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The Best Books of 2020: Picture Books

Posted on 18th November 2020 by Mark Skinner

From the daft to the deep, picture books are a wonderful introduction to reading for little ones, as well as teaching them invaluable lessons about the world and themselves. This year, we have been reunited with Mog and Jill Murphy's Bear family, laughed out loud with David Walliams and Tom Fletcher, fallen in love with Floella Benjamin's tale of coming to England and got lost in the intricate illustrations of Mick Jackson's While You Were Sleeping and Oliver Jeffers's What We'll Build.  


 

Beautiful & Heartwarming Tales

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Oliver Jeffers returns with an enthralling new story about boundless love, the importance of dreams and the power of imagination – all the very best ingredients for building a bright future.
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Compiled from fifty years of Judith Kerr’s exquisite illustrations, Mog’s Birthday is the final Mog story from the much-missed author and illustrator.
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The Bear family, from Murphy’s classic picture book Peace at Last, make a triumphant return with this joyously relatable tale of a day where things keep going wrong.
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A masterclass in children’s storytelling from the peerless Maggie O’Farrell, this charming tale of wintry guardians and second chances is exquisitely illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini.
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Exquisitely illustrated and blessed with enchanting prose, Jackson’s nocturnal tale documents the whirl of activity that takes place whilst children are safely tucked up in their beds.
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Boasting breathtaking illustrations, the third and final part of the heartwarming Bear and the Piano trilogy finds Bear set to retire from musical performance – until Little Bear hatches a plan to show how loved Bear’s concerts really are.
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A wonderfully wintry rhyming tale from Lu Fraser about a tiny yak who wishes she was bigger, The Littlest Yak is blessed with delightfully funny illustrations from Kate Hindley.
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Spreading love and acceptance with as much charm as her Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-shortlisted predecessor, Julian is a Mermaid, Jessica Love throws Julian into a wonderful wedding to remember.

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Over two decades on from the appearance of the classic picture book Guess How Much I Love You, Little Nutbrown Hare returns in an adorable tale of adventure, discovery and friendship.
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Imbued with a timeless, classic feel, Katherine Rayner’s exquisitely illustrated picture book features an insomniac lion and his new nocturnal chum, who might just be able to help him sleep.
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The extraordinary life story of a true national treasure, the one and only Captain Tom, is introduced to younger readers in this uplifting, beautiful picture book.

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A treasure trove of hope and optimism, Tomos Robert’s inspiring poem is a perfect bedtime story for challenging times, filled with messages of kindness, hope and resilience.
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Very funny and utterly endearing, I’m Sticking with You is a heart-warming rhyming tale of friendship and attachment from the beloved author of Elephant in My Kitchen.
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Superbly Silly Stories

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Rattling through an A-Z of seating rules for animals, Frog, Cat and Dog return for a further instalment of the bestselling phenomenon that is the Oi! Series.
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Howl with laughter and squeal with delight at this monstrously exciting new picture book from number one bestselling author David Walliams, illustrated by the awesome Adam Stower!
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A riotous, pirate-packed adventure awaits in this hilarious tale of eccentric babysitting, flying ships and doughnut feasts, from the superstars of storytelling and illustration.
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Clip-clopping on the hooves of The Wonky Donkey and The Dinky Donkey comes another feast of uproarious rhyming fun, as The Grinny Granny Donkey takes centre stage.
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From the author and illustrator of If I Had a Dinosaur comes another spellbinding picture book that wonders what having a unicorn as a pet would be like.

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Reuniting one very clever bug with two serially stupid criminals, the latest installment of Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’s bestselling series finds Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len attempting to snaffle some mermaid hair in a misguided get-rich-quick scheme.
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The former Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner and online art sensation enchants and amuses once more with this vibrant, energetic story of a pug that loses it’s Dave.

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Told with the inimitable wit and distinctive visual style of Lauren Child, The Goody plays off two siblings against each other in a battle of naughty versus nice.
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Learning About the World

Coping with Coronavirus

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An adorable story about how to show someone you love them whilst maintaining social distancing, While We Can’t Hug takes characters from McLaughlin’s beloved The Hug and places them in a new setting to reflect these unusual times.
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Bringing the importance of hand washing for young children with wit, fun and immense charm, Matt Carr introduces Doris the Doctorpus, here to advise little ones on how best to stay safe and clean.
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Exploring Different Cultures

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The incredible story of a national icon retold for very young readers, Coming to England documents Floella Benjamin’s journey from Trinidad to the House of Lords with a charm and wonder that small children will love.
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A ground-breaking picture book about religion, sisterhood and identity, The Proudest Blue features Faizah, who faces taunts and bullying when her older sister starts wearing hijab.
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Understanding Environmental Issues

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Once more featuring the lovable Rocket, Bryon and Adeola’s delightful follow-up to the Waterstones Children's Book Prize-winning Look Up! teaches an important message about plastic pollution whilst providing a hugely entertaining and empowering story.
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Building Friendships

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Meesha struggles to connect with other children but, as the latest book in Percival’s glorious Big Bright Feelings series shows, there is always a way to overcome obstacles.
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Overcoming Anxiety

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For those days when school life feels a bit tough, this empowering tale from the beloved author of Bake Me a Story will lift your spirits and help you to find your inner strength.
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The charming tale of an anxious dinosaur trying to enjoy a special picnic, The Worrysaurus is a comforting guide to vanquishing vexation from the bestselling author of The Lion Inside.
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Rosie Dodds

My niece who’s 3 loves Pirate Stew, it’s her favourite book at the moment. Thanks Waterstones View more

Rosie Dodds
3rd December 2020
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