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Time to Read books: past and present

Face Painting

We want parents and carers to keep reading to their child, even once they've reached primary school or have started to read on their own.

That's why, through our Time to Read programme, we give every Reception pupil in England their own book to treasure and share at home. 

Here's a look at some of the fantastic picture books that we've handed out around the country, for free, over previous years. Why not take out some of these books at your local library? 

Time to Read

  • Little Monkey

    Author: Marta Alt├ęs
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 5+

    Humorous illustrations in pencil and watercolour fill every page of this amusing tale, which is sure to strike a chord with any fearless little adventurer who is desperate to grow up.

  • The Bumblebear

    Author: Nadia Shireen
    Publisher: Jonathan Cape
    Interest age: 4-7

    Norman the bear loves honey, so he thinks up an ingenious plan to get his paws on as much as he can eat - by enrolling at Bee School! An endearing tale about friendship and loyalty.

  • Kitchen Disco

    Author: Clare Foges Illustrator: Al Murphy
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 3+

    Did you know when you go to sleep all the fruit in the bowl comes to life and has a fun-filled, night long party?

  • Open Very Carefully

    Author: Nick Bromley Illustrator: Nicola O'Byrne
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    A crocodile has invaded the pages of this picture book, and is causing chaos by gobbling up words!

  • Mr Big

    Author: Ed Vere
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 3-5

    With its gruff hero, vibrant, strong colours, bold design and spare text, this story about looking beyond appearances has a satisfying punchy simplicity and jazzy feel.

  • Hairy Maclary's Bone

    Author: Lynley Dodd
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 6+

    Hairy Maclary is lucky enough to be given a big juicy bone by the butcher, Samuel Stone. This does not go unnoticed by all the other dogs who decide to follow him.

  • Funnybones

    Author: Allan & Janet Ahlberg
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 4+
    Reading age: 6+

    In the first book of this now classic series, we are taken down the dark, dark street to the dark, dark house and into the dark, dark cellar in which the skeletons live.

  • "Slowly, Slowly, Slowly," Said the Sloth

    Author: Eric Carle
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 2-5

    Sloth lives in the rainforest with pumas, bats, monkeys and many more animals. Sloth's fellow creatures can't understand why he is so quiet, so slow and so lazy.

  • Harry and the Dinosaurs go to School

    Author: Ian Whybrow Illustrator: Adrian Reynolds
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 5+

    It's Harry's first day at school. He and his dinosaurs are very excited and perhaps a little bit nervous.

  • Face Painting

    Author: Monica Hughes
    Publisher: Pearson Education
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 4+

    'I am a clown, I am a pirate', there’s a face painting design every child will enjoy in this fun non-fiction book, from a beautiful butterfly to a fearsome pirate and a scary monster.

    Full of colourful photos of children with their faces painted, your child will enjoy engaging with this book by describing what they see and reading the words they know.

  • Tim's Din

    Author: Monica Hughes Illustrator: Bill Ledger
    Publisher: Pearson UK
    Interest age: 3+
    Reading age: 4+

    Tim’s Din is a lively and entertaining story about the mischief that little monkeys can get up to when they’re bored.