It is often hard to know how to choose new picture books from the thousands published every year.
Here is a selection of some of our current favourites from 2017. You and your child will meet a range of appealing characters in these beautifully illustrated picture books and discover amusing, intriguing and thought provoking stories. We hope you enjoy them.
The Bad Bunnies’ Magic Show Mini Grey
Simon and Schuster
The audience is waiting for the Great Hypno to perform his amazing magic show. But just before the show is about to start an announcement is made; Messrs Abra and Cadabra, two bunnies, will replace Hyno. Abra and Cadabra thrill the audience with incredible transformations and daring feats but what are they up to when they hypnotise the audience and where is The Great Hypno? A funny and intriguing book with a retro feel, the dastardly scheming rabbit duo make great villains. There is lots to spot in the fabulous illustrations and the paper engineering includes several flaps which are fun to open.
The Cave Rob Hodgson
In a cave there is a mysterious little creature apparently hiding. Outside the cave there is a wolf who is desperate for the little creature to come out and play. Or so he says, perhaps he has other plans? The rather hungry wolf hatches a series of clever plans to lure the creature out of the hole. He finally succeeds with a tempting donut with sprinkles on top. However the creature which emerges is not little at all, a lot bigger than the wolf in fact and in the end it’s the wolf who wants to hide away in case he gets eaten.
A beautifully illustrated, well-constructed story with a hint of mystery and touches of humour. A clever ending too as the wolf is thwarted in his cunning plans.
Find out more about the book here
Diggersaurs Michael Whaite
Penguin Random House
Have you ever looked at diggers and cranes and imagined they look like dinosaurs? Well this book does just that, tapping into two popular themes with young children and blending them together to create an amazing set of creatures – DIGGERSAURS! Bold illustrations, a rhyming text and an imaginative idea make this a great story for sharing again and again.
Grandad’s Secret Giant David Litchfield
Grandad is always telling Billy about the secret giant that only he sees. A giant that keeps watch to make sure everyone is safe and helps out when they are in trouble. He keeps out of sight as he expects people to be scared when they see him. Billy doesn’t believe Grandad. But then one day when he needs someone very tall to help him out he finds out that grandad was telling the truth. Will Billy just run away or will he be brave and thank Grandad’s Secret Giant? A beautifully illustrated story about the importance of friendship and not being scared about people who are different
Grumpy frog Ed Vere
In this striking picturebook we meet a very grumpy frog with so many issues – he only likes green things, won’t go swimming because the water is blue or bouncing because the trampoline is yellow and he absolutely hates pink. He does enjoy hopping and racing, just as long as he wins of course. However when he ends up with no friends, grumpy frog feels pretty sorry for himself. How will he react when pink rabbit offers to play with him?
A funny story about feeling grumpy, compromising and making friends.
Its creator, Ed Vere speaks about the story and reads it aloud here
I am Actually a Penguin Sean Taylor, illus Kasia Matyjaszek
This is a story about a little girl who loves dressing up. She is delighted to receive a penguin suit from her uncle and wants to wear it all the time. Not only that, she tries to BECOME a penguin as much as she can from how she gets downstairs (not recommended) to what she eats; though trying to catch fish fingers in her mouth proves a bit of a challenge. She is allowed to wear her penguin suit to her auntie’s wedding, but when it comes to going to school her parents put their foot down, no penguin suit, anyway it needs washing, so she takes it off and decides to become…. an alligator instead!
An amusing story about the fun of dressing up and getting really engrossed in imaginative play.
My name is not refugee
A mother and her son are leaving their home in search of a safe place to live. Through the mother’s words we find out how she prepares her child for the journey they are about to make. Through the illustrations we see some of the young boy’s experiences during the long journey, from deciding what to pack to eventually starting to settle into a new home. We see that at times the journey might be exciting, at others strange and worrying, and it will certainly be long and tiring, and even quite boring with endless walking, walking, walking.
This attractive picturebook tries to explain the refugee experience (unfortunately a very real situation for many children in the world today) in a way that is accessible to young children. It is a book which gives lots to talk and think about. There are discussion points on every page to help with this, encouraging children to imagine what it might be like, for example ‘What would you take (with you)?’ ‘How far can you walk?’
Play Jez Alborough
Bobo the chimp is enjoying playing with his friends, tortoise and giraffe. He doesn’t listen to mummy when she says it is time to stay at home and go to bed and carries on playing with tortoise. When it starts to get dark tortoise want to sleep too, there is no one to play with and Bobo is feeling worried. Luckily pelican rescues him and takes him safely home.
A simply gorgeous bedtime story for the very young. Bobo is irresistible. Lovely art work, the illustrations tell the story with just a handful of words.
Jez Alborough talks about creating the book here
If you and your child fall in love with this one there are more Bobo stories to enjoy Hug, Tall and Yes
For more bedtime story ideas see our suggestions here
Superbat Matt Carr
Pat dreamt of being a bat with amazing powers, just like the superheroes in his favourite comics. He made himself a special outfit, now all he needed to do was convince everyone he was.. SUPERBAT! The trouble was the superpowers he claimed to have (super hearing, flying, finding his way in the dark) all the other bats had too. His eyes didn’t shoot laser beams and he wasn’t extra strong like the superheroes in his favourite comics. Maybe he wasn’t destined to be a ‘superbat’, maybe he just looked… silly. Then one day something happened, help was needed and Pat didn’t hesitate, he was a true SUPERBAT and bravery was his superpower.
An appealing, attractively illustrated story with interesting facts about bats to discover along the way.
See our activity ideas here
THIS is NOT a Fairy Tale Will Mabbitt, (illus) Fred Blunt
Why do princes have all the adventures while princesses have to wait to be rescued? Sophie, fed up with this, decides to change the story while dad reads to her. Her story has a brave princess, a bald prince locked in a tower (obviously), a transforming combine harvester/robot (less obviously!) and a fire breathing dragon. The princess saves the day and dad gets so carried away with the brilliant adventure he forgets he is cooking sausages for tea which end up rather burnt.
A funny story with equally funny illustrations which might encourage some changes to traditional story play roles. The fun Sophie has creating her own story might encourage children to have a go too.