No catches, no fine print just unconditional book love and reading recommendations for your students and children.
You can create your own school's page, develop tailored reading lists to share with peers and parents...all helping encourage reading for pleasure in your children.Find out more
Very young children love to revisit books they know so we have included some old favourites plus added some brilliant new picture books - all great books to read aloud to a Reception Class.
Buy all the books on this list now from Browns Books For Students. Click the add to basket button to get started.
March 2021 Debut of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Margaret Sturton announces herself as a major picture book talent with her debut. Little rabbit Herbert loves foxes. Indeed, he loves them so much he wants to be one, making himself a pair of fox ears and a tail. At first his mummy is amused, then angry when he messes up the living room with red paint and cuts up her dress to make a tail. When she sees him out playing as a fox, despite her instruction to be a ‘good little rabbit’, she is cross again, until she suddenly realises how important it is to Herbert to be a fox. The story is full of comic moments and the little rabbit family will be recognisable to all readers. It’s also a wonderful story about identity and love, delivered lightly but most effectively. Highly recommended.
March 2021 Book of the Month | Jeanne Willis is one of our funniest writers for children, but she can do poignancy and tenderness with equal skill. Hom is the story of a shipwreck. A young boy is washed up on a desert island and there discovers Hom, a peace-loving hairy little creature, the last of his kind. The two become best of friends, playing and laughing together; after all, as the boy says, ‘We’re much more alike than different.’ When the chance of escape from the island comes, the boy decides not to take it, in case the arrival of bigger people puts Hom into danger. It’s a touching story of friendship, family and the importance of kindness, to others but to our planet too. Adults will realise that Hom is short for Hominid, his presence a reminder of our past, our connections to the natural world, and its fragility. Illustrator Paddy Donnelly creates a wonderfully lush and vibrant desert island, and his characters are equally warm and alive.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | This is a vital picture book for society today – with an emphasis on family and belonging. Isabel is a small girl who lives with her family, and though they have little they have each other, so life is happy. Then disaster strikes and they have to leave their home to move to the other side of town - where everything is grey and cold and sad and lonely. As she walks about Isabel realises she is ignored by people, and feels she is literally fading away. It is not until she has faded and become truly invisible that she notices all the other invisible people sitting or working away at different things – like planting flowers in old paint pots or mending a bike – but they are all alone too. So, Isabel decides to help, she helps to fix things up and gradually others join in too. As more people join in they become less invisible, until they have created a vibrant area where they can all be seen. By doing as she did Isabel has learned that one of the hardest things is to make a difference. This full colour picture book uses muted shades for much of the story – showing us just how cold and dark it is and how awful it is to be ‘invisible’. The beginning of the story has colour – but it is all edged with cold, and icy windows. It is not until the end of the book – when winter has passed, when the sun and spring add to the wonderful colour the new community has created by all working together. This is a very gentle story with a potent and persuasive message, that small acts can add up to a huge change. Whilst being selfless it also shows that Isabel and her family have all benefitted by the actions she has instigated. This is a very personal message from the author, who had a very happy childhood even when his family had very little – underlining the message we can all contribute somehow, and that we all belong! A book that should be in all classrooms and school libraries for its message and its powerful pictures.
