July was an absolute cracker of a month for children’s books! There were plenty of brilliant new releases from old favourites such as Bob Graham, Matt Cosgrove, Gus Gordon and Philip Bunting. The Aussie Kids series also continues and everyone’s favourite animated pup, Bluey, is back too! Settle in, relax and enjoy the July 2020 Children’s Book Roundup!
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the Children’s Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.
Ellie’s Dragon – Bob Graham
Ellie finds a newborn dragon. She names him Scratch. But there’s a catch: only kids can see him. As Scratch grows to become an enormous, affectionate house dragon, Ellie grows too. At her eight birthday party, Scratch eats the candles while they were still smoking. By the time she was twelve, Ellie could see right through him. Not long after that, he slipped quietly away into the night.
Ellie’s Dragon is a lovely story about the magic of childhood and imagination and the process of growing and changing and moving on.
Beware! Ralfy Rabbit and the Secret Book Biter – Emily MacKenzie
Ralfy loves books. Whenever things are quiet he loves nothing more than to snuggle up with a good book and read, read, read. Trouble is there is not a lot of quiet to be had these days. Baby Rodney had seen to that and as Rodey gets bigger, so does the noise! Ralfy resorts to the library, but one day when Ralfy got out his book to read, he had a big surprise…There was a huge hole in it! Something had taken a bite out of it! Ralfy must find who did this!
This book speaks to Hannah. It has peered into her consciousness, extracted her lived experiences and cast them on the pages in front of her. Read once, this book was then read again and again over subsequent days and weeks and it continues to be brought out on the regular. Do you have a preschooler and a newly minted toddler in your house? Gift them Ralfy; show them that you get it!
Abigail and the Restless Raindrop – Matthew Cunningham and Sarah Wilkins
One rainy morning, Abigail thought a big question. “Mummy,” she said, “where does the rain come from?” How did the water get in to the clouds? So as Mummy and Abigail spend their day by the lake, we hear about the little drop of water that longed to fly. One warm summers day the restless raindrop slowly floated to the surface of the lake and before long, she was in the sky.
Abigail and the Restless Raindrop is a delightful book filled with beautiful illustrations and it is a wonderfully accessible introduction to the water cycle. The Abigail books are a series in which a curious girl explores big ideas, and Hannah is so on board with that. This is the first of the Abigail series that we have read, but we can’t wait for more.
Aussie Kids: Meet Mia by the Jetty – Janeen Brian and Danny Snell
In the next instalment of the Aussie Kids series, we are off to South Australia.
When Mia hears that Jim is coming to stay, she makes a plan. She is going to be his tour guide. She keeps her plan a secret from naysaying big sis Alice, lest she spoil it even arrives. When Jim arrives, they walk to Victor Harbour beach for a sandcastle building competition and then catch the horse-drawn tram to the island where they see penguins, and even a whale. It is a spectacular day, not even bossy big sis can spoil it for Mia!
Aussie Kids: Meet Sam at the Mangrove Creek – Paul Seden and Brenton McKenna
This time we are in the Northern Territory with Sam. Sam is off to Mangrove Creek with his new throw net and his best mate Peter to try and catch a barramundi. The comic book style illustrations really compliment the story of the boys fishing trials and tribulations.
A couple of great additions to the Aussie Kids series. Perfect for emerging readers of about five to eight years old. Look out for the last two instalments, coming in September.
All About Bluey and All About Bingo
Bluey fans will love these two new books. I should know – the face of the biggest Bluey fan in our house lit up when they saw these. But that’s enough about me…
As the titles suggest, these two books provide young readers with lots of information about their two favourite cartoon dogs. A nice touch is that a lot of the pictures and information are recognisable from the TV shows, which Hannah finds very engaging. Her favourite page features the scene where Bluey is learning to ride a bike without training wheels, which is highly relatable as Hannah is doing the same thing!
To top it off, these board books are cut in the shape of Bluey and Bingo!
