Introducing new experiences through picture books

I often look for picture books to help introduce new concepts or to support my daughter through new experiences. Stories often do a much better job of explaining a situation than I can, especially if my daughter is already familiar with the characters. As well as being entertaining the stories take her through the steps that she may encounter when she experiences a situation for the first time and they also provide a stimulus for further discussion. I could have included so many more books in this post but here are some of those that we have found most helpful.

Toilet training

I bought ‘I Want My Potty’ by Tony Ross because it showed the humorous side of using a potty. When the Little Princess decides that she doesn’t like nappies she is introduced to the potty which sometimes plays tricks on her, sometimes isn’t there when she needs it but ends up being fun. The simple repetitive text and the humorous pictures take the pressure out of what can be a stressful situation and as my daughter already loved the character she could relate to the story. Especially interesting to her was the final picture which shows what happens when you don’t get to a potty in time!

Author / Illustrator: Tony Ross / Little Princess website

I want my potty - Story Snug

Going to the dentist

I had no idea how to explain what a visit to the dentist involves but ‘Topsy and Tim Go to the Dentist’ was a great story to prepare my daughter for what to expect. The book introduces many aspects of the dentist’s surgery (including the funny smell) and sensitively deals with what happens when you don’t look after your teeth properly. Tim’s check up is shown and his teeth are fine but Topsy has to have a very small hole filled and the process is explained in a non frightening way. Topsy and Tim also meet a friend who needs braces and another friend who has toothache because he eats too many sweets. The bold, colourful illustrations support the simple but effective explanations in the text.

Authors: Jean and Gareth Adamson / Illustrator: Belinda Worsley / Topsy and Tim

Starting school

My daughter is excited about starting school this year and we have read several books in preparation but ‘Franklin goes to School’ is her current favourite. Franklin is very excited about going to school but while he is waiting for the bus he gets nervous when he hears that some of his friends can already read and recognise numbers. A very supportive teacher, Mr. Owl, encourages Franklin to draw, which is something that he enjoys, and he has such a wonderful first day that he can’t wait to go again! Mr. Owl is portrayed as a sympathetic and caring teacher and my daughter’s favourite picture shows Franklin (a tortoise) sitting on Mr. Owl’s knee. The book effectively includes and deals with the mixed emotions that a child can feel when starting school and the classroom scenes are realistic and full of detail.

Author: Paulette Bourgeois / Illustrator: Brenda Clark

Franklin goes to School - Story Snug

Learning about strangers

Teaching a child about how to react to strangers is hard, on the one hand a child needs to be aware that some strangers could pose a danger, on the other you really don’t want to scare the child. ‘The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers’ approaches the subject using apples. Sister is a very friendly bear and says hello to everybody whereas Brother is more cautious. Papa Bear’s attempt to explain stranger danger to Sister scares her so much that she is scared to go out but while Mama is making applesauce she compares funny shaped apples that taste good with good looking apples full of worms to show that looks can (sometimes) be deceiving. I find it a good, non threatening approach to explaining a difficult subject. Brother and Sister have written their own list of instructions about how to deal with strangers which has stimulated further discussion.

Authors / Illustrators: Stan and Jan Berenstain / The Berenstain Bears’ website

Learn About Strangers - Story Snug

My daughter also likes Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child, Curious George by Margaret and H. A Rey and Froggy by Jonathan London, their stories also introduce children to new experiences and situations.

Can you recommend any books to help support and / or introduce a child to new experiences? I would love to see your suggestions in the comments.

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20 responses to “Introducing new experiences through picture books”

  1. Acorn Books avatar

    This is a great selection of books, I always use booksto help with new situations too. We currently have a pile of books helping prepare my 3 year old for moving house.

    We also liked Pirate Pete’s potty training and new baby books.

    1. Catherine avatar

      Books are great for preparing children of important events in their lives – especially when favourite characters have the experiences. The real potty training books didn’t work for us as well as Pip and Posy The Little Puddle!

  2. Jill avatar

    Using books to help explain new situations is a good idea!

    Thank you for stopping by the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop this week. We hope to see you drop by our neck of the woods next week!

    1. Catherine avatar

      You’re welcome Jill. I’ll definitely ‘hop’ with you again 🙂

  3. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews avatar

    Thanks for joining us in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop! Great giveaway – pinning and tweeting!

    1. Catherine avatar

      Thank you! It’s been a lot of fun, thank you for organising the hop 🙂

  4. Cindy McElwee avatar
    Cindy McElwee

    Books are the best learning tool & thanks for the giveaway

    1. Catherine avatar

      A great book can have an amazing effect on a child’s learning, I’m always open to new suggestions to help.

  5. Cheryl @ Tales of the Marvelous avatar

    I read so many Berenstain Bears books as a kid…I probably had no idea how much I was learning!

    1. Catherine avatar

      I’m amazed at how often the stories come into my daughter’s conversation, they have taught her lots of new vocabulary too.

  6. :Donna Marie avatar

    You know, Catherine, I knew there was a blog hop going on (which I think I’m finally starting to comprehend what that is and how it works! lol), but for some reason did NOT digest that everyone was giving away books! Once that sunk in I became ravenous! lol If I win any, I’m planning on giving it/them to my daughter-in-law. She’s a grammar school teacher (Special Ed) and can always use books 🙂 Thanks again!

    1. Catherine avatar

      You’re welcome. Good Luck!

  7. :Donna Marie avatar

    I’m really enjoying this CBW giveaway hop! Thanks for offering 😀

    1. Catherine avatar

      You’re welcome – there are some great prizes aren’t there 🙂

  8. Katie @ Youth Literature Reviews avatar

    These all look great! Thanks for participating in the Kid Lit Giveaway Hop!

    1. Catherine avatar

      Thank you for organising the hop – there are some great prizes 🙂

  9. Julie Grasso avatar

    This is a great post. We have the potty book which was a great help in training and are contemplating a first visit to the dentist, so we will check out Topsy and Tim. (We have another one of their books and they are great). Thanks for joining in the Children’s Book Week Giveaway Hop

    1. Catherine avatar

      Topsy and Tim were my childhood friends and they’ve been revamped for the next generation. There’s a book for almost every experience 🙂

  10. Claudine @ CarryUsOff Books avatar

    Hi Catherine,

    The Little Princess book looks funny and adorable. Just entered your giveaway and followed you on Twitter. Happy Children’s Book Week!

    1. Catherine avatar

      Thank you for entering the giveaway Claudine and for the Twitter follow. Good Luck!