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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.
Square builds a beautiful sculpture from the blocks in his secret cave. Square’s friend Circle thinks it is perfect and Square tries to make something perfect for Circle too. But making something perfect is hard. What will Circle think of it? In this simplest of picture books, award-winning Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen wittily explore challenges and resolve them.
Walls are in the news at the moment, and one runs right down the middle of this book, a sturdy brick one dividing each double page, top to bottom. On one side is a little knight, very cheery in his conviction that his side of the wall is the safe place to be. We readers of course can see what’s happening on the other side of the wall and indeed, some of the creatures there don’t look very friendly. But appearances aren’t everything, and when the little knight discovers his side of the wall isn’t as safe as he thought, he might need a helping hand over the top. It’s a very funny story, and such a cleverly delivered fable of the silliness and dangers of preconceptions. Don’t miss.
March 2019 Book of the Month | The main protagonist of this smart picture book may be a circle, and the co-stars a triangle and a square, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a multi-faceted story. Triangle and Square are playing hide and seek with Circle. They’re allowed to go anywhere except behind the waterfall, because it’s really dark there. Of course someone disobeys and in a carefully composed and very effective drama the tension rises as Circle goes looking for Square. It gets darker and darker, until only all we can see are her oblong eyes. Counting eyes in the dark leads us to the story’s very funny climax and its message that we shouldn’t be frightened of the unknown. Klassen’s illustrations are full of colour and depth despite the limited palette, and this is another very special picture book from a brilliant team.
Poppy and Sam are searching for Easter eggs on Apple Tree Farm. Children will love looking through the peep holes in this charming book to discover the colourful eggs, following fingertrails to trace the flight of a butterfly or bee, and spotting Daisy the cow, Clucky the hen and Rusty the pig along the way.
The Lollies 2018 - Winner of the Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book | There are jokes galore in Elys Dolan’s brilliant new picture book and they’ll make readers of all ages crack up! Mr Bunny is a tough boss: while he’s in his office keeping a close eye on the profits, his chicken employees are hard at work making chocolate, then eating it and laying chocolate eggs! When he insists on upping production even further, the chickens decide un oeuf is un oeuf, lay down their tools and come out on strike, proclaiming power to the poultry, and demanding better working conditions. Fortunately Mr Bunny realises he needs the workers on his side, and industrial relations are rapidly restored. Bursting with verbal and visual gags, this is a wildly original and rewarding picture book; in fact I’d go so far as to say it is egg-cellent.
With its comic storyline and bright, bold, minimalist illustrations, The Steves is another bit of picture book genius from the hugely talented Morag Hood. It stars two young puffins, both lively and busy, both called Steve – which is where the trouble starts. The two compete – with increasing determination and bluster – to be top, ‘the Stevest Steve’. Watching their antics as they try to best one another is very funny and the illustrations brim with vitality right to the last page, with its unexpected twist. Children will laugh out loud at what the two Steves get up to, but they’ll recognise all the emotions they’re feeling too. Brilliant!
March 2019 Book of the Month | Jasper is the type of cat who knows what he likes. He likes his smart flat and his smart wardrobe (lots of bow ties). He’s determined to be accepted into the Sophisticats club, ‘for the finest felines around’, and invites them to dinner. Somehow though while doing the shopping he meets the scruffiest puppy you can imagine. When Scruff follows him home it looks like Jasper’s dinner party will be ruined but in a surprise ending he discovers that maybe the little puppy is exactly the right kind of friend after all. It’s a fun story about friendship and acceptance, and Jasper and Scruff are very appealing characters especially in Nicola Colton’s boisterous illustrations. A great book to share, but it’s also just right for newly independent readers.
With the Easter holidays on the horizon, this is a particularly attractive and appealing activity book. Children will find over 100 different things to do, including drawing and colouring in, word games and look and find, as well as some simple craft activities. All of the activities are themed on the UK countryside and wildlife so while having fun, readers will also learn about the animals, plants and insects around us, and even the sky above our heads, and will feel inspired to go out and see things for themselves. The illustrations by Debbie Powell are stylish and eye-catching while the text is engaging and direct. Interactive, educational and lots of fun too.
