The best children’s books ever

These are the best children’s books ever – well according to the NurtureStore panel of book critics. Today is World Book Day and to honour the occasion I thought I’d share with you our very favourite books – and see if you agree with our picks. It’s so hard to put together a definitive list of course but these are the books which hold a very special place in our heart.

Dogger by Shirley Hughes is a tale of love, loss and how to be a fabulous big sister. It tells us what happened when Dave lost his favourite toy dog and how big sister Bella saved the day. This book made me cry when I first read it to B, when I was pregnant with L and B was just about to turn into a big sister herself! We haven’t come across a Shirley Hughes book we don’t love and this features her amazing illustrations, depicting a family and school life which is so familiar.

I’m sure you all know Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and it’s in our top picks because it’s the book we especially love to read out loud as it gives plenty of opportunity for great character voices as well as dramatic resonance.

Can You Catch a Mermaid by Jane Ray is a moving tale of a lonely little girl and a very hard decision she has to make. It’s all about friendship and features Jane Ray’s beautiful illustrations. B has a real love of mermaids so this is her top pick and I like it because it can be read on different levels: it has a happy ending and also leaves you thinking about unanswered questions long after you’ve finished reading.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is the first book I ever read to both B and L and so has a very special status in our family. It’s a real classic and a fabulous springboard into learning about caterpillars and butterflies, numbers, days of the week and so much more. I’ve used this book in so many different ways with the children I work with and it just had to be in this selection.

I loved the My Naughty Little Sister series by Dorothy Edwards when I was little and I think it’s a real joy to share a childhood favourite with your own children. Some of the things my naughty little sister gets up to make B gasp, andw e also love the book because some of the stories remind us quite a lot of a little sister we know.

B is now at the stage where she can read chapter books independently and she’s delighting in discovering lots of new-to-her authors. Roald Dahl is a master story teller but I’d forgotten just how well crafted his books are. Fantastic Mr.Fox is the first of his books which B came across and I often find her fast asleep at night, clutching this book in her hand.

So this is our pick of the best children’s books ever. What’s would be on your list?

More World Book Day ideas.


  1. says

    Even though my little man is only 23 months old, his all time favourite book is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I love it, too, for all the reasons you mentioned, but my little man loves it because the ‘catapiya’ is always ‘still ungi’….it’s so cute, melts your heart :)

  2. says

    What a great selection, I love Dogger too! Minnie’s favourite books at the Moment are the Percy the Park Keeper series by Nick Butterworth, so much fun to read :)

  3. says

    Several of these are new to me – I’ll have to check them out!

    One of my favorite children’s authors of all time is Martin Waddell, especially “Can’t You Sleep, Little Bear?”

  4. says

    I loved Roald Dahl as an early reader too. I remember reading and rereading The BFG. We love the “aterpillar” as my son calls the very hungry caterpillar. We love a lot of Eric Carle books and Bill Martin Jr. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom… Brown Bear. My favorite picture book of all time is The Runaway Bunny.
    Great list.

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