Bookbug Detective: Books that Explore Colour

The Bookbug Detective is here to help you with any questions you have about books and reading for your little one. Thank you to everyone who has sent in their questions so far. The Detective has selected a question to answer below. If you'd like some book recommendations or advice send the Bookbug Detective an email, or post it in the comments below!

My 3-year-old daughter has started to take an interest in colours but keeps getting muddled up between them. Are there any books you can suggest that would help her?

Yes, absolutely! It’s perfectly normal for young children to muddle up their colours, so don’t worry – she’ll soon get it. Books about colours are a great way to work on colour recognition with little ones while having fun at the same time.

There are lots of lovely books for little ones out there that have colours as their theme. I’d suggest going for something fun rather than too educational – there’s plenty of time for that later. Here are some suggestions:

Wow, said the Owl by Tim Hopgood – a little owl decides to stay awake all day to see the world full of colour. I really like this one because it subtly weaves the colours into a story.
Elmer’s Colours by David McKee – a wonderfully bright and vibrant, sturdy board book featuring Elmer the patchwork elephant.
My Very First Book of Colours by Eric Carle - A split-page wordless board book teaching children the simple concept of colours through Eric Carle's inimitable collage illustrations. Allows lots of opportunities for discussion and play.

My Very First Book of Colours cover
The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo – this sweet picture book tells the story of an alien who comes to Earth and steals all of our colours one by one. But don’t worry, it ends well.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Junior & Eric Carle – an absolute classic, and a great introduction to learning about colours. Comes in both board and picture book versions.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers – maybe one for slightly older children but could be one to move onto. And you’ll find it hilarious too!
Colour Me Happy by Shen Roddie and Ben Cort – a colourful celebration of feelings. And it has glitter on every page!
Colours (Learning Garden) by Aino-Maija Metsola – this beautiful retro book is great for interaction as it has loads of flaps and things to discover on every page.
Colours Snap by Usborne – a great way to turn learning your colours into a fun game.
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox - there are red sheep and blue sheep, wind sheep and wave sheep, scared sheep and brave sheep, but where is the green sheep?

We also have a colour-themed book list on our website for younger children, but some of these may well be suitable too.

I hope you find some of these suggestions useful. Good luck and have fun!


Do you have a question for the Bookbug Detective? Email it to

Catch up on the previous Bookbug Detective blogs for advice on everything from introducing story books to songs and rhymes for little ones.

Kirsty Sinclair

Kirsty Sinclair is the Early Years Operations Manager and the Bookbug Detective for Scottish Book Trust.