Well, the shortlist for the Picture Book Award in this year’s NZ Book Awards is out, and there are some fabulous books on there! We love getting to see all these fantastic new books by New Zealand authors coming in through the library doors, so read on to see what we thought of this year’s batch of finalists. Check out these beautiful, funny, and touching picture books at your local library, or click the link to reserve a copy!
Fuzzy Doodle / written by Melinda Szymanik ; pictures by Donovan Bixley.
A gorgeously illustrated book whose wonderfully whimsical doodly protagonist will whisk you up and take you on a journey through the world of words and your own imagination. The poetic text puts us somewhat in mind of Margaret Mahy. This is a book that will give you something new to think about each time you pick it up. And, it’s a favourite in library storytimes!
Gwendolyn! / Juliette MacIver ; Terri Rose Baynton.
This brightly-coloured, uplifting book about friendship and learning to find your place in the world puts us right inside the jungle home of Gwendolyn the penguin. Hold on — a penguin in the jungle?! Each page gives us a fresh new world of colours, textures, and places to explore. We’d recommend it for ages 2 and up!
My grandpa is a dinosaur / Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones.
What do you do when your grandpa’s footprints attract palaeontologists to your door? Anyone in need of a good laugh will love this hilarious story about Wanda and her somewhat unconventional family. We loved the stylised illustrations and the laugh-out-loud twist at the end — we’re sure you will too!
That’s not a hippopotamus! / written by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.
The wonderfully clever and deft wordplay in this rollicking tale of a school trip gone awry had us hooked from the very beginning. The character we most identified with was the teacher, for reasons that will become increasingly obvious as the book pulls you towards its hilarious conclusion!
The singing dolphin = Te aihe i waiata / by Mere Whaanga.
Award-winning author Mere Whaanga’s new book, The Singing Dolphin/Te aihe i waiata, is the only book in te reo Māori to make it onto this year’s shortlist, and it certainly is fantastic. This enchanting story, told in Māori and English side-by-side, weaves a touching story of family, acceptance, and transformation. The evocative illustrations, particularly towards the end of the book, make this a really satisfying read.
That’s it for the Picture Book Award shortlist! Let us know in the comments what your favourites were 🙂 Keep an eye on the blog for more upcoming book reviews for NZ Book Awards finalists! We can’t wait to share them with you!