If you're looking for suitable books for your 5 and 6 year old, our extensive list of expert recommendations is sure to put you in the right direction.
Across pages as bright and boldly coloured as the little Kiwicorn’s horn, this book celebrates all that small children are and can be: polite and peaceful, gentle and good-hearted, big dreamers, independent and individual. The left hand of each spread poses a question, to which the answer given on the right hand is always ‘I am’. Just to underscore this and remove any shadow of doubt, the final spread presents us with a mirror, so that young readers can actually see themselves in the pages. The Kiwicorn is a very appealing little character and this is a fun, positive read.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2019 |Winner of the UKLA 2018 Book Award 3-6 | An EmpathyLab Read for Empathy book 2018 | Simplicity is the charm of this picture book story of the unlikely friendship between very different vegetables. Lee is a very green pea and so are all of his friends except for Colin who is a very orange carrot. Colin can’t do all the things that the pea-friends can do such as roll or bounce. Nonetheless, it turns out that they can all be very good friends. Julia Eccleshare's Picks for January 2019: Lark by Anthony McGowan Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea by Morag Hood Dear Zoo Snuggle Book by Rod Campbell Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy Billly and the Minpins by Roald Dahl Badger's Parting Gifts by Susan Varley We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen The Skylark's War by Hilary McKay
You can’t go wrong with a book for children about pants and this one is particularly satisfying and giggle-inducing. The poor octopus narrator of the story has a problem – he doesn’t have any underpants, ‘there’s nothing on below’. None of the shops he visits seem to cater for an octopus after pants, it seems he has just too many legs. His attempts at online shopping are a failure too – a delightfully literal imagining of ‘online’! At last though the staff of the Under-Sea Emporium come to his aid with a helpful and creative suggestion. Delightfully silly, and the story is told in deft rhyme that make it great fun to read aloud. Claire Powell’s vibrant illustrations are full of extra jokes and details too.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2019 | | Roald Dahl’s dramatic last story is perfectly matched for the first time by Quentin Blake’s new illustrations in a beautifully produced edition. Billy is told by his mum that he must never go out through the garden gate and into the dark wood. But how can he resist the attraction of the wood and what is in it? Billy heads into the wood and meets the Minpins, delightful tiny creatures who live inside the hollow trees. And the Minpins are terrified. The dreadful Gruncher is destroying them and they need Billy’s help to stop him. Soon Billy finds himself at the centre of a thrilling adventure that is literally a matter of life and death. Roald Dahl’s story-telling skills look as bright as ever.
You can’t have too many ‘love’ books for very young children and this one is particularly charming and original. It begins with a line we all know, but maybe haven’t given enough thought to: ‘I’ll love you till the cows come home’, before heading off into zany territory – the cows are coming home ‘from a trip to the moon through skies unknown’, Other unusual ‘I’ll love you till’ measurements follow, such as ‘I’ll love you till the sheep set sail’ and ‘I will love you till the frogs ride past on big-wheeled bicycles going superfast’. The animals look very content and happy on their various journeys home in Kristyna Litten’s illustrations and this is lovely to read aloud too with its gentle rhymes. Indeed, the whole book maintains a perfect equilibrium between humour, imagination and a warm sense of love and security. Perfect bedtime reading.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2019 | | Badger is so old that he knows he will soon die. He tries to prepare his friends for this event, but when he does die, they are still grief-stricken. Gradually they come to terms with their grief by remembering all the practical things Badger taught them, and so Badger lives on in his friends' memories of him.
January 2019 Debut of the Month | The Girls is a glorious and uplifting description of female friendship. It stars four girls and simply but beautifully describes in words and pictures their enduring friendship as they grow from little children into adults. In just 32 pages we get to know the girls really well: adventurous Lottie, practical Sasha, clever Leela and Alice, who can always make them laugh. As a result, we follow the ups and downs of their lives with real interest. The book’s message about the comfort, joy and support friends provide is delivered with real charm and this is a story which will reassure all young readers about what they can achieve and which will inspire them for their futures.
When Sofia loses her beloved teddy after a day at the beach, she is heartbroken. But the sea saw it all, and maybe, just maybe, it can bring Sofia and her teddy back together. However long it may take... Exquisite collage artwork is paired with an assured, moving text in this very special picture book.
