A selection of classic children's picture books on a bright yellow background

Image: Victoria Ibbetson/Penguin

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (1978)

With your little eye, can you play eye spy? Beautifully illustrated by Janet Ahlberg and written by renowned poet Allan Ahlberg, Each Peach Pear Plum features all your favourite fairy tale and nursery rhyme characters – if you can spot them. Read along together through the cleverly-crafted and giggle-inducing rhymes: Tom Thumb, Cinderella, the Three Bears and Robin Hood are hiding somewhere in the pages, but watch out for the Wicked Witch!

Recommended reading age: 1-3 years old

Dogger by Shirley Hughes (1977)

Dogger is a soft brown toy with one ear that points up and one ear that flops over, and he belongs to Dave. But one day, Dogger goes missing and Dave is distraught, and it’s now up to him to get his beloved best friend back. Voted the public’s favourite CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal winner of all time, Shirley Hughes’ timeless picture book, packed with her gorgeous illustrations, will enchant anyone who ever had a favourite soft toy.

Recommended reading age: 3-5 years old

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (1969)

One of the bestselling and most well-loved picture books of all time, you won’t ever meet a hungrier caterpillar than this one. Hatching out of an egg on Sunday, the caterpillar eats through an apple, then two pears, then three plums – but his tummy’s still rumbling! What will he eat through next? The book itself? The ending – one of the most satisfying twists in children’s literature – will delight readers of all ages, along with the cheeky interactive poke holes, that they can play along with.

Recommended reading age: 3-5 years old

Funnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (1980)

‘In a dark, dark street, in a dark, dark house, down a dark, dark staircase, in a dark, dark cellar, some skeletons lived.’ And so begins Funnybones with one of the most famous opening lines in literature. The big skeleton, the little skeleton, and the dog skeleton want to find someone to scare, but everyone’s in bed… except for the skeleton animals in the zoo! If you want to find out what the leg bone’s connected to, what a skeleton parrot says, and how to put a dog skeleton back together, pick up this ghoulishly funny tale.

Recommended reading age: 3-5 years old

Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pieńkowski (1972)

Meg the witch wakes up at midnight, gets dressed in her long black cloak and her tall black hat, then makes breakfast for her cat Mog and her owl in her cauldron. She heads off to a party with her witchy friends, but what will happen when they rustle up a magic spell? Helen Nicoll’s bewitching classic, illustrated by Jan Pienkowski, has all the ingredients for a perfectly spooky bedtime story.

Recommended reading age: 2-5 years old

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs (1978)

Raymond Briggs’ magical story has been enchanting young readers for decades. Narrated entirely through its gorgeous illustrations, a young boy watches the snowman he’s built in his garden come to life at the stroke of midnight. They play and silently creep around the boy's house before taking to the sky on an unforgettable adventure flying across a wintry landscape. This is a tale you can share together time and time again, and – we think – all year round!

Recommended reading age: 2-6 years old

Burglar Bill by Janet and Allan Ahlberg (1977)

Burglar Bill will steal anything, from the stolen fish and chips he eats for dinner to the stolen bed he sleeps in at night. One night as he goes about his burglary business, he steals a big brown box with little holes in the lid from a doorstep and takes it home – only to find a baby inside! Will Burglar Baby help Bill see the error of his ways? Another classic from the Ahlbergs that will have you grabbing your stripy jumper and swag bag.

Recommended reading age: 2-5 years old

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)

Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind or another. Unfortunately, acting like a ‘wild thing’ gets Max sent to bed without supper. But when a forest grows in his bedroom, and an ocean rushes in with a sailboat, Max goes on a journey to find out where the real wild things are. Maurice Sendak’s tale has been called ‘the greatest picture book ever written’ and children love it for its unconventional, but realistic portrayal of emotions – and you’ll see exactly why once the wild rumpus begins.

Recommended reading age: 2-3 years old

Hairy Maclary’s Bone by Lynley Dodd (1984)

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy has a big juicy bone from Samuel Stone. But a few other dogs, including big-as-a-horse Hercules Morse and Schnitzel von Krumm with the very low tum, have spotted it – and they’re hungrily licking their chops as Hairy walks past the shops. With a rhyming structure and ink-and-watercolour illustrations, this shaggy dog’s story is tail-waggingly good.

Recommended reading age: 3-8 years old

Willy and Hugh by Anthony Browne (1991)

Willy, a small scrawny chimp, feels lonely in a world dominated by massive gorillas, especially when they won’t let him join in with their games. But one day, he bumps into Hugh Jape in the park, and despite their differences, the two outsiders form a lasting friendship. Anthony Browne’s beautiful illustrations make this the perfect picture book for anyone who’s ever felt like they’re on the outside looking in.

Recommended reading age: 5-7 years old

Read more

We use cookies on this site to enable certain parts of the site to function and to collect information about your use of the site so that we can improve our visitors’ experience.

For more on our cookies and changing your settings click here

Strictly Necessary


Preferences & Features

Targeting / Advertising