Peeking At Picture Books – February 2020

There are so many amazing picture books publishing at the moment that feature such an huge variety of characters, locations, morals and messages behind the storylines so I chose twenty of them to share with you in this bumper blog post, with titles from Nosy Crow, Macmillan, New Frontier Publishing, Walker Books, Abrams and Chronicle and Boxer Books. These are all school library worthy books that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to those looking to make purchases for their libraries, and have equally worthy presence in homes everywhere as there is something for everyone.

Who is in the Egg? – Alexandra Milton

A stunningly illustrated hardback picture book from Boxer Books that details various different animal eggs and then reveals what is inside each of them. The text features repetition which will help children recall what they are hearing as well as be able to join in. Featuring a love bird, alligator, platypus, turtle, penguin and ostrich – a variety of species for children to learn about, which is enhanced by the book featuring a fact about each and detailing the shape of the egg. This is a fun read, guessing who is inside the egg each time whilst learning about animals at the same time.

The Tale of a Toothbrush – M.G.Leonard, and illustrated by Daniel Rieley

Published by Walker Books, this fantastic picture book features hugely significant content as it details an entire lengthy journey that a discarded toothbrush goes on and how it comes to no harm whatsoever because as many of us know plastic toothbrushes do not break and decompose. Told in a brilliant story for younger readers, Sofia loves her yellow toothbrush that she puts her initial on but when mum notices it has worn out from use she replaces it with a red toothbrush which just isn’t the same to Sofia at all. Meanwhile the toothbrush goes on an incredible adventure through sewers and oceans before making its way back to Sofia who is delighted to find her old toothbrush again and makes use of it as a cleaning device. The book ends with advice such as purchasing bamboo toothbrushes as they are more environmentally friendly longer term and details the struggles our planet is having because of plastic.

Money – Go – Round by Roger McGough, and illustrated by Mini Grey

This beautiful hardback book is brimming with beautiful, eye catching illustrations from Mini Grey (Traction Man) that compliment the story perfectly as we follow one solitary coin as it is used to pay for services between friends only to find itself full circle and back to the first character, with a brilliant twist on the final pages! The book has a heart warming, traditional feel to it in all aspects and will definitely maintain younger audiences attention as they follow the story from friend to friend. This will definitely prove to be a firm favourite at bedtimes too. Published by Walker Books.

Neon Leon – Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup

Nosy Crow have published this vibrantly coloured picture book paperback that tells the story of Leon the Chameleon, who is always bright orange irrespective of his surroundings much to the dismay of the other chameleons he lives with. When his behaviour keeps the rest of the group awake all night Leon looks to find somewhere he does fit in, somewhere as equally bright as him. The book encourages younger audiences to join with various instructions such as counting numbers, whispering reassurances to Leon and various other interactions which ensure that children will enjoy hearing this book, and that they gain a better understanding of the story too.

Leap Frog – Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup

Another title by the same duo as Neon Leon and equally vibrant and bold in colour and illustrative style, Leap Frog tells all about a frog called Felix who doesn’t belong on the jungle floor but is lost and afraid of unfamiliar noises. We follow Felix as he ventures further and further and discovers more and more culprits of noises in the night before climbing to the top of a large tree where he lives. Felix finds his dad and feels safe and loved as he is put to bed at the end of the story – making this perfect for bedtime. There are commands to enable children to join in throughout the story which they will definitely love.

Everyone Can Draw – Fifi Kuo

Published by Boxer Books, this feel good book details all the different mediums people can choose to reflect their creative side such as pencil, sewing and finger painting. Each page has beautiful illustrations to reflect the text, with a variety of colours and styles used too which really draw your eye to the page as you take it all in, especially at the end where there is a montage showing all the different artistic styles together. The text within the book tells of how whichever way you choose to reflect your artistic side it makes it all worthwhile if your enjoying it and shows that there is no wrong way of being arty – as the title says everyone can draw! An inspirational book that will definitely have children wanting to get out their aprons and be artistically busy.

