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Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 19)

These are richly illustrated books and they are not just for young readers. Although we have given the ages 2 to 5 as a rough guide, many will appeal to older children. Some are thought-provoking titles from which all ages can gain pleasure. You're never too old for a picture book! Plenty here for all ages to share and enjoy.

The most recent reviews are at the top of this page - so these are generally the most recently published books.

My Sister is Bigger than Me by Kate Morgan and Lisa Stubbs

A common childhood dilemma! "My sister Gracie is bigger than me, because she's nearly six and I am just three." Join Gracie and Ava as they play together in their world of imagination. And with plenty of imagination, there are all sorts of games the siblings can play together. This is the perfect book to share if your children say they can't play with their older/younger sibling, as it just shows how much fun is to be had. The lively illustrations draw it all together and make for a lively and amusing story, enhanced by the catchy rhyming text.

My Magnificent Jelly Bean Tree by Maura Finn

What do you think - do jelly beans grow on trees? They certainly look as if they should! Some people will tell you that Jelly Beans do not grow on trees but don't tell this little boy that because he believes in magic. He plants his tree and he watches it grow. He feasts on jelly beans and crowns himself Jelly bean King. A wonderful feast for the imagination and testament to the power of belief in what you want to see. The illustrations by Aura Parker are lively and perfectly reflect the feel of this uplifting story.

How many Dinosaurs Deep by Ben Kitchin

This reassuring book looks at a situation many young children will face, and tackles it with empathy and insight, just right to generate confidence. Little Jim is not quite sure that he is ready to move from the baby pool to the middle-size pool.He is obviously a big fan of dinosaurs, so clever mum uses the example of lots of splashing sploshing dinosaurs to reassure him, capture his imagination and help him face his fear. The book ends with a two page spread about the various dinosaurs, making it perfect for all young dinosaur fans. Unusual and very appealing.

Edward and the Great Discovery by Rebecca Mcritchie and Celeste Hulme

Edward's family are all archaeologists, and they have all made very important discoveries... except for Edward The only problem is Edward has never discovered anything, however many holes he digs. Then one rainy night he stumbles on what could be his first great discovery... an egg, which he carefully nurtures. He is sad to find his bird can't fly but then, one special day, he finds that friendship is what really matters. An unusual and very entertaining story about extinct animals, discovery, friendship and history - and never giving up. The delightfully detailed ilustrations are a delight, especially 'Edward's Kit'.

Daisy Doodles by Michelle Robinson and Tom Weller

Michelle Robinson is the award-winning author of the excellent fGoodnight Spaceman and this book is equally appealing. When Daisy draws a little mouse named Pipsqueak, he comes to life and leads her on the most magical adventure. Celebrating the imagination and encouraging creative play, Daisy Doodles will be a big hit with children who love drawing and making things. It really does encourage creativity and imagination, and parents and teachers can use the book to help develop these skills in the children in their care. The brilliant illustrations overflow with fantastic detail - there is so much to ponder over and enjoy.

My Dog Mouse by Eve Lindstrom

Definitely tinged with sadness, My Dog Mouse offers friendship, humor, and gentle heartache in one dog walk. This is a book for anyone who knows what it is to love an old, slow dog with ears as thin as pancakes. Mouse is very slow and the little girl is very patient with him... and there's an unexpected surprise at the end.

Waiting for Goliath by Antje Damm

Bear patiently and loyally waits for his friend Goliath for a long time, even when others doubt he'll show up. But just who is he waiting for? From dawn to dusk, from autumn to spring he waits and finally reaps his reward. This is a warm and surprising story about waiting for a friend whose identity is a surprise. Beautifully produced in hardback with thick paper, this is a quality book to really make reading papealing.

The Big Bad Mood by Tom Jamieson

We've all been there, haven't we? One of THOSE days - and George is having a day when he shouts, 'I WILL NOT play nicely. I WON'T ... I CAN'T ... I DON'T WANT TO!!' George's mum says there's a Big Bad Mood hanging around him, but George has never seen a Big Bad Mood, even though he looks everywhere for it. Until suddenly, there appears in front of him the Big Bad Mood - and off the two go to create absolute mayhem. A superbly written about tempers, tantrums and making amends, which really captures the emotions of a young child. Share this with your young one and I promise they will be soon out of their own big bad moods as they enjoy all the antics.

