So many books! We have wonderful new picture books, some big name titles that are thoroughly loved already (the Bluey books have been read so often that Hannah has memorised them both!), some fantastic young reader chapter books and some great non-fiction. Get comfy, it’s time for the November 2019 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.
Three – Stephen Michael King
Three, a little three-legged dog, is the epitome of the mindfulness movement. As he meanders his way through his day in his city home, he is present in every moment, using all of his senses, noticing details, taking it all in, feeling grateful. He walks here and there. When the sun is shining, he is warm. If it rains all day, he feels clean. Along the way he sees all sorts of things. Little six legs with underground homes, far away from busy feet. An eight leg with a home up high, far away from busy traffic.
Three is thankful that his legs took him wherever he chose, and that he knows how to cross a road when the light is green.
One day Three follows a scented breeze to a place away from the city, a place of rolling hills, and all sorts of different four legs and two legs, as well as a two leg pretending to be a three leg just like him. Her name was Fern. Fern was thankful for her new friend.
Three is a happy, heart-warming story. Three, the dog, is immediately lovable. He is filled with everyday adventure and wonder. His natural mindfulness and gratitude is endlessly endearing.
Three is beautifully illustrated; the style perfectly matching the storyline. I especially like the wordless double page illustration of the city, red dotted line showing where three has wandered, exploring.
You can find Three here.
The Very Super Bear – Nick Bland
Another fun read in Nick Bland’s “The Very Cranky Bear” series.
When Bear comes across a red picnic rug in the jungle, he fashions it in to a cape for his dress up game. An elephant, stuck up high in a tree, calls to Bear to fly up and help, not realising Bear is not really a super hero. Though not airworthy, Bear is ever helpful so climbs up to help, and soon finds perhaps he can fly after all… in a manner of speaking. So when there is a big yellow monster gobbling up the jungle and owl is asleep in there, perhaps he can help too, even if he’s not really Super Bear.
What’s more, it will leave you wondering… why does the swarm of bees frighten the jungle-destroying “monster” (digger) away? Does the digger driver have melissophobia? Ok, perhaps that’s just me, since this quandary has occupied more of my thoughts than seems reasonable.
You can find The Very Super Bear here.
Nop – Caroline Magerl
Nop, the teddy bear, was not plush in places. No button, ribbon, scarf or spangle. He watches as all the other soft toys get bought and head off on their adventures. Nothing for Nop. One day Nop fashions a scrap into a bow tie and has a thought. A bear in a bow tie can go anywhere, someplace wonderful even! With that, Nop begins to stitch and stitch, and soon…puff…the wind catches his great fabric balloon and carries him beyond. As he spots a pocket of green among the roofs far below, he lets go, whiffling down through creepers, ferns and fronds to a big, butterscotch orange orangutan friend.
Nop is a truly lovely adventure.
The Dinky Donkey – Craig Smith and Katz Cowley
The Wonky Donkey has had a daughter! She is small and cute. She is a dinky donkey. She is small and cute,… has beautiful long eyelashes,… loves listening to rowdy music,… paints her hooves bright pink,…has to go pee-pee,… plays the piano,… wears wild sunglasses… and smells just as bad as her dad . She’s a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky inky-pinky punky blinky dinky donkey. This is fun and funny to read as the story builds one outrageous adjective at a time.
You can find The Dinky Donkey here.
Celeste the Giraffe Loves to Laugh – Celeste Barber and Matt Cosgrove
Celeste is a friendly, happy giraffe with a kind heart. She makes others laugh, but sometimes she worries that she isn’t enough. It seems like other animals do much cooler stuff. With this, Celeste goes on a marvellously comical journey of self-discovery. Soon she finds that she has several fantastic traits. She may be clumsy, but she is very strong and can reach more than the others because her neck is so long. What’s more, she has a gift of making others laugh that she can share and teach.
Self-acceptance and self-worth are oft discussed topics in children’s book. Here, in her first children’s book, actor, writer and comedian, Celeste Barber, covers these topics in a wonderfully warm and comical style.
