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Books we love


Trying to find books that are engaging and the right age range for a child can be tricky, so we've put together some suggestions to help you find the best books for young children.



Bang!

Bang!

Leo Timmers

ISBN: 9781877579189

Why we love this book

BANG offers a joyful and colourful approach to sequencing events and is told almost entirely through images, featuring just one word, 'Bang', which becomes a regular refrain through the story.

The story begins when one car crashes into a dustbin and a series of car crashes follows as each car and its careless driver manages to bang into the crashed car in front.

What brings humour to the story is the consequences of each crash and what happens to the contents and inhabitants of each car. Suddenly a giraffe is up to her neck in car tyres; baby bunnies are happily thrown into a cart of fruit, which they love; a fisherman's catch ends up in the mouth of a hungry croc, and a catch of irrepressible chicks help us predict each of the crashes to come.

It all ends in a gloriously colourful 'bang' when a cart full of paint also crashes into the line of crashed cars and everything is coated in a rainbow of colours.

While the picture book is good for sharing, children will also enjoy pouring over the detailed illustrations at their leisure and building a more detailed understanding of this particular tale of consequences.


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What's the Time, Mr Wolf?

What's the Time, Mr Wolf?

Debi Gliori
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408819418

Why we love this book

This gorgeous 'telling the time' book by the talented Debi Gliori draws in a number of traditional nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters who Mr Wolf meets during his day.

His day starts rather too bright and early with the four and twenty blackbirds singing loudly, and the little piggies banging doors as they head out to work. We continue to share the hours with Mr Wolf, who seems a little forlorn but eager eyes will spot some of the behind-the-scenes activities that Mr Wolf doesn't see, and which lead on to the happy ending.

Children love identifying the nursery rhymes and the characters - such as the Red Riding Hood postman and the cat and the fiddle - and will enjoy repeating the nursery rhymes together and the repeated phrases, particularly 'What's the time Mr Wolf?'.

It's also an ideal book to share with children when they are learning about telling the time.


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Class Two at the Zoo

Class Two at the Zoo

Julia Jarman
Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 9780340911617

Why we love this book

Class Two are at the zoo and see all sorts of animal antics, but they fail to spot the slimy snake slithering up behind them - a big mistake, as the snake is determined to make a meal of them.

One by one Class Two disappear into the anaconda's tum, but the children are a resourceful bunch and soon come up with a rescue plan.

We love the snake's bulging belly as his 'dinner' wriggles inside him, and the quickening pace of the rhyme and rhythm which gives a rising sense of suspense before the children manage to save the say.


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Class Three All At Sea

Class Three All At Sea

Julia Jarman
Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 9780340944660

Why we love this book

On the day Class Three went to sea, they saw some donkeys dancing and some sea lions skipping stones, "but they didn't see the skull and crossbones".

Soon they are confronted by pirates boarding their ship and taking it over as part of their hunt for treasure. But the pirates haven't bargained for the ingenuity of these children and when a friendly octopus helps them out, the pirates don't have a chance. Soon, the children are in charge of the treasure hunt!

Children love pirates - especially when they aren't too scary (these are more comical than terrifying) - and will enjoy seeing them get their comeuppance and the children getting the upper hand.

The story also rhymes throughout, making it a perfect read-aloud.


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ISBN: 9780857530301

Why we love this book

With echoes of the classic Little Red Hen, this picture book about five plucky chicks outsmarting the cunning fox is bound to become a favourite with very small children – and it is perfectly times for Easter.

Jez Alborough, the author and illustrator, is well known for his popular series such as ‘Duck in the Truck’ and ‘Hug’.

In this story, mother hen becomes increasingly frantic about protecting her five young chicks as fox is on the prowl. The chicks, meanwhile, are busy cheeping, pecking, flapping and hopping, unperturbed by the threat of fox – until they come face to face with him; but he proves no match for their ingenuity.

Children will love the rhyming text and especially the repeated refrain of the little chicks, and the ending which sees the chicks win through – just in time for chick number six to hatch.


