Last month, I visited Wales and in doing so found myself (unsurprisingly I hear you say!) in a number of bookshops. Picture books are somewhat of a weakness for me, so I of course bought a handful – check out what I thought of them below, in our very first Picture Book Roundup!
After the Fall; How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again
By Dan Santat (Andersen Press)
After the Fall is a wonderful picture book that looks at how Humpty Dumpty overcame…his fear of heights?
It had never occurred to me that, after his accident, Humpty Dumpty would develop acrophobia, but fortunately it did to Dan Santat!
This ongoing fear affects every aspect of Humpty’s life and happiness, and the story focuses on how he comes to terms with, and finally overcomes, this.
The illustrations are engaging and the twist at the end – although not what I was expecting – certainly made my heart soar.
This book could be very useful for leading discussions in class over fears and what causes them, and the effects that trauma can have on us. Definitely a picture book deeper than its title implies!
I Love You, Stick Insect
By Chris Naylor-Ballesteros (Bloomsbury Publishing)
An entertaining picture book about Stick Insect’s love and a case of mistaken identity.
Like Chris Naylor-Ballesteros’ previous book ‘I Will Eat This Ant’, this is a hilarious title for engaging both young and old readers, as Stick Insect seeks someone to share his life with.
I don’t want to give the story away, but I will say that Chris’s brilliant illustrations had me giggling all the way through and, although I love Stick Insect, it was Butterfly that stole my heart.
Little Red Reading Hood
By author Lucy Rowland and illustrator Ben Mantle (Macmillan Children’s Books)
A lovely picture book, with a clever twist on the classic ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ fairy tale.
Red is off to the library to return an overdue book however, on her way there, who should she meet but the Big Bad Wolf – who persuades her to stray from the path…
The wonderful thing about stories though, is that they don’t always have to end the same way, as Wolf soon finds out!
With Ben Mantle’s captivating illustrations (I particularly liked the golden ‘streams’ of stories that wind through the air) and Lucy’s rhyming text, this will make an entertaining bedtime read or a nice alternative fairy tale to share with younger children in class.
My Worst Book Ever!
By author Allan Ahlberg and illustrator Bruce Ingman (Thames & Hudson)
A humorous narrative by the amazing Allan Ahlberg about the trials and tribulations of writing and publishing a children’s picture book, ‘Crocodile Snap!’.
You follow the book from its conception in a garden shed, through the ‘ups’ (a brilliant idea) and ‘downs’ (cats, coffee and snails), to getting it illustrated (crocodiles or hippos?) and edited (or dinosaurs?), and finally to being printed (with the help of some chocolatey hands).
Does it all turn out as planned…? Well, perhaps not quite as the author and illustrator expect!
With the brilliant marrying of Allan Ahlberg’s text and Bruce Ingman’s illustrations, this is a great way of showing older children how it takes a whole creative team to produce the book in their hands.
I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I do wonder if we will ever see ‘Crocodile Snap!’ on the shelves!
By Steve Antony (Hodder Children’s Books)
A charming picture book that reminds us how much fun you can have outside, if only you unplug yourself from your computer.
Steve Anthony’s book doesn’t tell us computers are bad; in fact, he clearly states that Blip (the character who becomes ‘unplugged’) learns new things and can visit faraway places on her PC. But the illustrations for these parts are all in monochrome, and it is only when Blip goes outside and makes friends, as well as learning new things first-hand, that colour is added.
An ideal book for showing younger children the pleasure of life inside and outside, and a timely reminder to those a bit older that not everything can be experienced through a computer screen.
This one should be a must-read for all children!