Spot the differences between Easter scenes, complete a springtime crossword puzzle, match bunnies to their silhouettes and much more in this delightful mini activity book, filled with wordsearches, mazes, logic puzzles and more. Part of a range of pocket-sized paperbacks that are perfect for holidays and journeys.
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?
Celebrate World Book Day 2019 with this wonderful new picture book, based on the much-loved characters from The Hundred and One Dalmatians. When Cadpig gets lost playing hide-and-seek, she stumbles into the path of evil Cruella de Vil . . .But can her new furry friends help her to escape?
A stay at the Hotel Flamingo is a real treat! Alex Milway’s story of an old hotel being brought back to its former glory through the determination of its little girl owner and her team is great fun. Anna’s staff include a bear, a lemur, a giraffe and a very grumpy pig (but then chefs are always temperamental) and they all work together to turn her hotel into a rival to The Glitz up the road, and give the friendliest welcome to their guests, even the family of cockroaches. There’s a lovely sense of camaraderie and companionship, everyone is welcome at this hotel. The author’s two colour illustrations catch the energy and vitality of the characters and add to the charm.
A wickedly funny modern cautionary tale from Emma Chichester Clark, the highly regarded, award-winning creator of Blue Kangaroo. Introducing high-spirited Imelda and her long-suffering toy rabbit, Oliver Small! Imelda always gets what she wants, so when Oliver Small goes missing her parents let her have a real rabbit - with extremely surprising consequences! Wickedly irreverent, this stylish and contemporary take ont he cautionary tale is perfect for fans of Eloise and Madeline. Emma is one of today's foremost artists and has created a book to entice every reader.
Rob Biddulph’s new picture book is another typically happy reading experience. Nine dinosaur eggs (count them) are ready to hatch: out pop Otto, Winnie, Hector, Sue, Nancy, Martin, Wilf and Boo. But what about egg number nine? Greg (short for Gregosaurus) hatches a week late, and by then the other little dinosaurs are already settled in their friendship groups and busy playing. Poor Greg is down in the dumps (there’s even a little raincloud over his head in the illustrations) but don’t fear, he’s in for a lovely surprise. There’s so much to enjoy in this wonderful picture book - a story that is both funny and cheering, a clever rhyming text that is great fun to read aloud, glorious illustrations, and things to count on every page. It’s just brilliant and this Cretaceous crew deserve to be loved as much as Spot, Kipper or the Gruffalo.
The Lollies 2018 - Winner of the Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds | This is the fourth in the bestselling and super-funny Pig series, perfect for fans of Chicken Run or Wallace and Gromit. A madcap treat with wacky cartoons and a quirky hero.
Interest Age 5-8 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2019 | A wonderfully entertaining romp of a story with the redoubtable Grandma and ghost of Grandpa Bert at the heart of it. When Grandma arrives to visit Anna and Kasper she brings in her handbag a very unusual travelling companion: the ghost of Grandpa Bert. And with Grandpa Bert comes danger. The Ghost Snatchers are out to get him and Grandma and Anna and Kasper have to their wits about them to stay one step ahead of the two dastardly crooks. Fun to read and attractively illustrated. ............................................. More spy caper than ghost story this is a fun adventure for young readers, and one that puts grandparents nicely in the driving seat of the action too. Anna and Kasper’s Grandma Gertie has an unusual secret in her handbag – the ghost of Grandpa Bert. In itself that’s pretty exciting, but then Grandpa Bert is kidnapped by a gang of ruthless ghost rustlers. Grandma Gertie won’t stand for that, and is straightaway off to the rescue with Anna and Kasper. Short chapters and lots of colour illustrations help make this super-readable, and everyone will want to know what happens at the end. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2019 Book of the Month | The setting for Rebecca Patterson’s lively story of friends falling out is Earth eighty years in the future, and quite a lot has changed. People are getting around in flying cars, real food has pretty well been replaced by acquagrown substitutes, and the Moon has been colonised. The school playground is patrolled by cyborgs, but the children in it are the same as they’ve ever been. Lyla has been best friends with Bianca since nursery, but when a cool new girl joins the class, she finds herself pushed out. How can she win back her friend, and why does no-one see just how mean Petra is? The story is short and full of humour, but still carries a lot of weight and for all the fun and adventures will set readers thinking about how we treat other people, and how we’d like to be treated in return. This is a really good story for newly confident readers.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2019 | Award-winning author Frank Cottrell Boyce has created a wonderful illustrated version of Richard Adams’s classic story by drawing on the scripts from the BBC/Netflix mini-series. His simple story telling style, perfectly matched by the vivid illustrations captures the essence of the original with all its excitement, warmth and insight of this animal saga of survival. You might also like the Watership Down Colouring Book, which accompanies the series.
