I have been taking teachers and librarians up to Birmingham for the last 12 years or so. As far as choosing children’s books is concerned Peters, the library supplier, is possible the centre of the Universe and the magical thing is that you actually get to pick the books off the shelves. Over the long time that I have been visiting, things have changed a great deal. There are new sections, a stronger emphasis on schools and an ever growing collection of furniture and soft furnishings.
Whilst most of my time on a visit is spent helping the schools, I do get time to look at what has been arriving in the last few months and these are some of the picture books that caught my eye when I visited three weeks ago.
“I’m in Charge” by Jeanne Willis and Jarvis is the story of a young Rhino and how he learns some lessons about sharing and friendship. As always the brilliant Jeanne Willis brings some very relevant words of wisdom to the book.
“Frog and Beaver” by Simon James is a funny story with a serious underlying message. Beaver is so busy creating his own environment that he does not see how he is spoiling it for others; when his dam fails he learns that he needs to work with his friends and neighbours.
“Thank you, Mr Panda by Steve Antony is yet another wonderful story of the very original Mr Panda. He very kindly gives his friends presents, but without considering of they are suitable; something that we, as humans, should keep in mind.
“This is the Kiss” by Claire Harcup and Gabriel Alborozo. It really is a gorgeous read for the very young and will make bed-time an occasion to be treasured. Definitely one to read to my grandson.
“There’s a Pig up my Nose” by John Dougherty and Laura Hughes gives a very modern twist to the concept of stories such as “There was an old woman who swallowed a fly”. So when Natalie get a pig stuck in her nostril she still has to go to school, where everyone tries to free the pig. A totally whacky story.
“This is a Serious Book” by Jodie Parachini and Daniel Rieley. This is a wonderful piece of nonsense as the author tries to create a ‘serious book’. However the characters have other ideas and they create complete mayhem as they thwart the author. A super story for reading in class.
“The Lumberjack’s Beard” by Duncan Beedie reminds me of “The Twits”, only this time the beard is full of creatures that the lumberjack comes across in the course of his work. It is an exuberant and funny story that will be great as a class read, as well as a one to one story.
“Mr Bunny’s Chocolate factory” by Elys Dolan. I loved this tale of big business and the exploitation of chickens laying chocolate eggs, it makes me think of “Chicken Run” with chocolate. The illustrations are brilliant and you can spend hours noticing some of the really funny details. What a fantastic story to read for Easter.
“The Great Sock Secret” by Susan Whelan and Gwynneth Jones. As adults we always wonder where odd socks disappear to, but in this story Sarah has has her own ideas and has to keep them secret from her mother. Sarah knows that the socks are being used by fairies and she doesn’t want them discovered, but what can she do to help? This is a great take on a well known problem and has a hint of magic
“Odd Socks” by Michelle Robinson is a charming story of what happens when sock goes in search of his lost wife (who had a hole and was starting to unravel). It is funny and and at times rather poignant as sock continues his search; luckily there is a happy, if somewhat unexpected ending to the story. Definitely one to read with a group (and perhaps include a small craft session!)
“Dog loves Books” by Louise Yates is about a bookseller dog who is better at loving books that at selling them. However the story is about sharing that love and letting people know that there are books to suit everyone, you just need help in finding them. A lovely way to help young children enjoy the book.
“Be Brave little Penguin” by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees is the tale of a baby Penguin who is frightened of the water. it is a story about coming to terms with your fears and overcoming them. The joy that Penguin experiences as he meets the challenge will have you cheering out loud.
As you can see, I had a great time looking out these fantastic picture books. They cover a wide range of topics, but they will all enthrall the young audiences that they are intended for; as well as those adults that are telling the stories. ‘Happy Reading’ to you all.