books

Five books you need to read to your kids before they turn five.

In bookstores, it’s impossible to find a kid’s book. Not because there aren’t any. But because there are too many.

Where to begin?

To compound the difficulty levels, if you’re buying a book for your first child, you are probably very concerned with the book’s nature. Is it appropriate? Are the pictures interesting enough? What about the colours? Is it educational?

Reading with your child can be a beautiful experience. Image source: Getty.

If it's your third child, however, you won't be in a book store. A third-child bedtime story is any old article from the issue of House & Garden lying around the house.

But never fear, with a little bit of help from TimeOut we're here to help. Here are five kids' books that your children will love and won't bore you to death either:

1. Where The Wild Things Are.

Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, this could just be the greatest children's book of all time.

Read aloud for children attending the White House Easter Egg Roll by Barack Obama, Where The Wild Things Are comprises only 338 words.

The book follows young Max, a boy running around his house in a wolf costume. When his parents send him to bed without supper, Max's bedroom transforms into a jungle filled with mysterious creatures.

Max in his wolf costume. Image credit: Harper.
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The pictures are beautiful. The story arc is a simple one. And the premise is touching.

Kids are transported into their own world of adventure; one where, no matter how far from reality they stray, a hot bowl of soup will always be waiting for them upon their return.

2. The Cat in the Hat.

Theodor Geisel - AKA Dr. Seuss - was given one simple task:

Create a story for six and seven-year-olds from a list of 348 words 'every child should know'. The intention was educational.

What he produced was a 236-word short story featuring an anthropomorphic cat who would go on to become one of the most famous fictional characters of all time.

An absolute classic. Image source: Random House.

Perfect for a child who's learning to read (all the words are really simple), The Cat in the Hat is guaranteed to leave you both in stitches.

3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

Written by Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar teaches kids about animals, colours, shapes and healthy eating all-in-one.

Following the journey of a caterpillar who eats his way through the pages before transitioning into a butterfly, the book uses collage illustrations to depict the huge quantities of fruit the caterpillar eats throughout the week.

Eventually when he can eat no more, he spins a cocoon in which he remains for two weeks. Then, he emerges as a butterfly.

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It's been described by The Guardian as 'selling a copy every minute since its publication'. That's quite a feat considering it was published in 1969.

4. Tales of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: Their Adventures Wonderful.

Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, AKA the gumnut babies, are fictional characters sprouting from the mind of Australian author May Gibbs.

The adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie, along with the troubles they encounter from the villainous 'Banksia men', follow easy-to-understand story arcs that are beautifully eloquent and wonderfully educational.

This one is perfect for any mum or dad to read to their child - it's a bit complicated as a 'learning to read' book.

What any child who is read this will be receiving is a masterclass in language, adventure, and Australian bush life.

Struggling with your bub when it comes to bedtime? Listen to the extra-special sleeping episode of Year One, Mamamia's podcast about the first year of your baby's life. Post continues after audio.

5. Goodnight Moon.

The first book you should ever read your child, Goodnight Moon is the quintessential children's book.

Simple colours. Basic language. Straightforward illustrations.

Essential kids' reading. Image credit: Harper.

Yet, regardless of how dull it should be - there's something about the flowing rhythm and beautiful cadence that makes this book impossible to tire of. Even for an adult.

Written by Margaret Wise Brown, the bedtime book was far from a 'hit' when it was published back in 1947. Now, however, it's comforting and calm tone has seen it creep onto bed-side tables of toddlers across the world.

Which books do, or did, you read to your child? Are there any you'd add to this list? Let us know in the comments below. 

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