An Essential Book List for children in Early Years

The Tiger Who Came to Tea 

by Judith Kerr

Share in fifty years of magic...

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don't expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger!


Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak

One night Max makes mischief, so his mother sends him to bed. That night, a forest grows in his room and a boat takes him to the place where the 'wild things' are. After a night of adventures, Max feels lonely and realises it's time to sail home to where someone loves him best of all.


Hairy Maclary 

by Lynley Dodd

Hairy Maclary goes off for a walk in town, followed by a few friends. All is uneventful until they meet Scarface Claw, the toughest tom in town, and run for home. The story is told by a brilliant, cumulative rhyming text and terrific pictures. 

We're Going on a Bear Hunt

by Michael Rosen

Follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest! 


Whatever Next by Jill Murphy

The moon and back before bath time? Whatever next! Join Baby Bear as he finds a rocket, makes friends with an owl and has a picnic on the moon. A beautiful story of innocence and imagination, full of the characteristic warmth and humour of Jill Murphy. 

The Hungry Caterpillar

by Eric Carle

A much-loved classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar vivid and colourful collage illustrations tell a deceptively simply, hopeful story. Follow the progress of a very hungry caterpillar as he eats his way through the week and makes a beautiful transformation.


Mog the Forgetful Cat 

by Judith Kerr

Mog always seems to be in trouble. She forgets that she has a cat flap and she forgets that she has already eaten her supper. But, one night, Mog's forgetfulness comes in very handy... 

The Jolly Postman

by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This nostalgic classic, including real letters, is a must-have for every child! Open this book, take out the letters, and discover what favourite characters would write to each other and reimagine best-loved tales together. 


Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

One day a penguin arrives on a boy's doorstep. The boy decides the penguin must be lost and tries to return him. But no one seems to be missing a penguin. So the boy decides to return the penguin to the South Pole. But when they get there, the boy discovers that maybe home wasn't what the penguin was looking for after all... 

Five Minutes Peace

by Jill Murphy

All Mrs. Large wants is five minutes' peace from her energetic children, but chaos follows her all the way from the kitchen to the bath and back again. Family life is beautifully observed in this warm and funny modern classic from Jill Murphy.



by Shirley Hughes

When Dave loses his favourite toy, Dogger, he is desolate. But then Dogger turns up at the school summer fair, and everything seems all right - until someone else buys him before Dave can get the money! 

Old Bear by Jane Hissey

A new paperback edition of this classic picture book tells the familiar story of how a much-loved teddy bear is lost and finally found again. Bramwell Brown and his friends Little Bear, Duck and Rabbit attempt to rescue Old Bear from the attic using a number of ingenious methods. 



by David McKee

Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a favourite since this first book was published. A modern classic, Elmer's subtle message, that it is ok to be different, resonates with children across the world. 

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Walk further into the deep dark wood, and discover what happens when a quick-witted mouse comes face to face with an owl, a snake...and a hungry Gruffalo! Enjoy a beastly modern-day classic.


Each Peach Pear Plum 

by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

This classic picture book introduces characters from traditional stories, such as the 'Three Bears', 'Mother Hubbard' and 'Tom Thumb'. The text, with its strong rhyme and rhythm, is perfect to read aloud to very young children. 


by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

In this, the first ever Funnybones 

book, we are introduced to the wonderful humour and fun of the much-loved series. The books are a must for children just starting to learn to read - these funny skeletons are definitely not the scary sort!


Handa's Surprise by Eileen Browne

Handa decides to take seven pieces of fruit to her friend, Akeyo, who lives in the neighbouring village. But as Handa wonders which fruit Akeyo will like best, a series of sneaky animals steal a piece from Handa's basket. When Handa reaches Akeyo, will she have anything left to offer her friend?

Not Now, Bernard

by David McKee

Bernard's got a problem. He's found a monster in the back garden but his mum and dad are just too busy to notice. So Bernard tries to befriend the monster... and that doesn't go quite to plan!

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Owl Babies by Martin Waddell

Three baby owls, Sarah, Percy and Bill, wake up one night in their hole in a tree to find that their mother has gone. So they sit on a branch and wait... Darkness gathers and the owls grow anxious, wondering when their mother will return. But, at last, she does and they bounce up and down with joy, welcoming her home.

Giraffes Can't Dance 

by Giles Andreae

Gerald the giraffe would love to join in with the animals at the Jungle Dance, but everyone knows that giraffes can't dance, or can they!? A funny, touching and triumphant book about a giraffe who finds his own tune and confidence too.

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