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

Sunday 17 July 2011

KBR Recommends: Picture Books, July 2011

Can picture books get any better? Here are our recommended picks for July - some new, some not so new. Enjoy!

Crows of Pearblossom by Aldous Huxley (Abrams, $12.95, 9780810998735, May 2011)

The Crows of Pearblossom tells the story of Mr and Mrs Crow who live in a cotton-wood tree at Pearblossom, California.

Due to a hungry Rattlesnake living at the bottom of the tree, Mrs Crow's eggs disappear before they hatch. After catching the snake eating her 297th egg that year (she does not work on Sundays), Mrs Crow tells Mr Crow go and kill the snake.

Thinking better of it, Mr Crow confers with his wise friend, Old Man Owl. Owl bakes mud into two stone eggs and paints them to resemble Mrs Crow's eggs. These dummy eggs are left in the nest to trick the Rattlesnake, who unwisely eats them the next day, causing the Rattlesnake such pain, that he thrashes about, tying himself in knots around the branches.

Mrs Crow goes on to hatch four families of seventeen children each and uses the snake as a clothesline on which to hang the little crows' diapers.

Quick, Slow, Mango! by Anik McGrory
(Bloomsbury, $14.99, 9781408815618, April 2011)

Baby elephant Kidogo is off with his mama to find breakfast. She's always telling him to hurry, but Kidogo loves to take his time and wants to do everything slowly. 

Meanwhile, up in the trees, a mischievous monkey named PolePole is always in a rush, trying to grab all the mangoes he can! 

Fast and slow, these two adorable critters meet up in the luckiest way - and it's mangoes for breakfast for everyone!

Erik & Nipper Investigate by Lajka Books (Lajka Books, 9789638928610, April 2011)

Panni Kövecses’s debut book is a kids’ detective story, which takes place in a small seaside town during summer vacation.

Let's join Erik and Nipper in their hunt for the stolen canary, photo camera and horn-rimmed glasses to discover who is the unexpected thief behind all these mysterious disappearances.

Thanks to the author’s graphic design background, this charming story is enhanced by stunning illustrations using great colors, lovely characters and some fabulous mid-century atmosphere.

The book is quite text heavy and has an enormous page count, so is better suited to older readers/listeners.

Count with Fudgy by Sarah Marley (Fudgy Bear Books, 9789638928610, April 2011)

Fudgy's books are fun and unique and will introduce your child to zoo and farm animals, the noises they make and to colours, numbers and shapes.

These little paperback books are really well designed, with a stunning blend of photos, graphics and the most adorable plush bear (which you can also buy from the website, to make reading the books truly complete).

The books are well-written, simple yet colourful and a joy to look at, with vibrant typography. It would be nice to also see the books in board book form.

Also available: Fudgy Goes to the Farm, Fudgy Goes to the Zoo. See the website for more.

All the Dear Little Animals by Ulf Nilsson (Gecko Press, $14.99, 9780958259880, August 2006)

"The whole world is full of dead things," said Esther. "In every bush there is a bird, a butterfly, a mouse. Someone must be kind and look after them. Someone must make a sacrifice and see that all these things are buried." 

"Who must?" I asked. "We must," she said. 

Esther was very brave. I was little and scared. One summer's day we started a business called Funerals Ltd, to help all the poor dead animals in the world. Esther did the digging, I wrote the poems, and Esther's little brother, Puttie, cried.

A striking book that beautifully tackles the concepts of death, and featuring stunning illustrations that make a pretty dark topic a whole lot lighter.

If You're Happy and You Know It! by P Crumble (Scholastic, $13.99, 9781741698916, July 2011)

If you're a possum and you know it, climb a tree. If you're a possum and you know it, climb a tree. If you're a possum and you know it then you really should just show it, If you're a possum and you know it, climb a tree!

Have you ever heard a possum laugh like a kookaburra? Or seen a wombat try to bounce around like a wallaby? Join an enthusiastic cast of characters from the Australian bush as they do fun actions that all the family can join in with! You can flap your wings, scratch your fleas, growl and even snap your teeth with the crocodile . . . if you dare!