Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 7)

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.

Jim goes to Hospital (First Experiences) by Margot Channing

Jim has an ear ache, so the doctor sends him to hospital. This is quite a common operation for young children, so a good one to base the story on. This series is based on a delightful teddy bear family and children will love the friendly teddies with their expressive faces. It's a clever idea, rather than using people as immediately everything looks less threatening and reassures children.The simple text clearly explains what to expect in hospital and the illustrations show children what to look out for. It's a friendly and reassuring book which is excellent for parent and child to share.

123 Little Donkey by Rindert Kromhout

Little things make a big difference to the appeal of a book and the shiny embossed figure on the front of this book captures the attention. As toddlers read the book, they share in the excitement of unpacking Mama's shopping bag. Mama decides to hide the treats away on the top shelf but the little donkeys try to climb up... An unusual counting book, as the things to count are totally unexpected. The illustrations offer an interesting picture of domestic life and the bright colours are visually appealing.

Stupid Baby by Stephanie Blake

There’s a new baby in Simon’s house. “When’s that stupid baby going back to the hospital?” Simon asks his parents. But the baby is there to stay. What about all the scary wolves outside the house? The wolves that want to eat Simon up? Will his parents still protect him now they have a stupid baby? This colourful book tells how Simon comes to accept the new baby and protects him.

Catch Us If You Can-can! by Alex T Smith

Foxy Dubois and Alphonso the Alligator are back to cause more mayhem! This time, disguised as birds, they put on their dancing shoes and overcome the opposition - but then things come unstuck and they have to scarper with the prize... And after all the effort, the prize isn't what it seemed. An entertaining and unusual story, with an unexpected ending.

Small Knight and George and the Pirates by Ronda Armitage

If your child likes knights and pirates, then he'll enjoy this story which cleverly combines the two. Small Knight and George the Dragon are setting sail on an important mission - to find treasure and save their crumbling castle! But will their pirate ship survive the stormy seas? And what will happen when they come face to face with the fearsome Captain Swashmebuckle? It's a longer story than many picture books, so there's plenty to keep young readers engrossed and the details in the pictures offer lots of opportunity for discussion.

Lily Gets Lost by Jane Simmons

"Aaah" was my first thought on seeing the happy cuddly lamb on the cover. Lily is inquisitive and wriggles through the fence to see what is the other side... and she keeps exploring until suddenly she realsies that all the other little animals are with their mums - but where's hers? A gentle and reassuring story, with poetic text that reads aloud excellently. I love the illustrations - bright and vibrant but with a childish quality that makes them very appealing.

Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks

Inspired by a trip to the cinema, three cunning cats steal a penguin to catch fish for them. A hilarious sequence of events unfolds as the penguin makes a break for freedom and becomes hidden amongst other black and white beings. The penguin is lucky and finds his way home but the cats are not so fortunate.... It's a lovely story that you won't mind reading over and over again - and it will become a firm favourite. Clever and witty.

Happy Hiro (Thomas & Friends)

Friendly Thomas notices that Hiro is feeling sad and decides to cheer him up. But Thomas wants to go fast and Hiro is old and wants to puff along quietly. Will the two reach a compromise? As a traditionalist though, I must confess to a preference for the original format of the books. On the other hand though, it's great that Thomas is still popular enough to warrant new stories coming out. 

Fireman Sam: The Pontypandy Pioneers (10 Minute Tales)

"10-Minute Tales" are specially designed to be read aloud, and include a short version of the text that allows children to read along with the story. This is an excellent idea and a good way for adult and child to share books and instil a love for reading. The children of Pontypandy are off on an exciting adventure with their leader, Fireman Sam! But when an emergency strikes, the Pioneers have to find a new leader in Trevor Evans. Will the group still have a day to remember, or will Trevor lead them in the wrong direction?

Dinosaur Train: A Surprise for Mum

THis story is based on the popular Nick Jr series Dinosaur Train. It'sit's Mrs Pteranodon's birthday and Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don want to do something special. At the Big Pond, they find the perfect surprise gifts for their Mum. Children love to read about their favouite TV characters and it's a great way to encourage reading. The prehistoric scenes and friendly dinosaurs will appeal to children.

Noisy Orchestra by Sam Taplin

Today's children are so luck to have such a wonderful range of interactive books! I think these books with sound chips are among the best - they work on so many levels to get children enjoying books.
The animal orchestra is getting ready for a concert... the delicate strings, the melodic woodwind instruments, the tuneful brass and the noisy percussion. Each section of the orchestra can be heard by pressing the sound buttons - and then all together. The sound clips are excellent quality and all the instruments are in the pictures to help little ones learn to identify them. A super introduction to the orchestra.

Christopher's Bicycle by Charlotte Middleton

Mr and Mrs Nibble have worked hard to make Christopher Nibble a recycled bicycle, and he loves it! And it gives him a great idea  - he'll see what else can be made from other people's rubbish. With the help of his sister Poppy and their friend Posie, they make bags, vases and bird feeders. The idea is so successful that soon everyone is recycling and the story ends with the exciting Dandeville Recycling Race. Who will win? It's a charming story, delightfully illustrated and full of ideas for children to emulate.

Small Bunny's Blue Blanket by Tatyana Feeney

Oh, so many parents will identify with the dilemma Mummy faces in this story. Small Bunny is inseparable from his blue blanket, but blue blanket was in dire need of a wash! Poor Small Bunny has to watch his beloved blanket go round and round in the washing machine - and blue blanket is just not the same afterwards. How can he restore Blue Blanket to just the way it was before? This time it's Small Bunny who has plans! A gently touching and reassuring tale for toddlers, with few words but very telling illustrations.

