There’s nothing quite like snuggling down to read with them before bedtime, is there? But hang on, it’s that book again... 🤭 It may be your kid’s favourite, but when you start reciting it in your sleep, you know it’s time for a new story. Sometimes you play safe with books, not because it’s the favourite per se, but because nothing else on the shelf seems quite right for their age or stage. Too wordy, too long, too many flaps? We hear you. So here are some tips to help you narrow down the right book for babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.

SIMPLE SOFTIES for 0-1 year olds

Wee Gallery Soft Book
It’s never too early to introduce babies to books and modern brands create brilliant first reads that are soft, tactile and full of content to develop their visual skills. The Wee Gallery cloth books are great for pulling out and using as a sensory prop while they're kicking around in the cot. A great gift for a newborn is this organic soft book set by Petit Collage, complete with a cute bunny teether, that can be used a story time prop too.

PRETTY PICTURES for 1 to 2-year-olds

How To Light Your Dragon
At 1-2 years, tots will often have a real interest in turning pages in books, but they may not be too fussed about the content. A durable board book like Oh No George is perfect. A.) It won’t get ripped (hallelujah!) And B.) The home alone style story about a dog is fun for adults too: you're sure to be having a go at saying ‘Oh No George’ by the end as well.

Another cool pick is How To Light Your Dragon - illustrated with big and bright details, it's a funny story about an unlikely friendship.

BOARD BOOKS WITH FINGERPLAY for 2 years +

Alpha Block
Two-year-olds are full of beans, so sitting to read is often not very appealing to them. So fingerplay books are a great way for getting them to focus, even if only briefly. Requiring simple interaction, little ones will relish the praise that comes from completing fun puzzles. Touchwords: My Day combines touch, sight and sound to build vocabulary and explore the exciting possibilities of a day – from washing to playing to sleeping and everything in between. We also love Mix It Up! It's perfect for getting hands on and learning about colour.

For older 2s and nearly-3s beginning their ABCs, Alpha Block is cool and chunky for little hands, with cut-out shapes to help them learn their letters. They can trace their fingers around the shapes while saying what they see, so you can teach them to spell octopus before dinner #hothousing

MEANINGFUL MESSAGES for 3 to 4-year-olds

Go Get Em Tiger!
By 3-4 years old, your little people are definitely no longer babies and you’ll find they begin to ask lots of questions. Story books with moral messages or stories exploring feelings are great as they are written to be accessible to pre-schoolers.

For this age, we love Go Get 'Em Tiger!: a quirky story about a plucky big cat that was Parent Tested for us by Emerson and her mum Keeley, who says: ‘We love the positive message throughout the book, and how it relates to real life ... life isn’t always rosy but with determination and courage and self belief you can achieve your dreams.’

BOOKS WITH COOL CHARACTERS FOR 4 years +

Little People, Big Dreams
For this age, we love story books that feature inspiring characters. Bookspeed's Little People, Big Dreams series offers up real life characters that stand in good stead among make-believe heroes. If you're looking for something a little different, these Cards feature 20 iconic women with fun facts for inquisitive schoolies to learn. (Not technically a book, but they box up perfectly to sit on your bookshelf.)

THE FIVE FINGER RULE FOR 5 years+

Hello London
Around 5 years+, mini bookworms will begin to recognise words and start to read by themselves 💓. This is a really important stage to make sure you’re picking out books that will be just right, too much of a challenge and they’ll likely get fed up. We really rate the five finger rule when it comes to choosing a book for a new reader, it goes like this: Pick a page and identify how many words your child doesn’t know. 0-1 = too easy, 2-3 = just right, 4 = give it a try, 5 = too hard. It’s easy to remember and is great for picking out books when you are in the library as well. So it's the fiver finger rule for 5 years+, remember that and you'll be on the way to developing some healthy reading habits.

Need more inspiration for your little bookworms? Shop our complete reading range here. And remember, if you need advice on anything, our bookworm Live Chat team are always here to help, 7am - 11pm, every single day. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.