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Books For 5 Year Olds

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Recommended Children’s Books For Children Age 5

Looking for good books for 5-year-olds? Welcome to our handpicked collection of the best books for children aged 5.

We’ve carefully chosen these recommended books for five-year-olds to make it easier for parents, teachers, and anyone searching for quality reading books for young readers. Our reviewed and curated list covers a variety of styles, including picture books, funny books, short illustrated first chapter books and non-fiction suitable for children at the age of five.

Whether you’re on the hunt for gentle stories about kindness and inclusion like Luna Loves Art and The Kindest Red, or rip-roaringly funny books for giggle-worthy story times like Poo in the Zoo, we’ve covered a whole breadth of themes and genres with this recommended reading list. We’ve also selected classic books like Paddington and Dogger, as well as interactive favourites like You Choose and options for children ready to start their first short chapter books, like the colour-illustrated Princess Minna.

For more comprehensive booklists, browse our lists of 50 Best Books for Year 1 or 50 Best Books for Reception.

Explore our recommendations for age 5 children and make this step of your child’s reading journey a truly enjoyable and enriching time.

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Top Recommended Picturebooks for 5 year olds

Kes Grey
 & Jim Field

We’ll never grow tired of this creative tongue-twister series of stories that make for perfect read-it-together books for families and classroom settings – it’s ridiculously good fun that takes ‘the cat sat on a mat’ to a whole new level of hilarity.

The award-winning series includes Oi Frog!, Oi Dog!, Oi Cat!, Oi Duck-billed Platypus! and Oi Puppies!, and each book is based on the premise of instructing a menagerie of animals where to sit, using rhyme (for example, hares sit on chairs and lions sit on irons). The funny interplay between the unconvinced frog (who does not want to sit on a log, by the way), and the experienced mat-sitting cat, is what makes this book such a hoot.

Children in EYFS love this book, which always gets little ones joining in with the wonderfully silly rhymes. It is a good book for Reception phonics learning and also just to read for fun. The illustrations are bright and colourful and it is exactly the kind of go-to story time treat that teachers rely on for guaranteed giggles for classroom story sessions.

Julia Donaldson
 & Lydia Monks
Join everyone's favourite crime-busting ladybird on a trip to the seaside! With a cast of wonderful sea creatures, including a magical mermaid, and plenty of beach fun, What the Ladybird Heard at the Seaside is a brilliant rhyming adventure from the bestselling picture book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. A big hit for storytime in KS1 and EYFS.
Pippa Goodhart
 & Nick Sharratt

Get pupils choosing, imagining and expressing their own preferences with this massively appealing picture book full of choices.

Each double-page spread is themed around a different choice to make and packed with all sorts of possibilities from the tame to the outright wacky; choose furniture for your ideal house, choose a pet (watch out for the dragon) and choose favourite food (the ice cream looks good but I’m not sure about the boar’s head!).

The You Choose series of books have seen enormous popularity and are well-loved by children because of the premise of letting the reader choose items from an appealing illustrated scene on each page. Readers are invited to select their favourite food, destination, clothing, hobby and family from a mix of plausible and not-so-plausible cartoon options, illustrated by the inimitable Nick Sharratt. These engaging books have mileage to be read over and over again, and children love interacting with them together with friends or family as they discuss their choices.

There is nothing that can quite take the place of this fantastically engaging series!

Best Story Books 5 Year Olds

Jeanne Willis
 & Jenni Desmond

We love this funny tale of a blue monster who is consumed with so much greed that he even eats the sun. The greed starts in small ways, just wanting a bit more than he is given. It soon balloons as he decides to seek out a new improved version of everything he owns, from toys to cars to families.

Young children who’ve learned to get a bit of a handle on greedy impulses will be entertained by Blue Monster’s outrageous behaviour – and it really is outrageous, as the story escalates in hilariously preposterous ways. They will also feel satisfied with the safe and reassuring resolution, which shows that appreciating the ‘money can’t buy’  things in our lives like family and friends is more fulfilling than material gain.

