Top 5 Picture Books for 3-8 Years ǀ Raising Readers

I love picture books.  They are classic and timeless and can appeal to children (and adults) of all ages.  Even now, though Meg and Eli are pushing the age bracket I have suggested above, they still find enjoyment in sitting down with myself or James and discovering a great picture book together.

It was difficult to whittle this list down to 5 as there are many books we have enjoyed as a family over the years, a number of which I remember from my own childhood but I have managed to select just a few which I think will appeal to a wide audience.

1. A Squash And A Squeeze by Julia Donaldson

I said last week that Julia Donaldson’s name would be cropping up a lot in these posts and no surprise, here she is again.  I could have listed a large number of her books including (but not limited to) The Gruffalo, The Smartest Giant in Town, The Highway Rat, Stick Man and Zog, all of which have been loved and enjoyed by Meg and Eli but A Squash And A Squeeze was one of the first Julia Donaldson books we ever bought as parents and for that reason it holds a particularly special place in our hearts.  It’s a silly story really, of a little old lady who lives by herself in a house and complains that it isn’t big enough for her.  So a wise old man decides to show her just how much smaller it could be by introducing a whole host of bothersome farm animals into the mix.  As with all Julia Donaldson books, this is a mastery of rhyme and rhythm and themes which will appeal to children of all ages.

2. Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy is another name which crops up often when discussing children’s books.  She is the author of the likes of The Worst Witch books as well as the series of picture books featuring the Large family (i.e. Peace At Last) but this is one which I remember being read as a child and I was very excited to read it to Meg and Eli.  Baby Bear wants to go to the moon before bedtime and to do that he finds a cardboard box rocket and heads off on his adventures.  It is a lovely and quaint story about children’s imaginations and one which is just sure to become a bedtime classic.

3. Stuck by Oliver Jeffers

If your children are slightly older but still interested in picture books then Oliver Jeffers is the perfect author to turn to.  Again, and I know I sound like a broken record here, but I could have listed a number of his books in the place of Stuck.  Stuck is a charming story about a little boy whose kite gets stuck in a tree.  How does it decide to knock it down again? Why, by throwing a whole host of items including both his shoes, a boat, an orangutan and his front door up into the tree in an effort to get back his pesky kite.

4. Kipper’s Beach Ball by Mick Inkpen

The Kipper stories are fantastic if you have a little one who loves the idea of having their own cuddly dog and best of all, they cover a range of topics which will appeal to children from a sleepy puppy who just wants to create the perfect bed such as discovering hidden treasures in the form of a beach ball!  There are simply and interesting illustrations to accompany all of the books and just enough story to hold the attention of younger listeners.

5. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

This has to be one of my all-time favourite picture books and one which I never tired of reading to the kids.  It is the story of Gerald, the giraffe, who just wants to perform with the other animals at the Jungle Dance but everyone knows that giraffes can’t dance…until, Gerald finds his own rhythm and all the other animals come to admire as he dances to his own tune.  It is such a cute story and I’m actually pretty sad that Meg and Eli are too old to read it nowadays!

What do you think of my choices? Are there any you would add into the mix?

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