Posts Tagged ‘Picture books for children’

The Grizzled Grist does not exist

By Juliette MacIver

Illustrated by Sarah Davis

ISBN 9781776574155

Gecko Press

Liam is a quiet, yet observant boy, who notices other things many children tend to miss. On a school trip in the countryside, while everyone else is busy running on ahead, Liam notices the children are being followed by what appears to be a gruesome Grizzled Grist. A Grizzled Grist is a large scary monster that likes to eat children. Liam tells the teacher one such monster is in the Dismal Hills with them but she tells him that they do not exist.

Have you ever heard of a Grizzled Grist? Do you know what one looks like? Liam does. He can see it lurking in the woods, moving in and out of the trees, but Ms. Whisk continues to tell him they don’t exist, despite wooden signs warning them.

When darkness falls

in rising mist


the Gruesome

Grizzled Grist.

I love the rhyme and rhythm, and playfulness of this story. It is a skill Juliette MacIver works into all her books.

Sarah Davis creates cute and believable characters with her delightful illustrations. There is always a softness to her illustrations which I find particularly appealing. I also love the diversity in her work.

Once again, author and illustrator, have collaborated well together and brought Liam and his friends back to life for another wonderful read.

The monkey and the Moonbeam

By Jonathan Smith

ISBN 9780473622596

Little Love

Sometimes, we find that life is not always greener on the other side. Sometimes, we just need to look around and see that what we have is actually okay. For little monkey NicNic, this is his story of how he yearns for a better, softer bed. He travels the world with his friend, Crooner the crane and together they search all over for a softer bed. Their adventure takes them to places like the Himalayas, France and Australia. Is there a lesson in here? Yes, but that’s okay.

Sweet, and a good reminder that home is often the best place.

No home for a Wētā

By Stephanie Thatcher

ISBN 9781775437529

Scholastic NZ

In similar storyline, Weta goes in search of a new home, not because she wants a softer bed but because she wants her own space, and peace and quiet. I love Stephanie Thatcher’s illustrations. They are sweet, comical with heaps of personality. Check out the very funny pages where Weta is more than a little frustrated. A fun, rhyming picture book for young children. Great for preschool and early primary school for introducing NZ wildlife.

The last page provides useful details of different types of weta.

Korora and the Sushi Shop

By Linda Jane Keegan

Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

ISBN 9781775437185

Scholastic NZ

Inspired by true events, this story is about some penguins korora who actually sneaked into a sushi shop.

A little blue penguin comes out of the sea, up on the shore, crossing dangerous roads and hides underneath a sushi shop. That is quite a big adventure for such a small creature. The penguin is rescued by the police and returned to the sea but comes back again the next day with a little blue penguin friend. Sushi shops might sound like a dream come true for penguins, but it’s definitely not the best place for little penguins to hide under.

A rhyming story with delightful colourful illustrations. Illustrator, Jenny Cooper is great at creating her animal characters and giving them life and personality with warmth and the best colour choices. When the wee penguins are safe and smiling in their new home, you can’t help but smile back.

Kara the Kākāpō

By Danni Rae

Illustrated by Evan Heasman

ISBN 9780473621759

Little Love

Kara the kakapo wants to fly but we all know Kakapo are flightless birds. However, Kara is one determined and creative kakapo. In this rhyming picture book, Kara comes up with a plan to try and make her dreams come true. Full page illustrations with lots of other New Zealand wildlife among the pages. A page of kakapo facts is a helpful addition.

Colour the stars taea ngā whetū 10th Anniversary Edition

By Dawn McMillan

Illustrated by Keinyo White

Retold in Maori by Ngaere Roberts

ISBN 9781775436805

Scholastic NZ

How do you describe a colour to someone who can’t see?

Luke and Isaac are good friends. Luke just happens to be blind and in his world of darkness he doesn’t believe he needs colour, but Isaac does. Isaac uses all his senses to describe colour to his friend. The idea of describing colour as a taste is wonderful. The tender kindness of Isaac in helping his friend is such an important theme in this book.

This is a good book for any school or preschool collection. For a 10th anniversary, this picture book is now available with a bilingual Te Reo Maori version.

Visiting you: A journey of Love

By Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg

Illustrated by Andrea Edmonds

ISBN 9781925335668

EK Books

A young child sets out on a trip with mum intending to visit a special but unnamed loved one. Along the way, they meet many different people and the child, all friendly and innocent, begins chatting with these people. What becomes apparent is that the child exposes the fact that in life, we all have worries and concerns. We all have people we care about that we miss and can’t wait to see. People in hospital, and people in aged-care who no longer remember their families. Somewhere out there, there are people who have lost loved ones and sit among us on buses, or boat rides. Everywhere we are, no matter what we do, we need to remember that people may be sad and we need to show compassion and have empathy because one day it could be us, sad and feeling a little lost. What makes this special, is that the child, just by talking with strangers, is making a difference. We are reminded that we are all connected.

A sweet story with a message we all know but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to be reminded. The illustrations have lots of yellows and oranges creating a lovely sunny day feeling.


Teacher notes to further extend the experience of this book can be found here.


The Art Garden: sewing the seeds of creativity

By Penny Harrison

Illustrated by Penelope Pratley

ISBN 9781925335590

EK Books


When Sadie’s best friend Tom paints, Sadie’s heart smiles. She longs to paint as well as Tom does but her attempts end up as messy splodges. Sadie also loves her garden and being surrounded by nature. Somewhere in between, Sadie learns to accept herself and find something that she can do that makes her heart smile for herself. A sweet and positive picture book about learning to accept ourselves and finding the things that make us special. Art and creativity is everywhere and we express it differently and that makes us unique individuals. For Sadie, finding her own creativity, is part of finding herself. 

