We are steamrolling towards the end of the year now! November might be done and dusted, but it’s well worth looking back at some of the brilliant children’s books that were released during the month. With Christmas shopping under way, perhaps one or two of these might find their way under your Christmas Tree. Take a look at the November 2108 Children’s Book Roundup.
The Tales of Mr Walker – Jess Black and Sara Acton
The Tales of Mr Walker is a book with pictures, but it is not a picture book as such. It is Hannah’s very first chapter book. Hannah loves stories and she is now able to follow plots, as well as recount and predict what may happen next, so I’m excited to introduce her to a short chapter book.
The Tales of Mr Walker contains four short chapter stories centring around Mr Walker, an adventurous Guide Dog Ambassador. We meet Mr Walker on his way to the park. Except he isn’t going to the park at all. Much to his surprise, he is going to The Park Hyatt Melbourne. A few misunderstandings and a few mishaps ensue and by the end of the first story Mr Walker will have surely found a place in your heart. Luckily this book has another three Mr Walker stories, so you and your little one can continue to follow Mr Walker’s adventures with a mystery guest, a garden surprise and finding a home.
Inspired by the real life Mr Walker, a Guide Dog Ambassador who now calls Park Hyatt Melbourne home, this book is sure to delight your little one (and you will have plenty of fun reading it to them too).
ABC What Can She Be? – Sugar Snap Studio
ABC What Can She Be? is filled with just some of the amazing things that girls can be when they grow up. As we work our way through the alphabet we come across gymnast and hairstylist as well as neurosurgeon and quantum physicist. The colourful pages of this book show bright, bold and highly engaging illustrations of women doing a great range of interesting vocations. ABC What Can She Be? is bound to open young minds to at least a few more of the endless possibilities of what she can be.
Dragon Post – Emma Yarlett
One day Alex finds a dragon in his basement. He hopes it will stay, and it does. But he does worry that it may set fire to the house, so he writes to the fire brigade. He gets a very helpful response, included as an letter in an envelope inside the book (such fun!). As we go through the book Alex receives a few more letters. He receives a response with advice about what to feed his dragon (though perhaps the advisor has an alternative motive), and when he receives a letter of complaint from his neighbour about the noise, he seeks advice on what to do.
Dragon Post is a great story about a boy and his dragon.
Giraffe Problems – Jory John and Lane Smith
Giraffe Problems is an absolute delight. Edward the giraffe feels bad about his neck. He does, he can’t help it. It is too long, too bendy, too narrow, too dopey. Everyone is looking at it. He can feel everyone staring at it, judging him. But are they really? When he meets Cyril the turtle, they get to talking. Cyril has been admiring Edwards neck from afar. Cyril feels bad about his own neck! It’s so short he is basically neckless. He’s been admiring a ripening banana in a tree for a week, standing beneath it, waiting for it to drop. And so it comes that with a little conversation, a few kind words and some friendly actions, happiness, satisfaction with one’s own neck and a beautiful friendship blossom.
The Puffin Book of Summer Stories – Various
The Puffin Book of Summer Stories is a collection of eight charming and well loved Australian picture books. It includes classics:
Summer by June Factor and Alison Lester
Grandpa and Thomas by Pamela Allen
My Hippopotamus is on Our Caravan Roof Getting Sunburnt by Hazel Edwards and Deborah Niland
Eve and Elly by Mike Dumbleton and Laura Wood
Castles by Allan Baillie and Caroline Maegerl
Seadog by Claire Saxby and Tom Jellett
There’s a Sea in My Bedroom by Margaret Wild and Jane Turner
Max by Marc Martin
With themes that speak to the Australian summer experience – from trips to the beach to Christmas and family holidays – this outstanding collection will fill you with nostalgia for summer and will be a joy to return home to after your own family summer day adventures.
Tricky’s Bad Day – Alison Lester
This book is so good that Hannah insisted we read it twice!
Tricky is having a bad day. When he wakes early and his bottle is empty, he goes to the fridge to refill it, and spills the milk and wakes mum and dad. Everyone is cross, tired and cranky. And so the day continues. Nothing is right. His toast was in triangles – he wanted squares. His special jumper felt itchy and tight. Dad said “No way!” to the lolly he wanted. Tricky grizzled and cried. He felt overwhelmed, anxious and frustrated (and at times, he is not the only one feeling that way!) It’s when Dad decided that an outdoor adventure is in order that Tricky finally turns his day around.