The illustrations make this fun story really excellent, with paint and crayon pictures that create an instantly relatable appeal and express both the monster’s immaturity and the bright humour of the story. There are loads of fantastic and unusual details to spot and every page feels colourful and exuberant with fun twists, like monster-shaped buildings and funky animals – except for the one dark page when monster’s greed has reached a climax and he has swallowed the sun, sitting in the darkness with a single tear on his cheek. After a little soul searching, a happy and brightly coloured ending is restored.

This is a real winner of a story for Reception children.

Joseph Coelho
 & Fiona Lumbers
At the gallery, Luna is transfixed by the famous art, but her classmate Finn doesn't seem to want to be there at all. Finn's family doesn't look like the one in Henry Moore's 'Family Group' sculpture, but then neither does Luna's. Maybe all Finn needs is a friend. Join Luna and Finn at the Art Gallery and step inside famous works of art by Van Gogh, Damien Hirst, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol and many more! Can you spot all the art? Created by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho, this book follows Luna Loves Library Day as an introduction to different types of family.
Ibtihaj Muhammad, S. K. Ali
 & Hatem Aly

This is an absolutely beautiful book – one that is positive and empowering. In the author-illustrator team’s previous book The Proudest Blue, we saw the beautiful bond between sisters Faizah and Asiya and heard the supportive and uplifting words of their mother. In The Kindest Red we see this again throughout the story as we ponder the question posed by Faizah’s teacher, ‘What kind of world would you like to live in?’ A beautiful world? A strong world? A kind world?

Faizah and her friends spend the day showing acts of kindness and seeing them spread until the whole class is beaming. However, it’s school photo day and when it comes to her turn to step up with Asiya, she needs a small act of kindness herself which her friends gladly give. The central theme of ‘passing things on,’ between family members, and to friends and strangers, is beautifully woven through the story, along with the idea of sharing kindness with others. The author’s note beautifully links the theme to her faith too, causing the reader to think about the impact of our actions and behaviour on others around us.

Nathan Bryon
 & Dapo Adeola

Look Up! is an entertaining and vibrant story book about a space-loving girl called Rocket. Rocket is excited about the chance to view an upcoming meteor shower, and she wants everyone she meets to be ready to look up and see it. Frustratingly, her much older brother would rather look down at his phone. With a little sibling compromise and a never-giving-in approach from Rocket, the pair have a wonderful time together and Rocket helps everyone to see how amazing the sky can be when you just look up.

This book is great fun and always a bit hit with Year 1. Many children at this age can relate to the frustration of seeing older family members immersed in their phones, but also know the feeling of being excited by the night’s sky and fascinated by space.

The story includes space facts and references to significant figures in space history like Mae Jamison, who was the first black female astronaut to travel into space. The underlying values of the importance of community and family bonds give a real warmth to this super story book.

Cressida Cowell
 & Neal Layton

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.

Animal Stories for Children Aged 5

Catherine Rayner

Augustus the tiger has lost his smile and he now feels sad. This delightful book follows his journey through different landscapes to find his smile again. He looks everywhere he can think of to find his smile but is initially unsuccessful in his search. Only when he spots his reflection in a rain puddle does Augustus realise that his smile returns whenever he is happy – in this case because he has found happiness looking at the wonderful world around him.

This is a beautifully illustrated picture book with images that capture the emotions of the story and bring them alive for young readers.

Benji Davies

This is the story of Tad, the smallest tadpole among her siblings. Tad desperately tries to keep up with the others, not wanting to get left behind – especially as she has heard that ‘Big Blub’ is lurking in the depths of the water. Over time, Tad watches her siblings grow and change, and eventually make the leap out of the water as they become fully grown frogs. When the time comes for Tad to follow in their path, it will take a heap of courage to embrace the next adventure and leap into life.

This is a vibrantly illustrated nature story by Benji Davies, with plenty to spot and count. A good book for Reception or KS1 about life cycles, growth and change or facing new challenges.

Steve Smallman
 & Ada Grey

Steve Smallman is the master of funny rhymes for children and as luck would have it, quite a lot of words rhyme with ‘zoo’.

