Grandir UK’s Top 20 Children’s Book Recommendations

1 Mar 2024

Grandir UK’s Top 20 Children’s Book Recommendations

This March it’s World Book Day, and in celebration of the annual event we have created a special recommendation list focused on the universal love for books and reading.

We asked our Nursery Managers across our nurseries to tell us their all-time favourite children’s books, and we have shortlisted them down to a top 20 list. Read on to discover our books.


Top 20 children’s book recommendation list:


1. The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

Reading age: 0-5 years

“The Gruffalo has the capability of helping children to learn important lessons including how to problem solve, how to think outside the box, and skills in friendship. The story also helps lead on to other important educational topics like rhymes, grammar, and the food chain. In this much-loved picture book, a little mouse walks through the woods and encounters a fox, an owl and a snake. To fend them off, he tells each about the scary Gruffalo – but when the mouse actually encounters the Gruffalo himself, he cleverly invents another tale and manages to escape from danger yet again.”


2. Room on the Broom – Julia Donaldson

Reading age: 2-4 years

“Room on the Broom is a favourite picture book among many teachers and parents due to the mesmerising illustrations and repetitive rhyming text. The story is all about the importance of friendship and benefits of being kind to others.”


3. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen

Reading age: 2-4 years

“We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the award-winning adaptation of a folk song, is a modern classic. It tells the story of adventurous siblings who, accompanied by their pet dog, go on a search for a bear. Overcoming obstacles on the way, the fun turns into something more sinister when they actually meet the bear.”


4. The Colour Monster – Anna Llenas

Reading age: 2-4 years

“Unpack feelings with colour in this international bestseller that helps young readers identify emotions and feel more in control. One day, Colour Monster wakes up feeling very confused. His emotions are all over the place; he feels angry, happy, calm, sad, and scared all at once!”


5. Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae

Reading age: 1-4 years

“Giraffes Can’t Dance is a touching tale of Gerald the giraffe, who wants nothing more than to dance. With crooked knees and thin legs, it’s harder for a giraffe than you would think. Gerald is finally able to dance to his own tune when he gets some encouraging words from an unlikely friend.”


6. Shark in the Park – Nick Sharratt

Reading age: 2-6 years

“Timothy Pope is exploring the park with his brand new telescope. He looks up at the sky, he looks down at the ground, he looks left, and he looks right. All of a sudden, he sees a big black fin. “There’s a shark in the park!” But is it really a shark? Or could it be something else? Children will love peeping through the round holes in the centre of every page and guessing what Timothy has spotted.”


7. The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt

Reading age: 3-6 years

““The Day Crayons Quit” is a children’s book about a little boy named Duncan and his box of crayons, which one day decide to go on strike because they are not satisfied with how they are used. Duncan tries to find a way to solve this problem, in order to keep his crayons happy and be able to paint again.”


8. Billy’s Bravery (part of book series) – Tom Percival

Reading age: 0-5 years

“This unmissable World Book Day picture book is a wonderfully reassuring and uplifting story about finding your courage – the perfect springboard for talking about anxiety and self-belief with little ones.”


9. Here We Are (part of book series) – Oliver Jeffers

Reading age: 1-5 years

“Written as a manual to life on Earth from new dad Oliver Jeffers to his baby son, this simple, life-affirming picture book is both an overview of Earth and a guide to living well: with concepts of kindness, tolerance and environmental responsibility.”


10. Stick Man – Julia Donaldson

Reading age: 2-4 years

“Stick Man is a very lucky stick, living with his Stick Lady Love and their three small sticks. However, one day he goes out for a jog and becomes caught up in many precarious events. He becomes a toy for a dog, a pooh-stick, nesting material and even firewood.”


11. A Squash and a Squeeze – Julia Donaldson

Reading age: 3-6 years

“Julia Donaldson’s first ever picture book is the story of an anxious little old lady, whose house is just too small – but when she asks a wise old man for help, he suggests a rather strange solution to her problems.”


12. Max and Xam – Ariane Hofmann-maniyar

Reading age: 3-7 years

“Max and Xam are the very best of friends – until they fall out over who is more popular! Determined to prove the other wrong, their exploits bring new meaning to the phrase ‘making friends’. A hilarious and delightfully far-fetched story about the meaning and value of real friendship.”


13. Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell

Reading age: 1-4 years

“A little boy wants a pet, but the zoo keeps sending him animals that just won’t make good pets. An elephant is too heavy, a giraffe is too tall, and a snake is too scary! Until, at last, they send the perfect pet. Dear Zoo is another much loved classic picture book that never gets old.”


14. In My Heart – Jo Witek

Reading age: 3-6 years

“In My Heart explores a full range of emotions, describing how they feel physically, inside, with language that is lyrical but also direct to empower readers to practice articulating and identifying their own emotions.”


15. In The Dead of Night – Arthur McBain

Reading age: 3+ years

“Arthur McBain’s irresistible rhyme and Tom Knight’s cheerful illustrations are sure to entertain both children and adults. With thrilling suspense, a healthy dash of humour and a memorable surprise ending, In the Dead of the Night is destined to become a modern classic.”


16. That’s Not My… (book series) – Fiona Watt

Reading age: 0-5 years

“This delightful series of board books is aimed at very young children. The bright pictures, with their patches of different textures, are designed to develop sensory and language awareness. Babies and toddlers will love turning the pages and touching the feely patches.”


17. The Rainbow fish – Marcus Pfister

Reading age: 3-6 years

“The Rainbow Fish is the story of a beautiful, colourful, and shiny fish with metallic scales that lives in the sea. Rainbow Fish loves his scales so much; he does not want to share them when asked by a blue fish. The blue fish is so hurt by Rainbow’s Fishes’ refusal to share that he no longer wants to be around him.”


18. Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney

Reading age: 0-3 years

“Little Hare loves daddy as far as the river, and then, as he gets sleepy, he tells him he loves him up to the moon. And when he sleeps, daddy whispers ‘I love you to the moon and back’. This modern classic is a wonderful story about love between a child and a parent, which is never too early to share with your baby.”


19. The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

Reading age: 2-3 years

“A small caterpillar is born hungry and eats everything in sight until it gets a stomach ache. After that experience, he eats a leaf and it helps him to become a beautiful butterfly. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a story about a small caterpillar who emerges from an egg and begins eating everything in sight.”


20. The Fearsome Beastie – Giles Paley-Phillips

Reading age: 2-6 years

The fearsome beastie is hungry, so he leaves his cave in search of something to eat. The children of the town are fooled by the beastie s sly tricks and end up getting eaten! But don t fear, little Pete escapes and gets the one person who can save the day. His granny!”



    Story time can be the perfect moment to approach specific topics of concern or curiosity with your little one and a great conversation starter to learn more about how they are feeling. We hope you enjoy our recommendations and happy reading!

    Does your little one have a favourite book? Tell us about it! Tag on social media or email [email protected] with a photo of your little one and their favourite book. Let us know why they have loved it so we can share the book with others.



    Looking for a nursery near you?

    Find the perfect nursery or preschool place and Book A Visit at your local day nursery today, or join us for our Seasonal Open Days.


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