Picture books classic and new

Picture books aren't just for younger children. Here are a selection of picture books for Reception, KS1 and KS2 children that are a mixture of absolute classic and some fantastic new releases. It included some great questions as well to get your child involved in a discussion around the book.

 

 

 

Title

Author

Synopsis and Story Type

Age range and possible question for discussion or debate

Rating


NEW


BEEGU


Alexis Deacon

Beegu is a rabbit-like alien lands who lands on earth, is rejected by adult earthlings but befriended by children. Good for drama.

Fictional Voyage and Return story similar to ET.

KS1


Discuss:What would happen to Beegu if he landed in your school?

10


YERTLE THE TURTLE


Dr Seuss

Yertle the Turtle, the king of the pond is unsatisfied with the stone that serves as his throne, he commands the other turtles to stack themselves beneath him so that he can see further and expand his kingdom. However, the stacked turtles are in pain and Mack, the turtle at the very bottom of the pile, is suffering the most. Eventually, pride has its fall!

KS1 or KS2

 

Discuss: What were the consequences of Yertle’s pride? (for himself and for others)

10


THE SNEETCHES & OTHER STORIES


Dr Seuss

The Sneetches with stars on their bellies treat the Plain Belly Sneetches with contempt but finally learn that ‘Sneetches are Sneetches’ – anti-discrimination message.

KS1 or KS2

Discuss: Are the Sneetches like us?

10


OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO


Dr Seuss

Not so much a story as a ‘well-wishing’ for someone starting out on a new venture.

KS2

Discuss: What helps you most when you have challenges in life?

10


THIDWICK THE BIG-HEARTED MOOSE


Dr Seuss

More and more animals make their home in Thidwick’s antlers, taking advantage of his kindness, but they finally get their come-uppance!

KS1 or KS2


Discuss: Is it possible to be too kind?

10


HORTON HATCHES THE EGG


Dr  Seuss

Similar in many ways to Thidwick (above) – Horton is kind hearted and is taken advantage of by a lazy bird who gets him to sit on her egg while she goes on holiday.

Virtue again is rewarded as Horton hatches an elephant bird.

KS1 or KS2


Discuss: Would you ever break a promise?

10


LITTLE BEAVER & THE ECHO


Amy McDonald

Little Beaver is lonely until one day he hears a voice from across the pond – he goes in search of this far away friend. Story about loneliness and friendship.

FS or KS1


Discuss: Can you ever be happy on your own?

10


THE LITTLE WOOD DUCK


Brian Wildsmith

The Little Wood Duck is teased by his brothers and sisters for not being able to swim straight – but he saves them from the wolf and becomes their hero. Deals with bullying and how we deal with ‘difference’. Beautiful illustrations.

FS or KS1


Discuss:What makes the Wood Duck a hero?

10


EMILY BROWN & THE THING


Cressida Cowell

Wonderful illustrations and witty language. Emily is trying to sleep but THE THING on the window sill keeps crying – he wants his cuddly, he wants a glass of milk etc THE THING is scared but plucky Emily sorts him out.

Defeating the monster story – conquering fear.

FS or KS1


Discuss:What helps you when you are feeling frightened?

10


THAT RABBIT BELONGS TO EMILY BROWN


Cressida Cowell

Wonderful illustrations and witty language The Queen wants Emily’s toy rabbit Stanley and is prepared to pay any price for it – but Emily won’t give Stanley up at any price. Comedy plot.

FS or KS1


Discuss: What things or people are really precious to you?

10


WOMBAT GOES WALKABOUT


Michael Morpurgo

Beautifully illustrated. All Wombat can do is dig and think whilst others can do all manner of things. But digging and thinking can save lives. .

Similar plot to The Little Wood Duck – sort of Rags to Riches.

FS or KS1


Discuss: What are your special gifts?

10


JOHN BROWN, ROSE & THE MIDNIGHT CAT


Jenny Wagner

John Brown (a dog) is happy living with Rose as he as always done until one day Rose sees the Midnight Cat and becomes fascinated by it. A story about love and jealousy.

FS or KS1


Discuss: Was it easy for John Brown to let the Midnight cat in? Why did he do it?

10


LOST AND FOUND and UP AND DOWN


Oliver Jeffers

Two picture books for young readers from a series of stories about a Boy. These two are about the friendship between the Boy and the Penguin.

FS or KS1


Discuss: How do you know the boy and the penguin are friends?

10


THE SMARTEST GIANT IN TOWN


Julia Donaldson

Kind hearted giant gives away all he has and is finally rewarded with gratitude and friendship.

FS or KS1


Discuss: When is the giant happiest and why?

10


THE VELVETEEN RABBIT


Margery Williams

A boy receives a Velveteen Rabbit for Christmas. The Velveteen Rabbit is snubbed by other more expensive or mechanical toys, who fancy themselves real. One day while talking with the Skin Horse, the Rabbit learns that a toy becomes real if its owner really and truly loves it. The Skin Horse tells the Velveteen Rabbit that "...but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always." Story can be seen as a Quest to become real or as a resurrection allegory.

KS1 – KS2


Discuss: What is this story saying about what it means to be ‘real’?

