Picture Book Perfection – August (Part One)

There is nothing more valuable in the journey to a fluent reader that reads for pleasure then that of the early stages, including that of sharing picture books with younger children. Whether it be during the day, in school as a class, or as a bedtime story, the following selection of books are perfect for captivating the attention and imagination of little ones, and have been chosen because each of them offers quality textual and illustrative content that I for one have shared with the little people in my life, and advocate sharing with little ones in what ever scenario they are a part of your lives, albeit as your child, children, siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, or students. I have categorised this selection into publishers, and will follow this blog up with a second selection from other publishers too.

Little Tiger publications

Yawn – Patricia Hegarty and Teresa Bellon

  • RRP – £7.99 (pb)
  • published 8th July 2021 in paperback

An utterly perfect book to share with little ones, or offer as a bedtime title for early independent readers, this is the story of how one boys yawn journeys across the world, to people and pets, as it passed on to more and more people and animals along the way. The story proves how contagious a yawn is to those around someone yawning, and how even the unsuspecting can be caught off guard. The books pages make following the story fun, as they have cut outs that encourage children to spot the characters that feature, and the illustrations capture the story perfectly, drawing the readers attention to every inch of the page, and help encourage tired children to give into sleep, and would even work well with entire classes in library reading sessions, encouraging the audience to relax, and calm themselves too.

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t – Patricia Hegarty and Jonny Lambert

  • RRP – £7.99 (pb)
  • published 8th July 2021 in paperback

Another brilliant book from author Patricia Hegarty, this time telling the story of a mischievous Chameleon, who likes to go around pranking the other animals as they go about their day to day lives. Often cruel in context, the bad behaviour the Chameleon displays upsets and embarrasses the other animals until a frog makes a surprising appearance, and gives Chameleon a taste of his own medicine. In seeing what it feels like to be on the receiving end, it isn’t long before Chameleon changes his ways, and behaves himself – only making others jump every now and again! This Aesop’s Fable style story gives younger children the opportunity to see both perspectives of naughty behaviour, and will get them thinking twice about doing so themselves next time they get the chance! This is a fun, rhyming sentenced tale that younger audiences will love, and the stunning vibrant illustrations will captivate them as they follow the story along.

Nothing Scares Spider! – S Marendaz and Carly Gledhill

  • RRP – £6.99 (pb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in paperback

This is a beautifully written story of friendship between a variety of bugs, that all live in the same garden. Spider decides she wants to head off on an adventure around the rest of the garden, to explore beyond the flowerbeds that her and her friends know as home, and sets off after telling her friends of her plans, and promising them that they can always call her back if they need her urgently, they just need to pull on the web she is leaving behind her. After several false alarms from her friends, Spider is getting increasingly annoyed. All she wants to do is have an adventure and see more of the garden, but her friends keep calling her back because they are scared (for silly reasons in Spiders opinion) via her web trail. When Spider ventures the furthest she has made it across the garden she is called back once more, but this time it isn’t a false alarm, and Spider is needed to protect her friends from a hungry frog in the flowerbed. It is spider who is afraid this time, and it is her friends who come up with a plan to keep all of the bugs safe, including her. Spider realises that being afraid isn’t silly, no matter what it is that causes it, and that friends are always there when you need them, and don’t think twice to help keep you safe, something Spider herself has been doing throughout her adventure. This is a fun adventure to enjoy, and little ones will love spotting the different dangers facing Spider along her journey, that Spider has been oblivious too!

