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A Day With Dogs

A Day with Dogs is a fantastic book that offers an exclusive insight into every little bit of what nine dogs (and a lot of humans) do during their day; be it visiting the doctor, playing in school, shopping at the supermarket or playing musical instruments. Part non-fiction, part fiction, A Day with Dogs is…

A Rainbow in My Pocket

A Day with Dogs is a fantastic book that offers an exclusive insight into every little bit of what nine dogs (and a lot of humans) do during their day; be it visiting the doctor, playing in school, shopping at the supermarket or playing musical instruments. Part non-fiction, part fiction, A Day with Dogs is…

ABC Early Learning at the Museum

Produced by the British Museum, this beautiful picturebook uses objects from the museum’s rich collection to teach its readers the alphabet, with paintings, textiles and sculptures all incorporated to represent different letters. Pictures of each piece appear above or below the relevant letter, which is typed in both capital and lower case, along with the…

ABZZZ…A Bedtime Alphabet

This Bedtime Alphabet was originally published by Planeta Tangerina, a Portuguese publishing house whose aim is to produce books where text and image combine to create a unique outcome. This idea of harmony and balance through interconnection resonates throughout this picturebook. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a different mediation on the idea…

All Aboard for the Bobo Road

Corr’s brightly coloured paintings sing from every page as we climb aboard Big Ali’s minibus and hit the Bobo road. At Lake Tengréla, we encounter dancing flamingos and hungry hippos. In the middle of the forest, the luggage is alive. Huffing and puffing, the bus people disembark carrying watermelons and enormous yams to set up…

All Around the World: Sports and Games

In Cosneau’s original All Around the World, readers were offered 8 panoramas of environments from around the globe and encouraged to complete them using stickers of accompanying animals. In this follow-up, the mega-sized scenes are focused on various sports and games settings, including the adventure playground, the water park, the circus, the sports stadium, the…

Als Heel de Wereld een Appeltaart was: Rijmpjes en Versjes

The title of the first of these books of Dutch nursery rhymes is the first line of a Dutch version of this familiar rhyme: If all the world were apple pie, And all the sea were ink And all the trees were bread and cheese, What should we have to drink? The Dutch version is…

Amazing Animal Babies

This publication is born into a world full of books about animals. However, it has a huge advantage over other publications in that it is firmly aimed at very young children. It starts at their level of awareness and brings the reader on an expedition around the world to observe young animals in their habitats.…

An Artist’s Alphabet

This lavishly illustrated book gives a creative and innovative method of applying links between the letters of the alphabet and the everyday objects that surround us. Messenger’s long history of illustration is evident in the vintage style of illustration. The pages are decorated with a washed pastel tone, in a quintessentially English style. This book…

Anywhere Farm

‘Where does it all start? What do you need?/ Just one farmer – you – and one little seed.’ Growing vegetables can take place anywhere and at any time. An old shoe, an empty tin or anything that offers a small bit of space can be a good container for a seed to grow. Root…

Australia Illustrated

In Australia Illustrated Tania McCartney has created her own eclectic schema for detailing quirky and eccentric icons of Australian life with multicultural perspectives. The popular culture tenor of the work is obvious in both text and image in this, the first of her many books which McCartney has illustrated as well as written. Organised with…

Because of an Acorn

The cycle of nature is beautifully and imaginatively traced from an acorn to a tree, to a forest, and a lot more in between in this attractive information picturebook. The process is shown in clear images with a minimum of words, and readers will find reason to pause at each page and look closely at…

Blue & Other Colours with Henri Matisse

This beautiful board book introduces toddlers to colours using 25 vibrant works of art by Henri Matisse. The bold shapes and vibrant colours in Matisse’s cutouts will appeal to young readers, and the works are brilliantly reproduced. Phaidon Press’s reputation for creating high-quality art books is justified. The use of colour in the typography is…

Blue Penguin

One day in the far south, a blue penguin was born. He felt just like an ordinary penguin. The other penguins said, ‘…you’re not like us’ and they left him on his own.  Blue Penguin’s days were empty and lonely, but his nights were filled with dreams. From those dreams came a song… a song…

Can You Find Me?

Can You Find Me? is a fun book with a twist on the idea of the ‘Hidden Picture’ game. In it, animals are ‘camouflaged’ in 10 different spreads, each featuring a unique setting: the garden, the pond, the farm, the jungle, the cold, the ocean, the underground, the safari, at home and at night; and…

Cinnamon

This story brings us on a journey to a land far, far away to meet Cinnamon, a beautiful, blind and isolated princess who does not speak. After a series of unsuccessful attempts by people engaged by her parents to help Cinnamon talk, a scary yet majestic tiger appears to try his hand in the matter.  This…

Don’t Leap, Larry!