January 2021 Book of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Chris Naylor-Ballesteros has followed up his acclaimed picture book, The Suitcase, with an equally mesmeric tale of friendship, and how true friendship adapts and grows throughout our lives. Through stunning but simple illustrations, and a minimal palette, we meet the beetle and the caterpillar; the friends eat, watch the moon rise and share time together until one morning beetle awakes and there is no sign of the caterpillar. After a while of waiting the beetle goes in search of his friend...he thought he saw her from a distance but as he grew closer realised it wasn’t her and now he feels lost. But, the joy!, his friend came looking for him! Whilst the beetle had been searching, the caterpillar had turned into a butterfly! A moving, gentle tale of acceptance and how friendship grows through ages and changes. You can find more books with this theme in our Collection of Brilliant Books about Friendship
October 2020 Debut of the Month | What a roar-some romp this is! With its read-along rhymes, fun flaps to lift and energetic animals, toddlers will adore grrr-ing, snapping, ooo-ing, hissing and ROARING their way through this jamboree of jungle dwellers. It’s a joy to read aloud, ideally with exuberant accompaniment from little animal lovers. The rhythmic, rhyming text invites readers to engage with larger-than-life animals in their natural habitats - a tiger hiding in tall bamboo, a crocodile lurking in a lilypond, a snake slithering through leaves, a monkey curled in a tree, a lion prowling a plain - while sharing information about their physical characteristics and - of course - the sounds they make. It’s a beautiful book to behold, too - Katerina Kerouli’s style is both bold and understated. Her palette has an elegant mid-century feel, and her animals are oh-so chicly expressive.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2020 | Meesha loves making things. And she is good at it too. But the one thing she doesn’t know how to make is friends. It seems to be easy but for Meesha it isn’t! When Meesha tries to share her ideas with other children they are just confused or uninterested. So instead of playing with other children, Meesha makes some wonderful friends of her own. Snipping and sticking she soon has a lovely crowd of chums she can enjoy being with. But a real friend would be nice and when Meesha meets Josh she finds exactly the friend she has been looking for. Soon Meesha and Josh are busy making more friends together. In both words and pictures Tom Percival tells a gentle and touching story about the importance of friendship and how to develop it.
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.
June 2020 Book of the Month | It’s hard to believe that Not Now Bernard is 40 years old. It’s as fresh and funny as the day it was first written and, best of all, just as shocking. In fact, it doesn’t matter how many times you read it, the end is always an absolute thrill and if that’s not genius, I don’t know what is. In the story Bernard tries unsuccessfully to get his parents’ attention, getting the same reply each time: ‘Not now, Bernard’. Even when he’s eaten by a monster, his parents don’t notice! Parents have to feel uncomfortable, while children themselves are alive to the fact that the monster is probably Bernard (and that we’ve all got a bit of monster in us). One of the greatest books for children ever written.
A special 25th anniversary edition of a modern classic, this is a tender, exuberant celebration of modern family life. | A glorious celebration of the love that a baby in the family generates is beautifully captured in Trish Cooke’s words and Helen Oxenbury’s pictures. There’s a ring at the door. Ding! Dong! One after another all the family come to visit and everyone of them wants to kiss and hug and squeeze that dear little baby because they all love him So Much. A classic that continues to delight now as much as it did when it was first published.
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
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013 | A simply told story with a delicious and irresistible mischievous twist in its ending. Poor Bear! He has lost his hat. He asks everyone if they have seen it but no one can help. Where can it be? Just when Bear has given up all hope he spies it. And someone else is wearing it. Poor Rabbit! Where is he once Bear has his hat back? With its spare, building text and beautifully simple illustrations this tells its tale wittily.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | You can feel the love that the author and illustrator of Baby Goes to Market have for West Africa, both of whom grew up there. The vibrant market place leaps out of the page, you can almost smell the fruit for sale and hear the shouts from the market traders. Baby is snuggly wrapped in a papoose on Mama's back and is enjoying the trip to the market, especially when the market traders start giving Baby presents. First bananas, then juicy oranges, then biscuits. Baby eats a little of each and adds the remainder to the shopping basket that Mama carries on her head. Mama must be very strong! After all those treats Baby has a nap and Mama gets a well-deserved taxi ride home. Each page is gloriously filled with tantalising pictures of delicious things to eat and colourful things to buy, and there’s a gentle introduction to simple counting too.
Emily Gravett was selected as one of The Big Picture campaign's Best New Illustrators in 2008 And since her launch onto the children’s book scene she has made a considerable name for herself with children with her stunning and clever but simple picture books. Young children will love guessing what animal they are pretending to be, before shouting out the answers as the pages are turned to reveal the real creatures. Click here for an activity sheet related to this book !
