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If you’re looking for suitable books for your 3 and 4 year old, our extensive list of expert recommendations is sure to put you in the right direction.
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.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2019 | October 2019 Book of the Month | 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.
With its tongue firmly in its cheek, this is a book to delight parent and child alike. The opening pages remind us of the credentials of the Goodnight Laboratory whose staff have designed this guide: follow their advice and you’re guaranteed to see off all monsters. This advice includes things parents will thoroughly endorse like keep a clean room because no mess equals nowhere for monsters to hide, as well as things to make children giggle, such as telling silly jokes will send monsters rolling away laughing. And everyone will approve of the final bit of advice which says that closing the book will create a monster-free zone. Monsters have never seemed so silly and this will send everyone to bed happy and laughing.
Share this sturdy little book at bedtime for a perfectly charming festive read, full of frosty scenes, inviting flaps to lift, and the friendliest little bunny characters. Read it in the day, and ideally before a walk in the park, and it turns into a set of instructions for a special holiday adventure, with an invitation to join a very jolly elf chase. With shades of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, there’s lots of repetition, lots of actions to copy (skate, skate, glide) and lots of fun. A lovely book to make the Christmas holidays even more fun.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | A joyful combination of Christmas, a heavy snow fall and a farmyard all of which are explored in double page spreads filled with flaps which makes this a book to enjoy time after time. Poppy and Sam are excitedly waiting for Christmas. They write their letters to Santa - Sam wants a train set while Poppy asks for a new bike with a basket; they set up the Christmas tree and they settle down to wait…will Santa come? And will he bring them the presents that they want? The addition of a hidden duck on some spreads and a hidden kitten on all spreads increase the fun of looking carefully at the pictures.
Generosity, unexpected kindness and warm welcomes are at the heart of this story, making it perfect Christmas reading. It’s closing time on Christmas Eve in a big department store and all the shoppers and staff have gone home leaving only Clawdia the cat – and a family of lively mice. They lead her a merry dance around the shop, stopping occasionally to point out scenes that make her rethink her ‘bah, humbug’ attitude to Christmas. A surprise ending sees Clawdia and the mice enjoying a proper Christmas day. The message is lovely and the hectic chases around Christmas displays are lots of fun. As good as any John Lewis ad!
November 2019 Book of the Month | ‘‘Twas the night before Christmas …’ but we’re on a snowy hillside where a lonely tree shivers in the cold. As it longs to be in the brightly lit little town below, suddenly footsteps suddenly approach. Somebody very important collects the tree and puts it at the centre of some special celebrations, before leaving with the familiar words: ‘Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’ Taking inspiration from Clement C Moore’s classic poem, Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ new book is filled with the joy of Christmas, and captures all its sense of magical anticipation. In a handsome small format, there’s a full page illustration on each right hand page and they tell the story with as much vivacity as the lines of verse opposite. It all concludes with a sparkling double page spread, the tree glowing in the foreground as St Nick flies off into the Christmas night silhouetted against the moon. If this doesn’t set you up for Christmas and its jollities, nothing will!
November 2019 Debut of the Month | Mr Moose and Mr Brown first meet on an aeroplane flying from America to London. Mr Moose should be with his brother Monty, but absent-minded Monty has got on the wrong plane. Mr Brown, who is a famous fashion designer (as is the book’s author Paul Smith), offers to help his new friend find his missing brother. As they travel the world, Mr Moose helps Mr Brown with his fashion range, suggesting some very interesting garments – parkas for penguins, sneakers for cheetahs, scarves for giraffes. As they fit out an Alaskan bear for snow-shoes Mr Brown has an idea … It all ends with a happy reunion at a big catwalk (moosewalk?) show. It’s an engaging story and very strong on the fun and satisfaction that comes from designing things and from creative partnerships. Sam Usher paints some wonderful scenes, including a witty reimagining of Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942.