Superhero Gran – Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger

With rhyming sentences and eye catchingly, bright and beautiful illustrations this book has a fantastic vibe from the offset as it details just how amazing gran is to the two children that feature in the book. Her house is one full of trinkets and treasures that make exploring it fun, she enjoys making effort and having fun with the children doing activities such as dress up and she shares stories with them too. Gran will insist the children are able to stay for a sleepover when it is time to go which seals the deal as far as the children are concerned, she is definitely Super Gran! A brilliant feel good story that would work well at bedtimes, and at times when grandparents are celebrated such as Mothers Day and Birthdays too.

I Can Fly – Fifi Kuo

A fun read about a little penguin who cannot understand why others tell him he can’t fly, especially given he has wings and is a bird. Determined to prove them wrong the little penguin tries and tries to take off but to no avail, but when he lands in the ocean and swims around with his dad the little penguin feels as though that is as close to flying as he needs to experience – especially the feeling of being free, weightless and alive. The determination of the little penguin is incredibly admirable and makes him a role model for younger audiences who will undoubtedly admire his resilience and persistence in the face of others setting him back. A perfect read shared in school classrooms, libraries, and bedtime too.

Bunnies on the Bus – Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle

A laugh out loud, feel good picture book from Walker Books that feature rhyming throughout as well as repetition too, making this equally funny and memorable. There is no doubt that children will ask to hear this story over and over again as they hear about the antics of the bunnies that have overrun the bus service as it travels around the town. With a fantastic ending that leaves you longing for a sequel, this is an energetic story with fantastic characters and scenes that are depicted in beautiful detail on every page. Everyone loves bunnies as they are an adorable animal and some have them for pets but none would consider the sort of behaviours shown in this book that will get younger readers imaginations going and makes this perfect for bedtime.

Karate Kids – Holly Sterling

Telling the story of Maya and how she is keen to become competent in Karate, attending karate class each week and learning the significant moves and sequences. This book from publishers Walker Books uses the technical terms for each of the karate equipment and moves featured which makes this an informative yet fun read and also offers inclusiveness to younger readers that are involved in karate and familiar with the terminology. It is always lovely to see a book on a niche subject intended for younger audiences as those children have a right to relate to the content in the stories they hear and this book will definitely give children learning karate the opportunity to speak up about their hobby to others and take pride in what they are doing too.

Grow : Secrets of our DNA – Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton

Giving children an understanding of how they came to be, how they are formed of DNA and how it is sequenced, and how they relate to other species past and present, this book holds so much information that will maintain readers interests and ensure they come away having learnt something significant to themselves. The illustrations compliment the text beautifully and help readers to make sense of what they are reading both in relation to themselves and other animals on earth. Walker Books have published an utterly brilliant picture book that combines non-fiction amongst its pages with this title and it should definitely be a must have for school libraries to stock.

The Pirates are Coming! – John Condon and Matt Hunt

A fantastic adventure story published by Nosy Crow, which tells of a the boy who cried wolf style story in respect of Tom warning the other villagers that pirates are coming based on him seeing a ship off shore and with each turn it becoming apparent that this isn’t the case and that all of the villagers have hidden for no reason. Obviously when it is actually pirates approaching and Tom pre warns the villagers they take no notice, but the twist at the end makes this a brilliant laugh out loud story that children will want to hear time and time again and adults will enjoy sharing too.

On Wings of Words – The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

An absolutely beautiful book from Abrams and Chronicles that details the life of Emily Dickinson, with her own poetic sentences featuring in amongst the text and stunning illustrations. This book brings the human aspect of Emily to the forefront of readers imaginations as they learn about such an iconic character in history and the world of children’s literature and make poetry an interesting concept that is worthy of attempting and enjoying too. From being born all the way through to when Emily’s sister discovers all of her poems and publishes them for the world to admire and appreciate this book allows readers to learn all the important aspects to Emily’s upbringing and life and ensures there is an understanding of her experiences and endurances and how her poetry came to be and is worthy of our appreciation.