I Got a Crocodile by Nicola Killen

A crocodile doesn't seem much of a substitute for a little brother or sister, but you'd be surprised! Yes, it does cause terrible trouble at teatime...at bathtime... at bedtime but on the other hand,  only the crocodile can be a royal dragon, or a big, green slide, or a pirate island! Luckily, it all works out well in the end in this unusual and entertaining story, which is delightfully illsutrated.

I Can Do It! Look After My Pet by Ruth Martin

Most children want to have a pet - and most books about owning pets are aimed at older children. So it's lovely to see a book for young children which introduces them to the responsibilities of pet ownership in a gentle and entertaining way.  By lifting the large flaps on each page, young readers can enjoy seeing another young child caring for his or her very own pet. The text is simple and young readers will soon learn to read along and recognise words. The illustrations are humorous and fun, too. Another lovely book in the same series is I Can Do It! Dress Myself

Poppy Cat: Birthday Treasure by Lara Jones

These stories feature Poppy Cat, the character from the TV series. Poppy Cat and her friends go on another amazing adventure in this bright, colourful storybook. Poor Alma is really upset when she realises she has lost her new necklace, but Poppy Cat has a brilliant idea to make her feel better . . . a hunt for buried treasure! The colourful cast of friendly characters will appeal to children, and the quirky use of text gives an added dimension of enjoyment.

Poppy Cat: Mystery Trail by Lara Jones

Poppy Cat and her friends go on another amazing adventure in this bright, colourful storybook. Dressing up as detectives is great fun, but when one of Owl's books goes missing, Poppy Cat has a real mystery to solve. Where can it be? A purple pine cone, a tree-hugging tortoise and a strange squawking noise lead her and her friends to the truth . . . in their very own car!  These are the first Poppy Cat books I have reviewed, and I love the combination of friendship and adventure - they are full of imagination.

How Dinosaurs Really Work by Alan Snow

A new paperback in this fascinating series. This is the book you need if you have questions about dinosaurs - and if you want to know exactly how they work. The cut-away diagrams will intrigue and delight children as they see dinosaurs depicted as machines with all the workings exposed.  Packed with facts, jokes and information-filled drawings, this is the perfect book for any young dinosaur enthusiast. It's a novel approach but one which has already had huge success - this title will be just as popular, I am sure.

Who's There, Spot? An original lift-the-flap book by Eric Hill

Spot - who can resist? The lovely cuddly puppy is back in a colourful lift-the-flap book that children will love. It's a generously sized book and the pages are sturdy card so the book will withstand the enthusiastic handling which it is bound to get. The simple repetitive text is perfect for young readers. There are plenty of clues in the pictures, so encourage children to guess who is hiding before they lift the flaps.

Pugwash in the Pacific (Captain Pugwash) by John Ryan

Captain Pugwash is brought to life in this book with the accompanying CD read by Jim Broadbent, who reads the story brilliantly - and the sound effects are great fun too. Pugwash has a timeless appeal and it's amazing to realise that this was first published 40 years ago! The Admiral is under strict orders from the Prime Minister – to search the Seven Seas, capture Captain Pugwash and bring him back alive. Far away on a sunny island in the middle of the Pacific, Captain Pugwash has no idea of the fearful fate that awaits him. The sky is blue, the sea is warm and the Captain and his crew are having a lovely time, but will they be able to evade the law for much longer?

Troll Wood by Kathryn Cave

"Will you?" "We will" - a family in need of a new home take shelter in a mysterious wood and they are not frightened to try new things... they are not even frightened by the trolls. In the wood, they find a wonderful world - a world which they reach out and try. And they find themselves with a wonderful new home. A story about exploring, accepting change and overcoming obstacles, with beautiful and unusual illustrations.

Two Nests by Laurence Anholt

A gentle and sensitive story about family separation, told through the eyes of Betty and Paul - two little birds who build a nest together. They are very happy when Baby Bird comes along to complete the family but Betty and Paul argue, and they decide that Paul should live in a different nest across the other side of the tree... But they still love Baby Bird, and soon he is able to fly between his two homes. A perceptive and understanding book, born out of personal experience and a reassuring way to explain a difficult situation to very young children. The delicate illustrations are sheer delight.

The Great Big Book of Feelings by Mary Hoffman

"How are you feeling today?" A difficult question for children to answer - but one that this book will help them to respond to. The book opens with the question: "How are you feeling today?" Each double page looks at one of a range of feelings - there's happy and sad; bored and excited and there is a range within each feeling.The last page is about Feeling Better because sharing and talking about feelings helps us to feel better and it ends the book on a positive note.Lots of different children grace the pages of the book; there are elements of humour - and look out for the cat; how's he feeling? He gives an opportunity for more discussion. Sensitive and thought-provoking.

Moon Forest by Patricia MacCarthy

The cover of this book captivated me with its soft colours and the beams of moonlight shining on the fox - and the stunning quality of the illustrations continued throughout. Moon Forest is a busy place at night - all the animals are out and about. As the moon rises we are drawn into the nocturnal life of the forest and the animals who all need to forage for food; especially the fox who must find food for its young. Lyrical text swirls around the beautiful pictures in this story of survival which will leave you guessing.

My Humongous Hamster by Lorna Freytag

What happens if you eat and sleep, sleep and eat and don't do much else? Why, you grow humongous, of course. A little boy with a very vivid imagination thinks about just what might happen to his hamster, who just eats and sleeps - and what might happen is depicted in some very cleverly constructed photos which will entrance and intrigue the young reader. It's an imaginative and unusual story, very cleverly conceived. Publication 26/04/13.

