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A selection of books especially selected for children in Reception classes (4-5 year olds) of average reading ability for the 2020/21 academic year.
If your child is a competent reader or has read all these titles then try the books from the Year 1 list. Our overall mission is to promote reading for pleasure with quality texts that are perfectly pitched for the age group and the curriculum. We have particularly avoided blockbusters, classic or set texts, known to everyone, so that we can include poetry, stunning information texts and inspirational books in which all children and young people can find themselves reflected.
Thanks to our partnership with Browns Books For Students we are able to offer all the books on this list at an exclusive price.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Rebecca Cobb’s warm and uncluttered illustrations capture the importance of friendships and how they can best be made. Here, an eager little girl expresses her delightful enthusiasm for sharing everything including indoor and outdoor play, packed lunch and more while in pleasing contrast the boy who is the focus of her attentions shows that friendship can also take longer to develop. A sweet story which also provides a lot of scope for thoughtful conversation and reflection.
The Diddle that Dummed is like your favourite pantomime distilled into 32 pages. Fiddler Flinty Bo Diddle is writing a tune for his fiddle – diddle diddle diddle diddle … all is going well until – dum! Which diddle went dum? The culprit steps forward, shrugging: ‘I’m not like the other diddles. Sometimes I like to go dum.’ Flinty is beside himself, he wants all his diddles to diddle. They try again, and again – they try with the defiant diddle at the beginning and at the end, but every time the diddle goes dum. They swap things round, and try a dum dum dum sequence for Flinty’s drum – you can probably guess what happens. By this point, everyone will be laughing out loud at the sheer silliness of it all, at the diddle’s cheekiness, at Flinty’s furious indignation – and then it gets sillier and more comic still. What seems a simple idea is full of surprises and cleverness and every one of us knows a diddle that dums. Sheer picture book brilliance.
From the creator of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George!, Shh! We Have a Plan and Goodnight Everyone, comes a book about taking the time you need to overcome your fears. In the rockpool above the sea, live two crabs: Big Crab and Little Crab. Today, they're going for a dip in the sea. This is going to be so great! says Little Crab. But then Little Crab catches a first glimpse of the water... Oh. The waves! They're ENORMOUS. Oh... Will Little Crab be brave enough to go in? From the multi award-winning picture book maker of A Bit Lost, Oh No, George! and Shh! We Have a Plan comes a bold, beautiful picture book about working through anxiety and, with the support of a loved one, building up the courage to try something new.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This is a superb example of an information text, ostensibly for younger children, but with multi-age and multi-curriculum uses. It is also a thing of beauty, printed on high quality paper doing full justice to the stunning illustrations, with the author’s expressive brush work, clever layout and a palette filled with watery blues and greens and the white and grey of rain, fog and snow. A little girl notices the role of water all around her—a sprinkler, a tap, a stream, a lake. She also notices that water sometimes tries to hide, or change state, and that water is part of every living thing including her. The book concludes with four pages of beautifully clear explanations of water forms (liquid, solid and gas), the water cycle and the all-important conservation of water. There are some excellent suggestions of how to play and learn about water and true or false questions to check understanding. These are very well suited to older children too, as indeed the book is, as a model of writing and the effective use of figurative language. Poetic descriptions make this an enjoyable read-aloud and the larger font labels that identify the source of the water on each page (including Zoe the narrator) are perfect for vocabulary building for the youngest child. A really well thought out and brilliantly executed early science picture book that deserves a place in every school.
Baby's brother is getting ready to take a basket of bananas all the way to Baba's bungalow in the next village. He will have to go along the bumpy road, past the baobab trees, birds and butterflies, and all the way over the bridge. What he doesn't realize is that his cute, very curious baby sister is secretly coming along for the amazing bicycle ride, too!
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2020 | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Kate Read uses bold colours, composition and collage to tell the story of one famished fox’s encounter with some angry hens, making this counting book a real thriller. The Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘Visually stunning. There’s real drama here and the way the story is told is joyous. She’s done a very clever thing and created a counting book while keeping within the beats of a story.’
This year is the 25th anniversary of the publication of Handa’s Surprise, named as one of the "50 best culturally diverse children’s books" of all time in 2014 and which together with its sequel Handa’s Hen has sold over a million copies worldwide. So, a new book about Handa will be a cause for celebration in schools everywhere and fans will not be disappointed! Handa’s best friend has invited her to a sleepover and the girls are allowed to sleep in a small hut near the house. Demonstrating feelings that children and parents will find immediately relatable, Handa is excited but increasingly nervous and, as they play and prepare for bed, strange noises keep disturbing her. Akeyo reassures her that it is just her noisy family, but, as the omniscient reader can see on the page opposite, it is in fact an assortment of nocturnal animals that are responsible. Both the sound effects and the unusual animals will prove irresistible to young audiences. Handa, Akeyo, their families and all the animals are luminously depicted in the intense and vivid style that is so characteristic of this talented artist and so evocative of the Kenyan setting. Each animal is identified on the lovely night and day endpapers which gives this warm, reassuring and funny story useful topic potential too. Another winner!
Astrid has always loved the stars and space. I want to be an astronaut! she says. While Mama is away, Papa and Astrid have fun acting out the challenges an astronaut faces on a space mission - eating food from a tube, doing science experiments, living and sleeping in near-zero gravity. Astrid can do it all! Then it's time to meet Mama at the airbase. But where has Mama been?
