Winter finally arrived in August. What better way to escape the cold than with a great book?… How about with 14 of them! Here it is, the August 2018 Picture Book Roundup!
Tom’s Magnificent Machines – Linda Sarah and Ben Mantle
Tom and his dad love making things together, especially things that move. It started with simple go-karts but soon their inventions got bigger faster and crazier. Their home filled and became a wonderland. Then things changed in an instant. Tom’s dad lost his job. They needed to move out, they could no longer afford their home. Tom’s filled with sadness and anger. A while later, he had an idea… They would pay to live in their house by turning it in to a museum. At first Tom’s dad was too down and distracted to consider it, but soon enough they did it and people came from near and far. When the whirlwind came and destroyed the house, Tom was distraught and felt defeated but this time dad led the way.
Tom’s Magnificent Machines is about family. It is about joy and sadness, resilience and being there for one another. After all, isn’t that what family is all about? Let Tom’s Magnificent Machines take you on a wonderful journey, with magical highs and crushing lows that are worked though with a little help from loved ones.
You Can’t let an Elephant drive a Digger – Patricia Cleveland-Peck and David Tazzyman
Let me start with complete disclosure that Hannah loves diggers. And elephants. (But if she had to choose she would probably choose the digger.) She also loves books. So this this book was a winner before we even got past the title.
This sequel to You Can’t take an Elephant on the Bus is an absurdly funny read. An array of improbable creatures try to be helpful. But would you let a polar bear cut your hair? Or let a shark take a bath with you? How about letting a seal prepare you a meal? Careful, it may all go horribly wrong!
Backyard – Ananda Braxton-Smith & Lizzy Newcomb
Backyard is a nod to the great suburban backyard. Not the postage-stamp-sized ones that can be found out the back of today’s McMansions, but the old-school, quarter-acre blocks of my childhood.
In those backyards, “sleep-moony” children and “star-eyed” dogs sit and watch the world. And there is a world – an entire ecosystem of flora and fauna interacting as the night takes hold.
I may just be a nostalgic old fool, but I found the imagery of Backyard deeply evocative. I very much hope that someday Hannah will know how it feels to be that star-eyed child on the back step, watching the world.
Welcome to our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere – Moira Butterfield and Harriet Lynas
Did you know that there are nearly 200 countries on Earth and over 7000 different languages? Welcome to our World is a celebration of the diversity and similarity of people across the globe. There are 64 pages of interesting facts about children all over the world, including snippets of language.
Welcome to our World: A celebration of children everywhere is a great book for curious toddlers who are beginning to notice that the world is much bigger than they are!
You can find Welcome to our World: A Celebration of Children Everywhere on the Murdoch Books (Allen & Unwin) website.
Norman the Knight Get a Fright – Mark Sperring and Ed Eaves
Wouldn’t it be amazing to work for a brave knight? Wouldn’t it be brilliant to spend your days in the presence of greatness? Sure, you might have to do a few dirty jobs… and you might have to pander to his shallow ego… and you might have to rescue him when it turn out that he’s not so brave…
Perhaps the job of knave is not so great after all. I wonder what other jobs are around…
You Can Never Run Out of Love – Helen Docherty and Ali Pye
This is an adorable book for helping your toddler learn about love. Packed full of rhyme and engaging pictures, You Can Never Run Out of Love conveys a simple message about the limitless nature of love.
In our house, love is a concept that Hannah is just beginning to explore, so this book it a handy one to have around.
How Did I Get Here? – Philip Bunting
Philip Bunting is an author/illustrator who has recently burst onto the picture book scene. He has quickly become one of my favourites. Mopoke, Kookaburras Love to Laugh and Errol! have been some of the most enjoyable picture books of this year.
How Did I Get Here? is a delightfully simple explanation of the extremely complex mechanisms at work in our very existence. While Hannah is not yet at the “Where did I come from?” stage, the fun illustrations in this book are highly engaging for her. She also loves space (even if she doesn’t comprehend it… Jupiter is her favourite planet), so the planets page grabs her attention. When she does begin asking those deep questions, this book will be where we begin to answer them.
Philip Bunting’s books tend to be packed with great humour to engage adult readers, while simultaneously holding the attention of the young reader. This makes them highly enjoyable to read together. How Did I Get Here is no exception – I enjoy several chuckles each time I read it through.
Bonkers About Beetles – Owen Davey
Narratives are great for toddlers, but never lose sight of the deep curiosity that they have about the real world. Hannah seems to absorb information in ways I never imagined a toddler would. For example, she can differentiate between all of the common types of birds in our local area.
Bonkers About Beetles is the ideal early reference book for insect-interested children. It has bright, detailed pictures and plenty of information to satisfy curious young minds. The information ranges from simple facts to complex descriptions, so it should remain an engaging resource for Hannah for many years to come.
Maya & Cat – Caroline Magerl
Maya notices a cat on a rooftop in the rain. Coaxing the cat down is one thing, but finding her owner is quite another. Fortunately, Maya is a tenacious young girl. Eventually she follows Cat’s nose to find her owner on a boat at the end of a rickety pier. Maya is pleased to have helped Cat return home, but she feels sad because she will miss her fury friend. Cat, however, has seen the goodness in Maya and she knows that she is the perfect person to look after a very special little bundle.
Maya & Cat is a lovely story with engaging illustrations for little people.
The Cat Wants Kittens – P.Crumble & Lucinda Gifford
Kevin the cat is bored. Like any good cat, Kevin makes his boredom known to all around him by destroying things and generally being a nuisance. Naturally, Kevin’s owners get the message and act to cure his boredom… by acquiring two new kittens. The new kittens may cure Kevin’s boredom, but they don’t appear to be exactly what he had in mind. Can he reclaim his domain?
Kevin the cat may be grumpy, but his adventures (misfortunes) a good fun for toddlers.
You can find The Cat Wants Kittens here.
Play this Book and Pet this Book – Jessica Young and Daniel Wiseman
These wonderfully captivating books encourage interactivity. With thick pages, big bold illustrations and a simple engaging premise, they are perfect for toddlers. The rhythmic rhyming words carry you along. In one book we play our way through a band’s worth of instruments. In the other, we care for a menagerie of pets. These books are bound to be on frequent repeat in toddler households.
The Heart of a Whale – Anna Pignataro
The Heart of a Whale is a beautiful imagining of a story behind a whale’s song. The stunning images and equally evocative words create a heart-warming story about a whale and his song, and the impact that song has on the entire ocean.
Even though the whale’s song brings great joy and comfort to the other ocean creatures, he begins to feel a great loneliness. He heaves a great sigh, that drifts away into the ocean like a wish. Will his wish be heard?
Cinderfella – Malachy Doyle and Matt Hunt
As you might expect, Cinderfella is a reimagining of the classic fairy tale, with gender roles switched. It’s also been given a modern-day make-over.
When karate-champ Kayleigh decides to throw a big party, Cinderfella’s brothers tell him he’s not invited. At the last minute he finds the invitation and realises that he had been invited after all. Has Cinderfella got what it takes to impress Kayleigh on the dance floor?
Want to Play Trucks? – Ann Scott and Bob Graham
Jack likes trucks. Alex likes dolls. The two young boys meet in the park almost every morning. Can they possibly be friends, with such different tastes?
Want to Play Trucks is a great reminder of the simplicity of childhood. Differences of opinion matter little to these great friends, and even when it looks like an argument is about to break out, things aren’t as bad as they seem.
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.