Dr Duck by Steve Smallman

Dr Duck is needed! Porcupine is poorly, Giraffe's got a stiff neck, Elephant's feeling sneezy, Hyena's lost his laugh, and Gorilla's got a terrible case of super-stinky bottom burps! But Dr Duck is on hand with his very effective, if somewhat unorthodox remedies. If you've got a poorly child, then this hilarious story is just the medicine they need. The colourful illustrations will brighten any child's day.

Charlie and Lola: I Absolutely Love Animals by Lauren Child

Two quite different stories but both featuring the adorable Lola and her long-suffering brother Charlie. In 'I completely know about guinea pigs', Lola finds she doesn't know quite as much as she thought! 'I will not ever never forget you Nibbles' is a sad and poignant story about the loss of a favourite pet. The irrepressible Lola can't quite believe that Nibbles has died and her gradual acceptance is a lovely way to share the sadness of the loss of a pet with a young child, especially with its positive conclusion. The wonderful combination of drawings and photos make for a very special book, which gives lots of opportunity for discussion.

I Am an Artist! by Marta Altés

Meet a boy who sees art everywhere he goes - but unfortunately, his Mum doesn't see things the same way!  He loves colours, shapes, textures and is inspired by everything around him - even a lonely carrot on a plate. This is a most wonderfully imaginative story that will have children seeing art in the mostr unlikely places. In order to change his Mum's mind, the boy is about to create his finest piece yet and on a very grand scale . . . but I am not sure she will be impressed! A lovely story.

Open Very Carefully by Nicola O'Byrne with words by Nick Bromley

A book which draws the child in right from the start. It's the story of The Ugly Duckling but - wait a minute - who's the owner of that tail siwshing through the corner of the page? Be careful, turn the page very carefully... it's a crocodile. Do you dare go on reading? And how do you stop a crocodile eating words? This is a wonderful story, full of humour and very unexpected happenings - and just look what happens at the end! Children will love it and adults will appreciate the cleverness.

Paul Thurlby's Wildlife by Paul Thurlby

This really is far more than a picture book - it's a book filled with fascinating (and often quite incredible) facts about animals. They are the sort of facts that children will just love to use to confound adults! Did you know that polar bears turn green if they stay in the sun for too long; rats spend a third of their lives washing themselves and every dog has its own unique noseprint? Find out why in this fascinating book with its quirky and unusual illustrations which show 24 animals in ways which will appeal to readers of all ages.

The Cautionary Tale of the Childe of Hale by Rachel Lyon

The Childe is so tall that his feet dangle out of the windowsof his little house. He receives an exciting offer - if he goes to London with the king, he will be rich. But there's a catch - the king has plans and sets him up to fight against the legendary wrestler - The Bear. The Childe wins, but as with all the best cautionary tales, learns an important lesson. The lovely rhyming text and vivid illustrations make a super version of this traditional story, based in real life.

Tabitha Posy Was Ever So Nosy (The Ever So Series) by Julie Fulton

I love to share rhyming stories with children and as soon as I saw the cover of this I knew it would appeal to me. The rhymes flow wonderfully through the book and will entrance young readers who love the rhythm - and it's super to read aloud. Tabitha's neighbours are tired of her nosiness but it's when she goes to the zoo that she really gets herself into trouble... trouble with a hungry tiger. The vibrabt illustrations are full of things to spot and talk about - just look at all the books on the bookshelf! A cautionary tale that could have come from the pen of the great Hilaire Belloc!

Ruby, Blue and Blanket by Jane Hissey

Who can resist Jane Hissey's wonderful animal characters? They have charme many children - and adults - and here is a super new title to add to the collection. It's dressing up time for Ruby, Blue and Blanket but Ruby can't decide what to be - a princess? Or a pirate perhaps? Maybe a cowboy? A fairy seems a good idea.. 'I just can't decide!' she cries. Luckily Blanket's idea makes everyone happy, but who will win the glittering prize? A lovely story about friends and about being imaginative, told in child-friendly rhyme with lovely illustrations to make you go 'aaah'.

Lulu and the Treasure Hunt (Wagtail Town) by Emma Chichester Clark

From the author of Blue Kangaroo comes a charming series that is sure to delight young children as they meet the friendly characters... Wagtail Town is, of course, home to soem lovely dogs. Lulu is very excited about the New Tricks School treasure hunt. She can’t wait to get going but she has promised to look after little Bonnie who can’t run very fast. Will she stay with Bonnie or go off in search of a clue? And who will find the treasure? The stories are about first experiences but first experiences told in an unusual and engaging manner that will captivate young readers. I think it is a delightful story - gentle and reassuring.

The Runaway Bunny (Essential Picture Book Classics) by Margaret Wise Brown

A reassuring story with beautiful pictures as a mother bunny tells her baby bunny how much she loves him - so much that she will always be there for him, whatever happens.. It is a lovely book to share and makes the perfect bedtime story with its comforting message and delightful illustrations, which have a good mixture of style. A very simple story, but one which conveys a powerful message for young readers. It's lovely to see classic picture books (this dates back to 1942) released so that they are not lost but here for a whole new audience.

Monkey Nut by Simon Rickerty

Who would have thought that one little monkey nut could make such a hilarious and imaginative book? Whatever it is, the two little spiders want it - and they refuse to share! But then along comes someone much, much bigger and suddenly all changes... Bright and colourful, this is a lovely story about sharing, with amusing illustrations that almost tell the story by themselves, making it lovely for young children to enjoy. 