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | Charmingly produced, this is a beautifully illustrated and designed book which makes the very best use of its stylish illustrations and layout to tell an important story about friendship and its complications. Lula and Lenka enjoy and acknowledge their many differences while also remaining steadfastly good friends. It doesn’t matter that Lula loves talking and Lenka loves drawing. Or that Lenka loves cats and Lula loves dogs. But then they have an argument and words are said which hurt. Now they don’t want to play together or even speak to each other. But that feels all wrong too. How can the two girls make things better. Friends everywhere and of all ages will recognise the intensity of these two little girls’ friendship and will be willing them on to make it up!.
February 2010 Book of the Month | Treasure, tropical islands, shivering timbers – everyone loves a pirate story and this one is particularly fun, especially for newly confident readers. The crew of the Golden Earring are a rum bunch, from grumpy Captain Halibut to hapless cook Cannonball. Their antics are observed by the animals on board – Cutlass the parrot, Patch the ship’s cat and Monty, the ship’s monkey. When a treasure map is discovered, only the animals know how dangerous finding it will be – how can they keep the humans safe? It’s all lots of fun, a jaunty, thoroughly satisfying story full of incident and humour. Illustrations by Kate Pankhurst make this as fun to look at as it is to read. Ooo-arrrs all round!
February 2019 Book of the Month | Here’s another inspiring, information-packed picture book in what’s becoming something of a series (see also Great Women Who Made History and Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World). It tells the stories of pioneering women who achieved amazing things, often in the face of prejudice or downright hostility from society. There are familiar names – Rosalind Franklin is included – plus lots that are lesser known, but just as fascinating: balloonist Sophie Blanchard for example, and Sarah Breedlove, beauty entrepreneur. Their stories are told through lively, engaging text and pictures, it’s a treat to read. Kate Pankhurst is something of a fantastically great woman herself, and there’s lots for all readers to marvel at and enjoy in this book.
February 2019 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | What better present can a princess receive than a pudding making machine! Soon puddings and cakes of all sorts are spilling out of the machine as the young Princess Hannah takes control of her fabulous birthday present. But the present has an unfortunate impact on the princess; it reveals that she has never had to share. Luckily, her friends take matters into their own hands and soon they too are pulling the levels and turning the wheels and together they all make the most fabulous puddingly treats – including a giant meringue. The moral is well mixed into this bubbly tale which is vibrantly told in verse by Sally Duran.
A tale of sausages and their fight for freedom, this rollicking picture book will have everyone laughing. We begin with ten sausages, of course, but as their friends go pop and bang, some of them decide to hop out of the pan, with varying degrees of success. Poor sausage number two ends up down the drain, while there’s an even worse fate for sausage number four – the liquidizer. Sausage number eight is eaten by the cat but the silliest sausages of all are numbers nine and ten, who hide themselves in the hot dog roll! Michelle Robinson’s energetic storytelling creates something funny or surprising on every page, and it’s great fun to read aloud. Tor Freeman gives each sausage its own personality, no mean feat, and makes us sympathise with them even while we’re laughing.