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ISBN: 9780857560377

Why we love this book

A socktastic, sockalicious, sock-a-zooming celebration of all things socks by one of the nation's favourite author / illustrators, and the creator of 'Pants'. The 'sockywockydoodah' rhymes will take a little bit of practice but once you're in the rhythm, this sock-adventure flows:

'Sockywockydoodah!
A-tick-a-tick-a-tock
What's the time in Sockland?
It's always socks o'clock!

A girl and boy set out to explore Sockland where everything is made of socks. Look out for the 'sockerel' singing sock-a-doodle-doo, the teeny tiny sock ponies and even Goldisocks (and three cross bears) make an appearance.

The humour and the rhymes make this a brilliant story to read-aloud, while the illustrations will be endlessly explored and will raise many a chuckle.


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The Pirates Next Door

The Pirates Next Door

Jonny Duddle
Templar Publishing
ISBN: 9781848772199

Why we love this book

The Jolly-Rogers are a pirate family and they are moving in to Dull On Sea! Matilda loves their new pirate neighbours - but the other townsfolk don't agree. They say the pirates smell, they have rats and cutlasses, they dig up the roads and their ship spoils the view!

Matilda, though, befriends the pirate boy, Jim Lad, and has a brilliant time with the Jolly-Rogers, until the time comes for them to set sail again. When the pirates leave each of the townsfolk a special gift, the people realise that maybe, just maybe, they were wrong about the pirate family....


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ISBN: 9781849390736

Why we love this book

This story celebrates children's imagination (even if it can get a little out of hand...)

One morning a little boy wakes up to find he is a hippopotamus and, because hippos don't have to get up, nor does he. As the day goes on, there are lots of other things he can try out; robots don't have to eat breakfast, monkeys can have lots of fun at school, and monsters rule in the playground.

He also tries being a statue, a rocket and even a giant that stamps very loudly - but he is soon in a whole lot of trouble with mum and dad and so he decides that, for a while at least, he'll just pretend to be himself.


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How to Grow a Dinosaur

How to Grow a Dinosaur

Caryl Hart
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
ISBN: 9781847385949

Why we love this book

Think gardening is boring? Then think again! Weeding and digging will never seem the same after you’ve read this brilliant story about dinosaurs, jungles and jellybean trees!
The sun is shining, it's a gorgeous day and the last thing Albie wants to do is help his mum dig a vegetable patch.
However, Mum promises the seeds she gives him will grow into something really exciting and sure enough, the next morning the garden has turned into a jungle! Albie's seeds have grown into a prehistoric landscape - complete with a hungry Tyrannosaurus Rex or two.
What other exciting things have sprouted overnight? And what else has Mum got planned for the vegetable patch...?
A brilliant story that begins with the everyday and turns into something fantastic. See how many dinosaurs you can spot lurking behind the bushes....


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ISBN: 9781849392099

Why we love this book

This is a brilliant picture book story about frogs, toads, and lots and lots of tadpoles! Little Frank's life in Pond City is disrupted by the bug-eyed monsters of the deep. One night, they 'frog-nap' hundreds of tadpoles and Little Frank turns into Superfrog and saves the day (and lots of tadpoles). A great picture adventure story.


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ISBN: 9780192729873

Why we love this book

This is a perfect storybook for any young child who adores trains, dinosaurs and drawing - and even those who don't.

Titus is going on a train journey; his Uncle Henry is waiting for him at the end of the journey. But along the way he has to face bandits, T-Rex's, avalanches and breakdowns. Fortunately, he manages to sort them all out.

Children who look carefully at Titus's surroundings may spot what has inspired each of his adventures. The colourful, action-packed spreads demand attention and will keep children busy looking for clues. Adventurous, imaginative and fun.


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ISBN: 9781406316896

Why we love this book

Peek-through eyes on the cover and three surprised cats on page one confirm that there are in fact cats in this book, but these cats are desperate to escape the book and to see the world.

When we open the book, the cats are in the middle of packing; but how will they get out?. Escaping isn't easy and neither pushing nor jumping works but at last they hit upon the answer - wishing their way out, helped by young readers.