Me and My Dad by Robin Shaw

The author is the award-winning animator of The Snowman and the Snowdog, Ethel & Ernest and We're Going on a Bear Hunt, and now he has turned his considerable talents to writing his own book. Of course, as you would expect, the book is a visual feast as well as a perfect story for children and dads to share. Dad can make a simple trip down the road really exciting. There are snapping crocodiles, stomping dinosaurs, sleeping princesses and golden treasure - but the best bit's at the end... But don't skip through too quickly, because there are so many delights to spot on the way with all manner of ingenious things in every illustration. This book celebrates so many things - the love of a dad and child, the excitement generated by the imagination... and a love for books. A really enjoyable book.

Digger Disaster (Dino Diggers) by Rose Impey

It's time to meet Tyrone T. rex, Stan stegosaurs and the rest of the Dino Diggers - the best builders in Dino Town, who will never let you down; this is the first in a promising new series that boys and girls will love. The Dino Diggers are building a car factory, but disaster strikes when Tyrone T. rex hits a water pipe. Time for the Dino Diggers to do what they do best and save the day. With stunning illustrations to capture the attention, this is a lively enjoyable story. And the best thing? The book comes wit a press-out digger model and t-rex so children can extend their imaginations even further by making the model and acting out scenes from the book - or making their own stories

Old Hat by Emily Gravett

Harbet has a very special hat but his friends make fun of him. So Harbet decides to get a new hat to keep up with the latest fashions... but however hard he tries (and he finds some simply superb creations) it still seems that whatever he wears is old hat. Finally, Harbet decides to give up following everyone else and do his own thing... A delightful story engagingly told, about being your own person and not following fads; a story all about the joy of finding your own style, full of brilliantly inventive hats for children to spot. Great fun.

Hedgehog Holidays by Ruth Green

This cheerful and summery read sees Hilda and Herbert off for a day on the beach, all related in catchy rhyme. With a delicious picnic under one arm and swimsuits under the other, they enthusiastically make the most of everything the seaside has to offer: sand castles, playing ball, surfing with dolphins and last, but not least, a satisfying ice cream at the end of the day. I love the illustrations which are bold and clear, set against colourful backgrounds, perfect for young children.

The Three Little Pugs and the Big Bad Cat by Becky Davies

I'm loving the current popularity of different takes on fairy tales - they are really refreshing and will encourage children to seek out the originals as well as enjoy these new twists. Big Bad Wolf faces another troublemaker - with her sharp, scratchy claws and her terrible twitching tail, the Big Bad Cat is the meanest moggy around! Will the three little pugs build homes strong enough to fend off this mischievous cat? The illustrations are a clever blend of drawings and photography, which will intrigue and captivate young readers . This fantastic retelling of The Three Little Pigs is perfect for young readers and pug-lovers alike! It's also a great way to encourage children to write their own variations on traditional tales.


The Snugglewump by Lou Treleaven

I love to read rhyming picture books - children respond so well to the rhythm and they are a pleasure to read aloud. Molly’s toys are arguing one day about which of them is loved best. As they list their many amazing qualities they forget about the Snugglewump, who is sitting in the corner of the page, quietly pointing out his existence. So the Snugglewump snugglewumps off on a journey and discovers you don’t need bells and whistles to be loved. This beautifully told story catches at the heartstrings and reminds us all about how precious our toys are. The stunning illustrations by Kate Chappell are the perfect complement to the story, and show the characters of the people and toys to perfection.

Wishker by Heather Pindar

Whatever Mirabel wants, the answer always seems to be the same. A sleepover? No. A pet monkey? No. But then a rufty-tufty roaming cat with magic powers shows up. Is this the answer to Mirabel's problems? Soon Mirabel has everything she wants - but life is utter chaos and maybe things are better as they were... perhaps with the granting of just one more wish... but what about Marabel's brother Jim? Beautifully illustrated by Sarah Jennings, with wonderfully joyful and action-packed pictures,this is a lively sparky story that will make us all think about what we wish for. Another gem from Maverick, who produce such excellent picture books.