Afraid of the Dark – Sarah Shaffi, Isabel Otter, and Lucy Farfort

  • RRP -£6.99 (pb)
  • published 8th July 2021 in paperback

The perfect book for several scenarios, including enjoying the story obviously! This book would be incredibly useful with younger children that are moving house, and anxious about doing so, or those that have just moved home and are struggling to adjust to their new surroundings. On top of these benefits to sharing this book, their is also much to be gained sharing this title with younger children that are afraid of the dark. Amy has just moved house with her dad and her dog, and she is unhappy about how much it doesn’t feel like home. At night in her new bedroom Amy is afraid of the noises and shadows, but as daytime comes she distracts herself with familiar activities like playing with her toys and her dog, Pickle. Night time arrives again and Amy is back in the familiar territory of fear and worry, but the next day she makes new friends with local children playing in an awesome den next door, and suddenly she feels the familiar emotions of home. When Amy’s dad reads her a story that she features in, and adds stars to her bedroom to link her story to her bedroom in her new home, she feels as though everything is going to be alright, and has her first peaceful night sleep in her new room, in her new home. The emotive illustrations reflect the story beautifully, and show Amy’s anguish and relief as the story develops, the preciousness of blooming friendships, and how to tackle fear.

This Is Your World – Tilly Temple and Sean Julian

  • RRP – £7.99 (pb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in paperback

Heart warming and emotive, this book is a must share with little ones, who will doubtlessly want to hear it time and time again, listening to the rhyming sentences as they tell of a mother deer’s message to her child, which is one of just how incredible our planet is, and all there is to enjoy about it. The illustrations reflect how majestic the natural world is on Earth, with the variety of habitats and animal species that exist, with each one equally special and stunning. The book showcases land, ocean, and sky. With a beautiful colour palette bringing the illustrations to life off of the pages, this is a book to cherish, from one generation to the next, sharing it between parents and children, and in school too. The story will leave younger readers feeling inspired, and fortunate to call this planet their home, and crucially encourage them to want to protect the planet whilst enjoying all it has to offer too.

Superhero Baby! – Patricia Hegarty and Alex Willmore

  • RRP – £6.99 (pb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in paperback

Another awesome picture book from Patricia, this one telling the adventures of a baby superhero, and a female one at that. Young girls will delight in this detail of the book, as their are too few female superheroes, let alone one that is a baby! And young boys enjoying hearing/reading this story needn’t worry, there is a baby boy that plays a key role in this adventure, as a super villian! As bedtime falls in the Superhero Baby household, it is only her that remains awake, and venturing out to save the day. When daytime breaks it is once again Superhero Baby that tackles a variety of disasters and accidents, always coming to the rescue, only to find as night falls once again that it is her brother that is the cause of all the trouble. Superhero Baby takes her naughty brother home, and the two settle down for sleep, but is her naughty brother really asleep, and the book concludes on a cliff hanger question of what could possibly happen next! A brilliant story written in rhyming sentences, this is a brilliant adventure to share with younger readers, and will ignite their imaginations with endless possibilities for the baby duo to face next, and definitely encourage lots of conversation around ideas the children have.

Together – Jane Chapman

  • RRP – £7.99 (pb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in paperback

This is a breathtakingly beautifully illustrated picture book that tells of the adventures and happiness a baby gorilla finds from another gorilla, an adult male, that takes the baby under his wing, and shows him the sights of their surroundings, offering the baby a much needed sense of security, love, and companionship. Their is an emotional aspect to the books content, in both text and illustrative content, and readers and audience members alike will feel touched by this story, and delight in the happy ending that awaits them within the books concluding pages. The story reinforces the message of rainbows appearing after a storm, and brighter days awaiting those enduring darker ones, and it does so in a way that ensures the intended audience understands the sentiment, and will captivate them with the illustrations of the gorillas in their natural habitat, with unbelievable detail in their design. This is definitely a picture book to be cherished, and read over and over again with youngsters.

Agent Llama – Angela Woolfe and Duncan Beedie

  • RRP – £11.99 (hb)
  • published 8th July 2021 in hardback

With illustrations styled like iconic comic strips, this is an eye catching book with an eye catching lead character. Charlie Palmer is an Agent Llama, who thwarts evil plans, faces baddies, and does it all without even breaking a sweat. Even being captured doesn’t frighten this Llama, and she hatches a brilliant plan of escape! If there is a baddie on the loose, it is definitely this Agent that you would want to call upon, as she is brave, determined, and clever. Readers will love the pace of this book, as it builds with the rhyming sentences within, and the bold, vibrant illustrations compliment the text perfectly whilst ensuring that the action and energy of the Llama’s adventures is apparent for readers to see. Bringing heroes and villains to the hearts and imaginations of younger readers, this is a must read adventure filled story that will inspire lots of creative role play, both at home and on the school playground, as well as leaving children with a clear definition of right and wrong.

