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All reviews tagged with Mary Roche

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All the Wild Wonders: Poems of our Earth

This compilation of more than thirty poems focuses on showing us some of the wonder and fragility of our planet. There are lyrical poems that celebrate the wonder of the Earth; there are poems that display anger at humankind’s mismanagement of the Earth’s resources; there are poems told from different points of view; there are…

An Animal ABC

A gorgeous book that should be on every child’s bookshelf, An Animal ABC is far more than an illustrated alphabet featuring animals. This encyclopaedic book is lavishly illustrated by Pattullo using meticulous screen-prints in glorious colours. The publishers’ note tells us that Pattullo painstakingly hand printed the images on each page. Children will adore the…

Belinda Brown

This is classic McKee – flat, two-dimensional, child-like artwork that conceals his genius. There is a rhyming text that avoids (narrowly) being contrived. As well as the rhyming, we have alliteration as in ‘Brother Bryan gobbled burgers, biscuits and bakes, bangers, buns, brioche and for breakfast? Bran flakes.’ Belinda Brown loves bananas; she eats nothing…

Birds and Their Feathers

Teckentrup’s work needs no introduction to people who read picturebooks. She is author of The Egg; Under the Same Sky; Neon Leon, and many more. What they all have in common is beautiful artwork and this is no exception. I don’t use the word ‘stunning’ lightly, but it is deserved here. If you know a…

Brer Rabbit Retold

In 1880 Joel Chandler Harris, an American folklorist, published Uncle Remus, His Songs and His Sayings; The Folklore of the Old Plantation. The stories, featuring Brer Rabbit and other creatures, had their roots in oral Afro-Caribbean folktales that had been retold and embellished by slaves in southern USA. Flowers, who grew up listening to these…

Can You See a Little Bear?

This is a look-and-find book with a difference. Jackie Morris’s gorgeous watercolours will draw children into a world that is dreamlike and magical – a sumptuous place of fantasy, rich in detail and colour. There is so much to explore on every opening – exotic people and animals, musical instruments, modes of transport, clothes, colours,…

Cartoon Kid

Durrr! Sploop! KLUNKK! On the first day of school Mr Butternut tells his pupils that they are secret superheroes and that if they believe in themselves they can do ANYTHING. When trouble strikes, Casper and his best friend Pete take on Masher and the Monster Mob. With people called Ethel Snufflebottom, Hartly Tartly-Green (aka Snotbox),…

Chalk Eagle

Tiny Owl independent publishers state on their website that they are committed to producing beautiful, original books for children, books that are visually rich and conceptually meaningful. Chalk Eagle is a worthy addition to their collection. This is a ‘silent’ or ‘wordless’ picturebook. The central character is a little boy who, although seemingly alone (apart…

Charlie Chick

Charlie Chick eats a lot. He is growing big and strong. Look at his enormous tummy and feet and beak! But he is still not as big and strong as … guess who? This is a simple pop-up book that will appeal to small children. Originally published in 1997, it has recently been reissued in…

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

The beauty of the artwork in this book reflects the tradition in Islamic art of evoking the sacred through pattern and shape. Each page turn leads us to a world of discovery. There is a mixture of painted and digital elements that merge wonderfully. At the end of the book we are told that each…

Denver

McKee’s latest picturebook tells us all about Denver, who is ‘very, very rich’. ‘To the manor born’, Denver lives a life of prestige, power and privilege. He employs local villagers in a variety of areas: gardener, cook, cleaner, chauffer. He is a benefactor of the school, and contributes to the village community life – even…

Dog Loves Books

My dad worked in a library. A favourite treat was to be allowed to enter the ‘back store’, where the smell of books was intoxicating.Dog Loves Books feels as though Louise Yates knew the ‘small me’. Just like Dog, I loved everything about books. But Dog took his passion further – he opened a bookshop.…

Dog Loves Drawing

Louise Yates has done it again.  This is a delightful follow-up to ‘Dog Loves Books’. It has a gentle storyline accompanied by beautiful illustrations.  Dog, who loves books so much that he opened a book shop, receives a present of a book from his Auntie – a book that has no words and no pictures!…

Extra Yarn

In this oddly old-fashioned yet modern folk-tale, Klassen’s spare and subtle style of illustration combines with Barnett’s quirky prose to present us with a story that could have been written long, long ago and far, far away. And it is quite a ‘yarn’. Annabelle finds a magic box of yarn. We know it is magic…

Frida and Bear

Anthony Browne fans may be surprised that he is not the illustrator of this book. Instead he has collaborated with Danish illustrator Hanne Bartholin whose illustrations in this book are beautifully simple. Her Bear is a friendly, rather shy chap with soft, fluffy pencil outlines and Frida the elephant seems a little more extrovert and…

Good Little Wolf

Straightaway readers will sense that there is a bit more going on inGood Little Wolf than meets the eye. Where’s the copyright information? And the dedication? They should be at the front, shouldn’t they? And hang on – why does South Park come to mind as we look at the innocent characters waiting for Mrs…

