Learning & Development: Book choice for three- to five-year-olds

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Arabella Miller's Tiny Caterpillar by Clare Jarrett, Walker Books, hardback, 10.99

This story is an elaboration of the traditional song 'Little Arabella Miller'. In it, Arabella takes home a caterpillar, which she feeds, shelters and watches over as it completes its transformation to beautiful butterfly.

The text is scientifically accurate, and more information on the lifecycle of the butterfly is included at the back, though the focus is more on the wonder of the metamorphosis than on scientific detail.

The success of this book lies in its large format, which provides room for readers to enjoy both the elegant script and simple, bold drawings, made all the fresher when set against the clean white backgrounds. It offers a wonderful way to introduce young children to the life of the butterfly.

How Big is The World? By Britta Teckentrup, Boxer Books, paperback, £6.99

Little Mole has a big question: how big is the world? For Spider, his web is his world; for Mouse, it is the field that he lives in. Then Seagull flies him over the ocean and Whale shows him desert and jungle, city and mountain, to demonstrate that the more you look at the world, the more you will see. In the end, Mole realises that the world is as big as you want it to be - and also, that there's no place like home.

Little Mole's innocent look makes him an endearing character, while bold colours capture the diverse landscapes on his big adventure.

Little Croc and Bird by Tony Maddox, Piccadilly, £5.99

Little Croc alienates all his friends because he can't play 'nicely', so he ends up having to play by himself. Then Bird teaches him how to play with the other animals without ruffling their feathers or pulling their tails. This makes a useful story for children whose overly boisterous play might be leaving them short of playmates, and the fun ending - showing that a little croc can't be expected to be good all the time - lightens the underlying message.

Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems, Walker Books, paperback, £5.99

Everyone knows Edwina. She's the dinosaur who plays with the children and helps little old ladies across the road. She's the dinosaur who bakes chocolate-chip cookies! Everyone loves her ... except the class know-it-all Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie. Reginald knows dinosaurs are extinct, and he is ready to prove it. But will anyone listen? And if they do, what will happen to Edwina?

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