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10 books for younger kids

Kids have had a lot on their plates: no school, no play dates, and slim chance of a summer of fun in the sun. Here's 10 great book for ages 5-8 to create a fictional escape route from the madness.

1. Madame Badobedah – Sophie Dahl

This timeless tale from fashion model turned author Sophie Dahl celebrates friendship and imagination. It follows the story of Mabel, an inquisitive little girl, who lives with her parents at The Mermaid Hotel.

2. The Snow Dragon – Abi Elphinstone and Fiona Woodcock

What kid doesn’t love a story involving dragons? And this one by author Abi Elphinstone doesn’t disappoint. Set in an orphanage and following the adventures of Phoebe and her sausage dog Herb, it’s magical and warming.

3. Paolo, Emperor of Rome – Mac Barnett

A daring dachshund dog takes a whirlwind tour of Rome in search of freedom in this new picture book from storyteller Mac Barnett and illustrator Claire Keane. The moral of the story? Even the smallest among us can achieve great things.

4. Rabbit and Bear: A Bite in the Night – Julian Gough and Jim Field

The fourth book in the Rabbit and Bear series by novelist and playwright Julian Gough, this classic story is brilliantly funny and heartwarming. It’s ideal for readers moving on from picture books.

5. Isadora Moon Goes on Holiday – Harriet Muncaster

This chapter book will appeal to kids who love a bit of magic with their realism. Isadora Moon is half fairy and half vampire – which makes here a totally unique and modern heroine. There illustrations are gloriously fun in pink, black and white punk – and it’s part of a series so it needn’t end with this book.

6. Mr. Penguin: The Lost Treasure – Alex T. Smith

The first of three, this book has been billed as Indiana Jones meets Hercule Poirot. It’s won awards all over the place, and has been made into a Disney Junior telly serious. Expect plenty of slapstick humour, mystery and adventure. The illustrations are quirky and fun, too.

7. Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Golden Seahorse – Sally Gardner

A classy and classic story, this story is part of a series that follows the adventures of a girl called Betsy – who’s mum is a mermaid – and her friend Mr Tiger. In this quirky and fun story, Betsy goes to live in an underwater world with her mum.

8. Zippel: The Little Keyhole Ghost – Alex Ruhle and Axel Scheffler

Filled with colourful pictures from the well-loved illustrator Axel Scheffler, this is a charming story is full of fun and humour with plenty of rhyming. It’s about family and everyday problems, friendship, courage and a special little ghost.

9. Bad Nana: Older not Wiser – Sophy Henn

A wickedly funny story – the first in the series – about a grandmother who’s always up to no good. It’s told through the eyes of Jeanie, aged 7 and three-quarters, and is guaranteed to get laughs. There pictures are quite lovely too.

10. Ruby Red Shoes – Kate Knapp

This beautiful series is in the vein of a modern-day Beatrix Potter, following the life of Ruby Red Shoes, a bunny who lives in a colourful painted caravan with her grandmother. A great book for children who are just learning to read on their own.

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