The best books for kids this Easter

Coronavirus may be restricting life outside, but one of these great books can help let the imagination of young children run free, write Emma Dunn and Sarah Mallon

Detail of a page from Tim Hopgood's ABC

Ages 0-5


Tim Hopgood’s ABC (Oxford University Press, £6.99) is the perfect opportunity to curl up with your little one and start learning the alphabet. This striking, sturdy board book has dazzling illustrations that tell the story of the natural world, from dense jungles to bright shoals of fish. See which animals you can find and name, and look out for a mirror under an unexpected letter. 


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It’s a sad day in Mouseopolis when the unveiling of the Big Cheese is ruined by a cheese thief. Who would do such a thing? Can Peter Parmesan (AKA Supermouse) foil a dastardly plan and save the cheese? Supermouse and the Big Cheese Robbery by MN Tahl and Mark Chambers (Little Tiger Press, £12.99) is smart and engaging with broad appeal for both children and adults. With many comical moments, it is highly enjoyable with fantastically interactive novelty elements. Cheesetastic. 


Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! by Lorna Scobie (Scholastic, £12.99) is a hilarious tale of an only child rabbit who likes life just the way it is – carrots, flowers, and a stretching area, all just for Rabbit. But Rabbit’s blissful life doesn’t last long when a baby rabbit comes along, and then another, and then another… Rabbit! Rabbit! Rabbit! celebrates chaotic family life in all its glory, and Scobie’s expressive rabbits are a delight. 


My Friend Earth by Patricia MacLachlan and Francesca Sanna (Chronicle Books, £12.99) is a simple, charming and clever book which tells the story of Earth, a smiley young girl who protects and nourishes our planet. From the moment she wakes from her winter slumber until it is time to hibernate again, she looks after all the earthly creatures from land to sea and keeps the seasons in check. Sanna’s illustrations are magical, and the die-cut pages will encourage little hands to explore what wonderful things will happen next. This is a sumptuous celebration of our world. 
Emma Dunn


Ages 6-9


Change can be difficult to cope with for everyone involved, and if you’re looking for a story to help young readers understand how it can make them feel try Midge and Mo (Stripes, £7.99) by Lara Williamson and Becky Cameron. After Midge’s parents split up, he starts at a new school and even though his buddy Mo is happy and welcoming, he struggles to settle in. This is a heart-warming and hopeful story, which shows emotions in a beautiful visual way, helping children to understand and accept how they are feeling and to empathise with others.


Agnes’ life changes forever when a shrew appears in her bedroom, inviting her on an important mission for the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species. In Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt (Walker, £6.99) by Jennifer Bell and Alice Lickens, readers can travel with her on an exciting adventure to the heart of the Brazilian rainforest, while also learning more about endangered animals and conservation. You’ll be cheering Agnes on as she tries to protect animals at risk and become a permanent agent.


Michael Rosen is an expert storyteller, and his latest release, Clever Cakes (Barrington Stoke, £6.99) is no exception. It includes two exciting adventures which read like fairy tales with their hungry bears and grumpy kings, but are absolutely original and great fun for the whole family. Colour illustrations throughout by Ashley King bring additional charm and humour.


Another great option if you’re looking for short stories to enjoy with young readers is Too Small Tola (Walker, £5.99) written by Atinuke and illustrated by Onyinye Iwu. This collection is set in Lagos in Nigeria and follows Tola and her family. All three stories are a pleasure to read, but a particular highlight is Easter and Eid, which sees Tola playing an important role in helping the community celebrate when unexpected circumstances occur.



Ages 9-12

Readers can still travel to new and exciting places from home with a great adventure story, like The Girl Who Stole an Elephant (Nosy Crow, £6.99) by Nizrana Farook. Set in Sri Lanka, this debut novel follows Chaya, who has a habit of stealing to help those in need, but taking the queen’s jewels and the royal elephant means that she’s now a target and needs to escape into the jungle. The vivid setting and fast-paced plot will have you captivated until the final page.


Adventure fans can also climb aboard the royal steam train for a thrilling journey in The Highland Falcon Thief (Pan Macmillan, £6.99). Harrison is a reluctant passenger as the train travels up to Scotland, but things quickly become more interesting when a crime occurs and his fellow passengers become suspects. As clues and secrets are revealed, readers can rush to put the pieces together and solve the mystery in this exciting story from authors MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman and illustrator Elisa Paganelli.


For older readers looking for a gripping and thought-provoking read, The Faraway Truth (Chicken House, £6.99) has already had great success in the USA thanks to its compelling storytelling. It follows Zoe, who receives a letter on her birthday from her father, who has been in prison since before she was born, and as the story unfolds we learn more about him and his crime. From the outset, debut author Janae Marks takes a sensitive approach to difficult themes of justice and racism to produce this important, heartfelt book.


For fact fans, The Great Big Brain Book (Frances Lincoln, £12.99) by Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith is a treasure trove of information. The brain controls everything from our senses and memories to how we feel, and this book covers all of these topics in a fun and accessible way. The illustrations throughout are colourful and creative, making this a real joy to explore and learn from together.


Sarah Mallon


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