Picture Books – August 2022 (Part One)

Sam Plants a Sunflower

  • Kate Petty
  • Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  • Published by Nosy Crow in collaboration with National Trust

Sam is eager to have bright sunshine every day so he follows ladybirds suggestion of planting sunflowers, and through flaps on the page we are able to see the seed growth progress underground. Worm advises Sam to be patient, and gives Sam tips on ensuring the flowers grow, and over time Sam is successful in growing sunflowers, which he gets to enjoy being around alongside his friends. When the sunflowers die Sam collects the seeds from their heads, and shares them with his friends, and collectively they all plant the seeds the following summer, with lots and lots of the bright yellow flowers growing everywhere for them to enjoy.

The book has a huge sunflower pop out in the middle of the book for little ones to admire and adore, and it is such a brilliant way of bringing the beauty and enormity of a sunflower into the laps of younger children who may not have had the pleasure of seeing or growing one, and gives them the chance to admire just how amazing they look. Sunflowers really are the sunshine of plants, with their vast sizing, and bright colour, and this book brings some of that for us to enjoy, no matter the weather, and inspires us to want to grow sunflowers of our own. The book is beautifully illustrated throughout, and brings the process of growing something from a seed to a successful plant to life for readers to enjoy, with the flaps encouraging little ones to interact along the way.

Tilly Plants a Tree

  • William Petty
  • Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  • Published by Nosy Crow in collaboration with National Trust

Tilly comes home from school to grow a tree like her school friends, and asks her grandma for help, so grandma takes tilly to her special oak tree, and Tilly chooses an acorn to plant, having been taught about oak trees by her grandma, and begins to grow one from an acorn. There are flaps in the book to show the growth progress under the soil, and Tilly learns she will have to be very patient as she nurtures her tree to grow, because it will take 50-60 years, like grandmas seed she planted as a little girl Tilly’s age, to become a full grown oak tree.

The book features a pop up oak tree, depicting the tree grandma grew, for children to enjoy and appreciate the vast size they grow to become. It is a really fun feature of this book to show children what it is Tilly has set out to ultimately achieve, and helps little ones to be able to identify oak trees on their outdoor adventures. This book is also beautifully illustrated in Axel Scheffler’s iconic style, and makes it a brightly coloured, beautiful book that encourages little ones to explore the outdoors, and grow their very own oak tree to enjoy in many years to come.

Milo’s Monster

  • Tom Percival
  • Published by Bloomsbury on 7th July
  • Part of the Big Bright Feelings series

Milo and Jay are neighbours, and best friends that play out together frequently, until Suzi moves into the house across the road, and suddenly every time Milo looks to play out with Jay he finds his friend is already busy playing with Suzi. Despite Suzi and Jay trying to include Milo in their play Milo is overwhelmed with jealousy, and finds himself accompanied by a jealousy monster. The monster tells Milo negative comments about Jay and Suzi’s actions, and fuels Milo’s insecurities he is feeling now his best friend is busy with someone else, and the monster is keen to keep Milo alone for himself, but when Suzi asks Milo why he is no longer friends with Jay, and explains that Jay is sad to have lost his best friend, it is Milo who realises he has been wrong about everything, and he subsequently apologises, which leads to the trio becoming the best of friends, and having fun together, which in turn causes the monster to disappear.

As a parent I have witnessed this exact situation happen with my child, and as much as it is heart breaking to see my child sad from not having their best friend to play with all the time because they have made friends with someone else, it is an essential part of growing up because children need to learn that they can share friends just like they do their toys, and when my child came to realise that she was once again excitedly pulling on her shoes and coat to head outside to play with her best friend, and others that she subsequently became good friends with too. When I worked in a primary school I saw this situation time and time again, with younger children telling me that “they won’t play with me”, and with a little bit of encouragement they were soon off playing all together, and this book is that encouragement children often need, sometimes too shy to admit to or ask for, and will definitely help little ones understand that they don’t need to feel left out or jealous of more people joining their social circle, because when they accept them they increase their friendship circle, and the amount of fun they subsequently have.

This would be such a brilliant book to share in assemblies, and within classrooms, because it will help so many children come to appreciate the positive aspects to sharing their friends with others, and being more inclusive overall. So many children will have that lightbulb moment when hearing of Milo’s story, and as such this is an incredibly invaluable book to offer children access to, both at home and in school too.

No Such Thing

  • Ella Bailey
  • Published by Flying Eye Books in Hardback on 16th August

Georgia notices things going missing, and getting broken around the house but logically works out who has likely caused it, such as her brother or their family pets. She even finds a spider after spotting cobwebs everywhere, because Georgia knows ‘there’s just no such thing as GHOSTS’, but readers will discover that isn’t true when the book concludes with a scene of ghosts enjoying a Halloween party at Georgia’s house. The book features rhyming sentences throughout, and stunning illustrations with lots of details for younger readers to spot things and explore on the pages. This would be the perfect picture book for Halloween.

Bob the Dog Gets a Job

  • Tracey Hammett
  • Illustrated by Angie Stevens
  • Published by Graffeg

Bob is always doing things, as he loves to be busy, and when an ice cream van comes down his road he tells Pat the Cat that he wants to sell ice cream from a van, because he would be good at it. When there is an ice cream van festival at the local park Bob sets off looking for work, and finally finds someone in need of his help selling ice creams from a van. Bob is really good at it but when the ice cream machine malfunctions Bob has to get creative in order to avoid disaster – and ir is a success, with Bob even winning a trophy too!

This is such a fun story for younger children to enjoy, as Bob has so much fun whilst out on his mission to complete his dream, and all of the ice cream that features within this book makes it a delicious read too! The story inspires readers to persevere with accomplishing their dreams, especially when there are some hurdles along the way, because it is possible, as proven by Bob’s success, and subsequent trophy too.

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