Basically I could read picture books all day, every day… and while classical classics are those picture books that can be read again and again and again… there is nothing nicer than a new discovery. So many fresh and new picture books come out and it can be difficult to find the magic amidst the sea of new books that are out. This post is full of books we have read and enjoyed, books that have gone on to the “It’s a Keeper Shelf.”
Se7en Fantastic Picture Books
- A Great Big Cuddle Poems for the Very Young by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Chris Riddell:
- How to Hug With Hugless Douglas:
- What the Ladybird Heard Next by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Lydia Monks:
- The Cow Who Climbed a Tree by Gemma Merino:
- Chocolate Me! by Taye Diggs and illustrated by Shane Evans:
- The Emperor of Absurdia and Wendel and the Robots by Chris Riddell:
- Wendel and the Robots, also by Chris Riddell:
- Let’s Pretend FireFighter by Roger Priddy: and Let’s Pretend: Animal Rescue by Roger Priddy:
This book gets the full ten out of ten score from us, and is our current: read it again and again and again book. It is glorious, bouncy and filled with delightful poetry for little people and their grown up reader to enjoy. Who would have thought a poetry book, with thirty five poems, for tiny tots would have such appeal but it does. Firstly, Michael Rosen has a delightful way with words… and you will find your little people bopping to the rhythm of the poems long after you have finished reading it. The first poem starts: Tippy-tappy Tippy-tappy Tap, tap, tap. Nippy-nappy Nippy-nappy Nap, nap, nap… and so on. Here’s another one, I can’t resist… a little mouse that starts: I am angry. I am really angry. Angry, angry, angry. I’m so angry I’ll jump up and down… and do all sorts of terrifically terrible things and ends… And then go to bed. Just pure word fun. And then of course the illustrator is our friend and Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. Double page spread, after double page spread of magnificent illustrations… detailed creatures real and imagined, little people that you feel you have met somewhere before, amazing animals… just a delightful collection of his gorgeous illustrations. This book would make an amazing gift for any young child, in fact it would make a fantastic baby present because it is a book that a child can grow up with and will become a childhood favourite.
We recently met the author/illustrator David Melling and we have a huge Hugless Douglass fan in our house. This is a fabulous big board book, chunky and perfect for the beginner book lover to grab, drag around and generally over-love. There is a lovely fluffy Hughes Douglas on the front cover that leaves you wanting to climb right into the book and cuddle. It is short and sweet and the affable Hughes is once again full of hugs to share. He and his friends have a hugging competition. There are so many many hugs to be had… book hugs, pyjama hugs, party hugs and wobbly hugs… keep paging, keep paging to the ultimate hug: A BIG BEST FRIEND HUG. A lovely book for little people that are ready for a first book to love and keep under their pillow, but not quite big enough for paper books.
This is Julia Donaldson on form, a lycricalling rhyming tale combined with the beautiful colourful illustrations of Lydia Monks and you have a winner. It is a farmyard tale, with every available farmyard animal you can think of. And then the fat red hen begins to lose eggs, and the observant little ladybird leaves a wonderful glittery trail to follow through the book as she seeks to solve the mystery of the missing eggs. It turns out Hefty and Lefty are the culprits and the farm animals think up a cunning plan to solve the problem of the disappearing eggs. This book leaves a nice cosy feel and makes a good bedtime read.
We absolutely loved Gemma Merino’s previous book, The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water. So here is a cow, who doesn’t quite fit the norm… and like most of us has something slightly different about herself. She loves reading and is always telling the other cows incredible things… and the other cows are having none of that and don’t believe a word of it. Well, our heroine decides to climb a tree, and there she meets a delightfully dragony dragon – gotta love the illustrations. The dragon is not like other dragons it is friendly and vegetarian, and the cow and the dragon become firm friends. The other cows of course want to be part of the fun… and their could be flying lessons for cows, just saying!!!
Now this book didn’t get the best press, but we quite liked it. It is the story of a little boy who is teased ruthlessly for being who he is. My kids have grown up in a very multi-ethnic multi-cultural environment and did not pick up that it was a little chocolate skinned boy in a very white neighbourhood, they missed the racial slant completely. What they did get, was the teasing and bullying and their “righteous anger” leapt to his defence. The illustrations are lovely and the t-shirts this little guy wears are brilliant, page after page of “your are the best son” “you are awesome” and so on… So this is a book about bullying and if your children are not too familiar with bullying, let it go. But if your kids live in the world, and have experienced bullying themselves, or observed it, then they will like the gentle way that his mom handles the situation.
These two delightful books are not new, they have been republished in a very “little person friendly” format. Ladybird book size, and perfect to fit into a little backpack and for heading out on an adventure. I should mention that Chris Riddell is about our favourite illustrator of all time and his books are simply magical. The Emperor of Absurdia wakes from a dream and the Wardrobe Monster helps him dress… there is breakfast, supper and lunch… which hatches, and the most wonderful dragon hunt. This book captures the essence of a dream so beautifully. Page after page of detailed illustrations that fill out the words, you can not read this story without wanting to climb into it.
Wendel is possibly the most inventive mouse ever… with diagrams of his inventions to pore over. He invents a robot to do all his tidying up… and I cannot think of any of my children who haven’t “been there.” Anyway his robot gets a little enthusiastic, and Wendel gets tidied up too. Wendel lands up on the scrap heap himself, and he is miserable… it is a good life lesson and everything turns out ok, of course. Wendel learns his lesson and always recycles after that experience. No need to send anything to the scrap heap… repurposing and tidying as you go is his new thing.
These two books go together, they are very similar… and when Hood #8 saw the fire rescue one, he literally hyperventilated. These books are very chunky board books with a suitcase full of bits and pieces, real live chunky equipment that your real live firefighter or vet would need in an emergency. The tools fit into the story like first puzzle pieces… very playable… into the suitcase, then into the story, then repeat many many times. The story is really simple, the illustrations really detailed, with lots of lovely things to find. They are perfectly designed, Priddy books – what can I say, to be lugged around and loved by your junior person.
We would really like to thank PanMacMillan Books South Africa for providing us with the books to review for this post. We would like to declare that this is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to do these reviews, just provided with books. All the opinions are as usual, entirely our own!!!