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Best Books for Children: 0-5

Dear Zoo

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

The books below are the ones suitable for children age 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.