Youngsters will be delighted when the cats return from their holiday on the last pages. Like every good holidaymaker, these moggies bring back a little present for the reader, too.

Full of humour and packed with adorable cats, adults will enjoy this as much as their children. See also, There are cats in this book, which is just as appealing.


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Cars and Trucks and Things that Go

Cars and Trucks and Things that Go

Richard Scarry
HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780007357383

Why we love this book

The Pig family has decided to pile into the car and head for the beach but on their way they are distracted by lots of different kinds of vehicles. From tractors to trucks and sports cars to unicycles, there is plenty to see and talk about.

There is also a lot happening on the road - as well as (for adults) the all-too-familiar roadworks and broken-down cars, there's a tipped-over water melon truck, a tractor in the pond, a tank, and a car being dropped off the side of a boat.

Any child (and especially boys) will be fascinated by the detail and the variety of vehicles and activities taking place on every page. This is definitely one to pack in your holiday suitcase.


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ISBN: 9781849390576

Why we love this book

When a little knight asks his mother for a sword to 'woosh and swoosh' in the air and pretend to slay dragons, she gives him a sunflower instead. Disappointed but philosophical, the little knight climbs Dragon Hill and slays three imaginary dragons - but when a real dragon appears, little knight only has a sunflower to defend himself with...

This story is bound to be a favourite with young readers not just because of its theme of dragons and brave knights, but because a small boy changes the world around him when he and the dragon become friends.


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Dance Together Dinosaurs

Dance Together Dinosaurs

Jane Clarke
Red Fox Picture Books
ISBN: 9781849410137

Why we love this book

Strictly Come Dancing meets dinosaurs in this fun rhythmic read that will get you dancing away the January blues!

Each of the dinosaur contestants has their own special dance to perform in front of the judges. Come and see the tangos and the sambas, the disco dance and the boogaloo - just mind the dinosaur poo!

Bright lights, outrageous costumes, funny details (check out the dino's platform boots and Kylie's sparkly number!) and the 'Strictly' package make this an appealing book for the adults in the family as well as the children.

But watch out for the vanishing judges and the twist in the tale ..... who is going to be the real winner among these competing carnivores?!


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ISBN: 9781849390057

Why we love this book

It's bedtime but this little boy is reluctant to go - could it be because there are bears on the stairs? The little one at the bottom is 'fierce and growly', the fat one in the middle has 'big, biffy paws' and the large one at the top of the stairs is HUGE!
Are the bears just in the boy's imagination, as his parents think, or is that really a big grizzly bear hanging from the lampshade...?
Children aged three plus (who aren't scared of bears on stairs) will love this story which is illustrated from the child's perspective and has some very grumpy-looking bears - but the final spread is wonderfully reassuring.


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ISBN: 1846165148

Why we love this book

To mark the tenth anniversary of Giles Andreae’s modern classic, Giraffes Can’t Dance, publisher Orchard Books has created a wonderful pop-up version that will make a cherished Christmas gift for young children. Among our favourite pop-up novelties are the tango’ing lions and the baboons doing a Scottish reel. The pop-ups are not just a gimmick, though, they really do support the story.


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ISBN: 1406316210

Why we love this book

Lucy Cousins is best known as the creator of the gentle Maisy character, but her new collection of nursery tales takes a very different approach. This collection is instead energetic, colourful and dramatic and will be loved by boisterous young people, and boys in particular. Cousin's stories don't pull any punches but the greedy wolves always get their just deserts.


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ISBN: 1407109243

Why we love this book

Tabby McTat is the latest title from due Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo. Donaldson’s trademark rhyming story tells of Tabby McTat, the busker’s cat, who accompanies the busker as he sings with his guitar. Axel Scheffler’s drawings are bright and bold and give an added dimension to the story.


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ISBN: 1405232595

Why we love this book

This lively, colourful story will appeal to young children who may or may not like bugs and mice – but will love joining in to say 'Eeek, mouse!' every time a mouse scuttles across the page. Eeek Mouse will also make a perfect family story if the adults in the family tend to shriek at the sight of a passing bug (or rodent!). Ideal for children aged 2-4 years.


