For the Very Young
Uh-Oh! by Shutta Crum (ill) Patrice Barton ($15, BD)
This has only two words of text throughout …uh-oh, but what expressive words they are. Two mothers take their children to the beach, a little boy and a little girl, and together they create the best kind of mayhem, next to the sea shore. Wonderful illustrations that are both soft and sweet yet extremely dynamic, capture all the fun of a day at the beach. Terrific use of textures and paint give this book an extra visual dimension.
Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins ($15, BD)
We always have a wonderful selection of baby board books, but at the moment we have some particularly good ones. Lucy Cousins’ excellent Peck Peck Peck ($15) has made the journey of picture book to board book very well; this charming story of a baby woodpecker being instructed to peck by his father is funnier by the page. The little bird really gets the hang of as he pecks his way through a gate, a door, a hall way and beyond. Bright cheerful illustrations, in the author’s inimitable style, have the added interest of holes die cut through all the pages. Louise
I’m Not Cute! by Jonathan Allen ($15, BD)
Jonathan Allen captures the frustration of childhood, when a baby owl is repeatedly being told how very cute and small he is. He really is ‘a huge and scary hunting machine with great big soft and silent wings’ ... in his own mind at least.
This so much fun to read aloud, and the pictures are warm and funny, which is just as well as it’s one that will have to be read again and again. Louise
Got a Non-Reader?
If you think you have a non-reader, there are certainly options to explore with children who might not connect with reading. Paradoxically, one is the wordless picture book, and in this excerpt from a Nerdy Book Club article, multi-award winning illustrator Aaron Becker discusses the value of wordless picture books. His wordless trilogy: Journey, Quest, and Return (all $17, PB & $28, HB) is internationally acclaimed.
Du Iz Tak? By Carson Ellis ($25, HB)
I love this book! An increasing cast of insects ponders a new arrival in the microcosm of their world. Using an invented language that seems more logical to us as the story progresses, the denizens of the garden marvel, firstly over the tiny green shoot and then at each stage as a magnificent flower blooms. Passing seasons are evinced by changes in the dapper and idiosyncratic clothing and pursuits of the tiny characters. Ellis’s extensive use of white space throughout the book focusses our attention on the minute details of the insects’ lives which are rendered in gouache and ink along the bottom of the page, suggesting the physical geography of the story. Did I mention I love this book? I love the language, and it matters not if the reader can’t decipher it, because the flow and heart of the book shine through regardless. I love the wee characters, their curiosity and imagination; the depiction of Nature, and I love the intoxicating originality of the entire book. Expect to see Carson Ellis’s debut as picture book author/illustrator nominated for future awards. Lynndy
Graphic novels are another way to encourage the association of images and words...
Brobot by James Foley ($15, PB)
The world’s foremost inventor under the age of twelve, Sally is so frustrated by her baby brother’s ubiquitous mess and smelliness that she undertakes building an ‘ideal’ brother. Unlike little Joe, who has many design faults such as leaking toxic waste from his nappy, and perpetual stickiness, Brobot is obedient, hygienic and not at all destructive. Done: A helpful, controllable brother with superior features! All is grand until Brobot’s remote control breaks, chaos reigns, and Sally recognises that there are some advantages to a human brother. Witty humour abounds in this short graphic novel—may there be many more! Lynndy
Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst ($15, PB)
With her pedigree as a descendant of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Kate Pankhurst has found the right niche to present to us some of the hugely influential women who’ve shaped our world during the past three centuries. Against the difficulties of their respective eras, these women contributed in fields such as literature, social activism, science, exploration, sport, fashion design, art and medicine. Whether as an overview, or as an introduction prompting further reading, this is a lively start. Lynndy
For Independant Readers
Tales from Outer Suburbia Book & Jigsaw Puzzle by Shaun Tan ($35, BOX)
Shaun Tan’s work is internationally acclaimed, and in this book his imagination is translated into both art and stories, all distinguished by his otherworldly whimsy. (Move over, Leunig.) This presentation box contains a paperback copy of Tales from Outer Suburbia—remember Eric the shy exchange student; and the buffalo at the end of the street? - plus a 750-piece jigsaw puzzle of The Tuesday Afternoon Reading Group. Suitable for children, adults, and reading groups everywhere. Lynndy