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Do you agree with this list of 'best' EY books?


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The TES has published this list of 'go to' books for the Early Years bookshelf, Are your favourites included?

Is there an early years teacher alive who doesn’t love a good browse through the picture books section of the local bookshop? From the ones that we remember from childhood to the new classics in waiting, there are so many brilliant books for this age group that there’s always new EYFS books for you and your class to discover.

But which EYFS books are most highly recommended by staff and why?

Here are seven of our favourites:

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The book that launched a thousand topics. Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly, taste everything that the caterpillar ate, hunt for minibeasts, create your own Eric Carle-inspired art…the list is endless. And remember to make a little pipecleaner caterpillar puppet to weave in and out of the holes in the pages.

2. Oi Frog by Kes Gray

Great for teaching rhyming words and a lot of fun. You may know that cats sit on mats, but did you know that fleas sit on peas and gophers sit on sofas? You do now. Expect to be asked to read this one over and over again.

oi frog

3. The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson

Any of Julia Donaldson’s books would be at home in this list for their rhyming couplets, entertaining stories and engaging illustrations, but EYFS teachers particularly rate this one for its message about kindness and friendship. Perfect as a Circle Time prompt.

4. You Choose by Nick Sharratt

There’s no story and minimal text, but this book encourages individuality, decision making and discussion. It’s perfect for encouraging shyer children to talk to the class and for working on those all important listening skills.


5. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

Everyone loves a lift-the-flaps book, and children enjoy guessing which animal the zoo has sent today. Excellent for scaffolding writing with young children. Bring in a box for everyone to examine and promise to reveal which animal is inside it if they write down their guess.

6. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

The rhythm, repetition and actions in this book mean that everyone can join in. Great for drama and role play, or try setting the story to music.

7. The Blue Balloon by Mick Inkpen

This book ties into lots of knowledge and understanding of the world activities. Observe what happens when air is blown into or released from a balloon, rub it on your hair to learn about static electricity or find out what happens to balloons when they’re filled with water or sand. Most importantly, this is one of those books that is a joy to read to children…and everybody loves the big rainbow balloon surprise at the end.


Lisa Jarmin is an EYFS teacher and freelance writer based in the North West of England"

So, what else would you add to the list?


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Personally, I would always want to have copies of the following:

Alfie Gets in First There is a huge amount of 'safety' that can be discussed through this book which has always generated lively opinions!


Dogger This a fantastic starter for discussing emotions and empathy

From a more modern perspective, You Can't take an Elephant on the Bus reviewed here also encourages interesting conversations!


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It's the Bear - Jez Alborough.  the pictures of the trees and what could be hiding behind them and the pretending of one popping out and then hiding again, always gives a lot of imagination.  We have looked at height - what would be taller than those trees. Spacial awareness - where would you sit where a tree was not in the way, Emotions- would you be scared if it was a scary wood, natural habitats, would your Mummy really leave you in the wood to go back for Blueberry Pie?

Love this story and its sequels.

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