Hare and Tortoise

Alison Murray has given the tale of the Hare and the Tortoise a fabulous new lease of life. This book is full of humour, energy, charm and style. The endpapers (front and back) show us the map of the route that is ‘hopped’ by Hare and ‘tootled’ by Tortoise. Even the scale shown on the…

Hooray for Bread

This book has all the hallmarks of a traditional read-aloud favourite: a refrain that can be roared out, rhyme and rhythm, understandable language, a great topic in the lifecycle of a loaf of bread, and beautiful, deceptively simple illustrations. What’s not to like? The book has a traditional and nostalgic feel to it. There is…

I am an Artist

If you are a parent who hates a mess then this book is definitely not for you. But if you are a parent who nurtures and celebrates creativity – whose walls and fridge are a gallery, or even a canvas, for the masterpieces of your tiny genius – then you’ll love this book, although you…

Ladder to the Moon

Ladder to the Moonevokes the qualities of a ‘comfort blanket’ in a familiar enveloping hug. Yuyi Morales’ illustrations convey the tactile security of a solid, warm lap and strong embracing arms. Containing subtle intercultural references, the text is fluid and graceful. The brush-strokes provide a dreamlike texture with colours that are comforting and calming. The…

Little Wise Wolf

This delightful story presents us with a deeply philosophical question: where and how do we find wisdom? Little Wolf has become known as Little Wise Wolf because he reads so many books and knows so many important things. He spends his life reading and learning about the world. His friends come to him with their…

Looking for Yesterday

Alison Jay has produced a very philosophical picturebook here. Ostensibly it is about nostalgia and an almost Proustian yearning for the perfection of a past experience. But there is more to it than that. It is also about a rich relationship between a boy and his grandfather. The subtle wisdom of a wise grandfather is…

Maia and What Matters

This beautiful book left me with a lump in my throat. It tells the story of feisty little Maia and her close relationship with her beloved Grandma. The bond between them is remarkable and, thanks to the brilliance of the author and illustrator, almost tangible. They adore cherries, are greedy for cake and enjoy racing…

No Kiss For Mother

Are you sitting comfortably? Well, we’ll soon put a stop to that! First published in 1974, the reissued No Kiss for Mother is classic Ungerer. This is not for the fainthearted. Forget all the cute and cuddly kittens you’ve ever known: this is an anarchic fable about a BAD kitten, and there’s no coincidence in the fact…

Pass It On

This is a gorgeous picture book by Sophy Henn who was the Official World Book Day Illustrator for 2015 and 2016. It is easy to see why she was chosen. Pass It On is a book with a strong message, yet it is also a book that manages to avoid being didactic. The message is…

Stars and Poppy Seeds

This is an intriguing book from Ukrainian picturebook makers Romanyshyn and Lesiv. It is no suprise to learn that it won a Bologna Ragazzi Opera Prima (first works) Award. The story concerns a young girl called Flora. Her parents are both famous mathematicians and Flora’s world is filled with numbers and formulae. Flora counts everything…

Storm Whale

Brennan’s text has found a perfect match in Tanner’s illustrations here. There is a sense of performance as we are led from an ordinary, calm seaside scene on the front cover, to the drama of a dark, brooding seascape on the back cover. Delicate pencil sketches evolve through gentle watercolours and pastels into magnificent storm…

Taking Sides

Set in Dublin in 1921, Taking Sides book explores a young boy’s involvement in a maelstrom of political events and a young girl’s emergent sense of identity and social justice. The grey areas of life are well explored and Gallagher introduces ethical, moral, social and gender issues without polarisation – the notion of life often…

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 Extraordinary Gardener

Joe has a vivid imagination which allows him to escape from his dreary, grey everyday world into a far more colourful and extraordinary one. One day, Joe gets an idea and he plants a tiny seed. Joe’s plant takes a long time to grow. He forgets about it and returns to the world of his…

The Hungry Goat

This classic cautionary tale was first published in 1964. Alan Mills was a Canadian writer, folksinger and actor, and Abner was a prolific graphic designer and children’s book illustrator from the 1950s to the 1970s. They cooperated on I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly. We can hear Mills’ folk music background resonate…

The Only Way is Badger

This book takes a light-hearted look at what happens when a delusional, egotistical animal decides that life in the forest needs to be lived on his terms. Badger – a very black and white badger – decides one day that the best way to run the forest properly is to exclude anyone who doesn’t behave…

The Tickle Ghost

The result of a collaboration between David McKee (Not Now Bernard, Elmer, etc.) and his son Brett, The Tickle Ghost has typical McKee artwork with its hallmark vibrant, strong colours and the flat, almost two-dimensional illustrations that are so appealing to small children. The book opens with Brett’s Tickle Ghost hinting at what is to…

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…


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