Friday, 20 June 2014

Picture Books for young children

Books Always Everywhere

Written by Jane Blatt

Illustrated by Sarah Massini

Nosy Crow £10.99

ISBN: 978-0857630896

It is impossible to resist a book with a title like this! The funny, imaginative illustrations explore the meanings behind the rhyming descriptions of the many kinds of books there are to explore. ‘Book Big’ is elephant-sized , ‘Book Wide’ is as wide as a crocodile, ‘Book Tall’ is as high as a giraffe, and everywhere babies and toddlers crawl, jump, dance and discover what you can do with books, and how they can move you. There are lots of creatures and people to find, with a tiny mouse hiding in every scene, and a surprising amount of words to discover in the tiny books displayed. Much gentle fun to share and explore up to four, or more! Lovely to read and reread!

Tina Massey

Just Right

Written by Birdie Black

Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Nosy Crow £9.99

ISBN: 978-0857630308

This wonderful picture book conveys, in such a lovely way, the delight of finding just the right present for someone you love and the pleasure of giving. It is Christmas Eve and as the King wanders around the market he spies a bolt of bright red cloth which will be just right for a cloak for the Princess. When the sewing maids have finished there are some scraps of cloth left over which the King instructs be left outside the back door. Jenny, the kitchen maid, spots the bright bundle and takes it home to make a jacket for her mother. Again, there are scraps left over and they are found by Badger, who resolves to make a hat for his Pa. And so the roll of bright red cloth makes presents for many others, as well as the Princess, and each is ‘Just Right’. The feel-good factor of this story is so well complemented by the bright and warm colours of the illustrations and the texture and depth of the art work.

Louise Stothard

Two Nests

Written by Laurence Anholt

Illustrated by Jim Coplestone

Frances Lincoln £6.99

ISBN: 978-847804969

Laurence Anholt’s rhythmical sing-song rhyme is perfectly complemented by Jim Coplestone’s quirky and fun illustrations. We witness the tale of Betty, Paul and the new little Baby Bird, happy in their nest, through the seasons, during good times and bad. But, Betty and Paul fall out and Paul decides to build a new nest. This is a clever and truly wonderful example of making sad situations positive and dealing with family separation. Instead of losing his dad, Baby Bird now has two homes, both full of love. This is a gentle tale with a fabulous balance of fun and realism to which many children can relate.

Gill Roberts

Just Right for Two

Written by Tracey Corderoy

Illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Nosy Crow £10.99

ISBN: 978-0857631763

Dog packs his suitcase with carefully selected special things and settles down to watch the moon rise. He has everything he needs. When he wakes up the next morning, he finds Mouse snuggled alongside him. Dog is perturbed for he does not want to share his day or show off his treasures. Reluctantly, he agrees to let Mouse take a peep inside his case and plays a game of hide-and-seek with him before Mouse goes on his way. Left alone, Dog begins to feel that life with his treasures is not quite enough for him anymore. Something is missing, but what is it? Dog learns the value of making friends and sharing experiences in this beautifully produced book. Rosalind Beardshaw’s Dog is adorable. You will want to reach into the pages and cuddle him. The balance of subtle colours and bold drawing in the illustrations, and the clear and accessible narrative, make this a lovely book to share with a young child.

Yvonne Coppard

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten

Written and illustrated by Alison Murray

Nosy Crow £9.99

ISBN: 978-0857632319

This is variation on the classic tale of a runaway animal, who is trailing something behind them for the chasers to follow. In this case, it is a runaway kitten, tangled in sparkly pink wool, being chased by Princess Penelope. The illustrations are clear and humorous and children will have fun tracing the kitten’s route by following the trail of pink wool. The text is clear and well-placed on each page and the rhymes are delightful. This is a lovely book to share or read alone. The story flows at a great pace as if the reader, as well as the princess, is trying to catch up with the kitten

Patricia Thompson

How to Lose a Lemur

Written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon

Pavilion £5.99

ISBN: 978-1843652502

The small boy in this lavishly illustrated picture book objects to the group of assorted lemurs determined to follow him wherever he goes. He desperately tries to lose them by such methods as hiding up a tree, sailing off in a boat, climbing mountains, taking trains and even hot-air balloons, but without success. Rather than losing the lemurs he becomes lost himself! Who will help him find his way home? Big pictures, splashy water-colours and a subtle wit make sure that his attempts at escape and final reconciliation remain highly entertaining throughout.

Nicholas Tucker

One day a small boy is eating his ice cream cone and minding his own business when a lemur appears. The lemur and his friends follow the boy through the park, on to a train, on to a boat and even on to a hot air balloon. The boy can’t seem to avoid those pesky lemurs, but suddenly he realises that he is lost. Who can help him now? Large, realistic illustrations and spare, short sentences make this book perfect for reading to young children.

