An image of a selection of books for under 5s on a blue background with orange crosses

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola (2020)

Rocket is back – and this time instead of looking up, she's cleaning up! While visiting her grandparents, Rocket is really sad to see their local beach covered in plastic, making life tough for all the creatures who live there. What can she do? That's it! She and all her new friends are going to CLEAN UP and rid the beach of all that nasty plastic. The follow up to Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola's fantastic Look Up! is the best read for every little (and big) environmentalist.

The Drama Llama by Rachel Morrisroe & Ella Okstad (2022)

Who knew a llama could cause such drama! In this new picture book from Rachel Morrisroe, Alex Allen has a tendency to worry. Only about little things like dancing badly or getting an answer wrong at school. But whenever Alex worries, a llama appears. One day, the llama just won't go away! Will Alex be able to get his worries under control and get rid of this naughty llama?

There's a Unicorn in Your Book by Tom Fletcher & Greg Abbott (2020)

What's that in your book? Oh my, it's a unicorn! He's galloped right into the pages. This is so exciting! But wait a minute, he looks quite worried. Will you be able to help cheer this little unicorn up? This magical addition to the bestselling Who's In Your Book? series explores the power of friendship and why it's good to share your worries with close friends.

Weirdo by Zadie SmithNick Laird & Magenta Fox (2021)

Maud is a guinea pig who likes judo. She is also a little girl called Kit’s birthday present. When Maud meets Kit’s other pets, things get off to a rocky start. She’s not a cat or a dog or a bird like them, so she’s considered a weirdo. But a chance meeting with a kind neighbour helps Maud see that it’s ok to be different as, after all, life’s too short not to be a weirdo. This is a wonderful and powerful tale for both kids and grown-ups.

Hey You! by Dapo Adeola (2021)

Award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola has teamed up with 18 other talented Black illustrators to create this empowering picture book for children. Hey You! explores and celebrates what it's like growing up Black. As well as addressing issues such as systemic racism, this beautiful book also delivers the message of hope that will inspire every child.

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

Behold! It's Jonathan the Magic Pony! With just one wave of his wand, he can perform the most incredible magic. It just happened to go very wrong ONCE when Sarah's bear disappeared and for some reason – which was definitely nothing to do with Jonathan – it won't come back! Will the bear ever return? And will Jonathan ever be a real magician?

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

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you showed a T-Rex a book? We know we have. In fact, it's all we can think about since we read Never Show a T-Rex a Book! Will she borrow every book in the library? Will she try to become a professor or an architect? Young readers can find out in this madcap, super silly adventure story rooted in the transformative power of books!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar has been capturing hearts and imaginations since 1969 and is one of the most popular children’s books around the world. A copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar is sold somewhere in the world every 16 seconds! This beautiful, bright and bold story, with its die-cut pages and finger-sized holes, will allow young readers to flip through the pages at bedtime with ease and excitement. Every toddler should be introduced to this furry little fella and his penchant for snacks!

Where’s Spot? by Eric Hill (1980)

Who doesn’t love a good game of hide-and-seek? Definitely not Spot. The original lift-the-flap book puts readers in the role of the seeker to find this mischievous pup, by lifting the flaps on every page to see where he’s hiding. The simple text and colourful pictures will get pre-readers excited about holding a book and interacting with the story inside. Spot’s had some magnificent adventures over the years, but this fun story by Eric Hall was the very first, originally published in 1980. Where’s Spot? has remained in the book charts ever since and for good reason, too.

Dream Big, Little Leader by Vashti Harrison (2018)

These little leaders are brave and bold. And they all changed the world. This inspiring board book is written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison and will introduce your little leader to some inspirational black women throughout history. From aviator, Bessie Coleman to entertainer and spy Josephine Baker, Dream Big, Little Leader is guaranteed to widen the mind and eyes of any young dreamer.

100 Dogs by Michael Whaite (2018)

Meet man’s best friend – actually, meet 100 of them. Buried inside this pawsome picture book are 100 dogs, doing 100 different things. All pre-readers have to do is follow the bouncy rhyme from page to page and they’ll meet all sorts of different doggies – from petted pugs to silly sausages. Packed full of brilliant illustrations and fun new words to learn, this colourful treat will have you both barking… sorry, laughing… out loud.

Each Peach Pear Plum by JanetAllan Ahlberg (1978)

This board book version of the classic picture book will set young imaginations alight with its beautiful joining of words, pictures and classic nursery rhymes. Each page offers endless adventures for little ones as familiar classics like The Three Bears, Mother Hubbard and Tom Thumb are brought to life before their very eyes. Help children unpick the story by finding characters hidden within the illustrations, or why not challenge them to a game of ‘I Spy’ to help them truly feel part of the story? A treat for the eyes and the imagination.

