Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Six Wonderful New Picture Books to Share

 1. 'Mitchel Itches: An Eczema Story' by Kristen Kelly & illustrated by Amelia Jones

This lovely picture book is about a boy who suffers badly from Eczema, and how he manages to cope and eventually 'conquer' it. In his Mum's words, he "was born scratching". Even in his baby photos he had socks on his hands to deter him.

He grew up putting on skin cream every day and this wasn't fun! Baths helped for a little while, but sometimes the scratching would leave his skin infected, and some of his friends worried about catching it. In frustration, he would tell them "you can't catch it!" Being called "Itchy Mitchy" wasn't much fun either.

But when his Uncle Sean gave him a guitar, he was to learn many songs, and join the school band. He dazzled the school with his playing. With the support of his friends and family, over time he was able to develop resilience. 

As well as being a great story, this book teaches us about someone's experiences with this condition, and how over time you can learn to live with Eczema.

2. 'Some Families Change' by Jess Galatola & illustrated by Jenni Barrand

This special book tackles the tricky topic of the impact on children of the separation of their parents. It offers insights into the impact of such an event and how parental separation or divorce changes families, but doesn't end them. It also explains why parents might separate for varied of reasons. The parental voice within the text reminds the reader that while the make up of their family might change, their parents and many others continue to care for and love them.

Sometimes, families might get bigger as parents remarry and other children join them. And other family members like grandparents might take on bigger roles. There are even members of their extended family who help like aunties, uncles and cousins. In all the changes, children need to understand "...it's not their fault... you have done nothing wrong."

"Children grappling with these changes often harbor difficult feelings. The book validates these emotions, emphasizing that it's okay to feel upset or worried because adjusting to change takes time."

This is a tender and helpful picture books that parents and teachers will like, and from which deeper conversations might emerge. An ideal book for younger children aged 3-6.

 3. 'King Lion' by Emma Yarlett

This is a delightful, story about a lion who was King of his own Kingdom, but sadly he had no friends. So he roared from the tallest tower, "Please, will ANYBODY be my friend?" Not surprisingly no-one accepted his invitation. They all thought that "the KING is DREADFUL". Instead, everyone hid from the King. In his sadness every night he roared in his sorrow.

But one day a little girl who was playing all alone saw him. And while she could see his "dangerous claws". And heard his "deafening roars" and "feared his DRIPPING jaws" she thought, maybe I know what's wrong. That night she came up with a very brave plan. The next day as the lion prowled his empty Kingdom she was waiting for him. And when the lion roared his deafening roar at her, she roared right back! And then she said "Hello...Let's be friends". And because she knew what it was like to want a friend the King understood for the first time what it was to be a friend. And from then on, "...the girl and the King were always dreadfully happy."

A beautiful book that children aged 3-6 will love whether being read to, or trying to read it themselves. 

4. 'Glow' by Ross Morgan

This is a sumptuous book! In just 212 words with the most beautiful illustrations and almost every page simply in shades of deep blue and black, I wanted to read it again and again. There is depth not just in the illustrations but also in the story that is told.

The setting is a jungle of lost and broken cars that are a maze of wonders for creatures at night like frogs and rats. But while a 'junk' yard at night might be scary, this is a place of exploration and discovery for a little girl. She likes to make things, and her trusty dog accompanies her on their night-time journey of discoveries. But their wanderings bring a special discovery. With a flash of light a magnificent machine zooms skyward in the dark.

What a master storyteller we have here and such an accomplished artist. I want to 'steal' one of these to hang on my wall so I can revisit it's mysteries again and again. Brilliant!!

Ross Morgan is an artist from South Australia. He has won many prizes and been part of solo and group exhibitions. His gift and love for the unusual, led him to create this special book that seems to 'Glow'. In 2018 he won the 'Raising Literacy Australia' prize. He is working on a number of new picture book projects as both author and illustrator.


5. 'Pavlo Gets the Grumps', by Natalia Shaloshvili

Pavlo does not feel like going to the park. Not today.
He does not want to go swimming.
He even says no to the cinema.

What's going on, Pavlo?
Pavlo's got the grumps.


Pavlo's mother asks him over breakfast what they should do today. But Pavlo is grumpy. Every suggestion from his mother is rejected. "No! I don't want to go to the park! The swings are too swingy", and the "slidey is too slidey!". No swimming because "the water is too wet and the fishes nibble my toes!"

The cinema is no good as his "bottom is very wriggly today". His Mum replies "I think you've got the grumps." The best solution? We "will go anyway" says Mama. And when he meets his friend Mila there, and after a few cuddles, he was now rid of the grumps!

Natalia Shaloshvili's expressive illustrations are sad and funny at the same time, reassuring little ones that we are loved by our family and friends even when we're not our happiest selves.

The illustrations have a softness that looks like they were applied with a soft sponge. The 'softness' of her illustrations and the delightful text make for a book that children will want you to read over and over again, as well as reading it themselves.

6. 'Sleepy Sheepy' by Lucy Ruth Cummins & illustrated by Pete Oswald 

This sweet picture book shows that a baby sheep can be just as reluctant to go to bed as any young toddler. Every parent will recognise the tactics used by our "sleepy sheepy" in Lucy Ruth Cummins book. They are just like those of our children at bedtime. Pete Oswald's cartoon style illustrations communicate the emotions of the parents and our Sleepy 'Sheepy' so well. illustrations are delightful.

Even when this little sheep's

"Shoulders stooped"

"His brain was pooped"

he was 

"Still NOT SLEEPY!" 

But as all parents know, eventually our little sheep goes off to sleep.

 This is a lovely book to read to our Tots at bedtime or in our classrooms as well.





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