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Article  •  22 June 2021


10 must read books for children under 5!

Filled with adventure, inspiration and humour, these books are sure to take little readers and their imaginations to new and fantastic places!

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy

The iconic and bestselling book by Dame Lynley Dodd introduces us to the world of loveable scamp, Hairy Maclary, and the cast of his perfectly named friends. The illustrations are timeless and the characters full of personality. But for this reader, it's Lynley's mastery of rhyme that sets this book apart; it never stops being fun to read aloud.


Where’s Spot?

Eric Hill's first lift-the-flap tale featuring adventurous puppy Spot, is the perfect first book for little ones. The playful text is a wonderful spur to read and respond together, and the hide-and-seek flaps encourage curiosity and interactivity. There's a reason it's remained in print for over 40 years!


Puffin the Architect

Kimberly Andrews' beautiful illustrations conjure up a world in which children will find new details with every read. Telling the story of a working mum (who also happens to be a Puffin), trying to meet the tricky demands of her latest clients (her own pufflings) as she designs them a home. This book, with its detailed house designs and endearing animal characters, is sure to spark the imagination of any aspiring architect. 


The Very Hungry Caterpillar

With its simple story about metamorphosis, striking collage-style illustration and innovative cut-outs, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is commonly cited as one of the greatest picture books of all time. Since it's publication, it has sold roughly 50 million copies worldwide, and a copy is sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. It teaches gentle lessons; not just about colours, numbers and days of the week, but about changing, growing and transformation. 


Time for Bed Little Kiwi

Bob Darroch's popular series about a flightless friend who sometimes can't get anything right, has been providing giggles to our own little kiwis since the year 2000. In this favourite story in the bestselling series, it's time for Little Kiwi to go to bed -- but where is he? Join his mum on a hunt through the New Zealand bush as she tries to track him down in this lift-the-flap adventure. 


I Am the Universe

Award-winning local illustrator Vasanti Unka is known for her riotously colourful and inventive illustrations, and I Am the Universe is the perfect representation of this. From glittering galaxies to busy city streets, this stunning picture book takes you on a tour around the Universe. It's a starlit journey through space that will lead you to a wonderful planet brimming with all kinds of life - including yours.


Where the Wild Things Are

A story about imagination, flights of fancy, and the meaning of home. When Max is compelled to put on his wolf suit and make mischief, his mother calls him a 'Wild Thing' and sends him to bed without supper. From there, Max sets sail to the land of the Wild Things, ready to start a wild rumpus. But will he be able to find his way home when everything becomes quiet and he starts to feel lonely? 60 years on from its publication, Maurice Sendak's picture book continues to delight young readers everywhere.


Kakapo Dance

Helen Taylor's stunning illustrations bring one of New Zealand's favorite native birds to life! All the birds in the bush are singing and dancing. All except Kakapo. Kakapo can't coo and glide like Kereru, chirp and twirl like Fantail, or whistle and waddle like Whio. But all the other birds are having so much fun that he can't help joining them - in his own Kakapo way . . . Thud, ching, tumble, shuffle, BOOM! Dance and sing along with Kakapo and his friends in this read-aloud story about birdsong.


My Elephant is Blue

Figuring out how to talk to children about difficult emotions can sometimes feel impossible. Books can offer a good gateway to starting these conversations and My Elephant is Blue is the perfect example of this. This story about a child experiencing and trying to understand the weight of a heavy sadness, delivers its message with warmth, empathy and humour. 


Little Hector and the Big Blue Whale

A gentle and sumptuously illustrated introduction to our precious marine environment and a fun story about a small but daring dolphin! Ruth Paul's Little Hector series teaches young readers about the tiny and endangered Hector's dolphin, and how we might be able to better take care of the ocean and its inhabitants.

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy Lynley Dodd

The iconic first Hairy Maclary book, which introduces Hercules Morse, Bitzer Maloney, Muffin McLay, Bottomley Potts, Schnitzel von Krumm and of course the famous Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy.

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Where's Spot? Eric Hill

A special 40th anniversary edition of the very first lift-the-flap book featuring everyone's favourite puppy - the lovable Spot.

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Puffin the Architect Kimberly Andrews

Meet Puffin, a clever architect who always creates the perfect home for her clients. But her newest clients are VERY hard to please!

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Time for Bed, Little Kiwi Bob Darroch

In this favourite story in a bestselling series, it's time for Little Kiwi to go to bed - but where is he?

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I am the Universe Vasanti Unka

A gorgeous, award-winning illustrated story about our place in the Universe - it comes with a billion star rating!

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Where The Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

This best-selling classic now comes with an audio CD read by Tom Hollander.

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Kakapo Dance Helen Taylor

New Zealand birds have such an amazing variety of sounds and movements! Dance and sing along with Kakapo and his friends in this read-aloud story about birdsong.

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My Elephant Is Blue Melinda Szymanik, Vasanti Unka

An award-winning, quirky story about a child who is stuck carrying around an elephant, wondering if they will ever feel light and free again . . .

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Little Hector and the Big Blue Whale Ruth Paul

From award-winning picture book creator Ruth Paul comes a new series about a plucky dolphin called Little Hector and his BIG adventures.

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