Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

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Toys

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From dolls and teddies to sticks and balls, toys can hold a special place in the hearts of children. It’s no surprise that the topic of toys and games is always a hit with children, who love learning about toys from the past and toys around the world. We’ve put together a selection of the best children’s books about the topic of toys.

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Stories about lost toys

Cressida Cowell
 & Neal Layton
Picturebook

This is a highly recommendable award-winning picture book that tells the story of a little girl whose favourite toy rabbit is kidnapped by order of the Queen, who likes the look of the toy for herself. Emily Brown is not willing to let her beloved rabbit go without a fight and goes on to teach the Queen an important lesson about the value of treasured toys.

We absolutely love this story from storytelling maestro Cressida Cowell, and grown-ups who love to read dramatically and ‘do the voices’ will have just as much fun as children listening.

Emily Rand
Picturebook
A little girl and her mummy are visiting Grandpa on the train. It's very busy - hold on tight! But when they arrive at their destination something is wrong . . . teddy has gone missing. Just when it looks like she'll never see Teddy again, Grandpa has an idea! And suddenly the little girl is off on a magical journey to rescue her teddy. Have you ever wondered where your lost objects go? With charming and stylish illustrations, this books is perfect for curious minds.
Emma Chichester Clark
Picturebook
Every night Blue Kangaroo falls fast asleep, cuddled in Lily's arms. But as new toy animals start arriving, Blue Kangaroo worries that there just isn't enough room for him anymore. When he goes missing, Lily looks everywhere for him and it turns out NONE of the other toys mean as much to her as her first and favourite Blue Kangaroo.
Ian Beck
Picturebook

This picture book tells the story of Tom, whose teddy is snatched in the middle of the night. Tom sets out to get to the bottom of the mystery and find the Teddy Robber himself. Can he save all of the missing bears?

Shirley Hughes
Picturebook
Everywhere Dave goes, his favourite toy, Dogger, is ALWAYS with him.So, when Dogger goes missing, Dave is devastated. Luckily, Dogger turns up at the school summer fair, but when he ends up at the toy stall, Dave must find a way to buy his best friend back.With a heart warming message and delightful illustrations, Dogger has delighted children for generations. This gentle bedtime story is perfect for young readers.

Helen Cooper
Picturebook
Molly's toy rabbit, Tatty Ratty, is lost again. Might he be driving a train?...or sailing on a pirate ship? An imaginative and heart-warming story, with glowing illustrations from Helen Cooper, twice winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Stories about toys coming to life

Julia Donaldson
 & Rebecca Cobb
Picturebook
The Paper Dolls is a stunning, lyrical story of childhood, memory and the power of imagination from Julia Donaldson, the author of The Gruffalo , and award-winning illustrator Rebecca Cobb.A string of paper dolls go on a fantastical adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then a very real pair of scissors threatens . . .The Paper Dolls is a beautiful and evocative story from Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb, the bestselling creators of The Everywhere Bear.
Mini Grey
Picturebook

This is another wonderful story from popular picture book author Mini Grey (author of Traction Man). When a child’s toys are left out in the garden over night, they get unexpectedly beamed into space. The toys use their best storytelling skills to cope with their new surroundings and problem-solve their way back home. There are some great ideas for activities to go with this book on the Teachwire website.

David Lucas
Picturebook

When the toy museum closes each evening, all the toys come to life. Bunting, the old toy cat, takes it upon himself to count and inspect the toys and give them a history lesson. But one night the toys decide to teach Bunting how to have some fun. This enchanting story has detailed illustrations and children will love to spot the different toys scattered throughout the pages.

Mini Grey
Picturebook

This is a high quality text full of detailed comic-style illustrations. It follows the adventures of an Action-Man style hero with an outfit for every occasion. His daily superhero challenges include rescuing lost toys, diving in the sieve-wreck and saving distressed damsels. Highly recommended for KS1.

Enid Blyton
Chapter book
This classic is a highly recommended choice of an early chapter book to dip into in storytime in KS1, with short, illustrated chapters that can read as individual stories or as a collection. Amelia Jane is a doll who likes to cause mischief in the toy cupboard when the humans are not around. Can the other toys keep up with Amelia's cheeky tricks and help her to learn to be kind?

Jane Hissey
Picturebook
Jane Hissey's beloved Old Bear and Friends series returns with this refreshed teddy-bear classic, perfect for sharing with little ones!Old Bear tells the classic tale of how a much-loved teddy bear is lost and finally found again. After Old Bear is packed away in a box in the attic, Bramwell Brown becomes determined to save his forgotten friend. And so, with the help of Little Bear, Duck, Rabbit and an assortment of other toys, he plans an ingenious rescue mission to save Old Bear from loneliness and bring him safely back home...Nostalgia and heartfelt humour beam from each page in this brand new paperback edition of Jane Hissey's beloved classic. Beautiful, photo-realistic artwork combines with funny, reassuring text, making this the perfect teddy bear tale to treasure for years to come.

Stories about imaginative play

John Hegley
 & Neal Layton
Picturebook

With the power of Stanley’s imagination, a simple stick can become any kind of toy that he wants. This entertaining story with brilliant illustrations is a celebration of children’s imaginary play.

Jan and Jerry Oke
Picturebook
This is a photo book that has become very popular in Early Years and KS1! It follows the story of a boy's adventures with his toy bus, told through the voice of the bus itself. If you are looking for something a little bit different for your topic, we highly recommend this one!

Children's books about toys from the past

Sally Hewitt
Non-fiction

An informative and accessible non-fiction text that explores how toys have changed over time, organised into easy to navigate sections with a contents page, index, glossary and timeline.

Jan Oke
 & Ian Nolan (photographer)
Picturebook
This unusual and original book is a photographic picture story that compares old and new houses. The story follows two Victorian toy soldiers that were hidden beneath the floorboards of a house in 1870. When the pair are discovered 140 years later they are surprised to see just how much the house has changed.

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