Category Archives: Top ten books

Top ten books loved by my (other) 5 year old

Our little girl still loves reading! She likes listening to stories, telling stories, writing stories and, now that she’s started school, reading stories. Reading to her is one of the only ways to keep her still.

1. Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: My New Best Friend by Meredith Costain

Olivia’s Secret Scribbles makes the list for a second year in a row! We’ve read every book in the series at least three times, and I have to say they still manage to keep both of us interested. There’s something so sweet about Olivia and the challenges she has at home and school – perhaps because they mirror everything our daughter is going through.

My New Best Friend is a particular favourite, as our little girl started school this year. Just like Olivia, she has had to navigate the difficult and wonderful ways of playground friendships.

2. HotDog Book 8: Art Time! by Anh Do

Another Anh Do series, Hot Dog is about a sausage dog and his two friends Lizzzy the lizard and Kev the cat. This bizarre grouping solves mysteries, goes on camping trips and performs in the circus. It has simple yet entertaining stories that are easy to listen to before bed.

When the baddies stole the Llama Lisa, a priceless painting of a llama, our little girl was captivated by the action. When the Mona Lisa was mentioned on the TV a week later she shouted, ‘Mummy, they’ve copied the Llama Lisa from Hot Dog!’… How dare they!

3. Ten Little Princesses by Mike Brownlow

I’ve tried to encourage our little girl to be gender-neutral, but it’s almost time for me to give up on that noble goal. When she was three, Ten Little Pirates was on the Top 10 list. Now she’s five, it’s all about pink, princesses, dancing and a lot of Katy Perry music.

Ten Little Princesses is still a good story to read, even though I cringe at how one princess gets distracted by a handsome prince. I guess there are worse things that can happen, like being eaten by a troll (as one of the poor princesses discovers)!

4. In My Heart by Jo Witek

This is not a book she asks for every night, but whenever I pull it from the bookshelf she’s very happy to turn the pages and listen to the feelings.

This book made it on the 1-year-old list and the 3-year-old list, and here it is again – when she is five. Her feelings have evolved over this time, and she’s much more aware of the range of emotions she now feels. When I ask her at the end of the book how she feels right now, she usually answers sad, which is her way of saying she’s read enough and now wants to drift off to sleep.

5. I really like slop! by Mo Willems

The Piggie and Elephant books are hilarious! They are easy for beginner readers to read themselves, and they match our daughter’s sense of humour.

Piggie loves slop and is sad when Elephant says he doesn’t want to try it. Eventually Elephant caves and agrees to try the tiniest amount. Unlike Green Eggs and Ham, the slop turns out to be actually quite terrible. Our favourite line? “How do you get that old shoe taste?” Old shoes.

6. Ella Diaries: Christmas Crackers by Meredith Costain

Ella, the older sister of Olivia from Olivia’s Secret Scribbles, has a series of her own. Even though Ella has a lot more in common with our daughter – she likes craft, dressing up, and hanging with her friends – the books are not quite as fun to read.

The Christmas Crackers book is sweet though, as our daughter absolutely loves Christmas. By reading this one in the middle of the year we were able to trick ourselves into thinking that her favourite time of the year was just around the corner.

7. The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey

These books have a great concept – a wolf, a snake, a shark and a piranha get together to prove to the world that they can actually be good guys, and maybe even save the world. The banter between the four of them is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, and our daughter loved having these read to her before bed.

Even though I’m disappointed that the only female characters are a sexy fox (blergh!) and an old crocodile with no teeth (OK, that’s kinda funny) overall, this is a pretty good series to read.

8. Hen in a Hat by Speld Decodable Readers

When our son learnt to read in kindergarten three years ago, the books sent home were mainly about matching the words with photos and learning through repetition. This has now changed, with much more of a focus on phonics and sounding out words, even if they’re not commonly seen words.

My daughter has flown through these ‘decodable’ readers and is reading so well after just 6 months at school. Hen in a Hat is one of these books that she now reads so easily on the tablet at school and home.

9. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Oliver Jeffers

Our fact-loving son didn’t care for these books much, but our daughter, with her sense of humour and love of colour, thinks these books are just wonderful. Duncan’s crayons that left home in the previous book, are now sending postcards back, describing they’re amazing adventures.

