Board books are great for babies and these new additions are sure to delight!
Sleeping bunnies / Kubler, Annie
“This award winning series has been specifically designed for babies. A great introduction to books through well-known nursery rhymes and interactive text. This award winning series has been specifically designed for babies. A great introduction to books through well-known nursery rhymes and interactive text. Singing songs and rhymes is the perfect way to bond with your baby and share quality time. It also aids language development by introducing them to the natural sounds and patterns of speech. Combining these with actions also stimulates the brain and helps muscle development.” (Catalogue)
“This gorgeously illustrated Touch and Talk tactile board book by new brand Hannah + Holly is a great first introduction to early concepts. Little fingers will delight in tracing over the shapes of each object in this wonderful tactile board book range. These beautifully illustrated books are a great first introduction to colours, from yellow bananas to red ladybirds. Hannah and Holly’s soft pastel palette makes this the ideal gift for a new born baby or first birthday.” (Catalogue)
See, touch, feel / Priddy, Roger
“There’s lots to explore in this sturdy board book specially designed to stimulate babies through sensory play. Each page has a colourful picture activity with raised textured pages to feel, finger trails to follow, and a shiny mirror to look in to. These simple activities encourage babies to interact with the book through sight, sound, and touch.” (Catalogue)
Woke baby / Browne, Mahogany L.
“A lyrical and empowering book for all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism. For all the littlest progressives, waking up to seize a new day of justice and activism. Woke babies are up early. Woke babies raise their fists in the air. Woke babies cry out for justice. Woke babies grow up to change the world. This lyrical and empowering book is both a celebration of what it means to be a baby and what it means to be woke. With bright playful art, Woke Baby is an anthem of hope in a world where the only limit to a skyscrapper is more blue.” (Catalogue)
Our baby / Hathorn, Libby
“Join this charming family of bears as they sing and chuckle and snuggle their way through a sunny afternoon. They delight in each other’s company and they delight in the myriad ways a baby can bring joy to everyday life.” (Catalogue)
Starting school and making friends can be scary. These fantastic books show how kindness makes everything better!
Mae’s first day of school / Berube, Kate
“From the author/illustrator of Hannah and Sugar comes a back-to-school tale about facing your fears As Mae’s first day of school approaches she decides she IS. NOT. GOING. School is scary What if the other kids don’t like her? Or what if she’s the only one who doesn’t know how to write? Or what if she misses her mom? Mae’s anxiety only builds as she walks to school. But then she meets Rosie and Ms. Pearl. Will making new friends show her that they can conquer their fears together?” (Catalogue)
Maddie’s first day / Matthews, P. E.
“It is Maddie’s first day of school and she has everything ready – her uniform, shoes, socks and hat. But there is one special thing that Maddie can’t leave behind – her blanky! Award winners Penny Matthews and Liz Anelli team up to bring us this wonderful picture book about the excitement of going to “big” school for the first time.” (Catalogue)
From far away / Munsch, Robert N.
“The classic story of an immigrant child adjusting to her new home, now with new illustrations. Askar immigrated with her family from war-torn Lebanon when she was seven years old. This picture book tells the story of how she must adjust to her new home in Canada. An ideal book to help kids empathize with immigrant children whose experiences are very similar to Askar’s. Full color.” (Catalogue)
The secret sky garden / Sarah, Linda
“A startlingly original book, about a garden grown on an old car park roof, with beautiful illustrations by Fiona Lumbers.
Funni loves the old, disused car park, and spends a lot of time there flying her kite and playing her recorder. But something is missing. Definitely. So Funni decides to create a garden in the neglected space and after weeks of careful nurture, her garden in the sky takes shape. One day, a little boy, Zoo, spots the square of colour amongst the grey from an incoming flight, and decides to try to find it. And slowly, not only do Funni’s flowers bloom, but a very special friendship blossoms too.” (Catalogue)
Kindness is cooler, Mrs. Ruler / Cuyler, Margery
“When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she’s got a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach a new golden rule: KINDNESS IS COOL. Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom. From clearing the table after dinner, to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference. Count along with Mrs. Ruler’s class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?Acclaimed picture book author Margery Cuyler will inspire children of all ages to have a heart and save the world” (Catalogue)
Mermaid School / Wetzel, JoAnne
“Molly enjoys her first day at Mermaid School, where she makes new friends, learns new things, and hears a story about children with no tails. A rhyming story about starting school” (Catalogue)
Some fantastic picture books to take you on a journey through a roller coaster of feelings and emotions.
