I'm not going to turn this into a political post about whether or not it it is the state's job to provide books, but I will say I am eternally grateful to BookStart. Not because I couldn't afford to buy books for my child like many less fortunate, but simply because without the scheme it would have never occurred to me as a first-time mum to give books to my baby.
I wrongly assumed that books were for toddlers. It didn't appreciate the social and developmental benefits that very small babies can gain from them. The scheme has inspired us to join the library (Ruby has been a member in her own right from 4 months old) and has nurtured a passion and love which I hope will stay with her for life. Bookstart also operate the 'Book Crawl' scheme which is a great incentive scheme rewarding young readers with stickers and certificates each time they visit the library. Ruby will ALWAYS pick a book over a toy, and reading and sharing stories and words is a massive part of our life now, and an activity which takes place throughout the day - not just at bedtime.
Through board books, she has learnt her numbers, shapes and colours and thanks to a little Peter Rabbit book by the time she started nursery at 2 and a half she could identify and say not only the basic shapes like square and circle, but also 'hexagon', 'crescent' and 'oval'. Pretty impressive!
Books have inspired a love (or should I say obsession) with Thomas the Tank Engine, to the point that she knows a 'coupling rod' from an 'axle' - alarmingly anorakish for a girl who's not yet 3!
Tomorrow we start a new group at our Sure Start centre called 'Once upon a time'. I'm really looking forward to this weekly session, billed as an 'interactive story session for all the family' and hope that we will discover new tales to share.
From a tiny baby, Ruby had access to books and buggy books were a god-send. These little clip-on books offered a distraction when she was fractious, entertainment when she was bored and saved me back-ache as I wasn't constantly retrieving something lobbed overboard from the buggy.
To celebrate our love of all things booky, I'm giving away one of these fab buggy books. Up for grabs is a copy of the classic Raymond Briggs tale 'The Snowman'. Perfect for wintry walks in the buggy, this board book with it's wonderful illustrations will delight your little one and hopefully help nurture the same love for books we share.
Visit the Bookstart website for more information on the scheme, great activities, downloads and book recommendations.
This competition is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered and for all your lovely comments. the winner, chosen at random is @wendymcd83. Congratulations!
To enter the competition, first become a follower of my blog (click the 'follow' button over on the right, or subscribe via RSS), and leave me a comment telling me your favourite children's book.
For an extra entry, tweet the following "I'm entering @missielizzieb 's blog giveaway for a buggy book. For entry see here: http://bit.ly/eOHGsV " and leave me an EXTRA comment below telling me you've tweeted.
Don't forget to leave me a way to contact you if you're picked as the winner - email, twitter ID, facebook name etc.
The prize is one copy of The Snowman buggy book.
Winner picked at random.
Closing date is 8pm Tuesday 11 January 2010
I will make every endeavour to contact the winner, but if you have not responded within 1 week I will re-draw.
Open to UK entrants only.