Barbara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen (2021)

We all have those days where we just wake up in a bad mood. And today, Barbara is having one of those days. Everything seems to be going wrong. And when she’s finally tipped over the edge, Barbara can’t help but throw a great, big WOBBLER! Will Barbara be able to deal with and overcome her bad mood? Or will her wobbler get the better of her? This funny tale from Nadia Shireen deals sensitively with tantrums.

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

Danny and Dino are off on a swashbuckling adventure as they take to the high seas in search for hidden treasure. Along the way they meet mermaids, pirates, and more – but will the perils of Skull Island prove too perilous for this very HANGRY dinosaur?

My Daddies! by Gareth Peter & Garry Parsons (2021)

The little girl in this story is very lucky as she has two daddies who love her very much. They also read a lot to her and this means they get to go on amazing adventures together! From battling fearsome dragons to exploring the moon, they always have such fun together. This sweet and heartfelt book shows children that all families are different and equally wonderful.

How to be a Lion by Ed Vere (2018)

Who says we can’t all get along? In this fabulous new fable, we meet the lovely lion, Leonard, as well as his best friend Marianne – who is a duck. But wait, that doesn’t seem right, does it? A lion being best friends with a duck? Wouldn’t a lion love to chomp away at a duck? Those are just some of the questions that a pack of bullies put to Leonard when they learn of his friendship with Marianne. This enchanting tale of friendship will help teach young readers about the importance of always being true to yourself. There’s a lot to be learned inside this book – and not just for children.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (1901)

The original classic by one of the world’s most respected children’s authors, Beatrix Potter, has been capturing the imaginations of readers young and old for over 100 years. Join mischievous Peter and pals as they get into all sorts of trouble in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden; a charming story beautifully brought to life through Potter’s classic illustrations and simple text. The Tale of Peter Rabbit is the perfect introduction to Potter’s vast, outdoor world.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Thumbelina by Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard (2019)

Fairytale hairdresser Kittie is busy giving all her fairy tale friends floral-inspired hairstyles for this year’s Flower Festival. It’s the Flower People’s favourite time of the year! But there’s a problem; they all seem to have disappeared! All of them, except for Thumbelina. But then she suddenly vanishes too. Can Kittie help save the day? Mysteries don’t get more magical than this.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)

Join Max as he decides to put on a wolf costume and cause some mischief outdoors. His mum calls him ‘Wild Thing’ and sends him to bed without supper – and that’s when Max’s wild adventure begins. A forest grows in Max’s room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take him to the place where the wild things really are. This classic story by Maurice Sendak will soothe the wildest of little imaginations, into a well-deserved slumber.  

The Magic Crayon by Amy SparkesAli Pye (2021)

Jack and Chloe are brother and sister, and as it goes with all siblings, there is often a bit of sibling rivalry. Jack loves to play tricks on his sister. But Chloe has a trick up her sleeve – she is the owner of a magic pencil that makes all Chloe’s drawings come to life! And when Jack is mean and gets her in trouble, Chloe draws a witch to teach him a lesson. But when that witch whisks Jack away, it’s up to Chloe to save her brother.

We’re All Wonders by R. J. Palacio (2017)

Little readers will meet August Pullman from the remarkable, touching and world-famous novel Wonder in this incredible picture book. We’re All Wonders shares the beautiful message of acceptance and kindness with junior readers. Putting readers in Auggie’s shoes to show them how he feels, this picture book is the perfect tool to help adults talk to children about empathy and difference and remind them that everyone is wonderful in their own way.

Baby On Board by Allan Ahlberg & Emma Chichester Clark (2018)

In this perfect picture book, a baby is accidentally swept out to sea in his pram. Luckily, his three favourite toys are right there with him and it’s up to them to band together and steer him back home. With lyrical text from Allan Ahlberg and colourful illustrations with a classic feel from Emma Chichester Clark, this book is a treat for little dreamers.

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

Lucy, Bob, Tom and Em have gone to their grandad's for the weekend. But it’s raining so there’s nothing for them to do. Luckily, their grandad is no ordinary grandad. He’s got a magic compass that can take them wherever they want to go! How about a relaxing golden beach? Or a desert valley with cowboys? The possibilities are endless when you’re with Grandude! Written by legendary musician Paul McCartney, this charming tale is perfect to share together at bedtime.

Dogger by Shirley Hughes (1977)

This timeless tale about a little boy who loses his favourite toy has been breaking hearts for over 40 years. Dogger is Dave’s most treasured toy, even if his fur is worn in a few places. However, after picking up his sister from school Dave misplaces Dogger. He and his family look everywhere for Dogger but they can’t find him. It’s then the day of the school summer fair, and who should Dave spot on a toy stall – Dogger! Will Dave be able to get some money before someone else buys his best friend?

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