Hey awesome / Young, Karen “If kids with anxiety could see their strengths, they would feel so much bigger than their anxiety. They would feel bigger than everything – as though a tiny, tip-toed stretch could have them touching the top of the world from where they are.
This book is a reminder for all kids that everything they need to be brave, strong and brilliant is already in them.” (Catalogue)
I feel teal / Rille, Lauren
“…You’re pink, you’re teal, you’re gray, you’re jade.
You’re every golden, warmy shade… All of us have lots of feelings, and this sweet rhyming story cleverly uses colors to explore the wide range of emotions little ones experience throughout the day, from a shy scarlet to a quiet ecru to an exuberant magenta. Along the way it celebrates individuality and self-acceptance–after all, our feelings are the palette that makes us who we are” (Catalogue)
Me and my fear / Sanna, Francesca
“Introducing a companion picture book to the award-winning picture book, The Journey, from rising star Francesca Sanna.
When a young immigrant girl has to travel to a new country and start at a new school, she is accompanied by her Fear who tells her to be alone and afraid, growing bigger and bigger every day with questions like “how can you hope to make new friends if you don’t understand their language?” But this little girl is stronger than her Fear. A heart-warming and timely tale from the bestselling author and illustrator of The Journey, this book shows us the importance of sharing your Fear with others–after all, everyone carries a Fear with them, even if it’s small enough to fit into their pocket” (Catalogue)
My friend sleep / Baker, Laura
“My Friend Sleep is a simple bedtime story that reminds children of the joy of dreams, and how to deal with the very common issue of night terrors that many toddlers and preschoolers experience.
Journey with a little girl through her dreams, alongside her friend Sleep. Meet friendly aliens, ride on a dragon’s back and meet a scary monster… who turns out to be not-so scary after all. With Sleep by your side, nothing is as terrifying as it seems. This magical picture book delights in the joy of dreams, opens a door to children’s imaginations and helps to contain their fears around sleep and night terrors. Featuring stunning, atmospheric illustrations, this beautiful story is the perfect book for getting little ones off to sleep at bedtime.” (Catalogue)
The bear, the piano, the dog and the fiddle / Litchfield, David
“Set in New Orleans with a new cast of animal musicians, this big-hearted sequel to the best-selling The Bear and the Piano teaches that friendship, like good music, lasts forever.
Hector and his dog Hugo have made music together through good times, bad times and even some crazy times. But when Hugo learns to play the fiddle, and gets the chance to play with Bear’s Big Band, Hector’s jealousy gets the better of him. Can Hector swallow his pride and learn to be for happy for his friend? Set in New Orleans with a new cast of animal musicians, this big-hearted sequel to the best-selling The Bear and the Piano teaches that friendship, like good music, lasts forever.” (Catalogue)
Some very lovely books to share with the special little people in your life.
Petra / Coppo, Marianna
“Petra is a little rock who believes she is a mighty mountain . . . until a dog fetches her for its owner, and she is tossed into a bird’s nest. A mountain? No, Petra is now an egg An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she’s flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl’s pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? But she’s a rock, and this is how she rolls” (Catalogue)
Everything you need for a treehouse / Higgins, Carter
“Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.” (Catalogue)
One day on our blue planet …in the ocean / Bailey, Ella
“The series focused on the way our young animal friends spend a day continues with an adventurous dolphin calf, as she explores the vast Pacific ocean with her mother and meets the many wonderful water dwelling creatures that live there.” (Catalogue)
The digger and the flower / Kuefler, Joseph
“From the creator of Beyond the Pond and Rulers of the Playground comes a breathtaking new book with a powerful message about the environment–about a lonely construction digger that finds a flower, an encounter that ends up changing his whole world.” (Catalogue)
Alma and how she got her name / Martinez-Neal, Juana
“If you ask her, Alma Sofia Esperanza Jos Pura Candela has way too many names: six. How did such a small person wind up with such a large name? In her author-illustrator debut, Juana Martinez-Neal opens a treasure box of discovery for children who may be curious about their own origin stories or names.” (Catalogue)
Sad, scary and scrumptious, these beautiful picture books have it all!
