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The books in this section have been given a primary age range of 3+. The books in this genre will have more story than the books featured in the Baby and Toddler genre but still have stunning imagery and simple storylines to share with your child and for them to enjoy alone. Suitable for 3-4+ The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Some are picture books which are also suitable for Baby & Toddlers. Others will be relevant to 5+ children who are not quite ready to take the next step towards independent reading and enjoy a more simple story.
Deep beneath the waves it’s Christmas Eve and no-one is busier than Shelly the shark. She’s making a very special Santa’s Grotto and inviting in all the little fish. They’re wary though, and think she’s full of tricks so the only visitor is a squid named Sid, who can’t wait to meet Santa … Is Sid safe. Or were the other fish right to keep their distance? Don’t worry, this fishy Christmas tale is full of good cheer and with Sid’s help Shelly really does play Santa Jaws, delivering presents across the ocean floor. For all the silliness there’s a real festive message here about love and trust and finding the best in people. It makes a real change to spend Christmas underwater and the illustrations are full of details while the rhyming text bobs along swimmingly. Fishy, festive fun for all!
Eric and Terry Fan are renowned author illustrators with such gems as The Night Gardener and the Kate Greenaway shortlisted Ocean Meets Sky. For this collaboration they have been joined by brother Devin for the first time. Stunningly beautiful images are what we have come to expect, and this is no exception. The enticing, mysterious cover spotlights a little creature in a bell jar. Beneath the jacket the cover looks like a blackboard covered with code, double helixes and creature sketches. The endpapers are design files to start and shelves of completed products at the end. We know then that this is about creating things. We meet our little creature again and we are shown the contrast between the naturalistic wold and an ordinary shop – Perfect Pets- on an ordinary street, but far below there is an underground world and a laboratory where they make the perfect pets and where they put the Failed Projects like Barnabus. Alerted of impending recycling doom, by his friend Patrick the cockroach, who has been entrancing him with stories of the natural world above, Barnabus and fellow Failed Projects work together on a daring and thrilling escape and find refuge hiding in plain sight in a nearby park. Being a team and supporting each other is crucial to their success. A multi-layered story that will appeal to a wide range of ages and prompt much discussion and debate about ethics and freedom. In a world where young people are constantly bombarded with social media that promotes artificial standards of perfection, this empowering fable has an important message to share.
So the shortest day came, and the year died... As the sun set on the shortest day of the year, early people would gather to prepare for the long night ahead. They built fires and lit candles. They played music, bringing their own light to the darkness, while wondering if the sun would ever rise again...
Bertram and Alan are best friends and live next door to each other. Bertram is very tidy whilst Alan lives in a bit of a mess! Bertram feels there is something missing in his life and decides to get a cat. Pierre is a very superior cat – one that Bertram feels will fit in his life perfectly. The only problem is that Pierre has other ideas! He is not keen on eating out of his special bowl – and likes to go next door and eat Alan’s scraps, curl up on Alan’s old coat, and cuddle up with Alan whilst he watches the TV. So, Alan gives Bertram his old coat, and Bertram starts to leave Pierre scraps on the table - but there is still something missing! The two neighbours come up with an ingenious solution – illustrating that friendship can overcome even the contrariness of cats! A tale of friendship and cooperation illustrated in a lovely free-flowing style, full of colour. The double spreads of the book illustrate the difference between the two friends – with the spick and span Bertram’s home on one side and the mess and disorganisation of Alan’s on the other! The comparisons will keep children studying the pictures for a long time. There is a great deal to see in all the spreads, and readers will enjoy the many different things they can pick out!
