Great Books Guide 2020: For 4 to 5 year olds

Be More Bernard

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2020), which we think any child aged 4 to 5 will love.

Discover the full Great Books Guide

  • Astro Girl

    Author: Ken Wilson-Max
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 5+

    Astrid loves the stars and space, and wants to be an astronaut. A delightful and educational book for young readers interested in space travel, with colourful illustrations, large-print text, fun facts, diverse characters and heartfelt father-daughter interactions. 

  • My Hair

    Author: Hannah Lee Illustrator: Allen Fatimaharan
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 3-7
    Reading age: 5+

    This joyful celebration of black hair demonstrates a range of styles and will inspire children to experiment with their own look.

  • Be More Bernard

    Author: Simon Philip Illustrator: Kate Hindley
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 3-5

    Bernard has decided that he's not going to be like all the other bunnies any more. His dreams are altogether more... disco! This is a funny and fabulous picture book that will coax children out of their shells and encourage them to stand out from the crowd. 

  • The Smeds and the Smoos

    Author: Julia Donaldson Illustrator: Axel Scheffler
    Publisher: Alison Green Books
    Interest age: 3-5

    On a far-off planet, a young red Smed called Janet falls in love with a young blue Smoo called Bill. The newest rhyming picture book from the stellar pairing of Donaldson and Scheffler provides all their usual invention, quirkiness and read-aloud expertise.

  • Tiny and Teeny

    Author: Chris Judge
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 2-4

    At the edge of Glengadget, the incredibly helpful Tiny lives with her pet fox Teeny. The colourful imagery in this wonderful picture book is deeply appealing, and there's a gentle message about the good things that happen when we do nice things for others.

  • What I Like Most

    Author: Mary Murphy Illustrator: Zhu Cheng-Liang
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 5+

    A little girl ponders the everyday wonders she likes most – friends, pencils, staring out of windows – and the person who remains her favourite thing in the world. Mary Murphy excels at writing cosy, sweet books which have a hug at their heart. 

  • Sulwe

    Author: Lupita Nyong’o Illustrator: Vashti Harrison
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 5+

    Sulwe is anxious: why is her skin so dark, and why is she bullied? But a visit from a star reassures her that she is beautiful exactly as she is. This gorgeous book demonstrates the gloriously diverse spectrum of colour within "blackness".

  • I Like To Put Food in My Welly

    Author: Jason Korsner Illustrator: Max Low
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 3-5

    Children will adore this brilliantly surreal book of poems, which get sillier for the longer you read them. Korsner’s word play is also ideal for helping little ones learn when short sentences are right or wrong!

  • The Boy Who Loved Everyone

    Author: Jane Porter Illustrator: Maisie Paradise Shearring
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 3-5

    Dimitri is new at nursery, and no matter how many people (and trees) he says 'I love you' to, no one says it back. Dimitri starts to get really sad. Even the guinea pig seems to want to get away!

    When Mum walks him to nursery the next day, she explains that people show their feelings in different ways: the mean old man on the park bench is telling the stray …

  • Would You Like a Banana?

    Author: Yasmeen Ismail
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 2-5

    The gorilla in this book is hungry, but she doesn’t want the banana she’s been offered. Except, when the banana is taken away, it suddenly becomes more appealing… Ismail’s take on fussy eating uses bold, expressive illustration and photography which brings a fun energy to what can sometimes be a frustrating experience for parents.

  • I'm Not A Mouse!

    Author: Evgenia Golubeva
    Publisher: Child's Play
    Interest age: 4-5

    Olivia hates her mum's pet name for her - 'Mouse' - because every time Mum calls her mouse, Olivia turns into one! Olivia decides to stop responding to 'Mouse', but then starts to realise that she's not the only one with a nickname problem...

  • Gnome

    Author: Fred Blunt
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 3-5

    Mr Gnome isn’t exactly the politest gnome that has ever lived. In fact, he’s pretty rude. So when Miss Witch asks Mr Gnome to stop fishing in her pond, it’s no surprise that he refuses - but Miss Witch has a pretty conclusive method for dealing with rudeness...

    A fabulously funny cautionary tale for grumpy little ones. 

  • Rhinocorn Rules!

    Author: Matt Carr
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 2-5

    Ron might look the same as the other rhinos, but he's different. He doesn't want to be grumpy and grey - he wants to be bright, fun, and to show off his true colours as a Rhinocorn!

  • Show and Tell

    Author: Rob Biddulph
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 3-6

    It’s Show and Tell day and class 2L are very excited: one child begins by showing everyone a sunflower seed, but the children begin competing with each other to show a bigger, more impressive thing than the child before. When an alien appears and steals all those wonderful treasures, there’s only one thing left. Fortunately, it’s just the right thing to win …

  • Lion Lessons

    Author: Jon Agee
    Publisher: Scallywag Press
    Interest age: 3-5

    It’s not easy getting your lion diploma. The little boy who ventures into the Lion Lessons shop on the high street certainly finds it difficult to make his instructor happy – that is, until a neighbourhood cat is in danger…

  • I Am Brown

    Author: Ashok Banker Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
    Publisher: Lantana
    Interest age: 3-5

    In this adorable picture book, a little girl celebrates her beautiful brown skin and imagines all the possibilities life has for her and her friends. Celebrating diversity and the variety of faiths, clothes, languages, passions and cultures of a group of brown skinned children, this is a delightful and upbeat book and a lovely one to have at storytime at sch…

  • King of the Classroom

    Author: Derrick Barnes Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton
    Publisher: Scallywag Press
    Interest age: 3-5

    This wonderfully empowering picture book for little ones not only assuages their possible fears about starting school or nursery but models a celebratory approach to the big day with an upbeat story about being confident.

  • Clean Up!

    Author: Nathan Bryon Illustrator: Dapo Adeola
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 4-8

    Rocket loves visiting her Grammy and Grampy in the Caribbean, especially splashing in the waves with her cool surfing Grammy - but when Rocket finds a baby turtle washed up on the shore, tangled in plastic, she decides something must be done. It's time to clean up!

  • The Bear Who Did

    Author: Louise Greig Illustrator: Laura Hughes
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 4-5

    A hilarious rhyming tale about two bears who aren't very good at sharing - especially when it comes to honey.

  • The Bookworm

    Author: Debi Gliori
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 3-5

    Max's pet worm loves listening to stories - and also loves curry and chilli crisps. As it grows, Max realises his pet is not a worm after all, but something MUCH bigger. This heartwarming tale of a boy and his unusual pet’s relationship is full of the everyday magic that stories bring.