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Yorkshire's Favourite First Books: What To Read To Your Children at Bed Time

September 2023
Reading time 4 Minutes

Reading to your child is always a special moment, but making the decision on what their first book should be is a difficult one

A recent survey commissioned by The Works might just have the inspiration you need. They asked 2,000 parents across the UK to uncover the books they first remember reading, alongside the books they first remember reading to their own children.

According to this new study, one in five children are first read a Julia Donaldson book and Yorkshire is no exception, with The Gruffalo being the book most parents in the county reach for when reading to their child for the first time. The survey also found that this book led the way when it comes to reading to our children, beating the likes of Guess How Much I Love You and The Very Hungry Caterpillar (the second and third most popular first books to read to children in Yorkshire).

The county joined seven others in preferring Julia Donaldson, with only parents in the North West, London, Wales and the West Midlands opting to pick up The Very Hungry Caterpillar as a first read for their kids, knocking The Gruffalo to no lower than the third most popular first read.

Read More: Five Ways to Get Your Child Interested in Reading

It’s an interesting contrast to the books parents first remember reading as children. It seems Yorkshire parents were Enid Blyton mad, favouring The Faraway Tree and The Famous Five as the top two most commonly remembered first reads, with The Tiger Who Came To Tea the third. Enid Blyton was a popular choice across the country, in the same way Donaldson is today, with one in seven first books parents remember being written by the author.

Just under half of parents (44 percent) today are reading to their children from birth, with 27 percent of parents picking up a book for their children between the age of one and two. However, for parents who don’t remember their own first book at a later stage of childhood (over the age of 12), they are 20 percent less likely to read to their child under the age of two and less than one in five read to their child from birth.

Collage of books

The Top 10 First Books in Yorkshire

The Gruffalo
Julia Donaldson

An award-winning rhyming story of a mouse and a monster. This edition features the classic story with a redesigned cover.
£7.59 The Little Ripon Bookshop

Guess How Much I Love You
Sam McBratney

Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare discover that love is not always an easy thing to measure. This is an enlarged board book edition of the much-loved classic.
£6.99 The Little Apple Bookshop, York

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle

A book packed with imaginative illustrations and clever cut-out details charting the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week.
£6.64 The Book Corner, Halifax

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Vera Southgate

This hardback Ladybird edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is a perfect first illustrated introduction to this classic fairy tale for young readers aged three and over.
£4.74 The Whitby Bookshop

Peppa Pig
Samantha Lizzio

Peppa and her friends learn the importance of kindness in Peppa is Kind, one of many Peppa Pig books.
£6.99 Reading Roots, Wetherby

Collage of books

Dear Zoo
Rod Campbell

A letter to the zoo asking for a pet results in a succession of highly unsuitable ones. This is the paperback lift-the-flap edition of global bestseller Dear Zoo.
£7.99 The Little Bookshop, Leeds

Mr Men
Roger Hargreaves

The Mr Men Pocket Library is the perfect first introduction for young children to these fun characters. It features six board book stories about Mr Happy, Mr Messy, Mr Silly, Mr Bump, Mr Strong and Mr Tickle.
£5.69 The Helmsley Bookshop

Eric Hill

In Spot's Tummy Ache, Spot stays in bed but when he hears his friends playing outside he starts to feel a little better. This is one in a series of many Spot stories.
£2 The Works, branches Yorkshirewide

That’s Not My…
Fiona Watt

This sensory series of board books (with bright pictures and different textured patches) is aimed at very young children. That’s Not My Lemur is one of many in the series.
£6.99 Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Doncaster

Winnie the Pooh
A.A. Milne

A.A. Milne’s stories about Pooh and his friends have been loved by generations. This classic collection features the original E.H.Shepard decorations in full colour.
£35 Waterstones, branches Yorkshirewide

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