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A selection of books especially selected for children in Year 1 (5 - 6 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 2 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 | Multi- award winning Morag Hood does it again in this stylish and surprisingly heart-warming tale! Every small child will know all about wolves and their interest in sheep and will delight in being able to predict what happens next. They know exactly what Brenda’s game is and will fear for the gullible sheep caught up in it. Yet friendship and kindness can conquer even the most carnivorous of hearts. The sheep love the originality and inventiveness that Brenda brings to the flock and the thoughtful feast that they produce for their sleeping heroine (grass lasagne, grass sausages and so on – all accompanied by Brenda’s amazing mint sauce conceived for a completely different purpose) convinces Brenda that actually she loves being a sheep. A really positive message beautifully executed in inimitable style with the characteristic limited colour palette and inventive typography and layout that we have come to expect, this will be a firm classroom favourite especially when exploring alternative traditional tales.
Avocado is feeling just fine in the fruit and veg aisle at the supermarket - until a young customer asks a difficult question: Is an avocado a fruit or a vegetable? Avocado doesn't know the answer either - and the question won't seem to go away! A brilliantly funny book about identity and being confident in your own skin - featuring the world's most popular superfood!
Twenty years after the publication of the book that must be in every nursery and primary school library, we have another vividly colourful jungle tale filled with a perfectly judged rhyming text that is a joy to read aloud and sharing a really positive message about being true to yourself and celebrating all sorts of achievements. Guy Parker-Rees has a very distinctive technicolour palette and has talked about his love of drawing elephants, which really shows in the endearing cast of characters here. It is time for the all -important Elephant games when, one by one, the young elephants compete to impress King Elephant Mighty and earn their Elephant Name. So the loudest becomes Elephant Noisy and the strongest Elephant Strong and so on, but right at the end is little Num-Num who did not know what his talent was and whatever he tried, failed to impress the king. He gets called Elephant Nothing at All and sadly Num- Num decides to leave. But the animal friends he gains at his new watering hole convince him of his own worth and he returns to put the king right. This positive message of affirmation is a really timely one and I can see that this text will be as universally popular as its predecessor and a classic in its own right. Indispensable for every library.
Shortlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Via simple but elegant illustrations, and a gentle sometimes playful rhyming text, this picture book passes on all sorts of information about water and its importance, while never losing the sense of the beauty of this essential element. Words and illustrations take us back in time to the beginning of life on Earth, up hills and deep below the surface to explain that “clouds, rain, river, sea, water cycles endlessly”. Carefully placed splashes of colour underscore pages of different blues, the tinkling rhythm of the text bringing a sense of calm. It all concludes with five fascinating facts about the “world wide wet” and this is a book to savour on lots of different levels.
This witty, stylish counting book will catch the attention of adults as well as the imagination of the very young. A rhythmic, rhyming text and eye-catching illustrations present us with one fox in socks, then two gorillas looking in mirrors, followed by three jolly llamas in pyjamas, right up to the twenty birds who have the last words. Along the way we also meet five goats wearing coats, the goats labelled and clearly identifiable under their coats (Nubian, mountain, angora…). Other favourite spreads include the one featuring sixteen chickens reading (and clearly enjoying) Dickens! A wonderfully original counting book that is as handsome as it is effective.
Zoooooooom! We're off on an exciting space adventure in our rocket to meet all the planets of the solar system. Join in with the rhymes and spot all the smiley-faced, friendly planets, from shimmering Saturn to mighty Mars. Little ones will have a blast (and be back in time for bed!) in this striking, read-aloud, story-led picture book. It's perfect for all would-be astronauts!
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | John Burningham won his record breaking second Kate Greenaway medal for Mr Gumpy’s Outing in 1970, which was the first we saw of the character that John claimed was a ‘prophetic caricature’ because he grew to look more like him throughout his life! So, it seems entirely appropriate that the very last book written by John features his alter ego. We last saw him in the equally popular Mr Gumpy’s Motor Car in 1973 so where has he been since? Travelling in Africa it seems, where he rescues a baby rhino who has lost his parents, killed by poachers who had stolen their horns. Kind Mr Gumpy goes in search of milk from friendly Bedouin tribesmen, decides to call his rhino Charlie and takes him on the ship home with him. He struggles to find enough food for the rapidly growing Charlie and local schoolchildren suggest he could work for the council keeping the grass down on the roadside verges. His specially made high-vis jacket and rhino at work sign are a real hit with Charlie! He repays this kindness by rescuing the school outing; taking the children on his back to the beach and then out to sea to catch the boat they had just missed- a thrilling ride for everyone! With the classic mix of soft sepia line drawings and beautifully textured full colour images this is Burningham at his best, vividly capturing landscapes and the tiny, exquisitely drawn details that bring every character to life. A real celebration of kindness and community that offers a gentle introduction for small children to discussion about conservation and endangered species. A real classic that will be as timeless, popular and hopefully award -winning, as its predecessors.
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.
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Witty, a bit silly, with irresistible characters, fabulous illustrations and a serious point to make, Giraffe Problems is an outstanding picture book, one that will easily stand repeat readings. Edward the giraffe stresses about his neck, a lot. He compares it unfavourably to all the other necks around and does his best to disguise it (most memorably with a mountain of scarves and bow ties). Only when he meets Cyrus, a creature also frustrated by the size of his neck, does he come to terms with it, making a special friend in the process. Lane Smith’s textured, brushy artwork is a perfect match for Jory John’s sharp and very funny text, and this is a picture book to entertain and amuse readers of all ages.
