Must-Read Children’s Books for Summer 2021

Looking to expand your bookshelves in preparation for the summer holidays? The last few months have seen some amazing titles land in our bookshops which are ideal for some fun escapism, light hearted laughter or even to help kids process the many emotions they experience when growing up!

As a big book loving family and book reviewer at @whatthekidsread, here are some of our favourite titles (split by age category) to check out this Summer.

For Ages 2-4

Cat’s Cookbook by Julia Donaldson

 Books by Julia Donaldson are an absolute childhood right of passage and this summer has seen a new edition to her fantastic Tales from Acorn Wood lift the flap series of books. This new release hardback ‘Cat’s Cookbook’ offers the perfect combination of beautiful rhythmic rhymes and fun flaps for little ones to lift and explore.

Trying to make a delicious dinner for her friends, Cat heads to her local library for some much needed inspiration; before learning how to serve up a delicious macaroni and cheese!


You Choose Fairy Tales by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart

As a child, I grew up with Choose your own Adventure books; and so I knew the You Choose Fairy Tales book would be right up the girls’ street.

With very little text, this book instead is focused around it’s stunning illustrations, where children can decide not only what their character will look like, but also where they live, how they will travel, their faithful sidekick and of course the baddies they will encounter and beat along the way to finding their happily ever after.

A great book to help children’s imaginations run wild and spark up a conversation with little ones; this has been a real hit. You’ll be amazed to hear how their mind works!


 Ages 5-7 

Barbara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen

 Do your kids ever have days where things just don’t go right? Barbara is having one of those days. First there was a sock problem, and at lunchtime there was a strange pea. Before she knows it, she’s feeling flustered, frustrated and angry…. Barbara’s wobbler is out of control!

If you are looking for a laugh out loud bedtime story with bold, bright illustrations, then this one is ideal. With a really amusing ending and fun observations to spot in the final pages, Barbara Throws a Wobbler also offers some helpful hints for banishing bad moods when things don’t go your way.


Charlie Chooses by Lou Peacock and Nicola Slater

 Charlie Chooses is very funny, packed full of beautiful, bright illustrations and perfect for mini dog lovers!

Charlie hates making decisions. From having the light on or off, to his ice cream flavour or even what kind of underpants to wear Charlie just can’t decide… it’s just too hard! Sometimes it is easier just to go without – but where is the fun in that?!

When it comes to deciding on what he wants for his birthday; it feels like the hardest decision yet, but when a flyer lands in his lap advertising rescue dogs needing loving homes, it feels like the perfect solution!

When a new four legged friend chooses HIM instead; Charlie finds that decision making becomes so much easier…. or does it?


The Pet by Catherine Emmett

A cautionary tale of ‘be careful what you wish for’; The Pet is a laugh out loud book, perfect for reading aloud, with hilarious rhyming text and beautiful bold illustrations.

Digby is a rude child who wants nothing more than having a pet bigger and better than all of his friends. For his Dad, money is no object and he will stop at nothing to find Digby’s dream pet. There’s only one problem – Digby really can’t be bothered to look after his pets and gets bored very quickly!

From the guinea pig, the dog and finally, despite the pet shops warnings, Gus – a giant gorilla, Digby quickly learns that you have to care for your pets or things can go very wrong indeed!


 Ages 8-11 

Rainbow Grey by Laura Ellen Anderson 

A must read for fans of Amelia Fang, Rainbow Grey is a brand new book by Laura Ellen Anderson (with a second edition due to follow soon!)

Ten-year-old Ray Grey lives in the magical Weatherlands, a land in the sky. Ray is surrounded by Weatherlings; each of whom have their own astounding weather power but Ray she doesn’t have ANY magic; that is until her trip to earth! Ray is suddently transformed into RAINBOW GREY! With the help of her best friends (and exploding cloud cat, Nim) Ray simply has to master her powers AND save the world from a mysterious, powerful enemy!


A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri

 It’s easy to see why A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri was chosen as the first book in the Marcus Rashford book club.

Esha Verma is a child genius inventor extraordinaire who creates her most amazing invention yet – an actual working TIME MACHINE – but getting her boring sister stuck in the Age of the Dinosaurs wasn’t part of the plan!

With the help of her friend and inventor apprentice James (nickname Broccoli) they set off to rescue Nishi; on a journey through time; wormholes, glitches and tackling terrifying T-Rexs!

With easy to read journal style pages, fun engaging fonts and laugh out loud humour; this one is a really fun bit of escapism for middle grade readers.


You can keep an eye out for our ongoing book recommendations at Instagram.com/whatthekidread!

Lucy Cotterill
Lucy is a UK-based parenting and lifestyle blogger who has also featured in the Huffington Post. A Mom of two daughters, Lucy is passionate about sharing the true reality of parenthood and helping others through their first experiences. In her free time she loves to write, go on day trips with her family and photography.

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