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Our selection of books to read aloud to Reception children - poetry, fun stories and colourful characters illustrations to draw young listeners in.
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The lives of the inhabitants of a small town are transformed by music in this elegant picture book. The music pours out of a small window high up in the eaves of a house – readers can see it, a stream of flowers, blossom and delicate leaves. The melody banishes a young boy’s loneliness, makes an old lady feel lively and full of joy, gives everyone the thing they are missing and prompts kindness and generosity. When the music suddenly stops, the townspeople work together to help the musician, whose identity will surprise everyone. This gentle story celebrates the power of music in all our lives, as well as the importance of community and love. The illustrations come as close as you can get to a visual representation of music and are full of warmth and fellowship.
Lovely, lugubrious Mr Panda is back, loaded up with doughnuts and ready to dispense advice on the best ways to behave. He’s already addressed politeness and good manners, in this story he has one question for the animals queuing up for a delicious doughnut, ‘Have you washed your hands?’ Not one of them has, though Lemur’s tail is clean, and Hippo’s bottom. After Mr Panda has explained why it’s important to have clean hands too, everyone gets together for a marvellous rub-a-dub-dub, soap bubbles sparkling everywhere and there’s one final joke before they get their sticky treats. As ever, the story is beautifully simple, yet will stand repeated readings. Mr Panda cuts a wonderfully bulky figure against a sea-green background and every page is a visual delight.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Grandma is coming to visit so it’s all hands on deck! Dad posts instructions on the fridge, spelled out in those lovely bright magnetic letters: Bobby has to mop the floor, Dad is to scrub the dishes (this is a two dad family), Sarah needs to feed the fishes, and ‘I’ll bathe the cat’. It’s at this point, that the cat takes over – anything to avoid a bath – and, with a swish of its paw, rearranges the letters. As the family follow increasingly silly instructions, with very funny results, the chaotic scenes are illustrated by David Roberts in the brightest, most stylish oranges and pinks. Fortunately, by the time Grandma rings the bell, everything is somehow clean and tidy. For all the silliness, this is a joyful depiction of family life and will be an absolute delight to share with little children.
Following in the witty footsteps of Penguin Problems and Giraffe Problems, this masterful picturebook partnership have now produced stream of consciousness grumbles from a cat, which will seem all too familiar to any family owned by a cat. This unabashed malcontent complains about a sunbeam moving, about the hoover monster, about another cat daring to sit in their spot, about the food service (after persistent yowling can you believe they only produce DRY food? ) and of course the boredom (when not playing with tinfoil balls, sniffing shoes, eating plants and destroying sofas) The not-getting-outside might have pandemic resonance for small children who might be tempted to sympathise with this feline tyrant but a page long rant about counting your blessings from a squirrel on the other side of the window, which is greeted with "How can I eat this very talkative squirrel?" should bring them to their senses! The gloriously expressive, textured illustrations, with the page layout, font variety and pacing complimenting the humorous text, are just perfectly executed. A delightful picturebook that will be as popular with adult cat fans as eager young readers.
October 2021 Debut of the Month | From the window of a cosy house in a seaside town, a little candle looks out onto the world. As the seasons roll by, she observes families celebrating, lighting up dark nights with love for Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hannukah, Ramadan and Christmas. It makes Little Glow wish to be bigger, until the realisation comes that small moments and the smallest lights are just as important as big ones. Revelling in comfort and light, this story was made to be shared in the winter nights while its message of hope and togetherness will warm hearts all year round.
