The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler. What better time to stock the kid’s bookshelf with a bunch of cracking new books? Welcome to the March 2021 Children’s Book Roundup!
Disclosure – these books were provided to Blog of Dad free of charge for the Children’s Book Roundup. For further information, please visit my disclosure statement.
Dream Big, Little Mole – Tom Percival and Christine Pym
Little Mole is having a bad time. She has observed all the other animals with marvellous talents, like leaping and flying and climbing, but she can’t do any of those things. Owl hears Little Mole’s sigh, so flies down to offer a few pearls of wisdom. “Dream BIG, Little Mole. Be brilliant. Be YOU!”
Little Mole thinks about what talent she might have, and then it strikes her – digging! She sets out to dig the best hole… but there are a few mishaps along the way. Mole’s hole keeps causing trouble in other animal’s underground houses and carefully kept lawns. Everyone seems angry at Little Mole. Is there any way that good can come of Little Mole’s hole? Maybe…
Earth’s Incredible Oceans – Jess French and Claire McElfatrick
Earth’s Incredible Oceans is a beautiful visual guide to our oceans and seas and the animals that live within them. Each double page graphical spread is filled with stunning illustrations and information. The book is broken into five sections: what is an ocean?, ocean animals, living in the ocean, ocean habitats and oceans and me, which cover topics such as why ocean water is always moving, the layers of life at different ocean depths and ocean life from jellyfish to sharks and rays and even ocean reptiles.
Life Skills – Kelly Swift
Life Skills is all about creativity, problem solving, mindfulness, empathy and teamwork. Best suited to about the “tween” age group, it is a wonderful resources and one that I am sure will be well used by my deep-thinking daughter as she moves into this age group.
The best introduction to this book is the introduction found in the book itself:
“As you set off on your life’s adventures, there will be high points, low points, and all the points in between. This book is designed to help you navigate your journey. Get to know yourself, believe in what you can do, build confidence to tackle challenges, and grab some exciting opportunities along the way.”
The chapters in this book address finding solutions, ways of thinking, communicating, understanding feeling and coping skills. It provides fascinating insights and practical suggestions in a brightly illustrated graphical format.
Little People, Big Dreams: Malala Yousafzai – Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Manal Mirza
This book tells the story of Malala Yousafzai. Her father ran a school in Pakistan and Malala couldn’t wait to attend class and discover all her talents, but when the Taliban took control they banned most of the things she likes, from listening to music to flying kites and, of course, girls going to school. Malala and her friends decided to speak up about how important it was for their future to attend school. One day, Malala and two of her friends were shot on their way back home from school. Malala was very badly injured. When she woke up Malala couldn’t recognise her room. She had been taken to a hospital in England. Malala recovered, grew stronger and kept raising her voice about every child’s right to go to school and dream as big as they want.
This book is a part of the Little People, Big Dreams series. It is a biography series that covers the lives of outstanding humans from designers to artists, scientists to activists. The series celebrates triumph over adversity through some of history’s greatest characters.
You can find Little People, Big Dreams: Malala Yousafzai here.
Don’t Forget – Jane Godwin and Anna Walker
Don’t Forget is a very different book. There is no lovable central character. In fact, there are no named characters at all! Instead, there are many kids who, through their actions, remind us that there are so many ways in which we are part of the world. The little things matter, like brushing your teeth and smelling the flowers, and so do the bigger things – like dreaming and trying new things!
As always, the illustrations are absolutely beautiful, as is the message. Although very different, Don’t Forget may very quickly become as loved as other Godwin/Walker books in this house!
Maybe – Chris Haughton
Maybe is a cute, simple story about listening to instructions and avoiding temptations. Three little monkeys are explicitly told not to go to the mango tree by their parent, because there are tigers about. Of course, that immediately puts the idea of mangos into the little minds, to the extent that they decide to go and just have a look. That look soon turns into eating all the mangos. But suddenly… tigers! After a narrow escape, surely the little monkeys have learnt their lesson… Maybe…
Introducing D’Lila LaRue – Nette Hilton, Illustrated by A. Yi
Introducing D’Lila LaRue is a three-books-in-one introduction to the delightful characters, D’Lila LaRue and her ever-present companion, Nanny-Anny. D’Lila has a mummy and a daddy, but they are VERY IMPORTANT PEOPLE who are VERY BUSY and NOT TO BE DISTURBED. We never hear much about “mummy” or “daddy”, but we find out quite a lot about Nanny-Anny throughout the course of the three stories. Her job is to always, always stay with D’Lila and look after her.
