Our Favourite Picture Books

It should be no surprise to you that librarians like books. We work here for a reason! We are surrounded by books at work and a good number of them often manage to find their way home with us at the end of the day. We choose books for book clubs, displays, and storytimes, and a very important part of what we do is helping people like you find a book that you’re going to love.

To help you find a picture book you’ll love, we thought we’d tell you about some of the picture books we love, and why we like them. So read on for a list of your local librarians’ favourite picture books.

Amy’s favourite:

My cat likes to hide in boxes / Sutton, Eve

The illustrations are super cute and my cat also likes to hide in boxes (or any other tiny spot he can squeeze into).

Andree’s favourite:

Stack the cats / Ghahremani, Susie

Counting and Cats, what’s not to love!

Will the cats stack or tumble and fall? How is the best way to stack your cats?

A fun way to put a little bit of maths and a little bit of cute into your life.

Catherine’s favourite:

The pout-pout fish / Diesen, Deborah

I love the rhythm and rhyme and how a frown turned upside down is a smile ( I have a song that goes with it) and the value of a loving kiss to change your perspective on life. Wonderful illustrations too with just enough detail to be interesting. With the illustrations I think the book could do double duty as just an undersea looking/talk-about book if you are one to one with a child.

Claire’s favourite:

Poor Louie / Fucile, Tony

Poor Louie is very sweet – You can’t help but feel sorry for the poor puppy dealing with lots of changes, going from being the centre of attention to… not so much… The very sweet twist at the end is what makes it great though.

Debbie’s favourite:

The Lorax / Seuss

Even though it was a children’s book  it was read to a small group of peers at a college biology camp by a teacher. It has always remained a special book for me because of his wonderful rendition of the story.

Plus I love the environmental message.

El’s favourite:

The lamb who came for dinner / Smallman, Steve

This story makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside whenever I read it.

Emma’s favourite:

The bear who wasn’t there / Pham, LeUyen

I like it because it’s as funny for adults as it is for kids (probably for slightly older kids like 8+), and there’s lots of different characters which you can do all sorts of voices for, and it gets meta and it’s just great!

Jonno’s favourite:

Bark, George / Feiffer, Jules

This book is the greatest thing put to paper since the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is a delightful book with so many hilarious moments, plot twists, and animal sounds, that kids are rapt by it.

Kath’s favourite:

The legend of rock paper scissors / Daywalt, Drew

This book has the best illustrations, and made me laugh out loud when I read it. When I read it to kids, they love the battle scenes and I always have fun giving the characters voices. I wish I could have posters of the illustrations!

Mary’s favourite:

Dr. Seuss’s sleep book. / Seuss

A favourite from my childhood! I love all the illustrations, all the funny creatures, and how you can choose your favourite creature on each page. Dr. Seuss is great at rhyming so it’s easy to read aloud, and at the end of the book you’re told to turn off your light and go to sleep which is a great hint!

Sandy’s favourite:

Supermarket, zoopermarket : a fun flap book / Sharratt, Nick

I am a great fan of Nick Sharratt, both because of his delightful and quirky illustrations in collaboration with others but also his own picture books. One that gets the attention of both children and adults at story time is a lift the flap ‘Supermarket Zoopermarket’. Very funny and a delightful play with words. Snappetizing…crocolate drops. I bet you can guess what they are. Crazy Crisps …Salt and Fin-egar crisps…fangtastic flavour.

Sara’s favourite:

Winnie the witch / Thomas, Valerie

Who could fail to be charmed by Winnie and her black cat Wilbur?  The adventures they have! The fun and the scrapes and the quirky naughtiness appeal to kids and grownups alike.

Stephen’s favourite:

The book with no pictures / Novak, B. J.

We know, we know, a picture book with no pictures in it! But trust us, this is one book you will definitely want to hear read aloud!

Te Atawhai’s favourite:

Pete the cat and his magic sunglasses / Dean, James

Such a fun, groovy read! Always in a good mood after reading Pete the Cat!

Tessa’s favourite:

The great white man-eating shark : a cautionary tale / Mahy, Margaret

I love the illustrations (especially Norvin’s shifty eyes), I love when Norvin gets his comeuppance and most importantly, I love Sharks!

When you’re around books all day, every day, it can be hard to pick just one favourite. Particularly when there are so many good books out there! One librarian couldn’t narrow it down to just one picture book, so here are her top picks.

Sue’s picks:

The black book of colours / Cottin, Menena

Such expressive language. A great one to get your audience to shut their eyes to. Makes for a good segue into discussions about disability etc with smaller children.

Nicketty-nacketty, noo-noo-noo / Cowley, Joy

A great rhyming read, and I love it that the wee wishy woman sticks it to the giant. Yay!  One for the underdogs!

Along came a different / McLaughlin, Tom

Bright and colourful, and another fun read that teaches tolerance (and shapes while you’re at it!)

