These are the five titles shortlisted for the literary prize honouring Early Years literature
Now in its fourth year, the Oscar’s Book Prize is a celebration of children’s literature in the under-fives category, originally created in memory of Oscar Ashton, a three-year-old boy who passed away from an undetected heart condition in 2012. Set up by Oscar’s parents, the prize honours the best book for little ones under five years old and had a record number of 70 submissions this year, with the winner being announced on Monday 15 May.
The judging panel for 2017 includes presenter and mother of three, Claudia Winkleman, author Cathy Rentzenbrink, director of books at Amazon, Dan Mucha, as well as Oscar’s parents, James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand. The £5,000 prize will be awarded by the competition’s royal patron, Princess Beatrice, at the awards ceremony at The Ned, London.
Selected for their brilliant words and imagery, the titles in the running for the award are:
Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph (Harper Collins)
“The fact that it’s OK to be different resonates at every age,” says judge Dan Mucha. “Every child goes through this at some point, so it’s a really powerful message.”
The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Hachette Children’s Books)
“I love this – for a slightly younger child,” says Claudia Winkleman. “Fabulous rhymes, I’m in love with Kevin [the Koala] and would like to buy this for all my friends’ children!”
There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart (Quarto)
“This is a fantastic celebration of imagination,” says Viveka Alvestrand. “The way it invites the reader or child being read to, to ponder: ‘Are you real? Am I real? Does it even matter?’ is really clever.”
Hello, Mr Dodo by Nicholas John Frith (Scholastic)
“A brilliant splash of colour that would brighten up any child’s bedtime, and a thought-provoking story,” says James Ashton.
The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight by Helen and Thomas Doherty (Scholastic)
Cathy Rentzenbrink says, “This is all about how books are the hero and reading can solve problems. A clever, brave and resourceful character. A book for bookish people.”