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A Great Big Cuddle


Michael Rosen, Chris Riddell (illus)       
Walker Books
Age 0-5 years

This is a delightful and award winning book. Full of fun and language play, it’s a perfect entry to the world of poetry and rhyme. Very young children will want to hear, and repeat these contemporary rhymes again and again, just as they can with traditional nursery rhymes.

There’s lots which will resonate with young children and their parents as many of the poems tap into familiar feelings and experiences; being excited about a party in Party Time, feeling anxious in Lost, being told what to do in Are you Listening? or wanting to have a go at something in Let me do it.

This is an inspired collaboration between two of our Lovemybooks’ patrons; a great poet, Michael Rosen, and a great illustrator, Chris Riddell, with joyous results.



Share the book

You could read the poems in order or browse and dip into the book, stopping to share the pages that take your fancy. Children will develop their own favourites (and so will you!) and enjoy hearing you reading them again and again. Encourage children to join in with the words and actions and perhaps with completing the rhymes.

I don’t want, Oh Dear and Let Me Do It are just three of the poems with repeated lines or choruses which would be great fun for children to join in with.

The illustrations are absolutely delightful and children will enjoy looking at them and talking about them. Which are their favourite pages?

Watch Michael Rosen perform ‘I am Angry’ here:

Kids’ Poems and Stories With Michael Rosen

Visit Michael Rosen’s YouTube channel with more performances from A Great Big Cuddle

Things to do

  • Recite The Button Bop  when you are buttoning up clothes.

  • Dance to Tippy-Tappy and Music.

  • After sharing Boing Boing children can try to roll up like a ball or pounce like a tiger. Wiggly Wiggly will encourage lots of delightful wiggling, jiggling and giggling.

  • Finger story  will encourage finger play and thinking together what fingers can do.

  • Practise counting down together with Party Time.

  • At mealtime you can repeat the words of Lunchtime, crunching and munching.

  • In I AM HUNGRY you can have fun together talking about all the things you’d eat if you were really hungry, or what makes you really angry in I AM ANGRY. Can children make a really angry face?

  • With Once they can enjoy looking scary like a terrible ‘Berrible’ perhaps looking at their faces in a mirror! Children might like to draw their own picture of a terrible Berrible.

Jennie, George and Lizzie

"It’s not just the title that resonates with children there are some really great poems in this collection. The illustrations are so eye-catching my 2-year-old can easily find his favourites and the pictures give him plenty to talk about.

'I have loved exploring these poems with George who was 2 in May. He loves stories and that special time you get together when we read. He has been exploring sounds and words a lot lately and loves to watch your mouth when you make noises or sounds and any increased expression or intonation so these are perfect for him to join in with. His favourites are 'Boing! Boing!' where he bounces with me pounces and then does an impressive roar. He loves the finger play in 'Finger story' as well as the brilliant accompanying image which he notices every time. The poem has lots of actions and it finishes with bed so George can pretend to fall asleep which he loves doing with accompanying snores.'

'My four-year-old has just started school and is already coming home playing schools, and she enjoys the 'Lunchtime' poem with its rhymes, repetition and different sized words. Her school cardigan has buttons which she is learning to do up herself so the 'Button Bop' has come in handy a few times too. She has enjoyed noticing the exciting ways the text and images are laid out and how the words don’t need to be the same size. It also has a colourful contents page, so we have been able to look at that together too. She likes making up her own actions to join in with the poems and like most children the ‘silliness’. It is perfect.

We took this book away with us over the summer and it was lovely to see older children getting enjoyment out of it too. They love to read aloud, and this was perfect, the younger children didn’t need to sit and listen for long, they could join in and the older children loved performing the poems as well.'


Find out more

See our top ten poetry books here

More about poetry and rhyme here

Walker and Booktrust have produced some downloadable activity sheets on this book.

Read more books by Michael Rosen. His books for the very young include:

We’re Going on a Bearhunt

This is Our House

Little Rabbit Foo Foo

Michael Rosen has also written a wide range of poetry and information books for older children and also the Uncle Gobb series of novels Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed

Chris Riddell  has illustrated many children’s books and is author and illustrator of the Ottoline and Goth Girl series. See our activity ideas for Ottoline and the Yellow Cat here.