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Recommended Reads for Preschool: New Additions for 2024

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Recommended Reads: New Additions for Preschool

If you’ve previously purchased our 50 Recommended Reads pack for Preschool, then this list is for you! Update your collection with this special list of books which have been newly added to our 50 Recommended Reads list for Preschool.

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New Additions to our Preschool List

Lo Cole

Can you see Doris? She is a little red elephant, and she does not like to be noticed – which is hard when you are red and other elephants are grey. Doris likes to blend in with the crowd, but this is impossible for her due to her colour. She tries to find different places to hide and blend in with the background: with birds, with fish, amongst flowers. However, she always ends up standing out in the end. She finds herself hiding on a red page where she is nearly invisible; will she still be happy when she finally gets what she wants and cannot be found?

The story of Doris feels a little like Elmer, with the colourful elephant with a catchy name – however the character is very different while just as loveable. Spotting Doris on each page is a fun little challenge which adds a different dynamic to the story. There is a strong moral which follows the plot through the story; at first she is shy and wants to hide but by the end, she is proud to be different and finds her confidence and even tries to share this with another friend. This story book is perfect for EYFS and KS1 children as a link to thinking about being confident and proud of who you are.

Axel Scheffler
Short story collection

A compendium of well-known fairy tales illustrated with the instantly recognisable style of Axel Scheffler, whose work many young children will know from Julia Donaldson’s books like The Gruffalo.

These short fairytales form the very foundations of our literary cannon and Axel’s new treasury includes traditional stories that preschool children love to learn, like the Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Puss in Boots, as well as a handful of illustrated nursery rhymes.

Subtle details in the illustrations pay homage to the place of storytelling, rhyme and music in our culture. On one page, one of the three little pigs is listening to headphones while another is reading a book.  On another, a Willy Wonka -esque hare appears with his tailcoat and cane, and on another still unfolds a woodland scene that will look very family to the illustrator’s fanbase.  Meanwhile, the stories are told through simple language with enough repetition and predictability for young children to feel ownership of the tales after one or two readings.

A must-have for nursery and preschool book collections.

Pip Jones
 & Ella Okstad

Ava has a very special cat that no one else can see! His name is Squishy McFluff and he loves going on adventures. Ava and Dad are off on their first-ever camping holiday and, of course, Squishy McFluff is going too. Dad tells Ava about the serious business of camping and they spend quite some time getting everything packed and ready. When they arrive, Dad is shocked to discover that the tent isn’t in the car. Ava and Squishy McFluff thought that building a den to sleep in would be much more fun!

Told through rhymes and bright illustrations, younger readers will love reading about Ava and Squishy McFluff’s camping adventures.

Nicola Kent

This book would make a great addition to any EYFS or KS1 classroom. Measuring Me is a book to spark curiosity in young children in so many different ways. The book is perfect for an Early Years classroom library or would support an All About Me topic, linking with Knowledge and Understanding of the world (Science) and Maths.

The story introduces children to concepts for different types of non-standard measurement, facts about the five senses and interesting information about the human body related to measure, for example, the smallest and largest bone in the body. The height chart at the back was a bonus and is also full of facts, which, when put on the wall, facilitated a lot of comparative language conversations in the classroom between children about their height.

We enjoyed talking about the diversity exemplified in the book, too. The book includes a child with a walking frame, a girl with a head scarf, and a child with a tracheostomy collar. The number of opportunities to be curious is maximised in this book- a book that we will come back to again and again for sure!

Emma Chichester Clark

A treasured toy-themed story about a child’s love for their favourite teddy. Lily has always loved her blue kangaroo toy best of all. When she acquires a set of new toys, Lily’s loyalty to Blue Kangaroo is put to the test.

This is a gentle and reassuring story that has been a favourite with Early Years children for decades.