Blowin' in the Wind lyrics by Bob Dylan illustrations by Jon J Muth

A beautifully illustrated version of Bob Dylan's classic song. The evocative illustrations make you stop and ponder the true meaning of the lyrics and enjoyment is enhanced by the CD of Dylan's original 1963 recording, which is included. There is also a special note by renowned music columnist Greil Marcus, putting the song in historical context - these elements combine to make a book suitable for all ages. Like its two predecessors, this book conveys a powerful message through Dylan's thought-provoking lyrics - a message that children will understand even better as they grow older. Published by Sterling Books 9781454905134

Hello Spot! A Puppet Play Book by Eric Hill

Everyone's favourite puppy is more appealing then ever with this lovely plush puppet who pokes his head (and floppy ears!) out of his kennel on the front cover. Then children are encouraged to copy him in a range of actions - waving, clapping, nodding and more. It's a generously sixed puppet, so make the most of him to develop the ideas in the book and make up your own stories to engage your child.

Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman 

Pirates and underpants - an irresistable combination for young children! After all, even pirates need underpants! Join the Pants Pirates on a special treasure hunt. Grab your cutlass and sail on the Pirate Ship Black Bloomer past angry crocs, sharks in fancy pants and through gurgling swamps on a quest to find....the Pants of Gold! This new addition to the hugely successful Underpants series will delight all fans of the series - and hopefully introduce some more to the hilarity of the books.

My Mum by Anthony Browne

A lovely book, in Anthony Browne's inimitable style with lots of quirky twists in the pictures that will appeal to adults as much as to children. "My mum is really REALLY nice" - this is a wonderful and affectionate exploration of all the very best of being a mother Mum's a great painter - in the mirror doing her make up!The book even comes with a Mother's Day card.

Moomin and the New Friend by Tove Jansson

This is a new story based on Tove Jansson's well-loved favourite characters, and it's great to see them brought up-to-date to appeal to today's readers. Moomintroll and Sniff find a message in a bottle which leads them to set off on an expedition to Lonely Island. High winds and a storm at sea nearly lead to disaster but they are rescued by a new friend, the ever-resourceful Too-Ticky. Moomintroll's close friend, Snorkmaiden, is jealous but she soon learns that finding a new friend doesn't mean losing an old one. A lovely story about friendship, beautifully illustrated.

Twenty-Four Robbers (Child's Play Library) by Audrey Wood

Simple repetitive rhyming text flows through the story and is perfect for early readers and for reading aloud. The book is a retelling of a traditional skipping rhyme - one that is new to me. The twenty-four robbers return to the same house again and again and the kindness of the householder shows them a better way than stealing and the story ends with a generous gesture. Children will love to count the robbers, all 24 of them on every double page, and to join in with the story as they shout aloud. Full of activity and fun - and a meaningful message.

Lion and Rabbit by Alex Latimer

Lion is very mean - he bullies all the other animals and they are are frightened of him of him. So they seek help and brave clever little Rabbit comes to the rescue. Although he's small and Lion is big, Rabbit has something that Lion doesn't have and manages to put Lion firmly in his place. The ilustrations are super - really entertaining and perfectly linked to the story. A very funny story and one that would be ideal for the infant classroom as it gives the message that bullies van be overcome.

Always and Forever by Alan Durant

A very touching and sensitive book, one that is ideal to share when a loved one has died, especially as time passes. When Fox dies the rest of his family are absolutely distraught. How will Mole, Otter and Hare go on without their beloved friend? But, months later, Squirrel reminds them all of how funny Fox used to be, and they realise that Fox is still there in their hearts and memories. Sensitively written, this is a lovely story which helps children to come to terms with the grief experienced.

I Love You, Mummy Duck by Dawn Richards

I love the glittery embossed flowers which embellish the cover - it gives the book instant appeal and the story and illustrations do not disappoint. It's Mummy Duck's first ever Mother's Day and when Little Duck takes her on a special picnic, they talk about what would be their perfect day. The nessage that emerges at the end of the story is a message of love - being together is the most perfect thing. A gentle reassuring story illustrated with pastel colours that perfectly reflect the feel of the story and the love of mother and child.

Harold Finds a Voice (Child's Play Library) by Courtney Dicmas

If your child loves to join in with a story and make lots of noises, then this is the ideal book! Harold the parrot can imitate the sound of everything in his home - but he's getting bored and wants to increase his repertoire. There are lots of super noises for him to copy, but Harold realises that he just wants his own voice. He is disappointed by the sound he makes, but then thrilled when all the other parrots congratulate him. Vibrant illustrations enhance this inventive and unusual story which is ideal to read aloud and share.

Alfie's Alphabet by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes' timeless stories really stand the test of time, and here is the opportunity for another generation of children to learn their letters with the help of fun-loving Alfie. Alfie loves all the things toddlers enjoy - drawing, friends the park and puddles. The illustrations are full of detail and there is so much to share and discuss in this much-loved classic. And the learning fun continues with Alfie's Numbers where children find that Alfie's busy world is full of numbers, fun and friends.

Dinosaur Diner (Activity Books) Annie Kubler

Encourage your child to eat healthily and exercise with this sparkly dinosaur puppet. Dinosaur enjoys his food, but despite being offered healthy food, he continues to enjoy burgers, cakes and pies. Sadly, he finds he just doesn't have the energy to enjoy playing so his friend Margo helps him out by becoming his fitness trainer and encouraging him to eat healthily. A lovely way to convey this all-important message and to encourage interaction through the puppet.