Our daughter is becoming quite the little artist, so what can be better than a book about crayons that talk?

10. Wolf Girl 1: Into the Wild by Anh Do

Another much-loved series from our favourite author, Anh Do. This one featured in the Top 10 Books Loved by my 7-year-old son, so I thought I’d try them out on my daughter too. We’ve been reading a chapter or two a night before bed and have just finished the first book.

Gwen is separated from her parents in the forest, a mystery that continues for the whole first book. She befriends a pack of dogs who become her family and learn to live in the wild. My daughter hangs off every word as I read.

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Our daughter is at the time where she’s close to reading whole books on her own. Next year I have no doubt the list will be full of books that she’s read herself, and our nightly ritual of reading together will come to an end.

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Top ten books loved by my 7 year old

Another year has passed and our boy has another year’s worth of knowledge packed into his little brain. He’s a sponge when it comes to facts, and despite spending 99% of his life in our home town, his knowledge of geography has now officially bypassed mine. He reads widely and quickly (and makes his parents very proud in the process).

Here are his Top 10 favourite books for when he was 7.  

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1. Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

Now this is a great book for an inquisitive 7-year-old that loves learning about how things work! It goes into intricate detail of machines, animals, processes… but using only 1,000 of the most commonly used words in the English language. My 7-year-old had learned so much about the world from this book, and I’ve had fun trying to work out what exactly is being described (the “strange animal” entry on the Tree of Life page had us stumped for a while).

The diagrams are beautiful – easy to read and extremely detailed. It’s a great book for children and adults alike.

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Top ten books loved by my (other) 4 year old

Her love of books continues! We’ve had another wonderful year of reading, writing and sharing books together. Trips to the local library are still a weekly activity and every day must end with a book. It’s been fun exploring fiction and fantasy stories – her older brother was all about facts and the real world – so this is a welcome change.

In the last year she’s become quite the creative storyteller. She loves drawing pictures and writing words, then turning them into elaborate stories. Each night she relays her stories to her stuffed toys in bed, before finally drifting to sleep.

1. Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: Unicorn Parade by Meredith Costain

Now these books are delightful! They’re about a 7 year old girl called Olivia who loves inventing, exploring and hanging with her friends. They’re so Australian and so current that you could use these stories to explain my kids’ lives right now. They have easy-to-understand language, and are visually beautiful – with a bright accent colour for the illustrations and the stand out words.

In these stories the children are kind to each other, the teachers love teaching, and the parents share the parenting equally. It’s full of role models for us all!

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Top ten books loved by my (other) 3 year old

Our little 3-year-old has grown so much in the year since I posted Top 10 books loved by my (other) 2 year old. She’s understanding much more complicated storylines, and has an amazing attention span when she’s curled up listening to her favourites books.

She’s started recognising words and sounding out letters (watching her older brother go through kindergarten last year has definitely helped her with that!) and I’m pretty sure she’ll be reading by herself before my next post next year. Her favourite books were hard to pick – there’s been so many in the last 12 months – but the below selection have really stood out.

Harry in a Hurry - Pan Macmillan AU

1. Harry in a Hurry by Timothy Knapman

The 3-year-old still loves rabbits as much as she did when she was two, and I bought this book for her when I was away travelling with work. Harry the hare races around on his scooter so fast that he misses the destruction he’s leaving behind… until he crashes into a pond and is rescued by the super. slow. tortoise. Tom (who takes all afternoon just to blow his nose).

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Top ten books loved by my 6 year old

Just when I thought reading with my son snuggled in bed was never going to happen again, it returns! The world’s recent events have meant slower mornings for us. After a quick trip downstairs to put on Bluey for the 3-year-old, I slip back in bed to read. And lately, the 6-year-old – and his favourite chapter book – have been joining me.

And that’s because he can now read! Just over a year of school and he can read entire books by himself. Last year, I was reading the chapter books, and this year it’s all him.

The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, Terry Denton (9781760559144) - PaperBack - Children's Fiction

1. The 117-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

This time last year we were only just introduced to these books. A year on and we’ve read every one of the series twice – the first time with me reading a chapter aloud every night, the second time my 6-year-old reading them to himself before bed (and sometimes staying up way too late to get to The Last Chapter).