January 2019 Debut of the Month | Everyone, children too, knows what it’s like when sadness unexpectedly comes to call, that sense of gloom that is hard to explain, and almost impossible to shake off. The situation is very skilfully depicted in this picture book, which also provides ideas and strategies for ways to cope. A young child is shown opening the door to a doleful, shapeless creature and the two become so close they are almost one. But the invisible narrator has suggestions for ways to help Sadness, so that one day, when the child wakes, it’s gone. The story is very affecting and will be useful to children who have a particular sadness in their lives as well as those who feel it for no reason they can articulate. An important and rather beautiful book.
Another fascinating, beautifully illustrated information book from Words & Pictures, We Build Our Homes shows young readers how some of the amazing architects of the animal world build places to raise their babies, or protect themselves. Amongst the 26 different creatures included are Tailorbirds, the ‘needle-beaked nesters’ who sew leaves together with spiderweb; Satin Bowerbirds, the ‘shiny-feathered, choose-me-now birds’, who decorate their homes with blue items to attract a mate; as well as Weaver Ants, Gopher Tortoises, Prairie Dogs and Chimpanzees. The text is lyrical and sometimes playful, and a joy to read. The book also includes a useful map of the world, and a Builders’ Fact File.
With wonderful stylish artwork by an artist of rare talent, this book describes through images and enchanting text the many different varieties of dragon and exactly why the different owners love them more than any other. Ranging from a dragon as big as a village to a tiny dragon with whisper-thin wings and finally at the end of the book a page bursting with every dragon in the book.
December 2018 Book of the Month | Santa turns to modern gadgets to deliver his presents in this gentle, humorous story. He still uses reindeer, though the sleigh has been updated to a nice old open-topped car, but resorts to a jet-pack in busy cities - well, it makes parking much easier - and he keeps a check on deliveries via an iPad. His best laid plans go wrong though when he drops it but fortunately the little girl he’s delivering to is a digital native and can fix it for him. The story may hinge on modern technology for its drama but there’s a charmingly vintage feel to Angela Perrini’s illustrations and the final message - one of kindness and generosity- is thoroughly traditional.
Take the very young on a trip into the high mountains in this excellent first information book. Each page features a stunning pop-up depicting one of the animals native to the mountains, from wolf to bear, from Bald Eagle to a Rainbow Trout, particularly beautiful and dramatic in rich reds and greens. The animals are introduced via lines of verse while elsewhere on the page short lines of text convey interesting and intriguing facts. The pop-ups are not only beautiful but sturdy enough to stand repeated readings, and this is a book to inspire the very young.
This funny, heart-warming picture book will put everyone in the right mood for Christmas. Bear’s plans for a nice, simple festive season are interrupted by the arrival of Frog. Frog thinks he’s come to the Christmas Extravaganza Hotel and is ready to enjoy all the attractions its brochure promises, from supersonic sleigh rides and singing Christmas trees to an all-you-can-eat North Pole breakfast. The trouble is, he’s misread the map and is as far from the hotel as it’s possible to get. When kind, generous Bear offers to provide a special Christmas break instead, it results in comfort and joy all round. This fresh, original story delivers the true Christmas message about love and sharing and is totally charming.
Armadillo and Hare live with their friends in the Big Forest. Hare loves dancing. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches. Hare loves playing the tuba. Armadillo loves cheese sandwiches. Hare loves his best friend, Armadillo. Armadillo loves Hare - AND cheese sandwiches!
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Witty, a bit silly, with irresistible characters, fabulous illustrations and a serious point to make, Giraffe Problems is an outstanding picture book, one that will easily stand repeat readings. Edward the giraffe stresses about his neck, a lot. He compares it unfavourably to all the other necks around and does his best to disguise it (most memorably with a mountain of scarves and bow ties). Only when he meets Cyrus, a creature also frustrated by the size of his neck, does he come to terms with it, making a special friend in the process. Lane Smith’s textured, brushy artwork is a perfect match for Jory John’s sharp and very funny text, and this is a picture book to entertain and amuse readers of all ages.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2018 | Everyone who has ever had a pet will love this funny and charming story about a little boy and the hamster he gets for Christmas. Leo needs cheering up and, with Christmas coming, he takes the opportunity to ask for the one thing that he thinks will make him happy: a pet hamster. Luckily, Dad has Father Christmas’s number on his phone so Leo can order it direct – and get some help from spell-check! But when the hamster comes Leo can see that his new pet is not altogether happy. Hampstead the Hamster needs a present too!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | | Award-winning illustrator Shirley Hughes is regarded as a national treasure for her touching and realistic picture books of contemporary pre-school life. This delightful anthology is full of Christmassy and wintery poems and stories all brought to life by her familiar illustrations of families enjoying seasonal delights. The perfect for book for the season.
