Sunday, March 7, 2021

Three Great New Children's Books About Animals

1. 'Maybe...' by Chris Haughton

This brand-new picture book from Chris Haughton is bright, quirky, and oh so engaging. The book is a real page turner. With its bold use of red as the background wash on almost every page, simple brightly coloured images of the three central characters (three inquisitive monkeys), and stripped back language, it will engage any reader.

The plot is simple. The monkeys are left by their parent and told as they them alone, "Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree." But the for these inquisitive and hungry monkeys, who can see some sweet mangos in the forest, it is oh so tempting. Surely it will be okay. "Any tigers here? No!" Down, down, down, to the trees below. And LOOK

Seems there is no tiger. I wonder? Will they stop at one? Will they risk another descent to get more mangoes? You'll have to get the book and enjoy it with children aged 2-4 years to find out.

Chris Haughton is an Irish designer and illustrator. His debut picture book, 'A Bit Lost', is published into 21 different languages and has won 13 awards in nine countries. His second title, Oh No, George! won the Junior Design Award and was shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award.

2. 'Rajah Street' by Myo Yim

Junya likes being by the window and watching the happenings in Rajah Street. He delights at the comings and goings each day. The people, cars, the ever-changing sky - and best of all - on Wednesdays - its garbage day! He hangs out for the arrival of the garbage truck. But as he does so, his imagination runs wild. Why has the cement truck driver taken a nap out the front? He'd just love to wake the man up with a cup of tea (if he could).

As a school bus passes, Junya is certain it is on its way to the zoo. He wishes he could go too. What might he see? Lions? Gorillas? And where might that skate board rider end up? Might he bring back the surf and the waves on his travels?

The imaginative illustrations from Myo Yim invite the reader to engage with the text and to wonder what might be, and what could be possible as he gazes out the window and imagines a bigger world with diversity and excitement everywhere. 

What I love most about this book, is that the author manages to take the reader into the mind of the little boy and capture something of his inner voice and quiet dreaming, as an ordinary day can become very special.

Myo Yim is an author/illustrator based in the Northern Rivers of NSW Australia, originally from Seoul, Korea. She works across many mediums, 2d, 3d, digital and analogue and pencil drawing. In 2019 she published her debut illustrated book, The Forest of The Night, in Seoul, South Korea. It was nominated for the Little Hakka International Picture Book Award 2019.

3. 'North & South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres', by Sandra Morris

This is a wonderful factual picture book for readers aged 6-99 years! It explores the world's diverse and varied species of animals, birds, reptiles, insects, fungi... All framed within habitats. But there's more! On each double page spread the reader is given an insight into what is happening in both the north and south hemispheres, month by month, and season by season. And yet, in spite of this simplicity, Sandra Morris has created a wonderful factual 'page turning' book that you won't want to put down.  Here's a sample of the text from the January double page:

"In winter, the Scottish ptarmigan's all-white plumage matches the snow and in spring, it moults to black, grey and brown feathers that blend with the rocky landscape." 

Meanwhile, in the Northern Australian summer:

"The green tree python mother guards her eggs, keeping them warm by coiling her body around them in her nest in a hollow tree. January marks the end of the mating season."

Throughout the book readers can see on open pages what is happening in both hemispheres and in different seasons.

Sandra Morris’s wonderful text and beautiful illustrations guide readers on a global exploration, offering insights on how various species adapt to the changing seasons. The extensive end matter offers many more facts about the many featured creatures.