Mother and Baby

The children’s books you need for storytime

We love revisiting the books that were popular in our own childhood – The Hungry Caterpillar or Dr Seuss anyone? But what are the new reads that will become classics for your child’s generation? We’ve hand-picked the titles that deserve a place on your little one’s bookshelf

The kids' books you need for storytimeExpand ImageThe kids' books you need for storytime

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson (Macmillan, £6.99)

This book is undoubtedly the number one modern children's classic. It’s a publishing phenomenon, has sold over three million copies worldwide, been turned into a TV adaptation and led to numerous merchandise spin-offs (Trunkis, duvets, onesies…you name it). But it’s the simplicity of the fable-like story – a clever mouse escaping the clutches of other woodland animals – and the colourful characters and wonderful illustrations by Axel Scheffler that make it a firm family favourite.

Download the audio book!

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Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (Walker books, £5.99)

This is the story of two Nutbrown Hares, Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare and how it’s impossible to measure how much you love your little one. A great story to read to your tot with a big cuddle at the end.
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Will Not Ever, NEVER Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child (Orchard Books, £6.99)

The first book in the now massively successful Charlie and Lola franchise, this is a fun look at the problem of fussy eating. Lola will not eat peas, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, eggs, sausages, cauliflower, cabbage. And she will absolutely not eat a tomato. But when Charlie explains that peas are actually green drops from Greenland, and that carrots are orange twiglets from Jupiter, even Lola is tempted to clear her plate.
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Maisy’s Bus by Lucy Cousins (Walker Books, £3.99)

The Maisy Mouse range of books make great stories for babies and toddlers. They follow the exploits of Maisy and her friends Tallulah the chicken, Cyril the squirrel, Eddie the elephant and Charley the crocodile. The board books from this series are great if your teething baby is going through a book-gnawing stage…
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That’s Not My… by Fiona Watt (Usborne Books, £5.99)

The possibilities for this extensive series of books are seemingly endless – puppy, robot, kitten, car – and the combination of bright illustrations and tactile pages make it great for young babies.
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Eat Your Peas by Kes Gray (Red Fox Picture Books, £6.99)

This award-winning picture book gave rise to a series of books about Daisy, the spirited little girl, who doesn’t like much of what she’s given for tea – and will not be tempted by anything.
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Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley (Nosy Crow, £6.99)

This won Best Picture Book at Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014, and we can see why. It starts off as a regular story about the Ugly Duckling, but suddenly the book is invaded by a hungry crocodile who starts gobbling up letters off the page, leaving the duckling shouting ‘St p! Mr Cr c dile!’ Plenty of participation from you and your little one will help you get to the end of the story.
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That Rabbit Belongs To Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell (Orchard Books, £6.99)

This story follows a little girl called Emily who owns an old stuffed rabbit named Stanley. When Queen Gloriana decides she wants the bunny for herself, Emily has to visit her and teach her how to love and care for Stanley because he’s so upset. Emily is a great character and the wacky illustrations, done in collage, pen and ink will catch your toddler’s eye.
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Do you speak English, Moon? By Francesca Simon (Orion, £9.99)

From the author of the Horrid Henry books, this is a beautiful picture book about a little boy who likes chatting to the moon. The illustrations are striking – there are lovely scenes to look at including deep-diving mermaids and cloud-topped mountains, smiling tigers and children all looking out to the moon.

Download the audio book!

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The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams (HarperCollins, £12.99)

The comedian and Britain’s Got Talent judge has written several children’s books, and this is his first picture book. It tells the story of a little boy called Sam who is amazed to wake one morning to find a rather annoying elephant on his doorstep.

Download the audio book!

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My Dad by Anthony Browne (Doubleday Children’s Book, £4.99)

The grinning face of ‘Dad’ in his scruffy dressing gown make this book instantly recognisable. It’s a touching celebration of the relationship between a young boy and his dad, who, as far as he’s concerned, is so great that he can wrestle giants, jump over the moon and swim like a fish.
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Kicking A Ball by Allan Ahlberg (Puffin, £6.99)

Allan Ahlberg has been writing children’s stories since the 1970s and is still going strong. This book tells the story of a boy who loves kicking a ball – even more than eating ice-cream or climbing a mountain. The simple rhymes make it perfect for reading aloud to your toddler.
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Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae (Orchard Books, £6.99)

Owing to his ungainly physique, Gerald the giraffe can’t dance. However, a friendly cricket reassures him that everyone can dance, they just need the right tune! A lovely rhyming picture book about understanding differences.
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Stormy Weather by Debi Gliori (Bloomsbury, £5.99)

An ideal bedtime book to read to your toddler, this story from the author of No Matter What follows different animals as they prepare for a safe night’s sleep, but first have to be reassured about the stormy weather.
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Goldilocks & The Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (Walker Books, £11.99)

A new take on a classic story, this book from popular American writer Mo Willems is fun for babies and with a slice of dark humour for parents – Goldilocks is described as ‘poorly supervised’ and ‘prone to barging into people’s houses’. Genius.

What are your favourite children’s books? Let us know below.

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'I See Me!' personalised books,

These personalised keepsake books will hold a special place on your child's bookshelf, making storytime a magical time when they hear and read their own name. Each book tells a different story where they are the star, building their confidence by hearing their name and learning how to spell it. Choose from swash-buckling pirates to princesses, alphabet stories, and more. With some designs you can upload a photo, plus customise hair colour, birthday, favourite colours, and other personal touches.  

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