Marianne Adey

Where's Tim's Ted? It's Time for Bed!

Written by Ian Whybrow

Illustrated by Russell Ayto

HarperCollins (R) (eB) £6.99

ISBN: 978-0007509560

Tim’s search for Ted at bedtime leads him on an adventure around his grandparents’ farm. With his shiny red boots and trusted torch, Tim visits the animals one by one to help in his search for the lost teddy bear. Finally, Ted is found in the pigsty mistaken for a piglet! While the other animals’ enthusiasm and excitement get in the way, Tim calmly talks to a confused Mrs Pig. Tim and Ted are helped back into bed by their animal friends and are sound asleep before his grandparents miss them. With simple rhymes and an irresistible story, this is a perfect and popular bedtime story. The illustrations are as fresh and quirky as they were over fifteen years ago, adding humour and a touch of mayhem to a story that children will pore over. They will also give adult readers plenty of enjoyment during repeated readings.

Benjamin Scott

Penguin on Holiday

Written and illustrated by Salina Yoon

Bloomsbury (eB) £5.99

ISBN: 978-1408839072

In Penguin on Holiday the similarities and differences between hot and cold climates are explored. Penguin travels to the beach for a holiday and discovers that it is very different to the climate he is used to. He cannot sledge or ski at the beach, but Penguin soon finds out that he can still make friends. Penguin makes a friend in crab and they have lots of fun together. Crab returns to Penguin’s home and both friends realise that it is not where you go on holiday, but who you spend it with, that is important. This story will promote a lot of discussion about friendship, places, holidays and climates. The illustrations are simple, and yet comical in places. A lovely story for sharing!

Louise Mundford

Billy the Goat’s Big Breakfast

Written & illustrated by Jez Alborough

Doubleday (eB) £11.99

ISBN: 978-0857530363

Nat the Cat has invited her friends, Billy the Goat and Hugo the Hare, to breakfast. Billy is early and has to wait while Nat goes out. Unfortunately, his hunger gets the better of him and he drinks all the juice and then eats a big mouthful of raw bread dough before the others join him. Hugo arrives to find Billy feeling embarrassed, with a very unsettled tummy! In the end Billy has to admit his mistake and his tummy settles down as they sit down to enjoy breakfast together. The story ends with a song, complete with words and music. This is a very funny book which children will enjoy. Jez Alborough captures the animals’ human-like expressions perfectly and the sight of Billy’s expanding tummy and the description of its noises will have children laughing out loud. The vibrancy of the illustrations will enable children to ‘read’ the story themselves without the words. However, the text works very well too, even without the pictures, as it is presented in rhyming couplets which provide a bouncy rhythm carrying the story along with a varied vocabulary. A very successful humorous storybook!

Liz Dubber

The Hundred Decker Bus

Written and illustrated by Mike Smith

Macmillan £6.99

ISBN: 978-0230754584

Every day the bus driver follows the same routine to get to his bus and every day the same people get on his bus at the same stop, but nobody seems very happy. Until one day when he sees a new road and decides to take the bus down this different route. Suddenly, he and his passengers find themselves embarking on wonderful new adventures. More and more decks have to be built onto the bus to accommodate all the new people who want to join the happy passengers. This exuberant story, with bright, vibrant illustrations, full of fun and humour, has the added surprise of a fantastic giant fold-out page at the end.

Annie Everall

We’re Going on a Picnic!

Written and illustrated by Pat Hutchins

Red Fox (R) £6.99

ISBN: 978-1782950226

This is the wonderful sequel to the fabulous Rosie’s Walk, which has been an admired children’s classic for over forty years. With the same level of repetition and the same well-loved characters, this story will not disappoint. Hen, Duck and Goose decide that it is the perfect day for a picnic and so they collect fruit and pack their picnic basket. They set off, singing, looking for the perfect spot to enjoy their picnic, but, whilst searching, their picnic basket gets lighter and lighter and is finally completely empty! Where has all the food gone? The illustrations are bright and traditional and the story is interesting and lively. Young children will enjoy sharing and joining in with the predictive text. Another delightful story that will be returned to again and again!

Louise Mundford

A Mammoth in the Fridge

Written by Michaël Escoffier

Illustrated by Matthieu Maudet

Gecko £11.99

ISBN: 978-1877579141

What do you do when you find a mammoth in the fridge? Call the fire brigade of course! But what if the mammoth escapes and hides at the top of the tree? Elsa has the solution! This delightful picture book, with a restricted and effective colour palette of blue and yellow and a splash of red for the fire engine, is quirky and fun with a twist at the end. The pages are uncluttered and the line drawings are wonderfully atmospheric, complementing the simple and carefully chosen text. Readers will enjoy returning to the beginning once they know the secret at the end!