Big bunny / Rowboat Watkins.
“Once upon a time there was a book about . . .
Nope . . . a BUNNY!
A GIANT SCARY TRUCK-EATING BUNNY?!?
Um . . . well, maybe it was a tiny bit big.
From the curious mind of Rowboat Watkins comes a ginormously imaginative story that is as funny as it is philosophical. How big is Big Bunny? And how will this story end? Delightfully meta and humorously subversive, Big Bunny will take its place as the next go-to story about stories.” (Syndetics summary)
Oh me, oh my, a pie! / cooked up by Jan Fearnley.
A nice old grandma bakes a pie, but oh me, oh my! that yummy treat is stolen by a greedy fox, then lost and found by a mouse, snatched by a cat, grabbed by a dog, and plucked away by an owl, before landing back on Grandma’s table for everyone to share… or maybe not.
Rabby the Brave / Patrick Guest & Tom Jellett.
“Leon and Lily do everything with their best pals Rabby and Snuggles, until one night the unimaginable happens and Snuggles is left outside. Faced with sadness, the others must find a way to save Snuggles from a frightful end. Heart-warming and playful, compassionate and true-to-life, Rabby the Brave is a story about close bonds and sibling love.” (Syndetics summary)
A bear sat on my porch today / story by Jane Yolen ; art by by Rilla Alexander.
“What to do if a rather insistent bear squats on your porch today? Followed in short order by a shaggy squirrel, a spraying skunk, a playful possum, and a bevy of forest critters large and small? This hilarious cumulative tale of reluctant hospitality and generous inclusivity will leave readers chanting, “OKAY. OKAY! YOU CAN STAY.” But watch out! That porch is starting to sway…” (Syndetics summary)
The rabbit listened / by Cori Doerrfeld.
“When something terrible happens, Taylor doesn’t know where to turn. All the animals are sure they have the answer. The chicken wants to talk it out, but Taylor doesn’t feel like chatting. The bear thinks Taylor should get angry, but that’s not quite right either. One by one, the animals try to tell Taylor how to process this loss, and one by one they fail. Then the rabbit arrives. All the rabbit does is listen, which is just what Taylor needs. Whether read in the wake of tragedy or as a primer for comforting others, this is a deeply moving and unforgettable story sure to soothe heartache of all sizes.” (Syndetics summary)
Come home already! / by Jory John ; illustrated by Benji Davies.
“Duck and Bear are BACK – but where has Bear gone? And what will Duck do without him? Duck just wants to hang out with his best buddy, bear. But Bear’s gone fishing for a whole week. What will Duck do without Bear? And more importantly, how will Bear survive without him? From the bestselling creators of Goodnight Already! and I Love You Already! comes a fun-filled, laugh-out-loud adventure about friendship and family, from the bestselling author Jory John and award-winning illustrator Benji Davies.” (Syndetics summary)
Some beautiful books about love, family and friendship to share.
Love / Peña, Matt de la
“In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medalist de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Long describes the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all. With heartfelt illustrations and a soothing lyrical text, this tender tale is a needed comfort.” (Catalogue)
Prince & knight / Haack, Daniel
A prince and a knight in shining armor find true love in each other’s embrace after fighting a dragon together. Fantastic retelling of an age old story.
