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The children’s books you need for storytime

There’s nothing like a bedtime story (with or without Tom Hardy reading it). Not only do they help your little one unwind before bed, they’ve been proven to help improve speech and language skills too. Looking for a new book to cuddle up with? We asked our Mother and Baby mums to share their favourites with us: 

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.

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Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney 

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 

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 

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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Eat Your Peas by Kes Gray 

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 

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 

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

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.

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The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams 

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.

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My Dad by Anthony Browne 

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 

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 (especially if Daddy wants him to be a Premiere Leage footballer).
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Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae 

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 

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 

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.
 

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The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Another classic that has stood the test of time, this beautiful story of Sophie and her very hungry tea-time guest is a must if you’ve got an animal-lover in your brood. Why not plan a tea-party for your own hungry tigers at the weekend? 

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The Dinosaur that pooped a planet by Tom Fletcher 

From writing songs for McFly to bedtime stories for tots, dad of two Tom Fletcher clearly knows exactly what little boys (and girls) love in a book. Teaming up with bandmate Dougie Poynter, the duo tell the story of Danny and Dinosaur on their mission to space (without Dino’s all important lunchbox). 

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Postman bear by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

A lift-the-flap book for little hands, deep in the heart of Acorn Wood, Bear is writing letters to his friends. Written by the award-winning team behind The Gruffalo, you’ll love the easy to read rhyme. 

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Stick man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The adventurous tale of Stick man! A dog wants to play with him, a swan wants to build her nest with him, will he ever get back to the family tree in one piece?  

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 

This adorable story of Max and his monsters has entertained children for years. After dressing up in his wolf costume, Max wreaks so much havoc (sound familiar?) he is sent to bed before dinner. That night, his bedroom transforms into a forest, and he is taken to where the wild things are. The perfect night-time story for all those loveable little monsters out there.

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Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

A story of a friendship between a witch and her cat, The Room on the Broom follows the witch on her broomstick ride, until she encounters a stormy wind and has to be rescued. If your little one loves this story, it’s now been made into a film (for those afternoons where they need distracting!) 

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