Larry Lemming is a lemming just like any other – except he’s not. Larry is very much his own lemming, and he does his own thing even when his friends can’t seem to understand why. He goes sledging with the puffins because he wants to, he wears a top hat because he knows he looks…

Doodle Cat is Bored

In common with children everywhere, when Doodle Cat finds himself at a loose end he is immediately extremely bored and initially has a hard time entertaining himself. In an attention-seeking ploy, he finds something to occupy him, but will it really be useful to alleviate his boredom? After some amusing trial and error, Doodle Cat…

Double Take: A New Look At Opposites

Double Take: A New Look at Opposites plays with the concept of opposites in a new, exciting and sometimes complex way. While it begins with easy examples like yes/no stop/go, day/night, young readers are quickly invited to look and look again, examining things on a deeper level, from different perspectives and to think about the…

Frog and Toad Together

The Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel were first introduced to young readers in 1970 and have since come to be recognised as classics of children’s literature, winning many of the genre’s most prestigious awards. Frog and Toad Together is the second book in the series, first published in 1972, and was itself a…

Grumpy Frog

Ed Vere is a British author and illustrator and is the creator of one of my all-time favourite picturebooks, Mr Big. I’m a sucker for hat-wearing gorillas who love jazz. Vere’s latest book, Grumpy Frog, tells the story of a bright green frog who is definitely NOT grumpy. Grumpy Frog loves two things best: being…

Hic?

That it is printed on a Risograph, an eco-friedly, low tech printing system using soy ink which produces books in which the images are all slightly different, is a great reason to rush out and purchase Hic?, produced by that splendidly innovative Indian publisher, Tara Books. But of course, it is the delightful images, allied…

Home and Dry

The Paddling family live on a tiny island, surrounded by a lake. Mrs Sally Paddling catches fish, Mr Albert Paddling teaches swimming, and they travel everywhere by row boat. This is how they live all year round, with their son and new baby. Well, except in summer, when the lake dries. Then, unfortunately, they have…

How Long Is A Whale?

How Long Is A Whale? is a unique counting book, which starts with the length of ten sea otters and uses them as a comparison for groups of other aquatic animals, counting down to one humpback whale. The author, Alison Limentani, then cleverly uses the humpback whale as a measure for other, larger sea animals.…

How to find a friend

Squirrel has moved into her tree, and Rabbit has just settled in his burrow. They are both new to the woodland, and would like to make a new friend. But for some reason they just keep missing each other! Luckily there are two very helpful bugs who want to point Squirrel and Rabbit in the…

I Dare You

Two bored gorillas are playing a game of dares. As the game progresses, the gorillas dare each other to eat bigger and more outrageous items, including bugs, birds, rock and trees, until they reach the ultimate, icky dénouement. Then the game starts over again. Reminiscent of the old nursery rhyme about the old lady who…

I Like Bees, I Don’t Like Honey!

Inspired by real contributors and responses, I Like Bees… I Don’t Like Honey! explores the likes and dislikes of various children. A début for both Sam Bishop and Fiona Lumbers, this picturebook is a lovely, thought-provoking read. Bishop’s interactive, rhyming text is both fun and inspiring. The overall message is one of accepting difference and…

I Yam a Donkey!

If you are going to receive lessons on grammar, it should always be from a knowledgeable vegetable. Donkey hasn’t quite mastered his pronunciation and when an educated yam overhears him say ‘I yam a donkey!’, a heated and hysterical discussion begins on the verb ‘to be.’ Donkey takes a very literal approach to everything Yam…

Ice Boy

David Ezra Stein is the Brooklyn-born illustrator and author of many award-winning books including the delightful Interrupting Chicken, winner of a 2011 Caldecott Honor. With Ice Boy, David Ezra Stein tells the story of an ice cube who dreams of leaving the freezer where he lives both with his mum and dad, and with the…

Izzy Gizmo

Izzy Gizmo is a brilliant inventor. She’s constantly using the materials around her to construct complex gadgets. Sometimes they don’t work perfectly and she gets upset, but her grandfather always encourages her to keep making her work better. When Izzy finds an injured crow, she’s determined to invent a machine that will help him fly…

Knock Knock Pirate

‘Knock knock!’ Who could that be? A little girl opens her door to find a pirate captain with skeleton earrings and wild purple hair. Searching for treasure, the captain and her crew burst inside, ransacking every room in their hunt for gold. But there are no spoils to be found! In a desperate bid to…

Knock! Knock! Where’s My Bear?