Mama’s belly / Hosford, Kate
“A little girl expresses curiosity and excitement for the coming birth of her baby sister while her parents tenderly reassure her of love’s ability to expand with their growing family.” (Catalogue)
If all the world were… / Coelho, Jospeh
“A moving, poetic picture book about the love between a grandfather and child. An ideal book for children who have lost a grandparent. This powerful and ultimately uplifting text is the ideal way to introduce children to the concept of death and dying, particularly children who have lost a grandparent. Beautifully illustrated by new talent Allison Colpoys. Joseph Coelho won the CLPE children’s poetry award for Werewolf Club Rules! and performs his poetry around the country.” (Catalogue)
Oh, so many kisses! / Finn, Maura
“The cuddliest, cosiest, most heart-warming book of kisses. A kiss from Mum, Dad, Grandma, a shy kiss between friends, a slimy kiss between frogs, and even the snuffly little kiss of a baby piglet. Acclaimed author Maura Finn takes us on a journey through life’s littlest, most memorable moments, right through to bedtime. This is a celebration of diversity, featuring babies and families from all walks of life, plus the cutest of animals – from kittens to pandas!” (Catalogue)
A most unusual day / Mallery, Sydra Caroline is anxious all day at school, nervous about her newly-adopted sister’s arrival from far away. A great story about nervous anticipation and the joy of a growing family.
Cuddle up with your kids and share these funny and colourful books!
Natalie’s hair was wild! / by Laura Freeman.
“Natalie’s hair is really wild–and she likes it that way! A host of friendly animals agree, and they move right in. At first it’s just butterflies and birds that take up residence atop Natalie’s head, but soon there are zebras, elephants, even a tiger! With all the roaring and squawking and snorting and burping, poor Natalie can hardly sleep. She needs to find someone to help coax those critters out… but who?” (Syndetics summary)
Ponk! / by Edwina Wyatt ; illustrated by Chris Nielsen.
“Ponk is a flightless bird, but he chooses to live at the top of a tree because of the exciting view. As often as he loses balance and falls, he climbs straight back up again. Ponk’s friends find him a less ambitious place to live, but the lower branches have no view. So Ponk returns to the top and clings on to his twig… and doesn’t fall! Driven by curiosity, his friends follow, with hilarious results!” (Syndetics summary)
The Grotlyn / Benji Davies.
“A stunningly illustrated picture book full of mystery and suspense. “I know when the Grotlyn’s been slipping through your house unseen…” What is the mysterious Grotlyn? What sort of creature could it be, scuttling across the town, frightening everyone in its path? And why has it stolen PC Vickers’ knickers?! A beautifully illustrated rhyming tale about things that go bump in the night for ages four and up.” (Syndetics summary)
Blue monster wants it all! / Jeanne Willis, Jenni Desmond.
“Blue Monster loves brand new things. A fancy new hat… a shiny submarine… a fabulous funfair… and a paradise island, all of his own. But he’s still not happy! What will it take for Blue Monster to realise there are some things that money can’t buy?
An original, humorous and unforgettable fable, perfect for introducing little ones to the idea of materialism and helping them realise the importance of family.” (Syndetics summary)
Fox and the bike ride / Corey R. Tabor ; photography by Frog.
“Fun-loving, mischievous Fox from Fox and the Jumping Contest is back in this charming and hilarious tale of friendship, adventure–and snacks.
It’s the day of the animals’ annual bike ride, and Fox is not excited. Every year it’s the same old, same old. Fox wants adventure. He wants action-adventure. He wants danger-action-adventure! (And snacks too, of course.) So he secretly schemes to make this the most unforgettable trip ever–and his friends are coming along, whether they want to or not!” (Syndetics summary)
Knock knock pirate / Carol Heart & Nick East.
“A rhyming pirate counting book that’s full of surprises from award-winning author Caryl Hart, creator of Supermarket Zoo, and bestselling illustrator Nick East. A visit from a pirate might sound like fun… but when the Captain’s whole crew turn up too–causing mayhem and chaos–it’s time for this little girl to panic. What is Dad going to say when he gets home?!” (Syndetics summary)
“Cake has been invited to a party. He’s very excited! He’s never been to a birthday party before. And he doesn’t know what to expect. But as the candles on his party hat begin to burn and the other party guests start to sing, Cake starts to think that this is one party he’d rather not be at…” (Syndetics summary)
Thank you, Octopus / Darren Farrell. How would a tricky octopus put you to bed? with a lot of word play and egg salad! This very simple picture books will amuse and delight everyone.
Grandma Z [hardback]
“On an ordinary day, in an even more ordinary town, it was Albert’s birthday. When Grandma Z roars into town on her motorcycle, Albert is swept up in a very extraordinary adventure.” (Syndetics summary)
The thing Lou couldn’t do / written and illustrated by Ashley Spires.
