Posts Tagged ‘Picture books’

We’re off to find a Kiwi

By Juliette MacIver

Illustrated by Kate Wilkinson

ISBN 9781775433750

 

 

We're Off to Find a Kiwi hr

 

Children’s writer, Juliette MacIver is prolific and popular. Her trademark playful rhymes continue in her latest picture book about Louie and his big sister, on the hunt for the elusive kiwi. The children think of the different places a kiwi might hide. They search the town, a farm and even the mountains but just can’t seem to find any kiwis. But they do not give up.  I do like the last page with facts about kiwis which adds a little extra to the story.

Very much a New Zealand themed picture book which makes it ideal to send to family and friends overseas.

Soft illustrations with lots of natural colours, particularly with the bush scenes. Great for the 3 – 7 year olds.

 

 

 

 

If I had an elephant

By Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

Illustrated by Richard Fairgray

Colouring by Tara Black

ISBN 9781775434764

Scholastic NZ

Fun, imaginative and just the way childhood play should be. This talented partnership of writers and illustrator have again brought us another fun-filled humorous picture book. 

Young Henry begins the day by wishing he had an elephant and then takes us with him as he considers the awesome time they would have together. We journey through time and space and meet wonderful characters such as the “four-eyed, two-horned, big-tusked Grumblepuff”.  Having an elephant by your side leads to all sorts of adventures which will in turn spark young reader’s own imaginations. Everyone needs the friendship and support of a best friend and here in this truly imaginative story, elephant is this young boy’s best friend, or at least he would be if he only had an elephant. 

If I had an elephant for a best friend, there’d be no stopping us! We’d get matching jackets. We’d build a time machine together. We’d have OUT OF THIS WORLD adventures …

IF I had an elephant.

 

The lost kitten
By Lee
Illustrated by Komako Sakai
ISBN 9781776571260
Gecko Press

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Author Lee tells the sweet story of a young girl’s apprehension at taking in a little kitten in need of help and a home. At first Hina isn’t too sure what to make of the little gooey-eyed kitten that arrives on her doorstep but soon her curiosity gets the better of her and she starts taking care of the small bundle. When the kitten goes missing, Hina is desperate to find it and keep it safe. She hunts everywhere even risking her own safety. Little by little, Hina falls in love with the kitten. The story is told with simplicity and warmth.

The illustrations are beautiful. I love the first illustration where Hina and her mother open the door to a mother cat and her kittens, their backs turned to the reader allowing the kitten to be the focus of the story. The mother pleads with Hina and the reader and so we are hooked  right from the start.

There is a lovely softness about the illustrations that captures the pure innocence and honesty of children. I absolutely adore the illustration where Hina is sitting on the floor, her legs folded and spread under her, exactly how young children sit. Gorgeous. This is bound to be a favourite with lots of children.

 

I heard the news today and like so many other people was saddened to read that Babette Cole had passed away. Only 67 and still so young with many books no doubt, still to come.

I was so fortunate to see and listen to Babette when she was here in Christchurch not so many years ago. Babette was quirky, funny, talented and just adorable. I even forgive her for spelling my name wrong when she signed my copy of Two of everything.

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It is wonderful to have something so special from someone so special. Babette knew how to reach readers. She knew what made them laugh even when talking about important things like making babies, or divorce. She did it with style and humour.

I recall some years back that a parent came to see me in my school asking me to remove Two of Everything from our library. I was dumbfounded. It was a simple but much-needed picture book on divorce. The parent complained that it made divorce normal and said it shouldn’t be allowed. Okay, he was very religious and that is totally fine. I pointed out that some children needed to know that even though they had to go to two different homes, they had parents who loved them and that was so important. Anyway, we agreed to differ and as he handed me back the library book, I pointed out that it was actually wet. Soggy wet! And so I asked him to pay for the damage – which he reluctantly but thankfully did. So he actually paid $20 for a book he wanted removed.   A little ironic and a little funny and I am sure Babette would have laughed at the irony.

News of Babette Cole’s passing can be found here.

We found a hat

By Jon Klassen

ISBN 9781406347517

Walker Books

Readers of the first two hat books will delight in this third and final picture book in the hat trilogy.  We found a hat is funny in a dry sense of humour way that leaves you smiling and feeling good.

Two turtles have found a hat.

The hat looks good on both of them.

But there are two turtles.

And there is only one hat.

In both This is not my hat and I want my hat back, there are consequences for actions, most drastic of course is being eaten. Here though, we have a sense of the growing understanding of the value of friendship. Even though both turtles want the hat, we see a mutual acceptance of the situation.