My Dog, My Cat, My Mum and Me! by Nigel Gray

"My dog got fatter and fatter. I didn't know what was the matter!" The little girl discovers the reason why - and so can your child by lifting the flap. And then the cat gets fatter... and mum gets fatter... but by that time, the little girl has worked out the reason! A delightful introduction to birth and life cycles for young children, perfect for families expecting a new baby (or four!).

Cars Galore by Peter Stein

This is an ideal book to stiumlate discussion with its brightly coloured pages jam-packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful cars. The swirly road layouts encourage the reader to move through the book eagerly anticipating what is to come next. The wonderful use of language - "Honk cars BEEP cars! At-a-creep cars! Miles of piles of In-a-heap cars!" is a brilliant way to encourage children to exlpore the wonderful world of words.

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

It's a cold grey day in a dull, grey town when Annabelle discovers a box of brightly coloured yarn. She knits a cosy jumper for herself, then one for her dog withe the left-overs but there's still some left so she knits and she knits and she knits and soon the whole town is covered with brightly coloured knitting. And then the evil Archduke wants to get in on the act, but he doesn't have that one essential element... An intriguing and unusual story which leaves you thinking.

Three Little Pigs (My Secret Scrapbook Diary) by Kees Moerbeek

The third little pig shares with us his diary of how he and his siblings outwitted the Big Bad Wolf . The story is brought to life with pop-ups and flaps which will capture young readers' attention. The handwritten text and childlike drawings add to the impression of a diary - can your child make their own diary based on a fairytale? Colourful and engaging, this is an innovative idea.  Here are some more titles in this unusual series - My Secret Scrapbook Diary- Cinderella (Fairy Tale Diaries), My Secret Scrapbook Diary- Little Red Riding Hood (Fairy Tale Diaries) and My Secret Scrapbook Diary- Jack and the Beanstalk (Fairy Tale Diaries)

Nurse Clementine by Simon James

For her birthday, Clementine Brown is given a nurse's outfit so she needs some patients... As soon the slightest mishap takes place, Nurse Clementine is on hand – she even bandages the dog! She has run out of patients (and Tommy has run out of patience!) when suddenly there is a real emergency and Nurse Clementine is right on hand to help. A charming story.

Bear's Best Friend by Lucy Coats

Poor Bear - he has lots of friends, but he doesn't have a best friend as everyone else does. He makes lovely tree sculptures of all his friends and tries to decide who would make the best best friend. But when all his friends go home, he is still sad and lonely until the very best possible thing happnens.... A charming story about the magic of friendship which may bring just a tiny tear to your eye.

Dog Loves Counting by Louise Yates

We know that Dog loves Books and Drawing from the first two books about this lovely creature, and now we find out he loves counting too! Dog can't get to sleep but counting sheep doesn't help. So he decides to see what other animals he can count and he is off on an adventure, finding friends and numbers in unexpected places. A very unusual counting book, which introduces some fascinating creatures - new friends for Dog, who are each linked to their very own number. Clever and quirky - a joy to read.

Tree Fu Go! (Tree Fu Tom)

Tom lives in the magical world of Treetopolis with some very special friends - Twigs, Squirmtum, Zigzoo and Ariela. Trouble is never far away thanks to the mischievous Mushas, but with the reader's help using the magic moves, Tom can use Big World Magic to save the day. Tree Fu go! There are more brightly coloured adventure stories to enjoy in Tree Fu Tom: Twigs and the Wishing Pebble and Tree Fu Tom: Search for the Squizzle!: A Lift-The-Flap Adventure (Tree Fu Tom Lift the Flap - children always enjoy the added excitement of flaps to explore.

Please and Thank You (Pirate Pete and Princess Polly) by Amanda Li

All children experience the same situations - even Pirate Pete and Princess Polly! And, just like every other child, they must learn to say 'please' and 'thank you'. Children love sound books, so here's a great way to get this important message across. It covers everyday situations at nursery and at home where children may need to say 'please', 'thank you' and 'excuse me' as well as other examples of good manners such as coverning your mouth when you hiccup. As children see examples of good behaviour, they can press the 'cheer' button - and perhaps Mum and Dad can press this when their own little ones show good manners.

More Ant and Bee by Angela Banner

Wonderful! I remember Ant and Bee. First published in 1950, generations of children have More Ant & Beebeen helped to learn to read with these books - and now there are fresh new editions for today's children. The story is designed to share - the adult reads the black words and the child joins in by reading the words printed in red. The book tells the story of Ant and Bee's trip to Asia, with each new four letter word introduced by a picture and then repeated several times in red during the story - and, if you look carefully, in the pictures too. This book builds on Ant and Bee, the first book, which introduces three letter words, and it has three letter words for children to read as well. It's very clever but appears so simple. The pictures are packed with detail too, so there's lots to talk about.

In My Little Pirate Bed by Eilidh Rose

A really appealing little book, with a very friendly pirate safely tucked up in bed ready to help little ones learn their numbers. The little pirate keeps all his favourite things tucked up in bed with him - he has one ship's cat, two Jolly Roger flags, three compasses... yes, this is indeed a counting book, and a very lovely counting book. Each different number is illustrated by a wide range of objects which toddlers love to point to and have named - I know because I've tried it! Packed with detail there's lots to spot and discuss. It's amazing what can fit in a bed!

