Puffin picture books for under 5s

There’s an Elf in Your Book by Tom Fletcher & Greg Abbott (2019)

Some stickers, a bit of glitter, maybe crumbs from a bickie; these are the things you’d expect to find inside the pages of a book – not an elf! So, what does cute little Elf want? Well, first of all, looks can be deceiving; just because Elf appears to be totally adorable in every way, doesn’t mean he’s not up to no good. Elf wants to see whether your little reader has been naughty or nice this year – Santa keeps a record right up until Christmas Eve, you know! Within the pages of this interactive book, he is going to ask your little one a few questions to suss out whether they’re on this year’s naughty or nice list. And surely there won't be any tricks to try and get them to be naughty… will there?

One Hundred Steps by Captain Sir Tom Moore & Adam Larkum (2020)

Captain Sir Tom Moore has been the hero of 2020, and now the 100-year-old’s fundraising efforts have been turned into an inspirational book. One Hundred Steps revisits the veteran’s incredible achievement of walking 100 laps of his garden and raising £33m for charity. With engaging illustrations, this book teaches what a huge difference just one brave person can make, no matter how young or old.

The Dinosaur that Pooped a Pirate by Tom Fletcher & Dougie Poynter & Garry Parsons (2020)

Dino and his amazing pooping power are back in this buccaneering new adventure from Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter's hit series. Dino is joined by his friend Danny as they hit the high seas on the hunt for buried treasure. Fletcher’s catchy new sea-shanty rhythm has the perfect shipmate in Garry Parsons’ hilarious illustrations. This is not just a book for Christmas, but one to be enjoyed all year round!

Wild Symphony by Dan Brown & Susan Batori (2020)

Famous for his adult fiction, bestselling author Dan Brown makes his picture book debut with this interactive, immersive and musical storybook. Maestro Mouse travels through trees and across seas to meet his friends who all have their own unique story and poem. What secrets will the blue whale, cheetahs and hippos share with the rodent? As well as original musical compositions for every animal, Brown has also left a puzzle to solve on every page.

Dogger's Christmas by Shirley Hughes (2020)

It's nearly Christmas and so Dave, Dogger and his family are taking part in all the traditional festivities. They've decorated the house and put up the tree, written their lists to Santa Claus, and hung their stockings. Christmas finally arrives and they all have a wonderful day. But when Dave heads to bed that night, Dogger is nowhere to be found! Will the magic of the season reunite these two best friends?

Never Show A T-Rex A Book! by Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Diane Ewen (2020)

It’s something we’ve always wondered – what would happen if you showed a T-Rex a book? We imagine that the T-Rex would either eat the book – or read it and realise how wonderful books are. Time to find out! In this madcap adventure by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, one little girl envisions exactly what would happen, and in the process shows how transformative books can really be.

Jonathan the Magic Pony by Stuart Heritage & Nicola Slater (2020)

Jonathan the Magic Pony believes he is a brilliant magician, but maybe he’s not quite the conjurer he thinks he is… Usually, he can make anything disappear with one wave of his wand, and it usually comes back again. But when Sarah’s bear doesn’t return, things start to spiral out of control. Sharks start chasing ducks, chimpanzees are covered in fleas – it’s a disaster! Can Jonathan use his magic to set things right again or is he really just a ‘no-tricks pony’?! Fans of Grumpycorn and Supertato will love this magical story.

Wild Cities by Ben Lerwill & Harriet Hobday (2020)

It’s not all bright lights and skyscrapers in our cities – they are also home to some surprising residents. Can you believe that you can find penguins pottering on a beach in Cape Town? And what would you do if you bumped into a leopard in Mumbai? Discover the amazing stories of the incredible animals who live alongside us in our built-up worlds and become inspired to help protect them. London, Berlin, Tokyo and Sydney are just some of the other cities featured in this stunning book which will leave readers wanting to set off on an urban safari.

The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet & Allan Ahlberg (1991)

It’s one of the busiest days of the year for the Jolly Postman as he delivers goodies to our favourite fairytale friends. Take a look inside the tiny envelopes and see what Baby Bear, Red Riding Hood and Humpty Dumpty are receiving this Christmas. This beautiful Janet and Allan Ahlberg classic makes a first-class gift for any young child.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong’o & Vashti Harrison (2019)

Sulwe’s skin is the colour of midnight and she doesn’t look like anyone in her family. Her sister Mich has skin the colour of high noon, and she has lots of friends at school. Sulwe wishes her skin were brighter so she could be as beautiful as her sister and mother. But then a star takes her on a magical journey – it tells her the tale of day and night and how both are beautiful in their own way. This stunning picture book from Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o tenderly tackles the subject of colourism and aims to inspire children (and adults) to see and embrace their individual beauty.

