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.

Picture Book Nook: Zoe and Beans by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Mick Ingpen’s Kipper and Wibbly Pig have been popular picture book characters for many years.  Mick’s bold illustrations and simple story are winners with children and parents alike.  However, it’s his latest creation, with daughter Chloe, that I fell in love with as soon as I set eyes on it.  Zoe and Beans are the loveable duo that Chloe and Mick Inkpen have recently introduced us to.

We’re introduced to the very cute Zoe and her loveable dog Beans in their first outing, Where is Binky Boo?  Zoe loves her dolly, Molly, but so does Beans, ever since he lost his toy, called Binky Boo.  Molly is the only toy he wants to play with, and when Zoe isn’t looking he takes it to show his doggy friends.  But when Zoe washes Molly, Beans refuses to play with it.  Beans is very unhappy, until they discover something ‘a little woolly something with a particular smell’ sticking out of the sandpit.

In The Magic Hoop, Zoe tries to get Beans to jump through her hoop, but Beans won’t have a bar of it.  Zoe tempts Beans to go through the hoop using all his favourite treats, but when she throws Binky Boo through the hoop, the toy disappears.  Beans jumps through to find his toy and magically turns into a rabbit.  Zoe decides she doesn’t want a rabbit so makes Beans jump through again.  Beans turns into a mouse, a crocodile and then an elephant!  But elephants are big and the hoop is small.  Will Zoe be able to get Beans back to normal or will he be stuck as an elephant forever?

Their most recent adventure was Christmas themed.  In Zoe’s Christmas List, Zoe and Beans travel to the North Pole to deliver her letter to Father Christmas, and meet a cute, fluffy friend along the way.  Their next adventure (due out in June 2012) is called Pants on the Moon and sounds fantastic!  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.  Perfect for reading one-on-one or as a read-aloud for groups (a particular favourite at my library Story Time).

5 out of 5 stars for each book