The best children's books this Easter

From interviews with dead explorers to the story of the cow who was too scared to jump over the moon, Emma Dunn and Hannah Sycamore highlight the best books available for kids this Easter

Elizabeth and the Box of Colours
Elizabeth and the Box of Colours

Ages 0-5

Yes You Can, Cow by Rashmi Sirdeshpande and Rikin Parekh (Faber & Faber, £6.99) is a hilarious take on the classic nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. A theatre production is well under way, but the star of the show is missing – there’s Cat, Fiddle and Moon, but where is Cow?! Terrified of the jump over the Moon going wrong, Cow retreats and hides. Can her friends persuade her that everything will be alright on the night? Stage fright, bovine antics and a brilliant supporting cast combine to make this a very smart laugh-out-loud picture book.

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The Boy with Flowers in His Hair by Jarvis (Walker, £12.99) is a beguiling, uplifting tale of friendship. With a head full of flowers everyone loves David, and no one more than his best friend, who helps him take care of his little garden. But one day when David’s petals start to fall, the effect is devastating. The best picture books give children space to make up their own minds, and Jarvis has done just that here. This is a deceptively simple story that will pull at your heartstrings and fill you with warmth all at the same time.

Tiger Warrior: Rise of the Lion Beast

Elephant Island by Leo Timmers (Gecko Press, £11.99) is a fascinating and funny tale of a shipwrecked elephant. Having lost his boat in the storm, Arnold bumps into an island no bigger than his feet. Soon a mouse comes along in a tiny boat, but when Arnold jumps in it can’t take his weight. Next, an old sea dog turns up in a slightly bigger boat, but you can guess the rest. High jinks ensue, with a plethora of brilliantly detailed boats for little ones to pore over.

Big Hedgehog and Little Hedgehog Take an Evening Stroll by Britta Teckentrup (Prestel, £10.99) is a gentle tale about taking time to look at the small things and appreciate the world around you. Britta’s detailed artwork beautifully illustrates the hedgehog’s journey home though the forest and woodland. Big Hedgehog’s patience gives the little one space to explore, and this book wonderfully celebrates the curiosity of small children. ED

Ages 6-8

Elisabeth and the Box of Colours by Katherine Woodfine (Barrington Stoke, £6.99) is an emotive and enjoyable historical-fiction book, which will capture readers’ hearts. Retelling the early life of artist Elisabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun, with beautiful illustrations by Rebecca Cobb, this story has gentle messages of resilience and learning to understand others. A short but perfectly formed read.

Corpse Talk: Ground-Breaking Explorers

For those looking for a marvellous, action-packed story, then Marv and the Mega Robot by Alex Falase-Koya with illustrations by Paula Bowles (Oxford University Press, £5.99) is a must. Marvin loves reading about superheroes, but when Grandad passes on his super-suit, Marvin finds himself transformed into Marv, a superhero. Does he have what it takes to defeat a mega robot on the loose? A heart-warming read, perfect for superhero fans looking for their next adventure.

Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent by Pippa Curnick (Hodder Children’s Books, £5.99) is a wonderfully quirky and unique story. Join Indigo on the hunt for a magical creature which has escaped into the rambling house on Jellybean Crescent. The house is run as a sanctuary for magical creatures, but this latest arrival could be more than Indigo and her brother Quigley bargained for. Filled with life and love, and accompanied by stunning illustrations, this story is as colourful and joyous as the creatures encountered throughout.

For readers looking for a fast-paced story, the latest instalment of the Tiger Warrior series, Tiger Warrior: Rise of the Lion Beast by Maisie Chan (Orchard Books, £5.99) is a thrilling read. We join Jack as he is about to face his worst fear – the Nian lion beast – at Lunar New Year. Can he defeat it and save the Jade Kingdom? Rise of the Lion Beast is an electrifying read that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Look out for other titles in the series – ideal for young readers on a quest for action-packed fantasy. HS

Ages 9-11

Jummy at the River School

Corpse Talk: Ground Breaking Explorers by Adam and Lisa Murphy (David Flicking Books, £9.99) is perfect for those inspired by the recent discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance to find out more about past explorers and adventurers. In this non-fiction graphic novel, history is told through imagined interviews with dead explorers, ranging from Marco Polo to Amelia Earhart. As whacky as that sounds, this is a unique, informative and highly entertaining read from the Glasgow-based duo.

Fans of historical fiction will enjoy Jummy at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka (Chicken House, £6.99). Set in 1900s Nigeria, we join Jumoke (known as Jummy) as she starts at a prestigious boarding school, the River School. But when her childhood friend Caro arrives as a maid, Jummy realises things need to change. Exploring class, poverty and the right to education, this story is beautifully told, with powerful and emotive writing. Filled with passionate characters, this is a joyous read filled with hope.

For fans of Elle McNicoll, the stunning debut The Secret of Haven Point by Lisette Auton (Penguin Random House, £7.99) is a must-read. Join Alpha Lux as the dangers of the outside world begin to seep into the safety of Haven Point. Filled with mermaids, shipwrecks and treacherous strangers this is a charming, magical adventure and an exquisite, powerful debut from disabled writer and activist Auton.

With Easter approaching, The Big Book of Festivals by Joan-Marree Hargreaves and Marita Bullock, illustrated by Liz Rowland (Faber & Faber, £12.99) is an ideal read. With gorgeous illustrations, this book contains a wondrous array of cultural and religious celebrations from across the world. A joyful reminder that we all celebrate, and that the desire to come together throughout the year is a shared experience. HS

Scottish Book Trust: Your Stories

National charity Scottish Book Trust has opened submissions to encourage the public to share their real-life stories. It marks the 14th year of Scottish Book Trust's annual Your Stories campaign, which this year is partnering with EventScotland as part of Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022. From those who write regularly to those who have never written before, Your Stories is open to all submissions, regardless of writing experience. Submissions can be made in English, Scots, or Gaelic in any form – story, poem, comic strip, play or letter – of up to 1,000 words. Every entry will appear on Scottish Book Trust’s website and a selection of pieces will be published in a free book distributed to libraries, community groups and schools during Book Week Scotland (14-20 November 2022) – thenational celebration of books and reading. The deadline for submissions is Friday 10 June. Submissions can be made online via Scottish Book Trust’s website: https://www.scottishbooktrust.com/your-stories/scotlands-stories-2022 You can also post submissions to Your Stories, Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk’s Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1SR

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