Books can be exceptional gifts for children. Reading picture books with young children inspires their ideas and learning. Our 22 Children Book Reviews for Under 5s provides book recommendations for Australian children from birth to five.
These suggestions are sourced from fiction and nonfiction books read and cherished by children at Petit Early Learning Journey. Each day our Educators read fun and meaningful stories to their children.
Reading books promotes children’s literacy and encourages their love for reading. When children see us reading and enjoying books, they want to do it too!
The best children’s books:
- Inspire their creativity.
- Encourage important values.
- Nurture empathy.
- Help children work through their feelings.
- Support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
- Provide meaningful information about their world.
- Promote children’s sense of belonging and community.
- Build on children’s ideas and interests.
Books are an essential part of early childhood education and care. They help children learn the skills they need to become confident readers and writers. World Read Aloud Day in February and CBCA Book Week in August celebrate the sharing and reading of children’s favourite books!
Children’s book reviews for parents
A few of our children’s favourite books:
1. The Little Lion Who Lost Her Roar by Jedda Robaard (2013)
Created by a Melbourne-based author and illustrator of over 30 children’s books, The Little Lion who Lost her Roar is an interactive board book with flaps for young children to lift as they follow the little lion on her adventures to find her roar.
2. The Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith (2019)
This book is the sequel to The Wonky Donkey which tells a tale about The Dinky Donkey, the Wonky Donkey’s daughter. It is a brilliant book with many bright illustrations. Its rhyming and repetition help to boost older children’s reading confidence while encouraging younger children to join in with every turn of the page.
3. The Very Super Bear by Nick Bland (2019)
In this fun rhyming story, Bear returns to the Jungle to save his friends from the monster gobbling up trees. This story about Bear is just one in a series published by Nick Bland an Australian author and cartoonist.
4. The Zebra Who Lost His Stripes by Jedda Robaard (2013)
Another children’s favourite by Australian author Jedda Robaard. This interactive colourful board book is a great story for learning about the letter Z. It also carries a wellness message about hygiene and self-care.
5. Wombat Stew by Marcia K. Vaughan & illustrated by Pamela Lofts (1984)
This Australian based original book is a favourite for young and older children. It introduces Australian animals with pictures, repetition and rhyme. Stories are a fabulous way to encourage imaginative play and build on children’s interests.
6. Pig the Winner by Aaron Blabey (2016)
This book is the third in Aaron Blabey’s Pig the Pug series. Pig models bad behaviour and the writing is always humorous and a popular character among young children as they follow Pig’s misadventures and the lessons he learns along the way. In this story, Pig must always come first.
7. Alphaprints: Australian Animals Watch Out! published by Priddy Books (2020)
Alphaprints card books for children contain delightful rhymes and painted fingerprints and photos of Australian animals. In Australian Animals Watch Out! they encourage young children to learn about Australian wildlife and what animals to look out for including dingoes, spiders, snakes and jellyfish.
Some beautiful books for young children celebrating diversity and indigenous culture
8. The Echidna and the Shade Tree told by Mono Green; retold and illustrated by Pamela Lofts (1984)
The beautiful story connects us to the Jaru people of Halls Creek in Western Australia. It introduces children to many Australian animals and the sharing of indigenous culture with images adapted from children’s original paintings of the story.
9. You, Me and Our Place by Leonie Norrington and illustrated by Dee Huxley (2007)
This book is about two boys fishing, hunting, listening to stories and playing on the beach. Each page contains just a few sentences, however, the underlying story is a complex portrayal of indigenous people and white people living together with trust and respect for their cultural differences.
10. I Am Enough by Grace Byers and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo (2018)
This book takes important life concepts and makes them easy to understand. With just a few words per page, it encourages children to embrace who they are.
11. Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor (2020)
This picture book for children explores the Uluru Statement. It leads children on a journey of discovery of our nation’s heart. It is a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated book with lots to unpack. It also contains the AIATSIS map of Australia and the full Uluru Statement.
12. Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy (2016)
This insightful and beautifully illustrated nonfiction book shares the cultural concepts behind welcoming ceremonies and customs of Australia’s indigenous heritage as told from the perspective of the Wurundjeri people.
The benefits of children’s pop-up picture books
Pop-up picture books create interactive experiences. They are ideal introductions to books for babies and toddlers. Some pop-up books focus on sensory experiences with felt or other types of paper that feel rough, crinkly or smooth. Other pop-up books include rhymes and alliteration for older children.
13. Trucks And Diggers a Pop Up Book published by Lake Press (2020)
This pop-up book tells the story of two trucks digging a hole. If your child is obsessed with trucks and diggers it will be a perfect book to build on their interest. The beautiful illustrations by Gareth Williams pop-up on every page to keep children engaged.
14. Pop-Up Peekaboo! Farm published by DK (2011)
This peekaboo book with felt flaps makes it easy for young children to grab. It’s more than just a board book with cuddly animals that pop out of their hiding places. It also encourages children to learn animal names and count from one to five.
15. The Colour Monster: A Pop-Up Book of Feelings by Anna Llenas (2015)
This book for children explores emotions and helps them to recognise and name them. The pop-up version is beautifully designed and excellent for families to explore together and encourage conversation on how to express feelings.
16. Where are the Yellow Chicks, Spot? by Eric Hill (2019)
Children help Spot the dog find his friend Little Chick by lifting felt flaps while learning about colours. Spot was first introduced to the world in 1980 and he remains a favourite children’s character.
17. Megaboy by Ian Cunliffe (Illustrator) (2016)
This favourite children’s book with its bright illustrations captures children’s imaginations as they follow the story of Megaboy and his companion, Megadog. Published in several languages, this fun comic-like story contains a beautiful heart-warming message.
More children’s book reviews to explore
18. Give Me Some Space by Philip Bunting (2021)
In this original story, Una wants to explore space. Through colourful pictures and text that uses technical language and facts, this children’s book details Una’s attempts to blast into space. It’s a fun book that will build on any space enthusiast’s ideas and imagination.
19. Woosh! Went the Witch by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler (2017)
One of the delights of this colourful board book is the cackling that can accompany any page with the press of a button. The pages are thick and easy to turn. This hilarious story is based on the play, “Room on a Broom”, where the witch picks up passengers as she flies past them.
20. Look Inside Space by Rob Lloyd Jones (2012)
Children who love exploring picture flap books, imagining and learning about space will enjoy reading this book. It won the 2013 Royal Society Prize for a children’s science book and it’s a fun book for deepening a young child’s interest in space.
21. Grug learns to fly by Ted Prior (2011)
This funny story is just one of a collection of Grug books written since the late 1970s. In this early reader picture book, Grug sees birds flying and wants to fly too! Children follow Grug’s ideas and mishaps as he takes on new learning adventures.
22. Where’s Wally? by Martin Handford (1987)
Where’s Wally and the series of books that have followed have captured children’s hearts and imaginations for decades. Like many children’s books, Where’s Wally inspires playtime fun and creativity through extended experiences.
Inspire your child’s love for reading with Petit Early Learning Journey
At Petit ELJ, we share our enjoyment of reading with children every day. Our early childhood Educators read books to promote and build on children’s interests and learning.
Our support for children’s stories goes beyond celebrating CBCAs Book Week in August. Our purpose-built environments have cosy nooks and crannies for relaxed and fun reading all year round. Our Educators are happy to provide children’s book reviews based on your child’s interests.
We also organise excursions to local libraries for older children and hold incursions where special guests are invited to read to our children. We love having our families come read too. Learn more about how we inspire children’s love for reading and play-based learning at your nearest centre.