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.
Three little owl babies sit in the tree and wait…and wait…and wait…for their Mummy to come home from hunting. Stunning illustrations match this brilliant classic picture book story. This beautiful board book edition is perfect for little hands. Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mum been so sensitively told or so beautifully rendered as in this tale from picture book masters, Patrick Benson and Martin Waddell. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, this picture book is known to millions, and continues to be one of the biggest selling picture books ever, having sold over 2 million copies around the world. The subtle message is that it is OK to be different, and combined with the vibrant colour and cheeky humour of the main character, it’s an essential bedtime story. To see other Elmer titles click here.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s marvellous story of the scatty witch and her animal friends deserves a place on every child’s bookshelf. Julia Donaldson based the witch on herself – apparently she’s always dropping and losing things! This story is as much of a joy today as on publication, Donaldson’s jolly rhyming text perfectly paired with Scheffler’s equally lively illustrations. ~ Andrea Reece A Note from the Author The idea for Room on the Broom came about when I started to think about witches and cats. Witches in storybooks, you see, are almost always accompanied by cats and, of course, the cats often ride with the witches on the backs of their broomsticks. What would happen, I wondered, if a witch didn’t just have a cat but lots of animals? Would they all travel with her? How would they all fit onto a broomstick? And how much weight can one broom carry? And that’s where the basic storyline came from. There wasn’t a dragon in the original story, but once the broom had broken and everyone had tumbled to the ground I created him to add some more excitement and drama. And as to the trick that the animals play on the dragon to save the witch? Well, I think I must have been inspired by the story of “The Musicians of Bremen”. “The Musicians of Bremen” is a German folktale about four old animals – a donkey, a dog, a cat and a rooster – who come across a band of robbers in a cottage in some woods. They climb on one another’s backs and make a fearful din. The robbers are convinced that there must be a terrible creature outside and run away, leaving the animals to settle in for the evening. It’s a wonderful story and I am indebted to it because, although it was unconscious at the time, I think it must have been an inspiration. The witch herself though, is definitely based on me! I am quite scatty. When I was a child I was always dropping and losing things, just like the witch in Room on the Broom. In fact, I still do. I can remember seeing the first sketches that Axel drew of the witch and asking my editor if she could be made a bit younger and less tidy, and if her nose might be a bit smaller. She looked older, wartier and much neater than I’d thought of her when I was writing the story. But now, of course, I am extremely fond of the witch and couldn’t imagine her looking any other way. ~ Julia Donaldson
Winner of the UKLA 2017 Book Award | One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016 | Shortlisted for the Bookbug Picture Book Prize 2016 | Text, illustration and design all combine to make this an outstanding picture book. Mouse is cross, there’s a bear – a polar bear – on his chair, he won’t move and ‘There isn’t any room to spare. We do not make a happy pair’. The bear is apparently oblivious to Mouse and his growing rage, though readers will notice him take an occasional sly peek at his companion, deftly illustrated in just one line of eyebrow. Collins’s illustrations also brilliantly capture Mouse’s changing moods, from anger through to resignation. The text is a joy to read, a series of funny statements constructed – Dr Seuss-like – around words that rhyme with chair. A sequel – There’s a Mouse in My House – must follow. This superb picture book is set to become a classic.
Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak! This fabulous rhyming book of opposites is deservedly recognised as a classic. A herd of dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments race or lounge across the pages, described in satisfying text that is just perfect for reading aloud, even over and over again. The dinosaurs are brighter and more eye-catching than ever in this new edition produced from rescanned artwork, and a rampant T-Rex is resplendent on the cover with tactile, shiny scales, teeth and claws. One to be gobbled up with a munch, munch, scrunch!