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry & Vashti Harrison (2019)

Zuri has hair that kinks, curls and coils in every which way. It’s beautiful – her daddy says so – and it allows Zuri to be a princess, a superhero, anything she wants to be. Her mum usually styles it, but today it’s her daddy’s turn to step in and make Zuri’s hair look extra special for an extra special occasion. Hair Love is a gentle and empowering ode to natural hair and a celebration of the love between daddies and daughters.

Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen (2018)

Billy and the Beast is an empowering story for all the underdogs out there! This outdoorsy adventure will, without fail, widen eyes and ignite curious minds. Young readers join the curious Billy, a modern-day heroine, and her hopeless hangry pet cat, Fatcat, as they set off on an adventure in the woods. Billy hears a terrible sound coming from the trees; a sound that turns out to be a TERRIBLE BEAST making a TERRIBLE SOUP! Luckily, Billy’s BIG and brilliant hair is stuffed with everything she could possibly need to be the hero in this terrific tale. We promise you’ll enjoy the adventure as much as they will.

Look Up! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola (2019)

A wise read that will give us all a gentle reminder to look up from our screens more often. First-time readers will meet hilarious, science-mad chatterbox Rocket who is going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, and space-traveller that has ever lived! But... can she convince her big brother to stop looking down at his phone and start looking up at the stars? This stellar picture book shows there is a world of fun away from our glowing screens.

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (1978)

This timeless tale, from Raymond Briggs, of a little boy who builds a snowman and wakes to find that it has come to life is as enchanting today as it was when it was first released in 1978. It’s the perfect read to break out whilst snuggled up in a blanket with your little one, next to a crackling, roaring fire (and perhaps slightly bloated from Christmas dinner). Add The Snowman to your bookcase this winter and relive the magical journey together again and again.

Hey Grandude! by Paul McCartney & Kathryn Durst (2019)

This action-packed picture book by the legendary Paul McCartney celebrates all the fun grandparents and grandchildren can have when their imaginations run wild together. Think of Grandude as an older Mary Poppins with a beard; with his magic compass he whisks his four grandchildren on a hair-raising adventure across the globe. Join them as they ride flying fish, dodge stampedes in the Wild West, and escape snowy avalanches! A fun adventure to receive on Christmas and read together – in person or via Zoom – later on in the day.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve by Eric Carle (2019)

A tale that no new reader should miss is, of course, The Very Hungry Caterpillar – our favourite peckish caterpillar is sure to nibble his way into the hearts and imaginations of all little readers. But if you’re looking for a festive twist on the classic to drop in a stocking this year, try The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s Christmas Eve. In this brand-new lift-the-flap story, set on a silent, snowy Christmas Eve, the very hungry caterpillar is hoping for a very special visitor. Hmm… who could it be, we wonder?

100 Cats by Michael Whaite (2019)

If they’ve asked for a kitten for Christmas, do one better and give them 100! This paw-some picture book is the purr-fect gift for any little animal lover. Little ones will laugh out loud at the read-aloud rhymes that show a cornucopia of cats in the silliest of scenarios. Are they more barking mad about dogs? Fret not – there’s just as much fun to be had 100 Dogs. It’s ruff-ly the same book. Sorry, we’ll leave the animal jokes to Michael Whaite.

How to be a Lion by Ed Vere (2018)

There really is a lot to be learned from this fab modern fable – and not just by tots! The book focuses on a lion named Leonard; a lion like no other. You see, Leonard has this best friend called Marianne. Now, you’re probably imagining Marianne as a lioness – well, here’s the thing: she’s actually a duck. The problem is, lions usually like to chomp and munch on ducks, don’t they? But Leonard doesn’t seem to want to. What will the pair do when their friendship is threatened? This is a powerful, striking and thoughtful book with a wonderful message at its heart, celebrating individuality and the quiet courage to be yourself.  

On The Origin of Species by Sabina Radeva (2019)

This picture-book retelling of Charles Darwin’s iconic work of scientific literature brings the theory of evolution to life for the youngest and most curious of minds. Molecular biologist and illustrator Sabina Radeva has painted a unique picture of Darwin’s visions and theories in a way that’s easily digestible for under-fives. This stunning book illustrates Darwin’s world travels and the discoveries that led him to outline the ground-breaking theory of how species form and develop over time.

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