Best books to read with five year olds
Reading together at this age is vital as it helps younger children understand how stories work and exposes them to a vast range of vocabulary. Whilst a child may not understand every word they hear, they will have access to words, sounds, rhymes and phrases that they can begin to explore and copy. Studies show that children who are read to and enjoy reading for pleasure have a better grasp of vocabulary, general knowledge and do well at school.
Everybunny Dance by Ellie Sandall(£6.99, Hodder Children's Books)
This is a wonderful celebration of music and dancing and their power to unite. Did you know that bunnies love to dance? One day something shadowy and frightening enters the forest: a fox. Is he a naughty fox, intent on making trouble? Or could this graceful, friendless fox be about to teach the bunnies a valuable lesson about never judging a book by its cover? This is a playful and bright picture book and children of all ages will easily be swept up by its humour and enjoy multiple readings and joining in with actions.
Morris Wants More by Joshua Seigal(£11.99, Flying Eye Books)
This book is a riot! Morris is used to getting everything he wants and this Christmas he wants the biggest and the best present. There’s a problem, though. His first present just isn’t big enough… his second isn’t huge enough… his third? Not mega enough! Will Morris get the present he desires by the 12th day of Christmas? This is a delightful reimagining of the twelve days of Christmas, perfect for reading aloud. Morris is a wonderfully ghastly creation – spoilt and demanding. With each turn of the page, he looks like he might just explode! The illustrations of his parents, as they try desperately to fulfil their little prince’s every wishes, are hilarious too. Children will love seeing Morris get his comeuppance and joining in with the countdown to his final monstermassive present!
Hugo Makes a Change by Scott Emmons(£9.99, Flying Eye Books)
Every night, when Hugo the vampire wakes up, he craves… red, juicy meat! He visits every steakhouse in town, scoffing burgers, turkey, salami and Buffalo wings. But his rather limited diet soon leaves him feeling sluggish and slow. He decides to investigate and try some food he’s never eaten before. There are some green blobs in the garden and something red and sweet, too. Before long Hugo is trying all sorts of fruits and vegetables! Told in rhymed verse and accompanied by delightful graphics that look like they are straight out of a computer game, this is a unique take on healthy eating. It will certainly have children not only joining in with the fun rhymes, but maybe even trying some new, healthy foods.
Wishker by Heather Pindar(£6.99, Maverick Arts Publishing)
Whenever Mirabel asks for something, the answer always seems to be the same: ”No!” It’s “No!” to a sleepover, “No!” to playing in her brother’s room and even “No!” to having a pet monkey! One day, she meets a rufty-tufty roaming cat that can do magic! Mirabel is granted three wishes and soon the house is full of hippos, zebras, clowns and chaos ensues! The illustrations in this story are fun and colourful. Children will love joining in with the chorus of “No!” every time Mirabel demands something and there is a lovely lesson too about the magic of the word “please”.
Stomp School by Jeff Norton(£6.99, Caterpillar Books)
Meet Rikki, the sensitive little kaiju, who loves to build things. Rikki is a curious monster who is enthusiastic about everything. When Rikki is sent to Stomp School he is excited to spend the whole day building the biggest, best city. But then Miss Bronte tells them it’s time to stomp, crush, smash and stomp! How will poor Rikki show his dad what he’s built? The book’s themes of destruction and rebuilding will appeal to this age group and the book is full of flaps and peek-through holes. Children will definitely like stomping, stamping and rampaging in time with Rikki and this quirky cast of monsters.
You Can Never Run Out of Love by Helen Docherty(£6.99, Simon & Schuster Children's UK)
This is a touching, beautifully written story about the power of love and its continuing endurance. The book offers a timely reminder that, whilst you can run out of the everyday, material things (such as biscuits, clean socks, money and energy) you can never run out of love. The story is told in rhyming verse, with some delightfully funny scenarios imagined, such as what happens when you run out of nappies and jelly. The pastel illustrations are cosy and strikingly presented in reds, blues and pinks. With repeating phrases and gentle humour, this tender story is perfect for reading together.
Mrs Mole, I’m Home! By Jarvis(£6.99, Walker Books)
Poor old Morris the mole can’t find his glasses. And so now he can’t see anything! But Morris doesn’t let that stop him; he is positive his instincts will lead him home…eventually! This is a hilarious story – dazzling illustrations work alongside a repetitive, but fun, story line. Children will thoroughly enjoy joining in with Morris’s excited cry of, ‘Mrs Mole, I’m home!’ each time the little mole pops up and interrupts an unsuspecting family of owls, penguins, rabbits and even crocodiles! Morris eventually makes it home to a welcoming bowl of juicy worm noodles and, of course, his loving family. This warm-hearted, comic story is perfect for reading and enjoying together.
Fum by Karl Newson(£6.99, Maverick Arts Publishing)
The Crumbs are a really big family. There’s Pa, Ma, Grandpa Plum, Fee, Fi, Fo and… where’s Fum? Has anyone seen the smallest Crumb? The giant Crumb family race down the lane and past the store, through a magical world populated with all your favourite fairy tale characters, in search of Fum. Eventually, they realise that Fum has been hiding near them all along and celebrate in the woods with a party that is full of song and laughter. This book is written in simple, lyrical rhyme and features a cast of amusing magical creatures – the plane-flying bear is especially delightful! Children will love joining in with the Crumbs' chase and searching for tiny Fum on each page.
Du Iz Tak? By Carson Ellis(£6.99, Walker Books)
This book is written in an invented bug language and is an absolute treat to read aloud. Brightly detailed illustrations sit against a plain, cream backdrop, making them even more eye-catching. The story asks readers to imagine what might happen at the bottom of their garden, how the creepy crawlies might speak and what might happen to them as the seasons change. This is quirky nd fun, perfect for young children who are taking their first steps in learning to read. There is lots of scope for discussion, silly insect voices and the book offers a great platform to encourage children to create their own make-believe language!
The New LiBEARian by Alison Donald(£6.99, Maverick Arts Publishing)
It’s story time at the library but Dee is shocked to discover that the librarian is missing. She sets off on an exciting mission to find her, following muddy footprints and sticky honey until she finds a bear, with a librarian badge; it must be the new liBEARian! This is a funny, charming tale about the power of books and the importance of libraries and librarians. The magical illustrations complement the story perfectly and children will no doubt love joining in with the liBEARian as he stomps, growls and roars his way through story time. There’s a clever twist at the end to look out for, too!