Klassen, even in the simplest of illustrations has the ability to use characters eyes to really show expression. I love the eyes in all of his books. They show character and personality, both good and bad thoughts and are certainly a highlight in his storytelling.

This is one of those special picture books that adults will love as much as children and one that will be read over and over again.

 

I love this trailer too and couldnt resist singing (very badly) along side the video. Another wonderful book from Jon Klassen and Walker Books.

As always, cover and trailer are copyright to Walker Books.

 

 

Pandamonia

By Chris Owen

Illustrated by Chris Nixon

ISBN 9781925163339

Fremantle Press

A day at the zoo can be so much fun as long as you follow one simple rule. Don’t wake the panda, no matter what. If you do the consequences could be bad. And I mean bad. Jumpy hippos, tickly termites and a grumpy panda make for a funny story with gorgeous full-page illustrations.

There is much to look at with the illustrations and the different animals. I do love the hyenas and their cheeky grins.  Great rhythm and rhyme make this a delightful picture book to share with young ones

The zebra, giraffe and hyenas all laugh.
The geckos and gibbons all giggle.
Which causes the emus to shimmy and sway,
and the tapirs’ bottoms to jiggle.
 
It is also perfect to add to a teacher’s classroom collection. Great support if you are looking at zoos and animal habitats. Teaching notes available here.

The only child

By Guojing

ISBN 9780553497045

 

only child

This is an absolutely beautiful book. I have had it for awhile and just keep dipping in to it again and again to marvel at the illustrations. It has been said it is a mixture of Shaun Tan’s Arrival and Raymond Briggs The Snowman, and I completely agree. What they all have in common is the wordless story with wonderful illustrations that put them in a league of their own as far as picture books are concerned. This is a wonderful example of imagination and adventure and lovely emotional connection to the “only child”. An only child is left alone while her mother goes to work. After playing on her own for awhile she decides to take a trip to visit her grandmother. However, soon after leaving the safety of her home, she ends up lost and alone. We can feel her growing sense of loneliness. Her sense of wonder and awe when a stag takes her flying through the sky, is palpable. The dark tones, the mood and atmosphere of this picture book ring true even in a world of imagination. Love, love, love this book to bits.

This truly is a beautiful book to treasure. I can’t wait to see more from this very talented artist.

Witch’s cat wanted: Apply within

By Joy H. Davidson

Illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson

ISBN 9781775433729

Scholastic NZ

cat

This is a delightful picture book about a young witch whose spells don’t work very well. In fact they are quite useless. The reason for her disastrous spells is that she doesn’t have a cat.  As everyone knows, a witch needs a good cat to help cast spells.  So she advertises for a cat but the ones applying for the job are simply not right. The witch asks them lots of questions but she is not having much luck at all with any of the cats who come knocking at her door.

“Could you ride on my broom across the moon,

and stir my cauldron with a wooden spoon?”

Good rhyming text adds to the fun of this story as the witch seeks to solve her problem and finds a friend along the way.

The illustrations are both sweet and funny and personalities shine through. Do watch out for the witch’s cute and comical frog on each page. His smile is contagious.

 Joy H Davidson is the winner of the Joy Cowley Award.

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The other brother

By Stephanie Thatcher

Illustrated by Stephanie Thatcher

ISBN 9781775433828

Scholastic NZ

 

 

brother

Bertie McQuerty is the other brother, the one who struggles just a bit. He has no special arty skills, or sporty skills, in fact he feels quite lacking in skills and talents altogether. Not to be put off though, Berty does attempt things but somehow, no matter how hard he tries, he ends up being a little distracted.

The gorgeous illustrations show just how adorable he is with his big friendly smile. He does have a little yellow chick as his special friend and young readers will love looking for this chick hidden on each page of the book. This is a feel-good picture book all about trying things out, giving it a go and accepting that we are not all the same. We all have that something which makes us special, that something we are good at. Do look out for this gorgeous picture book especially if you want to know what makes Berty McQuerty special.

I think this would be ideal in both pre-school and primary schools, not just for its moral message but because it is simply a lovely book to share.

 

 

Nibbles: The book monster

Bu Emma Yarlett

ISBN 9781848691933

Little Tiger UK

nibbles

 

It doesn’t matter how old you are, a good picture book is not just for young children.  A good picture book is worth reading at any age and Nibbles: The book monster is one such book.  Brightly coloured, full page illustrations are one of the first things you notice, but the second, is the cheeky smile of the very naughty book monster.  Despite being naughty and gate-crashing his way into traditional fairy tales you just can’t help but like him. The ending is particularly funny and children will love it.

