25 Best Books For The Under 5’s

Reading books can take you to magical places, dark alleys and mystic seas. Where the turn of a page will see the leap of a mermaid or a giant or a ghost. I am a self-confessed bookworm. I had a library card aged five and dragged my poor mum and grandmother their every week to check out the new titles.

Books were my first love and something that I hope all of my children will enjoy too. Take a look at these top 25 books to kickstart a love of reading and a lifetime full of imagination.


The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Sophie and her Mummy are having tea in the kitchen when in walks a hungry tiger who asks to stay for tea.

Author: Judith Kerr
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books


Where’s Spot?

This adorable picture book about Spot the dog is the first in the Spot series

Author: Eric Hill
Publisher: Puffin

This adorable picture book about Spot the dog is the first in the Spot series

Each Peach Pear Plum

This classic book from author and illustrator team Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a real favourite with families

Author: Allan Ahlberg Illustrator: Janet Ahlberg
Publisher: Puffin


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar deserves its reputation as a much-loved classic.

Author: Eric Carle
Publisher: Puffin


The Elephant and the Bad Baby

One day, an elephant offers a baby a ride through the town, and the set off on a great adventure.

Author: Elfrida Vipont Illustrator: Raymond Briggs
Publisher: Puffin



When Dave loses his favourite toy, Dogger, he is desolate.

Author: Shirley Hughes
Publisher: Random House


Lost and Found

Once there was a sad, lonely penguin who appeared at the door of a young boy. The boy decided he must be lost, so he set off to find his home.

Author: Oliver Jeffers
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books


Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears

Little Mouse is scared of most things, from creepy crawlies and loud noises to getting lost.

Author: Emily Gravett
Publisher: Pan Macmillan


I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato

Charlie tricks his younger sister, Lola – an extremely fussy eater – into eating all her least favourite foods.

Author: Lauren Child
Publisher: Hachette


Room on the Broom

From former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson and longtime collaborator Axel Scheffler comes this much-loved tale about a witch and her gang of friends.

Author: Julia Donaldson Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books


The Snowman

James builds a snowman in the garden, then wakes up in the night to find that it has come to life.

Author: Raymond Briggs
Publisher: Puffin


Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

This charming first book is perfect for new arrivals.

Author: Mem Fox Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Publisher: Walker BooksThis charming first book is perfect for new arrivals.

Dear Zoo

This appealing story, in lift-the-flap, board-book format has been a favourite with toddlers ever since it was first published in 198

Author: Rod Campbell
Publisher: Campbell Books



Hannah’s favourite animals in the whole world are gorillas, but her dad is always too busy to take her to the zoo.

Author: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Follow a father and his family as they go out in search of a bear.

Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
Publisher: Walker Books


Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy

This hilarious rhyming story follows Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy, as he sets off for a walk in town

Author: Lynley Dodd
Publisher: Puffin


Not now, Bernard

The classic tale of Bernard, whose distracted parents fail to notice that their son has been eaten and replaced by a monster.

Author: David McKee
Publisher: Andersen


Where the Wild Things Are

First published in 1963, this classic picture book will fascinate both children and adults, evoking the fierce intensity of childhood

Author: Maurice Sendak
Publisher: Red Fox


The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters

Brilliantly designed with lots of little details to spot, this old favourite will be enjoyed time and time again

Author: Allan Ahlberg Illustrator: Janet Ahlberg
Publisher: Penguin


I Want My Hat Back

A bear sets out in search of his hat – he loves his hat and he wants it back

Author: Jon Klassen
Publisher: Walker Books


The Cat in the Hat

When Sally and her brother are left alone on a rainy day, they think they are in for a dull time – but then the Cat in the Hat appears.

Author: Dr Seuss
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books


Meg and Mog

In this, the first story about much-loved characters Meg the witch and Mog her cat, the pair go off to a wild Hallowe’en party with all the other witches

Author: Helen Nicholl Illustrator: Jan Pienkowski
Publisher: Puffin


Would You Rather…

A classic for children, Would You Rather… presents an alternative to a traditional story by imagining a mixture of fantastical and real-life choices. It’s great for building confidence with little ones about making their own choices for their own reasons.

Author: John Burningham
Publisher: Red Fox


Princess Smartypants

Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She enjoys being a Ms But being a rich and pretty princess means that all the princes want her to become their wife.

Author: Babette Cole
Publisher: Penguin


I Want My Potty!

The Little Princess hates nappies and thinks there must be something better.

Author: Tony Ross
Publisher: Andersen Press