NEW TITLES

This month's picture book highlights cover a range of stories that celebrate art, families, pets, counting and healthy eating.

I Love My Granny: Board Book
Giles Andreae

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408335918

I Love My Granny is a warm and humorous story that encapsulates a young child's important relationship with a grandparent, including the time they can spend together (unlike the often busy parents) and the things they can explore and do together. Author Giles Andreae's deceptively simple text brings in lots of humour and affection, while Emma Dodd's lively and bold illustrations help capture that special bond between granny and her grand child through the special but everyday things they do - feeding the ducks, jigsaws and dressing up, and not forgetting those special hugs. The 'I Love...' series by the author and illustrator duo has also included Mummy, Daddy and Baby, and are great stories to share when you are talking about families and special people in children's lives. Also look out for their celebration of nature and pets in I Love My Dog and I Love Bugs / I Love Beasts. Picture book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by Alison Grevitt.

I Love My Granny: Board Book
Frida and Bear
Anthony Browne

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406353990

This lovely picture book is a celebration of art, imagination, and creativity as Browne collaborates with Bartholin to play his Shape Game, which has already been the subject of some of his previous books. Bear and Frida the elephant take it in turns to draw a random shape and then turn it into a picture so a squiggle becomes part of a fish or a dog. The game then develops further by introducing objects such as wrapping paper or a twig which become one of Browne's signature monkeys or a butterfly. With plenty of opportunity to join in and scope to develop the game in different ways this is a simple but enticing book for very young children to explore the world around them, use their imaginations, and develop their art skills. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Natalie Plimmer, librarian

Frida and Bear
This is My Rock
David Lucas

Flying Eye Books

ISBN 9781909263505

This is My Rock is a quirky and beautifully-crafted book by David Lucas, whose earlier titles include The Lying Carpet and Halibut Jackson. In this story, a determined little goat won't let anyone visit 'his' rock and we see him chasing away possible friends and foes alike until, all alone, he begins to wonder if being on his own is such a good idea after all? Children will enjoy recognising how badly the little goat is behaving as the first celebratory page - where goat proclaims 'This is my rock' - turns and we see him sending away unhappy goats, eagles, bears etc with the same words ' 'This is my rock. Not your rock'. The limited text means this story can be used with very early readers, and when it is read aloud, children will enjoy joining in with the repeated phrases. It also demonstrates how few words you need to tell a story especially with supporting pictures, and children can be encouraged to use the pattern of the story to create their own story. There is plenty of warm humour as well, especially the spread that sees the little goat yodelling and tap-dancing to while away the time spent on his own, and the little bird laying claim to the rock at the end. The book is also gorgeously-packaged by publisher Wide Eyed Press. The images are distinctive, with black lines around solid blocks of colour, almost like a coloured etching, and each page has a colourful patterned trim. Definitely one to look out for. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Hopkin

This is My Rock
Fairy Tales Gone Wrong: Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks: A Story About Eating Healthily

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781781716458

This cautionary tale about eating one's greens is the latest from QED that cleverly repurposes traditional fairy tales to help teach young children a variety of life-long lessons (see also Blow Your Nose, Big Bad Wolf and Keep Running, Gingerbread Man). This story, about fussy eaters, sees Goldilocks behaving very badly one morning, refusing to eat breakfast because it isn't icecream. When she runs away into the woods, she gets lost and sure enough, comes across a little cottage where she proceeds to gobble up little bear's small bowl of porridge, because by now she is so hungry. When the bears return and see the damage she has caused, Goldilocks is put to work fixing the mess she has caused. Along the way, she learns that she likes the healthy food they offer her - especially when she discovers that the bears aren't planning to eat her! This story will work well as a read-aloud, offering starting points for a number of discussions including manners, the traditional Goldilocks story, and especially food and what children do and don't like eating. 24 pages / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Fairy Tales Gone Wrong: Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks: A Story About Eating Healthily
The King Cat
Marta Altes

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447258988

This warm and funny picture book is a wonderful celebration of what it means to have a cat in the house. This ginger cat knows he is King of the house and he does many things to help his 'people' - keeping them entertained, sleeping by day so he can protect them by night etc. And all is well - until his family gets a dog and cat wonders what he's done wrong to make this happen? Dogs, he proclaims, are annoying, strange, disgusting and 'quite stupid'. This dog just doesn't understand the rules of the house and cat is determined that he needs to go - but when that happens, is the house just a little too quiet? The images work so well with this text to support cat's pronouncements and to put his 'voice' at the centre of the story. There are also many details in the drawings that develop the humour, especially the pictures on the wall and other indications that cat has this family firmly under his control! Children will enjoy hearing a story told from the pet's perspective and could be encouraged to talk about what the pets in their house might find odd about their human owners. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

The King Cat
Bears Don't Read!
Emma Chichester Clark

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007425198

Emma Chichester Clark, the creator of 'Blue Kangaroo', delivers a wonderful story about the power of stories to make the world 'a more interesting place'; the story is now available in paperback. In the book, we meet a Bear who lives in the woods and who one day finds a book. The pages intrigue him - the story has a bear, just like himself, but living 'an exciting life' and he is determined to discover what this is all about. He wants to be able to read the book and other stories like it and so he journeys to the nearest town to find someone who will teach him to read. His journey - including learning how to read - isn't an easy one but Bear succeeds against the odds, making this a perfect book to share with children who are on their own reading journey. Children will also enjoy discovering that the book that bear is trying to read is actually Bear's own story, and that the little girl in the story - who offers to teach bear to read - is much wiser than many of the adults around her! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Bears Don't Read!
How Many Legs?
Kes Gray

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444910964

If you are looking for picture books to support numeracy learning, then do take a look at How Many Legs, a counting book that encourages the reader to count along with the narrative. 'How many legs would there be If a polar bear came for tea?' And what if he was joined by a duck, carrying a lemon cake, and if a dog walked in with a chimpanzee? And so the new arrivals continue, until we reach a blackboard-style spread that reminds us exactly which animals have arrived and how many legs they have, to help learners add it all up. And if you still can't manage it, you can find the correct answer on the final page. It's a picture book that can be revisited time and again. With young children, you can add up the numbers on individual spreads; with children who are more confident at numbers, you can go through the entire picture book, checking the numbers to see how far you can get. Children can also be encouraged to make their own farmyard or zoo animals and then put them together in distinct groups to create their own numeracy challenges for the rest of the class. 24 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Elen Chadwell.

How Many Legs?
My Little Book of Big Trucks
Honor Head

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784930134

This may be part of QED's 'my little book of...' series, but once you dip into it, you discover it's quite a big book of 'big trucks'. The range of trucks it covers seems huge - I've certainly come across more kinds of trucks than I'd expected, and there are more than most children (and adults) will be aware of. The book is divided into cargo trucks and transporters; building, mining and farming trucks; and special trucks. As well as the obligatory digger trucks and tipper trucks, we also learn about road trains (a truck that pulls lots of trailers joined together), compactors (which work on landfill sites), robot trucks (they work on mines and are controlled via satellite) and pro-jet trucks, which have jet engines for speed. Each spread about a particular truck (and there are 27 spreads) includes a photographic image of the vehicle along with a short, written description and a scattering of facts about it. While the images and some of the facts will appeal to younger children aged four years plus, the text and layout will be just as appealing to older readers aged seven years plus and especially to those obsessed with trucks. This is a definite one for the class or school library as it's such a well-presented book to dip into, and you'll also find it very useful for your 'Vehicles' topics. 64 pages / Ages 4-7+ / Reviewed by Angela Simms.

My Little Book of Big Trucks