“‘Lou and her friends are BRAVE adventurers. They run FASTER than airplanes. They build MIGHTY fortresses. They rescue WILD animals.’ But one day, when they’re looking for a ship to play pirates in, Lou’s friend has an idea: ?Up there! The tree can be our ship!? ?Ummm …’ says Lou. This is something new. Lou has never climbed a tree before, and she’s sure she can’t do it. So she tries to convince her friends to play a not-up-a-tree game. When that doesn’t work, she comes up with reasons for not joining them — her arm is sore, her cat needs a walk, you shouldn’t climb so soon after eating. Finally, she tells herself she doesn’t want to climb the tree. But is that true, or is this brave adventurer just too afraid to try?” (Syndetics summary)
Tìa Isa wants a car / Meg Medina ; illustrated by Claudio Muñoz. “Isa wants a car. A shiny green car the same color as the ocean, with wings like a swooping bird. A car to take the whole family to the beach. But saving is hard when everything goes into two piles – one for here and one for Helping Money, so that family members who live far away might join them someday. While Isa saves, her niece does odd jobs for neighbors so she can add her earnings to the stack. But even with her help, will they ever have enough? Meg Medina’s simple, genuine story about keeping in mind those who are far away is written in lovely, lyrical prose and brought to life through Claudio Munoz’s charming characters.” (Syndetics summary)
This is a great book to introduce your child to science and the world of forces. There are some fun experiments to do too!
Bird to Bird [hardback]
“Award-winning picture book creators Claire Saxby and Wayne Harris team up to bring us a gentle story of nature, history, recycling and art. A bird drops a seed to the floor of the forest. The seed grows into a sapling, then a tree. The tree is felled and taken to a busy city. Bird to Bird is the story of one bird, one seed, one tree. Award-winning picture book creators Claire Saxby and Wayne Harris have crafted a gentle story of nature, history, recycling and art. The truth behind this story is that the wood used to make bunks on board the convict ships was reused when the ships reached Australia. There was no need for the bunks on the return journey and the wood was a valuable resource. Exquisite paintings by award-winning illustrator Wayne Harris take this story through time. This is a gentle story of nature, Australian history, recycling and art.” (Syndetics summary)
Granny McFlitter, the champion knitter / Heather Haylock ; (illustrated by Lael Chisholm).
“But did Granny stop knitting? Oh no, she did not! She kept right on knitting . . . like it or not! Granny McFlitter’s family have had enough of her knitting. But when a ship runs aground, spilling oil into the sea, a call goes out for small jumpers for the shivery rescued penguins. It’s the moment Granny has been waiting for! A sparkling environmental story with award-winning illustrations that is sure to warm hearts and feathers.” (Syndetics summary)
Writers Week is a very exciting week for book lovers! This year, children and young adult readers are spoiled with great authors to meet.
Watch these videos of authors who are taking part in this year’s festival and check out a selection of their titles you can borrow from our shelves:
Paul Beavis, author of Mrs Mo’s Monster is leading live reading (and drawing!) of his raucous tale of a little monster … dress ups for this event are encouraged (come as Mr Mo, Mrs Mo, or the Monster. Prizes for best dressed!).
“In this sequel to Mrs. Mo’s Monster, the fuzzy blue monster from that book-one part toddler, one part gremlin-sets out to see the world since his elderly caretakers are too busy to do anything fun. With a backpack overstuffed with sporting equipment, toys, cookware, and more, the monster tromps off into the mountains before getting lost. Ages 3-up.” (Syndetics)
Mariko Tamaki is an award-winning writer of graphic novels – her worlds can be dark and full of surprises. Mariko is a must-see for all readers – she is a powerful storyteller, and her books are especially important for teenage readers and adults remembering what coming-of-age really is. See her in conversation with Kate De Goldi, and again with Sarah Laing, Kerry Ann Lee and Courtney Sina Meredith.
