TO start at the beginning: there is a simple, large animal alphabet hook, My Best ABC Book, published by Macmillan in two edition Cloth Boards at 8s. 6d. and Limp, bs, The ideal introduction to reading.
To go a stage further, for those children who already read for themselves, or one back to reading aloud, there is the enchanting story of The Bed That Knew How to Fly, by Francis Maitland-Nimmo, with pictures by Moll/ Brett (Frederick Warne. 9s, 6d.). The magic bed takes a little girl on many dream adventures. including an encounter with Father Christmas himself.
There is yet another of Reinhard Herrmann's beautifully illustrated Bible Stories entitled Joseph in Egypt (Macmillan, 95.. 6d.) especially suited to those embarking on their first solo reading although even tinier tots will enjoy the original pictures. The German text is by Otto Wiemcr, the translation by Ian F. Finlay.
A good, gay little book for little ones is My Nursery Annual 1964, whose pictures will be enjoyed by the youngest, and from which they will learn many things (including counting) quite painlessly (Odhams, 78 6d.). Toby and the Nighttime is about a boy and a dog, both window dummies forever gazing at a toy engine, rocket, racing car, tugboat and atomic sub, and the odd things which happen in America after midnight when a real but unknown engine, rocket or racing car go roaring across the continent.
Written by Paul Horgan and illustrated by L. B. Smith, it should be read by an imaginative parent, preferably with an American accent (Macmillan, 13s. 6d.).
Another American import is Little Black, A Puny, by Walter Farley. This is a "Beginner" book, whose simple text and lively pictures tempt the newly literate from page to page, with no discouraging big words. Snow is also a "Beginner" book. but with even simpler words and no plot just action! P. D. Eastman wrote the verses and Roy McKee drew the cartoons. (Both by Collins, 8s. 6d.).
Not so easy to read and more sophisticated, is Little Laura and Her Best Friend, by V. H. Drummond (Nelson, 8s. 6d.). A talc of Christmas Eve, it calls for help from parents who will be asked to explain "mouffion" and -ditty hag". A sense of fun spills over into the author's own illustrations.