Takeoff! 2020

The Takeoff! 2020 list is 20 great books for children in years 3 and 4 published (paperback) between April 2019 and April 2020.

These books are selected each year by Schools Library Services librarians and aim to cover a diverse  range of authors, subjects and genres.

For new primary fiction for years 5 and 6, see our Must Read booklist!

Posters and Bookmarks for the 2020 booklists will be delivered a little later than normal this year – look out for them from September.

View the list of books
  Title Author Blurbs
1. Too Small Tola Atinuke Tola might be small, and overshadowed by her bossy, fast, clever family in their flat in the busy city of Lagos in Nigeria, but when there is a crisis, Tola usually manages to save the day!
2. The Funny Life of Teachers James Campbell Have you ever wondered what teachers do when they’re not in the classroom? Are they undercover detectives, champion roller-blade dancers or do they spend their evenings playing with their 576 cats?  But be warned – no teachers are allowed to read this!
3. Phoenix of Persia Sally Pomme Clayton When the king abandons his newborn son because of his white hair, Simorgh, the wise phoenix, adopts him, brings him up with her own chicks and teaches him forgiveness. Background resources, including music, available from the Schools Library Service
4. Adventure Duck vs Power Pug

Adventure Duck vs The Wicked Walrus

Adventure Duck vs The Armadillo Army

Steve Cole A new series of adventures as Adventure Duck, discovering he has superpowers after a meteor lands in his pond, battles with Power Pug, a dastardly dog who hatches up dastardly and evil plans to take over the world.
5. The Dog Who Lost His Bark Eoin Colfer In his short doggy life, Oz has suffered at the hands of bad people and learned that if he barks, he doesn’t get fed.  But he is the perfect companion for Patrick, lonely and confused by his father’s absence, who finds him at the animal shelter and gives him a home at last.
6. My Babysitter Is a Robot Dave Cousins The twins’ inventor grandmother invents a robot to look after them and programmed to make them do their homework, so they must stop their squabbling and work together to get rid of him…
7. Ariki and the Island of Wonders Nicola Davies Sequel to Ariki and the Giant Shark, Ariki and her pet pig, Bad Boy, skip school to go sailing around their island home, but don’t notice the storm clouds gathering.  Washed up on an unfamiliar island, they discover another castaway, living with the giant Mweep birds –but all is not as it seems.
8. Kids Fight Plastic Martin Dorey Have you got 2 minutes? That’s all the time it takes to become a #2minutesuperhero. Plastic is everywhere. It is in the rivers and it is in the sea. We need superheroes to fight plastic and help save our oceans.
9. Agent Weasel and the Abominable Dr Snow

Agent Weasel and the Fiendish Fox Gang

Nick East Agent Weasel, woodland superspy, gets kidnapped by the Fiendish Fox Gang who are spreading mayhem throughout the forest, and in the second story, animal athletes are mysteriously disappearing on the opening night of the Winter Whopper Games… can Agent Weasel discover what is going on?
10. Granny Magic Elka Evalds Will didn’t realise the magical importance of the jumpers his Gran knits.  It is only when she dies and evil Jasper Fidget appears on the scene looking to steal all that she knitted does he realise that the knitting has powerful and unexpected powers – and he is launched into a magical adventure to save them!
11. Yasmin the Superhero Saadia Faruqi Yasmin is a superhero! She’s got the cape. She’s got the mask. Now she just needs a villain to defeat!  Read more about Yasmin in this series of eight books about a spirited, creative and curious Pakistani-American little girl and her family
12. The Dragon’s Breakfast Vivian French Legend has it that there’s pirate treasure hiding in Bullion Island’s sea-caves, guarded by a fearsome dragon – but nobody knows for sure, because no sailor has managed a return trip. But Princess Persephone Stephanie Tiffany Jane (“Pom” for short) isn’t afraid of dragons … or anything else!
13. The Princess in Black and the Science Fair Scare Shannon Hale, Dean Hale In this sixth adventure for the masked heroes, the Princess in Black and the Princess in Blankets must confront the goo monster, and with a little bit of  scientific problem-solving, save the science fair for Princess Magnolia
14. Invasion of the Living Ted Barry Hutchison As all teddy bears come to life to help Grizz take over the world, Lisa Marie and Vernon must battle a King-Kong-sized teddy bear with a mind for evil.  Third in the series that started with Night of the Living Ted and Revenge of the Living Ted
15. The Day I Found a Wormhole at the Bottom of the Garden

The Day I Started a Mega Robot Invasion

Tom McLaughlin All sorts of people from the past clamber up through the weird wormhole Billy finds in his garden, but if Billy doesn’t round them up and send them back, history will be changed forever!  Look out, too, for “The Day I started A Mega Robot Invasion” when the robot Molly invented to do her homework decides to make more robots to take over the world.
16. Hotel Flamingo: Holiday Heatwave

And Hotel Flamingo: Carnival Caper

Alex Milway  There’s a heatwave on, and a huge ice shortage, which could spell problems for Anna when Hotel Flamingo get a booking for their Royal Suite from King Penguin… and at Carnival time, Anna is determined to win the prize for Hotel Flamingo for the best display, but will rain wash the parade away?  Two more exciting stories about Anna and her fabulous hotel for animals
17. Anisha, Accidental Detective Serena Patel Anisha is all set to be a (reluctant) bridesmaid at Aunty Bindi’s wedding…until a secret ransom note arrives. Bindi’s groom has been kidnapped and will only be released if the wedding is called off! With best friend Milo and some super skills of logic and observation, it’s up to Anisha Mistry to find her uncle and save the day.


18. Kevin’s Great escape: legend of Kevin 2 Philip Reeve Misty Twiglet is a famous pop star and used to getting everything she wants, and she wants Kevin, the roly poly flying pony!  Kevin’s best friend Max and his sister Daisy must come to Kevin’s rescue, and there’s no way they’re giving up on him without a fight.
19. My Parents Cancelled My Birthday! Jo Simmons “It all started when a pig fell off the roof” and this is the first of all the disasters tht ruin the day Tom has been looking forward to for months!  Undeterred, Tom decides to put on his own birthday party – thank goodness for little sisters!
20. Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Spiders! Katie Tsang Sam Wu’s not going to let anyone know he’s afraid of spiders. And so when Tulip, the school tarantula, disappears from her cage, Sam decides it’s up to him and his friends to save the school from the eight-legged escapee . . .  Sam is not afraid of ghosts, sharks, zombies or the dark – but those are all other stories!


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