This one summer
“Rose and her parents have been going to Awago Beach since she was a little girl. It’s her summer getaway, her refuge. Her friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had, completing her summer family. But this summer is different. It’s a summer of secrets and heartache, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.” (Syndetics)
Sally Gardner never did things by the usual route. Her books are full of magic, mischief and overcoming the odds – bring your young readers for an hour with this extraordinary author (Maggot Moon,I, Corianderand so many more…)
“The year is 1956. In an unnamed country of obvious allegorical weight, the totalitarian government of the Motherland keeps the impure in ghettos where they live off scraps and hope not to be dragged away to camps. Standish, 15, lives in Zone 7, a nasty place from which school is no respite there cruel teachers beat students and, on this particular day, kill one. Standish is expelled in the aftermath, and the next step for him may be the camps. Standish, however, knows a secret…” (Syndetics)
“It is night, and I have lit the first of seven candles to write my story by. My name is Coriander Hobie, and I have a great many things to tell-of silver shoes that tempted me and an alligator most rare; of London, the home of my childhood, and another, stranger land, one that I thought only existed in dreams; and of an ebony box whose treasure only now am I beginning to understand. The box was once my mother’s, but its secrets were meant for me. This being my story and a fairy tale besides, I will start once upon a time…” (Syndetics)
Cornelia Funke is a champion for young readers – her books are enthralling adventures that have delighted children for years. And Cornelia herself is no ordinary person – she’s going to talk with comedian, writer and actor Jo Randerson about her stories and what inspires them.
“One dark night, a mysterious man called Dustfinger appears at the house where Meggie lives with her father, a bookbinder. Dustfinger’s arrival sets in motion a long, complicated chain of events involving a journey, fictional characters brought to life, dangerous secrets revealed, threats of evil deeds, actual evil deeds, a long-lost relative found, and the triumph of creativity and courage.” (Syndetics)
Fearless : a Mirrorworld novel
“After saving his younger brother Will’s life in Reckless, Jacob Reckless now has to save his own. With only months to live after being cursed, he searches for the Witch Slayer’s crossbow, rumored to give life instead of death when it’s used out of love. He is competing for the crossbow against ruthless fellow treasure hunter Nerron; a stone onyx, Goyl, who’s saddled with a spoiled prince; and other unwelcome companions on his quest. A map helps readers track Jacob and Fox, the lovely shape-shifting human/vixen who loves him, as they desperately search all around Mirrorworld while encountering such familiar fairy-tale characters as Bluebeard.” (Syndetics)
“Matt is returning home from the cinema when a yellow-eyed monster bites his hand and his whole world – and body – changes. Helped by his best friend Lisa and teacher Mrs Ruskin, they have just two days to find a cure before the curse takes hold forever!” (Syndetics)
Last, but not least, Joy Cowley is one of New Zealand’s best-loved writers – she is a delightful person and a brilliant writer. Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate Joy and her amazing work!
Road to Ratenburg
“A family of rats is forced to leave their home, so sets out to find the fabled city of Ratenburg. Along the way they outwit vicious dogs, tricky rat traps, and sharp-beaked hawks, and make some very dangerous crossings. The rat family’s adventures test their character and grow bonds between sisters and brothers, father and uncle, mum and dad. Narrating the tale is Spinnaker Rat, a classic Edwardian father, full of wisdom about the ways of the world, who finds himself learning more than he expected.” (Gecko Press)
“William and Melissa have been roped into helping their old hippie grandparents fix up their holiday home in the middle of the Sounds. They’ll have no electricity, no cellphone reception and only each other for company. As far as they are concerned this is not a holiday.” (Back cover)
There are some amazing Christmas picture books around, but one thing you really notice looking at many, is how cold they make you feel! The stories they tell are often those of a Northern Hemisphere Christmas.
I remember reading wonderful, chilly Christmas books as a child — like Shirley Hughes’ Lucy and Tom’s Christmas — and not being confused by this at all (I think the thing I appreciated most about Lucy and Tom’s Christmas were the amazing illustrations — Shirley Hughes! — of all the presents they made for their family), but around this time of year, it’s always nice to pull out and enjoy Christmas books that are set in New Zealand, written by New Zealand authors, and written specifically with a New Zealand audience in mind — featuring beaches and barbecues and complete with sweltering, overdressed Santas. So, here goes with a list!
The Christmas caravan / Jennifer Beck ; [illustrations by] Robyn Belton.