This is an architectural, or sculptural, book, in which the story unfolds as the reader unfolds the cardboard building that is central to the narrative. The novel format may encourage readers of any age to think about how a traditional book works, through exploding conventions of the picturebook form, whilst maintaining conventions of the picturebook…

Leaf

Crow spots a ‘strange white creature’ floating towards the shore on a piece of ice. As the beast makes home in a nearby cave, the surrounding forest animals try to make sense of the new arrival. The majority feel frightened and threatened, and the creature’s odd leaf-collecting habit only deepens their suspicions. As the creature…

Life Is Magic

The famous magician, Monsieur Lapin, is holding auditions for the role of a new assistant without any luck, until Houdini the rabbit comes along. He turns out to be the perfect choice; he loves magic, looks after everyone, and ensures the show runs smoothly. One night, things go wrong, however. Yet Houdini is not daunted…

Lionheart

This lavishly illustrated picturebook about facing your fears featuring a monster in the dark has all the elements of an epic with a hero battling something which at first seems too much for him to handle, but which is overcome by the end of the book. The narrative is spare, and satisfyingly the pictures carry…

Lulu Gets a Cat

Lulu really wants a cat but Mum says looking after a pet is a lot of work. So Lulu decides to do her homework. She visits the library to find books on pet care and practices looking after her stuffed cat. When her Mum thinks she is ready for the responsibility, they head off to…

My Name is Not Refugee

What would you pack in your rucksack if you had to leave home? How far could you walk? Where would you sleep? Simple questions accompany this little boy’s account of his journey to safety with his mother, full of trudging and queuing, waiting and wondering. The spare text hints gently at some of the challenges…

Near, Far

Near, Far is a deceptively simple picturebook. Done in vivid block colours throughout, it is as much a mystery narrative as an essay on perspective for very young children. There are seven creatures portrayed one at a time, beginning with a close-up view and gradually retreating far enough for the viewer to be able to…

Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide

Nibbles is a little yellow monster, whose huge appetite results in him nibbling through books. Children may be familiar with our eponymous hero from his first book, Nibbles: The Book Monster which saw him chewing through a book of fairy tales and disrupting the stories within. This time Nibbles is back and chomping through a…

Odd Dog Out

Beginning with the bright, colourful cover, children will be drawn to Rob Biddulph’s latest book, Odd Dog Out. This is the story of Odd Dog who, although she is happy with her own colourful attire, feels she doesn’t fit in the busy city where all other dogs blend in. Told in a clever rhyming pattern,…

Old Hat

Emily Gravett is an old hat at the picturebook game except that, unlike the stylish characters in this book strive to be, she really is always fresh and fun. She’s above fashion, too, because her books bear her trademark sense of individuality, playfulness, and that quintessential twist. Harbet has a hat, an old but comfy…

Ossiri and the Bala Mengro

This is a charming and fun tale about a young traveller girl named Ossiri whose family are ‘Tattini Folki’ or rag-and-bone people. Ossiri’s family recycle unwanted old goods, mending old clothes, fixing broken furniture, selling scrap iron. They live in caravans and are happy. Ossiri loves music, but the family can neither afford to buy…

Pandora

A little fox named Pandora lives alone in a world of broken things. She spends her time gathering and mending what she can, never seeing anyone else in this strange and ruined landscape. But one day, when a bird falls from the sky, another living thing in need of her help, her world slowly begins…

Petunia Paris’s Parrot

Petunia Paris is a very lucky and very wealthy little girl. Each birthday, her parties are splendid, lavish affairs where she can ask for whatever she wants in the whole world, and it arrives! But on her sixth birthday, it seems she already has everything; a swimming pool, a bicycle with a chauffeur, her own…

Pigín of Howth

A recent winner in the 2016 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, Pigín of Howth is a charming picturebook containing three stand-alone stories about a delightful, fun-loving pig, and his adventures around Howth, a busy fishing village in North Dublin. The character of Pigín was created by 82-year-old Kathleen Watkins after she realised how popular…

Polly and the Puffin: The Stormy Day

This attractive and engaging story book is the second in Jenny Colgan’s Polly and the Puffin series. The puffin, Neil, who was rescued after a storm with a broken wing in the first book, first appeared in Colgan’s adult fiction in the very successful Little Beach Street Bakery. He apparently proved so popular, generating his…

Raymond

Raymond is a small dog with a big idea. His family treat him like a human – they bring him to the hairdresser, they throw him surprise birthday parties – but he’s still very much their beloved doggo until, one day, Raymond decides to become a full part of the family and join them sitting…

Sam and Jump

Sam and his stuffed bunny, Jump, are best friends and they do everything together. After a trip to the beach they make a new friend, but Jump is accidentally left behind. Will Sam ever see Jump again? What could have happened to him? Author-illustrator Jennifer K. Mann takes a heart-warming approach to friendship in Sam…

Say Zoop!