Meg and Ash, two magpies, build a cosy nest in the tallest tree for their four bright blue eggs. But they then start to get worried ‘their nest/ Needed more stuff to make it the best.’ Written in rhyming verse, we stare in amazement at all the things the magpies collect to add to their nest – until there is no hope of seeing the nest, and we can only see the teetering heap of things that have been added on top! Disaster strikes as the tree gives way! Happily, all the animals around help to clear the mess – and create useful homes and shelters out of all the rubbish! A gentle, funny and very beautifully illustrated poem, with a little frisson of anxiety when the tree collapses, about waste and recycling – a good way to introduce children to the idea of recycling useful things. As ever with Emily Gravett – there is a great deal going on in all the illustrations – lots to see and talk about, all beautifully laid out across the double-page spreads. The end papers are particularly fun, containing adverts for some of the items in the book – and also an advert for libraries! I particularly liked the 4 ‘R’s of Recycling right at the back of the book! This will become a class and personal favourite for many people – children and adults alike – and could provide the basis for class projects on recycling, too.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is as much a part of the festive season as sleigh bells jingling and Lara Hawthorne brings the song alive in this gorgeous picture book, filling beautiful scenes with the cavalcade of gifts and giving it all a sense of movement, joy and celebration. The trappings of Christmas are present in each spread – spot the holly, the paper hats, and the Christmas baubles on each page amongst the birds and leaping musicians – but the background outdoor scenes are green fields, particularly suited to her folk-art style illustrations. There’s so much to look at and each turn of the page presents a completely different scene – I particularly liked the ten lords, who go a-leaping right across the roof of a house, so that they’re almost flying across the page. The full lyrics are repeated in the final pages along with a special author’s note about the poem too. A Christmas book to be enjoyed all year round. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
Renowned author Eoin McLaughlin and award-nominated illustrator Rob Starling join forces to create a hilarious, not-so-spooky tale. A brilliant tale that reassures children, makes them laugh and gets them ready for a peaceful night's sleep.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2020 | Snowman, snow woman, snowperson? Best-selling illustrator David McKee gives the magic of building a someone out of snow a new twist in this witty, wintry picture book. Waking up to snow, Rupert tells his dad and then his mum that he is going to build a snowman. Why snowman, they ask? Why not a snowperson? But when Kate says she’s building a snow woman both mum and dad think that’s great. But what can Rupert and Kate do when the snow man and snow woman run off together? Luckily they come up with a great solution in is gently non-sexist story.
This is a wonderfully silly, wonderfully funny picture book from the absolute master of the genre, Tony Ross. Mr Wolf is a tricky character, more than a match for his neighbours, a flock of sheep who – ulp! – provide most of his meals. They are shockingly easy to trick though: apparently you can fool some of the people all of the time. Even so, Mr Wolf comes to the sort of end he deserves, and it’s entirely his own fault. Giggles guaranteed on every page, and as always Ross tells his tale with visual and verbal flourish.
For fans of Jon Klassen, this sensitive and impactful picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Christian Robinson is all about seeing the world from different points of view, and the perfect entry point for parents to help teach their little people about empathy and community.
What happens at night when we are all tucked up in bed and dreaming? It’s a question that fascinates children and it’s explored beautifully in this handsome picture book. Double page illustrations show us the people going about their night-time jobs, the trucks rattling down roads packed with the things we need, and even give us a peek into the Royal Mail’s sorting office where busy workers (watched over by a prowling cat) go through bundles of letters and interesting-looking parcels. Meanwhile, out at sea ships cut through the waves under the stars, while the countryside belongs to owls, bats and hares. Text and pictures both are full of memorable images and vivid details, but at the same time brim with a sense of the quiet and magic of the night-time world. It’s beautiful to look at, a glimpse into another world, and will be wonderful to share with young readers, particularly at bedtime.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Rebecca Cobb’s warm and uncluttered illustrations capture the importance of friendships and how they can best be made. Here, an eager little girl expresses her delightful enthusiasm for sharing everything including indoor and outdoor play, packed lunch and more while in pleasing contrast the boy who is the focus of her attentions shows that friendship can also take longer to develop. A sweet story which also provides a lot of scope for thoughtful conversation and reflection.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This is a superb example of an information text, ostensibly for younger children, but with multi-age and multi-curriculum uses. It is also a thing of beauty, printed on high quality paper doing full justice to the stunning illustrations, with the author’s expressive brush work, clever layout and a palette filled with watery blues and greens and the white and grey of rain, fog and snow. A little girl notices the role of water all around her—a sprinkler, a tap, a stream, a lake. She also notices that water sometimes tries to hide, or change state, and that water is part of every living thing including her. The book concludes with four pages of beautifully clear explanations of water forms (liquid, solid and gas), the water cycle and the all-important conservation of water. There are some excellent suggestions of how to play and learn about water and true or false questions to check understanding. These are very well suited to older children too, as indeed the book is, as a model of writing and the effective use of figurative language. Poetic descriptions make this an enjoyable read-aloud and the larger font labels that identify the source of the water on each page (including Zoe the narrator) are perfect for vocabulary building for the youngest child. A really well thought out and brilliantly executed early science picture book that deserves a place in every school.