Celebrate thirty years of the Large family in this stunning anniversary edition of a modern picture book classic. There can’t be a mum in the country who doesn’t identify with Mrs Large, wrapped in her comfortable dressing gown, doing her best to get away from her children for just five minutes peace (and managing a scant three minutes forty-five seconds)! It is 30 years since the book was first published – this sturdy board book is one of a number of editions to mark the anniversary – and it’s just as funny, accurate and real a portrait of family life as it was when it first came out. Jill Murphy’s comic timing – in words and pictures – is impeccable, and this is a book that truly deserves its status as a classic.
Award-winning Chris Haughton’s George is a dog with a terrible habit of getting into trouble! He wants to be good and he tries to be good but, somehow, he keeps on getting into trouble! When he sees a delicious cake in the kitchen, how can he stop himself eating it? Oh No, George! When there’s lovely soil in the garden, he must just dig it up. Oh No, George! All readers will love George and his great instincts and terrible behaviour. .....click here and here to download some George related activity sheets.
Winner of the IBW Children's Picture Book Award 2014 A beautiful book which brings nature to life in words and pictures. Nicola Davies interweaves fact and fiction as she brings each season into focus. She celebrates new growth and the rich harvests of autumn. Stunning, richly textured illustrations encourage young readers to look closely at the world around them.
This is the 25th anniversary board book edition of this bestselling title which well-deserves its classic status. It has become the staple of pre-school life across the globe. Told in a simple rhythmic text that's full of action and it is matched by Helen Oxenbury’s wonderful illustrations which perfectly capture the fun and the wide range of emotions of the family day out that the story encompasses. There is a new website celebrating 25 years Bear Hunting - visit www.jointhebearhunt.com for everything a bear hunter could need including activities, videos, competitions and tour dates. The book has sold in nearly 30 countries and in over 20 languages.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. An ideal first picture book by an award-winning author/illustrator in which Lenny and his dad have a game of hide and seek in the house, enjoying fun and games together.
Many happy returns to Mog the Forgetful Cat who has been delighting readers for forty years. Brilliant author-illustrator Judith Kerr’s timeless stories about Mog, the cat who has a habit of forgetting everything, charm readers young and old. Toddlers adore the loveable and expressive cat whose unreliable behaviour often brings surprising results! From board books to stunning gift editions, the many stories about Mog capture the heart of all who come across her. This is the paperback 40th anniversary edition and it even has a flocked cover. Click here to see more 40th anniversary Mog books and other titles by Judith Kerr.
Meet Tanka, the elephant and his friend Skunka. Say their names together and they SOUND LIKE DRUMS! Tanka, Skunka, Tanka, Skunka, Tanka Tanka Skunk! They have lots of friends for you to meet, so say their names to the Tanka Skunka beat! Lemurs, llamas, zebras, badgers, caterpillars, big GORILLAS and yakety, yakety yaks. The book takes the reader on a veritable roller-coaster ride of sights and sounds as animals leap and dance across the brightly coloured pages. Terrific fun to read aloud one to one with a small child, and an absolute riot for group activities.
First published in 1983 and still as good today. Written by Lynley Dodd, who is a New Zealander, this is the first in a series of books about the adventures of a scruffy dog ‘Hairy McClary’. Rhyming, catchy and comical with brilliant characters and plots. And just so you know a ‘dairy’ in New Zealand is a corner shop.
Have you ever wanted a pet? How do you find the right one? An elephant is too heavy, a giraffe is too tall, a frog is too jumpy. Hidden behind a flap, each new arrival that the zoo sends is a wonderful surprise but never quite right. Until, at last, they send the perfect pet. Dear Zoo is one of the books chosen to be part of the World Book Day Big Little Book Corner, especially aimed at younger children. Four picture book favourites from Rod Campbell have been brought to life as video books with Rod's original illustrations and narrated by the author himself! Find out more at worldbookday.com/big-little-book-corner.