Books also recommended 5-8 year olds

Difficult Feelings

Angry Arthur

Author Hiawyn Oram
Illustrator Satoshi Kitamura
Reading age 5+
Interest level 5-8

Review A brilliantly illustrated book about a small boy's escalating rage when he is told that it's too late to watch television. His anger mounts and mounts, culminating in a ‘universequake'! And at the end of the story, Arthur can't remember why he was so angry in the first place.

Although it looks a bit dated now (it was first published in 1982), this is an excellent book that can be used to discuss anger with young children - or just a good story that can be read and enjoyed for itself.

Publisher Red Fox
Published 1993
ISBN 9780099196617

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Little Brother and the Cough

Author Hiawyn Oram
Illustrator Mary Rees
Reading age 6+
Interest level 3-8

Review In this excellent depiction of sibling rivalry, a little girl develops a noisy, disruptive cough which seems to get worse whenever her new baby brother is mentioned.

Finally, people begin to notice the cough, and with a bit of love and attention, it disappears!

The humorous illustrations work well with the text to make a charming book about a common problem.

Publisher Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Published 2000
ISBN 9780711208452

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Let's Be Friends Again!

Author Hans Wilhelm
Illustrator Hans Wilhelm
Reading age 5+
Interest level 4-8

Review In a story that will ring true with many families, a boy's younger sister unwittingly does something that makes him terribly angry. He learns to deal with his fury, however, and finds that forgiveness and friendliness help not only his sister, but the boy himself, to feel better.

The book has charming illustrations (with an appealing dog!) and an optimistic message on resolving sibling conflict.

This title is now out of print. However, the entire book is downloadable, free of charge, from the author's own website:
www.ChildrensBooksForever.com.

 

The Saddest King

Author Chris Wormell
Illustrator Chris Wormell
Reading age 5+
Interest level 5+

Review The king has decreed that everyone must be happy, so the people smile all day long, even when bad things happen. One day, a small boy is found crying, so he is sent to the king to be punished. As the boy tells the king the reason for his sadness - his dog has died - the king begins to sob, and his smiling face is found to be a mask.  Thanks to the boy, the king realises it's all right to be sad sometimes, and revokes his decree, at which point everyone has a good cry!

Appealing illustrations of medieval-style villagers complement this story, which shows it's acceptable to express sadness and ‘to be the way you feel'.

Publisher Red Fox
Published 2008
ISBN 9780099486847

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Friendship and difference

 

Laura's Star

Author Klaus Baumgart
Illustrator Judy Waite
Reading age 7+
Interest level 3-8

Review Laura is lonely and has no-one to tell her special secrets to. But as she looks out of her bedroom window, a streak of silver comes twisting towards her, and she sees that it's a star.

She takes the shining star to her bedroom, repairs its broken point and tells it all her secrets.

This delightful story of friendship and compassion is a magical tale, ideal for bedtime reading.

Publisher Little Tiger Press
Published 2000
ISBN 9781854306968

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Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All

Author Ted Dewan
Illustrator Ted Dewan
Reading age 4-8
Interest level 4-8

Review This humorous yet heart-warming tale is of a young pig who, although given everything he ever asks for, is bored and lonely, as he quickly tires of his new toys.

His life is transformed when his new friends introduce him to the joys of imaginative play, where the fun is restricted only by the limits of their imaginations.

The detailed illustrations are warm and magical, and there is much to see in this vivid picture book for children aged 4 to 8.

Publisher Corgi Children's
Published 2001
ISBN 9780552546270

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Queen Munch and Queen Nibble

Author Carol Ann Duffy
Illustrator Lydia Monks
Reading age 7+
Interest level 6-9

Review This tale of two very different queens, beautifully written and illustrated, is also great fun. Queen Munch is big and loud and colourful. She loves eating and, every Saturday morning, her subjects gather to watch the public Munching of the Breakfast.

In contrast, Queen Nibble is tall and slender and pale as a stick of celery. She spends most of her time alone, making jewellery from raindrops. But when Queen Munch invites her to stay, Queen Nibble has no choice but to go - and both queens find out how being different can form the basis for a great friendship.

Publisher Macmillan Children's Books
Published 2003
ISBN 9780333960660

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I'm Special, I'm Me!

Author Ann Meek
Illustrator Sarah Massini
Reading age 4+
Interest level 4+

Review Milo is a rather unconfident boy who is easily dominated by his schoolfriends - they never let him play what he'd like to be at playtime.

Each night his mother shows him another side of himself, until soon he has the confidence to be himself, and leads a game that all the other children are desperate to join.

Illustrated with warmth and joy by Sarah Massini, this is a new look at an old subject, and shows that inside every timid child is a happy one waiting to be brought out.

Publisher Little Tiger Press
Published 2006
ISBN 9781845060435

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Whiff

Author Ian Whybrow
Illustrator Russell Ayto
Reading age 6+
Interest level 3-8

Review Whenever Whiff, the baby warthog, tries to make friends, it ends in disaster, as his lingering smell and the permanent cloud of flies always cause problems!

This comical, vibrantly illustrated picture book looks at the difficulties of making friends and the rewards of true friendship when you find it.

Publisher Picture Corgi
Published 2000
ISBN 9780552546157

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Fox

Author Margaret Wild
Illustrator Ron Brooks
Reading age 7+
Interest level 7+

Review When she is lured away from Dog, her true companion and friend, by cunning Fox, who eventually abandons her far from home, Magpie learns the true value of friendship.

Accompanied by Ron Brooks' richly-coloured and textured illustrations, which create an expressive visual accompaniment to the dark narrative, this is a haunting picture book for children aged seven and over.