Sometimes, looking after D’Lila LaRue can be hard work. It’s not that D’Lila is poorly behaved or rude – in fact, she tries very hard to do the right thing. But sometimes it can be hard to know what the right thing is to do. Especially when you are a little person who takes everything that adults say extremely literally.
It doesn’t take long to start liking the character D’Lila LaRue, and her adventures are certainly entertaining! Our 5 year old daughter very much enjoyed having the three stories read to her in succession over a series of nights and I’ll happily admit that I laughed out loud at several of D’Lila’s antics.
Rajah Street – Myo Yim
Rajah Street takes us into the small, cosy house of a little boy, Junya. His favourite things are “mummy, daddy, little-bit-older brother and eggs”. His next favourite things are garbage trucks. And garbage trucks come on Wednesdays. We see the world of Rajah Street through Junya’s eyes as he looks out the window. Junya has no idea when Wednesday is, but that doesn’t really matter. As different animals and vehicles and people go by, Junya makes sense of them in his own, little person way. For us parents, Rajah Street is a great reminder that little imaginations have wonderful ways of helping kids make sense of the world around them.
Coco and the Butterfly – Laura Bunting and Nicky Johnson
Coco and the Butterfly is the follow up to the wonderful Coco the Big City Kitty. The first book was a huge hit in this house, so we had a thrilled five year old when this second book arrived!
Coco and her family have moved away from the city that Coco loves, into a boring house in a sleepy country town. There is no buzz at all… except for the buzz of buzzing bugs. And bugs are number 1 on Coco’s New Least Favourite Things List. It’s fair to say that Coco does not like the big changes in her life and they are making her feel miserable.
In order to escape the bubbling volcano of rage in her belly, Coco grabs her favourite fairy wings and heads out into the garden, where she flaps, dances and twirls wildly until she is too dizzy to stand. While lying on the ground, she has an unexpected encounter with a caterpillar and (after a brief moment of disgust) she realises that there are others around her who are struggling with change too. The caterpillar is terrified of becoming a butterfly, so Coco sets about helping it feel a bit better. Soon she has made a surprising friend and together, they help each other overcome their own personal challenges.
Coco and the Butterfly is beautifully written and beautifully illustrated, and is a brilliant resource for little people experiencing big change. It is also a thoroughly enjoyable story!
You can find Coco and the Butterfly here.
A Cat with no Name: A Story About Sadness – Kochka & Marie Leghima
Feelings are extremely important for young people to understand. Sadness is a vital feeling and it is a natural part of life, but it is also a difficult feeling for children to experience and a challenge for us parents to address. Often, our protective instinct is to avoid our children feeling sadness, but by avoiding or minimising feelings of sadness we actually do them a disservice.
A Cat with no Name is a powerful story for teaching our children about the emotion of sadness, but it also comes with a very useful Notes for Parents, Carers and Teachers, which helps us to understand how to better address instances of sadness with our kids.
You can find A Cat with no Name: A Story About Sadness here.
The Secret Explorers Series – SJ King
- The Secret Explorers and the Rainforest Rangers
- The Secret Explorers and the Smoking Volcano
The Secret Explorers are back! In January we covered the first four chapter books in this engaging new series and we are thrilled to now add the next two to our collection! These action-packed adventure stories are highly engaging and fun to read a chapter or two at a time.
In The Rainforest Rangers, two members of our new favourite adventure crew, Ollie and Kiki, set off to Borneo in search of a missing orangutan. As always, they are accompanied on their mission by the shape-shifting go-kart, The Beagle (named after Charles Darwin’s famous exploration ship). Along the way, Ollie and Kiki uncover a plot to destroy the rainforest. Can they (with a bit of help from the rest of The Secret Explorers back at the Exploration Station) outsmart the villains and save the orangutan’s home?
In The Smoking Volcano, Cheng and Leah (and the Beagle) experience the thrill of a volcanic eruption up close! However, the excitement of the eruption quickly turns to worry as the adventurers realise their new friends are in trouble. Fortunately, the Beagle has taken the form of a rescue helicopter. Can the Secret Explorers stage a daring rescue?