A picture of several Puffin classic books for 6 to 8s on a rainbow background with white star doodles

Image: Victoria Ibbetson/Penguin

George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake (1981) 

George Kranky really doesn’t like his grandma. She’s mean and miserable and only cares about herself. So, George decides to get revenge on the grumpy old woman by replacing her usual medicine with a crazy concoction of his own. But unfortunately for Grandma, George’s medicine does more than just taste bad... Roald Dahl’s classic tale is outrageously funny and delectably disgusting – just the tonic for readers looking for some chuckles to keep boredom at bay.

Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson (1912)

Greyfriars Bobby is based on the touching real-life tale of the little Skye terrier who was loyal to the end. Told from Bobby’s point of view, the little dog adopts lonely shepherd Auld Jock and the pair soon become inseparable. However, following a few particularly harsh winters, Jock passes away. Bobby proceeds to keep watch over his owner’s grave, eventually attracting the attention of a farmer who tries to claim the dog as his own. But forever faithful to Jock, Bobby continues to return to his master’s grave and becomes a local hero. If you’ve ever been to Edinburgh, it’s likely you’ve seen the monument of Bobby opposite Greyfriars Kirkyard!

Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson (1962)

What better way to meet the residents of Moominvalley than with this short story collection? Featuring nine stories, Tove Jansson’s iconic Moomin family and their friends have all sorts of adventures, including Moomintroll and his best friend Snufkin who find a tiny dragon, the first seen in over 70 years. Moominmamma works on helping Ninny, the invisible girl, turn visible again. And then Moominpappa goes on a mission to discover the secrets of the Hattifatteners.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (1974) 

Long before Harry Potter went to Hogwarts, Mildred Hubble was a student at Miss Cackle’s Academy. Unlucky, clumsy, and kind, Mildred is always at the bottom of any heap of trouble, and things get worse when she makes an enemy of spiteful swot Ethel. Following a disastrous incident at the Halloween festival, Mildred is sure her time at the academy is up. But then she stumbles upon an evil plot to turn everyone at the school into a frog! Will the worst witch be able to save them all?

Stig of the Dump by Clive King & Edward Ardizzone (1963)

Who wouldn’t want a caveman as their best friend? That’s exactly what young Barney gets when he stumbles across stone-age Stig who lives in the dump at the bottom of an old chalk pit. Despite being unable to communicate with language, the pair quickly become friends. Barney helps Stig improve his den, and Stig teaches Barney how to hunt and fend off bullies. Nobody believes Barney when he tells them about Stig but maybe it’s better that way – Barney gets to have Stig all to himself!

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White & Garth Williams (1952)

No one should be without a copy of this timeless tale that follows the friendship between a young pig and a spider. Wilbur the pig is the runt of his litter but is saved in the nick of time by a little girl called Fern who treats him like a pet. Once Wilbur grows too big, he is sent to live on Fern’s uncle’s farm. However, he is snubbed by the other animals; the only creature willing to talk to Wilbur and be his friend is barn spider Charlotte. And when Charlotte realises Wilbur is being raised to be slaughtered, she begins to hatch a plan...

Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono & Joe Todd-Stanton (1985)

It’s time to make some space on your bookshelf for this classic that inspired the Studio Ghibli film of the same name. Kiki is a trainee witch and tradition dictates that on a witch’s 13th birthday, she must leave home and make a living using her powers. Problem is, Kiki isn’t good with potions or spells and she doesn’t have any psychic abilities either. But she does have a broomstick, her cynical cat sidekick Jiji and oodles of optimism!

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith (1987) 

Max is a clever little hedgehog who is determined to work out how he can cross the road to the park without getting squashed. His research nearly leaves him flat, and the bang on his head leaves his words scrambled for a while. But he keeps going and finally finds a lollipop lady who is happy to escort hedgehogs – as well as kids – over the road. Dick King-Smith is the master of animal stories and this captivating tale of the indomitable Max has delighted young readers for over 30 years.

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