After writing my first list of top 10 supply bag books, there were so many I was sad not to include, so here they are. Ten more books that provide a wealth of opportunity and lots of enjoyment when teaching and learning in the EYFS.
When I travel around I try to carry books that the children may not have read, that’s the only reason why staples like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, Owl Babies, The Gruffalo, Oi Frog! and many more are not on here. They’re all my favorites too.
The Something, Rebecca Cobb
The Something is a book full of intrigue and curiosity, which provokes children to consider what could be living down a hole that is discovered by a little boy in his garden. The inconclusive ending leaves little readers in charge of what they think it could be, providing great opportunity to imagine and create.
You’re Called What?!, Kes Gray and Nikki Dyson
I was attracted to this book because of the blue-footed booby on the front, having met one before and thinking ‘this is a child’s imagination in reality.’ For me, the joy of You’re Called What?! is the fact file of animals at the end, a two-page spread of creatures that are gobsmackingly silly and best of all real. This book provides a great link to non-fiction texts and an opportunity for research. It’s also a reminder of the incredible world we live in. A wonderfully funny book that always gets a giggle.
Penguin, Polly Dunbar
I just adore penguin, his face and his funny way of taking everything in. I was introduced to Penguin in my NQT year and it’s been a staple since. An easy hook – wrap a penguin in a present that arrives for the class to open and a lovely opportunity for re-telling with plenty of actions and activity. When penguin blurts out ‘everything’ that’s happened Polly Dunbar illustrates a delightful story map which naturally inspires the children to re-tell the story. Rich in opportunity Penguin is one of my ultimate favorites!
The Dot, Peter H. Reynolds
The Dot has a great creative message that inspires confidence in little readers who think they can’t. When I read this story I am reminded of the power of believing and celebrating in the smallest of achievements; when we expect the most we get the most. The Dot is also a lovely reminder of the subjectivity of art and is a story that encourages its readers to be artists. After sharing this story I often set the children off making their own dot pictures, mixing paints or transforming dots into whatever they see fit with different media and materials. Encourage children to use different shapes and see what they come up with.
If you want a dotty day that spans the framework try the poem ‘a black dot’ by Libby Houston, which takes the reader through the lifecycle of a frog. And the book 10 Black Dots by Donald Crews, for a maths lesson that supports children to produce pictorial representations of number and to approach number creatively – link back to The Dot *ta dah*
Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury
A love filled tale of diversity that sews us all together in a simple yet wonderful way. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes is packaged perfectly for EYFS readers and reflects exactly how naturally inclusive children are. A squeeze in a book that I always enjoy reading. In my naivety, I once used this book as a stimulus for a Philosophy for Children (P4C) session with the topic diversity in mind. Of course, with all the babies the discussion quickly turned to ‘but Miiiiiis where do babies come from,’ don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Unfortunately, Alan Durant and Simon Rickerty
The ending of unfortunately is unexpected and quite frankly brutal but perhaps it’s the childlike illustrations and playful language that enable children to find it funny. I like unfortunately for its alternative ending and include it in my bag because of this. I have also recently read Fortunately by Remy Charlip which uses a similar structure, telling a story using (very different) fortunate and unfortunate scenarios. Fortunately has a much happier ending if you prefer!
The Paper Dolls, Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb
I always enjoy reading this one and like Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, in my first list, I struggle to read it without getting a lump in my throat. A beautiful story about the power of experiences and memories – a big concept, told in a way little readers can grasp. Again, bring in your own memory box to provoke some fantastic conversations.
Stanley’s stick, John Hegley and Neal Layton
Stanley’s Stick is a poetic tale of a boy and his stick and the fun they get up to playing, imagining and creating. Though a simple story on the surface, there’s something really profound about Stanley’s Stick. For me, it’s a story about life’s ever-changing journey with some lovely little thoughts to navigate you through it – ‘you don’t have to be Great to be great.’ It’s packed with alliteration and rhyme and the ending is a Fantastick play on words that demonstrates to young readers the fun and flexibility of language. Great for inspiring outdoor play, hunt for sticks, twigs and branches and watch them all come to life.
Naughty Bus, Jan and Jerry Oke
The action-packed adventurers of Naughty Bus are captured by photographs and simple text, made more expressive by creative typography. I love the juxtaposition of the adult every day compared to the excitement of a child’s play, as the boy takes his bus on a risk-filled journey that doesn’t stop for dinner. Naughty Bus provides a great model for imaginative play, with settings made out of construction bricks and toy people waiting at bus stops. Give the children a box of vehicles and ask them what their adventure will be.
Walking through the Jungle, Debbie Harter
Walking Through the Jungle is packed with bold and bright illustrations and a rhyming repeating refrain that invites little readers to stomp along. This text draws children in immediately and quickly builds their confidence to read along. A great book for promoting writing as it’s easy to remember and provides plenty of opportunities for the children to come up with their own ideas changing animals, movements and settings. For an animal-packed day use Kes Gray’s, How Many Legs?, from my first list alongside it and you have a maths input too.