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New is not necessarily better

At Lovereading4kids we are constantly asked to recommend great books for children and so far we have focused on mainly new books.

However there are some books that we think will grow old gracefully and will affect a new generation as powerfully as the generation before. Simply Essential reading.

Just click on the age range you are interested above the books.

To create this list Lovereading4kids has worked closely with Julia Eccleshare to create a list of ‘essential reads in childhood’ – those titles which we think should be read as part of growing up.

So now, in addition to being guided on the best of the new children’s titles, we're delighted to be able to guide you through those titles we feel have a timeless quality about them and should appear in every child's life at some point.

To view a range of classic literature from Alice (Alice in Wonderland) to Zeus (Tales of the Greek Heroes), then click here.

 



See below for some authors who have previously featured in this section:
Richard Adams   
Allan Ahlberg   
David Almond   
Edward Ardizzone   
J M Barrie   
Nina Bawden   
Malorie Blackman   
Raymond Briggs   
Kevin Brooks   
Julie Burchill   
Melvin Burgess   
Rod Campbell   
Eric Carle   
Eoin Colfer   
Helen Cresswell   
Roadl Dahl   
Joseph Delaney   
Julia Donaldson   
Anne Fine   
Mark Haddon   
Eric Hill   
Shirley Hughes   
Mick Inkpen   
Dick King Smith   
Rudyard Kipling   
Ursula Le Guin   
Astrid Lindgren   
Michelle Magorian   
Louisa May Alcott   
Gerladine McCaughrean   
Anthony McGowan   
Herman Melville   
Jill Murphy   
Michelle Paver   
K M Peyton   
Terry Pratchett   
Philip Pullman   
Meg Rosoff   
J K Rowling   
Louis Sachar   
J D Salinger   
Marcus Sedgwick   
Maurice Sendak   
Anna Sewell   
Clive Smith   
Rosemary Sutcliff   
Jonathan Swift   
E B White   
Jacqueline Wilson   
Benjamin Zepaniah   

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Children's Book 'Must Reads'


To see essential reads for kids of a certain age, just click on one of the tabs below. You'll find some highly recommended reads.