November 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | The delightful Meerkats are back for a new and special Christmas adventure. Everyone in the Meerkat family is excitedly getting ready for the perfect Christmas in their home in the Kalahari Desert. But Sunny is sure that something is missing. Well, many things! His Book on Christmas tells him that the perfect weather needs to be snow, the perfect presents have to be in a huge pile, the perfect dinner has to include well-boiled sprouts while the perfect music to accompany it all has to be Christmas carols. Donning his Christmas hat, Sunny sets off on an adventure to find somewhere more Christmassy. Visiting his friends around the world, Sunny finds that some have snow, some have presents, some have sprouts but all have something missing …
November 2019 Book of the Month | Greta Thunberg is the inspiration for this heartfelt and moving allegory. A little girl lives happily in a beautiful forest until the actions of neighbouring giants start to threaten her home and the wild animals who share it. The fictional Greta, like her real-life counterpart, begins a strike and is gradually joined by more and more people until the giants take notice. In this story they change their ways and everyone lives happily. Simply but powerfully the story explains the impact of human activity on the climate and our world, but reassures children that there’s something they can do: within notes about Greta Thunberg at the end is her quote, “No one is too small to make a difference.”
Another hilarious helping of bonkers supermarket superhero adventure, and possibly the best yet in this brilliant picture book series. Evil Pea is up to his usual tricks and when he manages to freeze Supertato things look bad: putting Operation Freezification into action he transforms the supermarket into a winter wonderland – to the surprise delight of the veggies! But Supertato is able to free himself, with the help of some chilis, and soon the supermarket shelves are turned. Great fun, wonderful to read and very cleverly illustrated and designed, Evil Pea Rules deserves a place in every shopping basket this Christmas.
November 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | Winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal | A stunning near wordless picture book which will inspire the story teller in all of its readers. While Matthew Cordell draws on some themes familiar from the traditional Red Riding Hood story he has created a quite different and hugely heart-warming drama about trust and friendship. Dressed in a bright red coat a little girl sets off to walk home from school. Snow is beginning to fall. At the same time, a pack of wolfs, including a young wolf cub, set out into the same falling snow. The snow turns into a blizzard and soon both the little girl and the wolf cub are lost. How can either of them survive? Luckily, they come together so that bth can get home safely.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | A touching story about family interactions – and hair! When Dad takes his son to have his hair cut they spin the stories of Rapunzel and Sampson into the excitement of a hair cut. The new look brings new power! But when Dad goes away there are no more haircuts. The little boy gets more and more lost as his hair grows longer and longer. It is as if his thoughts and feelings are all tangled up in the wayward curls. How will he ever feel happy again? Poet Joe Coehlo tells the story of a moment of sadness in a child’s life with great sensitivity and a suitably hopeful ending.
Naomi Howarth’s beautifully expressive pictures have seen her twice nominated for the Kate Greenaway medal and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize and she is renowned for bringing the wonders of the natural world to life for young readers. In this picture book, which would be a perfect resource for Cold Places topics, we first meet Magnus the Ringed Seal woken from his slumbers by a loud rumbling noise. What could it be? Neither he nor any of his friends- the Arctic Hare, the Snowy Owl, the Arctic Fox and the Polar Bear can identify the source of the noise. It’s not the wind nor the ice breaking or trees creaking. But when they reach the sea, wise Walrus has an idea. Magnus is told to dive for juicy pink shrimps, and he brings back a feast for them all to share. Suddenly they realise the noise has stopped and it was Magnus’s hungry stomach all along. In a delightful denouement, when they all try to sleep, another loud noise wakes them and this time it is Magnus’s snores! The animals are realistically depicted in their glorious Arctic settings but are simultaneously real characters that children can engage with. The end papers have key facts about all the animals featured. This is an enjoyable repetitive tale and a lovely introduction to the animals of a threatened habitat.
Michael Morpurgo and Helen Stephens' classic Christmas story, now in a brand-new larger gift format - the perfect Christmas gift! High in the mountains of Switzerland, lives a terrible dragon. In the village below, the people do everything they can to keep the dragon away. But one day, a little girl called Mimi finds a baby dragon. The little creature is lost and frightened but how did he get there and what if his mother comes looking for him? Mimi must be extremely brave if she is going to help the little dragon find his way home . . . A wonderful story about friendship, courage and adventure, perfect for sharing with the whole family.
Sofia Valdez did as much as she could for her family and friends and her whole neighborhood. A dreamer. A doer. A real-life go-getter. Most people like good, but Sofia liked better. In the newest picture book in the mega-bestselling Questioneers series, Sofia Valdez fights for change and finds her voice as a community leader! Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea-the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall-only to be told by a clerk that she can't build a park because she's just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.