Just Like Daddy by Lucy Freegard

This is a wonderful look at the very special relationship between father and child and it's perfect for sharing as a bedtime story to reinforce that bond. Daddy's love for his child is unconditional and they have such fun together - so much fun, that the little one wants nothing better than to be just like Daddy, who is strong and silly, kind and practical. But he also knows how to have fun, and even if he messes up, it s never a big deal. With delightful illustrations that reflect the theme of fun and closeness to perfection, this debut picture book from Lucy Freegard is funny, charming and heartwarming.

My New Room by Lisa Stickley

Picture books are such a good way to help children come to terms with new situations, and in this story of a move to a new house, Lisa Stickley really shows an insight into how children feel and how to help them. Edith has made the big move into her new house, with her big bedroom and a big bed, and her toys are all arranged around the room, each with a special role to help her to settle in. Join Gary Guardsman, Osbert T Octopus, Major Ted and the other toys as they give a guided tour of the room and the role each of them plays in keeping the room safe, tidy and happy. Quirky and unusual, the font is written as if by a child (I have slight reservations about this, but it does give the book immediate child-appeal). It is certainly a reassuring and friendly book and I recommend it especially for that.

And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss

Revel in the joyful carnival of creatures in this, the very first Dr Seuss book. Marco is very bored walking to and from school, so he decides that it's time for his imagination to run riot, creating a crazy carnival of creatures as “A plain horse and wagon on Mulberry Street grows into a story that no one can beat!” The joy of this story is at least as much in the wonderful illustrations, as the horse and cart gradually get filled up with an amazing cast of characters. A wonderful celebration of the power of the imagination and a little different from the expectations of Dr Seuss - but just as good for all that.

Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book

If you have a sleepless child, then this is just the book for you! This sleepy taleis full of wonderful yawning creatures - and we all know how catching a yawn is! "Sleep thoughts are spreading Throughout the whole land The time for night-brushing of teeth is at hand!" The original story designed specifically for putting small children to sleep, Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book is full of wonderful yawning creatures who spread sleep thoughts at bedtime. More fun than counting sheep and more effective than the sandman, this book is the perfect remedy for children who don't want to go to sleep. There are all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, from all manner of places - and they are all going to sleep. Share this with your young one - and make sure you share the pictures too - and with plenty of yawns (but not from boredom), they will soon be asleep.

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss

Every child should share the joy of Dr Seuss, and this sequel to the iconic The Cat in the Hat is a must-read. The Cat in the Hat has a brand new look for today's readers as he once more steps into the lives of Sally and her brother, in this chaotic sequel to the original classic adventure. When the Cat in the Hat comes back, Sally and her brother know it’s going to mean trouble. And guess what? They’re right! A hilarious story, told in catchy rhyme and accompanied by brilliant illustrations - what more can we ask?


All dads want their baby's first word to be 'dada'; all mums want that first word to be 'mama'. This simple picture book shows us lots of animal dads all trying to get their little ones to say 'dada' - and all they get are animal noises until, with one big effort, there's a big surprise at the end of the book! The simple and stylish pictures would make great 'spot the difference' puzzles for children! Perfect for dads and young children to share.

A Home for Gully by Jo Clegg

Gully was looking for a home when he found a family. On the day that he decided to look for a new home, he is joined by Fetch (a sausage dog), Madison (an alley cat) and Zachary (a kindly rat) and he discovers something much more important: a ready-made family who would just love to share with him This warm and funny story is all about the bonds of belonging that tie every family together, illustrated with a retro style that's full of panache from talented newcomer Lalalimola. OUP give us five very good reasons to like this book - there are funny details on every page (make sure you share these with your child); you'll laugh; you'll cry; you'll love sharing Gully's journey... and it contains fleas!! The busy pictures are delightful and this unusual story is a really enjoyable read.

The Dressing-Up Dad by Maudie Smith

Danny loves dressing up, and what makes it even more fun is that his Dad loves dressing up too. They dress up at every occasion whether it is pirates at a party or superheroes in the supermarket but fancy dress parties are the best. A joyful funny and uplifting celebration of the special relationship between dads and their children, and the importance of being yourself - whoever that may be!

