Print page

Best Books for 0-5 years

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

In 2015, we put together a list of the 100 best books for children from the last 100 years.

The books below are ones suitable for babies, toddlers and preschoolers aged 0-5.

Interested in seeing all 100 books across the different age groups?

See our best books for other age groups

  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea

    Author: Judith Kerr
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

    Sophie and her Mummy are having tea in the kitchen when in walks a hungry tiger who asks to stay to tea.

  • Where's Spot?

    Author: Eric Hill
    Publisher: Puffin

    This adorable picture book about Spot the dog is the first in the Spot series

  • Each Peach Pear Plum

    Author: Allan Ahlberg Illustrator: Janet Ahlberg
    Publisher: Puffin

    This classic book from author and illustrator team Janet and Allan Ahlberg is a real favourite with families

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar

    Author: Eric Carle
    Publisher: Puffin

    Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar deserves its reputation as a much-loved classic.

  • The Elephant and the Bad Baby

    Author: Elfrida Vipont Illustrator: Raymond Briggs
    Publisher: Puffin

    One day, an elephant offers a baby a ride through the town, and the set off on a great adventure.

  • Dogger

    Author: Shirley Hughes
    Publisher: Random House

    When Dave loses his favourite toy, Dogger, he is desolate.

  • Lost and Found

    Author: Oliver Jeffers
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

    Once there was a sad, lonely penguin who appeared at the door of a young boy. The boy decided he must be lost, so he set off to find his home.

  • Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears

    Author: Emily Gravett
    Publisher: Pan Macmillan

    Little Mouse is scared of most things, from creepy crawlies and loud noises, to getting lost.

  • I Will Not Ever Never Eat a Tomato

    Author: Lauren Child
    Publisher: Hachette

    Charlie tricks his younger sister, Lola - an extremely fussy eater - into eating all her least favourite foods.

  • Room on the Broom

    Author: Julia Donaldson Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

    From former Children's Laureate Julia Donaldson and longtime collaborator Axel Scheffler comes this much-loved tale about a witch and her gang of friends.

  • The Snowman

    Author: Raymond Briggs
    Publisher: Puffin

    James builds a snowman in the garden, then wakes up in the night to find that it has come to life.

  • Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes

    Author: Mem Fox Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
    Publisher: Walker Books

    This charming first book is perfect for new arrivals.

  • Dear Zoo

    Author: Rod Campbell
    Publisher: Campbell Books

    This appealing story, in lift-the-flap, board-book format has been a favourite with toddlers ever since it was first published in 1982.

  • Gorilla

    Author: Anthony Browne
    Publisher: Walker Books

    Hannah's favourite animals in the whole world are gorillas, but her dad is always too busy to take her to the zoo.

  • We're Going on a Bear Hunt

    Author: Michael Rosen Illustrator: Helen Oxenbury
    Publisher: Walker Books

    Follow a father and his family as they go out in search of a bear.

  • Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

    Author: Lynley Dodd
    Publisher: Puffin

    This hilarious rhyming story follows Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy, as he sets off for a walk in town

  • Not now, Bernard

    Author: David McKee
    Publisher: Andersen

    The classic tale of Bernard, whose distracted parents fail to notice that their son has been eaten and replaced by a monster.

  • Where the Wild Things Are

    Author: Maurice Sendak
    Publisher: Red Fox

    First published in 1963, this classic picture book will fascinate both children and adults, evoking the fierce intensity of childhood

  • The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters

    Author: Allan Ahlberg Illustrator: Janet Ahlberg
    Publisher: Penguin

    Brilliantly designed with lots of little details to spot, this old favourite will be enjoyed time and time again

  • I Want My Hat Back

    Author: Jon Klassen
    Publisher: Walker Books

    A bear sets out in search of his hat - he loves his hat and he wants it back

  • The Cat in the Hat

    Author: Dr Seuss
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

    When Sally and her brother are left alone on a rainy day, they think they are in for a dull time - but then the Cat in the Hat appears.

  • Meg and Mog

    Author: Helen Nicholl Illustrator: Jan Pienkowski
    Publisher: Puffin

    In this the first story about much-loved characters Meg the witch and Mog her cat, the pair go off to a wild Hallowe'en party with all the other witches

  • Would You Rather…

    Author: John Burningham
    Publisher: Red Fox

    A classic for children, Would You Rather... presents an alternative to a traditional story by imagining a mixture of fantastical and real-life choices. It's great for building confidence with little ones about making their own choices for their own reasons. 

  • Princess Smartypants

    Author: Babette Cole
    Publisher: Penguin

    Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She enjoys being a Ms. But being a rich and pretty princess means that all the princes want her to become their wife.

  • I Want My Potty!

    Author: Tony Ross
    Publisher: Andersen Press

    The Little Princess hates nappies, and thinks there must be something better. This is classic picture book entertainment, which will be especially appreciated by any children who are learning to love their potty!