Independent Reading Red 2 | Developed with and endorsed by literacy experts from the UCL Institute of Education, Reading Champions are high quality, visually attractive and engaging supplementary reading resources. They are uniquely designed specifically to support independent reading alongside guided reading in the classroom. With clear exterior labelling linked to Book Bands, children can be confident that the carefully levelled text will be accessible to them. Developing readers need to build their reading confidence and stamina by extended practise within levels to embed and secure their skills while experiencing an enjoyable reading opportunity. There are at least six books in each level to offer choice and variety and they are ideal for reading practice at home. Parents and carers will feel supported by the extremely helpful guidance notes in each book on how to share and discuss the book with their child and by the opportunities to extend their learning with some enjoyable activities linked to the subject matter. Most importantly of all these original stories are lively and relevant to children’s lives. They feature a broad range of genres and contemporary topics and both the quality text and the vibrant illustrations reflect genuine diversity, so that every child can identify with characters and settings.
You can rely on Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet to put a fresh and funny take on the festive season. The creators of Supertato have another surprising, comic central character in this super-silly story: a rogue Christmas tree! All the other houses have a decorated Christmas tree in their window – the one at number 32 is pink – but at number 34 the tree has put its foot down and is refusing to play its part. The baubles are in despair, pleading with it to get into its pot and play its part, to no avail. Fortunately, the tree is as vain as it is stubborn, and not too bright either, and the decorations find a way to trick it into behaving. Where else will you be able to enjoy the sight of baubles and tinsel chasing a Christmas tree round the house? Told in rollicking rhyme this is a Christmas must-have.
A beautifully written book that you read in your mind as to a child as you settle them into bed. It sets them up to have sweet dreams in a long sleep. The illustrations match the journey that the children take to go to bed. It is an ideal and most parents would be delighted if that happened every night. You can definitely hear yourself read it out loud as a bedtime story! Cathy Small, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
October 2019 Book of the Month | Kate Milner, winner of the 2018 Klaus Flugge Award for most promising newcomer to children’s book illustration has certainly lived up to her laurels with this delicate and subtle picturebook, which packs a real emotional and political punch. It is a cause of great shame to many, in this country and in the 21st century, that more children than ever are living in poverty and that there has been a huge expansion in the use of foodbanks. Mum works really hard and watches every penny, but today is a no money day. Her little girl, who tells the story, takes great pleasure in life from the simple, free activities they share- visits to the library and dressing up in the charity shops. Unlike her humiliated Mum, she loves the visits to the food bank for the drink and biscuits and the kind ladies to talk to. On the way home they play the maybe one day game- dreaming of pets and washing machines and new warm clothes. They go to bed and “because of kind people our tummies are full”. Nothing is laboured in text or image- the colours are subdued but still there. The despair and tiredness of the mother is evident in every expression and nuance of body language, but so is the warmth and love between them and so is the irrepressible spirit of a child who knows they are loved even if as the pictures subtly show us, she is clearly malnourished. This is a book which can be used with a very wide range of children and will encourage empathy and discussion of a very current and appalling crisis in our society.
Independent Reading Blue 4 | Developed with and endorsed by literacy experts from the UCL Institute of Education, Reading Champions are high quality, visually attractive and engaging supplementary reading resources. They are uniquely designed specifically to support independent reading alongside guided reading in the classroom. With clear exterior labelling linked to Book Bands, children can be confident that the carefully levelled text will be accessible to them. Developing readers need to build their reading confidence and stamina by extended practise within levels to embed and secure their skills while experiencing an enjoyable reading opportunity. There are at least six books in each level to offer choice and variety and they are ideal for reading practice at home. Parents and carers will feel supported by the extremely helpful guidance notes in each book on how to share and discuss the book with their child and by the opportunities to extend their learning with some enjoyable activities linked to the subject matter. Most importantly of all these original stories are lively and relevant to children’s lives. They feature a broad range of genres and contemporary topics and both the quality text and the vibrant illustrations reflect genuine diversity, so that every child can identify with characters and settings.
Read with Oxford Stage 1 is for children who are ready to start learning to read. KS1 Age 3-4 | With a focus on building phonics skills, this collection includes twelve fun stories with colourful illustrations. It is ideal for children who are taking their first steps in reading. Discover what life is like being small with Bob Bug, find out if Top Cat becomes king of the garden and learn how to make tasty buns! Tips for reading together explain the sounds that each story focuses on and identify any words children may find tricky, helping you to get the most out of the collection. Former Children's Laureate and author of The Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson, has captivated children all over the world with her lively and engaging stories. Songbirds is a phonics programme carefully created by Julia to support children who are learning to read and is used in schools to inspire a love of reading.