There are all sorts of different animals in this collection of new stories by favourite children's authors and lots of different settings for their adventures; young readers will love them all. Linda Chapman's opening story features snow leopards in Mongolia, while Candy Gourlay's is all about pandas in China. Michael Broad describes a special Christmas truce between moose and wolves, while closer to home, Leila Rasheed sprinkles a bit of Christmas magic over the story of a kitten finding a new home. Whether funny, surprising, exciting or thought-provoking, each story is perfectly told. Just the thing to go under the tree, or to share at bedtime as the nights draw in.
Readers meet some very strange creatures in this strikingly illustrated information book. There’s a Hairy Frog, which shares a defence tactic with Wolverine; the Pacific Barreleye, which with its see-through head may be the spookiest of the deep-sea ‘spookfish’; and the Pangolin, protected by armour-like scales. Their physical appearances are vividly described in Marilyn Singer’s text which explains too how their peculiar features or behaviour keep these animals safe. Full page colour illustrations by Paul Daviz present the creatures in all their weird and wonderful glory. Children will be amazed at how practical and fantastic the natural world can be, and inspired to protect the animals featured, many of whom are threatened by the creature described on page 46, the human.
December 2018 Book of the Month | Irrepressible young dog Junior is back with a dog’s-eye view of Christmas, or as he knows it Crisp-Mouth.This will be his first Crisp-Mouth, but he’s heard all about it from one of the old dogs at the dog’s home, and now settled with the Khatchadorians is very excited at the prospect of filling his mouth with canine crispy crackers! His enthusiasm knows no bounds, and it proves a real struggle to be good, especially as Junior consistently gets things WRONG… Junior’s breathless narrative style and Richard Wilson’s illustrations make this super-readable, and newly confident readers will love this funny story and its bouncy, endlessly optimistic narrator.
Adapted from one of Tove Jansson's classic Moomintroll stories, this funny tale of misunderstanding is perfect Christmas reading. The Moomintrolls are all tucked up in bed, sleeping their long winter sleep when the Hemulen falls into their attic and tells them they need to get ready for Christmas. With no experience of Christmas, the Moomintrolls are a bit rattled, but manage to prepare everything in time – tree, presents, a feast. They share it with the little creatures of Moominvalley, who appreciate it all very much indeed. Funny, cosy and reassuring, this will put everyone in the mood for Christmas.
The tension mounts in this amusing and engaging picture book as hotel guest Mr Snore ascends floor by floor to find a comfortable room in which to sleep. Multi-occupancy seems to be the norm, and each room he’s offered already has a sleeping resident – a mouse, a pig, spiders … At last he falls asleep in a room on the 13th floor and only the readers see whose room he’s sharing! The illustrations are full of details and little extras that remind us just how busy and unusual this hotel is. Great fun!
Little mouse Winston stars in a perfect Christmas adventure. Even for a mouse, he’s small but Winston’s got a big heart and when he finds a lost letter for Father Christmas he’s determined to see it delivered. His expedition is full of challenges, but along the way he’s helped by some equally warm-hearted and generous animals, including a beautiful white cat and a rat who ‘works’ at the famous Fortesque’s department store. Winston’s good deed is rewarded and the little mouse finds a warm bed and a new family for Christmas. The book is divided into 24 ½ chapters – one a day for 1st – 24th December plus a treat for Christmas morning! Interspersed are festive craft activities too and there can’t be a better book to set readers up for Christmas. Alex T Smith’s illustrations are gorgeous – big, busy and dramatic scenes but always with our little hero centre stage.
