Animals in stories have always held huge appeal to me when choosing stories to read aloud at storytime. Offering the chance for children to join in by allowing them to recreate the animal noises or tell me what they know about different animals is a real joy to me. I like nothing better than a library filled with roaring tigers or mooing cows, so let me share with you some of my favourite animal picture books that have been recently released.
There’s A Pig Up My Nose – John Dougherty & Laura Hughes
What would happen if one day you found that you had a pig stuck up your nose? Would anyone actually believe you and how would you manage to get it out? One night when Natalie is fast asleep a pig sneaks into her house and climbs up her nose which results in chaos and confusion. Now try explaining this to a group of 5 and 6 year olds and see what reaction you get. I shared this hilarious book at storytime at school and the library was filled with giggles as we watched Natalie’s classmates grand plans for getting the pig out of her nose. My own personal favourite was holding Natalie upside-down whilst hitting her on the head with a large inflatable rhinoceros. John Dougherty has created a rollicking read that is a real joy to share and Laura Hughes’s warm and witty illustrations capture the humour of this story perfectly.
There’s Brocolli In My Ice Cream – Emily MacKenzie
Emily MacKenzie is back with another delightful, colourful tale which you will find irresistible – unlike the aforementioned broccoli ice cream in the title. Meet Granville who loves everything sugary and sweet but can’t and won’t eat vegetables of any description. His family despair of his reluctance to be passionate about parsnips or to be mad about mushrooms, so they come up with a plan, not realising that Granville has a plan of his own. This wonderful tale flows beautifully wrapped round with layers of lavish alliteration that captures the passion of our veggie loving family. As always Emily’s illustrations are vivid and colourful, bursting with humorous details that you will discover each time you re read the story, exploring the pages for new and fun things to spot and discover. Perfect for fussy eaters, who may even be tempted to try something new after sharing this story.
Tiger, Tiger – Jonny Lambert
‘Tiger, Tiger’ by Jonny Lambert is one of those tales which fills my heart with joy. A celebration of young and old we are taken on a journey of discovery through the jungle seeing it through the eyes of the young cub for the first time. Whilst Old Tiger’s world is quiet, dull and devoid of colour, cub feels that there is a world out there waiting to be explored. But Old Tiger has been there and seen it all before, surely there is nothing that could possibly entertain or amuse him. As they journey into the jungle Jonny’s sumptuous spreads turn from muted grey to a vibrant palette portraying the change in Old Tiger’s feelings as he remembers there is more to life than being still and alone. The rich descriptive language captures the energy of the movement of the animals and the irrepressible enthusiasm of the young cub brilliantly. A visual extravaganza filled with warmth and wisdom.
Safe and Sound – Jean Roussen & Loris Lora
‘Safe and Sound’ is a wondrous celebration of the relationship between baby animals and their parents. No matter how different and diverse the animal kingdom or big and small, they need some help until they’re grown so they can be protected from danger. Jean Roussen tells their stories through a gentle, rhyming text which takes us on a journey as we visit wolves hidden away in mountains protected by their packs, chipmunks safely buried underneath the ground and crocodile hatchlings hidden away inside their mother’s mouth. Loris Lora’s stunning illustrations convey the wonder of the habitats that each of the animals lives and the bond between the parents and their babies marvellously. Another sublime picture book from Flying Eye books, this is an irresistible combination of beautiful prose and sumptuous illustrations.
As Nice As Pie – Garry Sheppard & Tim Budgen
‘As Nice As Pie’ is a hilariously, naughty tale from Gary Sheppard which will make you laugh out loud with glee. Kindly Mavis Manewearing loves cooking and sharing, but feeding one lone bird soon turns into a menacing menagerie of potbellied pigeons, greedy gannets and plum parakeets. At the end of her tether she bakes up a surprise dish called ‘Birdie Surprise’ and teaches those cheeky and greedy birds a much needed lesson. Gary Sheppard has created a story which bounces off the pages with humour and energy, demanding to be read aloud with its lively rhymes. Tim Budgen’s illustrations are bright and colourful and filled with pure comic moments and a wonderful attention to detail.
A huge thank you to Bloomsbury, Egmont, Flying Eye Books, Little Tiger and Maverick Books for sending me copies of these amazing animal books.