Princess Beatrice, one of our six judges, declared herself particularly smitten by the empowered princess in Sir Lilypad, a story about a frog who goes in search of rescuing a princess, only to find that she’s doing fine on her own. “This story shows all girls can be princesses and I loved the fact the princess was wearing Converses, had her own sword and red hair,” she said.
Together with our other judges Rebecca Nicolson, publisher and co-founder of Short Books, Nicky Dunne, chairman of Heywood Hill Books, Rupert Thomas, marketing director of Waitrose, and Oscar’s parents, Viveka Alvestrand and Evening Standard columnist James Ashton, Princess Beatrice spent a lively hour and a half choosing the final five.
THE COW WHO CLIMBED A TREE
by Gemma Merino (Macmillan): “I loved the great splodges of colour and how Tina struck out from her snarky sisters. Great for anyone with older siblings.” James Ashton
THE FOX AND THE STAR
by Coralie Bickford- Smith (Particular/Penguin): “The publisher should be applauded for producing such a beautiful object with an extremely moving story.” Nicky Dunne
HECTOR AND HUMMINGBIRD
by Nicholas John Frith (Scholastic): “This explains that it’s OK to be annoyed by someone you love. Good for both adults and children.” Rebecca Nicolson
by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie (Simon & Schuster): “Hugely expressive illustrations and I wish the frog would defend me.” Viveka Alvestrand
THE LION INSIDE
by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Orchard/Hachette): “This book teaches children to be brave, I loved the heart of it.” Rupert Thomas
The winner will be announced on May 23, when culture minister Ed Vaizey will make a speech and Princess Beatrice will award the £5,000 Waitrose-sponsored prize