Love you forever / Munsch, Robert N.

I first heard this book read by a grandchild at her nana’s funeral, and it’s made me cry ever since. All about a mother’s love. It got read to my children A LOT!

We’re going on a bear hunt / Rosen, Michael

A classic! Did you know that this can successfully be acted out to Edvard Grieg’s music “In the Hall of the Mountain King”?!

Now you’ve seen our favourite picture books, what do you think? Have you read any of them, or do you want to read any of them? And what’s your favourite picture book?

Librarian in the spotlight: Ottilie

Find out about your local librarians!

What is your name? Ottilie Gabrielle Smith

Which library(s) do you work at? Kilbirnie, Newtown, Island Bay and Miramar!

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Reading picture books to kids of all ages (librarians and parents included!).

Favourite book? Oh how can you expect a librarian to answer that? But probably Northern Lights, Cliff McNish’s Doomspell Trilogy, Harry Potter, or for ‘adults’, most things by F Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) or Joseph Conrad (Heart of Darkness).

When I read I like to….? Sit snuggled up on the window seat at home with my best friend Vincent, lots of cushions, and soon, a cat.

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Probably something about what it means to be a human being, or the mischievous mysterious lives of cats.

If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? Famous concert pianist and teacher (one day maybe!).

 Favourite food? Probably olives. Or pasta. Olives in pasta! Or dark dark dark dark dark chocolate.

Favourite place in the world? Anywhere with beautiful views and beautiful people! But somewhere that I have been, a little town called Porrentruy, Switzerland where my Dad grew up, probably takes the cake (they do make amazing cakes there).

My dream library would have…? A cat! No, many cats! House-trained of course, maybe even ones specially trained to fetch/shelve books! A delicious famous restaurant/café right next door, books stacked as high as the eye can see (or higher!), with ladders on wheels to move along the shelves (think of Mr Olivander’s wand shop in Harry Potter), secret passageways to secret areas of the library found only by pulling the right book at the right angle out of the shelf, natural sunlight streaming through skylights above enormous ornate sofas piled with hundreds of cushions, and, of course, all the books in the world!

Librarian in the spotlight: Florence

Find out about your local librarians!

What is your name? Florence

Which library(s) do you work at? Miramar and Kilbirnie Libraries

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Being silly when I do story time, giving recommendations about books that have moved me, decorating the Library and making it look beautiful.

Favourite book? I will have to change the question, as I absolutely can’t answer it because I love so many books. So I might just share with you some of my favourite kids’ English-speaking authors: Roald Dahl, Chris Van Allsburg, Oliver Jeffers, Raymond Briggs, Maurice Sendack, Margaret Mahy… All those who have a delirious imagination!

When I read I like to….? Lie in a comfortable position and forget everything around me.

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Maybe something about etiological legends or myths – I love stories that explain the world around us using Fiction.

If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? An art museum Kids activity creator. I feel like my mission on earth is to understand kids’ brains and create fun games and activities to make them enjoy their learning.

 Favourite food? I love discovering new dishes… So any food from all around the world, but prepared with love, and natural ingredients (organic even better).

Favourite place in the world? Anywhere in the world close to the sea, with beautiful landscapes, a busy cultural life and a lovely society! I love Wellington for all these reasons…

My dream library would have…? Lots of customers reading books or eBooks forgetting they are in the library, lots of programmes with passionate librarians sharing their love about books, lots of events creating links by using the skills of the community. We would host some exhibitions about an author where the kids would be able to play and experience for real what comes from the author’s imagination. It would be a place full of life and creativity!



Librarian in the spotlight: Katie

Find out about your local librarians!

What is your name? Katie

Which library(s) do you work at? Central & Brooklyn

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Helping people find information.

Favourite book? A few of my MANY favorites are The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams and Dewey : a small-town library cat who touched the world by Vicki Myron (Adult Non-Fiction).

When I read I like to….? Curl up on the couch (or in bed) with a cup of green tea.

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Probably picture books about animals and children.

If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? Teacher or Nurse.

 Favourite food? Japanese. I also have a weakness for margarita pizza and Scopa’s legendary hot chocolate.

Favourite place in the world? Japan

My dream library would have…? a children’s area (similar to the Aaarus Children’s Interactive Library) where kids can read, play and learn at the same time, an area for adults where they can sit in comfortable chairs and sofas, a separate teens area with cushions, Mac and PC computers, music room/recording studio, and touch screen TV. (Similar to Te Takere’s Youth Space). A library pet whether it is a cat, dog, rabbit ot goldfish couldn’t hurt.


Librarian in the Spotlight: Sara

Find out about your local librarians!

What is your name? Sara

Which library(s) do you work at? Central & Brooklyn

What’s the best thing about being a librarian? Reading stories to little kids and singing silly songs to babies

Favourite book? The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society (Adult Fiction) It’s the first and ONLY book this author wrote!! Sadly she died before this book was published.

