If you’ve ever felt its time to graduate to some more grown-up books but been overwhelmed by the choices or you just can’t fathom reading the ‘old favourites’ one more time (I mean blooming heck the green sheep is behind the bush asleep!!) you need some new books on the shelves! Here’s a fabulous round-up of the best book titles for kids three to five years from The Realistic Mum…
There are so many amazing children’s books so it can sometimes be a bit daunting choosing the right book for your child. I hope you enjoyed my top list of books for children aged zero to three and you may have found some very familiar to your own household! If you had noticed any missing from your own favourite’s list, you might find them in my next list of 8 top books, which are great for readers from three to five years. Don’t be confused by the books being split into age ranges. If you have been reading a book from the following list to your young toddler or baby that doesn’t mean you are reading them the wrong book. Reading to your children is number one priority; I am just here to show you the age where you can get the best quality out of the book when reading it to your child.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
It would only be appropriate to start with my most loved book of all and I’m sure you will agree that you have at least heard of this book if not own it yourself. What’s not to love about a book that you read standing up and re-enacting all over your house? We usually stay away from this book at bed time because it excites my kids too much. This is also a great story for the Dad’s, firstly because it is the dad in the story who takes the children on the bear hunt adventure and it also acts as a fun game to play with them. Imagination and repetition are key features of this book and the words used make it more appropriate for older children to understand. From forests to rivers the adventure to find the bear is exciting with a sweet little twist at the end. I always feel sorry for the bear! This is definitely one of the best books for kids.
There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake
This is such a funny book and so beautifully written. The story is told by the little girl who reminds me so much of my own daughter. We don’t ever find out her name but it doesn’t matter and I feel that it has been done on purpose so children can relate with her better. This little girl’s life is normal just like most other children’s; even her mummy being on a salad diet is familiar in our house! This cheeky imaginary hippo gets to do all the things she can’t and the story can scaffold important conversations with your children about road safety, rules and routines. You can add questions in or at the end of the story such as “Why won’t the little girl’s mummy let her ride on the rode”? “Why was she naughty for drawing in her daddy’s book”? The little girl talks about how the hippo is her friend and I love using this as an example to my own children that they don’t need to feel alone. My only dilemma with this story is that I always feel like a piece of cake!
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear
How would you protect the strawberry from the big hungry bear? Children love hearing this story read to them because the reader becomes part of the story along with the little mouse. The story teller asks the mouse questions about how he is going to hide the strawberry from the big hungry bear and I always have children ask the little mouse a question of their own. The story is short and the illustrations are absolutely beautiful and just how you would imagine the funny little mouse. You can either use your imagination or have a real punnet of strawberries at the end to make the story come alive.
Where the Wild Things Are
This classic children’s story has been a top selling book since it is was first published in 1964. I’m sure you as parents either loved or had it read to you when you were small and is still a family favourite today. Children and imagination go hand in hand and this wild story is full of fun and adventure. A faraway land that you can only get to by boat and full of wild things to rule over, this is a great book for older children, especially those who won’t find it too scary.
Giraffes Can’t Dance
Jungle animals, rhyme and bright illustrations this book is a must to add to your collection. I am a big fan of stories about friendships and equality and this one is a beautiful example. A conversation I often have with my children is they might laugh at someone they think has done something funny but sometimes that person hasn’t meant to so it hurts their feelings. Gerald is a giraffe and wants to join in with all the other jungle animals and their amazing dances but he just trips and falls anytime he tries their moves. Leaving the dance sad and feeling useless he meets a cricket who says to him that he just needs to find his own rhythm, which is exactly what he does and surprises everyone. This is a story that shows being yourself is more important than trying to be like everyone else to fit in. I always like to end this story on talking about all the things my children are good and what’s great about them.
The Very Cranky Bear
This book comes in a series so I recommend finding the box set because they are all hilarious. The most beautiful illustrations and a story that will always make your children laugh. Four little friends trying to cheer the cranky bear up so they can stay in his cave to keep dry from the rain. They assume he is cranky because he doesn’t have the wonderful features they have like stripes and antlers so they make some for him. Sheep thinking she is plain with nothing to give waits outside but when confronted by the bear, she realises she has something special to give after all.
Each Peach Pear Plum
Another loved book from us parent’s childhood and a fabulous way to begin playing the ‘I spy game’. There is nothing more exciting than trying to find something in the pictures and every page has a special someone to find. Fairy tale and Nursery Rhyme Characters pop up in this book that you might find your children are unfamiliar with. Reading this book though, is a great place to start. Does your child know the story of The Three Bears or the Old Mother Hubbard nursery rhyme? If not then you have got yourselves some stories and songs to tell for another few days. This short and simple rhyming book will have your children memorising it after only a few times of reading and the competition of who finds everyone first begins!
Diary of a Wombat
There is no surprise why this book has been given awards. This is a wonderful story of the very cheeky wombat Mothball and her day-to-day life activities and challenges. I love how the book has been written in a diary format and the illustrations portray Mothball perfectly. If only we could sleep as much as this little wombat! When I would teach my class recounts, I usually introduced the topic with this book. However, this is also something you can teach your children to understand at home by getting them to recount the day or week just like Mothball has.
Kelly is a Sydney Based Blogger for The Realistic Mum as well as a busy mum to her three children, Jack, Eva and Franklin. With a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education, Kelly taught across Kindy to Year Two in both Australia and the UK.
Kelly recently finished a certificate in Children’s Writing and along with The Realistic Mum blog, is pursuing a career in writing children’s books, with her very first and soon to be released young children’s book ‘Look at the Clouds, What Can you See’?
Creating the phrase ‘when sleep and peeing alone become life’s greatest pleasure’, Kelly writes of her own journey as a wife and mother in an open and honest way with some added humour that you won’t find in any parenting books. “Becoming a mum is the hardest yet most rewarding job in the world but comes with the most unique experiences as well. The Realistic Mum blog is to show all mums they aren’t alone in the journey of motherhood and not always being able to keep it together is completely normal”.