Take a menagerie of animals, a thumpingly fast rhyming verse and a dash of toilet humour and you have the makings of a riotous storytime favourite. As well as the tongue-twisting story filled with funny-sounded onomatopoeia (there’s plenty of plopping and splatting), the book also features themes of keeping the environment clean, animal tracking and caring for wildlife. This book will become an instant favourite with children who love a good giggle at storytime.

Classic Books for 5 Year Olds

Shirley Hughes

A nostalgia-filled tale that adults love just as much as children, making it an all round winner for read-aloud story times in the Early Years. This classic reading book by beloved children’s author-illustrator Shirley Hughes was voted the public’s favourite CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal winner.

We are very fond of this lost-and-found story, in which Dave accidentally loses his favourite stuffed toy, Dogger. Shortly afterwards, Dogger turns up on a stall at the school fete, but there are a few bumps along the way before the pair are happily reunited.

This is a sincere toy-themed story about a very familiar scenario. Many children (and parents) will know the heartbreak of losing a favourite toy, and hopefully some will also relate to the joy of being reunited! Beautiful written and illustrated, this tender children’s picturebook is a must-read for young children.


Alf Proysen
 & Hilda Offen
Short story collection

These classic stories from Norwegian children’s author Alf Prøysen follow the adventures of Mrs Pepperpot, who magically shrinks to the size of a pepper pot at the most inconvenient times. Everyday tasks become big adventures and children love the funny escapades and Mrs Pepperpot’s no-nonsense approach to solving problems.

This illustrated version of a true children’s classic is brilliant for Reception-aged children.

Michael Bond
 & R. W. Alley

The Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond are classic stories for children and have been enjoyed for years. Paddington is a real bear, all the way from darkest Peru, and his well-meaning misadventures in England are funny.

Paddington moves in with the Brown Family in London and has a series of accidental adventures with his new clan. The stories have a timeless appeal and there is something charming about all the mishaps that Paddington finds himself in.

Paddington is a loveable and memorable iconic children’s character and the stories are really well told, with warmth and gentle humour that is perfect for children aged 5-8.

Colour-Illustrated short chapter books for 5 year olds

Hannah Shaw
Chapter book

One for fans of Harriet Muncaster’s Isadora Moon and Sarah MacIntyre’s Grumpycorn, this is the first story in a series of illustrated short chapter books about Princess Pea and her rather un-royal palace pet – Unipiggle! A madcap and muddy adventure with high-energy design in full colour and tips to draw your own Unipiggle too.

Kirsty Applebaum
 & Sahar Haghgoo
Chapter book

These stories are perfect very first chapter books for young readers. The text is larger and wider spaced than most chapter books and the pages are fully colour-illustrated with a bright and bold palette.

Princess Minna is an adventurous, modern princess who is full of life and keen to use her resourcefulness to help whoever is in need along the way. From dealing with dragons to saving a prince in distress, Minna always has an adventure to tackle head on.

Not short of funny moments, this early chapter book series makes for a highly entertaining reading book for children ready to move on from picturebooks to something short and illustrated with multiple chapters.

Nick Sharratt
Chapter book

Splash Day is part of Barrington Stoke’s highly recommendable ‘Little Gems’ series, which brings together popular children’s authors and illustrators to produce stories with clever design features and super-readable layout that make them appealing and accessible to newly independent readers who may not be quite ready for full chapter books. It has the feel of a short chapter book, but has a reduced amount of text on each page and is perfect for Year 1.

This Little Gem is written and illustrated by multi-award-winning Nick Sharratt and is buckets of fun to read. The simple rhyming story, about a class that has been awarded a day of water fights and paddling pools as a reward for working so hard, was inspired by a real visit to a school that holds a ‘splash day’ treat annually. The children in the class are equipped with goggles, wellies and inflatables ready for a day of watery fun and even the teachers are ready to join in. There is plenty of rhyme and alliteration in the text and a funny twist waiting at the end. Coupled with Nick Sharratt’s signature-style bold and colourful illustrations, the book is a joy to read.

Children in the 5-8 age bracket who remember listening to Nick Sharratt’s younger books like Chocolate Mousse for Greedy Goose and Goat Goes to Playgroup as toddlers will be delighted to find a book in his wonderfully appealing and familiar style designed for them to be are able to access independently as newly independent readers.

