Is it just me, or this year flying by? Here we are at the end of September already! What really amazes me is that, as the year has gone on, more and more excellent picture books have been published. September has brought an abundance of great picture books – let’s take a look at the September 2018 Picture Book Roundup!
Unicorn! – Maggie Hutchings and Cheryl Orsini
“Luka makes the world light up like a shooting star on a dark night”. When she falls sick, Luka’s best friend promises her that she will make her wish for a unicorn come true. Unfortunately, unicorns are hard to come by. And Luka isn’t willing to settle for imitations. Drawings, dress-ups, even ponies with horns stuck to their heads won’t do! Thankfully, dreams are powerful things…
Unicorn! is a delightful story of imagination, friendship and unicorns.
I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree – Selected by Fiona Waters, illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon
Imagine filling your child’s world with beautiful poetry, set to stunning images. Imagine having a different poem each day to read and enjoy together! If that sounds good to you, then I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree is exactly what you need.
This is a truly impressive collection, with familiar favourites and new discoveries from some of the greatest names in poetry – William Blake, Emily Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Thomas Hardy, Willian Shakespeare, William Wordsworth and many more! This is a book to keep and treasure for years and years.
Meerkat Choir – Nicki Greenberg
A Meerkat Choir? What a marvellous thing! It’s so marvellous, in fact, that all manner of other creatures want to join in. Unfortunately, they are not allowed. A meerkat choir is a meerkat choir, there’s no two ways about it. The other animals are shooed away (rather impolitely) by the frustrated meerkat choirmaster.
Finally, practice is able to start uninterrupted. That is when our hapless choirmaster comes face-to-face with an unfortunate truth – meerkats don’t know how to sing.
Meerkat Choir is a hilarious reminder that activities are a whole lot more fun when we are inclusive of everyone.
Collecting Sunshine – Rachel Flynn and Tamsin Ainslie
Mabel and Robert are collectors. Like all good toddler collectors, they collect anything and everything. Mabel likes to count the things that she collects, while Robert is more a grab lots kind of kid. When it starts to rain, Robert holds the collecting bag wide open. ‘I’m collecting raindrops,’ he says. The only problem is, the collecting bag is made out of paper – a few moments later their entire collection is gone. Thankfully, these two expert collectors know just what to do.
Collecting Sunshine is bright and beautifully illustrated. It speaks of the joys of everyday adventure and discovery, friendship, wonder, and overcoming setbacks.
Digby and the Duck – Max Landrak
I absolutely adore this book. The strange thing is, I don’t exactly know why. Part of me feels like Digby & the Duck is a profound story about confronting fears and getting to the bottom of things, while another part of me thinks it’s just a cute story about a cookie-loving kid and a not-so-bright duck.
Either way, I love it. I find the main character, Digby, entirely relatable and the pictures delightful. The story is original too.
Great Outdoors Activity Book – DK Australia
Hannah LOVES the outdoors. Rain, hail or shine she is keen to be outside and exploring the world. This beautiful book is packed full of great ideas for curios kids like Hannah. Some of the activities are simple and require few resources, while others are more complex and require preparation.
With the help of the Great Outdoors Activity book, children can explore digging, planting, searching, making, catching, observing and creating in the natural environment. There are 365 activities designed especially for Australian kids, and (as if Hannah needed any more incentive to love this book) there are stickers of Australian animals in the back of the book.
The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle – David Lichfield
If you are familiar with The Bear and the Piano, you’ll know how wonderful David Lichfield’s work is. If not, the good news is that you don’t have to have read The Bear and the Piano in order to enjoy this wonderful follow-up book.
Hector had big dreams, he wanted to play his fiddle in the big concert hall to an audience of admiring fans. But time had passed and opportunity had passed Hector by. He was now an old man, too old for games and far too old to compete with the world-famous piano-playing bear.
Hector’s dog, Hugo, thought Hector was great. But when Hector packed away his fiddle for good, Hugo rescued it and began to play. Hugo was amazing – so amazing that he was invited to tour with the world-famous bear. Hector was proud, but quickly jealously clouded his judgment. Would a wonderful friendship be ruined? Or was it stronger than Hector imagined?
Oi Duck-Billed Platypus! – Kes Gray and Jim Field
Oi Duck-Billed Platypus! Is the latest in the highly acclaimed Oi series of picture books. We all know that frogs sit on logs, because it rhymes. But what does a duck-billed platypus sit on? NOTHING rhymes with duck-billed platypus. In fact, there are a whole lot of animals with impossible-to-rhyme-with names. What do they all sit on? Fortunately, the frog has a plan.
This book is absurd and far-fetched, which is exactly why toddlers enjoy it! Come to think of it, it’s why I enjoy it too!
Pig the Grub – Aaron Blabey
Aaron Blabey is one of my absolute favourite children’s authors. The man is insanely talented as both an author and an illustrator. He is the creative genius behind several of the most-read books on Hannah’s bookshelf, including the Pig the Pug series.