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | A deliciously playful fantasy tells how an audacious and ebullient mouse identifies himself as being something very much more than he is. Especially he dreams of being a tiger! But can he convince anyone else? Sadly for mouse, his lack of stripes, size and GRRR! make it pretty clear that he is certainly not a tiger. And, when a real tiger turns up, Mouse knows for sure that he won’t ever be a tiger. Can he be something else? Karl Newson and Ross Collins capture imaginative play perfectly.
Shortlisted for the Booktrust Storytime Prize | Join two seafaring pirates and their captain on a nautical adventure to find a treasure chest. Add to that a text that is read aloud to the tune of 'Row, Row, Row Your Boat' and you have a book that will be enjoyed time and time again! Go, go, pirate boat, Across the salty sea, Raise the anchor, hoist the sail, It's a pirate's life for me. Little pirate fans will have endless fun singing along to the tune of a favourite nursery rhyme and doing the pirate actions in this fun ocean adventure. With bold, colourful illustrations by the instantly recognisable Nick Sharratt and text by talented newcomer Katrina Charman - creators of the bestselling Car, Car, Truck, Jeep, which was selected for BookTrust's inaugural 2019 Pyjamarama campaign and distributed to 450,000 children across the UK.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2019 | One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | This must be one of the brightest and best picture books of the year. With minimalist illustrations – simple shapes against blocks of Day-Glo colour – and short lines of text, Morag Hood tells a story that will dazzle and entertain all readers. Cherries, Bat tells us, ‘are my favourite things’, following this up with a fiercely delivered threat: ‘Do not take my cherries.’ In later pages though we see the cherries being stolen. Bat is inconsolable until one of the thieves leaves a pear in their place. Bat’s emotions – joy, anger, confusion, despair, surprise and joy again – are rendered brilliantly in the tilt of an eyebrow and the angle of the head while the intensity of those emotions will be hilarious yet recognisable to child and parent alike. Superb!
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | With its dedication, ‘For a united world …’, Britta Teckentrup’s new picture book is a celebration of the things that bring us all together. ‘Wherever we are’ reads the text, ‘we live under the same sky, feel the same love, play the same games, and dream the same dreams’.These short lines are cleverly highlighted in peek-through shapes that link the different pages together and each spread depicts animal families across the world. Teckentrup’s textured collage style illustrations are extraordinarily beautiful and create a real sense of calm, togetherness and hope. With a vital message of unity and friendship, this is an important and moving book to share with children.
This story of a little girl’s trip to the library has so much to tell us. Luna loves going to the library, not just because she loves books, but because her dad meets her there. Together they read and share books and one of them, ‘The Troll King and the Mermaid Queen’, is actually included as a mini book within the book. Its story of the Troll King who can’t live with the Mermaid Queen but fiercely loves their little daughter has special meaning for Luna, and will have for lots of readers too. The story is beautifully told, leaving space for readers to take what they want, and the illustrations are lively and full of warmth. ~ Andrea Reece
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 | Joint Winner of the CLiPPA 2016 (CLPE Children’s Poetry Award). | Children’s Laureates Chris Riddell and Michael Rosen combine here to create a beautiful collection of ebullient poems for the very young. Michael Rosen’s close and affectionate observation of small children and the way they think is brilliantly captured in poems such as You Can’t See Me and Let Me Do It. There are also plenty of opportunities for the very young to join in with poems such as Tippy-Tappy and The Button Bop which they are guaranteed to want to hear again and again! Chris Riddell’s illustrations created an equally warm-hearted view of the early years and capture the spirit of the poems perfectly. One of our Books of the Year 2015 - A Reader Review Panel Pick of the Year 2015 - chosen by Robyn Chorely, aged 5- Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month, September 2015
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. | Award-winning illustrator Jon Klassen has created a second delightful and surprising picture book with Mac Barnett, author of The Dark. Here two boys dig a hole. It doesn’t seem to take them far so they try digging a bit on their own. They still make little progress. So they take a rest…What happens while they are asleep turns out to be most surprising of all! In simple illustrations, Sam and Dave Dig a Hole gives a host of opportunities for imagining and dreaming.
Prize-winning illustrator Catherine Rayner has produced a new outstanding title. Polar bears Iris and Isaac fall out over sharing their nest. Each stomps away in a Big Bear Huff but soon both find that they don’t enjoy anything half as much on their own. Luckily, they are reunited and find they can share the nest after all. Set against a stunning winter landscape, this is a perfect book about friendship.
A prize winning title, this introduces Susan who loves to swing, dance, swim, ride do all the things other children do. In fact, she’s no different from any other little girl except that, as the final spread shows, she gets about in a wheel chair. The vigour and active text is perfectly supported by Tony Ross’s warm hearted illustrations.
Polly Dunbar has been selected as one of The Big Picture campaign's Best New Illustrators in 2008 and was also the winner of the 0-5 Nestle Silver Award 2007. We loved the emotional interaction between Ben and Penguin in this delightful story. Just you wait until you see a child enjoy it as much as we did. Polly Dunbar’s illustrations – a mix of mediums including collage, watercolour and pastel, are a delight.