Whether you’re reading to your child, or they’re learning to read by themselves, kids will want to return to these picture books again and again. Full of loveable characters, playful stories, and beautiful illustrations, these are just some of the best picture books for babies, toddlers and young children.
For more inspiration, don’t miss the best books for babies and toddlers and the best bedtime stories for kids.
Picture books for babies and toddlers
There’s an Owl in My Towel
This beautifully illustrated book is full of gentle humour as baby’s every activity is thwarted by a variety of unexpected animals. It’s difficult to have breakfast with a mole in your bowl, but who wouldn’t like a ted in their bed?
WOW! Said the Owl
Tim Hopgood's bold, engaging, beautiful picture books will help children learn about colours.
When it's time for us to go to bed, owls are just waking up. But one curious little owl decides to stay awake all day and discovers a world bursting with colour! Yet when the night-time comes around again, the stars above her head are still the most beautiful of all.
With My Mummy
This touching celebration of the special relationship between mother and child is told in gentle rhyme by James Brown, while charming illustrations by Cally Johnson-Issacs bring the story to life.
Picture books for children aged 3 - 5 years
Kiki and Jax
Kiki and Jax is a charming picture book story from tidying superstar Marie Kondo about how tidying up can spark joy in the lives of young children. Kiki and Jax are best friends – Jax enjoys sorting, but Kiki enjoys collecting and gathers lots of stuff. When Kiki’s home becomes too full of things for the friends to play in, Jax teaches Kiki how to sort everything, and to only keep those things that spark joy!
Starbird is an original fable about freedom and love, stunningly illustrated by Sharon King-Chai. Starbird’s songs delight all who hear them, but when the Moon King traps Starbird in a cage as a gift for his daughter, all the colour and life in his voice begins to drain away. With beautiful illustrations and shiny silver foil throughout, this is an exquisite gift for any child or adult.
The Truth About Old People
This funny, loveable book is a tribute to grandparents and old people. When you’re small, everyone bigger than you seems really old. But being older doesn’t mean being boring, slow or quiet! From Elina Ellis, winner of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration, The Truth About Old People tackles ageism without being preachy.
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water
Everybody knows that crocodiles love water, but this little crocodile is different. He doesn’t like water at all. In fact, he prefers climbing trees! Could it be this little crocodile isn’t a crocodile at all? He might just be a DRAGON!
The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water is a funny and uplifting story proving that being different can be fun!
I Am Perfectly Designed
This empowering story about loving who you are comes from Karamo Brown, star of the hit Netflix series Queer Eye, and his son Jason. Follow a boy and his father as they spend the day in the city together, talking about all the ways they are perfectly designed for each other.
Have you met the Gruffalo? With his terrible tusks and terrible claws? Join the quick-witted mouse as he takes a stroll through the deep dark wood and avoids being a tasty meal for a fox, an owl, a snake and even the Gruffalo!
The Gruffalo is an undisputed modern classic with gentle rhyming words that will improve your child's phonetic skills.
I am a Tiger
This is a hilarious and original story about a little mouse with big ideas. The bold little mouse manages to convince the other animals that he is not a mouse, but a tiger. But when a real tiger turns up, will the fearless little rodent be able to persuade the tiger that he’s not a tiger but a mouse?
Brenda is a Sheep
Brenda says she’s a sheep, but she looks very different from her woolly friends. All the sheep love Brenda, but Brenda is very hungry, and doesn’t like the taste of grass . . . She soon begins planning a delicious feast, but will the sheep notice she’s not quite the same as them? A hilarious story about being accepted, from the award-winning Morag Hood.
The Giant of Jum
Fe fi fo fum, here comes the hungry Giant of Jum and he's off in search of the tastiest snack of all. But Jack and his friends don't see a scary giant, they see a wonderfully tall man who can rescue cats from trees and give them a lift home on his shoulders. Perhaps this giant isn't grumpy or grizzly after all . . .
Children will love this big-hearted twist on a classic fairytale.
I’m Actually Really Grown-Up Now
Meena wants to join in when the adults have a party, but only grown-ups get to stay up late. So the next day Meena decides, “I’m actually really grown-up now!” She has lots of fun planning her own grown-up party, going to work and experimenting with fashion, but she soon finds out being a grown-up isn’t as easy as it seems.
There Is a Tribe of Kids
Legendary illustrator Lane Smith takes children on a colourful adventure through the natural world, following a child as he weaves through the jungle, dives under the ocean and soars into the sky. Along the way he makes friends and causes mischief with a dazzling array of creatures, but can he find a tribe of his own?
A witty and playful exploration of curiosity, discovery and what it means to belong.
Picture books for children aged 5+
The Misadventures of Frederick
Frederick lives in a mansion surrounded by lakes and forest, but he is bored. His life has been very sheltered, so when his friend Emily invites him to play outside he has to say no – what if he hurts himself? But Emily won’t take no for an answer . . .
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
This elegant edition of one of the most-loved children’s stories breathes new life into Alice’s famous tale. Beautifully illustrated with shiny gold embossing on the cover, this is the perfect gift for Alice fans big and small.
This beautiful giftbook of the animated series Watership Down features emotive illustrations and text adapted from the TV script by award-winning author Frank Cottrell-Boyce. A ragtag band of rabbits flee the destruction of their home in search of safety, their story brought to life in this retelling which is perfect for families to read together.
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