Essential Reads - Ages 0-5


The Baby's Catalogue
The Baby's Catalogue
Janet Ahlberg, Allan Ahlberg
A new paperback edition of this classic celebration of babies – their dinners, prams, accidents, gardens, bedtimes and bath times, books, pets and even their Mums and Dads. Everything that is familiar to a baby is beautifully captured in Janet...
Featured in: Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 04/07/2013
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Tabby McTat
Tabby McTat
Julia Donaldson
Best-selling author and illustrator Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have teamed up again to create a heart-warming story about loyalty and friendship. When Tabby McTat the busker’s cat gets separated from the busker he begins a new life on his...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Books of the Month | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Hardback - Released: 07/09/2009
Price: £8.24- Saving £2.75 (25%)
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Stick Man
Stick Man
Julia Donaldson
Creators of The Gruffalo, best selling author/ illustrator Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are back with another bestseller on their hands. “Stick Man lives in the family tree/ with Stick Lady love/ And his children three”. But one day Stick...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Audio Books | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/09/2009
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Old Bear
Old Bear
Jane Hissey
November 2012 Book of the Month  Old Bear was first published in 1986 and became one of the bestselling picture books ever with spin off merchandise that ensured he became a household name for a whole generation of children.  Now,...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Hardback - Released: 01/09/2012
Price: £9.74- Saving £3.25 (25%)
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Meg and Mog
Meg and Mog
Helen Nicoll, Jan Pienkowski
A stunning 40th anniversary edition of one of THE classics of the 20th century that will remain timeless forever.  Available in both hardback and paperback in this anniversary edition.  Great for sharing or reading alone, this edition celebrates their special...
Featured in: Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 05/07/2012
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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Gangsta Granny
Gangsta Granny
David Walliams
Category Winner of The Red House Children’s Book Award 2013 & Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012.   Following in the footsteps of the great Roald Dahl, David Walliams has shown in his previous titles including Mr Stink...
Featured in: 7+ readers | 9+ readers | Audio Books | Book Awards | Bookshelf Essentials | If They Like...They'll Love
Format: Paperback - Released: 28/02/2013
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Where's Spot?
Where's Spot?
Eric Hill
This is definitely one of those ‘essential experiences’ of childhood. Children identify brilliantly with the naughty little dog through some big bold illustrations, simple text and lots of flaps revealing Spot’s many friends. A real classic first published 25 years...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 27/10/1983
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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Where the Wild Things are
Where the Wild Things are
Maurice Sendak
Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "The text is very minimal but perfect - and the illustrations are glorious. This isn't a scary book in the slightest, though the monsters are grotesque, equipped with very sharp teeth and pointy claws.  Little Max...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bedtime Reading | Books for Boys | Books of the Month | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 04/05/2000
Price: £5.99- Saving £1.00 (14%)
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We're Going on a Bear Hunt
We're Going on a Bear Hunt
Michael Rosen
Fantastic, cumulative adventure as a family cheerfully sets out on a brave hunt to find the bear. It could be frightening but they’re not scared. They’re full of confidence in what they are doing. Caves, mud, rivers, forest … whatever...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials | Reluctant Readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 16/09/1993
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Up in the Tree
Up in the Tree
Margaret Atwood
This is a delightfully simple and light-hearted story told with a poetic jauntiness written and illustrated by one of the foremost literary novelists writing today. Two children love their home in a tree, they can feel the wind rushing by...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Mixed media product - Released: 03/05/2010
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Two Monsters
Two Monsters
David Mckee
Delightfully witty, Two Monsters is a classic picture book with a strong message about understanding other people’s point of view. The Two Monsters live on different sides of the mountain and so see the world from different angles. Communicating through...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/10/1997
Price: £1.12- Saving £0.38 (25%)
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Tiddler
Tiddler
Julia Donaldson
Best-selling author/ illustrator of The Gruffalo have created a fantastic new character with Tiddler, the little fish who tells some big stories! Showcasing their remarkable talent at the top of their game, they tell the story of tiddler with humour,...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Audio Books | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/09/2008
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle
This is a much-loved classic but as relevant today as it was when first published in 1969! The vivid and colourful illustrations and cut back and die-cut pages, together with some very simple text, provide a wonderful story that is...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Audio Books | Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 28/11/2002
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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The Tiger-Skin Rug
The Tiger-Skin Rug
Gerald Rose
Full of wit, this classic story tells how a tired old tiger cleverly swaps his dangerous life in the jungle for the easier lifestyle of the Rajah’s palace. Becoming a tiger skin rug is not so hard for the thin...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials | eBooks
Format: Hardback - Released: 18/04/2011
Price: £8.24- Saving £2.75 (25%)
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The Snowman
The Snowman
Raymond Briggs
This is one of the all time favourites of any nursery and certainly a book to turn back to time and time again whether you’re a child or an adult. No words, just the most wonderful pictures telling a poignant...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 25/09/1980
Price: £5.99- Saving £2.00 (25%)
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The Heron and the Crane
The Heron and the Crane
John Yeoman
Prize-winning illustrator Quentin Blake’s stunning illustrations bring great pathos to this touching story of how two lonely birds make a hash of communicating. Back and forth across the swamp the two leggy birds go as Crane and Heron make offers...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 03/02/2011
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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The Conquerors
The Conquerors
David Mckee
