June 2020 Children’s Book Roundup

It’s June! Winter has arrived. Snuggle under a blanket and have a read of these books from the June 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.

Mabel and the Mountain – Kim Hillyard

Mabel the fly has plans. Big plans. She may be small but her plans are big.

1. Climb a mountain

2. Host a dinner party

3. Make friends with a shark

Mabel’s friends were not very helpful. “Stay at home” they said. “It can’t be done.” They said. “Ridiculous!” They said. See, not helpful. (Unless there is a Covid pandemic, then that first one is helpful.)

Luckily, Mabel knew the truth about big plans. Do not listen to those who say you cannot, listen to those who say you can (even if the only person saying you can is you). So Mabel sets off. There are obstacles, it is hard, but she keeps going. After a great many tiny steps, she reaches the top of a very big mountain.

You can find Mabel and the Mountain on the Penguin website.

Henry Turnip – Chloe Jasmine Harris

Henry Turnip eats the same breakfast each day, likes tv shows about the deep blue sea and finds his class at school too loud. He also worries. He worries when there is too much noise, too many people or too much mess. So at lunchtime, although he would like to join in, Henry sits by himself.

One day Reuben Moon arrives. Rueben is an adventurer and explorer of the playground. He likes hanging upside down, running, jumping, shouting and making lots of friends.

“Want to play?” Rueben asks Henry.

“I…think I would!” Says Henry shyly.

Henry shares his wonderful underwater world with Rueben. Rueben shows Henry how to turn himself into a fearless aeroplane pilot and fly though the forest. A magical friendship.

You can find Henry Turnip on the Walker website.

Dogography: The Amazing World of Letter Art Dogs – Maree Coote

“Every part of me’s a letter

Does that help you see me better?

Look very closely and you’ll see

The hidden letters that spell me!

Sometimes letters may repeat,

To make more eyes, or ears or feet,

But back-to-front or upside-down,

All my letters can be done found!”

Each picture displays a picture or a breed of dog and is created using only the letters that spell each dog’s breed. The design of this book is remarkable, the intricacy and complexity of the letter art balanced with lots of white space on each page, and a single call out box the only text aside from the breed name written in the exact font used in the image to help you hunt to find all the letters that spell each portrait. The effect is marvelous!

Dogography is very inventive and completely captivating. Perfect for our four year old who is learning to write, love letters and lives puzzles. The wonderful letter art encourages letter recognition, observation, spelling and design skills.

You can find Dogography on the Walker website.

Coco Big City Kitty – Laura Bunting and Nicky Johnson

Coco has loved living in the city since the moment she was born. The bright lights made her purr, the bustle made her meow and the buzz made her whiskers tingle. As she grew, so did her love of the city, her ballet recitals at the theatre, watching the new year’s fireworks from the balcony, twirling like a ballerina on the long lift ride down to ground level. Coco loves it all. When, one day, Mum and Dad announce they are moving to the country for Dad’s work, Coco is distraught. On the drive there Coco’s eyes well with tears, but when the rainbow she spots on their journey ends in her new front garden, she realises that maybe, just maybe, everything will be alright.

This is a delightful first book in a new series by Laura Bunting. We know Laura as half of the Laura and Phillip Bunting duo: the author and illustrator of some of our favourite books (Liarbird, Kookaburras Love to Laugh and Another Book About Bears). Coco has a distinctly different style to these wonderfully witty books. Coco is completely different, much more feminine and equally as delightful. We can’t wait to read Coco’s next adventure.

You can find Coco Big City Kitty here.

The Giant and the Sea – Trent Jamieson and Robina Cai

A giant stands on the shore above the sea, watching, never moving, looking out across the water. There was a brave girl who played on the shore. One day the giant says, “The sea is rising.”

“Go to the city. There is a machine that they must turn off, or you will all drown.”

Will the people listen?

The Giant and the Sea is a powerful story about climate change. The illustrations are as serious and pensive as the story line.

You can find The Giant and the Sea on the Hachette website.

