March has been a brilliant month for new picture books. Some of our favourite authors have produced absolute gems that we have thoroughly enjoyed reading together over the past few weeks. Emma Middleton and Briony Stewart are back with a brilliant follow up to their first collaboration, while all-time favourites Alison Lester and Jane Godwin have come together to produce a stunning picture book for a worthy cause. We were also thrilled by our introduction to Gus Gordon – he is definitely on our radar as a fun and unique children’s author now. Welcome to the March Picture Book Roundup!
The Bear in Our Backyard – Emma Middleton, Illustrated by Briony Stewart
A companion book to our much loved copy of The Lion in Our Living Room, The Bear in Our Backyard is every bit as fun. The endearing story of the games the children play with their mum as she pretends to be a bear are well matched by the warm illustrations that leave you feeling like you’ve been embraced in a big hug. With the final pages of the book noting that “Bear’s love is so strong and warm, we’re sure that we can share…our giant mummy bear hugs with our tiny baby bear.” the story will be a particularly lovely addition to the bookshelf of families expecting a new addition.
Keen-eyed fans of The Lion in Our Living Room will be able to spot plenty of references to that story scattered throughout this latest book. Those little touches make The Bear in Our Backyard a particularly enjoyable book to revisit – there is always something new to find!
The Last Peach – Gus Gordon
I’ve enjoyed reading this clever story to Hannah as much as Hannah has enjoyed having it read to her. The story is told entirely in dialogue and is a wonderful example of the beautiful rhythm that can be found in an ordinary conversation. The banter between the two main characters speaks to the humour of everyday situations. The story has highs and lows, excitement and disappointment, arguments and empathy, all rounded off with a comical little twist at the end which will be spotted by switched-on toddler readers. Even older readers will appreciate the little lesson on perspective.
The illustrations are captivating and equality as clever as the text itself. Most of the elements in the illustrations appear to be constructed from recycled paper and this provides additional depth, detail and a whole new point of interest. A strong favourite in our house and one I’m sure will be continued to be enjoyed in the years to come.
The Silver Sea – Alison Lester and Jane Godwin
With rhyming text and wonderful illustrations, this story is an exploration the magnificent ocean and the creatures within it. The Silver Sea leaves you with a sense for the joy of adventure and majesty of the treasures of our sea, so often hidden from view. The illustrations, constructed from collages created in a series of drawing workshops with children, are bold, colourful and full of points of interest. We could spend half an hour looking at this book and still have more to see.
The book is a collaboration between young patients at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, their teachers at the RCH Education Institute and well-known Australian authors Alison Lester and Jane Godwin. Its purpose (other than being a beautiful children’s book) is to raise funds for the hospital’s Education Institute. Interestingly, The Silver Sea is inspired by the multi-storey aquarium the hospital once housed. All proceeds from The Silver Sea will go to the Education Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital
I Wanted a Giant Chocolate Egg but all I Got Was this Stupid Book – Merv Lamington, Illustrated by Makoto Koji
With cartoon-style illustrations, this book tells the story of a boy who is disappointed that he received a book at Easter, rather than the giant chocolate egg he wanted. As he searches for the Easter bunny so that he can give him a piece of his mind, he comes across kids that have received wonderful chocolate treats… but a few that have met with pitfalls from their Easter chocolate haul. Charlie’s dog is sick from eating some chocolate. Violet’s teeth are stuck together with the chewy caramel from her Easter egg. Augustus is sick after eating his giant chocolate egg. Meanwhile, while searching for the bunny to tell him why for, the boy discovers the book had a handy map and some awesome Easter jokes. When he finally finds the Easter bunny he speaks his mind… Maybe this Easter book caper isn’t so bad after all.
If you tried (with much complaining) to limit your child’s chocolate intake this Easter, perhaps this book is worth tactically placing somewhere around the house in the next few days.
You can find I Wanted a Giant Chocolate Egg but all I Got Was this Stupid Book on the Affirm Press website.
My Dad! – Charles Fuge
My Dad! is a different take on the typical “my dad” book. Bear cub boasts to his friends that he has the “roughest, toughest” dad in the whole jungle. As baby cub goes on to describe his dad – “He’s as strong as an elephant!”, “He has more claws than an eagle!” – one by one his buddies flee in fear. When baby cub realises he is alone in the jungle and a big scary shadow is lurking, he sure could use his dad…
My Dad! tells the story of the love and protection that Dad provides with humour and imparts a nice little message about the perils of boasting too!
Discovery Where is Mummy’s Baby? and Discovery Guess Who?
Is there anything a toddler loves more than a board books, or books with flaps? Well how about a board books with flaps! These books are great for kids from babies to toddlers. The bright colours, large font text and simple words are good for engaging this age group. Younger toddlers will enjoy the repetition in Discovery Where is Mummy’s Baby? Older toddlers will enjoy the guessing game in Discovery Guess Who? – “I am a large cat with dark spots on my fur. Can you guess who I am?”
Disclosure – Publishers provided these books to Blog of Dad free of charge. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.