lockdown children's book reviews
Book Reviews

Lynda’s Lockdown Library 3 | Picture Book Reviews

Welcome to the third entry into our Lockdown Library series! Although some children are back in school, we know that there are plenty who are still at home. So we’ve gone through our collection and found some wonderful picture books that are great for keeping the spirits up!

Look Up!

By author Nathan Bryon and illustrator Dapo Adeola (Puffin Books)

Look Up! book cover in lockdown children's book reviews

One day, Rocket is going to be “the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space-traveller who has ever lived”, but for today she’s got to get people to Look Up! There’s an expected meteor shower due, and Rocket is going to make sure that everyone knows about it – maybe she can even persuade her big brother, who’s always looking down at his phone, to pay attention.

Along the way, Rocket gives us lots of interesting facts about space and meteors in an easy-to-understand way, speaking directly to the reader.  

I loved the bold illustrations that capture Rocket’s enthusiasm; Adeola did a wonderful job at bringing the delightful little girl and her sulky older brother to life, especially when it comes to Rocket’s famous victory dance!

‘Look Up!’ is a joy from start to finish, and I’m looking forward to the next book to see what project Rocket takes on next.

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family

By author Ibtihaj Muhammad with S. K. Ali and illustrator Hatem Aly (Andersen Press)

The Proudest Blue book cover in lockdown children's book reviews

A touching story about Faizah’s big sister’s “first-day of hijab”, and the reaction she receives upon wearing it to school.

The love and pride Faizah has for her sister Asiya (who she sees as a princess) is wonderful, and her reaction to the ignorance and hateful comments of the school bullies portrays a beautiful bond between the two.

She is helped by keeping in mind the sound advice from their mother about being true to yourself and who you want to be.

I found the depictions of Asiya and her beautiful blue hijab very moving, and can certainly see why Faizah likens it to the sky and the ocean. The colour and delight in the illustrations is a stark contrast to the portrayal of the bullies, who are fittingly shown in shadow.

With its story of family, identity, strength and understanding this is, I feel, a very important book that should be carried in every primary library.

There’s a Lion in the Library!

By author Dave Skinner and illustrator Aurelie Guillerey (Orchard Books/Hachette Children’s Group)

There's a Lion in the Library! book cover in lockdown children's book reviews

Little Lucy Lupin looks like a charming girl with dimples, freckles and a button nose, and she’s oh so sweet but…maybe she’s actually not?

This is a hilarious cautionary tale out of the mould of Hilaire Belloc’s ‘Matilda’ and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’, but with a modern and amusing twist.

The illustrations are bright and somewhat retro, which suits the humorous tone of the book perfectly and captures the little girl’s mischievous character. As with the original cautionary tales though, not everyone may appreciate the outcome!

It’s good fun from beginning to delicious end, and a must-read for any naughty child who is tempted to cause trouble in a library!

I Don’t Like Books. Never. Ever. The End.

By author Emma Perry and illustrator Sharon Davey (David Fickling Books)

I Don't Like Books. Never. Ever. The End. book cover in lockdown children's book reviews

Oh, how many times have I heard this as a school librarian?

Well this is a wonderful book to show children just what they’re missing!

Mabel always seems to be given books, which is a problem as she doesn’t like them. So instead she uses them as steps, doorstops, plates, and even sleds. Until one night when the books have finally had ENOUGH.

Suddenly Mabel finds herself tumbling through the pages, getting only tantalising glimpses of the stories before being whisked away. She realises that without reading them, she’ll never know what happens next.

The vibrant and colourful illustrations carry the story along at a brisk pace, accompanied by some wonderful onomatopoeic words that are perfect for reading aloud, as Mabel realises that maybe there’s more to books than she thought.

Ready Rabbit?

By Fiona Roberton (Hodder Children’s Books/Hachette Children’s Group)

Ready Rabbit? book cover in lockdown children's book reviews

Rabbit is anxious. He has been invited to a party but, with a head full of worries, he’s reluctant to go.

Will his friends be there? What if the music’s too loud? What if he gets tired or hurts himself?

Finally, after much coaxing, he goes to the party and has a lovely time, even persuading a friend to come out of their own shell and dance. The story is charming from start to finish, and features fears that will be familiar to many children, and adults too. The bold and endearing illustrations of the lovable, big eyed Rabbit help to make this a brilliant book for reassuring anxious little ones.

Looking for more fun books to read? Why not have a look at our first set of Lockdown Library reviews, or our Picture Book Roundup? Or perhaps our second set of Lockdown Library reviews for slightly older readers?