Nosy Crow publications

Tiptoe Tiger – Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup

  • RRP – £11.99 (hb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in hardback

With bold vibrant illustrations in the iconic style of Britta’s other works, making this eye catchingly recognisable from the cover alone, this is the tale of a little tiger cub, and the different animals and insects she sees during an evening adventure through the jungle. Being energetic and loud prevents Tara the tiger cub from being able to enjoy the company of the other characters that feature in the book, until Tara learns to approach quietly and slowly. Returning to her mother just in time for snuggles at bedtime makes for the perfect ending to Tara’s adventure, and will ensure that younger audiences settle down after this story at bedtime, ready to enjoy a good night sleep, or if shared during the day at home or in school, this book will inspire role play and fun from those children lucky enough to hear this beautiful animal adventure story. Also, the book asks for participation from youngsters in the form of requests for completing actions and sounds that correspond with the story as it develops, and these type of books are incredibly popular with Reception Classes in my library, with the children taking great delight in playing a part in ensuring the story can continue through their participation, and I cannot wait to share this book with the newest children to join our school, as they come up to the library for their class session. This would be the perfect book to stock in classroom book corners as much as in homes too, and one I know my nephew will enjoy immensely, along with the latest generation of picture book readers.

My Big Fantastic Family – Adam and Charlotte Guillian, and Ali Pye

  • RRP – £6.99 (pb)
  • published 5th August 2021 in paperback

As the front cover states, this is “A Story about parents seperating”, and it does so with just the right amount of detail and description, to ensure that children hearing it are not overwhelmed whilst they recognise themselves, or others close to them, in the story, and appreciate the positive message that flows throughout the rhyming sentences, from the first page to the last. The book tells of how Lily-May’s parents seperate, and the subsequent uncertainty that she feels through the changes that are happening around her. Lily-May still sees her dad on Sundays, and they have the best of times together, and her mum keeps her busy throughout each day that they share together too, so things do not seem so bad for the little girl, especially when she has her special blue bear with her. Then Lily-May’s mum meets someone new, and that means another adult to spend time and enjoy a variety of activities with, and his two boys too. Suddenly Lily-May has lots of people around her, not forgetting new grandparents as well, who are also lovely to be around. Then dad gets a Cat, and that means Lily-May can learn how to look after a pet when she stays at her dads, only realising at bedtime that she has misplaced blue bear. Speaking to mum on the phone gives her the much needed reassurance she was seeking, for the bear is tucked into bed at home with mum, and that is when Lily-May comes to realise, she is now lucky to have a large family that includes a variety of people in a wide range of roles, all of which get invited to her birthday party, and that as long as she is amongst them she knows she is very much loved, safe, and at home. This is a brilliant book to share with those that are facing parental separation, or are struggling to adjust to parents splitting up, and subsequent new additions to the family through a parent meeting someone new, and will resonate well with the intended audience. The heartwarming content inside this book reinforces a message of reassurance, and will make the world of difference to parents and children alike that are going through family separation. I can see how valuable this book will prove within my schools nurture team, who can direct this book to the relevant children, and know that if this book had of been available to share with my children, as they faced the reality of myself and their dad separating, it would have helped reinforce what I was trying to say to them myself. I shared Mum and Dad Glue by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish with my children, as I was recommended it by a close friend, and fellow school librarian, and highly recommend that title alongside this one too.

Be sure to check out part two of my August 2021 round up of Picture Books that are perfect for sharing with younger children, and an invaluable step towards confident independent readers that grow a love of reading.

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