Loud Proud Lenny Lion (An Interactive Puppet Book) by Eilidh Rose

The little mouse had a lucky escape when Lenny the Lion didn't eat him - and he was able to return the favour when Lenny was in trouble. Enjoy reading the story aloud and interacting with the puppet at the same time. Children wil love the colourful puppet and his flappy tongue! Puppet books are a great way to encourage children to interact with books and to make story telling even more lively. These work well in a classroom situation too as children enjoy the visual input.

Gracie Grumposaurus by Brian Moses

Whatever her parents tried, Gracie Grumposaurus remained a very grumpy dinosaur, from morn to night. Would anything make her smile? If you've got a child who's even a little bit grumpy, this book will surely cheer them up. The unusual illustrations are delightful and children will enjoy this light-hearted story which ends with a grin. The books in the series include very useful notes for parents and teachers on how to use the books to help children understand and discuss their feelings and emotions.

George Catches a Cold (Peppa Pig) from Ladybird Books

Silly George - he went out in the rain without his rain hat on and now he's caught a cold. Luckily Dr Brown-Bear is on hand and has some medicine to make him better. Another delightful Peppa Pig tale that is perfect for reading and sharing together. This storybook is perfect for helping pre-schoolers through those tricky first experiences. Peppa Pig is a hugely popular TV series for young ones, so they will enjoy getting to know their favourite characters even better through the meduim of books.

William and the Night Train by Mij Kelly

Everyone is on the night train to tomorrow - and they are all ready for sleep. All, that is, except William. William is too excited to sleep; William who wants to discover everything the train has to offer - and the night train is packed with wonderful things to explore, all shown in the illustrations.  A brilliant exploration of the wonder and excitement of a young child, eagerly anticipating whatever the future might bring. Read it aloud - the rhythmic text sounds like a train speeding along.  Alison Jay has a unique illustrative style - as soon as I saw the cover of this book, I kew she was the illustrator.

If Your Dreams Take Off and Fly by John Butler

The little boy drifts off to sleep and his thoughts fly away on an adventure around the world. He dreams of vast oceans where dolphins leap through the waves; icy landscapes where penguins huddle for warmth and wild grasslands where hippos, giraffes and zebras roam free. John Butler captures each scene in beautiful detail, filling every landscape with a wealth of beautifully depicted animals and plants. A celebration of the wonder of dreams and the perfect bedtime read.

Mixed Up Nursery Rhymes by Hilary Robinson and Liz Pichon

This is a really clever split-page book which encourages children to create their own versions of favourite nursery rhymes. Just imagine - Jack and Jill - sat on a tuffet before being frightened by - a plum. The permutations are endless (well, almost) and you can land up with some hilarious combinations. The illustrations are bright and colourful and you can enjoy the complete nursery rhymes too.
 

Cuckoo by Fiona Roberton

Poor cuckoo - he isn't like the other birds in the nest, so he bravely sets off to find someone who undertands him. Perhaps he belongs with the sheep, the frogs or cows - but sadly don't understand him either! Will he ever find someone who is just like him? A lovely story abou belonging, told appealingly and with a quirky sense of humour that will be appreciated by adult and child alike.

Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb

A familiar scenario - a little girl who does not want to eat her lunch. But some unexpected creatures turn up to help her eat it - and it's a very good job that little girls taste so horrid, or she might have become lunch herself! Both the little girl and the animals are charmingly depicted and the illustrations stand out against the white backgrounds. The simple story line means there is plenty of time to enjoy the pictures and develop on the theme of the story with the young listener - especially if you have a picky eater!

Naked Trevor by Rebecca Elliot

Surely you knew that birds sleep naked and when they get up in the morning, they adorn themselves in their feathers? But Trevor refuses to wear his sparrow outfit, much to the horror of his family. So he sets off, featherless - but without his feathers he has trouble flying. He lands up in a puddle, and then in some leaves and then in some beautiful flowers. When he returns, all the birds are envious and they  shed their own boring outfits! Vibrant illustrations make this humourous book a delight.
 

Zoe and Beans: Pants on the Moon by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

The fourth title is just as good as its popular predecessors. On a very windy day, Zoe is hanging her pants out to dry one day, when suddenly she, Beans and the line of washing are whisked off into space. It's all very exciting and there's lots to explore, but how will they get back? Children will love the twist at the end of the story. The text twists and tumbles through the story, giving a flowing feel throughout. The wonderful descriptive text with its lovely use of language is a joy to read aloud and little ones will want to share the story over and over again.

Join the Zoo Hullabaloo! by Jan Ormerod and Lindsey Gardiner

"The animal bop just won't stop so move your body from bottom to top!" All the animals want you to join in - the jellyfish and the meerkats, the lion and the turkey. It's a wonderful invitation to share the moves and the sounds the animals make - I can imagine a class of reception children having a huge amount of fun with this! Colourful and imaginative with a catchy rhyming text, perfect for reading aloud.

Socks by Nick Sharrett

Socks will never seem quite the same again! And you will certainly never want boring grey socks again when you see what wonderful things can be done with brightly coloured socks. This book really is a feast for the imagination - you wouldn't beleive what can be made from the simple sock! There's a sockmarine, a sockodile, a sockerel and even a Sock Ness Monster. Even the train goes sockety-sock. Hilarious to read aloud - but one-to-one so you and the child share the little details and the wonderful illustrations.