Louise Stothard

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Tale of the Wizard’s Whisper

Written and Illustrated by Kristina Stephenson

Egmont £10.99

ISBN: 978-1405254007

The popular Sir Charlie Stinky Socks is back for another adventure. In this tale, a mysterious wizard arrives and sends Sir Charlie on a mission to collect a “little black sack, tied with a silver string”. Charlie eagerly accepts the quest, promising not to look inside until he returns. His journey takes him past ogres, scallywags and an old witch, but none are a match for Sir Charlie and his trusted travelling companions and so the journey continues until the challenge is completed, with a fantastic surprise ending. This book will delight both new readers of Sir Charlie’s tales and his established fans. The perils and their resolutions are gentle enough for any young child, with illustrations sympathetic to very young readers, and nothing too scary. The story is beautifully presented, with text laid out in a variety of ways, including the use of different fonts. The pages are colourful and appealing and there is also a bonus of some very large flaps to lift as the reader explores with Sir Charlie.

Lucy Russell

Twinkle, Twinkle, Squiglet Pig

Written by Joyce Dunbar

Illustrated by Tim Hopgood

Egmont £10.99

ISBN: 978-1405257558

Piglet Squid is a happy smiley fish, who wishes all the miserable fish around him, would cheer up and smile too. He decides to go in search of something that will make his fishy friends happy. He embarks upon an adventure in which he meets fish much bigger than himself, and succeeds in making them laugh, although not in the way he expected. He eventually happens across something so big and wonderful, and very smiley, that he can’t wait to get back to his friends to tell them about it. Children’s favourite, Joyce Dunbar, has written a lovely tale of wanting to share happiness with friends to make them happy too. Award-winning illustrator, Tim Hopwood, has created an atmospheric sea-world, with bright colourful fish in the gloom of a deep blue sea. This is a delightful book children will want to read time after time.

Jane Hall

Herman’s Letter

Written and illustrated by Tom Percival

Bloomsbury (eB) £6.99

ISBN: 978-1408836750

Herman, the bear, and Henry, the raccoon, are best friends who do everything together and life is perfect, until Henry has to move away and each is devastated. They pledge to remain best friends for ever and to write every day, but Herman misses Henry so very much that it becomes harder and harder to write. Then, he receives an urgent plea from Henry. He finally puts pen to paper only to be thwarted by the closure of the Post Office for winter. In a flash of inspiration, he decides to deliver his letter personally, but it is a hazardous journey. This is the story of true, lasting friendship, as well as a fantastically resourceful postal service. The lift-the-flap letters and full-page illustrations ensure its immediacy and warmth.

Gill Roberts

Spells-A-Popping! Granny’s Shopping!

Written by Tracey Corderoy

Illustrated by Joe Berger

Nosy Crow £6.99

ISBN: 978-0857632210

Everybody is different and ‘wow’ is this Granny different? Her pointy black hat and the liberal use of her wand do give the game away a little, although the word ‘witch’ is never actually used. When Granny and grand-daughter go shopping, it’s quite an experience. Waving her wand, Granny creates chaos in the supermarket, but it is very funny chaos, such as when the runner beans start to run! However, Granny’s tricks prove very useful when an attempted robbery takes place. The pictures are very detailed and there are lots for children to talk about. The text is lively and full of rhyme. This is a lovely book, very funny, with plenty of opportunities for discussion and developing ideas. Shopping with a young child may never be the same again!

Patricia Thompson

Dragon Loves Penguin

Written and illustrated by Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury £10.99

ISBN: 978-1408839492

This book is a story within a story, told by a Mummy Penguin to her little one, Bib, about a dragon who finds an abandoned egg which hatches into a penguin. The dragon needs an egg and the egg needs a mummy. The egg hatches but has feathers, is small and fluffy, and is not at all dragon-like – in fact more like a penguin. The relationship between Mummy Dragon and Baby Penguin is moving and she is fiercely protective of her funny baby. The baby penguin is teased by the other dragons for not being the same and she desperately tries to do ‘dragon’ things, but to no avail. However, the baby penguin proves to be an excellent friend and in the end saves all their lives. This heartwarming story is beautifully illustrated by Debi Gliori, with a new style of painting. The facial expressions are magical. A lovely story to read and share again and again!

Ingrid Fox

Spider Sandwich

Written by Claire Freedman

Illustrated by Sue Hendra

Bloomsbury (eB) £6.99

ISBN: 978-1408839157

This is a rhyming tale about Max, the monster, and his disgusting appetite – gloopy, glucky, yucky, mucky! He will feast on almost anything repulsive and revolting, and every mealtime is a real fright. However, there is one thing Max will never eat! This story will make young children, and their parents, squirm whilst laughing and giggling. It will also encourage talk about food likes and dislikes and children will compare their appetites to that of the monster. Children will want this read to them over and over again!

