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Wild about books

Take a safari every night … bedtime stories, with lessons from the animals

The Behaviour Matters series of ten or so books is fantastic. Funny, charming stories which introduce young children to having good manners, paying attention, sharing, being a good sport. Each book has its own theme, and all provide a gentle way of discussing emotions, boosting self-esteem and reinforcing good behaviour. At the end of each, there are suggestions for activities and ideas to talk through with your children, helping them understand how their behaviour can impact on others. From croc learning to be patient, giraffe feeling left out, cheetah learning to play nicely, and monkey learning to listen, there’s a book for almost every situation. Gently told by Sue Graves, with fun illustrations by Trevor Dunton, these are bound to be enjoyed by children up the age of around five. There’s a special, too – buy one book for R50 or five for R200 … so really affordable. Franklin Watts, Exclusive Books

Buffalo is rather large. She’s big and wide and tall, and none of the other animals want to play with her. She decides she just has to keep to herself. “No friends for me … I am simply not part of the crowd,” she cries. Until a massive storm causes the river to flood, and lots of smaller animals need help. She turned out to be the hero. All the animals tell her there’s a place for everyone, both big and small. I See a Buffalo by Elaine Macdonald shows us it’s the not the shape of your body that counts, but the size of your heart. Struik Children, from Exclusive Books

“Does anyone know who this little chick belongs to?” Hannah the Hippo and her friend Ollie the Oxpecker find a baby chick in the mud … and off the three go to find her parents. It’s not Mr and Mrs Goose’s baby, nor Mr and Mrs Plover’s. They meet ants and aardvarks, egrets and ellies, kingfishers and kudus and finally, with the help of Red Dropwing the Dragonfly, they find baby chicks mum and dad – Mr and Mrs Finfoot. Helpful Hannah Hippo by Dino J Martins is a beautifully illustrated, lovely bedtime story, teaching friendship, kindness and compassion. Penguin, from Exclusive Books

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