Paramedics Chris and Holly are preparing for a visit to Shadesdon Primary School in order to talk about their work and to show the children the ambulance. Meanwhile at the school Mrs Hope, the teacher is preparing the children for the visit, including a reminder on how to behave appropriately. After showing the class the equipment they use, the paramedics invite the children to visit the ambulance but sadly Harry pushes to be first, causing Daniel to fall. After spending time in the 'Time Out' room, Harry apologises and writes a letter to Chris and Holly. Having been checked over, Daniel is taken home by the paramedics. On first view, this is a seemingly simple little book yet it has a lot which would provoke discussion at Early Years/KS1 level in school. Using bright and colourful childlike illustrations, it would be a useful text for providing reassurance for children in developing their experience of hospital, together with reinforcing positive behaviour in school. I think it would be a super little book to share with young children during PSHCE lessons. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Young children will find lots to laugh at in this jolly story of a little dragon who can’t help losing his temper, and they’ll learn ways to manage their own anger too. When Fergal gets cross, he really gets cross, and being a dragon this results in burned buns (he couldn’t wait to eat them), scorched suppers (he didn’t want the veg), goalposts burned to cinders (he really didn’t want to play in goal). It upsets his friends and it’s making him unhappy too. Fortunately Mum has a useful suggestion – take a breath and count to ten. It works, while Fergal’s friends have helpful tricks of their own too. Robert Starling’s illustrations are full of life and character, and this is very good for sharing.
There’s huge fun to be had in this gloriously interactive book which is a spur to imaginative play as well as a great introduction to familiar colours and shapes. A singing button, a tickle button and many more. All young readers will be delighted by the invitation to press each one. Once they have done so many possibilities open up as they head off into whatever invention they choose to imagine. Sally Nicholls uses her word carefully and with pleasing simplicity and Beth Woollvin’s illustrations add special details of their own.
Deservedly a modern classic, this action packed and hilarious picture book brings all kinds of traditional – and not so traditional! – Christmas excitement vividly to life. Like everyone else, the mice are eager to have a big Christmas party but, without money, it is hard to see what they can do. As ever, Arthur and Humphrey come up with some inventive ideas but nothing, especially raffling off Sampson the Cat, goes exactly according to plan! An exciting encounter with various Father Christmases, irate shoppers in the toy shop and more have unexpected results which leave the mice with a Christmas to remember.
Howl with laughter and squeal with delight at this monstrously exciting new picture book from number one bestselling author David Walliams, illustrated by the awesome Adam Stower! Howler is a SMALL werewolf with a BIG problem. He is just not SCARY! And that makes him the odd one out at Monster School... But when Howler finds some new friends, he discovers that being the ODD one out might just make him the COOLEST one of all... This hilarious new picture book is full of squeal appeal and has giggles on every page.