“Children’s Christmas story about a boy called Simon who decides to decorate the caravan he and mother share and enter it in a competition for the best decorated home. The other residents of the caravan park contribute by tidying the grounds and recycling rubbish into useful adornments. Text illustrated by Robyn Belton who also illustrated, author, Jennifer Beck’s award-winning, ‘The Bantam and the Soldier’.” (Syndetics summary)
We say: Short-listed for the NZ Post Book Awards in 2003, and we think you’ll enjoy it as much as we did!
We say: From the author of The Wonky Donkey — need we say more?
Grandma McGarvey’s Christmas / story by Jenny Hessell ; illustrated by Trevor Pye.
“Grandma McGarvey sets up camp in the caravan park on Christmas Eve, but she hears Santa can’t make it this year – he’s sick in bed. Usually Grandma McGarvey would step in, but this year she’s got her own Christmas party to run. She goes back to her caravan, changes into her dressing gown and sleeping cap and gets ready for her Christmas Eve feast. But the flames from the Christmas Pudding scare the dog, who hides up a tree! While rescuing the dog she stumbles upon the families of the camping ground, who are having a party outdoors. Dressed as she is in her red dressing gown and cap, the children mistake her for Santa! So Grandma and the dog decide to stay and join the party” (Publisher description)
Can you think of more? We’d love to add titles we’ve missed in, so comment and let us know!
The NZ Pacific Picture Book Collection and website have been put together as an educational resource featuring activities and links to the NZ school curriculum. The creators selected the titles from nominations collected from nine librarians who have a specific interest in Pasifika communities. They believe in the power of picture books to shine a light on world views to both validate and introduce culture to others.
Here is a selection of some of the books from the collection held by Wellington Libraries.
Tulevai and the sea / by Joy Cowley ; illustrated by Manu Smith. “A story for young readers with full-page colour illustrations by Manu Smith. Tulevai is such a good fisher from his canoe, the sea decides to make him its slave, and captures him. However, Tulevai’s mother decides her love is stronger than all the power of the sea, and rescues him by rolling the sea aside.” (Syndetics summary)
Grandad / Janet Pereira ; illustrated by Bruce Potter. A young girl relates how her family respond to her grandfather’s illness and death and bring to the funeral responses from a variety of cultures. Includes a glossary of words related to death and funerals. Suggested level: primary.
The stuck there forever boat / Gillian Torckler ; illustrated by Bruce Potter. Tama’s idyllic island life is changing. The surrounding sea is slowly flooding their land, the coral is dying and the fish have disappeared. Tama’s family must move to a higher island, but his nanny won’t listen. What can Tama do to convince his nanny to leave? A story inspired by the Tuvaluan people, whose low-lying island nation is under threat of non-existence due to the rising seas associated with global warming.
Talia / by Catherine Hannken ; illustrated by Trish Bowles. Talia’s dad is taking her to Samoa to meet her family and she is excited, but her excitement quickly turns to confusion when she steps off the plane. She can’t understand what anyone is saying and she feels scared and alone. With help from her family, Talia begins to forget her fear and shyness and enjoy being in Samoa. Suggested level: junior.
Fishing with spider webs / Lino Nelisi ; illustrations by! Elspeth Alix Batt. “A story for children with full-page colour illustrations. Aiani was born in Auckland. When she is 10, she flies to Nuie to visit her family. Uncle Tuki takes her out fishing, using spider webs! They get a good feed of fish. Next day they’re going to catch a coconut crab without being bitten.” (Syndetics summary)
Colourful and entertaining new picture books with some really great stories which will have your kids laughing.
Poo bum / Stephanie Blake ; [translated by Linda Burgess].
“Once there was a rabbit who could only answer “poo bum” whenever he was spoken to. One day the rabbit meets a hungry wolf. Will the little rabbit be his usual rude self, or will he learn his lesson once and for all? This is a hilarious new picture book by Gecko Press, sure to have your little ones giggling.” – (Staff member)
Otto the book bear / Katie Cleminson.
