'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 4 March 2011

KBR Recommends: Picture Books - Mar 2011

Sometimes the picture book thing can get really overwhelming here at KBR. Both of us are great fans of the genre and we never fail to become mesmerised, astonished and entranced by the myriad talent on offer - not only within Australia - but worldwide.

Here, then, are some fabulous recent picture book titles for you to peruse through - enjoy every picture-y moment.

When Moreton and his parents Go-ma and Go-pa are forced to leave their beautiful home in Sydney′s Botanic Gardens, they decide they need to move somewhere that′s high above the ground, away from all the humans.

So when they discover the little sun-filled room at the top of the clock tower at No. 1 Martin Place, the goanna family are sure they′ve found the perfect home.

But the Pitt Street Cat rules Martin Place, and he′s not interested in welcoming new neighbours.

With the help of some unlikely friends, can the goannas finally tame Australia′s meanest cat? Gorgeous illustrations make this high-text picture book a localised Aussie treat.

Title: The Goannas of No.1 Martin Place
Author: Vicki Steggall
Illustrator: Danny Snell
Publisher: ABC Books, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 December 2010
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780733324987
For ages: 6+
Type: High Text Picture book

How do dinosaurs say I love you?

Little dinosaurs sometimes misbehave or make a mess but no matter what they do, their mums and dads always love them.

Author Jane Yolen and illustrator Mark Teague present readers with a familiar range of naughty childhood antics followed by dinosaur-sized kisses, hugs and those three precious words that can never be said too often: I Love You!

The illustrations in this book are to die for - warm, humourous and mesmerising - kids will love them. While the premise behind Yolen's storyline is utterly charming, the rhyme frequently skips a beat. Kids won't notice.

Title: How do Dinosaurs Say I Love You?
Author: Jane Yolen
Illustrator: Mark Teague
Publisher: HarperCollins, $19.99
Publication Date: 1 December 2010
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780733324987
For ages: 6+
Type: High Text Picture Book

Then down to the river came a little green frog and a hog from the bog and a dog on a jog, all a-quiver by the river where Marmaduke swam Marmaduke Duck eating marmalade jam.

Author MacIver has really pinned a book packed with glorious rhyme, making creative and clever use of multiple rhymes and delicious prose. And best of all - her rhyme works.

Illustrations by Davis are a pure delight - full of sherbety colour and movement, charm and hilarity.

Whimsical, funny and very clever, Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam is very easy to read aloud. This is sure to become a bedtime favourite - even my older kids love it.

Title: Marmaduke Duck and the Marmalade Jam
Author: Juliette MacIver
Illustrator: Sarah Davis
Publisher: Scholastic, $15.99
Publication Date: September 2010
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781869439286
For ages: 3-8
Type: Picture book

Baboons and bison, beavers, bats, ostriches and meerkats: animals from all over the world have come to our street!

One boy’s nocturnal visit from a parade of dancing animals warns us all that the world we share is in danger.

This is a dreamlike book filled with lustrous illustrations and a heartfelt message that seems to be a recurring theme in picture books of late - and one that's absolutely vital.

A story filled with adventure and beautiful messaging, my only criticism is that the rhyming text just doesn't work well, making reading aloud stumble-prone. Nonetheless, the storyline and pictures make this book a worthwhile treat for kids.

Title: Why the Animals Came to Town
Author/Illustrator: Michael Foreman
Publisher: Walker Books, $17.95
Publication Date: January 2011
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781406329957
For ages: 3-7
Type: Picture Book

Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her family. Along the way it becomes softer, sleepier, bigger, even peanut-buttery. But when the hug runs away, Lucy discovers that it's not so easy to get it back.

Highly acclaimed and internationally best-selling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood have worked together for the first time on this gentle, charming story that is sure to become a classic with Australian families.

Title: The Runaway Hug
Author: Nick Bland
Illustrator: Freya Blackwood
Publisher: Scholastic, $24.99
Publication Date: February 2011
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781865044057
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Train lovers rejoice! Climb aboard for an enthralling story of train history, from the invention of steam locomotives to the advanced technologies of high-speed rail.

Kids (and big kids) will love sliding out the carriages and lifting up the flaps to see inside iconic trains. Striking illustrations and photos make this as much an astonishing history book as it is a picture book.

Including engineering feats, landmark inventions, social history and global travel, this is a must for any young train enthusiast, and the book does include content about the famous Australian diesel express, The Ghan.

Title: Legendary Journeys: Trains
Author: Philip Steele
Publisher: Walker Books, $39.95RRP
Publication Date: 1 January 2011
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781921720048
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book

Hetty the cat wakes up, yawns, washes behind her ears, and pops through her cat flap into the bright sunlight. And what does she find in the big wide world? One plate of baked beans, two pork pies, three lamb chops – and that's just the beginning! This charming counting book follows Hetty on her big day out.

Title: Hetty's Day Out
Author/Illustrator: Pamela Allen
Publisher: Penguin, $24.95
Publication Date: October 2010
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780670074471
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book