These original picture books are the perfect reads to entertain and inspire toddlers. Full of quirky characters and fun adventures, you'll just love to read these sweet treats and marvel at their beautiful illustrations together.
The Tale of the Castle Mice by Michael Bond, Emily Sutton (illustrator)
This gorgeously illustrated book tells the story of a family of mice who are forced to leave their magnificent home – an old-fashioned, fully equipped dolls house in an Earl’s castle. The story has a gentle humour which will be familiar to lovers of Michael Bond’s most famous creation – Paddington Bear. The drawings of the dapper mouse family, who are very sophisticated but very mouse-like, are reminiscent of Beatrix Potter and little readers will love pointing out all the fine details.
Max and Bird by Ed Vere
This is the story of an impossible friendship between Max the kitten and a baby bird. Confused by his desire both to eat and to befriend the bird, Max agrees to a deal: he will teach Bird to fly before they play their fatal game of chase. Over the sweetly daffy task of teaching the bird to take flight, the two animals become firm friends. The vibrant illustrations of these two characters with their huge expressive eyes will be an instant hit with little bookworms.
The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen
This funny and beautiful book tells the story of Norman – the honey-loving bear – who has a sneaky plot to infiltrate the beehive. Wearing a bee-onesie he enrolls in bee school as a way of stealing the sweet stuff. Clever Amelia is the only one to see through him, but when the beehive is in danger, only Norman can save the day. Little ones will love the absurd disguise, and the message – that people can change for the better – is an uplifting one.
Moomin and the Ocean’s Song
Moomin and the Ocean’s Song is a brand new book based on Tove Jansson’s classic stories. This time Moomintroll, Snufkin and their friends go in search of the Ocean’s Song – enchanted music which is held in a shell. Th story features dreamy illustrations of the gentle characters having adventures in a magical landscape. This is a lovely introduction to the Moomins for little readers and a great return to a whimsical world for grown-ups.
This is Not a Bedtime Story by Will Mabbitt and Fred Blunt (illustrator)
This is Not a Bedtime Story is perfect for little readers (and their grown-ups) who find bedtime a struggle. This book turns the soporific bedtime story on its head when Sophie decides to add some spark to her usual tale of cute kittens and boring birthday parties. The plot takes an action-packed turn and Sophie finally exhausts herself with her own inventiveness. A great story about taking control and making stories your own – and a lovely way to spark children’s imagination. We can’t guarantee it will send little ones to sleep, but it will make the whole process more light-hearted.
Odd Bods by Steven Butler, Jarvis (Illustrator)
Odd Bods is an alphabet of quirky kids. The boisterous rhymes are fun to read aloud as you zip through a cast of eccentrics from Ava to Zelda – children who dress up in strange outfits, display their unusual talents and form wild friendships. A hilarious celebration of the surreal and unusual, this book also has a serious message for little learners – everyone can get on regardless of their own or other people’s differences, and being ‘strange’ can also mean being special.
Pom Pom is Super by Sophie Henn
The latest adventure of this loveable Panda starts with a super-hero themed birthday party. As the guests arrive displaying their brilliant super pseudonyms (Buddy the FANTASTIC Footballing FLASH!) and accompanying talent, Pom Pom begins to wonder just how super he is. His friends come together to help find his flair. The bright colours and bold designs will engage younger children and the message – that finding out what you’re good at takes some work – is a powerful one for all ages.
The Little Elephant Who Wants to Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin, Sydney Hanson (illustrator)
The latest book from the author of The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep – a sleep-aid technique disguised in a story – which parents found helped soothe reluctant snoozers. In this book, your child accompanies Ellen the Elephant through an enchanted forest which leads to sleep. As well as the story, this version includes sleep tips and answers to common questions that will help families get the rest they need.
Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson, Nick East (illustrator)
This year children across the country have been mesmerised by Tim Peake’s visit to the International Space Station. Schools and nurseries have used his experience to inspire projects and regular appearances on CBeebies have made him a familiar figure. So this book – a charming story inspired by Tim and his sons – is a perfect bedtime book to celebrate 2016. It includes a recording of the story read by Tim Peake from the International Space Station making it a great gift to inspire budding astronauts.