Puffin Little series
Little Cook: Snacks
Little Environmentalist: Composting
Little Scientist: The Solar System
This is a lovely new non-fiction series for little people interested in big skills and facts. These little reference books are full of useful information and tips for ages six and up.
We started with Little Cook: Snacks because, well, we like food. Little Cook: Snacks breaks down the fundamentals of cooking and preparing food. It has plenty of easy, kid-friendly snack recipes that are fun to make.
Next was Little Scientist: The Solar System because Hannah is rather interested in space now. She spotted a planet from our kitchen window in the dark morning sky recently. She loves going out before bed to see the night sky – filled with stars and, her favourite celestial body, the moon. Then she saw the recent Space X shuttle launch, and oh my goodness, the wonder! Little Cook: The Solar System blasts us off into outer space and introduces us to all aspects of the solar system.
Last but not least was Little Environmentalist: Composting. Hannah does composting at her wonderful community preschool, so she was all over this. Little Environmentalist: Composting teaches us all the dos and don’ts of composting and recycling and a how to for cultivating our green thumbs and helping our planet.
Inventors: Incredible Stories of the World’s Most Ingenious Inventions – Robert Winston and Jessamy Hawke
Inventors, inventors everywhere! We have inventors that make things go. inventors that are caring for people and inventors that are helping at home. We also have inventors that have caused a bang a whizz or a whirr; sometimes even all three. There are over one hundred and thirty inventors featured from time periods near (Elon Musk) and far (Nikola Tesla). We have female inventors (like Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie) and male inventors (like Charles Babbage and Alexander Graham Bell). We have inventors I knew (like a few of them) and inventors I didn’t (like a lot of them). Each inventor is given their own well illustrated slice of the book’s real estate.
This book is spectacular and a wonderful one to curl up with as a family on a rainy Sunday afternoon to explore and discover and chat about together.
You can find Inventors: Incredible Stories of the World’s Most Ingenious Inventions here.
Finding Francois – Gus Gordon
Alice lives with her grandmother in the middle of town. They spend lovely times together baking and walking through town, but sometimes Alice wishes she had someone her own size to talk to. Early one morning Alice walks down to the river. She has a plan. Alice pulls out a bottle with her note inside and tosses it into the water. The bottle journeys out into the ocean and on its way, before washing ashore to be found by Francois. Back and forth goes the bottle, enabling a beautiful friendship to blossom.
Finding Francois is a touching story. Hopeful and warm, but with a hint of sadness weaved into its fabric: longing for a friend when living with Grandma, then one day Grandmother is gone. The illustrations are beautiful, from the gorgeous Parisian scenes of Alice’s home to the pebbly shore of Francois’s home.
Huberta’s Big Surprise – Klay and Mark Lamprell and Marjorie Crosby-Fairall
Huberta the hippopotamus liked to surprise everyone. When the truck arrived to take Huberta for a visit to another zoo, Huberta has an idea. She will get herself there. It will be a surprise. She gets on the number ONE bus, before catching the SECOND team to the wharf to catch the ferry with THREE pirates on board. On ticks Huberta’s journey. At the new zoo, TEN animals are waiting to surprise Huberta…but not if she surprises them first!
Follow fun-loving Huberta on her surprising adventure!
You can find Huberta’s Big Surprise here.
Dharma the Llama – Matt Cosgrove
Dharma loves reading. Such is her love of books that she doesn’t follow the pack; she bucks the trend. For whatever they are doing, you can always find Dharma reading. Living out all sorts of adventures with just her books and her imagination. But when her Llama pals get stuck in the mud, Dharma springs into action. She knows just what to do… She’d read it in a book.
A brilliant addition to Matt Cosgrove’s Macca the Alpaca collection.
You can find Dharma the Llama here.
Not Cute – Philip Bunting
Quokka was very cute. But quokka did not like being cute. Not one bit. Complete with home made costumes, quokka tries to be dangerous like a dingo, scary like a lizard, majestic like an eagle…a the list goes on. “Too cute!”, gush all the animals. “Not cute!”, insists the frustrated quokka.
