9 must-read books before they're 5

It's never too early to introduce your little ones to the joys of books. Rachel Price picks out classics that are sure to make storytime fun

 


1. Bing Go Picnic

Proving that getting ready is half the fun, and that you don't actually have to leave 2 the house to have an adventure, Bing and his pal Flop get ready to go for a picnic, but end up having it under the table when they discover it's pouring with rain.

Best line: 'In the basket. Yum, yum, yum.'

 
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 2. We're Going on a Bear Hunt

How do you turn a walk in the park into an action- packed adventure? Introduce the concept of a wild bear, of course, and hunt him down. There is surely almost no one who, after reading this story, hasn't re-enacted it on a day out with the little ones.

Best line: 'We're not scared.'

3. Ant and Bee and King Dog

Bit of a surreal one, this. Ant and Bee embark on a voyage of discovery when Kind Dog smells an unidentified smell. Along the way they find all sorts of things from flowers to camels, but they never do find the smell they are looking for.

Best bit: It also teaches the alphabet and some key words.

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 4. Where the Wild Things Are

The perfect example of how a tot's imagination can conquer anything. When Max is sent to his room, he sails away to a mystical land full of beasts for a party and becomes king.

Best line: 'Let the wild rumpus start.'

5. I Love you Blue Kangaroo

We've all been there – your head is turned by a shiny new present and suddenly you're neglecting your old favourites; until your brother decides to take ownership, that is.

Ahhh moment: Lily gives up all her other toys, as long as she can have her bedtime buddy back.

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6. Mog the Forgetful Cat

She may not be the brightest bulb in the box (she can't even remember whether she's had dinner), but Mog manages to redeem herself by scuppering a burglar's plans as he tries to make off with the family silver. We also like that she eats eggs for breakfast – random!

Best line: 'Bother that cat!'

7. Dogger

Dave and Dogger (bit of a moth-eaten pup) are the very best of pals, until Dogger gets lost on a trip to school and ends up being sold at the fête.

Ahhh moment: Dave's sister Bella swaps the teddy she has won with the little girl who bought Dogger, just to make Dave happy. Pass the tissues!

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8. Guess How Much I Love You

A simple tale that's sure to give you a lump in the throat – Big and Little Nutbrown Hare try to outdo each other in the 'I love you more' stakes. Not as syrupy as it sounds.

Ahhh moment: 'I love you all the way to the moon. And back.'

9. Penguin

When Ben gets a penguin as a present he's thrilled – who wouldn't be? However, when penguin refuses to engage with him (despite his best efforts, and the wearing of a silly hat), his excitement turns to frustration, annoyance and even murderous rage.

Best line: 'And penguin said, everything.'

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Discover another 15 must read books before they're 5 in the latest issue of Gurgle magazine.

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