September has been a big month for great books. So much so that we are splitting the round up into two: picture books and children’s books (that aren’t picture books). Pull up a chair and see what takes your fancy in the September 2020 Picture Book Roundup!
The Biscuit Maker – Sue Lawson and Liz Anelli
Benedict Stanley and his cat, Audrey Mae live at number 23 Mavin Road. Each morning they greet their neighbours, but their ears are too full and mouths stay closed.
“I like your cat” says a boy, one morning. Heartened, Benedict reaches for his wife’s recipe book and sifts, folds, shapes and bakes into the evening. The next day Benedict and Audrey Mae make a special delivery to the boy. Each morning after that Benedict and Audrey Mae deliver biscuits along Mavin Road. Shortbread when triplets arrive home. Football cookies after a grand final. “Who is making the biscuits?”, wonder the neighbours.
“Someone kind”, says the boy.
One evening, an aching and snuffling Benedict Stanley shuffles to bed. The biscuits stop.
“Where is the biscuit maker?” wonder the neighbours. “Maybe she’s on holidays”.
When the boy stops, Audrey Mae goes to find Benedict Stanley. He, and his neighbours.
From that time on the neighbourhood is transformed. In the sunshine Benedict Stanley and Audrey Mae watch while their neighbours potter and prune, laugh and chat.
A Crocodile in the Family – Kitty Black and Daron Parton
A little bird family stumbles upon an egg and take it home with them. When the egg hatches and out pops a little green crocodile, the birds are thrilled but the other animals are a little confused. ‘Why do you keep him?’, they ask. ‘Is it because he’s helpful?’
‘He is helpful’, replies the family, ‘but that is not why we keep him.’
Is it because he is beautiful? Fun? Makes a great coat rack?
He is beautiful and he is fun, but that is not why they keep him. They keep him because he belongs with us, and that’s that. The animals finally understood.
‘They belong together, and that’s that.’
Be You! – Peter H. Reynolds
Honestly, this may be a picture book but do not be fooled that it is only for kids. The messages held within are for all of us.
“Be curious. Turn every stone, ask every why, and keep digging deeply. Discover your own answers.
Be connected. Find kindered spirits. Be with those who make you feel like the real you.
Be patient. Being more you takes time. Take a deep breath. Relax. Let your future unfold at its own pace. It will be worth the wait.
Be okay reaching out for help. When you need a helping hand, a compassionate ear, an encouraging word…reach out.”
Be You! is positively uplifting, practical and empowering. The simple but powerful text accompanied by joyous illustrations are just the ticket.
Rain Before Rainbows – Smriti Halls and David Litchfield
There is rain before rainbows. Clouds before sun. Dark days may shake us and worries creep in. Luckily there are friends who will help us, courageous and kind. A rope to hold on to and treasures to find. If we do the ground work sowing and planting there will be roots before shoots, stems before flowers and leaf before fruit.
Rain Before Rainbows is a beautiful story of hope, which reads like poetry. This powerful story has marvellous illustrations, wonderfully capturing the magic in the world.
Meesha Makes Friends – Tom Percival
Meesha loves making things. She could make pictures out of numbers and pictures out of sounds. But there was one thing Meesha found hard to make: friends. She tried to make friends, but she doesn’t know what do, what to say or when to say it. She wonders if she will ever be able to do it. Meesha has an idea. She will make her friends! So she gets out her paints and pencil and all her other tools and gets to work. Soon she has a whole group of friends. Friends that are easy to be around. Friends she feels comfortable with.
One day Meesha’s mum says they are going to a party. There will be lots of nice people, she tells her. It will be fun, she says. Meesha wasn’t sure. The party was nosy, chaotic and unpredictable and Meesha couldn’t find a way to join in. She goes off on her own to make things. Soon enough though, Josh find her and her things. They make things together. Meesha has a friend. Josh helps her to show her things to others. Now Meesha has lots of friends.
This is another amazing book in Tom Percival’s series that explore feelings and challenges in a relatable and empathetic manner.
Welcome Baby to this World – Jess Racklyeft
Welcome Baby to this world is a beautiful celebration of new parenthood. Jess Racklyeft uses simple sentences and adorable illustrations to speak of all the wonders (and some of the challenges) that lay ahead when a new baby enters the world. I could picture myself reading it to my son or daughter when they were born and wondering what adventures the future holds.
Pig the Blob – Aaron Blabey
Everyone’s favourite ill-mannered pug is back! For those familiar with the series, it will come as no surprise that Pig’s lazy, self-centred behaviour is getting him in trouble. Again. The Pig the Pug series of books follows a formula that guarantees delight from young readers. It is a little bit of a worry that, after all these books and lessons learnt, Pig still have some pretty disgusting habits. Still, aren’t we all just works in progress?
Happy Hippo – Charles Santoso
Happy Hippo is an adorable book with a great lesson for little people who might just be beginning to compare themselves to others. Bored with being nothing more and nothing less than a hippo, Hippo gets the chance of a lifetime when he bumbles over and accidentally helps a magical turtle. Now blessed with nine wishes, hippo uses one after another to gain the most striking features of all the animals of the savannah (including, inexplicably, a kangaroo).