“Have you ever met a Book Bear, a bear who lives in a book? Prepare to fall in love with Otto, the Book Bear who needs to find a new home. Otto is a Book Bear and nothing makes him happier than when people read his book. But he also has a very special secret – when no one is looking he can come to life and explore the house. But one day something terrible happens: Otto’s book is left behind when the family moves away, and now there is no one to read Otto! Otto must set off on his biggest adventure yet – to find a new home. But where is the best place for a Book Bear to live?” – (adapted from Global Books summary)
Picasso’s trousers / Nicholas Allan.
“Whenever Picasso does something different, people say, “No! No! No! Picasso!” But Picasso doesn’t listen. Instead, he says . . . “Yes!”. He paints all-blue pictures, all-pink pictures, plus pictures from the front and side all at the same time! He makes art out of bike bits and he can draw pictures in less than 60 seconds! Soon he becomes the greatest painter in the world. But he still wants to be different…” – (adapted from Amazon.com description)
Mind your gramma
An amusing take on grammar which I thought could be fun for a junior class visit.
“A child wonders at the odd things her grandmother says … Gramma asks me about my day, and I say, “Me and my friend played soccer.” She says, “My friend and I played soccer.” I say, “At your age?” Kids and adults alike will laugh aloud at this series of hilarious mis-construal’s between a child and her grandmother as Gramma corrects the child’s grammar.” – (adapted from Global Books summary)
Max’s castle / Kate Banks ; pictures by Boris Kulikov.
“When Max finds a pile of forgotten toys under the bed, his brothers Benjamin and Karl wonder what’s so special about some old blocks. So Max shows them. With some clever twists of both blocks and imagination, he constructs not only a castle but an entire adventure, complete with pirates and knights, a dark dungeon and a dragon…” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)
The game of finger worms / Hervé Tullet.
“Draw two eyes and a mouth on your finger and put your finger in the book’s hole to see all of the places the finger worm goes. A curiously fun interactive board book.” – (Staff member)
People / Blexbolex ; [translated by Claudia Bedrick].
“As with its predecessor, the book’s brilliance lies in the intriguing ways in which the images mimic, challenge, and inform one another. For example, a “homeless person” sleeping in a box appears opposite a “camper”; a “contortionist” and a “plumber” exert themselves equally; and a pink “nudist” is paired with an “invisible man” in a business suit. Readers will form new associations and make new discoveries upon each revisiting.” – (adapted from Publishers Weekly description)
Here’s a list of books we think are a real challenge to get all the way through in one piece, especially with an audience. We dare you to read them out loud. Bonus points if you read them to a child all the way through without getting the puzzled “what’s up with the adult?” stare.
(helpfully supplied by some central library storytime readers and other picture book enthusiasts)
The Big Ugly Monster and The Little Stone Rabbit, Chris Wormell – a story of feeling lonely, the need for friendship, and death (in general, rather than “the need for”). The monster is so ugly that nothing can stand him; ponds evaporate, and the stone statues he creates to keep him company shatter… except for the little stone rabbit.
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein – the tree gives, well, basically everything. Incidentally, don’t be put off by the author photo (he looks like Mr T).
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, Michael Rosen with illustrations by Quentin Blake – yes it is very sad. The product description says: “What makes Michael Rosen most sad is thinking about his son, Eddie, who died.”
Always and Forever, Alan Durant – on the subject of grief, Fox dies very early in the piece, leaving his friends bereft until they rally and find ways to honour his memory.
Badger’s Parting Gifts, Susan Varley – similar to Always and Forever. “So cute it makes your teeth ache” says one library staff member.
Duck, Death and The Tulip, Wulf Erlbruch – first published in German. Duck befriends Death, but is this a good idea really? Vielleicht nicht.
Goodbye Mog, Judith Kerr – sad perhaps because people have invested a lot of time in the Mog stories. It’s like losing a pet. The forgetfulness is maybe a forewarning.
The Selfish Giant, Oscar Wilde (in Fairy tales of Oscar Wilde) – as far as children’s stories go, Oscar Wilde knew how to make em wistful. Here the titular giant learns a lesson the Giving Tree could have taught him – selflessness is what makes the flowers grow.
The Happy Prince, Oscar Wilde (here illustrated by Jane Ray) – one of the biggest tearjerkers like ever. The Giving Tree’s big brother, this one might well be.