There’s something special about falling in love with a set of characters in a book and then discovering there are even more of them to enjoy. Christmas is the perfect time to introduce a new book series as a gift. Once the collection is started then it can be added to by anyone in the family looking for a gift idea. We’ve discovered eight series that are perfect for pre-schoolers and some are even suitable for ages up to six or seven. These are the ones that have really captivated Little P.
A precocious little pig who lives in New York and loves ballet and fine art. What ‘s not to love about Olivia?! She is fiercely independent and gets up to all sorts of antics. From circus adventures to spying on her Mum and even recreating a Jackson Pollock in the living room! Olivia makes Little P laugh out loud and she loves the unusual illustrations. There are some very witty lines that will have the adults giggling along too.
The Olivia books are written and illustrated by Ian Falconer and published by Simon & Schuster
There are 11 books in the original series and then 8 more activity/colouring/board books based on the TV series.
Squishy McFluff. The Invisible Cat.
Ava has the cutest fluffiest cat called Squishy McFluff but he is always getting her into hair raising scrapes. The trouble is that the only person who can see Squishy is Ava because he’s a very special invisible cat! Pip Jones has the remarkable ability to write stories uniquely from a child’s perspective. Little P adores these books even though they are quite a long read. Squishy is every child’s fantasy pet and every parent’s worst nightmare!!
Squishy McFluff. The Invisible Cat is written by Pip Jones, illustrated by Ella Okstad and published by Faber & Faber.
There are currently 6 books in the series and a new one on the way in 2019!
Mr Men and Little Miss
The Mr Men books were first published in 1971 but they are continually adding new books to the series. The sheer variety of characters and the ridiculousness of the stories means they’ll always appeal to children (that’s definitely why they appeal to Little P!!). With their pocket money prices they are perfect for collecting.
Mr Men & Little Miss are written by Roger and Adam Hargreaves and published by Egmont.
There are 52 Mr Men books and 40 Little Miss books. But there are many many more special editions, new adventures, board books and activity books in the series. You could build up quite a library of these!
These are ‘stepping stones from picture books to reading books’. Perfect for preschoolers who are looking for a more substantial story and for older children taking their first steps learning to read. There is a huge variety available including characters like Horrid Henry, Poppy the Pirate Dog and Emily Mouse.
Early Readers are written and illustrated by a variety of authors and published by Orion Children’s Books.
There are over 100 books in the collection categorised into blue (reading together), red (reading alone) and green (facts and non-fiction).
Pip and Posy
This little mouse and rabbit are the best of friends. They help each other through all the trials and tribulations of being a preschooler. Such as sharing, making new friends, using the big toilet and scary Halloween monster costumes. These stories are written by the illustrator of The Gruffalo so the illustrations tell a story in themselves.
Pip and Posy is written and illustrated by Axel Scheffler and published by Nosy Crow.
There are 8 Pip and Posy books available as well as board/activity books, an activity website and an app.
This little bear just wants to be hugged, especially by his friends the funny bunnies and the friendly sheep. Douglas often gets into bother when he’s out and about but everything comes right again with a little help from his friends. He is a lovely comforting character and makes for perfect bedtime reading.
Hugless Douglas is written and illustrated by David Melling and published by Hodder Children’s Books.
There are 20 Hugless Douglas books available.
Elmer the Patchwork Elephant
Elmer is an elephant who is a little bit different. Unlike his friends and family who are elephant coloured Elmer is multi-coloured and very proud of it too. Little P loves animals and so these books, set in the jungle full of monkeys, lions and tigers, really appeal to her. Elmer is a fun loving little character who loves playing practical jokes and the stories have plenty of laughs. Not to mention the wonderfully subtle message that it’s good to be different.
The Elmer series is written and illustrated by David McKee and published by Anderson Press.
There are 40 books available in the Elmer series.
Hairy MacLary and Friends
If you have a child who loves cats and dogs then this is the book series for them. Hairy MacLary is a little black terrier who lives on a dairy farm. Along with his other canine pals they must contend with the local cat gang led by ‘the cranky and crotchety Scarface Claw’! There are plenty of chases and high jinx in these action packed stories. They are written in rhyme and with great character names like Bottomly Pots, Slinky Malinki and Mushroom Magee. Very useful for young children learning the more difficult phonic sounds and early readers.
The Hairy MacLary series is written and illustrated by Lynley Dodd and published by Puffin.
There are 21 books available in the series.