A Great Big Cuddle, Written by Michael Rosen, Illustrated by Chris Riddell, published by Walker Books

This week, when we asked our nearly three year old daughter if she’d like to read A Great Big Cuddle, she replied “yay, poems!” We like to think that this reaction is what the creators of this magnificent book were hoping for.

The combined literary alchemy of two Children’s Laureates (words by Michael Rosen and illustrations by Chris Riddell), is fully realised in this original compendium of “Poems for the Very Young”. This is a book of drum beating rhythm, stomping feet, clapping hands, and laughing out loud.

At 73 pages it might seem a bit daunting to read the whole book in one sitting. Although it is one that could be dipped into, we have found great value in enjoying the flow and music of the book as a whole. Our daughter has been captivated every time, and is yet to ask us to stop reading it part way through.

Favourite poems include:

“Music”, an irresistible movement catalyst, with its opening lines:


“Gruff and Dave”, about a grumpy and jumpy dog and his new friend, a jumpy and grumpy frog.

“Let me do it”, which perfectly conveys the longing of a toddler for independence in a world they don’t yet fully understand.

This is the picturebook equivalent of a winter’s day tucked up in bed with hot tea and toast, taking part in a display of verbal gymnastics, going on a wild tour of menageries and monsters and, indeed, having a great big cuddle, all combined.