The Champions are poor but happy. Each of them - Mum, Alex and Grandpa Gus - has their own job and works hard. Mum is a sandwich maker, Gus mends cars, Max mows lawns and sometimes washes cars too, which is how he discovers that Grandpa Gus used to design and make them. The story of how Grandpa was cheated out of his business by the unscrupulous Grabber family, and how Max manages to make things right again, is told in this charming new story from Alexander McCall Smith. Funny, exciting and with a proper sense of decency and fair play this will definitely appeal to readers. Kate Hindley’s illustrations lively illustrations are an extra treat.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | | A classic title that is loved by all, Badger’s Parting Gift is still as special and as important as when it was first published 35 years ago. Badger is very old. While he misses some of the things he used to be able to do when he was young, he is not afraid of dying. He warns his friends that one day he will go down the Long Tunnel and he encourages them not to be too sad when it happens. But, when Badger doesn’t come out from his home one day, all the animals are very sad. To help them to get over their deep emotions they each think of the special things they did with Badger. Sharing their memories brings great comfort and helps them to come to terms with the absence of their very special friend. A wonderful book for the very young – and their parents.
One small hop for a rabbit . . . One giant leap for mankind. The iconic, original tale of Peter Rabbit, with a beautiful limited edition cover to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.
Jeanne Willis is a latter-day Hilaire Belloc creating cautionary tales for modern youth that are both hilarious and full of sensible advice. Desperate to win more ‘likes’ for her posts, Goldilocks is driven to find ever more daring activities to share, which is why she takes a selfie breaking in to the bears’ cottage, and - #pipinghot! – one of her eating their porridge. It all ends in tears of course, and community service, but what’s worse for Goldilocks is that her posts are there forever, depicting her as a horrid porridge thief and leading to the moral: ‘So please, think twice before you send!’ Tony Ross’s illustrations, sharp and full of life and wit, are the perfect complement to the rhyme. Brilliance all round!
Irresistible for anyone mad about trucks! There’s so much to learn about the extraordinary world of trucks and truck-mad William Bee is the man to explain it all. There are steam trucks, amphibious trucks, rescue trucks, snow plough trucks, fire engine trucks and much, much more. Gloriously bold illustrations celebrate the wonders of trucks while the texts adds some useful details.
Enter a magical world filled with unicorns in this enchanting sticker book, with scenes to decorate including a cloud castle, woodland waterfall and lots more. There are over 300 reusable stickers of unicorns, flowers and other adorable creatures, and a fold-out back cover to store stickers when not in use. The perfect gift for unicorn lovers.
This fun book is a playful way for young children to develop their counting, observation and pen control skills. Spot the differences between tower cranes, join the dots to finish building a house, count bricks and lots more. Durable, wipe-clean pages mean children can revisit their favourite activities again and again.
A kid's life in ancient Greece might sound like fun, what with all that brilliant sunny weather and watching the Olympic Games, but actually life for kids could be pretty hard. In this hilarious book, written by award-winning author Chae Strathie, children will learn just how tough life really was, from living on a diet of blood soup whilst wearing nothing but a cloak, to having to learn a poem that was over 15,000 lines long! Thanks, but no thanks, Homer! Probably the first book about ancient Greece to feature a race between a go-kart and a goose, this is a must read for kids with a passion for horrible history!
From cave paintings to modern masterpieces, discover the history of art in this beautiful sticker book. Each page is filled with fascinating facts about the pictures and artists, and there's a timeline showing the history of art, plus links to websites where you can tour art galleries. Published in association with The National Gallery, London.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | The best-selling author of The Gruffalo deploys a story-telling device equally full of cunning in this witty story about the way a King is tricked into doing some work. The King demands his favourite meal – fish and chips. The Cook is frightened of all things he needs to do to cook fish and chips; he’s too frightened to fish because he might get his apron wet, or dig potatoes because he hates worms or to chop up the potatoes because he might cut himself with a very sharp knife. But is that just a ruse? Soon the King is cooking his very own fish and chips – and loving every moment of it! David Robert’s blustering King and wimpy Cook are a delight.
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 Skylarks' 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.
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.
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