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ISBN: 0230017932

Why we love this book

The story, a modern take on the Three Billy Goats Gruff fairy tale, is written by Julia Donaldson, author of The Gruffalo. While this story is not written in rhyme, like many of Donaldson’s previous books, its humour, colourful spreads and the familiarity of the story will bring children back to it again and again.


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ISBN: 0140569804

Why we love this book

It is ten years since the first edition of Harry and the Bucketful of Dinosaurs was created and publisher Puffin has created a special anniversary edition to celebrate. The popularity of the story stems of course from the wide appeal of dinosaurs but also because Harry is a very ‘real’ boy.


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Aliens in Underpants Save the World

Aliens in Underpants Save the World

Claire Freedman
Simon & Schuster Childrens Books
ISBN: 9781847383020

Why we love this book

This is a brightly-illustrated story that children will love as it involves favourite themes (spaceships and pants) and is told in a fast-paced, rhyming text with bundles of humour. The original book, Aliens Love Underpants, has been selling consistently since it was published two years ago


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ISBN: 1862306257

Why we love this book

Dougal the Digger is a picture book which will intrigue any child who is interested in diggers and building sites. There is much here to engage young reader in exploration and discussion. This book will particularly engage boys.


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ISBN: 1846861004

Why we love this book

When your child is ready to progress to longer shared stories, this book offers bright illustrations to support retellings of some favourite children's stories. There is also a CD with the stories read by Jim Broadbent.


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ISBN: 1407106171

Why we love this book

A classic story from the creators of 'The Gruffalo'. Stick Man is no ordinary stick but when he is mistaken for one and taken from his home, so begins an eventful journey to return to his family.


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ISBN: 0007284543

Why we love this book

A perfect story to share with children starting school or nursery, from the creator of Russell the Sheep. Adults as well as children will enjoy the gentle fun of the illustrations and exploring the detail on every page.


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ISBN: 184738210X

Why we love this book

First it was aliens ('Aliens Love Underpants') but now the dinosaurs are fighting over the underpants. This is a sure-fire winner with young children - pants and dinosaurs combined!


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ISBN: 1405242019

Why we love this book

A follow-up from 'Who are you, Stripy Horse?' sees the toy shop character in a new adventure involving some escaped jigsaw puzzle monkeys. A wonderful new take on toys coming to life after dark.


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ISBN: 1846169283

Why we love this book

What makes a perfect dog? 'A posh dog, a pattern dog, a handbag dog, a snappy dog . . .' Perfect partnering of rhyme and illustration.


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ISBN: 1405228032

Why we love this book

This is a wonderful bedtime story that turns spooky things on their head and puts little boys (and girls) in charge.


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ISBN: 1905117299

Why we love this book

Scaredy Squirrel is a favourite for nervous young children. Squirrel is frightened of people / roads / going out but in each of his adventures (see Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend / At the Beach) he realises that taking risks can be fun.


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ISBN: 1870516885

Why we love this book

A scary sound in the park sets off an adventure for two children (and their mum). A story that encourages exploring and discovery.


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ISBN: 1840117885

Why we love this book

From the publisher of 'Calm Down Boris' (recommended by Richard & Judy) comes another winning interactive story - it is up to the reader not to make it too scarey.


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ISBN: 1405089458

Why we love this book

Simple, clever rhyming text along with great illustrations make this a fun early counting book.


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ISBN: 0141500530

Why we love this book

Charlie and Lola love visiting the library but on this visit, Lola learns that other people also borrow books - even her favourite.


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ISBN: 1406306967

Why we love this book

A book to share with youngsters before a trip to the library, or sharing a child's knowledge of the library if they are already a regular. See also Charlie and Lola's 'But Excuse Me That is My Book'.


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ISBN: 1406312460

Why we love this book

Ben gets a present, a Penguin, and is thrilled but he can't get it to talk. It is Penguin who decides when he needs to talk. A lovely story with an underlying suggestion of true friendship.


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