Belle and Boo and the Yummy Scrummy Day by Mandy Sutcliffe

Old-fashioned in the very best sense. Belle ( a little girl) and Boo (acuddly bunny) are the very best of friends.  Boo is hungry, but he only wants to eat cake. That is until Belle finds a clever way to convince him that fruit and vegetables are just as tasty, and can be a lot more fun. And because this is Belle and Boo, there is an adventure or two along the way. These books are a sheer joy - a real celebration of the innocence of childhood and friendship. Softly coloured illustrations with a nostalgic feel, thick cream paper and a good use of font size and colour all increase the attraction of these books.

Dave by Sue Hendra

It will be a very unusual child who doesn't find this book hilarious - and adults will have trouble controlling their giggles as they read it aloud, too. This is a reissue with an eye-catching glittery cover. Dave is a great big ol' greedy guts who loves his dinners. He loves food just a bit too much, with the inevitable result - he gets stuck in his cat flap, much to the amusement of all his garden friends! They all try to help, but to no avail - until the bug has an inspired idea - beans. I will leave you to guess the result.... Brilliant colour illustrations by Liz Pichon are perfect.
   

Chickens Can't See in the Dark by Kristyna Litten

Mr Benedict says that chickens can't see in the dark - but Pippa sets out to prove him wrong. She does some research in the library, then visits the farm shop. Then she creates a delicious carroty banquet and invites her friends to share it. They all laugh at her but the food is so delicious that they can't resist, and as the sky grows dark.... well, I'm not spoiling the story! The chicken characters are superb - you'll never look at chickens in quite the same way again!

Anton and the Battle by Ole Konnecke 

A hugely imaginative story, in which Anton and his friend Luke battle it out - verbally - to see who is bigger and stronger. It's amazing, the feats they can carry out - even lifting a piano! And their imagination really runs riot - man-eating tigers, four headed dragons. Pooh - nothing to our intrepid heroes. But a little dog, now that's another matter! A delightful book which captures the essence of childhood, with lovely line drawings.

That's Mine by Michel Van Zeveren

In the jungle, a series of creatures lay (no pun intended!) claim to an egg ... but when the egg takes off and lands on the elephant's head, causing a big bump, nobody wants to own the egg. Luckily, the problem is solved when the egg hatches - but I'm not telling you what it is! A lovely simple story with beautifully scaled illustrations and a fun ending that children will love.

Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachael Mortimer

I love to see these fresh takes on fairy tales - they are such fun and with their unexpected twists, children find them really enjoyable. . As seen on CBeebies. Little Wolf doesn't want to be a big bad wolf. She dreams of being good and kind and loves all things pretty and pink. But one day she is sent out with a  list - a list that includes 'One little girl (tender and juicy)' and she meets Red Riding Hood... to tell you more would spoil this lovely story! The bright eye-catching illsutrations by Liz Pichon are the icing on the cake for this lovely book.

Me and My Mum by Alison Ritchie and Alison Edgson

Little Bear wants to grow up to be just like her mum, because her mum is very special Sh ecan do almost anything - she can make daisy chains, she can roar and she's never, ever afraid of the dark.. Little Bear just knows that everything will be all right when Mum is there - this is a delightful story, reassuring and depicting a relationship full of fun with an underlying total security. Just right as a bedtime story to leave your child feeling loved and secure - and the gorgeous soft illustrations are wonderful too.

To Mum With Love by Josephine Collins

A charming gift book that will be ideal for Mother's Day or birthdays. It is a gift that will be treasured by any mum who receives it from her child. It celebrates all the things mums do for their children, through animal drawings that are full of warmth and text that shows just how versatile mums are.  One of a new series of 6 gift books from Little Tiger Gift. The gorgeous illustrations by Jill Latter, and stylish covers with polka-dot fabric padding, make these books perfect presents.

The Octonauts and the Undersea Eruption from Simon and Schuster

Emergency! The Octopod has found an undersea volcano and if it erupts, all the animal life could be in danger. Will they rescue the creatures and get away in time themselves? These books are good because there's always something new to learn about - this time it's the blobfish, as well as the other knowledge children will pick up reading the story. Children always enjoy reading about TV characters and it's a great way to encourage reading. THese are colourful and engaging books.

Mike the Knight and the Real Sword from Simon and Schuster

Mike the Knight returns to children's TV for 2013 and fans of the series will love to read about his adventures in these colourful books. How can Mike be a real knight without a real sword? His sister Evie is a wizard in training, so just the person to ask when Mike wants his enchanted sword changed into a real one... or is she? But Mike finds out that a real knight makes the best of what he's got.

The King Who Wouldn't Sleep by Debbie Singleton and Holly Swain

There once was a king who didn't have a bed as he had vowed he wouldn't sleep until he found the perfect prince for his daughter. Princes came from all around bearing gifts and trying to get the king to go to sleep so they could talk to the princess but without success. But then someone comes along with a cunning plan - and the book cleverly incorporates learning to count and days of the week into the story. And then, along he comes with lots and lots of sheep - and the king counts them... can you guess what happens? A lovely story with an unexpected conclusion.

I Want a Boyfriend (A Little Princess Story) by Tony Ross

The Little Princess has been around for many years, but her appeal never wanes - she is always as fresh and appealing as ever. Now she has decided she wants a boyfriend so, as ever with our demanding young heroine, she must have her way! The kingdom is searched (in some very unexpected places!) for the perfect partner and finally Donald is proclaimed as the Royal Boyfriend. But is the Little Princess in for a disappointment? Are boyfriends as good as she expected? As comical as ever, this is great fun.