Publisher Allen & Unwin
Published 2008
ISBN 9781864489330

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Bullying


Hugo and the Bully Frogs

Author Francesca Simon
Illustrator Caroline Jayne Church
Reading age 5+
Interest level 4+

Review Hugo is a little frog with a tiny croak, whose life is made miserable by some big, bad bully frogs.

The other animals suggest ways in which Hugo can defend himself, but he is just too timid.

Then, when bossy old Duck arrives, she soon hits on the answer.

Publisher Gullane
Published 2000
ISBN 9781862331730

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CHANGE

 

No More Kissing!

Author Emma Chichester Clark
Illustrator Emma Chichester Clark
Reading age 5+
Interest level 3-7

Review Kissing drives Momo the monkey crazy, but unfortunately for him, his friends and family kiss each other at every opportunity. When his little brother is born, everyone kisses him too, but this doesn't stop his incessant crying.

Momo explains that obviously his little brother hates kissing too, and he tries to find other ways to stop him crying. He manages to placate the baby, and then unable to resist his brother's sweet smile, surprises himself by kissing him.

The book has adorable characters and a lovely unpredictable ending.

Publisher HarperCollins
Published 2002
ISBN 9780007131051

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Crispin and the 3 Little Piglets

Author Ted Dewan
Illustrator Ted Dewan
Reading age 4-8
Interest level 4-8

Review The wealthy young pig from ‘Crispin: The Pig Who Had It All' is here again. This time, he is shocked to discover that instead of one sibling (as expected), he has three! Inevitably, he gets pushed out of the limelight, but eventually, all ends well as the piglets win him over and he reads them a story - ‘The Three Little Pigs'.

There is much to amuse adults as well as children in the fantastic, quirky illustrations (such as Crispin's mother on her exercise bike) which really bring the story to life and make this book special.

Publisher Corgi Children's
Published 2003
ISBN 9780552547864

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So What!

Author Bel Mooney
Illustrator Margaret Chamberlain
Reading age 8+
Interest level 7-10

Review This rather jolly little book offers a series of incidents in the life of 10-year-old Kitty and her family. Problems with homework, room tidying, and jealousy of a younger sibling, are dealt with in a fairly lighted-hearted way, but with sympathy for the difficulties of a child confronting the idea of ‘growing up'.

The style of text and illustrations will appeal to quite young readers, and the topics covered could be usefully discussed both in a classroom situation and on a one-to-one basis.

Publisher Egmont Children's Books
Published 2002
ISBN 9780749748234

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You'll Soon Grow Alex

Author Andrea Shavick
Illustrator Russell Ayto
Reading age 6+
Interest level 6+

Review Alex is unhappy with his height and desperately tries to grow taller. He receives much advice - drink plenty of milk, exercise, sleep and even read
lots of books - but nothing seems to work.

Then Uncle Danny points out some of the drawbacks of being tall, and Alex realises there are more important things in life.

Superb illustrations bring this story alive.

Publisher Orchard Books
Published 2001
ISBN 9781841216065

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Starring Grace

Author Mary Hoffman
Illustrator Caroline Binch
Reading age 8+
Interest level
7-10

Review There is no end to Grace's imagination! It is the school holidays and she and her friends spend their time playing at being everything from doctors to ghost-hunters.

Then when Grace takes part in her favourite musical ‘Annie', she realises that what she really wants to be is a star!

This book tackles the subject of an absent father (who lives in The Gambia) and a mother's new boyfriend, with sensibility and great understanding of children's emotional needs.

Publisher Frances Lincoln Children's Books
Published 2003
ISBN 978071122140

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The Visitors who Came to Stay

Author Annalena McAfee
Illustrator Anthony Browne
Reading age 6+
Interest level 5+

Review Katy lives a quiet life by the sea with her dad, occasionally visiting her mum at weekends. Then one day, Dad brings home a friend and her son, and their loud and colourful ways totally disrupt her peaceful world. In time, it gradually dawns on her that these visitors are going to stay for good - because the woman is her dad's new partner.

This sensitive and sophisticated book, superbly illustrated by Anthony Browne (with plenty of visual jokes), explains a complicated and painful situation in a helpful and perceptive way.

Publisher Walker Books
Published 2000
ISBN 9780744567731

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Good-Bye, Daddy

Author Brigitte Weninger
Illustrator Alan Marks
Reading age 7+
Interest level 4-8

Review Tom is feeling sad after one of his father's regular visits.

So Teddy tells Tom a story of a little bear in a similar situation. Father and Mother Bear live apart, although Father Bear often comes to visit. Like Tom, Little Bear gets upset when he leaves.

Mother Bear explains that she and Father Bear used to argue a lot when they lived together, but now they are both happy and nothing changes their love for Little Bear.

A useful book for discussing separation with young children.

Publisher North-South Books
Published 2000
ISBN 9781558587700

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LOSS AND DEATH

 

I'll Always Love You

Author Hans Wilhelm
Illustrator Hans Wilhelm
Reading age 6+
Interest level 4+

Review Charmingly illustrated with watercolour pictures, this book tells the story of the relationship between a boy and his dog, Elfie. As the boy grows taller, Elfie gets rounder and slower. One night, Elfie dies in her sleep. The boy is very sad, but it helps him to remember that he had told Elfie every night ‘I'll always love you'.

This is a simple but very moving story of love for and loss of a pet, suitable for young children, but likely to bring tears to the eyes of readers of any age.

Publisher Crown Publications
Published 2003
ISBN 9780517572658

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