girl who brings light and colour to her dull, grey town. Annabelle finds a box of brightly coloured wool, so she decides to knit herself a jumper. There is plenty of wool left, so she knits one for her dog too. But even though she has used a lot of yarn, still more appears… So she keeps on knitting until she meets the evil Archduke who wants the wool for himself! This is an inventive and magical story that will warm up the wintriest of nights.

Published by Walker Books, priced £6.99

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Age: 5+

And finally Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox – although it’s not a new book it has been given a sumptuous makeover by Quentin Blake. Perfect for reading aloud to older children or for more confident young readers to have a go at themselves, this is the very amusing story of the super-cunning Mr Fox and his battle to save his home from an evil chicken farmer. I have yet to find a child who didn’t like Roald Dahl and this is a great introduction to one of the best children’s authors of all time.

Published by Puffin Books, priced £7.99

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Popular US parenting blogger and writer Rachel Macy Stafford outlines her guide to motherhood in Hands Free Mama. In it she suggests we put down the phone, turn off the laptop and tune-in to the people who really need us – our children. There is also a step-by-step guide to transforming a distracted parenting life into one of meaningful connection and fulfilment by learning to grasp and appreciate the moments that matter.

Published by Zondervan, priced £10.49

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One in 10 new mothers experience clinical depression either during pregnancy or in the postnatal period, while many more face the “baby blues”. Overcoming Baby Blues by doctors Gordon Parker, Kerrie Davies and Philip Boyce shares intimate stories of mothers’ experiences to give hope to those who may be feeling the same. It also includes research-based guidelines on assessing moods, causes of perinatal depression and effective management strategies. There are also tips for partners as well as a detailed guide to medication and its use during breast feeding and pregnancy.

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Published by Allen & Unwin, £14.99

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