Quokka is trying out his ferocious croc costume when a real croc shows up. Luckily she finds quokka too cute to munch up. Can quokka keep his moth shut and save himself.
A hilarious take for all the little ones out there that get called cute just that little bit too often!
You can find Not Cute here.
I Saw Pete and Pete Saw Me – Maggie Hutchings
Out and about running errands with his mum, I little boy notices a homeless man on the street. “When you are small you notice things that grown-ups are too busy to see. Everyone walked past. But I saw Pete. And Pete saw me.”
They stop to say hello and Pete draws for the boy a yellow bird like flying sunshine.
The little boy worries about Pete on stormy nights.
Pete has a special blanket from the coffee lady and yellow coat from the butcher for the stormy nights.
One day Pete is sick. After that he is not where he always was. The boy asks after Pete everywhere, but no-one has seen him. The boy worries. He draws a picture of Pete and leaves it where Pete used to stay. “Pete can you please let us know you are okay?” The next day the poster is ripped and torn, bit in its place is a yellow bird drawn on the wall behind. A message from Pete.
This story takes on a topic not often covered in children’s books in a beautiful and authentic way giving a voice, visibility and dignity to two sections of society from which this is often taken away: children and people without a home.
Grumbelina – Esther Krigdahl and Aleksandra Szmidt
Hazel Spratt was an agreeable child, never impatient, unruly or wild. Then, one day, she turns three-and-a-half. There came a loud grumble from deep in her gut, her smile disappeared and she called her hands shut. Gone was Hazel, and in her place Grumbelina. Anything that could be grumbled about was. But finally there is sweet silence and peace… when Grumbelina, I mean Hazel, falls asleep!
Grumbelina is a funny little story. Entertaining (and just a little relatable) for little people and big people alike!
Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Slide – Tony Wilson and Laura Wood
Luckily this Humpty is good natured, for things just aren’t going his way. On the slide he gets stuck. Next he falls in the dirt. He doesn’t get to join in a game and he gets coloured in. When he arrives at a party he’s told he’s not invited. Luckily the birthday girl chimes in for this one!
Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Slide is loads of rhyming fun, with lots of your favourite nursery rhyme characters to look for.
You can find Humpty Dumpty Sat on the Slide here.
How Do You Make A Baby? – Anna Fiske
Have you ever wondered where babies come from? Chances are, some little people in your house have wondered – especially if they are waiting for, or have recently experienced, the arrival of a baby sibling. How Do You Make a Baby? is a frank and no-nonsense explanation of the process, designed for young people to understand. The pictures are cartoonish and comical in order to engage young minds, but be warned – they don’t shy away from the details of the process.
While I’ll admit that How Do You Make a Baby? was at times enough to make me blush, it does leave young minds with little doubt about the whole process. I also believe in honesty when discussing difficult topics with kids. When the time is right with my children, I’m sure How Do You Make a Baby? will make those tricky conversations with 8-9 year olds that little bit easier.
Nit Boy – Tristan Bancks and Heath McKenzie
When Tristan Bancks and Heath McKenzie team up, you know you’re in for a wild ride! Lewis Snow has the worst case of nits in the history of the world! Fortunately for Lewis, that is just the way he likes it. In his mind, the nits are his pets and he will do whatever it takes to protect them.
Meanwhile, Ned (the jumping vegan nit who hates the taste of human blood) has his own problems.
Nit Boy is two books in one, and sure to entertain primary school-aged children with its winning formula of humour and grossness.
Parents who read inspire children to read. Reading regularly in front of your children and to your children is powerful, really powerful. In our house, Kobo eReaders have been the device of choice for a long time. Unlike a tablet or phone, Hannah knows that when we are holding the Kobo, we are reading from a book. And as a platform for reading, the Kobo is brilliant! Check out the review of the Kobo Clara HD here!