10


I’LL TAKE YOU TO MRS COLE


Nigel Gray

First person narration – a young boy is left at home while his mum goes out to work. She threatens him that if he misbehaves she will take him to Mrs Cole, a neighbour with a big noisy family. The boy finally confronts his fear of Mrs Cole and ends up friends with the family. Excellent for drama.

Year 2+


Discuss: Why was the boy so frightened of Mrs Cole to begin with?

10


THE PARADISE GARDEN


Colin Thompson

A boy runs away from home and finds peace in nature and solitude – dark story; beautifully illustrated.

KS2 only


Discuss: Is there a special place where you can be happy and peaceful?

10


HOW TO LIVE FOREVER


Colin Thompson

Exquisitely illustrated picture book. A boy called Peter goes on a quest to find a lost book called How to Live Forever. He eventually finds the book and discovers that eternal life is not sought by the wise. Quest story.

KS2 only


Discuss: Would you want to live forever?

10


NEW


ERIC


Shaun Tan

A foreign exchange student comes to stay with a family – communication is difficult and no-one knows how the student feels but he leaves them an amazing present.

Story about cross-cultural understanding.

KS2 only


Discuss: Can you communicate with someone who does not speak your language?

10


NEW


THE ISLAND


Armin Greder

A stranger lands on the island – cold, naked and ‘different’. The fisherman is the only one to feel any compassion but he is shouted down by more heartless voices.

Powerful but very dark and thought provoking

parable about the treatment of refugees. Strong, stark illustrations .Text and illustrations resonate at many levels.

Upper KS2


Discuss: Would you have found it easy to speak up for the stranger as the fisherman did?

10


NEW


MIRROR


Jeannie Baker

Beautifully illustrated and cleverly presented book that simultaneously follows the day to day lives of two families through pictures – one in Morocco and one in a Perth.

KS2


Discuss: What is the same? What is different?

10


NEW


BATTY


Sarah Dyer

Cleverly illustrated book that gives a ‘bat’s eye’ perspective on the world. Batty thinks the other animals don’t like him because he is different. He goes out and tries to make friends but finds it isn’t easy – what suits them doesn’t really suit him. But in the end his efforts to reach out in friendship are rewarded and all the animals have a go at seeing the world from his point of view.

FS, KS1 and KS2


Discuss: How can we make friends with people who like different things to us?

10


NEW


THE INCREDIBLE BOOK EATING BOY


Oliver Jeffers

Surreal story about a boy who literally eats books but comes to discover that they can ‘feed’ him in a different way.

KS1 and Lower KS2


Discuss: How can books ‘feed’ us?

9


NEW

RIBBIT RABBIT


Candice Ryan

Simple story about the friendship between a frog and a rabbit – minimal but clever use of rhyme and word play.

KS1


Discuss: How can you tell that Rabbit and Frog are friends?

8


NEW


PIGGITTY WIGGITY JIGGITY JIG


Diana Neild

Rhythmic and rhyming story with word-play about how Piggity Wiggity comes to accept his unusual name.

KS1 and Lower KS2


Discuss: What is the story of how you got your name? Is someone’s name important?

8

NEW


Calvin Can’t Fly


Jennifer Berne

Clavin the starling loves reading. While his friends discover worms and flying, Calvin discovers books. He reads so much that his mind can fly to amazing places, but sadly he is so busy reading that he misses out on actually learning to fly like a bird. Luckily his friends help him – and in the end his knowledge saves them.

Quest of sorts.

KS1 and Lower KS2


Discuss: What did the other birds learn from Calvin? What did he learn from them?


8


NEW

WOLF WON’T BITE


Emily Gravett

The three little pigs have captured the wolf and they think they have tamed him. They then proceed to treat their ‘pet’ wolf very badly. Finally the wolf can stand it no more...

KS1


Discuss: How should we treat our pets? Why is it important to treat them well?


8


NEW


RHINOS DON’T EAT PANCAKES


Anna Kemp

Story similar to the classic ‘Not Now Bernard’ about children whose parents don’t listen and so fail to see the rhino who is eating all the pancakes.

KS1


Discuss What do Daisy’s parents learn from Daisy?

7


NEW


IT’S A BOOK


Lane Smith

Monkey has a book which he is trying to read. Jackass can’t understand why it doesn’t scroll, blog tweet, use a mouse, have a password etc. Satirical book about book based v screen based reading, the humour of which might be lost on young children.

Y2+


Discuss: Would you rather read from a book, from a computer or both? Why?

7


NEW


GIRAFFES CAN’T DANCE


Giles Andreae

Brightly illustrated story in rhyme about how Gerald the Giraffe learns to dance. To begin with he is clumsy and so is teased by the animals but he finds out in the end that when the music is right for him he can dance amazingly.

FS and KS1


Discuss: Was it easy for Gerald to dance when his friends were teasing him? What helped him dance in the end?

7


NEW


THE BIGGEST KISS


Joanna Walsh

Book aimed at very young children about kisses – word play and silliness.

FS


Discuss – How do you show the people you love that you love them?

7


NEW


THE HEART AND THE BOTTLE


Oliver Jeffers

A book that appears simple on the surface but deals with loss, has a dark undercurrent and is metaphorical. Not for younger children.

Probably more suited to KS2


Discuss: Why did the girl put her heart in bottle? Why did she take it out in the end?

7