There’s a moral to this lively tale for everyone who lives on a small island. The setting is a farm run by animals. At first, all is good: the animals work hard and are friends, free ‘to live and work where they chose’. But trouble is brewing. The geese, who reside with the ducks on a lush little island, start to resent the other animals. Their grumbling gets worse until they decide that the best thing for them to do is to leave the rest of the farm and live on their own. Despite the misgivings of the ducks, the geese destroy the footbridge to the farm. 48% of readers may not be surprised to learn that things don’t work out as the geese expect, but all readers will be glad that by the end of the book the bridge has been rebuilt. Animal farms traditionally have lessons for readers – Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury for example – and this one is delivered with impact and charm. A book to get everyone talking, but to leave them smiling.
This beautiful, atmospheric book captures the special magic of Christmas for readers of all ages. A young boy, just beginning to wonder whether Father Christmas is real, lies in bed hoping to hear sleigh bells. But instead of a sleigh, a huge train pulls up outside and takes him, together with other pyjama-clad children, off to the North Pole. There the boy meets Father Christmas and choses his present – a sleigh bell. It rings for him that Christmas and every one until he’s an old man, the sound always equalling the first gift of Christmas. This is a book that really does conjure up all that is magic about Christmas and Liam Neeson’s reading on the accompanying CD does it full justice, his rich voice full of doubt, breathless anticipation and joy. Start a Christmas tradition and enjoy this with the whole family on Christmas Eve.
Expect this whimsical and gorgeously illustrated picture book to infect children with an urge to go exploring, if not bird-spotting. Otto’s family are obsessive bird-spotters, indeed, so deep is their passion that they’ve turned their home into a hide. Otto though loves exploring and it’s on one of his trips that he finds, and secretly brings home, a very unusual baby bird. He’s able to hide it from his family because his new friend proves surprisingly good at camouflage. But, as the bird grows (and grows), Otto realises that it’s missing its family and recruits his own to help track them down. There’s lots to enjoy in the story and Graham Carter’s glowing illustrations are full of treats too, the camouflage scenes are particularly delightful. A funny, original story with satisfying underlying themes of adventure, friendship and family.
This is a very heartwarming story about friendship. Mimi is very shy and doesn't like to speak to people. She loves to go for walks with her Nana, but when she stops to talk to her friends, Mimi hides behind her Nana. She notices that when they leave the people that her Nana has spoken to, they seem to be sad. She doesn't understand why. Her friends, Tulu and Lulu, invite her to the playground. She goes with them but wants to talk instead of playing. She explains how sad everyone seemed after they spoke to her Nana. They said, “sometimes nice words can make someone's moods much better, like saying HELLO.” Tutu suggests Mimi uses “BRAVE MAGIC”. She finds a twig which becomes a magic wand and says “1,2,3, 1,2,3, that's brave magic.” Try it and see what happens. She tried it first with Mr Mole. It worked. She tried it again and it worked again, but she forgot to use the Brave Magic. From then on, she was able to speak to everyone she met. When she tells her Nana, she gets a big hug and is told how very proud her Nana is of her and her Brave Magic. This book shows how friendship can help encourage us to do things that frighten us. With the help of friends, we can do anything. The illustrations are exceptional in this book. The colours are so vibrant. Diana Mason, A LoveReading Ambassador
Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson followed up her best-selling The Gruffalo with a story about The Gruffalo’s Child. Now celebrating it's 15th anniversary it is reissued in a special hardback. An entertaining story for the very young as the little mouse outwits the Gruffalo’s Child with a plan that is just as cunning as the original one he hatched to frighten away the Gruffalo. Axel Scheffler’s illustrations once again capture the humour of the text and the fear that lurks behind the joke. The Gruffalo's Child 15th Anniversary Edition features a wrap-around snowy wood play scene and press-out characters for an interactive reading experience, plus additional book content including material from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo's Child Song and tips for putting on a Gruffalo's Child show!
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".
The books in this genre will have more story than those books featured in the Baby and Toddler genre but still with lots of stunning imagery to share with your child and for them to enjoy alone.
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.