A blue circle asks you if you’re really sure you want to play and then we’re off on a wild and noisy journey through sound and colour! Hervé Tullet, master of interactive picturebooks, returns with another fabulous text which claims to do for sound what Press Here did for touch. Circles, dots and bubbles of…

School for Dads

Is your dad not performing his daddy duties as well as he should? Is he always late or forgetting things? Then you are not alone. Anna and her friends are having exactly the same problem and they have a plan. Filled with life, movement and colour by Ana Grey’s illustrations, School for Dads tells the…

Some Birds

This book is a wonderful celebration of difference. Played out on a stone coloured background, striking, patterned images of birds leap off the pages at every turn. Heavy, inky black outlines, filled with vibrant colour, create a mosaic-like quality reminiscent of African textiles which in turn, gives all the characters an exotic touch. Perfectly rhyming…

Stack the Cats

Author and illustrator Susie Ghahremani’s first solo picturebook Stack the Cats is a delight for both adults and young readers alike. Even before opening the book, the cover’s bright and exciting colours will induce young and old to read onward. Susie Ghahremani’s unique illustrations are also easily recognisable from her previous collaborations with Jennifer Ward…

That’s Not A Hippopotamous

From New Zealand, Juliette MacIver and Sarah Davis are at the top of their game with a new offering from Gecko Press. That’s NOT a HIPPOPOTAMUS tells the story of a class of children and their teacher on a visit to Don’s Safari. The hippopotamus has gone missing and the children notice. A hunt ensues…

The Curious Fox

Children who love nature stories will enjoy this book. The story is a nice rambling narrative about a journey undertaken by a little fox cub who wants to discover what is his own ‘gift’ or unique characteristic. Leaving his Mammy asleep in their den, he sets out early one morning and his quest leads him…

The Fox and the Wild

Meet Fred, a city fox born and reared, and used to spending his nights rummaging in bins with his cousins. Fred is sure there is more to the world than the noisy, smelly, traffic-filled streets of the city. When a passing pigeon tells him about The Wild, ‘where trees spread their branches and the wind…

The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock

Based on a fable by Rumi and retold by Fereshteh Sarlak, star billing for this picturebook goes to the illustrator, internationally renowned Iranian artist Firoozeh Golmohammadi. Her luminous images lifted Jane Goodall’s book, Prayer for World Peace, out of the ordinary, and here we have another beautiful object in this picturebook. In tone Rumi’s fable…

The Lumberjack’s Beard

I know we are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to The Lumberjack’s Beard this rule flies out the window. With a cover like this, the reader knows instantly that this is going to an amazing picturebook! And they’d be right: it is an amazing picturebook. The story…

The Night Box

Imagine a magical key that opens the Night Box and stores day away while night sweeps out and unfurls itself to blanket the world. In this wonderful first picturebook by Greig and Lindsay, Max is the holder of the key to the Night Box and the reader is drawn in to share his anticipation of…

The Night Gardener

Grimloch Lane is dull and drab, its inhabitants completely occupied by their daily routine. That is, until one day, when a local tree is transformed into the shape of a marvellous owl, as if by magic… William, a young orphan, cannot help but spend the whole day staring at the leafy sculpture in wonder. In…

The Story of Ferdinand

Ferdinand is 81 years old this year, quite an age for a bull destined for a Madrid bullring. His story has remained in print and this year a special heritage edition has been published in the UK. Readers first meet Ferdinand as a little bull sitting under a shady cork tree, smelling the flowers. Ferdinand…

The Truth According to Arthur

An established author and illustrator come together for the first time, and the result works like a charm. Step forward Booktrust award-winner Tim Hopgood, who won Best Emerging Illustrator for his book, Here Comes Frankie! and wrote and illustrated Wow! said the Owl and The Big Blue Sofa (all Macmillan), and David Tazzyman, illustrator of…

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling

In this engaging picturebook we are straight into the action on the opening page as Captain Alfred is sailing home to his wife with new animals for his farm including an unhatched duck egg. A storm brews up, they are shipwrecked, everyone is dispersed and in the ensuing fog the duckling (the eponymous Alfred Fiddleduckling)…

There’s a Tiger in the Garden

Nora is bored. Her grandma encourages her to play in the garden ‘with the tiger and dragonflies as big as birds and plants that can gobble you up’. Nora is not convinced or even interested. Suddenly a dragonfly whizzes across the garden and captures Nora’s imagination. She delves deeper and deeper into Grandma’s wild and…

They Came From Planet Zabalooloo!

