Parents, librarians and teachers are always on the lookout for new picture books to read to their young readers. Whilst most children have favourites that they have to have read almost every day, it is important that they are introduced to a wide range of the fabulous works which are out there. Teachers in particular are looking for books that have themes that they can integrate into their curriculum work, as well as being a fun and lively story. I hope that some of these books will meet the needs of many of you reading this. Give them a go, I am sure you won’t be disappointed.
“Three Little Vikings” by Bethan Woollvin tells the story of three children who struggle to get the adults to believe that they have heard something big and dangerous outside; the chief is particularly irritating as he repeats that he is a grown up and he knows best. You can see that many children would find that message very frustrating. The story uses Viking mythology to brilliant effect, as the children try and save their village from a destructive troll and eventually the adults have to believe them.
“The Bear and her Book” by Frances Tosdevin and Sophia O’Connor. This is a truly magical story of adventure and also about the joys that books can bring to our lives. When bear decides to see the world, she takes her copy of “Bear’s Big Book of being Wise” and finds it very useful in many of the situations that she finds herself in. It is a fabulous addition to my collection of books about books and libraries and I really recommend it.
“Ratty’s Big Adventure” by Lara Hawthorne is a lovely story of a small vegetarian rat called Ratty, who decides he wants to explore beyond the mountain crater that he lives in. He meets a wide range of animals and faces many dangers and challenges. However he decides that home and friends are what he really wants in life. This is full of information about the wild life of Papua New Guinea, but above all, it is a tale of adventure and finding your place in the world.
“The Happy Hedgerow” by Elena Mannion and Erin Brown tells the story of Old Oak and the changes that he sees, when the hedgerow is grubbed up to make larger fields. It is a story about the seasons and also about the changes that we see in the countryside. Happily this story has a happy ending, as the humans realize the importance of the hedges and re-plant them. This will work well as part of environmental studies in KS1.
“Inside Cat” by Brendan Wenzel is the story of one of those cats who lives indoors and only sees the world through the prism of the windows that enclose him. However, he discovers that seeing something from the inside is not the same experience as being out there. This book makes us more aware of our senses and how we can explore our world, even if we are limited in some ways. It increases our understanding of the world around us and how we perhaps need to challenge the limits and perhaps go outside our comfort zone. The quirky illustrations and the limited text make the whole story relatable to the small child. This is aimed at very young children and would be brilliant for encouraging Early Years children to try new experiences.
“Scissorella” by Clare Helen Walsh and Laura Barrett. This is a truly magical re-telling of ‘Cinderella’, but with the twist being that the main character is an amazing paper artist. The art is inspired by the creative work of Lottie Reiniger, a German born artist who had a great influence on the development of film animation. The story has an art deco setting, with the costumes harking back to the 1920s; in fact, it reminds me in many ways, of the marvellous version ’Ella’s Big Chance’ by Shirley Hughes. However, we have the added beauty of the paper cutting, which gives a very lace like feel to many of the images. This is a truly beautiful book, which shows a determined female character, who is determined to succeed in life and is a wonderful addition to the Cinderella canon of books.
“Shoo!” by Susie Bower and Francesca Gambatesa is the very funny story of what happens when a Zoo moves next door, to someone who doesn’t like animals. It is full of mayhem and laughter and is a great read for younger readers. It also reminds us that we all need friends and that our perceptions should be open to change. This will make a great book for story time, both in the school and in the library.
“The Little wooden robot and the log princess” by Tom Gauld is a very modern interpretation of a fairy tale. The king and queen have no children and ask a witch and an inventor to create a child for them. The log princess, worked by magic, but turned back into a log every night. Whereas the Robot Prince was worked by mechanics and housed a family of beetles in his working. When the princess goes missing, it is up to her brother to go searching, but he faces many challenges before finding his sibling. Luckily, as with the best fairy tales we have a happy ending.
“Splash” by Claire Cashmore and Sharon Davey is written by the Paralympian athlete Claire Cashmore and is a version of how she overcame her fear of water, in order to become a gold medal swimmer. It is a story of determination and overcoming many challenges. Hopefully it will help many young people to focus on overcoming their own challenges, what ever they may be.