There are peep holes to peek through, and  stories within stories to unfold. Nibbles has escaped from his cage and is on the run. The story really needs the reader to help put him back in the cage where he belongs.  I bought this delightful book for the school library and can’t wait to share it with the children. It is also great for teachers wanting to look at fractured fairy tales.

 

 

Tu Meke Tui!

By Malcolm Clarke

Illustrated by Flox

ISBN 9780473343750

Mary Egan Publishing

Tu Meke Tui Face Book page.

 

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Tu Meke Tui is a heart-warming story of friendship and encouragement but also acceptance and being proud of who you are. It is about the realization that we are all different but we all have something that makes us special. Most of all, it is about finding the courage to try something new and take risks and find new friends along the way.

This picture book is full of rich, vibrant illustrations depicting some of New Zealand’s native birds and bush.  I love how there is so much of New Zealand’s native wildlife and fauna throughout the illustrations. It would be ideal as a gift to family and friends overseas.

If you want to know more just click here.

The lion and the bird

By Marianne Dubuc

Translated by Sarah Ardizzone

ISBN 9780994109873

Book Island

LionAndTheBird_Cover_WEB

While out gardening one day Lion comes across an injured bird and so takes it home and nurses it back to health. Lion and Bird are completely different but their friendship blossoms and they do everything together. They spend time sharing stories and enjoying time outdoors but soon bird has to return to his flock. Throughout the story we move through the seasons exploring the heights of friendship and the pangs of loneliness.

It is a sparsely written book allowing the illustrations to do the talking. It allows us to see the characters and feel the depths of their friendship. By the same token it also lets us see Lion at his most vulnerable and loneliest of times. This is an honest and very special beautifully packaged hardback picture book.

This is not just for young children but a reminder to us all of how special friendships are and how much loyalty matters. This gentle story pulls at the heart strings but friendship and loyalty are strong bonds that wont be broken.

Teacher notes to help make the most of this very special book can be found here.

Archie the daredevil penguin

By Andy Rash

ISBN 9780451471239

Viking Books for Young Readers

 

I just love this trailer. Really love it! I have watched it and laughed out loud many times.  I am writing this post at my desk in the school library and I have a bunch of children all giggling as they watch the trailer (again and again).  The sound of children laughing is wonderful.  This trailer tops the list for its humour, simplicity and charming penguins.

Archie has a secret. He may be the daredevil penguin but he is afraid of the water and creatures who lurk beneath. How long can he keep his secret or will he find a way to fly high over the seas and keep out of the water.

I can’t wait to see this book. Very cool!

 

The adventures of Beekle : The unimaginary friend

By Dan Santat

ISBN 9780316199988

This is a delightful picture book with real feeling. Warm tingly good feelings! Sometimes in life you have to work at finding friends. And sometimes a very special friend just happens to find their way to you and that is just what happens with Beekle. Absolutely a must-have in your school library. I love the use of colour to reflect the moods. Greys of loneliness and bright colours of friendship and happiness. A great book to encourage children to take risks and go out and try something different.

“This magical story begins on an island far away where an imaginary friend is born. He patiently waits his turn to be chosen by a real child, but when he is overlooked time and again, he sets off on an incredible journey to the bustling city, where he finally meets his perfect match and-at long last-is given his special name: Beekle.”

 

The King and the Sea

By Heinz Janisch

Illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch

ISBN 9781927271803

Gecko Press

king

Heinz Janisch has skillfully created one of those books that appears on the surface to be simply a collection of short stories. And they are just that – very short simple stories about a King. However, it doesn’t take much to realize that the stories offer much more. Each little story is quite profound. The King believes he is in charge and therefore very important. As he goes about his day he meets up with many things; clouds, dogs, rain and so many more. He either questions them or tries to bully them but little by little he realizes that life is bigger than he will ever be. There is a reason and purpose for everything and everyone. One of my favourites is:

The King and the Dog

“Sit! Lie! Come!” shouted the king. “I am the king!”

“Stop! Fetch! Heel!” he bellowed.

Then he ran off after the dog.

This fable like story is both funny and wise and I can’t help but grin as I read it over again.

I also love The King and the Rain. This quirky little book is beautifully illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch who also illustrated Duck, Death and the Tulip which sits on my bookshelf among my favourite picture books.

The King is illustrated in collage format and he stands out amidst the white spaces on the pages. This allows us to really see him and begin to understand him more by focusing on his expressions and body language. This is great for families to read together but I also think this would be a wonderful resource to share in a classroom and open up discussion on values and what is important in life. In fact for those teachers who want to make the most of this thoughtful book, check out the teacher notes here.