In this masterpiece for all ages, best-selling illustrator David McKee has created a miniature morality tale. The General leads his army into one country after another, subjugating the population and bringing them under his command; they are the Conquerors. Finally,...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/07/2005
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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The Blue Balloon
The Blue Balloon
Mick Inkpen
This was the book that introduced the lovable Kipper to millions of children the world over. A truly wonderful story to share and to be treasured and loved time and time again. Written in a single afternoon by the author,...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 20/07/2006
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Susan Laughs
Susan Laughs
Jeanne Willis
A prize winning title, this introduces Susan who loves to swing, dance, swim, ride do all the things other children do. In fact, she’s no different from any other little girl except that, as the final spread shows, she gets...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 03/02/2011
Price: £5.99- Saving £1.00 (14%)
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Rosie's Walk (book and audio CD)
Rosie's Walk (book and audio CD)
Pat Hutchins
A simple and utterly delightful joke lies at the heart of this classic picture book now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Rosie the hen sets out for a walk around the farmyard. The words describe exactly the route Rosie takes as...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/01/2010
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Peepo!
Peepo!
Allan Ahlberg
One of our 'Must Reads'. Fabulous illustrations, wonderful rhyming text with not a word out of place; this is a book that no nursery bookshelf can be without. Guaranteed to have huge appeal with babies and young toddlers. It’s definitely the...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 31/03/1983
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Mr Gumpy's Motor Car Book and CD
Mr Gumpy's Motor Car Book and CD
John Burningham
Award-winning illustrator John Burningham’s classic adventure of a delightful day’s jaunt in a car. It is a beautiful summer’s day when Mr Gumpy decides to set off in his car. The children and all the animals want to join him....
Featured in: 3+ readers | Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 02/06/2011
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Mog The Forgetful Cat 40th anniversary edition
Mog The Forgetful Cat 40th anniversary edition
Judith Kerr
Many happy returns to Mog the Forgetful Cat who has been delighting readers for forty years. Brilliant author-illustrator Judith Kerr’s timeless stories about Mog, the cat who has a habit of forgetting everything, charm readers young and old. Toddlers adore...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Baby and Toddler | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 07/02/2005
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Lost and Found: Board Book
Lost and Found: Board Book
Oliver Jeffers
Celebrating the value of friendship, this is an exquisitely illustrated picture book with a simple story line. Opening his door and finding a penguin on it, the little boy takes pity on the sad looking creature who he immediately assumes...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Board book - Released: 02/04/2009
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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I Want My Hat Back
I Want My Hat Back
Jon Klassen
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013   A simply told story with a delicious and irresistible mischievous twist in its ending. Poor Bear! He has lost his hat. He asks everyone if they have seen it but no...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bedtime Reading | Book Awards | Bookshelf Essentials | Picture Book Party
Format: Paperback - Released: 03/09/2012
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
Lynley Dodd
First published in 1983 and still as good today. Written by Lynley Dodd, who is a New Zealander, this is the first in a series of books about the adventures of a scruffy dog ‘Hairy McClary’. Rhyming, catchy and comical...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bedtime Reading | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 29/08/1985
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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Good Night, Gorilla
Good Night, Gorilla
Peggy Rathmann
All young readers will delight at knowing the trick the animals play on the unsuspecting zoo keeper! It’s bedtime and the zoo keeper sets off to lock the animals up for the night. But, the gorilla has a clever plan....
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 04/06/2012
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Farmer Duck
Farmer Duck
Martin Waddell
A hugely enjoyable read.  Farmer duck toils hard all day while his lazy farmer does nothing. So the duck’s many friends decide to club together to get their own back on the lazy farmer and in so doing the duck...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 04/09/1995
Price: £4.49- Saving £1.50 (25%)
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Elmer
Elmer
David Mckee
Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, this picture book is known to millions, and continues to be one of the biggest selling picture books ever,...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 06/09/2007
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Each Peach Pear Plum
Each Peach Pear Plum
Allan Ahlberg, Janet Ahlberg
Kate Greenaway Medal winner in 1978. A delightful board book with simple rhyming text and engaging interactive pictures.  Children will be able to find characters that are mentioned in the text, such as Mother Hubbard and Cinderella. Wonderful...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bedtime Reading | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 13/03/1989
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Dogger
Dogger
Shirley Hughes
Winner of the Greenaway of Greenaways in 2007 and Greenaway winner in 1977. Filled with humour and Shirley Hughes' deft touch, this is a book for young readers to tackle by themselves, as well as a delight to...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Book Awards | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 18/11/1993
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Dear Zoo
Dear Zoo
Rod Campbell
Have you ever wanted a pet? How do you find the right one? An elephant is too heavy, a  giraffe is too tall, a frog is too jumpy. Hidden behind a flap, each new arrival that the zoo sends...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Paperback - Released: 28/03/1985
Price: £5.24- Saving £1.75 (25%)
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Bears In The Night
Bears In The Night
Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
One of our 'Must Reads'. Lively pictures, charming characters and the fact that the story only uses 24 words, but to beautiful effect, make this a brilliant book for beginner readers.  The bears are running through the woods in the...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials | eBooks
Format: Paperback - Released: 08/08/1991
Price: £4.99- Saving £1.00 (17%)
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All About Alfie
All About Alfie
Shirley Hughes
Celebrating thirty years of Alfie, one of the most popular characters in children’s books, this is a glorious collection of stories which capture the joy of young children. Shirley Hughes has perfect understanding of the intense relationships with parents and...
Featured in: 3+ readers | 5+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Hardback - Released: 01/09/2011
Price: £8.24- Saving £2.75 (25%)
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