There’s festive favourites, familiar faces, contemporary classics and well-loved characters – these tried-and-tested books are Puffin’s bestselling picturebooks of 2017. They’re perfect presents for tiny readers.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This little, well-loved caterpillar starts the week with some leafy greens and chomps his way through a kaleidoscope of fruits and vegetables. The simple but beautiful illustrations show the greedy grub munching through each day until he finally emerges as a beautiful butterfly, and there’s lots of fun peep holes to play with too. This is an absolute classic from Eric Carle, that little children love to repeat.
The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Ponyter, Garry Parsons (illustrator)
When Danny and his dinosaur are at a loose end, they decide to zoom off in a rocket. But when they realise they’ve forgotten their packed lunch, the dinosaur begins to eat everything in sight - including the rocket home! Whoops! This is a supersonically silly adventure that is guaranteed to get little readers giggling.
Snowman and the Snowdog by Raymond Briggs
The Christmas classic by Raymond Briggs has finally been given a sequel. Tender and touching, the enchanting Snow Dog cheers up the little boy who has lost his beloved pet, and together with the Snowman, they go on an arctic adventure to the North Pole. With a few nods to the original Snowman story to take grown-up readers back to their childhood Christmases, this is festive fun at its most magical.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
When Max is sent to his bedroom with no dinner because of his wild behaviour, he leaves his humdrum world behind to become king of the wild things – strange creatures with terrible teeth, claws and the most gigantic of roars! But once he’s had his raucous rumpus, Max begins to wonder if the mayhem is really worth it. A wonderful story with magical whimsical illustrations – a testament to the wildness in all children that sometimes needs to be set free!
Where's Spot? by Eric Hill
Children love to help Spot’s mum in her hunt for this well-known, playful puppy. The simple but appealing illustrations take you through a gentle game of hide-and-seek. Little hands will enjoy lifting the flaps in search of the mischievous Spot until finally mum finds him hidden in a basket and rewards him with a hearty dinner.
Peepo! By Allan Ahlberg and Jean Ahlberg
Peepo! is a first favourite book for many babies and toddlers. Readers are lead through a series of peep holes, as the baby watches the world around him over the course of a day. This is a lovely bedtime read, with lots of detail to chat about in the bright illustrations. The comforting rhythm of family life and the warm, old-fashioned pictures are ideal for getting everyone relaxed and cosy before nodding off to a gentle slumber.
Dogger by Shirley Hughes
Most children will easily empathise with Dave as he searches for his favourite toy when it goes missing. There is genuine heartache when Dogger is lost, nearly found and then whisked away again by another child at the school fair and a final heartening message about sibling kindness at the end. The beautiful illustrations and the involving story by renowned Shirley Hughes will help to foster a love of books to last a lifetime.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
Dear Zoo is a must for animal lovers. This classic story follows a child’s requests for exotic animals from the zoo to keep as a pet, but they’re never quite right. The elephant is too heavy, the lion is too fierce and the snake’s a bit too scary! The sweet absurdity of the zoo sending these prospective pets through the post is a big hit for little kids, making it a firm favourite for generations of readers.
Jolly Christmas Postman by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
The Jolly Postman has a Christmas Eve delivery to make to all his fairy tale customers. A Christmas card for baby bear, a jigsaw puzzle for Humpty Dumpty stuck in hospital and a toytown Christmas annual for the gingerbread man. Our plucky postie even struggles through the snow to the wolf’s den to find the baddie hosting a festive gathering for the Three Little Pigs. The attention to detail makes it an absorbing activity for children - with real envelopes to open and letters and cards to take out and read.
Funnybones by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
Set on a dark dark night, Funnybones is a spooky story about a family of skeletons on the lookout for someone – anyone – to scare! Off they go, with their skeleton dog, for a night-time stroll through the park and past the zoo, but only the skeleton animals are awake! Packed with lots of giggles, this funny tale will be a nice trip down memory lane for big readers too who remember the classic from their own childhood.