100 best books for children and babies

From a Very Hungry Caterpillar to Little Bear, Charlie Bucket to Harry Potter, we take your child through from first words to fantastic novels in our pick of the finest 100 reads

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From animals to aliens, Gruffalo to grandparents, there has never been a wider range of children’s books to hit the shelves. Here at MFM, we thought we’d make picking the bedtime story a bit easier for you, by giving you the 100 best books for babies and children.

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It’s never too early to start reading to your baby, and so we’ve picked the best books for 0–1 year olds, encompassing the best cloth and touchy-feely books around. That’s Not My Dog has a great furry cover, so your baby can stroke the dog’s white coat, really involving them with the book.

Our best books for 1 year olds start with the classic Very Hungry Caterpillar, common in schools across the country. We also start to introduce some moral themes, for example, the multicoloured elephant Elmer, who shows that it’s ok to stand out from the crowd. Nursery stories also come to life for your child in Lucy Cousin’s book, but not just popular ones like Little Red Hiding Hood. You may even learn a new nursery story as well!

No list of best children’s books would be complete without the Mr Men, and Mr Tickle features on our best books for 2 year olds selection. Forever popular, Thomas the Tank Engine is also there, nestled among newer stories featuring funky princesses, loveable hares and rhyming aliens!

Our best books for 3 year olds feature the Gruffalo, written by the new Children’s laureate Julia Donaldson, as well as an exciting book about a boy with a purple crayon, who lets his imagination take flight as he draws his world around him. There is also the classic Little Bear’s Trousers, the cute, polite little white bear, already a firm favourite with many children.

The wonderful Roald Dahl enters our list in the best books for 4 year olds, with his book The Enormous Crocodile. Dogger is a story that any family can relate to as a child’s favoured toy is lost and then has to be found again. We also feature an environmental read, where various animals explain to a little boy about the ice caps melting.

Our best books for 5 year olds wouldn’t be the same without a certain bear with a fondness for honey! Winnie-the-Pooh is an essential read for any child, with the soft and delightful characters stealing hearts of children and adults alike. With father’s day approaching, maybe your child could read My Dad is Brilliant with their dads for extra brownie points?

Roald Dahl’s The Twits is in our selection of the best books for 6 year olds, along with brilliant Enid Blyton and a marmalade loving Paddington! For a more modern story, Flat Stanley is an intriguing read that follows the adventures of a boy who is only half an inch thick, something I’m sure most children would have contemplated!

Our best books for 7 year olds include inspired nanny Mary Poppins, exciting adventurers the Famous Five and more wonderful Roald Dahl, this time George’s Marvellous Medicine!

Our best books for 8 year olds have something a little bit different with a comic books style tale Fungus the Bogeyman. Instead of putting the kids in front of the TV, why not get them to read the original, with books such as The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe, Wind in the Willows and Matilda. Not to forget those tiny Borrowers as well!

9 years olds will enjoy our best book selection as we mention the already well loved Tracy Beaker, a slightly argumentative yet endearing teen. Harry Potter needs no introduction, but it would be nice to go back to the first book and show your children where all the magic began. Stig of the Dump is a 1963 classic about an unlikely friendship while Bill Bryson adds a hint of education with his A Really Short History of Nearly Everything.

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So, 100 books, across all ages, all seeking to expand and delight your child’s imagination. The only question is, where to start?

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