I Am Perfectly Designed – Karamo Brown and Anoosha Syed
In I Am Perfectly Designed, a father and son set about their day, walking through the city and chatting as they go. They talk about how they are perfectly designed for one another, reminiscing of past times spent together, enjoying their day, and looking forward to the future. It celebrates the father-son relationship and loving who you are, exactly as you are. It is a lively and heart-warming story.
Bluey: Fruit Bat
Bluey: The Beach
Hannah could not contain her excitement when these Bluey books arrived. They had all been comprehensively read and explored when they were barely out of the packaging. Bluey is her favourite show. Ok, I’ll admit, it is also the only show she watches. We limit screen time and this popular, seven minute long, down-to-earth, Aussie kids show was the show we selected. In any case, she loves it and these books are equally loved. The relatable characters and life situations seem to really resonate with Hannah and she often brings them back up for discussion at dinnertime. The Beach and Fruit Bat books follow the same storyline as the Bluey episodes of the same name.
In Fruit Bat, it is bedtime and Bluey doesn’t want to go to sleep. She wishes she was a fruit bat because they don’t go to sleep at night. Dad has fallen asleep on the floor and is dreaming of playing touch footy. He doesn’t get to play much anymore in real life – no time when you are working and caring for two pups. Bluey has an idea. She can dream of being a fruit bat. Off to bed she goes! Fruit Bat is a glow-in-the-dark book. Turn off the lights and watch the stars glow!
In The Beach, during a family beach day, Mum sets of for a walk on her own. Bluey is soon trailing behind with a beautiful shell to show her. When Bluey notices just how far away Mum is, she hesitates to follow her alone, but with a little encouragement from sister Bingo, Bluey sets off on her own adventures to Mum, following her footprints. She moves through a flock of seagulls, copies a crab’s funny walk (and learns better than to mock it -“pinchy pinchy”- when it turns out it is in fact one of an army of crabs!) and pushes on even when Mum’s footprints are washed away by the sea.
Bluey: Time To Play – A Sticker Activity Book
Bluey: Time To Play is a sixteen page activity book, each page with a different type of activity and related to a different Bluey episode. There are mazes, colouring in, drawing and a stack of sticker activities. A sure-fire hit with any young Bluey fan. There have been a few requests for another go at this one in our household!
Kiki and Jax: the life-changing magic of friendship – Marie Kondo and Salina Yoon
In this picture book by Marie Kondo (of ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ fame), Kiki and Jax are best friends, but they are different. Jax enjoys sorting, and Kiki enjoys collecting. The trouble is, Kiki has run out of places to store her collections and so she just put them everywhere: pine cones under the bed, nuts under the rug, piles of clothes in the bath. When Jax comes over to play football, Kiki can’t find the ball, so he goes home. When Jax came over to go swimming, Kiki can’t find her swimming costume. Kiki’s things are getting in the way of their friendship. Jax misses Kiki. Perhaps he can help. Pretty soon Jax has Marie Kondo’ed (yes, it’s a verb… I think) Kiki’s place and they are ready to play again.
You can find Kiki and Jax: the life-changing magic of friendship on the Pan Macmillan website.
I’m Ready For Preschool – Jedda Robaard
With Hannah starting preschool on January, this book could not have come at a better time. We have just had our “preschool playdate” – an orientation morning. Hannah already attends daycare a couple of days a week, but there are a few things about preschool that are different, like that she has to take a packed lunch with her each day.
I’m Ready for Preschool covers off some of the activities as well as feelings that may occur, all with a cute little koala lead character. Hannah has already come back to this book a few times and I’m sure there will be a few more read-throughs as she makes sense of this transition in her own mind, works to settle any nerves she has and gets excited to be starting preschool soon.
The Secrets of Magnolia Moon – Written by Edwina Watt, Illustrated by Katherine Quinn
Well, books like this don’t come along every day.