My Daddy is a Silly Monkey by Dianne Hofmeyr

"My daddy is a great big bear. He gets out of bed and grumbles and grouches, scratches and yawns!" This charming picture book for younger children portrays a day in the life of a dad and daughter in a single-parent home, as they get up, have breakfast, go to school, go swimming, make dinner and prepare for bedtime. Dad seems to get it all wrong but in the end it's Daddy being Daddy that the little girl loves best. A positive message and it's good to see the scenario of a dad looking after his little girl - and to see the love that abounds on every page of this vibrant picture book.


The Bad Bunnies' Magic Show by Mini Grey

Children of 2+ will love this colourful picture book about two very, very bad bunnies. When the great magician, Hypno, goes missing just before a show, his naughty rabbits Abra and Cadabra step in to save the day. But are they all that they seem? Or is there more to their sleight of paw than meets the eye? An exciting new novelty book from British author and illustrator Mini Grey that will have children and parents laughing out loud. With lots of flaps to explore, revealing plenty of exciting things to capture children's attention, this is a fun and enjoyable book, delightfully illustrated.

Time for a Nap (Snuggle Time Stories) by Phillis Gershator

Right from the delicately coloured and gorgeously illustrated cover, this book definitely shows it's time for a nap... zzz. Dear little bunny is always busy, with people to see and places to go. But sometimes all that activity leaves a toddler tired and - dare we say it? - irritable. And that means it's nap time! The trouble is, little bunny doesn't always want to nap... or at least, he doesn't think he does! With its delicate pastel illustrations, and cosy feel, this is ideal to persuade your little one it really is nap time. Published by Sterling, April 2017, ISBN 978-1454919810.

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors by Drew Daywalt

You just know that any book by Drew Daywalt is going to be hilarious, with a novel twist on a story that nobody else can quite imitate - and this is no exception. Themed on the popular playground game, find out what really lies behind the game... perhaps! Long ago in the Kingdom of Backgarden lived a fearsome warrior named Rock - but Rock couldn't find a worthy opponent - a clothes peg and an apricot both succumb. But worthy opponents are on their way - there's scissors from the village of Junk Drawer, and paper, who resides in the Empire of Mum’s Study.; they too are seeking challenges. So, when the three mighty warriors meet, who will be victorious? Well, I think you know the answer to that one! A brilliantly different perspective on a much-loved game, superbly illustrated by Adam Rex to make full use of the zany storyline.


Tony Ross and David Walliams team up again to bring us another engaging picture book. At the top of the world lived a mischievous polar bear who loved nothing more than giving the other animals a fright. "BOO!" he would go, and then laugh to hear the animals shriek. When a TV producer is expected, the cheeky little cub causes all sorts of hilarious havoc. But there's one person who simply won't put up with it... will the little bear have any friends left? It's a hilarious story and will be brilliant to read aloud - young ones will definitely join in with the boos! Full of zing and eb=nergy, the wonderful pictures convey the story to perfection.

Six Blind Mice and an Elephant by Jude Daly

A tired old elephant decides to take a rest in a farmer's barn... and soon finds himself the centre of attention. But it's when six blind mice go to see him, that the magic of this story really takes place. Each mouse perceives the elephant differently, depending on which part of the elephant it touches - is he a fan, a rope, a wall, a spear, a snake or a tree? But then the huge creature awakes - and only then is the full wonder of his being revealed. Based on a classic Indian fable, Jude Daly's new picture book, set in the South African countryside, is an unusual and thought-provoking book which shows we should never take things for granted.

The Cave by Rob Hodgson

A little creature lives in a cave... and all we see of him are his eyes. Outside the cave is a wolf, and because of the wolf, the creature in the cave never comes out to play - despite the wolf trying everything to get the creature to leave the cave. But finally, the bear's patience pays off - but he is in for a very BIG surprise as the tables are turned completely in this clever story. It's so subtly done, that children may well have to take a second look to work out what is actually happening - it's an excellent way to encourage children to look at the pictures and work out for themselves what is happening.

Grumpy Frog by Ed Vere

Grumpy Frog isn't grumpy at all... as long as everything is in his favourite colour - green. But life can get a bit lonely when everything - even your friends - must be green. Grumpy Frog isn't about to change his mind, not even when a pink rabbit asks to be friends - until he has a very scary encounter with a green crocodile and realises the error of his ways. This deftly told story shows how important it is to say sorry, and to compromise - and how that will get rid of the grumps in the best possible way.