We also enjoyed the jokes and puzzles inside the jacket, a brilliant feature shared with the other Little Gems books.

Non-Fiction Books for Five Year Olds

Sally Symes & Stephanie Drimmer
 & Kate Slater

We are big fans of non-fiction books that get the level right for younger children, and this is an absolute gem!

Each page is themed around a ‘why’ question, and answers the questions in an encyclopaedia style format, with small chunks of text, images and large, clear photographs. We love the child-friendly language, the dip-in-dip-out nature of the book and the fun questions that will really appeal to curious little ones (such as ‘Why does popcorn pop?’, ‘Why does an octopus have suckers?’ and ‘Why do astronauts wear suits?’).

This book would make an excellent gift for a young child or a popular browsing choice in Reception classroom reading corners.

William Bee

Children who love vehicles will adore Wonderful World of Things That Go.

With diagram-style illustrations of trucks, trains, boats, planes, tractors and farm machines, there are plenty of transport-themed facts to consider. Each page is adorned with cute cartoon animals and traffic cone characters who add to the fun of the book.

This information book for younger children helps readers to consider the purpose of each type of machine, including what jobs they help to do and what the essential parts of each moving machine are. The short sentences on each page give the information in a matter-of-fact way so as not to overwhelm young learners, while the pictures offer plenty to spot and discuss.

A winner of a non-fiction book on a very popular topic among children in their younger school years.


We highly recommend DK’s ‘My Very Important Encyclopedia’ series, which also features volumes on dinosaurs, oceans and sport. It is not easy to find comprehensive non-fiction books that are suitable for the younger age range, but the spacious pages, simplified text and high ratio of images (both photographs and illustrations) make this is a brilliant choice for Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 children.

Each page features a different animal, giving information in simple language with bright colours, speech bubbles and text boxes to break up the information into bite size chunks.  It feels like a real encyclopedia but is perfectly pitched for the youngest readers without having any overwhelming chunks of text or overly complicated diagrams.

This absolutely super young non-fiction series and will become a go-to for animal-loving children who are curious to learn more.

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Guidance: About the Age 5 Reading List

What are best kinds of books for 5-year-olds?

The best books for children aged five include stories with bright and bold illustrations, like What the Ladybird Heard or Blue Monster Wants it All, as well as books with interesting details to pore over like Luna Loves Art or the interactive visual feast You Choose.

Storytime is a treasured time of day for children of this age. Look for stories with a strong and simple narrative structure and a clear beginning, middle and end to help young children to understand basic story arcs, like the fun growth and new life adventure in Tad or Cressida Cowell’s brilliantly fun picturebook That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown.

Be sure to introduce books that tempt beginner readers to join in reading some of the words and lines independently or to predict the end of lines through rhymes and repeated sections like Poo in the Zoo or Oi Frog!. Some 5-year-olds will be ready for short, illustrated chapter books and we recommend Unipiggle and Princess Minna.

Our list of best books for 5 year olds also includes a range of age-appropriate non-fiction for curious minds, from the ever-popular Encyclopedia of Very Important Animals and First Big Book of Why to the transport-themed William Bee’s Wonderful World of Things That Go.

What are the most popular authors and illustrators for children aged 5?

Popular authors and illustrators for 5-year-olds include Julia Donaldson, David Litchfield, Tom Fletcher, Michael Rosen, Nadia Shireen, Kes Gray, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Oliver Jeffers, Steve Smallman, Nick Sharratt and Dapo Adeola.

The most popular series for 5-year-olds include Supertato, Oi Frog, Dasiy, Isadora Moon, Hairy Maclary, Elmer, Shifty McGinty, Paddington, Aliens Love Underpants and Mog the Forgetful Cat.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Best Books for 5-Year-Olds booklist?

Where can I find out about the best new books for five-year-olds?

Each month we feature our top five Books of the Month, highlighting new titles that our Review Panel recommend for primary school children.

You can also check out the New Books section of our website, or sign up to our mailing list to keep on top of news and reviews from the children’s book world.

What other booklists for 5-Year-Olds are available?

Looking for more of the best booklists for 5-year-olds? BooksForTopics has got you covered!

Here are a few:



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