Tuesday 5 March 2013

Great Books for Sharing with your 3-5 Year Olds

This list is by no means complete or absolute.

I expect to add to it as new books come along or people draw my attention to obvious gaps.

Three to five year old children are able to pay attention to longer stories and they appreciate more complex storylines.

Their humour is developing and they enjoy books with twists and surprises.

Fears can also be also developing, therefore books that explore these issues can be useful as too books that provide 'fun' frights.

Rhyming and repetiton are still important at this age, as many children will try to 'read' their favourites stories. This usually involves memorising entire pages and whole books to start with. The predictable text and rhymes help this memory skill.

Letter and simple word recognition usually begins around age four, although most children will be recognising familiar symbols from an earlier age (i.e. their own name, the golden M for McDonald's, their favourite cereal package or juice drink).

As always, the best way for young children to develop a love of reading is for you to read to them often and over and over again. Although you may be well and truly over reading one particular favourite, if your child is asking for it again, it is obviously fulfilling some need.

Reading books multiple times allows your child to memorise the language and to become confident at being a book user. In this case, familiarity breeds knowledge, experience and understanding.

Happy Reading!


Allen and Janet Ahlberg - The Jolly Postman
Chris Van Allsburg - Jumanji

Ludwig Bemelmans - Madeline
John Burningham - The Avocado Baby, Mr Gumpy's Outing, Mr Gumpy's Motor Car, The Shopping Basket
Virginia Lee Burton - Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, The Little House

Eric Carle - The Bad-Tempered Ladybird, The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Mem Fox - Possum Magic, Koala Lou, Where is the Green Sheep

Shirley Hughes - Dogger, Titch
Pat Hutchins - Rosie's Walk

Ezra Jack Keats - The Snowy Day, A Letter to Amy, Peter's Chair
Judith Kerr - The Tiger Who Came to Tea 

John Vernon Lord - The Giant Jam Sandwich

Sam McBratney - Guess How Much I Love You
A A Milne - Winnie the Pooh
Arlene Mosel - Tikki Tikki Tembo
Robert Munsch - The Paperbag Princess

Louise Pfanner - Louise Builds A Boat
Beatrix Potter - The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Maurice Sendak - Where the Wild Things Are
Esphyr Slobodkina - Caps for Sale 

Judith Viorst - Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Elfrida Vipont - The Elephant and the Bad Baby 

Martin Waddell - Owl Babies


Pamela Allen - Make Way for the Duckling, Waddle Giggle Gargle, Who Sank the Boat?

Duncan Ball - Jeremy's Tail 
Aaron Blabey - Stanley Paste

Mem Fox - Where is the Green Sheep, Koala Lou, Tough Boris

Katrina Germein - Big Rain Coming
Bob Graham - Rose Meets Mr Wintergarten, Queenie the Bantam

Alison Lester - Are We There Yet?

Nadia Wheatley - My Place
Margaret Wild - There's A Sea in My Bedroom
Tim Winton - The Deep


Pamela Allen - Mr McGee
Giles Andreae - Giraffes Can’t Dance

Lynley Dodd - Hairy Maclary From Donaldson Dairy
Julia Donaldson - The Gruffalo, What the Ladybird Heard, Stick Man, Room on the Broom, The Snail and the Whale

Alison Lester

Dr Seuss


Jez Alborough - Eddy's Teddy, Duck in the Truck, Fix-It Duck
Pamela Allen - Belinda, Fancy That

Anthony Browne - My Dad, Willy the Wimp

Lauren Child - I Will Not Ever Never Eat A Tomato series
Babette Cole - The Trouble With Mum, Princess Smarty Pants

Drew Daywalt - The Day the Crayons Quit

Ian Falconer - Olivia
Claire Freedman - Aliens Love Underpants 

Taro Gomi - Everyone Poops
Emily Gravett

Werner Holzwarth - The Story of the Mole Who Knew it was None of His Business

Oliver Jeffers - Stuck

Lydia Monks - Aaaargh Spider, I Wish I Were A Dog

Helen Nichols and Jan Pienkowski - Meg and Mog series

Tony Ross 
Elizabeth Rose Stanton - Henny

Jon Stone - The Monster At the End of This Book

Traditional - There Was An Old lady Who Swallowed A Fly
Herve Tullet - Press Here

Mo Willems - Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Don and Audrey Wood - The Little Mouse the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear 

Pictures to Pour Over

Jeannie Baker
Bronwyn Bancroft
Graeme Base
Anthony Browne
Alison Lester

Scary books

Allen Ahlberg - Funnybones 

Berenstain Bears - The Spooky Old Tree 
Ruth Brown - A Dark, Dark Tale

David A. Carter - In a Dark, Dark Wood: An Old Tale with a New Twist

Tomie De Paola - The Teeny Tiny Woman'

Katharine Holabird - Alexander and the Dragon

Margaret Mahy - The Lion in the Meadow

Brenda Parkes - The Hobyahs

Maurice Sendak - Where the Wild Things Are

Traditional - The Gingerbread Man


  1. What a fantastic and comprehensive list. Thank you for taking the time to put this together! I love your explanations/ categories. I will save this to Pocket to look at the next time I take my youngest to the library. I'm so glad Mo Willems made your list!!

  2. I agree, what a fabulous list! We read quite a few of them when Lachlan was little. He loved Dogger so, so much. There are quite a few favourites there.


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