When I read I like to….? Read in bed till my eyes bleed – very carefully so my husband stays asleep

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Stories about my family

If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? The owner of a world famous café that only opened 3 days a week!

 Favourite food? Homemade pizza and homemade wedges with a glass of red wine

Favourite place in the world? Lake Taupo

My dream library would have…? LOTS of children, places to eat cakes and drink coffee and loads of fantastic read-aloud picture books



Librarian in the Spotlight: Alisha

Find out about your local librarians!

What is your name? Alisha

Which Libraries do you work at? Johnsonville and Tawa.

What’s the Best thing about being a librarian? It’s a combination of my three favourite things: creativity, reading and people. Ah, that’s many things. I honestly can’t decide out of the three which aspect is most enjoyable. Basically my job is really groovy.

Favourite Book? AH! Um, brain will explode, cannot decide … Maybe if I put them in a ring to fight it out I’d know? But then I’d be worried they’d injure their pages because it would be a huge pile of carnage. I guess, at this moment in time, my favourite book is “Break It Down” a collection of short stories by Lydia Davis. Even in saying that I feel like I’m betraying so many authors that I love.

When I read I like to? Utilize every cushion in the area. If that’s not possible I will settle for concrete. I like to play music but that all depends on the quality of writing. If I’m reading a comedy/adventure I’ll listen to an excessive amounts of Tom Waits and Ryan Adams. If I’m reading Lydia Davis there will be no music. I don’t like to interrupt her words with music.

If you wrote a book, what would it be about? Speculative fiction, short stories. As a child I used to write the beginnings of novels, which I could bind into a really weird, unsatisfactory book. I want to write for young adults, old adults, middle adults and children. Nothing may well come of my writing but I don’t care, there can’t be anything wrong with exercising your imagination.

If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a … A poor writer/rich writer, whichever they’d let me be, or maybe a street clown or a school teacher.

Favourite food? Banoffee pie from Strawberry Fair. It’s so good it should be magnetized to a fridge.

Favourite place in the world? The Globe theatre, in England, when there’s a performance of the Taming of the Shrew by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Would blow my mind.

My Dream Library would have …? Tom Waits would have to be involved. He’d be telling stories, playing music, giving me high fives or living in a hut made of books in the children section. I like to think the hut would be comprised of Doctor Seuss books.



Librarian in the Spotlight: Debbie

Find out about your local librarians!

1. What is your name? Debbie

2. Which library do you work at? Tawa Library

3. What’s the best thing about being a librarian? The books and the people

4. Favourite book? The Lorax by Dr Seuss. I have strong memories of my college teacher reading us this book at a school camp and it has become one of my favourites.

5. When I read I like to…? I love lying on the floor in the sun with a good book

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be about? I love fantasy so would probably have some dragons and magic involved

7. If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? Professional ballroom dancer – maybe I could get on Dancing with the Stars.

8. Favourite food? Fresh raspberries and whitebait. (Not together of course)

9. Favourite place in the world? I love holidaying in the Marlborough Sounds – its one of the best places to be.

10. My dream library would have…? I would love to have a magical forest in my library with lots of trees so I could read my book sitting under, hiding in and climbing on. Maybe I could have the odd unicorn or two to help me choose my books.










Librarian in the spotlight: Frith

Find out about your local librarians!

1. What is your name? Frith

2. Which library(s) do you work at? Karori and Cummings Park (Ngaio) libraries

3. What’s the best thing about being a librarian? The box of stamps I have under the counter. There are so many!

4. Favourite book? This is the first book in my favourite series – The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (we have this book at Karori library, by the way). Gen the thief is caught in jail when he is offered a job by the King’s Magus… but there’s a catch. There are four books so far, but I can’t tell you anything more about them, because there are so many plot twists it would ruin things for you. You’ll have to read them to find out.

5. When I read I like to…? I like to read on the roof! I live on the second floor above a café, and I can climb out the front windows onto the café roof to sit with a book in the sun.

6. If you wrote a book, what would it be about? I can’t tell you. I write so slowly, someone else might get my idea and finish writing the book before I did.

7. If I wasn’t a librarian, I would be a …? I would be a Sign Language Interpreter, someone who translates English into sign language (and the other way round) for Deaf people.

8. Favourite food? Fish, bacon and banana pie. It sounds disgusting, but tastes delicious (the secret is butter, lots of butter).

9. Favourite place in the world? The Rose-Red City of Petra. It’s in the country of Jordan in the Middle East and is built of caves in the rock of the mountain. It’s thousands of years old and still standing.

10. My dream library would have…? My dream library would have pets. Not just a library cat, but pet mice, rabbits, or even a puppy that visits. The borrowers could name them, help feed them at storytimes, and kids learning to read could read to the animals and pat them. Imagine snuggling up in an armchair to read with the library rabbit!