Who Am I? – Philip Bunting

We love Phillip Bunting books. The fiction books are witty and also informative. The non-fiction is informative and also witty. They tackle deep and complex issues in an accessible and humorous way. Who Am I? is not different.

Who Am I? seeks to address one of life’s biggest questions. If I am not my name, my place, my stuff, my gender, my skin colour, my muscles, my bones, my guts and stuff, my senses, my thoughts or my feelings…who am I?

The books back cover puts it best: This is a book for anyone who has ever paused to wonder exactly who is wondering.

You can find Who Am I? here.

Elephant Me – Giles Andreas and Guy Parker-Rees

I adore Giraffes Can’t Dance, so I was expecting good things from this Andreae/Parker-Rees collaboration. And they delivered! Elephant Me is a wonderful story of a little elephant, Num-Num, who is struggling to find his special talent in a sea of self-assured peers. One elephant is impressively strong, so she is given the name “Elephant Strong”. Another is capable of bellowing loudly, so he is called “Elephant Noisy”.

But poor Num-Num was laughed at when he displayed no particular talent, and the shame of his failure drove him away from the herd and into the wild.

But perhaps Num-Num was more talented than anyone have him credit for (even himself). Perhaps, it would take a new group of friends with a fresh perspective to help Num-Num discover his most impressive ability. And perhaps, he might just find the courage to return the herd and make some changes for the better…

I adore Num-Num, and I think you might as well.

You can find Elephant Me on the Hachette website.

Peppa at the Aquarium

Hannah gets to choose one television show each day. She regularly rotates between Bluey, Peppa Pig and Play School. So you can imagine her delight when she receives a Peppa Pig books for review.

The great thing about these kinds of books is that young kids can get lost in them without always needing an adult to read the story. Hannah knows exactly what is going on. When I do sit down and read with her it is easy to follow along.

Slightly disturbingly, we now have a four year old who can pull off a remarkably good Peppa Pig accent. She also regularly insists on calling me “Daddy Pig” in public and claiming that I’m “a bit of an expert”. But I digress.

As with all things Peppa Pig, the storyline of at the Aquarium is quick, easy to follow and a little quirky – just the way little kids love it!

You can find Peppa at the Aquarium on the Penguin website.

In the City – Holly James and Hannah Tolson

In the City is a simple story with a look and find theme. On each double page there are things to find. Some pages ask eager little readers to count objects, other pages encourage early word recognition. It is a great way to get preschoolers engaged and active in the story!

You can find In the City on the Bloomsbury website.

The Colour Catchers – Johanna Bell and Laura Stitzel

the-colour-catchers - June 2020 Children's Book Roundup

Fair warning, the Colour Catchers is a bit of a tear-jerker. The story is beautiful, the illustrations are beautiful and the relationship between granddaughter and “Granna” is… beautiful.

The Colour Catchers gracefully deals with the difficult topic of loved ones aging. It doesn’t shy away from the pains and frustrations of loss and it shows sensitive little people that the pain and suffering that comes with the end of life isn’t theirs to “fix”. Instead, the love, the time, the precious shared memories and the simple pleasure of a joint imagination are what really matter. It is a stunning book.

You can find The Colour Catchers here.

The Shy Zebra – Philip Gwynne

Zebra has been practising hard all week for the talent show. However, when he sees his amazingly talented friends perform, he becomes a little shy. Naturally, Zebra runs away and hides (he is very good at it!). Eventually Cockatoo finds Zebra and, with a little coaxing, convinces him to rejoin the show!

You can find The Shy Zebra here.

What Zola Did on Monday – Melina Marchetti and Deb Hudson

Zola is a little girl with a good heart, but sometimes (like any 2nd grader), she can’t seem to help but get into trouble. She misses her Nonno and loves her Nonna, even though she doesn’t love Nonna’s rules. And she doesn’t like gardening.

After a series of mishaps, however, Zola comes to realise the importance of doing things the right way. And it turns out, she may have picked up more about gardening than she thought.

You can find What Zola Did on Monday on the Penguin website.


Kobo Clara

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!

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