Magnolia Moon is an excellent secret keeper. Special secrets. Secrets that help people feel braver, less alone, more loved. When her best friend, Imogen May, is moving away, she asks Magnolia not to tell anyone. “I don’t like saying goodbye.” So Magnolia finds a way to give Imogen a magnificent send off without ever saying goodbye at all.
Each chapter is structured around a different secret Magnolia is keeping and, in doing so, chronicles a year of change for Magnolia, from her best friend moving away to the birth of her baby brother.
Magnolia Moon is something truly special, a real treasure. It is quirky and whimsical, but with a depth to it – a depth of story and characters that is often overlooked in children’s books for this age group. Where many books are popcorn of the literary world – fun and light, but no real substance and leaves you still hungry – Magnolia Moon is an apple and raspberry fruit loaf – delicious, filling, satisfying and just a bit special!
The illustrations in this book – the beautiful cover that captures the story, as well as the scattered black and white pictures within – add to the magnificence of Magnolia Moon.
Alice-Miranda Series – Jacqueline Harvey:
Alice-Miranda 3 in 1
Alice-Miranda Friends Forever: The Official Movie Script
Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Activity Book
Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Journal
Alice-Miranda, a determined and optimistic seven year old, has organised early entry into boarding school, Winchesterfield-Downsforsvale, for herself and her pony, Bonaparte. For Alice-Miranda, Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale is filled with friendship and fun, with a good dose of drama and mystery. This very entertaining series follows the adventures of Alice-Miranda through school and around the world. There is a lot to like about this series.
The Alice-Miranda series now has eighteen books (with still more to come), and the first movie, Alice-Miranda Friends Forever, is released this month. To mark the movie release, Penguin have published some movie tie-ins: a 3-in-1 book of the first three books in the series, the official movie script, a journal and an activity book.
The 3-in-1 book has the first three books in the series: Alice-Miranda at School, Alice-Miranda on Holiday, Alice-Miranda Takes the Lead. In Alice-Miranda at School, having independently arranged early entry for herself, Alice-Miranda starts at Winchester-Downsfordvale boarding school. Alice-Miranda sets about proving herself, completing a series of tricky tests. Can she beat the most spoilt girl in school in a solo sailing feat? Can she camp alone in the forest for five whole days and nights?
In Alice-Miranda on Holiday, having made it through her first term at school, Alice-Miranda is off on holiday… but Jacinta Headlington-Bear, the school’s second best tantrum thrower, is coming too!
In Alice-Miranda Takes the Lead, Alice-Miranda is thrilled to be returning to school after the school break, where the girls are preparing for a play with the neighbouring boys’ school. The books are thoroughly readable and likeable, instantly drawing you in to the story.
Alice Miranda Friends Forever: The Official Movie Script is exactly what it says on the box and includes a full-colour picture sections of settings and characters. A nice way to introduce young readers to a different style of text.
The activity book is filled with quizzes, colouring recipes and games.
The hard cover journal is bound to be loved by any young Alice-Miranda fan.
You can find Alice-Miranda 3 in 1, Alice-Miranda Friends Forever: The Official Movie Script, Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Activity Book and the Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Journal on the Penguin website.
The Book of Stone – Mark Greenwood and Coral Tulloch
Every stone has a story. The Book of Stone tells the stories of many different types of stones. It touches upon rocks formed in different types of environments: volcanos, space and rivers. It tells of fossils and stones for tools, crystals and magnetic stones, stones as charms and monuments. The Book of Stone focuses on the story of these stones rather than facts such as scientific names of rocks, and such. I particularly like the cover of this book, which looks as though the words are engraved in a stone willed with fossils. Just stunning.
Myths, Legends and Sacred Stories, a Children’s Encyclopaedia
This is a stunning children’s encyclopaedia of myths and legends, filled with facts and great illustrations. With over one hundred myths and legends, they have been categorised by continent and include the fall of Icarus, avatars of Vishnu and the Rainbow Serpent. A book I’m sure my kids will keep coming back to.
You can find Myths, Legends and Sacred Stories, a Children’s Encyclopaedia on the Penguin website.