Book Review, Picture Books

Perfect Picture Books

Super Silly Museums by Nick Sharatt (Scholastic)

We’re HUGE Nick Sharratt fans in our house! You Choose has been read about 18 million times over the years (I even spotted one of my 12 year olds looking at it again the other day).

Super Silly Museums is just as wonderful! Each fold-out silly museum hides a huge selection of objects to match the theme. For example, the Shoe-seum reveals ankle boots, ballet shoes, cowboy boots and deck shoes right through to a zip-up shoe. The Q-seum opens up to 28 items beginning with the letter Q. The Blue-seum is packed full of objects that are the colour blue. Just like in You Choose, children will love finding their favourites and comparing their choices with others.

The best bit is the end of the book where the final museum, the All-About-You-Seum, provides space for children to draw and write all sorts of amazing things about themselves.

Love You By Heart by Peter H Reynolds (Scholastic)

Love You By Heart is a celebration of love in all its forms. Beautifully poetic, with a gentle rhythm, this is the perfect book to share at bedtime. There’s nothing better than going to sleep feeling loved.

This book would make a great model text for a class writing lesson. Following the simple format, children could write lovely poems for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or for no reason at all except to tell their friends and family how much they love them.

Bedtime, Little Mouse by Magali Mialaret & Carmen Saldana (Buster Books)

Little Mouse has had a fun day playing with her friends but on the way home, a storm swirls and blows. By the time she reaches home, her mind is buzzing and she struggles to settle down to sleep.

Big Mouse encourages her to snuggle down and think happy thoughts, breathing in and out as she lets go of the day. Remembering all the good moments of her day, she soon relaxes and drifts off to peaceful sleep.

This lovely story is perfect for bedtime. Notes from the author provides parents and carers with tools to help their own little ones create a calm and mindful bedtime routine.

Dogs in Disguise by Peter Bently & John Bond (Harper Collins)

Dogs in Disguises takes dressing up your pet to a whole new level! Bizarrely brilliant and absolutely hilarious, readers will come across all sorts of pooches in all sorts of costumes. From Pugs in tuxedos to Setters in sweaters, each page has something new to see.

Word play abounds with charming rhymes and lots of alliteration. This is a book to be read aloud. Children are sure to ask for it again and again as they spot different details each time and giggle along with the silly situations these dogs encounter.

This Girl Can Do Anything by Stephanie Stansbie & Hazel Qiuntanilla (Little Tiger)

This is Ruby and she knows who she is, what she wants and that she can do anything! This confident little girl won’t take no for an answer or be told she can’t do something. She is daring, brave and absolutely full of beans. There isn’t time to be anything else because she has so much to accomplish! But at the end of the day, she still needs her teddy and a kiss from Mum & Dad. She knows who she is and what she wants – her loving family.

I laughed out loud when this book started with the line “I am Ruby”. It could have been written about my own “Charlotte Rubye” who has always known her own mind and been busy being her wonderful self.

This is a book to champion every girl who knows how powerful she is and wants to stay true to herself. All girls need to be reminded of this (whether they’re 4 or 14) so they don’t give in to pressure to give up on their spark or be someone they’re not.

(My 14 year old has just come home and read this story out loud to herself, laughing the whole time and saying, “This is so me!”)

The Hotel for Bugs by Suzy Senior & Leire Martin (Little Tiger)

This busy, buzzy book is so much fun! Overflowing with bright illustrations, fun rhymes and emphasis on brilliant vocabulary, children will LOVE hearing it read aloud.

Everything is going great in the new Hotel for Bugs until somebody squishy, shiny and blobby arrives. Suddenly the hotel is “full” and the slug isn’t welcome. Heartbroken, he slides out the door. The manager is relieved but the other bugs aren’t sure. Finally, one tiny young bug speaks up and asks, “What’s wrong with slugs?” He points out that they’re all a bit odd, a bit weird, and the others agree. Being different is cool and, actually, the hotel manager is a fool. When everyone decides to leave, she changes her mind and dashes off to bring the slug back. Now everyone is welcome – it’s a hotel for all.

Among all the funny bugs and silly illustrations, this book holds a powerful message. It will promote so much classroom discussion celebrating difference and acceptance.

Goodbye Bear by Jane Chapman (Little Tiger)

Goodbye Bear is a story of loss and dealing with grief. Bear has died and his woodland friends miss him so much. It just isn’t the same without him: they think they hear his voice, they remember the good times and the bad, they cry and comfort each other when they do. They look after each other until finally spring arrives.

Mole and Beaver decide to visit Bear’s treehouse and discover all sorts of lovely surprises he had been working on for them. They throw themselves into the project, determined to finish what Bear started. In the end, they find ways to honour Bear’s life and remember him in a really special way.

The emotion of this story is raw and real. Children will grieve with Mole and Beaver, gaining understanding about what it’s like to lose someone special and how to cope with it. For children who have lost someone, this book will help them to know that they are not alone and there are things they can do to feel better.

Sharing this book with children will require forethought and consideration of the group’s circumstances. With the right preparation and thoughtful discussion, it will be a powerful tool for supporting young children through grief and building empathy.

The Last Tiger by Becky Davies & Jennie Poh (Little Tiger)

Issues of climate change, habitat loss and endangered animals are central to this lovely story about Asha the tiger. She loves living in the forest – full of trees, full of tigers, full of life. But gradually, increased flooding causes many of the animals to leave. Food becomes scarce and Asha is alone. Then humans arrive with their machines and cut down the forest. Her home is destroyed.

The impact on Asha is clear. Children will quickly see that something must be done to prevent this from happening to more animals around the world. It’s not too late to protect the tigers and their homes. Notes from the author provide prompts for discussion, vocabulary development and lesson topics. Teachers will be able to use this book as a jumping off point for a powerful environmental topic.

Thank you to Scholastic, Little Tiger, Harper Collins & Buster Books for these lovely books!

Click on the covers below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon

Books by Kate Heap:

Contemporary Children’s Literature: Years 3/4

Nonfiction: Years 5/6

Nonfiction: Years 3/4

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