Beautifully told and illustrated this luminous allegorical adventure describes how one little girl’s dark and lonely existence is lit up by the arrival of ‘one spark’ in the form of a book – ‘faint and fading in the dark’. The spark’s embers glow and catch light and we see the girl follow them through an extraordinary world, brightened always by books, falling Alice in Wonderland-like from the sky, sprouting flowers and always shining in the dark. Enrolled at school, her heart’s delight, her story takes flight again from the pages of a book to transform another lonely girl’s life. There’s lots to wonder at, but the overall message is clear – the transforming, empowering, joy-bringing importance of books and education. The rhyming text carries readers along and the illustrations seem lit up from within. A book that deserves a wide audience and one that will start both dreams and discussions. For similar books take a look at Girl Power - Inspiring and Informative Books with a Feminist Edge
October 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Award-winning Oliver Jeffers will capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike with this story of a father and daughter making plans to build a world that will keep them safe in the future. Brimming with hope but not ignoring the possibilities that the world and what happens next in it will present challenges, What We’ll Build is founded in the mundane (almost!) as the father and his daughter assemble building tools including a hammer, saw and drill – and a pig! What they go on to build including a place to store love, a hole to hide in, a wall to keep enemies out and a gate to let them, a tunnel to anywhere, a road to the stars and much more and the reasons why they may need them it is summed up in the briefest of texts and Jeffers magical, vividly coloured story- telling illustrations. Inspired by becoming a father, What We’ll Build is a childhood classic that will be shared over and over again.
This festive activity book for little children is full of Christmas scenes to decorate. Dress the dolls for a Christmas market, ice skating, building a snowman and lots more. With over 200 stickers of festive outfits and Christmas decorations.
Count down to Christmas with Peppa and George with this magical and fun collection of 24 stories! Find a surprise mini storybook behind each door, plus a special Christmas story for Christmas Eve! Stories include: Peppa Goes Skiing, Ballet Lesson, Treasure Hunt, A Trip to the Moon, Miss Rabbit's Taxi, Grandpa Pig's Greenhouse and Peppa's Perfect Christmas. Put the books back inside the windows, so you can reuse your Advent Book Collection every year!
From the inventive author-illustrator of the award-winning There’s a Bear on My Chair comes this smart sequel, and boy has Ross Collins delivered again. It’s a rollicking, rhyming, visually-pleasing treat in which it turns out that Bear isn’t terribly keen on getting a taste of his own medicine (to begin with, at least). The cause of Bear’s irritation is the presence of Mouse in his house (yes, the very same Mouse on whose chair Bear presumptuously sat in the first book). In Bear’s outraged words, “That rodent can’t live here, oh no! I’ll tell him that he has to go.” Of course, Mouse refuses to leave and proceeds to cause chaos in Bear’s house, before a mob of partying mice turn up. But then - the twist! – when Bear realises “Hey! These mice are nice!” With wonderful interplay between text, illustration and design, this is excellent for reading aloud - the kind of book that will have toddlers urging for it to be read again, and again (and again) while completing the rhymes before adults have chance to read them.
October 2020 Debut of the Month | What a roar-some romp this is! With its read-along rhymes, fun flaps to lift and energetic animals, toddlers will adore grrr-ing, snapping, ooo-ing, hissing and ROARING their way through this jamboree of jungle dwellers. It’s a joy to read aloud, ideally with exuberant accompaniment from little animal lovers. The rhythmic, rhyming text invites readers to engage with larger-than-life animals in their natural habitats - a tiger hiding in tall bamboo, a crocodile lurking in a lilypond, a snake slithering through leaves, a monkey curled in a tree, a lion prowling a plain - while sharing information about their physical characteristics and - of course - the sounds they make. It’s a beautiful book to behold, too - Katerina Kerouli’s style is both bold and understated. Her palette has an elegant mid-century feel, and her animals are oh-so chicly expressive.
A message from Anthony Browne, one of the UK's most brilliant and respected Picture Book Illustrators, who was Children's Laureate 2009-11:
"Picture books are special – they're not like anything else. Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call proper books, books without pictures, at an earlier and earlier age. This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing, and not just with the youngest children. As a father, I understand the importance of the bond that develops through reading picture books with your child. We have in Britain some of the best picture book makers in the world, and I want to see their books appreciated for what they are – works of art." Picture books, he said, are "perfect for any age".
As children begin to communicate more readily and are a little more dextrous then you’ll find they want to occupy their mind with books that are a little more challenging, perhaps even with more pages and more of a storyline.
The picture books in this section with a greater range of text to accompany some absolutely stunning imagery provide a terrific next stage.
Titles in this section will be refreshed each month with a range of new and older titles that we feel should not to be missed by any young child.
Click here to read some helpful tips from top childrens' publisher Egmont.