Scholastic has claimed two titles out of the five shortlisted for Oscar’s Book Prize, which honours the best book published for children under five years old.
Scholastic has two titles on the shortlist, run in association with Amazon and the National Literacy Trust - The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight by Helen and Thomas Docherty, which one judge author Cathy Rentzenbrink said was “all about how books are the hero and reading can solve problems” and Hello, Mr Dodo by Nicholas John Frith, described by fellow judge James Ashton as “a brilliant splash of colour that would brighten up any child’s bedtime and a thought-provoking story”.
The prize was established in memory of Ashton’s son Oscar who died at the age of three and a half in 2012 from an undetected heart condition. It searches for the best in children’s stories “ that would capture the imaginations of children everywhere and stories Oscar himself would have loved”.
The other three titles shortlisted for this year’s award are Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins), which judge Dan Mucha, Amazon’s director of books, said teaches children it is “ok to be different”. “Every child goes through this at some point so it’s a really powerful message,” he said. There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart (Quarto), a “fantastic celebration of imagination", according to fellow judge and Oscar’s mother Viveka Alvestrand and The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Hachette Children).
Judge Claudia Winkleman said of the latter: “I love this – for a slightly younger child. Fabulous rhymes, I’m in love with Kevin and would like to buy this for all my friends’ children.”
The winning book in the fourth year of the prize will be announced on 15th May in London at The Ned, with the award presented by royal patron Princess Beatrice.
The winner will receive £5,000.