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Top ten books loved by my 5 year old

What difference a year makes! Last year the list was full of picture books and junior non-fiction. This year we’ve made a sudden change to a) chapter books that we read before bed over a number of weeks, sometimes months, or b) books my son reads himself. And it’s a whole new and exciting world!

It’s amazing what 6 months of school can do. Our boy who wasn’t interested in reading anything other than his own name is now reads absolutely everything. And I mean everything. From sign-posts and cereal boxes to TV captions and toothpaste tubes… if it has a word on it, my 5 year old will be right there sounding out each of the l-l-l-e-e-t-t-t-er-er-er-s… letters!

Treehouse

1. The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

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Top ten books loved by my (other) 2 year old

Our little girl is two! It feels like it should be a lot older than that because 1) she certainly makes her presence known, and 2) we can’t imagine a life without her.

A year ago I listed her top ten books and I’m thrilled that her obsession with books has continued. She’s an active little thing, and reading seems to be the only way we can keep her still. When I sit on the lounge she snuggles in so closely, and hangs off every word.

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1. Peppa Goes Ice Skating by Ladybird

Ahhhh, Peppa Pig. Where do I start?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s no wonder it’s a popular TV show. Easy storylines. Short, 5-minute episodes. But since the introduction of brilliant, modern shows like Bluey, I’m starting to get sick of the whole ‘Daddy Pig is hopeless’ and ‘girls-do-this-and-boys-do-that’ attitudes that seem to plague every Pig episode.

My daughter, of course, thinks Peppa is amazing. And you don’t argue with a 2-year old.

Peppa Goes Ice Skating is one of her favourite books and it’s actually quite enjoyable to read. My daughter likes to check that Miss Rabbit is handing out the right skates for Daddy, Mummy, Peppa and George, and enjoys running her fingers over the loopy trail Peppa has left in the in the ice.

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Top ten books loved by my 4 year old

Another year of reading has passed and my little baby is now a tall and confident boy ready to start school next year. The biggest shift in the last twelve months has been in how my son likes to read: we used to repeat his favourites a hundred times until he knew the words by heart, but this year it’s been more about learning. He’ll read a book to get the facts, then want to move onto something else.

But of course, there’ll always be his favourites. And I’ve listed our top-ten from the last year below. For previous years lists, click here.

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1. Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can you? by Dr. Seuss

When my 4-year-old was a baby, a local newspaper ran a promotion where you could get a Dr. Seuss book each week and collect them all in a box set. My uncle, who has always showered my children with gifts, collected the whole set and gave them to my son. We’ve read every book numerous times, and I’ve loved the tongue-twisting stories just as much as my son has loved listening to them.

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Top ten books loved by my (other) 1 year old

I now have a second little one year old, and thankfully she’s mad about books too (read my previous ‘top ten’ posts here). She absolutely adores storytime, especially first thing in the morning in bed with me, or in the evening before dinner curled up on the lounge under a blanket.

This girl knows what she wants, and as I run through the list of book options she’ll shout, ‘No!’, ‘No!’, ‘No!’ until I get to the right one. Then with a smile and a ‘Yep!’ she’ll snuggle in close to me and hang off my every word.

Baby Touch

1. Baby Touch Playbook by Ladybird

This book has everything to catch and keep a baby’s attention: Bright colours, different  textures, holes, lift-the-flaps, and mirrors.

My 1-year-old chats away to the animals and laughs at the rabbit hiding behind the bush. She peers into the mirror and names all the people she can see – Mummy and ‘Bubby’ and if we’re lucky, ‘Brother’ is in there too.

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Top ten books loved by my 3 year old

Last year I posted the top ten books loved by my 2 year old, and the year before that the top ten books loved by my 1 year old. To keep up with the tradition, here are the books that are making the ‘read night after night’ list for my now 3 year old not-so-little boy.

1. Mega Rescuers by Christiane Gunzi

Every morning, before anyone else is out of bed, I’ll hear crashing and banging coming from our son’s room. He appears in the hall carrying a pile of six or more Mega books, all published in the 1990s and given to us by a friend whose boys were no longer interested in them. He drops one or two with an almighty bang on the wooden floors. Then once he’s got them all back in his arms again he’ll clamber up onto the bed, point to Mega Rescuers and say ‘I want you to read that one.’

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