My Top 5 Read Alouds for 5-8 Years

Last week I posted my Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years.  This week I’ve posted my Top 5 Read Alouds for 5-8 Years.  I’ve also included some of my other favourite read-aloud picture books (that I couldn’t fit into my top 5) that deserve honourable mentions.

1. Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre

This is my absolute favourite picture book!  I always use it to hook kids – a monster who stinks and does disgusting things, what more could you ask for.  It’s gross, funny, and the language is great!  It’s one of those picture books where the text and illustrations match perfectly and I couldn’t imagine one without the other.  Every time I read it there are refrains of ‘Ooooo!’ and ‘Gross!’ but kids absolutely love it, especially the very last page.  I’d love to see Giles and Sarah create more picture books together.

2. What’s in the Witch’s Kitchen, written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt

Kids love this book because they think it’s magic (and it’s slightly disgusting).  There are lots of things to find in the witch’s kitchen, some of them nice and some of them revolting.  Depending on which way you open each flap you could find Strawberry Tea or Goblin’s Wee, some crunch hot toast or a grumpy burnt ghost.  I read this book almost every week for a whole school year to different groups of children and I never got tired of it.  You can really build the sense of anticipation with each turn of the flap and kids can end up rolling around on the floor laughing.

3. Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Meg Rosoff’s story about four wild boars (Horris, Morris, Borris and Doris) who decide to cook a Massive Pudding, is absolutely hilarious.  They’re bossy, selfish, stinky and hungry, so when you put them all together to make a pudding you know it’s not going to end well.  They put all sorts of stuff into their pudding, including broccoli and a squid, and I love seeing the kids’ faces when you show them the finished product.  Their hunger is never satisfied and they get very whiny, so it’s a great book for doing different voices.   Sophie Blackall’s illustrations are great and add to the hilarity of the story.

4. Poo Bum! written and illustrated by Stephanie Blake

I can’t go past a picture book with some good toilet humour.  Boys especially love books like this.  You can’t read this book without children joining in saying ‘Poo bum!’  It’s about a little rabbit who only says one thing – Poo bum.  However, one day he’s eaten by a wolf and then rescued by his father.  You start to think that maybe he has changed and learnt some manners, only to be sadly mistaken.  I love reading this book aloud to groups of school children, and most of the teachers and parents who have heard me read it loved it as well.  Be prepared – children will walk around saying ‘poo bum’ for hours afterwards.  This is one of my favourite picture books from New Zealand publishers/translators, Gecko Press.  If you haven’t heard of them, check them out.

5. Oh No, George! written and illustrated by Chris Haughton

This book is great for sharing because the illustrations are bright and bold and the kids help you tell the story.  They can anticipate what George is going to do and will join in the refrain of ‘Oh No, George!’  It’s a great book for the adults to enjoy too because they’ll get the subtle humour in the story and notice George’s guilty expressions.  Some kids that I’ve read this to don’t quite get the ending, especially younger children.  They want the story to have an end and don’t want to have to make their own mind up about the story.  I think it’s extremely clever and a great way to get readers to use their imagination.


Honourable Mentions


My Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years

I’ve been doing a lot of reading aloud to preschoolers and primary school children lately and I’ve noticed that I always read similar books to each group.  I thought I’d post my top 5 read alouds for 2-5 years, 5-8 years and 8-12 years in case anyone is looking for great read alouds for their children or their class.  First up, here are my Top 5 Read Alouds for 2-5 Years.

1. Hugless Douglas by David Melling (and the other books featuring Douglas)

Hugless Douglas is one of my favourite picture book characters and I always look forward to another book featuring this loveable bear.  He’s cute, silly, and loves his hugs.  David Melling really knows how to write and illustrate for children, particularly preschoolers, and he’s created a character that every child will love.  Hugless Douglas is the perfect match of text and gorgeous illustrations.  David’s illustrations make Douglas look so cuddly and loveable which makes him appealing to children and adults.

2. Zoe and Beans: Where is Binky Boo? by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Zoe and Beans are two new characters that star in their own series of picture books.  They are the creation of father and daughter team, Chloe and Mick ‘Kipper’ Inkpen.  In the first book in the series, Where is Binky Boo? Beans the dog has lost his favourite toy and Zoe helps him find it.  The illustrations are gorgeous and the stories are that rare blend of both cute and funny.  Zoe is brimming with confidence and a love for adventure that children can relate to.  Children will beg for them to be read again and again, and I’m sure parents will be only too willing to.

3. Fancy Dress Farmyard by Nick Sharratt

Nick Sharratt is a real favourite of mine.  He writes and illustrates consistently brilliant picture books that have children rolling around with laughter.  Books like Moo-Cow, Kung-Fu Cow and Elephant Wellyphant really spark the imaginations of children and make them laugh.  Fancy Dress Farmyard is great for preschoolers because it’s a game of peekaboo and the illustrations are bright, bold and funny.

4. Roadworks by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Both Roadworks, and the follow-up book, Demolition, are great especially for boys in this age group.  A lot of them become fascinated with how things work, especially diggers and dump-trucks.  Roadworks is a beautiful book, from the asphalt-patterned end papers to the bold illustrations and the big, blocky words that stand out on the page.  It’s a great book to read aloud because the children can join in with you by making the sounds, like SPLOSHY! SPLASHY! SPLISHY!  Roadworks shows a road being built from start to finish, and Demolition shows a building being demolished step by step.

5. Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough

Jez Alborough is another author/illustrator whose picture books I love.  Duck in the Truck has been out since 1999 but I still love reading this aloud to children regularly.  The rhythm and rhyme is perfect so it flows really well as you read it and children love the illustrations, especially the animals driving cars.  Children love Duck because he’s so silly and always getting himself in trouble.  Another of Jez’s books that is perfect for this age group is The Gobble, Gobble, Moooo Tractor Book, because the children get to make lots of animal noises while you read the book.

All of these books are great for older children too, but I’ve chosen these because they work particularly well for this age group.  I have used all of these in my Story Time (for 2-5 years) at my library and the children love them.  I’d love to know what your favourites are for this age group.