You're Only Young Twice by Quentin Blake

Quentin Blake's drawings have been entertaining children for many, many years and now adults have their turn. Characteristically, it's humane and extremely funny at the same time, and if you are sixty or over - or even thinking about it - this book is required reading. This book will have a huge appeal for those of a 'certain age' - why should children have all the fun? Cleverly observed, the witty illustrations will have oldies giggling aloud and saying 'that's me' - and their younger friends and relatives saying 'that's just like you!' This is a wonderful celebration of growing old and would make a great birthday present.

Monsters Don't Cry by Brett McKee

Wonderful rhythm has this book going at a rollicking pace: "Archie awoke with a shout in the night. Only a dream, but what a terrible fright. Well monsters may roar, may growl or just sigh, But monsters are strong, monsters don't cry." But, as Archie learns, sometimes even little monsters don't always have to be brave, especially when Mummy and Daddy monster are at hand to make everything all right! A reassuring story which shows there is nothing wrong in being frightened - even monsters can be scared. The bright illustrations are a delight and the book has a lovely comforting ending.

Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss

A clever book, this! All the dinosaurs in this stylish book are ingeniously created out of letters - each cleverly crafted from a different font - we all know that there is a wonderful array of fonts, far more than most of us can ever use. This is an inspirational book, which could ecncourage children to take a good look at fonts (and hopefully abandon the ubiquitous comic sansin favour of another font). Hopefully, too, they will see what they can create. Factual information about each dinosaur appears at the bottom of each page. making this an informative as well as fun book.

Snug as a Bug by Tamsyn Murray and Judi Abbot

Would you prefer to be warmly snuggled up or shivering in the cold?  That;s what George has to decide for himself on a day out at the park with Mum. He really doesn't want to go out in the cold, but Mum persuades him he will be as snug as a bug... and more lovely ideas which go to make up this unusual and very attractive counting story.  It's just the sort of silliness that appeals to young children and they will laugh aloud at the hilarious combinations. And when george gets too warm, there are 10 more wonderful combinations to count down. Vibrant illustrations really stamd out and are full of interest.

A Kitten Tale by Eric Rohmann

Four charming little kittens adorn this lovely story. Three of them were anxious about the snow and what it would bring - but the foutrth was excited. As the seasons progress, the fourth little kitten can't wait foir the excitement, but the others are still anxious. The contrasting attitudes show that it is OK to be wary about the unknown but that the fourth, brave, kitten has a wonderfully positive attitude. A good reflection of the different views that siblings can have - but showing there is a place for all.

Oh Dear, Geoffrey! by Gemma O'Neill

Geoffrey is a very tall and very clumsy giraffe. He tries to come down to the level of the other animals in his quest to make friends but, oh dear, he usually lands up flat on his face. But then he finds out how useful his long neck is and discovesr a host of friends in the trees. A funny tale about making friends by being yourself. I love the vibrant and unusual illustrations and they have great child-appeal. A heart-warming story.

The Lemur's Tale by Ophelia Redpath

You just know this book is going to be out of the ordinary by the appealing but muted colours of the cover. It  is the tale of a ring-tailed lemur who is stolen and finds himself sailing away from Madagascar. He's a brave little lemur so he ascapes and finds himself in the home of an eccentric English family. They wonder why things disappear and blame little Lara - but then they find the culprit.  An unusual story of friendship which leaves the reader guessing. The captivating illustrations are full of detail and the contrast between the colour and black and white drawings is compelling - you are drawn to compare.

Off to Market by Elizabeth Dale

All aboard! Joe's bus on its way to the market and it's getting very crowded. There are adults and children, boxes and coats and even some chickens and two goats! And still the people come... did you ever see such a crowded bus? When the bus reaches a hill it just can't go any further. and Joe asks some of the people to get out - but they won't! How can they lighten the load and get to market on time? Luckily little Keb, who is right at the back of the bus has a bright idea.... A fun and witty story, packed with vibrancy and colour.

Hippospotamus by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

A hilarious story with catchy rhyming text that is a joy to read aloud - but beware the tongue twisters! Little ones will be giggling throughout - 'Hippopotamus had a spotamus... on her bottomus.' What could it be? Her firends come up with all sorts of diseases - and some weird and wonderful cures.  A book created by two peope who know exactly what appeals to their young readers. The illustrations are perfect and set the story off exceptionally well.

We Love You, Hugless Douglas by David Melling

Hugless Douglas goes from strength to strength. Douglas wants what everyone else seems to have - a best friend So he sets off on a best friend hunt with Flossie the sheep and meets lots and lots of acquaintances on the way. Is he missing something - perhaps what Douglas is looking for is right under his nose... A lovely story about friendship and being there for others. Warm and reassuring.

Come on, Daisy! by Jane Simmons

Mamma Duck tells Daisy to stay close, but Daisy thinks that chasing dragonflies and bouncing on lilypads looks much more fun . . . but then Daisy gets anxious - what is that rustling noise? This warm and comforting story has been delighting children for over 15 years. Daisy is a lovely duck, but she is so fascinated by the world around her that she has trouble staying close to mum. A delightful story and a lovely one to share with little ones who are inclined to go their own way. The illustrations are charming, with a lovely watery feel to them. An apparently simple book which reads aloud beautifully and is a lovely story.

I Love You by Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd

A wonderful celebration of all the things that are good in a child's life - from enjoying the birds and the butterflies to snuggling up cosily in bed at night with Mum and Dad to cuddle. The book is full of colour and the illustrations are an excellent starting point to discuss favourite things with your child. the bestselling author Giles Andreae, who captures the happiness without the sentimentality, and the award-winning Emma Dodd, whose cheerful colours and irrepressible illustrations delight children and their parents everywhere.

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