Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Five fantastic new picture books for 2-7 Year Olds

This is my latest review of five wonderful new picture books. These 5 books will inspire and entertain young readers. My blog has recently been listed on Feed Spot as one of the Top 100 Children's Book Blogs globally.

1. 'Isla's Family Tree' by Katrina McKelvey & illustrated by Prue Pittock

This delightful book tells the all too common story of a first child whose Mum is expecting a second. Isla's family is changing and she's not too happy! Isla already thinks her family "is too full!" But her mother has an idea. She creates a clever family tree to teach Isla how to accept the growth in her family.

Her mother makes a paper tree and explains where their new baby should go. Isla doesn’t think they belong. "There’s no room left on our branch — it’s full!" she says. She tries to make them fit, and places them on Aunty Violet's branch, and then with her cousins, at Aunty Violet and Aunty Jasmine’s house. Maybe at Aunty Daisy and Uncle Doug’s? She is convinced that there is no room on her branch!

Eventually, she accepts that the baby can fit on their branch. Her Mum replies, so where do these TWO leaves belong? "Two leaves? Two babies!" she gasped. But she falls in love and says to her Mum, "our branch grew a little ... our family is never too full." And when she meets her new brothers she quickly accepts and loves them.

This lovely story is well supported by Prue Pittock's delightfully simple and expressive line and minimalist use of colour. This is a lovely book for any child with siblings, but perfect for any family that needs to introduce new family members, or to help them understand what a family is.

2. 'Bedtime Daddy' by Sharon Giltrow & illustrated by Katrin Dreiling

Any parent who has had to handle children at bedtime will instantly appreciate this delightful picture book. But this book has a serious twist, it isn't children who resist going to be, it's really Daddy!

"Putting Daddy to bed can be hard work. Especially when he starts crying! This story will show you how to wrestle your daddy into his pajamas and read just one more bedtime story. 'I’m thirrrrrrrrssssssty,' says Daddy. 'I need to poop … I’m hungry … But I’ll miss you,' he says, while he looks at you with cutie eyes."

Katrin Dreiling's crayon illustrations have a 'softness' that matches the text perfectly. This will be an instant favourite that will need to be read and reread by Daddy's, I mean "Children"!! Those Daddy's can be so frustrating! A funny and engaging picture book at readers 1-5 will love.

3. 'Ten Little Figs' by Rhian Williams & illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom

A child sits beneath a large fig tree and tries to count them. He has a plan to get the figs with his ladder. But others have their eyes on his figs. He watches as the figs disappear one by one.

He counts down the figs on the backyard fig tree, as each one is snatched away by a different Australian animal.

Ten little figs are on my tree.
I love figs and they're all for me.
A flying fox dives, fast and low.
Where, of where, did that fig go?

Nine of the ten figs are eventually claimed by an assortment of Australian creatures. Leaf-curling spiders, Zebra finches, Green Ants, Rainbow Lorikeets, a Wombat, Hercules Moths, an Echidna, Spotted-tailed Quoll. Just one remains but it's too high in the tree. Who will get that very last fig? Luckily Dad comes to the rescue and surprises his little one with the very last fig.

4. 'Old Enough to Save the Planet' by Loll Kirby & illustrated by Adelina Lirius

I just love this inspiring book, based on the passions and projects of real children looking at how all of us have responsibility for the ecological well-being of our planet. While it has a strong call to address climate change, it goes much further than this by sharing the projects of children challenging other children as well as adults and leaders to address the varied challenges to our world caused by human waste, pollution, deforestation, culling wildlife, polluting our waterways and oceans, saving our fresh waterways, reintroducing native plant species and grasses, reducing traffic pollution, reusing waste and much more.

The publisher's blurb is a bit misleading. Yes, the positive impacts that these children suggest will help to stop climate change, a but these young activists don't mention climate change, they aren't chanting slogans. They have simply got in and sought to make a difference to their world for the good of all. And yes, if we do these things (and more) we will help to arrest climate change. Read their stories of action! For example:

  • Felix from Germany is passionate about reforestation
  • Hunter from South Africa is trying to protect Rhinos
  • Himangi from India is taking action to reduce traffic pollution outside her school
  • Vincent from France has created a community garden to reduce food waste
  • Jordan from the USA is fighting against palm oil products to help save native forests
  • Shalise from Australia is campaigning to protect our oceans from human pollution

5. 'To the Bridge' by Corinne Fenton & illustrated by Andrew McLean

The award-winning team of Corinne Fenton and Andrew McLean tell the story of Lennie Gwyther and Ginger Mick, a boy and his pony who crossed Sydney's Harbour Bridge on 19th of March, 1932 and marched into history.

Any child who has been inspired by human ingenuity and invention will relate to this book. Whether it was the Moon Landing, people scaling Everest, deep sea exploration, or scientific discovery, many 6-12 year olds have been captured by great events in history. In this Aussie picture book, Nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther from an Australian farm in rural Leongatha was captivated by the steel arch bridge to span Sydney Harbour. With his father's blessing, he rode his pony 'Ginger Mick' across Australia, inspiring crowds of supporters to greet him in cities along the way, as he made his way to Sydney. It was there that he saw the bridge that had captivated his imagination and inspired his brave journey. And it was then that he and Ginger Mick became a legend. As a child in the 1950s I can recall my grandfather talking about 'Ginger Mick' with no idea what on earth he meant! Now I know.

This is an inspiring true story about a young boy who rode a cross a continent with persistence, resilience, bravery, courage and hope. Many children have big dreams, this book might just inspire some other children to pursue their own.

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