Oh so relatable. To be honest, I think that’s what Hannah loves about it too.
Another Book About Bears. – Laura and Philip Bunting
Have you ever noticed how many books there are about bears? Well there are lots – too many, some might say (especially if they are a bear). The problem with this is that every time you open a book about bears, the bear has to perform the story for you. It’s very tiring.
In the hilarious Another book about bears, The wonderful Laura and Philip Bunting get into a full-blown argument with a bear who is fed up with being the star of the show. After some rather embarrassing situations are created for the bear by the authors (such as wearing a pink tu-tu and riding a tiny bike), the bear decides to negotiate. He tries to introduce a whole range of other animals to use instead of a bear, but each one has its faults. The fact is, no animal is better than a bear!
Just when it all begins to look hopeless, a clever compromise is reached.
Rainbow Bear – Stephen Michael King
My favourite part of this story is when Stephen Michael King informs us all that the words “but only once” have as little meaning in the animal kingdom as they do in the human world. When Bear returns home from the city, he brings gifts for everyone to share. After a play with the kids, he has well-and-truly earned a rest, so off to sleep he goes. When Bear wakes up, he is astonished to find that he looks a little… different.
You can find Rainbow Bear here.
We are All Equal – P. Crumble and Jonathan Bentley
We are All Equal is a pure and proud celebration of diversity. The message is clear – we are all different and that is a good thing! Frankly, the earlier toddlers begin to interact with this concept, the better.
Butt Out! – Heath McKenzie
The content of this picture books should be pretty evident from the front cover, but just to clear up any confusion, Butt Out! is all about bottoms. Or, one bottom, to be more specific. You see, much like a toddler, the hero of this story doesn’t much like wearing pants. Talk about relatable!
Butt Out! is a great laugh, especially for those young minds that find bum-humour so funny (yes, young minds includes dads in their mid 30s).
It’s a Long Way to the Shop – Heidi McKinnon
It’s a Long Way to the Shop is a whimsical story about the adventures of two rocks as they journey to the shops. It sure is a long way to the shop, especially when you are an inanimate object. However, as we all know, fortune favours the brave. Somehow the two intrepid adventurers find their way.
Why would two rocks want to go such a long way to the shop? For a sausage roll, of course! If you get that joke, pay careful attention – there may be one or two more ACDC references along the way.
Snow Penguin – Tony Mitton and Alison Brown
Snow Penguin is an adorable rhyming story about a little penguin who finds himself floating out to sea on some ice. While the journey begins full of fun and amazing sights, Penguin eventually begins to notice that he is all alone on the ice. Unsure of where he is, and with the sea now looking blacker than blue, Penguin now misses his friends and family greatly. What he needs, is a little luck!
The adorable illustrations of Alison Brown in Snow Penguin are perfect for toddlers to enjoy!
The First Adventures of Princess Peony – Nette Hilton
Peony is a princess. A real princess. Well, maybe not really a real princess… but she does have a dragon. A real dragon. Or, at least a dog… but she can pretend he is a dragon.
And, she does have a troll for a nemesis. He is definitely a real troll. Even if he is her brother.
The First Adventures of Princess Peony is a whole lot of fun, and a great book for bridging the gap between picture books and text-based stories. It is focussed on exploring and encouraging the world of imagination, and in that, Princess Peony does as great job!
Animalphabet – Julia Donaldson and Sharon King-Chai
One day I would love to meet Julia Donaldson, shake her hand and say “thank you”. So many of her wonderful works sit on Hannah’s bookshelf, the pages slightly crumpled and dog-eared from regular reading. Donaldson’s work is part of the fabric of Hannah’s childhood and I have no doubt that she will grow up to cherish those wonderful stories.
Animalphabet is different to the other Julia Donaldson books that Hannah has, in that it is an alphabet book. One thing I really love about this alphabet book is that Donaldson has made connections from one animal to the next. The result is a fun guessing game about what animal comes next. In presenting the alphabet in this way, Animalphabet helps young children to start really thinking about what letter comes next as they try to predict the next animal. Sharon King-Chai’s wonderfully colourful and engaging illustrations, along with enticingly intricate flaps to lift, entice toddlers further. I can’t think of a better way for Hannah to learn about the alphabet (not to mention about animals)!
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the December 2018 Children’s Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.