It’s impossible not to be inspired by this picture book and the great women featured in it: their stories are told across bright spreads, which are enticing to look at, and packed with information all presented in a way that will make readers excited about the remarkable achievements described. It’s a varied line up of subjects, including a scientist, a writer, an athlete, an explorer and fashion designer alongside civil rights campaigner and even secret agent! Each page explains what these pioneering women did, and shows that everyone has the potential to change the world – just follow your heart and don’t listen when people say you can’t do something!
When the Whales Walked tackles a big, complex subject – the evolution of life on Earth – and succeeds in explaining it clearly, vividly and in way that will catch the imagination of young readers. It examines thirteen case studies, each describing the evolution of a different group of animals, from the earliest fish right up to modern Homo Sapiens. It explains the history of each group with the help of illustrations and diagrams, challenging children to spot the patterns in the ways that different animals have evolved. There’s a timeline of life on Earth, diagrams to explain the evolutionary tree and a cladogram, all there to help make the subject crystal clear. A book that thoroughly respects the intelligence and inquisitiveness of its readers and rewards their attention.
Featuring artwork from the animated special, this fun-filled guide to all things Christmas is packed with craft activities, recipes and stickers galore.
What a very special picture book this is, strikingly illustrated by the super-talented Maisie Paradise Shearring and with a story that is utterly child-centred while still giving parents lots to think about. It opens in a playground, a familiar scene, where a mother tells her child to go and play with the little boy in the sandpit. Children neither want nor need to be told how to play, or who to play with, as her son makes clear in no uncertain terms. After all, the boy in the sandpit may be a monster in disguise. A fabulous imaginary adventure follows, which takes us underground into a monster's lair, where hordes of other children are held prisoner. It's a brilliant depiction of the power of a child's imagination, and an ingenious and very funny story. As far as the concept and illustration go, this is the best monster story since Not Now Bernard.
Ruth Brown has taken Anna Sewell’s classic Black Beauty, one of the best-loved books of all time and turned it into a handsome picture book. Her painterly style is just right for Beauty’s story and her rich, full-spread illustrations perfectly capture the major incidents in the horse’s life, from the peace and quiet of his carefree days as a foal through the drama of his escape from the stable fire, and the misery of his later years pulling carts through London’s busy streets. The story still has important lessons for readers about the treatment of animals, and Ruth Brown is faithful to that element of Sewell’s book too. This will be enjoyed equally by those new to the original and those who already love Black Beauty’s story.
This absolutely stunning book turns the alphabet into a wild exploration of the animal world as readers are presented with 26 different creatures across colourful pages, all featuring pop ups or peep through cut outs to make this unforgettable. Questions to readers, as well as its ingenious layout, make it a superb interactive reading experience – ‘Who is prettier than an ant?’ asks the text: ‘A butterfly’ is the answer. ‘Who has more legs than a butterfly?’ a caterpillar, and so on. Some of the questions are delightfully quirky: ‘Who is more wobbly than an iguana?’ (Can you guess?), but each one, combined with the striking artwork will draw the reader into the wonderful world of the Animalphabet.
There’s a real feel of Christmas magic to this delightful picture book. Like many children, Mia’s parents live apart and as Christmas approaches she’s really missing her daddy. Then she spots a mysterious post-box – turning the knob on the front opens the door to a wonderful world, where she can take the reindeer express and fly all the way to see her daddy. Many of the pages feature little doors and delicate cut-outs allowing readers to peep into the next page, and the illustrations – predominantly pink, red and green - conjure up a sense of cinnamon and gingerbread. Mia is home again for Christmas, warm in the knowledge that love reaches everyone, no matter how far away they are.
Christmas without presents or Easter without eggs? - unthinkable! Whilst Santa has his army of elves to help him, the poor eggs-hausted Easter Bunny has to do all the work himself. He makes the eggs, delivers the eggs and doesn't even get a thank you. So the fed up Easter Bunny plans a cunning chocolate vendetta to cause havoc in Santa's factory and spoil all the presents....but fortunately Father Christmas is partial to a little chocolate. What's Christmas without chocolate after all?