Pig the Grub is the latest book in this series. Pig has always been a fairly unsavoury character, but usually that is because of his selfish and obnoxious personality (it’s what we love about him). In Pig the Grub, we learn that Pig’s personal hygiene matches that personality. To put it kindly, he stinks. But like any self-respecting smelly dog, Pig avoids the bath at all costs. The result? Hilarity, as always (if a few more stink lines than usual).
Despite the enjoyable storyline, my favourite part of the book is the dedication at the front: “For Mr Murray, who encouraged my nonsense.” I find that absolutely beautiful.
The Unscary Book – Nick Bland
Nick Bland is another favourite in our house. The Very Cranky Bear is a book that we have read many, many times. In The Unscary Book, a young boy (named Nicholas Ickle) does his very best to terrify the audience with the most scary things imaginable. Unfortunately for young Nicholas, things don’t seem to quite work out the way he intends. There’s not much scary about an apple tree, or a rainbow, or ice-cream…
Finally, Nicholas has had enough. He knows just how to make his book the scary book that it is supposed to be – with a monster! Monsters are scary, right?
The Unscary Book is a whole lot of fun.
One Shoe, Two Shoes – Caryl Hart and Edward Underwood
Shoes and mice are the themes of this fun book. One Shoe, Two Shoes is packed full of rhyme, colour, numbers and descriptive, playful language.
The images are delightful and story is simple for little ones to enjoy.
Shoo Grumpers Shoo! – Josh Lawson and Shelley Knoll-Miller
What is a grumper? A grumper is a devious little creature that is there when you are grumpy. And if you are grumpy, you have let a grumper succeed. Grumpers are “slippery and slimy and greasy and grimy”. They multiply and team up to make your day rotten. Grumpers can be hard to get rid of, but there is a way.
Let’s face it, we all get a few grumpers in our life every now and then. Shoo Grumpers Shoo! is a fun way to explore the notion of being grumpy, and to begin talking about ways of feeling better when the grumpers arrive.
Dino Diggers: Dumper Truck Danger – Rose Impey and Chris Chatterton
What could a two year old enjoy more than a story about diggers? How about a story about diggers operated by dinosaurs. Dino Diggers is right up the alley of fun-loving toddlers. The story is simple and the pictures are bright and engaging. There is even a slot-together Stegosaurus and dumper truck to build.
The Amazing world of Olobob Top, and Let’s Visit Norbet’s Shop Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith
Mazes and stickers, what more could a toddler want? I have to admit I’m not familiar with Olobob Top, but I’m reliably informed that it is a pretty big hit on the ABC (or BBC for my UK friends). The Amazing World of Olobob Top is full of simple mazes and four pages of stickers add to the enjoyment.
The second book, Let’s Visit Norbet’s Shop, is a simple board book story for young readers to enjoy. The storyline includes counting to five, so it’s good for developing early numeracy skills as well.
Quick, Barney, Run! – Pip Jones and Laura Hughes
Rainy days are no fun. Dad is fast asleep (typical), mum is hard at work and even the cat is in a bad mood. Perhaps Barney and his sister need to escape. Maybe there are adventures to be had if they can just find the right cardboard-box aeroplane and zoom away.
Quick, Barney, Run! Is an adventure, and a reminder of the creative power of boredom. Oh, and a warning to dads about the dangers of falling asleep in the proximity of creative children.
Little Owl’s First Day – Debi Gliori and Alison Brown
Big days can be confronting for little owls (and little people too), and big days don’t come much bigger than the first day of school. Little Owl doesn’t want to go to school. He wants a small day, at home with Mummy Owl and Baby Owl. Eventually Little Owl is convinced to give it a try. At first, he doesn’t want to be there, but soon he begins to realise that perhaps school isn’t so bad after all.
Little Owl’s First Day is a cute story for little people who are preparing for their own big days. Perhaps little owl’s experience can help them to feel good about what is to come.
Lulu at the Zoo – Camilla Reid and Ailie Busby
How could you go wrong with a book full of flaps? Hannah loves Lulu at the Zoo. Partly it’s because the book is packed full of animals, partly it’s because there are loads of flaps, and partly it’s because Lulu visits the toilet… twice! That’s right up the alley of a potty-training toddler.
The pictures are cute and the storyline is simple enough for little readers to engage with.
Incy Wincy Spider – Matt Shanks
Matt Shanks is back again (In April we reviewed Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes). This time he has put his unique spin on the classic Incy Wincy Spider. With an expanded storyline that includes encounters with windmills, kangaroos, galahs, people and emus, and Matt shanks’ toddler-friendly illustrations, this book is sure to elicit a giggle or two.
Princess Swashbuckle – Hollie Hughes and Deborah Allwright
What is a frog princess to do? She doesn’t want to marry the less-than-impressive princes that her parents have lined up for her (one of them is a toad, for goodness’ sake). There’s really only one responsible thing she can do – become a pirate! Princess Swashbuckle isn’t one of those mean, steal-everything kinds of pirates. She’s a nice pirate, who does nice things.
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the July 2018 Picture Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.