Great Books Guide 2022: for 4 to 5 year olds

Rainbow Hands cover

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2022), which we think any child aged 4 to 5 will love.

  • 10 Silly Children

    Author: Jon Lander
    Publisher: Pavilion
    Interest age: 3-5

    The author of this book would like you to be sensible and not open its fold-out pages. Still, who could resist having just a peek? An original book that delights in the fun that can be had when we’re really, really silly.

  • A Good Place

    Author: Lucy Cousins
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 5-7
    Reading age: 3+

    Four friends including a ladybird, a bee, a beetle and a dragonfly search for a new home and finally find the perfect place in a little boy's garden. 

  • Bathe the Cat

    Author: Alice B. McGinty Illustrator: David Roberts
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    This enormously entertaining tale will be a big hit with cat lovers and is sure to strike a chord with any family who has gone into frantic overdrive when tidying up for a visitor.

  • Big

    Author: Sav Akyüz
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 2-5

    A young boy wishes he was big like his older brother. Sav Akyüz has created a beautifully illustrated, mostly wordless story. Children will love using their imagination to think about what they would do if they were BIG too.

  • Dinosaurs on Kitten Island

    Author: Michael Slack
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 3-5

    A group of bored dinosaurs head off for a playdate with adventurous kittens, but will it all end in cat-astrophe? A deliciously funny story about friendship and compromise.

  • Don’t Ask the Dragon

    Author: Lemn Sissay Illustrator: Greg Stobbs
    Publisher: Canongate
    Interest age: 3-5

    A charming tale about a young boy who wonders where is home. With the help of some animals and wise dragon, he discovers home is never far away. The first children's book from bestselling author and poet Lemn Sissay, this is a lovely celebration of curiosity and belonging. 

  • Georgie Grows a Dragon

    Author: Emma Lazell
    Publisher: Pavilion

    A new plant has plopped into Georgie’s garden, but it’s a bit different. This one doesn’t like being out in the sunshine, definitely doesn’t like being watered and other plants make it sneeze flames. Will Georgie be able to tame her new wild plant?

  • Gretel the Wonder Mammoth

    Author: Kim Hillyard
    Publisher: Ladybird Books
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 4+

    This book follows Gretel, the very last mammoth, as she tackles her anxiety with the help of her friends and learns her place in the world.

  • I Spy Island

    Author: Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Interest age: 4-5

    This is the first funny tale in an entertaining series of picture books about this merry band of characters. A delightful celebration of friendship and happiness.

  • Little Glow

    Author: Katie Sahota Illustrator: Harry Woodgate
    Publisher: Owlet Press
    Interest age: 3-5

    This glimmering, gorgeous book is a gentle story that showcases the amazing celebrations of light across different communities, including Lunar New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah and Ramadan.

  • Lulu's Sleepover

    Author: Anna McQuinn Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw
    Publisher: Alanna Max
    Interest age: 2-5

    In this sweet instalment of the Lulu series, Lulu has a new adventure with her cousin Hani – her very first sleepover.  

  • Luna Loves Dance

    Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Fiona Lumbers
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 4-5

    With the gentle support of her family, Luna begins to believe in herself as a real dancer. This delightful tale shows young children that, with perseverance and determination, they can overcome setbacks and follow their dreams. 

  • Rainbow Hands

    Author: Mamta Nainy Illustrator: Jo Loring-Fisher
    Publisher: Lantana

    A joyful story about a young Indian boy who loves to paint his nails and match the colour to suit his mood. Heart-warming, and full of joy, the book explores emotions, identity and staying true to who you are.

  • Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry

    Author: Michelle Robinson Illustrator: Jez Tuya
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 2-5

    This colourful picture book features a fabulous array of vehicles, from a forklift truck to a cement mixer, all of which are driven by dogs. An entertaining book with enduring appeal.

  • Small’s Big Dream

    Author: Manjeet Mann Illustrator: Amanda Quartey
    Publisher: Harper Collins

    In Small's world, everything is small – her house, her shoes, her bed – but her dreams are big. Small discovers that when you dream big, anything and everything can happen.

  • Splash

    Author: Claire Cashmore Illustrator: Sharon Davey
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 2-6

    Based on the real-life experiences of a Paralympic gold medallist, this lively picture book is a joyful celebration of mastering a new skill by stepping out of your comfort zone.

  • Nick Sharratt’s Super Silly Museums

    Author: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Alison Green Books
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 2+

    Nick Sharratt uses his unique and fun style to show you every kind of museum you could imagine and even leaves space at the end for you to draw your own. 

  • The Cat and the Rat and the Hat

    Author: Em Lynas Illustrator: Matt Hunt
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    A raucous, rhyming tale with a fun tongue-twister text, bright neon artwork and  hilarious animal antics.

  • The Rapping Princess

    Author: Hannah Lee Illustrator: Allen Fatimaharan
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 4+

    Shiloh's a princess – she’s supposed to sing, not rap. But she can't sing at all and has better flow than all the princes of the land put together. A hip-hopping fairy tale about feeling brave to stand out and accept your uniqueness

  • The Spectacular Suit

    Author: Kat Patrick Illustrator: Hayley Wells
    Publisher: Scribble
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    This is an empowering and reassuring story of a child who (possibly) feels that she doesn’t fit into a traditional gender role, and the ways that her family support her in a positive way. 

  • We Sang Across the Sea The Empire Windrush and Me

    Author: Benjamin Zephaniah Illustrator: Onyinye Iwu
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 5-6
    Reading age: 5+

    Written by multi award-winning poet Benjamin Zephaniah, this lyrical rhyming poem is told through the real-life experiences of the Trinidadian musician, Mona Baptiste, who boarded The Empire Windrush in the hopes of becoming a singer and making a better life for herself.

  • We're Going to Find the Monster

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Dapo Adeola
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 3-5

    A lovely slightly fairy tale-inspired tale about a family with two younger siblings and a teenager getting ready for breakfast, featuring the wonderful storytelling and word wizardry of Malorie Blackman and the illustrations of prize-winning Dapo Adeola.

  • Who Are You?

    Author: Smriti Halls Illustrator: Ali Pye
    Publisher: Red Shed

    Filled with vivid, detailed illustrations, this non-fiction book by award-winning Smriti Halls, aims to empower children and encourage them to think about the different parts that make them unique.

  • Yes You Can, Cow!

    Author: Rashmi Sirdeshpande Illustrator: Rikin Parekh
    Publisher: Faber

    Rehearsals are under way for the big production of Hey Diddle Diddle, but Cow is not ready for the spotlight. A hilarious read aloud with a special message for little ones – the importance of peer encouragement, bravery and not fearing failure.

  • You Can!

    Author: Alexandra Strick and Steve Antony
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books

    Based on real children's own voices and messages (including young disabled people), You Can! is a fabulously inclusive picture book that reminds all children that they are valued individuals with a bright future.