Turning 5 is such an exciting year in a child’s life. They get to start school and will start to learn to read.

Some 5 year olds have even started reading independently! They start to know their own minds and their likes and dislikes. This goes for books too.

These are our recommended children’s picture books for 5 year olds including both pre-schoolers and school age children.

Here are some of our favourites in no particular order:

1. Zog: by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

In this award winning title by the author of the Gruffalo, Zog is a dragon and it’s about his adventures in school.

He is very keen; however he is also the clumsiest dragon. Fortunately for Zog a very helpful little girl always comes by and performs first aid. When Zog has to capture a princess for school, the little girl sets out to assist. Told in fantastic rhyme this is an awesome read aloud, with a feisty heroine.

This is a book full of fun and colour. In this edition you get a CD of the story and song and a 3D scene to cut out at the end – great for rainy day fun or even a long road trip.

2. Isabella’s Garden by Glenda Millard

This bright and colourful picture book tells the story of Isabella’s Garden and what happens when a small seed is planted. This story follows the structure and repetition of the classic rhyme “the House that Jack Built”. This award winning children’s book is particularly great for any child starting to take an interest in nature and gardening.

The repetition and rhyme of the text was determined by Speech Pathology Australia to be particularly good for language development.

3. Where’s Wally by Martin Handford

In this deluxe 25th anniversary edition, little kids will love finding Wally and his friends in the crowded places he visits.  The story includes open the flaps and extra things to find and includes some spot-the difference activities. This may actually keep a child entertained for longer than 10 minutes. Perfect choice for any child who enjoys detailed illustrations and finding things.

4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Every kid should own at least one Dr Seuss book and whilst we struggled to decide between Green Eggs and Ham and this one, we have gone with this classic. Originally written in the 1960’s, this book is great fun.

Little kids will love the idea of a crazy cat coming to visit them when their mother is out and making a huge mess.  Full of silliness and rhyme, this will capture any child’s imagination. It is longer than a regular picture book at around 64 pages. There may even be a life lesson in this one, for parents it is perhaps NOT to leave your kids in the care of a talking fish… for kids it is a nice demonstration of cleaning up the mess you made.

5. The Jolly Postman by Janet & Allen Ahlberg

This children’s book is both an award winner and a best seller. In it the Jolly Postman delivers all sorts of cards and letters to fairy tale characters such as Goldilocks, Red riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk.

The book features actual detachable letters and postcards in envelopes and is something really special. It’s really interactive and a nod to snail mail in this world of e-mail and text messages. This is a book you are going to want to hang onto to hand down to your grandkids.

6. The Day the Crayons Quit – by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers.

Ok, maybe I am biased but most Story Mama booklists include something illustrated by Oliver Jeffers.

In this bestseller, Duncan just wants to colour in, unfortunately for him when he opens his crayons, he only finds letters, all saying they quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.

This is a laugh-out-loud funny book about crayons with big personalities. This one will appeal particularly to any kid who likes to draw. It’s a great fun read aloud.

7. It’s a Book by Lane Smith

This picture book for kids is a celebration of the book, an item you don’t need a password to access, that you don’t need to charge. In this funny story Monkey is reading a book, and his friend wants to know what the book can do. Does it have a mouse? Can you make the characters fight? And does it make noises? No, it’s a book. Monkey’s friend discovers that a good book doesn’t need fancy electronic accessories. This is the classic for an electronic generation.

8. A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham

In this award winning children’s book, Stella finds a broken down old bus outside her house. At the very front of it, is a sign that says “Heaven”. The community embraces the bus and it becomes a place for meetings, games and stories. One day the bus is towed away and the community sets out to save it.

This is a lovely tale of overcoming adversity and standing up for something together. Featuring fabulous detail in the illustrations, kids will enjoy discovering something new in every read.

9. Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good Very Bad Day

Poor Alexander is having one of those days where everything goes wrong. He’s got gum in his hair and there is no toy in his breakfast cereal.

This is a funny and classic story about a grumpy boy and his bad day.  Note the pictures in this by Ray Cruz are in black and white. We love the line at the end where Alexander’s very wise mum tells him “sometimes days are like that”.

10. The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

Sometimes amongst the sea of girly princess books in which Prince Charming saves the day again and they live happily ever after, you may just be looking for something refreshing. The Worst Princess is a breath of fresh air for anyone who is bored of standard princesses and is looking for a stronger role model.

You will love Princess Sue who is the queen of mischief and adventure. This is a funny modern fairy tale, told in rhyme and full of colour.

So that’s it, our Top 10 Picture Book for 5 Year Olds. Is your favourite there? Is there a book your 5 year old loves? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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  • All my kids love Dr.Seuss books, particularly The cat in the hat and what makes it more special
    is that my 5 year old reads it for us instead of hubby and I reading it for them.


  • Are You My Mother? by P D Eastman was one of our favourite books when my daughter was little.


  • Both my kids loves Where’s Wally.


  • Zog sounds a delightful character!


  • What a great list! If the covers are anything to go by, these should be fantastic reads! I love that old favourites like Dr Seuss are still up there. He’s very popular in my house


  • I had forgotten about the Jolly postman! I remember reading it to my youngest brother, my kids will adore it. Thank you


  • Have started working our way through some of the books and they are fast becoming new fav’s.


  • I’m going to tell my cousin about Isabella’s Garden, as she is currently going through a speech pathologist with her little boy. If I see it in a book shop I will just purchase it, as she lives in a more remote place.


  • A couple of these are timeless classics.


  • Thank you for sharing this list! My 2 year old currently loves The Cat in the Hat. A few I loved as a child myself and some new stories to collect and enjoy reading too!

    • yeah i have a nice collection from my childhood. luckily they were saved for me and now my kids enjoy reading the same stories that i did.


  • I loved the jolly postman as a kid.


  • “The Cat in the Hat” is such a wonderful book. At that age my daughter loved also “Are you my mother?” by P.D. Eastman.


  • Been reading to my daughter from birth – not quite 2 and she will sit and look at books by herself – exciting to think she’ll be able to read by herself one day instead of just looking at the pictures


  • My 5 yo loves Mister Men books – everytime we go to the library she borrows at least 4-5 of them, and wants them read to her over and over….


  • Thanks for sharing this list. Some favourites on this list and some to discover.


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