What We Are Reading Right Now: The Picture Book Edition…

So we have been reading away as usual, and there is a pile of books on our coffee table that have been getting a lot of attention around here… the picture book pile of course. The books that get read with enthusiasm again and again and again…


Se7en + 1 of the Latest and Greatest Picture Books

Demolition by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Brian Lovelock: Oh this is fun… for some of my kids that lived within walking distance of complicated road works their entire lives… this is a great book. Lots of construction fun and rhythm and rhyme. You have to love the sound affects and short sharp words… very fun. And this is the board book edition… of the chunky variety… perfect for little people in love with construction. You can meet the author Sally Sutton over here, and the illustrator Brian Lovelock, here.

Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field: What a team, what a book… this is brilliant on every level… it is about a frog who s desperate to sit down, and a rather condescending cat who knows that he can’t sit anywhere except on a log. Because frogs sit on logs. Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, gophers sit on sofas, mules sit on stools… there is a lovely rhyming pattern here. And the poor frog doesn’t want to sit on a log, because of the potential for splinters!!! Anyway… obviously the cat needs to explain again and again that the frog has to sit on a log, and finally (spoiler alert), the frog gets it… every animal has something rhyming to sit on it… Which begs the question: So what do dogs sit on? You can meet the fun children’s author, Kes Gray here. And you can look out for the illustrator Jim Field, he is delightful in every way.

Penguin by Polly Dunbar: And you can’t beat Polly Dunbar for cleverness… an apparently very simple story… but there is so much cleverness. Ben receives a very exciting gift. He opens it up and it a penguin. He is thrilled with his new playmate, and he tries everything to engage him… but nothing happens. Everything and zero response from his friend… and in his frustration he tries to feed the penguin to the lion… the lion is not having the penguin… in fact the penguin remains unmoved. In his frustration Ben yells a mighty yell… and the lion gulps Ben down for being so noisy. And Ben’s friend is totally not impressed… (spoiler alert) at last the penguin does something and pecks the lion on the nose… in pain the Lion spits Ben back and then the penguin has a lot to say and recounts everything that has happened in full colour… and their friendship is sealed forever after. The author/illustrator Polly Dunbar has a fabulous website.

Cats Ahoy by Peter Bently and Jim Field: There is something very fishy about this story!!! Pure pirateering fun. Alfonso the cat hears that their is a load of haddock coming into town, arriving at dawn… So he gathers all the cats in the fishing village and they set to out to sea in the dead of night in their pirate boat, aptly named the Kipper. There is a lot of swashbuckling… and a surprise for the townsfolk when the fisherman row into town and tell of the pirate attack, without any fish. And the really weird thing, all the cats in town have disappeared… This is any young pirates dream kind of a book… full of rhythm and rhyme, fun to read and lots of little clevernesses to keep everyone engaged. The illustrations are full of wonderful detail. This book gets full marks from my gang. Another book illustrated by the colourful Jim Field, and written by the children’s author, Peter Bently.

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen: Highly acclaimed Jon Klassen has done it again with another extremely clever and witty book. The tale of two tortoises that discover a hat. In part one, they realise that both look good in the hat, but let’s say it again, there are two tortoises and only one hat. They decide to forget about the hat. In part two, they both try very hard to watch the sunset and forget about the hat… their “words” are watching the sunset, their eyes not so much. In part three, they are headed off to sleep… and as they are drifting off they are chatting… and as they are chatting about their dream… one of them is dreaming and the other can’t resist… until he hears the loving dream… and he decides to go to sleep as well… and together they dream happily forever after… Lovely. You can see exactly why this is a classic, even as it launches!!! Jon Klassen writes classic after classic after classic…

Blue Penguin by Petr Horáček: Oh gasp, the illustrations in this book are exceptional, wonderfully wintry scenes… crisp sea and beautiful icy landscapes. This is the story of a blue penguin, in the world of black and white penguins he sure does stand out… he is different and alone and nobody wants to be his friend… he sings a song to the great white whale to come and rescue him from his loneliness, but while he is waiting for the whale to resume him from his loneliness a little penguin befriends him… and one friend leads to many others. This story is heartwarming, it really is okay to be different. Meet the author/illustrator Petr Horáček here, pop over and look at his blog, filled with beautiful illustrations.

The Lion Inside by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field: Another book in this selection illustrated by Jim Field. This book is top of the pops of the heap of “read again” books on the coffee table right now. This is a story of large lion, who live on a rock on the African plains… and an adorable mouse who is the lion’s nearest neighbour. The mouse finds himself invisible, on account of his size. None of the other animals notice the poor little mouse… he is ignored and forgotten. But can that lion roar. The mouse decides that he needs to overcome his fear and take lessons from the lion and learn how to roar. Too his surprise the lion (and here is the spoiler) is very scared of mice… This is a book about friendship and that there really is a lion inside all of us, no matter how small we are.

A Treasury of Songs by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Schaeffer: The last but definitely not the least in this pile of books. The prolific author/illustrator team have brought us a very special book that would make the perfect gift for a special event or a special birthday for a little person in your life. A lovely shimmery cover, and beautiful glossy pages. It is a collection of twenty three of Julia Donaldson songs and includes a CD to sing along with. There are some old favourites that my children have been singing along to for many years, like “A squash and a squeeze” and a quite a few new ones, to us, as well. There are a variety of songs… some are short and sweet, finger play songs and others are longer, telling the entire story. The book is filled with beautiful double page spreads, illustrated by the famous Axel Scheffler. Our gang were lucky enough to meet Julia Donaldson last year and some of my gang have been singing her songs ever since. This book goes on the much loved treasury shelf, it is a collectors item for Julia Donaldson fans of all ages.

Thank you so much to PanMacmillan South Africa for the copies of these books for review purposes. This is not a sponsored post, we were not paid to create it and the opinions expressed are as usual, our own.

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