Milly-Molly-Mandy first burst onto the scene way back in the 1920s and Joyce Lankester Brisley’s stories, now reissued as very pretty little hardbacks and with her illustrations newly coloured, have retained all of their charm. This book contains seven individual stories, each of which details a little domestic adventure, the kinds of things that would be very familiar to children at the beginning of the last century – picnics, family parties, playing out with friends – but which for modern readers will convey a distinct and fascinating sense of youthful freedom and security. Milly-Molly-Mandy and her associates little-friend-Susan and Billy Blunt have lots of fun in a world that is wonderfully safe and reassuring, and these cosy stories are just perfect for newly independent readers.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2018 | Christmas is coming and there is war in the shops! In every supermarket in the town all the Christmas treats are being smashed up as soon as they get into the shops. Beautifully decorated cakes and biscuits have been sent flying and even Christmas puddings have been heaved off the shelves. Who’s the spoilsport who is ruining Christmas? The trusty Mince Spies are sent in to watch the shelves and they soon discover the surprising culprits! It takes the intervention of Santa Claus himself to make everyone feel better and for Christmas to become fun again! A thoroughly ridiculous and hugely enjoyable Christmas adventure.
October 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2018 | Rich in an atmospheric seascape and with a quest at its heart, The Antlered Ship is an engaging and adventurous story that will encourage all children to keep on asking questions about the world they live in. When the beautiful ship with the huge antlers on its prow comes into port Marco the Fox is busy contemplating the mysteries of the world. Marco asks himself questions such as Why do some songs make you happy and others make you sad? Why don’t trees ever talk? and How deep does the sun go when it sinks into the sea? None of his fox friends have any answers. So, when he sees the ship he decides to join the curious crew of deer and pigeons in the hope that a sea voyage to far off lands will help him find the answers. After an eventful journey, Marco discovers that questions often have several answers and that sharing and travelling and living with others can be one way of finding answers.
This is a perfect book for anyone who likes gazing up into the skies above our head and wondering … A foldout, concertina poster format allows readers to soar billions of kilometres above earth and explore our solar system; floating 380,000 kilometres up is the moon, a bit lower are astronauts and cosmonauts working hard on the International Space Station. Beneath the Karman Line, the imaginary line that marks the start of space, the skies are just as busy with man-made machines and birds flying on their journeys. It’s endlessly fascinating, Yuval Zommer’s bold, bright illustrations are full of action, storks and spaceships, meteoroids and window cleaners equally beautifully represented while Charlotte Guillain’s enthusiasm for her subjects is infectious. Eye-opening, mind-expanding!
All of Joyce Lankester Brisley’s Milly-Molly-Mandy stories start Once upon a time … and always what follows are charmingly described, detailed little domestic adventures, such as being sent on an errand, riding Grandad’s pony Twinkletoes or playing in the puddles in the lane. The stories are just the right length for newly independent readers, and will prove as enchanting to children today as they did when they were first published way back in the 1920s, though modern readers might need to consult their elders for explanations of strange things such as kippers, grocers and threepenny pieces. Milly-Molly-Mandy’s world is safe and wonderfully reassuring, Lankester Brisley’s ingenuous, warm-hearted storytelling still a treat and it’s lovely to see these attractive new editions with the author’s own illustrations carefully coloured up.
Irish TV presenter Ryan Tubridy and award-winning illustrator Chris Judge team up on this jolly and utterly charming story which claims to document the creation of the first Christmas jumper. Central character is little ewe Hillary who stands out amongst the other sheep because of her multi-coloured coat. Like that other patchwork hero Elmer, Hillary is friendly, kind and very popular, so everyone is thrilled when she is chosen to provide the wool for a jumper for Father Christmas and flown to the North Pole in his sleigh. Reading this is like putting on a festive sweater, and will leave you warm, tickled and all set for a happy Christmas.
Young readers will very much enjoy Holly Webb’s typically touching new story, in which a mischievous cat works magic across the generations. Bel is staying with her grandma in her new home, an old house converted into flats for the elderly. Sneaking out early to enjoy an unexpected snowfall, she befriends a cheeky white cat but is surprised when she meets his owner, a young girl the same age as herself, but very different. In fact Bel has travelled back in time and because of her magical meeting with Snow and Charlotte, a young girl’s life is saved. Filled with warmth and love and with a neat balance between jeopardy and security, this is rounded off in the most satisfying way possible. A snowy treat!
Learning to read provides the best opportunity for children to take off privately into worlds of their own.
Picture books and easy readers allow children to go solo while being read to gives a background of richer stories to further stimulate the imagination.
Click here to read some helpful tips from top childrens' publisher Egmont.