I spend a lot of time reading picture books. In particular reading picture books aloud to children during their library storytime sessions. So I’m always looking out for picture books that not only make a great read aloud book (for me that is totally different than a picture book to share) and one that is visually appealing and will engage and entertain a room full of excited children. Today I’m sharing with you some tried and tested new picture book releases that I’ve enjoyed sharing with the children at school.
I adored Laura Ellen Anderson’s fabulous, ‘I Don’t Want Curly Hair,’ so was thrilled to get my hands on an early copy of her latest picture book which follows similar themes of learning to embrace your uniqueness. As someone who has always been quite challenged in the height department I can empathise strongly with the little boy who is desperate to be taller. He’s so small he misses out when his friends go on the big rides at the funfair and his live is one disappointment after another. In a ginormous rage the little boy throws his teddy into the hair and catastrophe strikes when it gets stuck in a tree. How can he ever hope to get it down? Will eating all his greens make him grow or if he waters himself like a flower? Sadly nothing works. But when he meets a girl who is much taller than him, he soon realises that he is perfect just the way he is! Energetic illustrations combined with lovely lilting rhymes make for a truly irresistible picture book.
I was intrigued to read the picture book debut from Melissa having admired her exquisite and unique illustrations. She has created some of the most stunning covers including, ‘The House With Chicken Legs,’ ‘Winter Magic,’ and a ‘Pinch of Magic.’ So to have the opportunity to have a whole picture book filled with her sumptuous spreads proved to be a huge draw. ‘Mighty Min,’ is much more than a beautifully designed and intricately illustrated joy. Melissa has created a truly wonderful story in this feminist retelling of Thumbelina. Min is surrounded by her brave but incredibly tiny aunts and dreams that one day she will be as fierce and feisty as them. One night an owl whisks her away on an extraordinary adventure and when Min is faced with cries of help from the tormented creatures of the forest, she realises it’s up to her to save the day. An empowering and engaging read that is bound to delight younger readers. Quirky, original and downright gorgeous this is a true picture book sensation that I absolutely loved.
You know the test of a great funny story when you read it over and over again and are still laughing along every time. Having shared this story seven times at school I can confirm that is a hilarious picture book that continues to entertain and amuse me in equal measure. The mouse in ‘I Am a Tiger,’ is convinced he’s a tiger much to the amusement of the other animals who mock him for not being big, stripy or fierce enough. But our friend the mouse is adamant that he is a tiger even when he comes face to face with a real tiger. My absolute favourite spread is when the tiger asks the mouse to tell him what type of animals the others are and this is pure comedy genius. This story was met by fits of giggles throughout as the children gleefully interacted with my reading aloud of the book. Ross Collins’s witty and vibrant illustrations capture brilliant the sheer absurdness of this entire conversation and the bemused expressions of the animals are an absolute joy. So much fun to read aloud, this joins my special collection of books that I adore reading aloud with fun and laughter being guaranteed.
I always know if I want to capture the attention of children that a picture book written by Tracey Corderoy is bound to be a winner and ‘The One-Stop Story Shop,’ is no exception. When a fearless knight goes hunting for a dragon to slay he is dismayed to discover that his sworn enemy has gone on holiday. What can he do his story is stuck? Best head to The One-Stop Story Shop to help finish his tale but instead of a dragon he’s offered a fearsome ferret and he soon finds himself swept away on a most unexpected of adventure. We travel from the deep dark woods to deep space, from wild west to the wild jungle on a thrilling an exciting search for an ending to the Knight’s quest. A real romp for the imagination, you can’t help but get swept away on this unlikely ride. Tony Neal’s illustrations capture the hilariousness and unexpectedness of this story magnificently. Bursting with colour and energy they demand to be pored over time and time again. A hilarious and fun tale filled with heart and featuring an unlikely but charming friendship, this story is a sheer delight.
It’s hard to believe that Squishy McFluff is five years old and now for the first time we have a gorgeous picture book to join this scrumptious collection of books. There were gasps of excitement when I shared, ‘Tea With the Queen,’ at storytime as we have a legion of Squishy fans at school. This story just slips off the tongue with its beautiful lilting rhymes as we watch Squishy and Ava get themselves into a whole heap of mischief. Pip manages to capture all the fun and charm of the chapter book series in this naughty but nice adventure. When reading aloud I really recommend that you deny that you can spy Squishy on the page, this led to much noise and fun when I was reading it! Ella’s glorious illustrations – for the first time in full colour – are full of humour and the characters are drawn with such endearing expression that you can’t help but become totally entranced by these stories. Bursting with energy and charm, this is an absolute gem of a read.
Sometimes we need time to be alone, a place where we can hide away and avoid others. For Julian the mouse this is his way of life. Preferring his own company he carefully follows a set pattern to keep himself safe from harm and interaction with others. Alas one day an unexpected dinner guest in the form of a greedy fox comes smack bang into Julian’s life disturbing his peace and quiet. Julian is alarmed to discover the fox is wedged in his hole and he can’t get him free. Slowly but surely these two enemies began to rub along and what they learn on the way surprises them both. Joe Todd-Stanton’s illustrations are wonderfully distinctive, he captures the subtle nuances of the story with his varying shades of darkness and light. A heart-warming tale of friendship and acceptance, ‘A Mouse Called Julian,’ is thoughtfully told.
Thank you to Bloomsbury, Faber, Flying Eye Books, Little Tiger Press, Macmillan and Scholastic for sending me gifted copies of these books in exchange for an honest review. To buy these books online click on the title or order from any good bookshop.