Shaking Up Story Time

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”
—Emilie Buchwald

I love The Gruffalo as much as my little one, but once you can recite it from memory, it’s good to know there are some wonderful alternatives out there. It’s easy to keep returning to the old familiar classics, but you’re missing out on finding some fantastic new voices. The brilliant illustrations in the following books bring to life some beautiful stories with a powerful, modern message. So if you’re looking to shake up story time, here are my top five picture books you may not have seen.

The Bear and the Piano, by David Litchfield The Bear and the Piano
by David Litchfield

When Bear finds a piano in the woods, he needs to practice to make beautiful sounds with it. Once he does however, he realises that music has the power to make himself and others happy. Fame comes calling and he’s soon playing to full theatres and standing ovations, but home still pulls at his heartstrings. A beautifully illustrated story of belonging and sharing your achievements with your friends.

There’s a Dragon in your Book
by Tom Fletcher

We love the Tom Fletcher books with their bright and bold illustrations and interactive style. They encourage engagement by asking little readers to do various tasks such as tickling the dragon’s nose. Of course that leads to a sneeze of flames that they must now blow on to put out! This is exciting reading and fully embraces the ethos of making reading fun.

Under the Same Sky, by Britta TeckentrupUnder the Same Sky
by Britta Teckentrup

A sweet and gentle celebration of the similarities that bring us all together. I love the detailed yet serene illustrations with a cut out shape on each page to highlight its message. 

The Antlered Ship
by Dashka Slater & the Fan Brothers

Marco Fox knows there’s more to life than chicken stew and sets out on a journey to find it. The stunning drawings depict his adventures as he explores the world and overcomes the difficulties that he faces.

Rosie Revere Engineer
by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts

For readers with a longer concentration span, this inspirational story embraces making mistakes and urges you to follow your dreams. Rosie’s fear of failure confines her ideas and creations to under her bed. That is, until the perfect role model arrives in her great great aunt Rose. Her wise words — “the only true failure can come if you quit” — are a great encouragement for us all.

A bibliophile with more books than sense, and bookseller for over 10 years. When I'm not reading with my tyrannical toddler I escape with some literary fiction. I am also currently enjoying the fresh wave of autobiographical essays and thought-provoking non-fiction.

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