Essential Picture Books (Part 2)

The children’s specialists across all Readings stores have been working on a Top 40 Essential Picture Books list. Back in December we published Part 1, consisting of 10 books (click here to see those). Part 2 contains the next 10 we regularly champion in-store.

Owl Babies by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson

Most children hit a patch of separation anxiety at some point and this book cleverly captures that fear in a different context, with a sweet dose of sibling togetherness and a lovely reassuring ending.


Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham

Harry was born in 1956 in black and white, but he’s just as popular now with his splashes of colour. Perfect for anyone who’s ever tried to get a reluctant dog - or a child - into the bath. Simple and funny.


Greetings from Sandy Beach by Bob Graham

A brilliant cast of characters (including the Disciples of Death motorcycle gang!) and plenty of funny events combined to make this a 1991 CBCA Award winner.


The Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

I’ve heard of parents going to extreme lengths to ensure that what happens to Trixie in Knuffle Bunny never happens to their child - or, more accurately, to them, since it’s parents who suffer when a precious toy gets…*left behind*!


How To Catch A Star by Oliver Jeffers

This is the book that made Oliver Jeffers a name for himself. It has spare text and a clear, honest theme suffused with childhood wonder.


When The Wind Changed by Ruth Park & Deborah Niland

How perfect for this to be a mother-daughter creation, since it imagines what might happen if this famous parental caution came true: “If the wind changes, you’ll stay like that!”


Who Sank The Boat? by Pamela Allen

A brilliant read-aloud, with great rhythm and use of repetition, that gets children involved in guessing which animal sank the boat. Logic is always more fun when seen through a child’s eyes.


Around the World with Mouk by Marc Boutavant

Featuring technicolour anthropomorphic animals all over the world, this is great visual storytelling on one level, while the cultural references provide another level for older children. The sub-plots are also a favourite, with plenty to find along the way reminiscent of Richard Scarry (but perhaps with more appeal to design-conscious adults).


Nobody Owns the Moon by Tohby Riddle

This is one of those picture books that can speak as intensely to adults as it can to children - perhaps more so - since visually and by theme it tackles isolation, the challenges of life in a busy city, and how friendship and simple pleasures can keep us going.


We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

The children and dog in the illustrations were modelled on Oxenbury’s own family, but twenty years later it’s impossible to imagine how many thousands of families can reel off the chant: “We’re going on a bear hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, what a beautiful day, we’re not scared!”


Whether you’re discovering these for the first time or rediscovering childhood favourites, we hope you enjoy our Essential Picture Books lists - Part 3 coming soon!

Knuffle Bunny

Knuffle Bunny

Mo Willems

$16.95Buy now

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