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.

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?

Please share, if you like this!

About Caro Davies

Caro Davies art directed fashion and interiors before leaving the world of design to pursue a career in social media. She can now be found chasing the light — and two small twin boys.

49 thoughts on “Inspiring young readers with Julia Donaldson

  1. 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?

    1. 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! :)

  2. 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!!

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

  4. 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

    1. 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

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

  6. 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 :)

      1. indeed! I am looking forward to reading them again with our little chap!

  7. 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.


    1. 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!

  8. 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).

  9. Matilda was my favourite book for many years but Monkey Puzzlecomes a close second

  10. 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

  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

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