Saturday 14 April 2018

Top 5 story books for children under 5: Our April picks

We love a good children's book in this house! Both my children, S (almost 5) and R (2 and a half), have always enjoyed listening to stories and looking at books. Our collection at home is growing rapidly, and each of the children have their favourites. However, since joining the library, they are finding it hard to pin down just one story book that they love the most! Inspired by the Bath, Book, Bed campaign run by BookStartI have decided to write a round-up of my children's favourites each month. Here are our April picks for children under 5.

A selection of books we chose for our April under 5s favourites

Shark in the Park (Author/Illustrator: Nick Sharratt)

We love this book! In fact, I think we may have borrowed it from the library about 5 times! (Probably about time I actually bought them a copy, right?!) 

It's a "boy who cried wolf" type story about Timothy Pope and what he sees (or maybe he doesn't?) through his telescope. We absolutely love the sing-song rhymes and the repetition which encourages the kids to join in. We also love the little cut-out spy hole which lets you glimpse a little of what Timothy is looking at. Is it really a shark fin...or is it Dad's hair?

The illustrations are fun, smiley, bold and captivating, with so much to look at on each page. My children particularly like the clever surprise at the end...but I won't spoil that for you! Go and borrow a copy (or better still, buy one) - you will love it!

Dinosaur Roar! (Author/ Illustrator: Henrietta and Paul Stickland)

What a lovely little surprise this was! This is a perfect picture book for reading aloud together, especially if you have a dinosaur fan! It's more of an introduction to all sorts of dinosaurs than a narrative, told through cheerful rhyme with vivid pictures to entertain even the youngest listeners. 

Young boy reading Dinosaur Roar! on the sofa.

The book has a beautiful simplicity in its writing; the detail comes from the author's use of adjectives and opposites, with charming and funny watercolor pictures of the dinosaurs. All three of us enjoyed this book so much, we read it cover-to-cover three times in a row! 

There's a Monster in your Book (Author: Tom Fletcher, Illustrator: Greg Abbott)

Well, I don't know about the children but I've found a new favourite! A little blue monster has found a home in this book and it's up to the reader to get him out! But where will he end up? 

This beautifully illustrated, interactive story had us shaking the book, spinning it round and even tickling the monster's feet to get him out of the book! R loved joining in with all the instructions, especially when asked to make a loud noise to scare the monster away!

What starts as a mission to get the monster out of the book, becomes a more gentle quest to get the monster to sleep. It's a great, giggle-inducing book for bedtime and we really enjoyed it! 

The Everywhere Bear (Author: Julia Donaldson, Illustrator: Rebecca Cobb)

Julia Donaldson is such a brilliant author; she's a firm favourite in our house and this is another of her stories that will be on our shelf for years to come. This is such a lovely story, and one S totally related to as his class also have a bear like the Everywhere Bear.  

Toddler lying on floor looking at pictures in The Everywhere Bear.

The story is about a class bear who goes home with a different child each weekend. You know the type, the one that gets sent home with a diary that every parent dreads?! Well, in this story the Everywhere Bear gets lost one day and goes on an adventure of his very own. Will he ever make it back to Class One?

In true Donaldson style, the story is told through joyful rhymes which captivate young readers. No detail is left out in the beautiful, crayon drawings, from facial expressions to pictures on the walls. My two particularly liked the detail in the Polaroid style photos of each character and had fun matching them up to the text as I read it. It's a gentle, engaging story which we all really enjoyed.

Spot Visits his Grandparents (Author/Illustrator: Eric Hill)

This one is one of R's favourites! She loves the Spot the Dog books and all the bold, colourful lift-the -flap fun! 

Young girl reading a Spot the Dog book on the sofa.

In this story, Spot visits his Grandma and Grandpa. R's favourite part is when Spot breaks Grandpa's shed window with his ball, and in true grandchild-grandparent style, the pair make it their little secret! 

Spot has a lovely time helping in the garden and reading stories with his Grandpa, much like my children do! This is one reason we like Spot books because even my 2 year old can relate to the events in the story. 

For more bedtime story ideas, why not pop along to The Mum Diaries blog, where they post a photo of the bedtime story they enjoyed up on their Facebook page each evening! There are some fab ideas for April in the post called #TheMumDiariesBedtimeStories.

Don't forget to check out BookTrust's list of best bedtime books for 2018 on their website. What are your children's favourite bedtime stories? I'd love to hear about them in the comments below. It might give us an idea of what to hunt out on our trip to the library next month!

Finding joy in the little things: My daughter has just started retelling her favourite stories! She often repeats the bits that tug at her heartstrings, showing me she is really starting to understand emotions and how the world works! When she talks about the Spot story, she keeps saying. "Oh no! Spot broke the window with the ball!" So we've talked about accidents and what they are and she seems to understand! I love how both children are becoming little book worms! Long may it continue...

I'm linking up this post with these great blogs:

 Tactical Tuesday at Joanna Victoria


  1. My 4 year old loves the Rachel Bright books. Our favourite is the koala who could. Great reviews! We haven’t read the everywhere bear, so will give it a try!

    1. Ooh, great suggestion! I haven't read The Koala Who Could to my kids yet, I'm sure they'd love it! Thanks so much for commenting. x

  2. Mine have got a bit bigger now being 9 and 12 and it's a constant push to keep them reading for pleasure. Our book shelves have every sort of book under the sun for them but in the age of gadgets its always up to me to keep them focused in the right direction.

  3. A great selection of books here. We love there's a monster in my book its definitely a favourite of ours. Thank you for linking up with #TacticalTuesdays

    1. I think it will definitely go down as one of our all time faves here! :-)

  4. Really great reviews, thank you! x #TacticalTuesdays

    1. You're welcome! Thank you for reading them and commenting.

  5. These are ace; we love Shark in the Park, too. Will be checking out some of the others on your list! #tacticaltuesdays

    1. Shark in the Park is such a classic! Glad to give you some new ideas...


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