– Marie-Louise Gay –
Published 5 March 2024
Walking Trees is an utterly delightful picture book. We meet Lily, who lives in the city with her father. She fondly remembers a visit to a forest and that’s where her love for trees started. But there are not many trees in her city. None at all, in fact. So, Lily asks for a tree for her birthday.
The Candy Dish
– Kobi Yamada and Adelina Lirius (illustrator) –
Published 9 November 2021
The Candy Dish is an utterly delightful picture book with an important message of gratitude and embracing each and every day.
From the author that brought us the What Do You Do With… picture book series, Kobi Yamada has teamed up with illustrator Adelina Lirius to create a charming story. Continue reading
An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution
Kids Can Press
Published 7 September 2021
An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution is a simple and straightforward picture book that addresses themes of pollution and easy steps we can take to protect our planet.
Plastic water bottles are the main target of this book. The end papers and large expanses of water in the illustrations are printed with the repeating pattern of plastic bottles. It’s a clear message and speaks to the enormity of the problem.
This book doesn’t hide its message of protecting the planet behind metaphors or subtext. It is clearly stated – we have a problem with pollution and there are things we all need to do.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Judit Orosz (illustrator)
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Published 21 September 2021
The Little People, Big Dreams has become a well recognised and much loved series of stories about famous and influential people. These beautifully packaged books are as beautiful to look at as they are to caress in your hands. Children love reading their approachable stories as much as adults do. When I saw the latest publication featuring Ruth Bader Ginsburg I knew it was a title I wanted to read before passing it onto our students.
While RBG might be a bit of a social phenomenon, I didn’t know much of the details about her life and her story. Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara does a wonderful job of pulling out the highlights from Ruth’s childhood and career. She often refers to her as Little Ruth and reflects on the impact of her mother and her encouragement to learn as much as she could. The soft illustrations and childlike appearance of the characters, even into adulthood, by Judit Orosz are the perfect offset to the story.
Can You See Me? A Book About Feeling Small
– Gokce Irten –
Kids Can Press
Published 7 September 2021
Can You See Me is a beautiful picture book that introduces perspective to young readers, as well as conveying a lovely message about fitting into a big world full of small worlds.
The artwork is stunning and works perfectly to convey the concept of size and perspective. Photographs, mixed media and collage work together. There might be a photograph of a building net to a drawing of a orangutang. Zooming in and out on consecutive pages is used to great effect. I love how you might assume an illustration is one thing, but zooming out on the next page reveals something else entirely. Continue reading
Fish Kid series – Walker Books Australia – Published 2019, 2020, 2021
Faster than a speeding mullet … stronger than a bull shark … it’s Fish Kid!
Be sure to take a deep breath before you dive into this hilarious ocean-packed adventure.
Fish Kid is a delightful series, full of adventure and wonderful marine animals. A touch of the magical and illustrations alongside large text bring these adventures to life for young readers.
I was delighted by these books and found I couldn’t stop reading them, quickly working through all three books in the series.
Bodhi is the fish kid. In the first book on the series he gets some pretty cool powers that enable him to stay under water for a long time and swim super fast. He lives with his marine scientist father and nature photographer mother as they explore the oceans of the world. The first book is set in the waters off the Galápagos Islands. Despite his parents love of all things sea, Bodhi isn’t into swimming and do you know how many dangerous sea creature are out there? Lots. But when Bodhi discovers his new swimming abilities and has to use his skills to help save his new friend, and maybe even stop some poachers along the way. He quickly learns to love the ocean and all its wonderful creatures.
Once Upon A Dragon’s Fire – Beatrice Blue – Clarion Books – Published 2 March 2021
How did dragons get their fire? It all began once upon a magical kingdom, where a fearsome dragon stalked the land. The dragon was mean and scary and evil, or so the stories said. One day, two brave children set out to stop him for good. But when they finally met the monster, he wasn’t quite what they expected . . .