Big, bold and bright, this picture book tells the tale of the red Spots, who live on one side of the hill and avoid at all costs the scary blue Dots who live on the other side of the hill. Wait a minute though, turn it round and it’s actually the tale of the blue Dots, who live on one side of the hill and avoid at all costs the scary red Spots who live on the other side of the hill… Both stories meet in the middle when two babies – a Spot and a Dot – get lost and meet up, only to discover that everything their parents and grandparents believe is wrong. Layout, illustrations and the deliciously clever structure of the story as it proceeds from two different starting points – and two different ends of the book – to reach exactly the same place, serve to point out the absurdity of the Dots’ and Spots’ position. Even the youngest readers will understand exactly what the moral of it all is (once they’ve stopped laughing). Helen Baugh’s rhyming text is perfect in its conciseness and Marion Deuchars’ illustrations a triumph, each spot and dot a character of its own. This is one to shelve with other ingenious picture books that entertain and delight while imparting wisdom such as Jon Agee’s The Wall in the Middle of the Book, Smriti Prasadam-Halls’ The Little Island and David McKee’s Tusk Tusk.
From the inventive author-illustrator of the award-winning There’s a Bear on My Chair comes this smart sequel, and boy has Ross Collins delivered again. It’s a rollicking, rhyming, visually-pleasing treat in which it turns out that Bear isn’t terribly keen on getting a taste of his own medicine (to begin with, at least). The cause of Bear’s irritation is the presence of Mouse in his house (yes, the very same Mouse on whose chair Bear presumptuously sat in the first book). In Bear’s outraged words, “That rodent can’t live here, oh no! I’ll tell him that he has to go.” Of course, Mouse refuses to leave and proceeds to cause chaos in Bear’s house, before a mob of partying mice turn up. But then - the twist! – when Bear realises “Hey! These mice are nice!” With wonderful interplay between text, illustration and design, this is excellent for reading aloud - the kind of book that will have toddlers urging for it to be read again, and again (and again) while completing the rhymes before adults have chance to read them.
Who Do You Think You Are? meets You Choose! in this inclusive picture book that opens up discussions about what makes us who we are. Perfect for ages 3+, this is a joyful celebration of all the pieces, places and people that make us who we are. It is a wonderful way to get children thinking about and learning about their own families, and also opening up discussions about all of the other pieces that come together to make us all unique: from our friends and food we eat, to activities we get up to and the places we go.
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.
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
This book will have you singing, dancing and waving your knickers in the air! Pants is a picture book with a brilliant rhyming text by Giles Andreae and lots of hilarious pictures by Nick Sharratt. As we go through the book we meet lots of different animals, people and sometimes objects each wearing a different kind of pants - every shape, pattern, colour, size and style that you can think of - and lots more besides! This is a book children will ask for again and again. PANTS - which ones are your favourite?
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.
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!
Longlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - Shortlisted for the Little Rebels Book Award 2015 | Awarding-winning Chris Haughton tells a big story in stunning illustrations in his near-wordless picture board book. The huntsmen are determined to capture the bird. Armed with nets they creep up on their prey…but they haven’t got every angle covered! How the littlest repeatedly sabotages the huntsmen’s plans is a wittily told story with a strong message about communication.
Colour in the bear hunt with this wonderful colouring activity book, based on the classic picture book by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Helen Oxenbury's beautiful illustrations are as enchanting here as in the beloved original, and Michael Rosen's brilliantly rhythmic words provide the inspiration for every exciting activity. You might also like We're Going on a Bear Hunt Sticker Activitiy Book!
Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. This is a special 25th Anniversary edition. Andersen Press invites YOU to join in with Elmer’s Anniversary Parade and ‘show your colours’. You can hold an Elmer parade in a library, a bookshop, a classroom, at home, outside – anywhere! Download an Elmer’s Parade Pack here which includes craft activities, games, colouring sheets, bunting and lots of ideas for holding your own Elmer parade!
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.
Plop is a baby owl. Perfect in every way - except for one. He's afraid of the dark! But he soon discovers, through a variety of new friends, that dark can be fun and exciting and magical! This is a story for very young readers. The Lovereading Comment: This is one of the all time classics of 20th Century children’s fiction, which has now been beautifully brought together into a picture book for the nursery complete with the story, games and songs on CD by the wonderful Bill Oddie. If your child is at all fearful of something, then this is the perfect book to allay those fears for The owl who was afraid of the dark has a wonderful uplifting finish.
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.