Jan Fearnley

It is the week before Christmas and it’s getting chilly outside. Little Robin washes and irons seven warm vests to keep him cosy in the frosty evenings leading up to Christmas. As each day goes by, Robin encounters a different shivering animal and, full of compassion, he generously offers each animal one of his vests to wear.

Robin’s kindness may have prevented his animal friends from getting colder, but when Christmas Eve arrives he finds himself with nothing warm left to wear. Fortunately, a festive visitor in a red suit and a soft, white beard spots Robin and finds a joyous way to reward him for his kindness to others.

The tale is likely to inspire children to tap into the spirit of giving that Robin demonstrates so unreservedly.

Stella J Jones
 & Jane Massey

Bear loves Small and Small loves Bear. Their love is constant and unconditional and often unspoken. Stella J Jones’s delightful story is an affirmation that love is love regardless of size, difference or gesture. This is a reassuring text that will confirm to all readers that love is always there and often in the most ordinary of times.

Younger readers will associate with the shared experiences of Small and Bear: singing songs together, holding hands, little notes in a packed lunch box for example and will be heartened to be shown that these ‘small things’ are, indeed, acts of love. Whilst Bear and Small do share times of excitement such as watching fireworks together, the key message of the story is that the ordinary, day-to-day shared experiences are rich with love and togetherness. The concept that love exists even in the ‘tough’ times is subtly explored; saying sorry and forgiveness are included as moments when love remains. This is a key message for young readers.

The gentle rhythmic pattern and occasional rhyme add a lulling, soothing pace – perfect for calming bedtimes or calm Preschool storytimes for quieter moments. Jane Massey’s simple watercolour illustrations beautifully reflect the emotions of Small and Bear and add to, but do not detract from the book’s overall charm. A gorgeous book to share with loved ones, big and small, to remind them that no matter what, no matter where or when, love is there.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
 & Joelle Avelino

‘Mama’s Sleeping Scarf’, a picture book, is a new departure for renowned author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (here writing as Nwa Grace-James, in tribute to her parents). In it she tells the story of a little girl called Chino, and the interactions and moments of fun that make up her day.

Chino has to stay at home with her Papa while her Mama goes out to work. When Chino is worried that Mama might not come back, Mama leaves her sleeping scarf for her– the one she wears ‘to keep her hair all soft and nice’ – to play with for the day. The scarf weaves its way through Chino’s day with her, helping her play games, and forming part of her conversations with both her grandparents and her Papa. The scarf is a reminder through the day of the love of her Mama and of the rest of her family too.

Through this charming and seemingly simple story, Adichie explores the reversal of traditional home roles, the value of multi-generational family bonds, and the simple anxiety of a child who wants to know their parent will return. It’s a bright and colourful text to read aloud.

Lu Fraser
 & Sarah Warburton

With the tagline “There’s a bright spark of braveness inside us all!”, who could fail to be won over by this book?

Told in rhyme, this is an utterly delightful story. The quality of the rhyme is just wonderful; when rhyme works like this, nothing forced, just clever use of language, you can tell this is a book that is destined to be a classic.

The story is about finding courage, told through hilarious farmyard escapades with a fun cast of characters. The chicken who knits (her friend Marge wears a fantastic jumper!) is scared of everything. She is such a wonderful character, the reader can’t help but fall for her. The chicken with the tractor ranks as my favourite; no-one would mess with her. It brings to mind the Aardman films with Shaun the Sheep and the Chicken Run, mainly because of the force of personality that shines out from the illustrations.

There is something to enjoy in this book for all ages and I am very much hoping we will see more of Mavis in the future.

Yuval Zommer

This gorgeous picturebook explores the gentle magic of snow. Young readers who may have only experienced real snow once or twice – or perhaps never – will relate to spring-born friends Fox and Hare, who hear rumours of a thing called snow coming as winter arrives, but need to know what exactly snow is.

Their search takes them on a journey through Zommer’s beautifully illustrated forest scenes to ask a host of animal friends about snow until, at last, they experience the ‘whitest, coldest, fluffiest, sparkliest snow’ for themselves.

