One of the joys of spring is finding out what tempting examples of picture books are heading our way. this year has been no exception and there are loads of fantastic picture books for all ages. These are just a few of the ones that have taken my eye in the last few months and I hope to be able to bring another selection to you in the near future.
“Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool” by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross is very much a cautionary tale in the style of Hilaire Belloc or Stanley Holloway’s ‘Albert and the Lion’ and from one of my favourite writing and illustration teams. Lucinda Belinda is a truly irritating character, who sees it as her duty to beautify those around her and to comment on what people look like. However when she meets a monster she discovers someone who will not be changed and she learns a very hard lesson. This is not a story for really young readers, but KS2 will love it.
“Albert’s Tree” by Jenni Desmond is a gentle and humorous story of a bear and his adventures after he wakes from his long winter’s sleep. It is also about not being scared of the unknown and making friends when you can. It is beautifully illustrated and a great read for the early years.
“The Seal Children” by Jackie Morris. this is a truly beautiful piece of art, something that you always find with Jackie Morris’s books. It is a story about a small fishing village in Wales and about a Selkie (seal woman) who marries a local fisherman. There is a melody to the words that link it to the movement of the waves on the shore and you have a real sense of the environment and the characters.
“The adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend” by Dan Santat is a magical tale of an imaginary friend called Beekle who goes on an adventure to try and find his one true friend. The illustrations are beautifully drawn and keep you really engaged with the story. this is all about friendship and the importance that it has in our lives.
“The world famous Cheese Shop break-in” by Sean Taylor and Hannah Shaw. This is the second book that I have seen recently that featured lots and lots of cheese. On this occasion the rats are trying to break in to a cheese shop but find that there are lots of problems getting in their way. The twist at the end will have everyone smiling.
“I will not wear Pink” by Joyce and Polly Dunbar is an extravaganza of thoughts about the colour pink, but given that the main characters are pigs it is also about being happy with the skin you are in. The language and illustrations are exuberant and full of rhyme. This is one of the first titles from the new Otter-Barry imprint and with Janetta Otter-Barry in the driving seat we are in for some wonderful titles. Really great for story times I am sure.
“Life is Magic” by Meg McLaren is a truly wonderful story of a magician, his assistant Houdini and the rest of the group (all of whom are rabbits). When disaster happens and Monsieur Lapin (the magician) is turned into a rabbit it is up to Houdini (also a rabbit) to save the day. You really need to suspend you disbelief with this book but the illustrations and story are fantastic and will really appeal to young children.
“All aboard for the Bobo Road” by Stephen Davies and Christopher Corr. this is a truly exuberant story of life in West Africa. It is full of colour and movement as well as being a window into the life that people are leading. The journey itself is set in Burkino Faso and you could use the book to introduce children to work about this part of Africa. On top of all this the book is also a counting story as we see the luggage added and then removed from the bus as it travels along.
“Where my feet go” by Birgitta Sif is a look at a day in the life of a small creature, but seen from the perspective of where his feet take him. It is a gentle and joyful story that is great for reading to the youngest children.
“The first Slodge”by Jeanne Willis and Jenni Desmond takes us back to the beginning of the world and how we all had to learn together and understand that the world is for caring and sharing. This is a very simple story with a very profound message. A really great read.
“The Cloudspotter” by Tom McLaughlin is the story of Franklin, a young lonely boy with a love of cloudspotting. then a scruffy dog starts following him around and even wants to join in with Franklin’s adventures. The charming ending when the two characters realise the importance of the friendship they have begun to share will appeal to everyone.
“Nibbles, the book Monster” by Emma Yarlett. When Nibbles the book monster escapes from his cage he creates havoc everywhere. He keeps eating into other books like Goldilocks and Little red Riding Hood and proceeds to change the stories. The physical book is wonderful with flaps, cut-outs and books within books. A fantastic read for children and adults alike.
Happy reading to everyone!