The Little Monster thinks he's brave but we're not so sure! Little Monster really wants to be in a scary story but he won't listen to the narrator who thinks a funny story might be better... But the dark and scary forest is just too dark and scary. And the creepy witch is just too creepy. And the ghost? Oh jeepers creepers! Jean Julliene's illustrations jump off the page; the Little Monster pulls the most wonderfully expressive faces. A cute, funny and just a little bit scary, picture book perfect for Halloween fun.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Awards 2019, Books for Younger Children Category | The primary colours have got everything sorted out in the city so they live in separate areas and never mix. But, when a Blue and a Yellow fall in love and marry, baby Green is soon born and everyone realises that mixing together makes everyone much happier. A love story in a paint box with an important message for all young readers.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | June 2018 Debut of the Month | Joseph Coelho dedicates this lovely picture book to ‘everyone who misses someone’ and it’s particularly apposite for any child who has recently lost a grandparent. The story is narrated by a little girl who describes happy times with her grandad, ordinary everyday experiences interspersed with vivid metaphor, ‘if all the world were deep space, I’d orbit my grandad like the moon and our laughs would be shooting stars’. As the story continues, it’s clear Grandad has died, but writing down her memories ensures he will always be with her. Joseph Coelho is a fine poet and this is a joy to read aloud; Allison Colpoy’s illustrations make it beautiful to look at too and it deserves a place in every child’s collection.
Winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize 2019 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019 | Already shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, Julian is a Mermaid is an outstanding picture book, surely destined to become a classic. Julian is out with Nana when he notices three women dressed as mermaids. In his heart of hearts – we see it described over three fabulous wordless spreads – Julian knows he is a mermaid too and while Nana takes a bath he sets out to transform himself into one. Nana’s response is life-affirming and the two head out to join the mermaid party. The illustrations dazzle and as a celebration of individuality, the imagination, freedom and love, it can’t be beaten. The Klaus Flugge judges said: it reminded me of Sendak, it’s hard to believe it’s a debut; the illustrations say things that words would struggle to express; delivers an important message without feeling didactic.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | What a wonderful book to give to a child. It’s one which will inspire a real interest in nature and the creatures that share our planet, as well as an appreciation of art and poetry. Nicola Davies shares her delight in animals in specially written poems, each of which is illustrated by Petr Horacek across dazzling double pages. Grouped by themes such as colours and shapes, or animals in action, creatures big and small are vividly brought to life, from the whale shark, ‘like a piece of fallen starry sky’ to a barn owl, ‘quiet as the floating moon’. The images are breath-taking, full of movement and colour; the poems too are varied and memorable, sometimes precise, sometimes ethereal. It’s a book that recipients will treasure into adulthood.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | October 2016 Book of the Month A stylized, colourful picture book that highlights the power of perception and will gently introduce young readers to the concept that we all see the world a little differently. It harnesses not only the visual but also touches on the effect of spatial awareness and emotions such as fear to show how it can influence what we see and our reactions. The bold, vivid illustrations work together with simple, rhythmic prose to provide plenty of opportunities for discussion with your young readers as they embark on a new journey of exploration alongside the cat. Each animal’s vision of the cat is informed by a combination of proximity, physiology and emotion, in a quietly brilliant demonstration of the power of perception. ~ Shelley Fallows
Winner of the UKLA Award 2015 in the 3-6 years category. Winner of the Red House Children's Book of 2015. Shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - One of our Books of the Year 2013. | Award-winning Oliver Jeffers and Drew Daywalt’s highly-entertaining book is now available in board book form. Colouring will never be the same again! When Duncan goes to take out his crayons one day he finds a stack of letters inside. Every crayon has something to say. The red crayon complains he is used too much – too many things such as fire engines and strawberries are red; the purple crayon is a neat minded soul and hates it that so much of Duncan’s drawing goes outside the lines; the black crayon hates just to be used for outlines – and so on! Saddest of all, the peach crayon has lost his wrapping – how can he come out of the box naked? In an attempt to satisfy them all, Duncan does a final drawing. Overall, a brilliant book for every age to enjoy.
Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 3 - 6 year old category. | Little Red Riding Hood transposed to an African town setting where a lion is really no match for a clever small girl. The inventive layout of the text and its relationship to the witty, beautifully coloured illustrations really enhance the child friendly storytelling. The empowering portrayal of different cultures and a heroine who is not a naive victim ensure that this will become a classic for the classroom and the nursery. A wonderfully engaging classic fairy tale with a twist by the bestselling Alex T. Smith.
Shortlisted for the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 3 - 6 year old category. Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Younger Children category - Shortlisted for Oscar’s First Book Prize 2015 | A little girl, a big dog, and a very badly-behaved book! Bella is taking her dog for a stroll across the page when something odd happens. Her dog disappears and it becomes apparent to Bella, her friend Ben, and the rescue services that peril lurks in the pages of this book. But where the police and fire brigade fail, you - the reader - can help!
Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal 2014 - Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 3-6yrs 2014 - Winner of the 2013 Caldecott Medal. One of Julia Eccleshare’s Stand-out Children’s Book of the Year 2012 | Best-selling illustrator Jon Klassen follows up his successful I Want My Hat Back in this witty, almost wordless picture book about a tiny fish who steals a hat from a very big fish – and hopes to get away with it. The eloquent but simple illustrations show the audacious behaviour of a hapless fish heading for disaster. Young children will love the joke...and the fact that they know what the little fish doesn’t.