The singing dolphin: Te Aihe i Waiata

Written and illustrated By Mere Whaanga

ISBN 9781775434023

Scholastic NZ


Between 2007 and 2009, the dolphin Moko lived and played in the sea near The Pathway of the Whales at Mihia. The singing dolphin: Te Aihe i Waiata was inspired by Moko’s time there.

This a traditionally told bilingual picture book about a grandmother and her three grandsons. Tahi knows the land, Rua knows the waters but the youngest one, Potoki spends his time singing. He badly wants to join his brothers catching fish but they always tell him he is too little.  One night Potoki hides under the fishing net in the canoe but the following day something terrible happens. Like many traditional stories there is a lyrical quality to this story and I can just imagine sitting around listening to a grandparent sharing this story with grandchildren.

Beautifully illustrated with the the most natural of colours. Earthy browns, forest greens and deep sea blues, interwoven with many Maori motifs make this a very special picture book.

I especially love the double spread with the wood pigeons, and pukeko as well other native birds.


The colours are stunning.

A good choice for all school libraries.


Nee Naw the little fire engine

Words and music by Deano Yipadee

Illustrated by Paul Beavis

ISBN 978177543




Poor Granny is trapped inside her burning house with flames shooting through the windows. The big fire engines come racing to put out the fire but find themselves in trouble. It is up to the little fire engine Nee Naw to save the day.

Another funny tale from Deano Yipadee with bright bold illustrations from Paul Beavis. You can read on its own or singalong with the CD. I shared this today with some student librarians who thought it was a great choice for younger children.


The bee’s sneeze

By Lucy Davey

Illustrated by Katz Cowley

ISBN 9781775432982

Scholastic NZ



That teasy sneeze came breezing …

like ants in the pants of a kangaroo,

it grew till it blew with a loud




I would suggest anyone wanting to read this delightful picture book out loud, pre-read it first to get a taste of the lovely tongue twistery language.

One sneeze by little Buzzy McBee leads to another and then another and then in to danger. This is sure to delight young children and no doubt the many parents who will read this funny picture book out loud.

Warm  illustrations by Katz Cowley add to the humour. Lots of greens and browns help create a natural setting. I love the looks of surprise on bee and bear’s faces when they are blown all over the place. Sneezing takes on a whole new meaning in Lucy Davey’s latest picture book.

Super Rabbit

By Stephanie Blake

ISBN 9781877579578

Gecko Press



Stephanie Blake has brought us another story about mischievous but lovable Little Rabbit. This time he is Super Rabbit, the super hero off to fight villains.

I read this to a group of children in our school library today at lunch time who giggled and laughed all the way through. They gave it a thumbs up five out of five. I read it again to a class of nine year olds who also laughed and gave it  five out of five. Just goes to show you that picture books are for all ages.

I fell in love with Rabbit’s cat. The facial expressions of the cat are adorable, especially when he covers his eyes in frustration over Rabbit’s antics.

Bright, bold colours add to this funny tale of a rabbit with great and determination and a heap of imagination. Great end pages too. Perfect for pre-school  but as my readings proved today, great for anyone. An  ideal book to add to a child’s collection of favourite picture books, to read over and over again.

A great one for grandparents to share. I think this is my favourite of the Little Rabbit books.


Other Rabbit books by Stephanie Blake are:

Poo Bum

Stupid baby

I don’t want to go to school

I want spaghetti!


Juicy the Peach and the popcorn palaver

By Anna Theed

Illustrated by Antony Elworthy

Beeswax Books

ISBN 9780473323967


In rhyming text with bright illustrations this debut picture book by author Anna Theed is sure to put smiles on the faces of young readers or listeners. Actually a couple of  10 year old boys on library duty today picked up our copy of this book and giggled their way through Juicy’s antics especially her bad case of flatulence. I also had a class of 5 and 6 year old children who laughed through the book. The sound of children’s laughter is a wonderful thing.

A glittery hardback picture book with quirky characters. Love the big wide eyes on the children’s faces.

There is chaos as Juicy takes care of two children for a day. And that chaos involves plenty of popcorn, in fact so much popcorn that it “popped out the door, down the path to the gate.”  What do you do with so much popcorn? Well, you read the book to find out.  If you want to have a wee peek inside then click here


I really like slop

By Mo Willems

ISBN 9781484722626


Oh my goodness –  this is just delightful. Mo Willems himself in a book trailer cooking slop – really yucky slop. The kind of slop that would make you gag!

I love Piggie and Elephant books and adore their unique and quirky relationship which is full of humour and kindess.

There really isn’t much I can say as I think Mo himself does it so well but will Gerald be tempted to eat Piggie’s cooking? I guess I will have to wait like everyone else until the end of October.

Do check out Mo Willems website. It has heaps to look at and heaps of fun to do  especially the GoMo page.

Check out .

I want spaghetti

By Stephanie Blake

ISBN 9781927271926

Gecko Press



Simon, the naughty little rabbit with attitude is back. No longer calling out “poo bum”  or refusing to go to school, Simon is now a fussy eater. The only thing he will eat is spaghetti.  He demands spaghetti for every meal and refuses to be persuaded to try anything else. His mother is well and truly over his picky eating.

“That’s enough!” said his mother.

“Go to your room.”

   And so begins his tantrum.

This is ideal for young readers but even five and six-year-old children at school will love this and no doubt many of them will relate to Simon and his fussy eating.

As with previous stories about Simon, the illustrations are simple yet bold and bright. They certainly have lots of appeal for young readers. And as with every good story, even though Simon is a bit of a rascal, readers can’t help but like him. Well worth adding to your collection of Simon books especially if you want to sit giggling with your child and enjoying the antics of a naughty little rabbit.

If you want to delve deeper there are teaching notes here.