Edgar and the Sausage Inspector by Jan Fearnley

Edgar always looks after his sister, so when he and Edith are hungry, it's up to Edgar to bring home something tasty. But there's an Inspektor on the prowl - a very important-looking rat with a big hat - and he takes Edgar's sausages, so poor Edgar and Edith are left with nothing but dry crackers and pickles for dinner. And that is just the start... but Edgar finally gets suspicious and soon the tables are turned and he and Edith (but mostly Edith!) are enjoying a delicious feast. Very entertaining and a good warning not to take things at face value! The book comes with a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book for even more fun.

Through the Gate by Sally Fawcett

This perceptive story is all about change, and how we can gradually accept changes and the way they make things better. The little girl has just moved house and is struggling to cope with all the changes in her life. Gradually, the run-down house is brought back to perfect condition, and as it is, so the girl accepts the changes which she sees every time she returns to the new house. It all goes to show the importance of our physical circumstances and how we respond to them, and as children become absorbed in the pictures, they will spot the changes and see how a small effort in maintenance can improve our physical surroundings.. Within the illustrations is a 'spot the difference' game that encourages interaction with the story and develops observation skills.

Goldilocks and the Three Potties by Leigh Hodgkinson

Potty training, with all its highs and lows, is best approached with a good dash of humour - and that's just what this hugely entertaining book offers. With its gentle humour and encouraging, 'keep-trying' message, this adorable little book will help set toddlers (and their parents) on the right track to a nappy-free day. Goldilocks is tired of nappies but the pants and the potty - and the timing - have to be just right and soon Goldilocks is well on the way to success. With lots of humour in the illustrations, this is perfect to share with your child to show that, while undoubtedly important, potty training doesn't need to be taken TOO seriously.

The Night I Followed the Dog by Nina Laden

The boy in this book thinks he has the most boring dog in the world. Or so he thinks ...until one morning when he opens the door a little early and sees his dog jump out of a limousine. That night he decides to follow his dog, and that's when the fun starts. Turns out his dog leads the lifestyle of a Humphrey Bogart-type, treating our protagonist to a true nighttime adventure where he learns where dogs go to relax and sees what they do while their masters are fast asleep. A terrific read aloud, Nina Laden's story will have everyone captivated by the coolest dog around. The book makes good use of an unusual and well-sized font which adds to the appeal and will help young readers on their reading journey. The illustrations are a true delight - everything that would make a great night out, dog-fashion. Unusual and very enjoyable.

I Lost My Sock!: A Matching Mystery by P. Roberts

Ox is helping Fox to find his missing socks - in a rather bizarre fashion! He presents each new option just before the page turn so the reader has a moment to decide for him or herself whether Ox has, in fact, found Fox's sock. More than just a story, though, this is also about pattern, colour and shape recognition; comparing and contrasting; and object identification. Mastery of these skills enriches a child's vocabulary, prepares him to understand letters and numbers and helps him gain a better sense of the world around him. Elio's bold, geometric character designs further reinforce the early maths concepts hinted at in this book. Just a note - this book uses US spelling, which is rather a shame.

Supertato Run Veggies Run by Sue Hendra

It's midnight in the supermarket but it's far from quiet! The veggies have decided they need to get healthy, so it's Sports Day. Everyone has been practising hard and is ready and raring to go. But when a new competitor joins the event, accompanied by The Evil Pea, everything goes pear shaped. Things don’t seem quite right… but will Supertato be able to foil his nemesis’ plan in time? It seems that the swimming race might just sort out the good from the bad... Vibrantly illustrated and with lots of humour in text and illustrations, this will elicit plenty of giggles.

The Birthday Invitation by Lucy Rowland

Dropping A birthday party invitation can have some very unexpected - and very positive - results! When Ella accidentally drops an invitation on the forest floor, and who should find it? A wizard, of course ... and a pirate and a parrot and then a whole host of wonderful characters as the single invitation travels on a magical journey! Join Ella for her very exciting birthday party, complete with a hilarious array of unexpected guests! A thoroughly enjoyable, light-hearted story, with a nicely traditional feel to it. Laura Hughes' illustrations are packed with fascinating details and they are perfect to share and enjoy with your child.