Louise Mundford

Penguins Can’t Fly

Written and illustrated by Richard Byrne

Andersen £10.99

ISBN: 978-1849395137

Hudson, the penguin, is a very lonely penguin. His feelings of isolation and hopelessness are truly heartrending when his determined efforts to fly, like the other birds, cannot help but fail and the gulls, and even his closest friend, Gregory, make fun. However, when Gregory dives for fish and doesn’t immediately resurface, Hudson comes to the rescue: his instinctive selflessness ultimately displaying that every creature’s strengths have their own value. This is a lovely story about learning to understand and appreciate those who are different and realising they are no less special. Subtitled “Two friends become true friends”, this picture book is genuinely uplifting, very touching, wonderfully illustrated and the children loved it!

Gill Roberts

Wibbly Pig Picks a Pet

Written and illustrated by Mick Inkpen

Hodder £6.99

ISBN: 978-1444908213

Here is the latest enjoyable tale featuring this well-loved children’s character and his friends. Big Pig’s sister’s friend is getting a new pet and Wibbly Pig suspects that it will be an ordinary boring one! He talks to Scruffy Pig about the more exciting, exotic types of pets that you could own. But, predictably, their suspicions are correct and she brings home a rabbit. Both pigs are very disappointed as it is not as exciting as a giraffe or a dolphin! However, they gradually change their minds as they come to realise that a pet rabbit can be lots of fun too. This is a lovely story to share with little ones and provides the perfect opportunity to talk about the different types of pets there are. It also promotes discussion about what pets need and about the responsibilities they bring with them. Another success from this celebrated award-winning author/illustrator!

Louise Mundford

Z is for Moose

Written by Kelly L. Bingham

Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Andersen £6.99

ISBN: 978-1849397810

This is an alphabet picture book with a difference. Zebra decides to make an alphabet book, thinking everyone will cooperate, and all is well until Moose gets impatient and takes over the letter D. Moose’s interference has chaotic results as he tries to squeeze into one letter after another. When Zebra chooses ‘Mouse’ for the letter M, Moose begins to realise that all is lost. Or is it? Large, humorous illustrations add to the fun of sharing this book.

Marianne Adey

Pepe takes a Tumble

Written by Kes Gray

Illustrated by Mary McQuillan

Hodder (eB) £11.99

ISBN: 978-1444900316

This is the sixth in the Get Well Friends series of titles, which tell of a variety of animal characters all of whom end up having an accident or being poorly and having to visit Nurse Nibbles at the hospital. In this story Pepe decides it’s time he acted like a big grown-up dog and did things like the big dogs do, like weeing up trees, chasing rabbits and sniffing other dogs’ bottoms. However, following a tumble he ends up, as expected, having to visit Nurse Nibbles at the hospital. Simple stories and language, with very colourful attractive illustrations, really bring the characters to life. There is also a range of toys available to accompany the books as well as a dedicated website, Other books and toys have been produced to also support the work of the Great Ormond Street Hospital

Annie Everall

Who’s For Dinner?

Written by Claire Freedman

Illustrated by Nick East

Little Tiger £5.99

ISBN: 978-1848954885

The City Fox is ready for his dinner and decides to visit a farm in the country. However, the animals are prepared for his arrival and have a cunning plan. They trick the fox by pretending to be different animals, which foxes are not supposed to eat. This story plays around with the concept of the food chain and each animals place within it. It’s a comical tale, with crazy, energetic illustrations, that children will love to laugh along with.

Louise Mundford

Too Small for My Big Bed

Written by Amber Stewart

Illustrated by Layn Marlow

OUP (eB) £6.99

ISBN: 978-0192758415

Subtitled Sleep tight in your own bed tonight!, this is a lovely tale about a little tiger cub and his mum. The time has come for Piper, the baby tiger, to sleep, all night, in his own big bed. Mummy reassures him and helps him to realise that she will never be far away. This is a story that can be used by parents who are helping their own children through sleep transitions. Children will love the bright, bold illustrations and will copy the tiger’s idea of counting to 10. This is a perfect tale for all tiger loving toddlers!

Louise Mundford

Bob and Rob

Written and illustrated by Sue Pickford

Frances Lincoln £11.99

ISBN: 978-1847803436

Bob, the dog, is a good-hearted, kind dog who dreams of being a pet in a normal, ordinary family, instead of being the pet of a burglar. He doesn’t like doing bad and unkind things and tries to keep his burgling owner on the straight and narrow. An unexpected opportunity then arises for his dreams to become a reality. But will he take it? We loved reading Bob’s perspective and may even want to give him a home by the end of it too! This hilarious story, with wacky, comic illustrations, will make you chuckle from beginning to end. Enjoy!

Louise Mundford


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