Best books for six year olds: independent reading
Claude: Going for Gold by Alex T. Smith
(£5.99, Hodder Children's Books)
The Claude series is perfect for developing, early readers. It is short and succinct with splashes of silly, off-beat humour throughout. The story follows Claude, a beret wearing dog, and his side-kick Sir Bobbysock as they take part in an exciting sports day, run by the formidable Ivanna Hurlit-Farr. However, things don't run to plan – a group of sneaky robbers are out to steal the gold cup. Will Claude be able to save the day or will the crooks escape? This is wonderful fun – charming, funny and quirky.
Fergal is Fuming by Robert Starling
(£6.99, Andersen Press)
Poor Fergal the dragon has a terrible temper! He's constantly getting fired up - whether it's at football, in the bakery or being asked to eat his vegetables before dessert. This young dragon just cannot seem to control himself, which leads to all sorts of hot-headed decisions, including a burnt dinner and a football goal that is reduced to ashes. When his friends decide they've had enough of his fearsome outbursts, he turns to his mum for help. Will she be able to help Fergal control his anger and will Fergal be able to win back his friends? This is a delightful story about what happens when we lose our temper and how we can learn to manage our emotions. Fergal is a brilliant character and there's a powerful lesson, too.
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The Wardrobe Monster by Bryony Thomson
(£10.99, Old Barn Books)
Dora hasn't slept all night (and neither has Penguin or Lion or Bear). Despite being grouchy and very tired, Dora is reluctant to go to bed, however. She makes up every excuse she can think of! The problem is… the Wardrobe Monster. Every night a frightening thud and bang comes from the wardrobe. Finally Dora, with the help of her friends, decides it's time to face her fears. Who, or what, is really in the wardrobe and causing all that noise? This is a beautifully illustrated book and will reassure youngsters who are afraid of the dark. The scruffy, bright pencil drawings create an amusing cast of characters and the humour is gentle too.
The Clockwork Dragon by Jonathan Emmett
This funny book follows the adventures of Max and Lizzie as they attempt to rid the kingdom of the man-eating, terrifying dragon Flamethrottle. Max works in a toy factory, until his inventions get him fired... and the only job on offer is that of a brave knight, needed to defeat a ferocious dragon. With Lizzie's help, Max concocts a plan, involving a clockwork dragon, to chase the dastardly dragon away. Flamethrottle is a fantastic villain and the story zips along at a frenetic pace, with plenty of tension and excitement along the way.
The River: An Epic Journey to the Sea by Hanako Clulow
(£7.99, Caterpillar Books)
In snow-capped mountains, among the firs,
The north wind blows; something stirs.
Through icy waters, a small fish darts –
This is where her journey starts…
So begins this lovely rhyming picture book about a little fish's journey into the unknown. The tiny fish travels along sparkling rivers, past busy beavers, beneath a softly hooting owl and through snow and wind until she finally reaches the sea. With peep-through pages, glittering scales and beautiful artwork, this book offers young readers a glimpse into the journey of a fish through a series of stunning settings.
At the Same Moment Around the World by Clotilde Perrin
(£11.99, Chronicle Books)
In this beautiful, quirky book young readers are taken on an epic journey around the world to learn about what people are doing across the globe at exactly the same moment. At seven o'clock in the morning, in Paris, Benedict is drinking a steaming cup of hot chocolate before school whilst at the same moment Mitko is running for the bus in Bulgaria. At the same moment, it's midnight in Mexico and Pablo is having magical dreams while Ana is exploring the Amazon rainforest at two o'clock in the morning. Young readers will certainly take away from this book a sense of magic and wonder. Not only is the book informative and interesting, but it also offers a wonderful glimpse into a wide range of countries and cultures.
Jim and the Beanstalk by Raymond Briggs
Jim wakes up one morning to find a large beanstalk growing outside his window. At the top of the beanstalk, he finds a grumpy giant who is down on his luck. Another young boy has stolen everything from him and he is now well past his prime. The poor giant has no glasses to read with, no teeth and is balding. Jim agrees to help him but the giant soon feels better, renewed and re-energised, which can only mean one thing for poor Jim…This is a lovely story, full of warmth and humour. The giant is a wonderful creation and children will love the exciting twist at the end of this classic story. A brilliant re-working of the timeless fairy tale!
Town Mouse, Country Mouse by Libby Walden
(£10.99, Caterpillar Books)
This clever re-working of Aesop's classic house-swap fable is a real treat. Town Mouse is finding the bustling town exhausting and so writes to her cousin, Country Mouse, and requests that they swap homes for a holiday. But their new adventures bring fresh dangers. For Country Mouse the whizzing wheels, loud footsteps and mouse traps are just too much and the rain, poisonous berries and warbling birds all put Town Mouse in a terrible mood. Could what they are searching for be a little closer to home? Richard Jone's lush, gorgeous artwork make this rhyming story a delight to look at and the die-cuts and peep-holes add an engaging, interactive element too. Libby Walden's rhyming text is perfect for reading out loud and there's enough challenging and interesting vocabulary to initiate discussion and thought throughout.
Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud by Katie Harnett
(£11.99, Flying Eye Books)
The little raincloud is very lonely. All the other clouds have been driven away by the horrible, hot sun and the raincloud spends its days searching for a friend. But no one wants to be friends with a grey, soggy cloud! One day, the raincloud spots a young florist who looks grumpy and sad. Could the raincloud help the florist and will their friendship blossom into something beautiful? Harnett's illustrations are colourful and captivating, with a diverse range of children and adults included in the bustling background scenes. There's some wonderful attention to pattern and this is a heart-warming story about friendship and possibility.
The Sissy Duckling by Harvey Fierstein
(£7.49, Little Simon)
Elmer is the happiest duckling in the whole forest. He likes to build things, paint pictures and decorate cookies. Unfortunately, there isn't a single other little boy duckling who likes to do the same things as Elmer. Despite his grumpy father's insistence that he should learn baseball, Elmer doesn't fit in and is bullied terribly by his classmates. When Elmer's father is shot by a group of hunters, it is up to Elmer to save him and prove that being different isn't so bad after all. This is an incredibly uplifting and empowering book for anyone who has ever felt different. Whilst it's full of humour and silliness it also offers a heart-warming and moving look at what it means to be different and the importance of staying true to yourself.