Peeking At Picture Books – May 2020 (Part One)

It is lovely to be back on the book blogging journey, and to be doing so with a picture book blog that features multiple titles too! This has been a long time coming, but I am delighted to share a selection of picture books that range from those that feature fun stories to those that reflect the feelings we express beautifully, This is one of a series of picture book blogs I will be publishing in quick succession as I look to play catch up on my blog content as I highlight exceptional titles.

The Crow and the Peacock by Jo Fernhough

A story that follows an ordinary Crow that led a contented life until he saw a bird he thought looked more beautiful than him. Crow then embarks on a journey to discover one bird after another, each more splendid to look at than the last – all because he perceives that they must be ecstatically happily as a consequence. It is only at the end of his journey that Crow comes to realise what being truly happy is, and in doing so he shares an important message with the younger audiences that will undoubtedly enjoy this story.

In getting children to see that being happy with who they are and what they are able to do is so significant, especially as they meet other children both in school and in social settings who will be different to them, have different things to them, and be able to different things too. This book also promotes the importance of freedom, and if children can learn to apply that to their playtimes as well as day to day then we will be bringing up a generation that have appreciation for the outdoors, the environment, and the world as a whole.

This book features some beautiful illustrations that compliment the story perfectly, and really bring to life the variety of birds that feature in the book, some of which younger children will be unfamiliar with and be introduced to for the first time with this book. The illustrations depict the birds perfectly, really bringing them to life for the reader.

The Crow and the Peacock was published by Oxford Children’s Books on April 2nd, and is available to purchase now from all good booksellers. I highly recommend this book for primary school libraries and classroom reading corners, especially as this is the perfect book to share with younger audiences who can interact with the story guessing what type of bird is featured within the book and so much more!

This is Crab by Harriet Evans and Jacqui Lee

An incredible example of a hands on book, This is Crab encourages readers to interact throughout the story to encourage progress of Crab’s journey through the ocean. Amongst the other creatures that dwell in the sea Crab must learn appropriate behaviour and how to fit in, which the book asks the reader to assist him with by tilting pages and completing various other actions along the way too. The combination of being able to join in with the story and the message behind it being one of treating others fairly makes this an undoubted hit with younger readers.

With bright coloured pages filled with stunning illustrations that draw in the reader from the offset, this book helps children learn about creatures living under the sea, how to identify them, and introduces ocean life to younger audiences in a way that ensures they are interested, and that it is fun. Little Tiger are due to publish this title in July and it is one to watch out for and pre order, with intentions to share this with younger audiences at home as well as at school.

The Keeper of Wild Words by Brooke Smith, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper

This is a beautiful story that tells of a young girl and her grandmother’s determination to remember words that are being removed from dictionaries and lost to us through the lack of using them. Brook arrives at her grandmother Mimi’s house to find she has written a list of words that she is keen to keep in existence, and the pair set of on a hunt for examples of the words as they explore the local area. Abram and Chronicle have published this title in March so this book is available to purchase from all good book sellers.

This story felt like a younger way of sharing the importance of lost and forgotten words like The Lost Words by Jackie Morris and Robert Macfarlane, a book for older children that has the same message behind it, and is equally as powerful. I recently watched an intense and interesting film that tells of the creation of the Oxford Dictionary, and learning of the overwhelming achievement the existence of such holds means I can see the importance of this book for younger, inquisitive minds to find inspiration in and appreciate the intentions of the author. This is definitely a title worthy of shelf space in a school library, and there is so much more interaction with students that can come about from hearing this story such as debates, discussions, displays etc.

Mabel – A Mermaid Fable by Rowboat Watkins

Mabel spends all of her time hiding, embarrassed that she is different to her entire family. She has tried to improvise in order to fit in but it doesn’t work and so Mabel takes to hiding away from everyone. Then she meets Lucky, a seven legged Octopus that is also hiding away because he is different. Together the pair give each other the necessary reassurances they need to be proud of who they are and what they are capable of, instead of focusing on what makes them different in a negative way.

The message behind the story being portrayed through the gorgeous illustrations and intriguing plot will definitely leave younger audiences inspired as audiences in all settings become immersed and engaged in this underwater adventure. Published by Abram and Chronicle in March this year, this is definitely a title to add to your school library wish list as it teaches children the value of themselves and to celebrate who they are and what makes them different in a positive way. I really enjoyed the way this beautiful mermaid became stronger as the story builds, and really enjoyed Lucky, who proved to be quite adorable.

Sometimes I Feel… by Sarah Maycock

This is an incredible book which features similes to depict the vast variety of emotions we feel, putting them in into words and stunning illustrations that allow the reader to visualise and understand the power of each emotion, and that feeling the way we do is normal as much as it is ever changing, depending on many circumstances. Using animals of all shapes and sizes to help portray the content across the pages, the illustrations depict the raw emotions with incredible depth and vastness as they detail the speed with which the way we feel can change.

The text helps emphasise the feeling itself, and the colours and creativity of the respective illustrations complement this intention perfectly, with use of vibrant colours for the more positive emotions and a stark comparative for when times get low, this book genuinely reassures readers about what feels normal, irrespective of which emotion they feel most at the time. The book gives an overwhelming sense of relief to the reader while it is being read, and leaves them remembering the content long after closing the cover. Published by Big Picture Press in February, this book would have a huge and welcome presence in school libraries as well as being shared at home. The gold foil detail to the hardback cover is surely a symbol of the medal this book deserves for holding such powerful and beautiful content within.

Meet the Grumblies by John Kelly and Carmen Saldana

This is the story of three brothers that argue non stop in order to occupy themselves, constantly trying to determine which of them is better than the rest. When a large animal depletes their food and drink supplies and individually the brothers are unable to stop it, they combine resources and realise that working together might just be what it takes to defeat the animal. As a team the trio prove far more successful, trapping the animal so it is unable to cause any further damage, but seeing the effect this development has on the animal makes them have second thoughts, and in making a compromise the grumblies might just save the day!

A great story to promote working together and the benefits of coming together as a team, this is a real feel good book with illustrations that help immerse the reader in the story, allowing them to embark on this curious adventure alongside the grumblies too. Publishing by Little Tiger Press in June 2020, this is a great addition to primary school library bookshelves, reading corners in classrooms, and at home where it can be shared with siblings or as a bedtime story even.

Keep an eye out for the second instalment of my #PeekingAtPictureBooks this month as I look to celebrate further current amazing titles.

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