It is Heritage Day in South Africa this week, and the perfect excuse to blog absolutely everything local, and we thought we could bring you some lovely local picture books. A couple of weeks ago we blogged about some lovely local picture books for Madiba Day, but more have arrived in our review pile. It is so lovely that more and more local books are being written for children, giving our children a chance to embrace all the different cultures and unique characters that are part of our rainbow nation.


Three Lovely Local Picture Books


Solomon the Lion

Written and illustrated by Kristina Jones

We fell in love with Kristina’s adorable fabric collages when we reviewed her first book The Amazing African Alphabet. She has created another lovely fabric collage book, Solomon the Lion. Solomon is the most adorable lion with the most wonderfully colourful mane… everything about him is perfection.

Except he has a little (read: a lot) of trouble falling asleep. He just can’t… he tries to emulate his animal friends… he tries sleeping in a nest, he tries sleeping underground, he tries sleeping upside down, he even tries to sleep in the river. But he has no luck. And then (spoiler alert) he realises that it is not so much about where he falls asleep, but possibly about how he says good night.

All his friends have someone to kiss them goodnight… A Good Night kiss is just what Solomon needed to help him to drift off to sleep.

This story is delightful and sweet and the perfect bedtime story for a little person who battles with going to sleep. And of course there is a lovely African slant, with all the beautiful African animals represented in the picturesque fabric collages.


Taka Wants to Fly

Written by Irene Berman

Illustrated by Joanna Cooke

Every family has one, an odd one out… Ma Ostrich discovers a strange egg one day, when she is out on her morning walk. She decides to take it home and raise it as one of her own… the problem is this baby bird just can’t fit in. He tries and tries… but he hates running about, he wants to fly; his siblings tease him because of his wings, so he tries to stick them down with honey.

And then disaster strikes and there is a drought… and the whole family is really desperate for food… and only Take, the truly odd one out, is able to rescue them and save the day. Taka is in fact a magnificent eagle, and was able to lead them all safely to food.

I love the illustrations in this book, they are packed with local birds and animals… there is a dung beetle that wanders through the pages, a meerkat, tortoises and lizards as well as guineafowl, egrets and so on. It’s delightful… bright and colourful and feels like a wander across the African plains.

You can have a closer look inside the book at this link, where Irene reads from her book, Taka Wants to Fly.


The Big Bird Battle

Written by Megan Furniss

Illustrated by Tanja Dunstan

If any of you are living in Cape Town, you will realise how the author has managed to capture the very essence of the Hadeda birds that have been taking over our gardens, and the guinea fowl gangs… enough said. This is the story of a turf war between the “Hard Hadeda” gang and the “Foul Guinea Fowl”… it is a little naughty in places… but if you have ever had a Hadeda dropping on your windscreen when you have parked under a tree… you will totally understand!!!


Back to the story, the Hard Hadeda gang would like to own the park… they are chasing visitors, both young and old, away on a daily basis, and the Foul Guinea Fowls are not much better, they decide to fight it out.

But then the Egyptian Goose couple rescue the park from the riot, they are about to have a couple of chicks and can’t have any naughty nonsense in the park, where they will be raising their family. The squabbling comes to an abrupt end and the park settles back down to being a regular friendly corner to visit.

You can have a closer look inside the book at this link, where Irene reads from her book, Taka Wants to Fly.

Amazon Affiliate Links

You can find links all these books on the Penguin Random Book South Africa Website…

These books were given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa and Struik Children. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are entirely our own.

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