Judith Kerr

Mog the Forgetful Cat is a classic favourite children’s book character and this story was released to celebrate 50 years of Mog stories.

Everybody loves birthday parties – unless you are a cat who prefers peace, quiet and no fuss. Mog isn’t thrilled at the idea of celebrating her birthday (because there will be too many people and strange things in the house) and retreats to the solitude of a garden tree. Initially upset because they can’t find Mog, the children soon track her down and give her a special celebration to remember.

Mog holds a special place in many children’s hearts and this story explores themes of celebrating special days with the ones we love.

Alexandra Penfold
 & Suzanne Kaufman

A simple but powerful rhyming picture book that shines a light on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the classroom.

Right from its opening lines, “Pencils sharpened in their case, Bells are ringing, let’s make haste, School’s beginning, dreams to chase. All are welcome here,” the book exudes an essence of acceptance and unity that strikes a chord as pupils settle into the culture of their new class. The book uses the format of a school day to show how different classmates are equally included, and the repeated refrain of ‘All Are Welcome Here‘ is one that classes could easily adopt as their own motto.

For any school or teacher committed to diversity and inclusion, this is an essential book with a clear message elegantly conveyed through the journey of a group of children as they navigate a day at their school, where the very essence of seeking to make every individual welcome is the thread the runs through all of the pages. Each double page spread comes alive with vibrant depictions of children donning different cultural clothing, all engaged harmoniously in activities in an environment that is intentionally inclusive. This portrayal of a school thriving on shared learning from one another’s traditions is both heartening and thought-provoking.

Matt Carr

Pop follows the story of some corn as it falls from its storage bag into a warm pan. As the pan begins to heat up, the corn kernels can feel something happening to them. Happily, they begin to transform into popcorn. Initially, there is just one piece of popcorn but throughout the book, more popcorn is made until all the corn is popped. The pun-filled story ends with all the popcorn watching a ‘corny’ movie.

This bright and fun story provides a great opportunity to practise basic counting as one piece of corn transforms at a time. The book has the numbers displayed clearly to support children with number recognition. The book has a wonderful rhyming verse that makes it a great read-aloud book. The repeated use of the word Pop throughout means younger children can help read the word themselves and get involved with the storyline.

The bright and engaging illustrations bring to life this interesting story and make this book a joy for younger children to look through and a must-read for Early Years story times.

Kate Petty
 & Axel Scheffler

A simple story for very young children about the joys of gardening and watching things grow.

Through the story of Sam planting a sunflower seed and watching it grow, readers will learn about the life cycle of a flowering plant and I’m sure it will inspire many children to get busy planting and growing flowers for themselves.

The interactive elements make this narrative non-fiction for preschoolers a real delight. Children will enjoy lifting the flaps to see what is happening underneath the soil or unfolding the surprise pop-up sunflower near the end.

Zeba Talkhani
 & Abeeha Tariq

A colourful and heartwarming picturebook story about celebrating Eid.

Safa is excitedly getting ready for Eid-al-Fitr. The preparations are fun to make and include drawing henna patterns on her hands, putting up decorations and eating delicious foods. She’s also looking forward to her favourite part – the presents. While she celebrates, Safa isn’t keen to share her present of a new bike, but her Mum helps her to learn how Eid is about sharing and to see the wider meaning of celebrating with family and loved ones.

A warm story about Eid that EYFS and KS1 children will love to read all year round.

Caryl Hart
 & Bethan Woollvin

Caryl Hart’s ‘Meet the Dinosaurs’ is more than just a dinosaur picture book. She has a wonderful talent for writing a rhyming narrative that weaves in facts seamlessly. In this book, readers can learn about the appearance, diet and behaviours of a range of well-known dinosaurs with a non-fiction narrative that is great fun to read aloud in EYFS.