Clever Zoron, super strong Bazoo and wiggle-woggle dancing Zob travel to Earth from the Planet Zabalooloo in their mega-cool, party-area equipped spaceship (‘Yeahhh!’) on a mission to find a BIG-SIZE thing and bring it home. Thanks to Bazoo being a COMPLETE NINCOMPOOP, the capture of the BIG-SIZED thing, an elephant, doesn’t quite work out. And…

Tiny Dinosaurs

If you have a child, or are a child, that loves dinosaurs, this is the book for you. It’s narrated by a charming sausage dog called Rex and features his closest friend, dinosaur-obsessed Daisy. Joel Stewart, author and illustrator, does not imagine that only boys like dinosaurs and it is refreshing to see that Daisy…

Treasure Hunt: A Keepsake Activity Book

Treasure Hunt by Alice Melvin is a unique idea for those who enjoy collecting the odd and wonderful objects that can be found in the world around us. It is an activity book that provides a place or ideas for things to make with the tiny treasures that we find on our everyday travels. For…

Triangle

This book takes a simple pair of journeys by two naughty characters and makes a charming narrative of it. A sort of Zen Tom and Jerry, perhaps! The basic narrative is that titular character Triangle, who lives in a triangular house in a triangular terrain, decides to play a trick on their friend Square. This…

Two Can

Two Can tells a tale of a sister and her ‘pestering’ little brother as he tries to join in her fun. She feels proud that she can swing high on the swing set even though her brother can’t, and she does not want him interfering with the amazing sandcastle she has perfected. However, she realises…

Uncle Holland

Palmer and Ella had three sons, good boys, apart from Holland who had a weakness for stealing beautiful things. After he was caught for the thirty-seventh time the police gave him an ultimatum: go to jail or join the army. Holland chose the army and was posted to a very pretty place, far away in…

Waiting for Goliath

This gorgeous picturebook has everything – a great plot, a surprising twist, deceptively simple text and beautiful artwork. Bear is at the bus stop, waiting patiently. He tells everyone that he is waiting for his best friend Goliath. We may be tempted to think of a fearsome giant and wonder what Bear and such a…

What’s That Noise? (This book is calling you…)

Translated from the Portuguese, this is in every way an artist’s book as well as a picturebook. The images incorporate dots and symbolic forms that are simplified and diagrammatic versions of glasses, traffic cones, fruit and landscape. The reader is taken on a journey from an urban environment through forests, across rivers and towards a…

Whose Eyes Are These?

Whose Eyes Are These? asks that very question on a big white page, across from which looms a striking pair of abstract eyes. Turning the page reveals a short, off-beat description of the animal behind the eyes, as well as a wonderfully rendered illustration of the animal itself, the pictures as quirky as the preceding…

Will You Help Doug Find His Dog?

Will You Help Doug Find His Dog? is a funny and interactive book that asks readers to join in Doug’s quest to find his missing dog. Doug, whose name of course sounds a lot like ‘dog’ (some sentences become quite funny to say!), gives us clues to what his own dog looks like and the…

Wolfie the Bunny

The Bunny family have decided it’s time to expand their brood and to do so have adopted a son, a son who turns out to be a wolf! Their eldest daughter, Dot, remains steadfastly unconvinced by her new sibling, as she becomes increasingly concerned that her darling brother is almost certainly set on eating her…

Wolfy

Wolves have featured as story-characters since Antiquity. They have been cast as violent and savage, or sometimes as devious or predatory, but almost always as synonymous with danger, or perhaps evil. Some cultures equated wolves with the devil, others drew parallels with man’s–and especially men’s–animalistic nature. More recently in Anglophone children’s books the wolf appears…

You Can Never Run Out Of Love

This is a simply beautiful book that starts slowly but delivers a bright burner of a message. The gently rhyming text and zesty illustrations tell all about the things that can be used up, like soap, glue, milk, or good ideas, often due to sharing with friends, pets or parents. Yet in the refrain as…

You Must Bring a Hat

It all starts with an invitation to a birthday party. The invitation bills it as the biggest, bestest, hattiest party of all time. Unworried by his hatless state at first, our young protagonist sets off but without success. He cannot find a hat anywhere. Undeterred, he cleverly finds a monkey with a hat to accompany…


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