Extraordinary – Penny Harrison and Katie Wilson

With a gorgeous cover that is sprinkled with foil detailing, this book from publishers New Frontier Publishing details how the little, usually overlooked things in life can and often are the most special and significant moments and experiences we have and whilst it is great to have big adventures and experiences in life these can often be less special and significant. The illustrations are stunning, enveloping the reader in a magical feeling atmosphere within an amazing adventure across different places and locations, experiences and adventures. These illustrations are so incredibly immersive and make the reading experience of this title an absolute pleasure, reinforcing the message behind the text perfectly.

Who Loves Books? – Lizi Boyd

This lift the flap book from Chronicle Books is an interactive piece of children’s literature brilliance that gives you more potential to the text by turning over the flaps inside and reading the page differently to the time before which keeps younger audiences on their toes as they wait to hear how the story goes which details how squirrel goes around on a boat gifting books to everyone because to answer the books title it becomes apparent everyone loves books! A great way to encourage younger audiences to appreciate how special and magical books and reading is.

Sarah’s Heavy Heart – Peter Carnavas

A truly beautiful story from publishers New Frontier Publishing that tells of a young girl called Sarah who carries a heavy heart on her search for friends and that special someone until she comes across a boy that floats by with his weightless heart. The two compliment each other perfectly and before long provide each other with the contentment they had been looking for. A really touching story that tells of emotions we feel as individuals and the reassurance we find in being around others. The cover design is eye catching and caught my attention as soon as I saw this book and the illustrations throughout compliment the text perfectly.

Egg – Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

The Iconic duo that is Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet have created a brilliantly beautiful book published by Macmillan that takes the not judging a book by its cover concept and applies it to eggs – and just in time for easter too! The book uses the word Egg throughout, indeed it is the only word in the entire book! I love that the text doesn’t distract from the meaning, and that it actually reinforces the intention behind the story. There are eggs that arrive within the various scenes of the book and they are different to those eggs already present in that they may be side ways on, and as such the other eggs question whether that makes the new addition one of them. The book encourages younger readers to know that being different and having a different perspective is perfectly fine and should be encouraged as it makes life so much more interesting for those around you as much as for yourself.

The Case of the Missing Cake – Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Marc Boutavant

A fun concept that details each letter of the alphabet and relates it to finding the culprit that ate the entire chocolate cake that was sat looking all delicious. Bear is intent on discovering who is guilty so he travels through the book looking for clues and answers as to who is guilty, and linking it to the letters of the alphabet makes the story interesting as much as it does the individual letters and will consequently ensure younger audiences remember and recall what they hear and learn as they enjoy it along the way. The incredibly detailed illustrations make this such a pleasure to read and makes you want to spend time enjoying the images on each page as you uncover more and more potential clues and get to the outcome too.

The Grizzly Itch – Victoria Cassawell

This is a brilliantly funny story from publishers Macmillan that tells of one bears plight to relieve an itch he has on his back and heads directly for a notorious tree in the woods that all bears use to relieve their itches. When it comes to bears turn he is disappointed to find the tree falls down as a beaver has chosen it as material for his dam, and feeling bad about the position that leaves bear in means beaver offers to find him a suitable tree of equal usefulness and the pair set of. The story has a beautiful ending and bear does find relief but not in the way he first set out seeking, and on top of that he has made a friend in beaver too as a consequence of the random act of kindness beaver provided bear by offering to help. A traditional feel to this book through its illustrations combined with the brilliant story give this book every possibility of being a modern day classic that children will cherish and request regularly.

A Hat for Mr Mountain – Soojin Kwak

Telling the story of one girl called Nara and how she makes hats for all sorts of animals and creatures because seeing the happiness gifting them hats creates makes her happy too. When Nara gets a request from Mr Mountain to make him a hat she tries several different ideas she has with each one failing miserably, and then she gives up. This is when her friends realise they haven’t been supportive of her creativity and put it right by finding the right materials for Nara to fulfill the request from the mountain and reignite her believing in herself and her desire to help others. This book from Two Hoots (Macmillan) promotes being creative and committing random acts of kindness for others as they are both so rewarding.

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