Find out how two kids’ determination to save their village led to a friendship that will warm the hearts of dragon lovers everywhere in this gorgeously illustrated celebration of the magic of kindness.
A beautiful picture book about bravery and friendship, about the power of story and how changing the stories can change how we see and accept others.
Two children live in a cold village. Everyone in their town knows that the evil dragon is the reason for the cold. All the books tell the same story. When a particularly bad storm starts to build, Freya and Sylas set off to find the dragon and save their village. What they find is a surprise and their kindness and bravery might be what really saves their town.
This book has such a beautiful underpinning story of acceptance, but also of rewriting the story of acceptance and friendship. It points to the way so many of our stories and book spread the stories of evil, difference and strangeness. The two children in this book show that through kindness, bravery and being open to new stories, that we can learn the truth about others and become a far more accepting world.
What We’ll Build: Plans for our Together Future – Oliver Jeffers – Philomel Books – Published 6 October 2020
What shall we build, you and I?
We’ll build a watch to keep our time.
I’ll build your future
and you’ll build mine.
Inspired by the birth of his daughter, and in the same vein as Here We Are, What We’ll Build is a rhythmic and heartwarming father and daughter story from the beloved Oliver Jeffers. Told in rhyming text with Oliver’s signature art, What We’ll Build is the perfect story to cherish together.
Oliver Jeffers can do no wrong when it comes to beautiful picture books. His latest offering is a companion book to Here We Are. Here We Are was written for his son, while What We’ll Build has been written for his daughter. She is the main character alongside Jeffers himself in the story.
Sandcastle – Einat Tsarfati – Candlewick Press – Published 5 May 2020
A young girl loves building sandcastles. But not just any sandcastles. She builds one so big and grand and lovely that all the royals of the world come to visit. There are banquets and balls and tournaments, a greenhouse for cacti, a staircase for skateboarding, and ice cream around the clock. Everyone seems to be having fun, until they discover sand in the royal almond strudel . . . and the fig milk bath . . . and everywhere! With a keen eye for the absurd, author-illustrator Einat Tsarfati invites readers beyond the crocodile moat to explore the intricately detailed, increasingly wild festivities that echo the arc of a day at the beach, from euphoria to gritty discomfort. The diverse cast of regal guests, from a Rapunzel-esque princess in pj’s and unicorn slippers to a pair of knights playing badminton, is just as inspired.
Sandcastle is a feast for the imagination. Our main character is a young girl, who while at the beach, builds a sandcastle. But it is not just any sandcastle. Her sandcastle is a castle, with hundreds of rooms and a kitchen that serves ice cream all the time. Kings and queens from around the world come to visit. But there are some problems with living in a castle made of sand, as the guests soon discover.
I love the cover of this book. Bright and colourful, the sandcastle has a rough texture that stands out from the rest of the smooth cover. It will be a shame to cover this library book.
The Crayons’ Christmas – Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (illustrator) – Penguin Workshop – Published 15 October 2019
‘Tis the season for all of us to write our holiday wishlists. But everyone–even the crayons–know the best presents are the ones that you give. In this unique book, readers get to see how Duncan, the crayons, and their families celebrate the holidays.
If you have read The Day The Crayons Quit and The Return of the Crayons you will know how utterly delightful these books are. The colours are bright, the illustrations fun and the stories lots of fun. There is now a whole collection of Crayon books, including a Valentines Day special, a book of colours and a book of numbers.
This book is perfect as a gift, but it also works as a library book – you’ll just have to keep an eye on the special things in the book pockets. If you or your little readers enjoy the Jolly Postman books, you’ll love this book. Each page has a pocket with something special inside. The pockets are very clever – some made to look like letters or parcels that have arrived and others with a very realistic photo of a box that some clever page design seems to pop from the page.
The format of letters to and from the crayons continues, with a few extra special surprises. There are old character who return, familiar reader favourites and some new characters to meet.