Hippo looks pretty fancy with his new shell, long tail, trunk, big ears, horns, mane, long neck and powerful jumping legs… until he discovers that together, those features make for a pretty awkward creature. Naturally Hippo is devastated that he has used all his wishes, just to end up worse off than when he was an ordinary hippo. Just when he is about to give up all hope, the magical turtle reminds him that he has one wish left. It’s obvious what to wish for… except that zebra wandering past sure does have lovely stripes…
You can find Happy Hippo here.
The Lost Library – Jess McGeachin
At his new home, Oliver found a book fluttering behind his bedroom cupboard. Inside the front cover he read “Please return to: The Lost Library”. When Oliver and his neighbour, Rosie, pop the book into the local library chute, the floor gives way beneath them and down they slide, down down into an amazing, magical underground library. When they get to the books about boats they begin to row, and when they sail past the books about storms, Oliver feels nervous. Soon after, Oliver wonders how they will make their way out of the Lost Library.
The Lost Library is a magnificent adventure from start to finish.
Grump! – Jonathan Bentley
Donald the Grump is a cranky, pouty, megalomania exhibiting orange teddy bear that, inexplicably, permanently has a yellow cat living atop his head. Donald rants and rages. He shouts, he argues, he cheats and he blames. He sets about building the best tower. He snatches up the blocks, for they are his thing, builds a precarious, tall tower and climbs to the top…before coming crashing down.
Cat has enough. “I won’t live another day up on your head!”
“Well, go!”, Said Donald, “With those fools, instead! I’ll find someone else to live on my head.”
But no-one fits the bill. Eventually, after some begging from Donald, Cat agrees to be reinstated as Donald’s hair but with an expanded role that includes placing it’s tail across Donald’s mouth when he gets all shouty.
Any resemblance to a prominent world leader is purely coincidental, I’m sure.
You can find Grump! here.
Bandits – Sha’an d’Anthes
Fern lives in a grey, lifeless city with no family but plenty of books. She has only ever seen trees in books, there are none left in the city. Fern is told that the bandits that come in the night steel from the city dwellers. One night she follows them to find out and sees from herself that they are taking from the city. They are taking the food waste and planting the seeds from it to grow spectacular orchids to heal the forest, expanding Fern’s world to one of colour, life, friendship and a future she believes in.
A beautiful, second picture book by talented young Sydney author and illustrator, Sha’an d’Anthes
We Love You Magoo – Briony Stewart
Poor Magoo, he sure does hear the word “no” a lot. It seems that no matter what activity he undertakes, his owners seem to have different plans that he can’t quite comprehend. And who wouldn’t want to drink the blue water from the toilet bowl, after all?
Despite all the relentless disciplining, Magoo feels the love when he is unexpectedly handed a nice, gift-wrapped present. What could it possibly be? We Love You Magoo is a lovely celebration of all things dog. It is also a great reminder that there is not a whole lot of difference between dog ownership and parenting a toddler…
Grumpy Monkey – Suzanne Lang and Max Lang
We all have our grumpy days, but sometimes it can be hard to recognise it. Jim is grumpy, no doubt about it. But the more his friends point it out, the more he denies it (in a very grumpy way). His friends try their best to cheer him up, led by the lovable Norman, the gorilla. But the thing about being grumpy is, sometimes you don’t need to be cheered up. Sometimes, you just need to be grumpy. And sometimes the best antidote for the grumps is sitting quietly with a friend who gets it, and waiting for it to pass.
You can find Grumpy Monkey here.
The Worrying Worries – Rachel Rooney and Zehra Hicks
What do you do when you find a Worry? Put it in your pocket for a pet, of course! Except, that little Worry grows and grows, and soon it becomes overwhelming. Soon, you realise it is a pet you can’t keep. But how does one get rid of a Worry?
The Worrying Worries is a great book for helping kids understand that everyone experiences worries, but that they don’t have to drain all the fun out of life. There are things you can do to make worries smaller, and eventually they might just disappear.
Calm Down Cooper – Lily Murray & Anna Chernyshova
Poor Cooper, he is such a responsible pup. He loves to do the right thing and please his owner, Martha. But when great aunt Mildred comes to stay, she brings with her a parrot named Pandy. Pandy is not responsible. At all. In fact, Pandy is the exact opposite of Cooper. As soon as the people go out for the day, Pandy’s mates arrive and the PARTY IS ON! It’s all too much for poor, responsible Cooper.
Howl – Kat Patrick and Evie Barrow
You know those days when the sun is the wrong shape and the sky is too blue? Maggie was having one of those days. Everything was wrong and it was getting on her nerves. For some reason, Maggie also seemed to be getting on her mother’s nerves. Finally it was bed time, but the bright, full moon kept Maggie awake. In fact, it made her feel quite strange. She suddenly had the urge to escape to the backyard and… Howl. Little did she know, someone else felt the same way…
Peppa Loves the Great Barrier Reef
If there is one thing more exciting than the arrival of a new Peppa Pig book for a four year old, it’s a Peppa Pig book set in Australia! Peppa and the family are down under, exploring all that our greatest natural wonder has to offer (plus sunken treasure).
The Joy in You – Cat Deeley
The world is full of possibilities and The Joy in You is a beautiful celebration of that. It affirms little dreamers and helps them to realise that the road ahead is full of potential. Try everything, discover what you love and find true joy. It is a simple message, but a powerful one for young minds.