Bookbug Detective: chewing books and funny songs

The Bookbug Detective is on hand to help you with any questions about Early Years books and reading. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a couple of questions to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice from the detective, get in touch!

My little boy tends to rip and chew books, so I’m reluctant to borrow books from the library. Do you have any suggestions?

First of all, please don’t let this discourage you from borrowing books. These days libraries don’t expect their children’s books to come back in pristine condition – they expect rips and chews. In fact, I think they’d almost prefer that as it shows the books have been well used and loved. It might not seem like it, but it’s actually a very good sign that your son is doing this, as it’s allowing him to understand the physical format of a book and interact with it.

Board books are built for bumps and bruises and are very sturdy. Cloth books and bath books are also great options, and all three can be cleaned easily. You can also find lots of children’s books in second hand shops and jumble sales, so why not have a rummage?

Check out more bathtime book suggestions here.

I really loved the book Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban when I was little, mainly because the main character Frances liked singing funny songs to her food. Can you recommend any other books with songs included in the story?

The Gruffalo
Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention. It’s not one that I’m familiar with but it looks great! Songs and rhymes can provide a good hook into a book, especially for reluctant readers. They’re also a wonderful way of encouraging participation, and more importantly, they’re lots of fun! Many of them come with a musical CD so you can read and listen simultaneously.

There are so many to choose from, but I’ll focus on a few of my favourites. First of all, Child’s Play publish a huge array of beautifully illustrated and accessible books with traditional songs and rhymes in them, including Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and Row, Row, Row Your Boat. You could also try Jan Ormerod’s version of If You’re Happy and You Know It, which provides a lovely twist to the original involving lots of animals. Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is quite rightly a modern classic with a repeated song running throughout. You can familiarise yourself with the tune by watching this video of the author performing it.  Sandra Boynton’s Personal Penguin and Snuggle Puppy are also a great choices – they’re really sweet and also very funny. Again, you can listen to the tunes on Sandra’s website. Finally, you can also find songbooks of popular stories. For example The Gruffalo Songbook and the amazing Cat in the Hat Songbook (first published in 1967). I hope this is helpful and happy singing!

Do you have a question for the Bookbug Detective? Email it to kirsty.sinclair@scottishbooktrust.com. Catch up on the previous Bookbug Detective blogs here.

Kirsty Sinclair

Kirsty Sinclair is the Early Years Outreach Co-ordinator for Scottish Book Trust.