The book is perfect for promoting children’s vocabulary and language skills. With eye-catching and vibrant illustrations from the amazing Bethany Woollvin, ‘Meet the Dinosaurs’ is a must-read for parents and educators alike.

Clara Anganuzzi

From its tactile front cover to its inspiring story and vivid illustrations, Ocean Gardener is a book to treasure.

The book has a hard cover impressed with water bubbles which will intrigue curious little fingers. The author’s glorious illustrations of seabed, sunsets and seascapes set the scene for an uplifting story with an all-female cast! Clara Anganuzzi teaches us about the coral reefs of her island home. Her super-mum character is pro-active and positive. As mother and daughter complete their daily rounds checking on the coral reef that surrounds their island, they realise that the reef is changing. The immortal words, ‘Mum had a plan’, lead to pragmatic and innovative actions to help solve the problem.The last part of the book includes information about real life marine biologist, Chloe, who works in the Seychelles, as well as an information page about coral reefs; how to protect coral; and ways to find out more.

Krina Patel-Sage

An eye-catching ‘bouquet’ of haiku poems. This hardback book  instantly engages with the beauty of nature with vibrant colours, where each page has people engaging with flowers or each other. The twenty-four haikus, each about a different flower, some well-known and others less so, are written where you can dip into and read a few or read the whole book in one sitting.

Every beautiful poem has a focus on at least one of the ‘five ways to wellbeing’: connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. The overarching theme of nature and treating it and ourselves mindfully is present throughout. I adore the floral fun facts at the end of the book, where the reader finds out interesting information about the flowers, whether it is where the name originates from or links to countries all around the world.

Perfect for all ages, it is a book to add to any collection on poetry, nature or well-being.

Julia Donaldson
 & Lydia Monks

What the Ladybird Heard is a huge favourite amongst preschoolers, parents and teachers. With everything from farm animals and minibeasts to sneaky crooks and fantastic lilting rhymes, this brightly illustrated story from national treasure Julia Donaldson is a clear winner for storytimes in the Early Years.

Young children love joining in the repeated refrains of animal sounds and seeing the plot unfold as the cunning little ladybird saves the day by helping her farmyard friends outsmart two burglars looking to steal the prize cow.

A classroom classic from an author-illustrator dream team.

Peter Arrhenius
 & Ingela P Arrhenius
Non-fiction Picturebook

This is a rhyming non-fiction book with flaps to lift and oodles of details to spot. The concept of the book is about people who work at night time. It could fit well with topics about People Who Help Us or Light and Dark. Children enjoy the peek-inside nature of the flaps, gaining insights into a world that is not normally accessible to us because we are sleeping!

The simple language, gentle rhyme and warm illustrations make this a good choice of non-fiction to share with Nursery, Preschool and Reception aged children.

Lydia Monks

Little Spider has a lot to prove when she wants to be the family pet. Can she convince a family who is scared of spiders to keep her?

This brightly illustrated picturebook is an uplifting story about acceptance and EYFS children love to join in (sometimes very loudly!) with the repeated phrases. We love Lydia Monk’s textured pages, making this well-loved storybook a treat for the eyes, ears and hands!

Susie Brooks
 & Cally Johnson-Isaacs

I Try is an engaging book focusing on developing resilience and perseverance in younger children. Each page introduces a character trying something new or wanting to get better at something – for example being braver, more curious or dealing with strong emotions. As well as introducing a range of characters, each page gives examples linked to animals which will appeal to younger readers. Susie Brooks cleverly provides questions on each page to discuss with the readers and link to their own personal experiences before finishing the book with a motivational and advice-packed page that will be accessible for all children to understand. The illustrations by Cally Johnson-Isaacs complement the story perfectly and add an extra layer to discussions that can be had with the children. Each page has a real scenario and children will be able to relate to what is happening at the same time as appreciating the animal illustrations and extra detail. This is the perfect book to use with EYFS and KS1 children to help develop resilience using a range of different examples and strategies to support them.

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