Picture Book Perfection – October Part Four

Polly Bee makes honey – Deborah Chancellor and Julia Groves (Scallywag Press)

This book almost feels like a non-fiction picture book, but I say that because it is so informative throughout, and each page teaches readers about things that relate to bees. We are taught about the different types of bees there are, and the different stages involved in them making honey too. The bold illustrations help readers to see the text come to life on the page, and take note of specific details such as how the different types of bees vary from one another visually. This is a fantastic way for children to realise how impressive bees are in what they do, and come to respect their self sufficiency as they survive in the insect world.

Children will be fascinated to learn how honey is made, and how much work goes into the creation of this deliciously sweet, sticky treat. To learn that something as small as a bee is responsible for honey being made is mind blowing, and to realise that it comes about through them forming their own structure of workers and the queen bee, and subsequently working as a team is utterly fascinating. This would be such a great book to stock in school libraries, classroom reading corners, use in topic work, and of course share with little ones that are curious about the friendly buzzing insects that visit the flowers in our gardens.

When I’m Big – Ella Bailey (Flying Eye Books)

This is the story of a little dinosaur that hatches from an egg, and wanders around looking to find the answer as to what she will become when she has grown up. The adorable little dinosaur spots other larger dinosaurs, and compares herself with them, looking for similarities that would confirm she has found a grown up version of her, and can see what she will be like once she has grown.

Over and over the finds that she is nothing like those other dinosaurs that feature in this book, and there are a large variety of them for younger children to spot as the story progresses, and time and time again she fails to find what she is searching for. It is when she finds herself back at the shell of the egg she hatched from that the dinosaur realises she has grown, and that the beauty of what she has grown into is someone unique to those around her, which is just as it should be.

Lily Takes a Walk – Satoshi Kitamura (Scallywag Press)

What’s not to love about this picture book! It tells the story of a young girl called Lily, who frequently likes to go on walks with her dog, Nicky. It doesn’t matter what time of the day it is, or where it is the duo head off out to, Lily always feels safe because she has Nicky by her side.

There are two very different experiences for each of them on their adventures, with Lily seeing the happy and positive aspects of her walk, whether it be the ducks in the river as she crosses the bridge for home, or spotting a neighbour in her home, knitting as usual. Nicky however spots the potential dangers and scary milestones of their walk. It is such a stark contrast between these two characters who are on the same journey, and really makes you think about how we each observe and interpret things differently, and how you can apply that logic to other aspects of life too.

This book could be used to make younger children aware of the hidden dangers of the big wide world, because Nicky certainly sees them when Lily doesn’t, and it could also be used to remind children that there are friendly and fun themes and features to everything, and to try not to look for the negative and nasty. This could mean night terrors or other anxieties younger children have, and whatever the significance to the intended audience it is definitely an incredibly powerful read to share. If that wasn’t enough reasons to get yourself a copy of this title, the stunning illustrations that bring the story to life on the page certainly are. They are gorgeous, with vivid colours throughout, and a quality to the detail and depth that draw you in, and make you want to pour over them at length.

Ruffles and the red, red coat – David Melling (Nosy Crow)

What is not to love about a picture book that features an adorable dog, especially one that wears a cute red coat on rainy days too! Ruffles does not like to wear his coat, even though he knows he should when it is raining outside, and he is eager to play in puddles, and so he heads out without wearing it. Ruffles meets up with fellow friend Ruby, and they enjoy playing in a puddle together, but Ruffles is left cold and wet through whilst Ruby is eager to continue for longer because she is wearing her coat.

When Ruby fetches Ruffles his coat the pair find more puddles to have fun in, and although he didn’t enjoy the struggle to put on his coat, Ruffles does enjoy himself all the more for wearing it. This is a great picture book to share if you are looking for a fun story, with a doggy adventure at its core, and it is also a fantastic resource for getting little ones to understand the importance of wearing a coat in cold and/or wet weather conditions. The illustrations are super cute, and little ones will take Ruffles and Ruby to their hearts as soon as they see them, and ask to hear of their adventure time and time again, especially once they have seen the pages with multiple actions Ruffles is undertaking as we learn of all the things he enjoys doing in general, and the struggles he goes through when trying to put on his coat too.

There’s a Mouse in My House – Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)

I love Ross Collins’ picture books, and his iconic style of illustrations that accompany the superb text. This book features rhyming sentences that make sharing this book all the more enjoyable, as we learn about a little mouse that has moved into bear’s house without permission. Despite bear wanting the mouse to leave it would appear that he is here to stay, and making himself known at every opportunity. It is really getting bear down, and he has had enough of all of his food being eaten, not being able to sleep because music is being played all night, and his house being ruined from the bath overflowing too.

Just as bear thinks it couldn’t get any worse there is a knock at the door, and more mice appear – lots of them! But in a beautiful twist to end this tale we find that bear and the mice become friends, and enjoy partying together. I cannot wait to share this book with so many little ones in my family, and the nursery/reception classes at work when they come to enjoy a story during their class library time, because the rhyming sentences allow little ones to guess the correct word at the end of some of the pages, and the crazy antics that mouse gets up to inside of bear’s house will undoubtedly have them giggling as we share the story. This is a really good choice for a fun to read story that will leave little ones smiling.

The Bear and her Book – Frances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor (UCLan Publishing)

We recently shared a feature from Frances Tosedevin that told of her journey to publishing this picture book, which you can find here, and after reading this book for myself I immsediately knew that I had to share a review of it on here for others to learn of how stunning this story is, and what a worthy choice of children’s book this is – for children of all ages too.

This is the story of a bear that is looking for more from life, and heads off on an adventure taking just one prized possession along with her, their very own book. Along her journey bear comes across other animals needing some help, and uses the information inside the book to come to their aid. Each time she has assisted another animal bear realises she wants to discover more, and once again sets off in search of this.

Bears journey concludes in a book shop, where she spots the newest edition of her book in the shop window, and wanders inside. It is here that she enjoys the adventures and information of many other books, and realises she doesn’t need to venture off any further, for everything she has been looking for is right there in the bookshop for her to experience and learn about.

I love how this book, and the adorable bear that adorns the pages within, find the magic and value to a bookshop and the books inside, and celebrates books being as brilliant as they are from the offset with bear taking her book with her on her travels. Her book proves useful to so many along the way, and her second book ultimately navigates her in the right direction to finding everything she is looking for, the magic and marvel of a bookshop. This is a book to cherish for generations to come, and will definitely be well thumbed over those years as it is requested and read over and over again.

This book has all the vibes of a modern day classic, and the illustrations have a traditional vibe to them that make you feel cosy, and want to snuggle down and share this book amongst blankets and beanbags. The depth and detail to the illustrations bring bear’s journey to life on the page, and capture your imagination as your accompany bear on her way. This is definitely award winning author and illustrator content, and I would love to see more of bear and her book in more titles to come, ideally as a series. Fingers crossed!

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