A picture book by a first-time author is one of nine works shortlisted for the 2005 Nestle Children's Book Prize.
Hundreds of children participate in the judging process
Emily Gravett's Wolves is up against books by more established authors such as Michael Rosen and Philip Pullman.
A panel of five judges selected the books, which will now be voted on by hundreds of British schoolchildren. The awards are in their 21st year.
Judge Julia Eccleshare said the list reflected "the remarkable quality of children's literature published today".
The Guardian's children's book editor added: "There was an amazing array of books submitted this year, from fairy stories and historical novels to witty picture books and tough emotional tales."
Corby Flood: Paul Stewart
The Dancing Tiger: Malachy Doyle
I, Coriander: Sally Gardner
Lost and Found: Oliver Jeffers
Michael Rosen's Sad Book: Michael Rosen
The Scarecrow and the Servant: Philip Pullman
The Whisperer: Nick Butterworth
The Whispering Road: Livi Michael
Wolves: Emily Gravett
Emily Gravett, 33, spent eight years after leaving school living as a traveller before taking an illustration degree in Brighton, where she now lives with her partner and daughter.
She secured a three-book publishing deal with MacMillan before finishing her course, and her next book is due out early next year.
Gravett's Wolves tells the story of a rabbit that borrows a book that comes alive, and it is entered in the five years and under category.
It is up against Oliver Jeffers' Lost and Found - about a boy who returns a penguin to the South Pole and Malachy Doyle's The Dancing Tiger - about a tiger who appears during a full moon.
The Whisperer, by Nick Butterworth, Michael Rosen's Sad book, by Michael Rosen and Corby Flood by Paul Stewart are short listed for the six to eight years category.
Meanwhile, competing in the nine to 11 years category are: I Coriander, by Sally Gardner, The Scarecrow and the Servant by Philip Pullman and the Whispering Road by Livi Michael.
The winner of the competition - formerly known as the Nestle Smarties Book Prize - will be announced on 14 December.
The prize is run by reading promotion charity Booktrust and is open to works of fiction or poetry written for children in English by British authors or authors resident in the UK.
Previous winners have included Harry Potter creator JK Rowling and Children's Laureate Jacqueline Wilson.
The 2004 winners were Spilled Water by Sally Grindley (nine-11 category, Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (six-eight) and Biscuit Bear by Mini Grey (under five).
Fergus Crane also won the For Children Special Award.