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Our top 10 new picture books 2020

We have chosen some of the most exciting children’s picturebooks published this year. There are books for a range of ages, books reflecting diversity, and having lots
Lantana Publishing
Age 3-7


A Story about Afiya, James Berry, illus. Anna Cunha
Lantana Publishing
Age 3-7

In this beautifully illustrated re-imagining of the poem by celebrated poet, James Berry, Afiya’s childhood world is magically created and captured in the ever-changing patterns on her white cotton dress. From sunflowers to butterflies, pigeons to tigers, waves to boulders, the dress is printed with images. Yet, next morning, it is fresh, like a blank sheet of paper, and ready for the new day’s adventures.

Listen to the story read aloud by a young reader 
Visit our activity page
Buy here 


Albert Talbot Master of Disguise 
Ben Manley, illus. Aurélie Guillerey
Two Hoots
Age 5-7

Albert Talbot has a very vivid imagination. He spends his days imagining he is a dangerous villain or a brave adventurer. His journey to school is an expedition as he becomes fearless mountaineer Rusti Buffels. When sharing his model at school during show and tell he is famous inventorProfessor Octavious Pickleswick. During swimming lessons, he is a brave undersea explorer. But when nighttime comes Albert decides it is nice to just be himself being tucked in cosily by his mum. A book which will encourage lots of imaginative play, dressing up and conversation, turning everyday events into mini adventures.
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Bears Love Squares
Caryl Hart, illus. Edward Underwood
Bloomsbury, 
Age 3-5

Bear is very fond of squares and no matter how much raccoon tempts him with a variety of other shapes pointing out the distinctive features eg a triangle and all the fun you can have with circular hoops or balls even stars do not tempt him. Becoming desperate raccoon has one last go and makes a heart for Bear. Bear is very impressed, but he still loves squares!

An amusing rhyming book in a highly appropriate square shape which is great fun to share and return to. It is likely to prompt an interest in shapes around us too.
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The author Caryl Hart looks for squares at home and introduces her book. 


The Book of Not Entirely Useful Advice 
AF Harrold, illus. Mini Grey
Bloomsbury
Age 7-11

If you ever considered wearing a snake as a belt or having a picnic with a tiger this is the book for you. Packed with (not entirely useful) advice and lots of warnings eg that bears might be hiding under your cornflakes or the dangers of confusing your lunch box with your pencil case.

Topics range from food and animals to school life and indeed life in general this book packed with very silly poetry by AF Harrold perfectly matched Mini Grey’s brilliantly comic illustrations likely to lead to lots of giggles.

There are interactive elements where readers can for example use the Advice tron to select their own advice and add their own ideas for ways sausages might be useful if you are lost at sea.
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Clean Up                                         Nathan Bryon, illus. Dapo Adeola
Puffin Books
Age 5-7

Rocket is really excited; she is going to visit Grammy and Grampy who live in Jamaica. They run whale watching tours, own a wildlife sanctuary AND Grammy is brilliant at surfing! While there, Rocket is shocked by the amount of rubbish on the beach and how it is affecting the wildlife. She decides to do something about it.

This is a delightfully illustrated story with a determined main character who sets out to make a difference. This is a story to raise awareness of the threat of plastic pollution on our oceans and ocean creatures and encourage small scale activism.
Visit our activity page
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Honey for you, Honey for me  
Michael Rosen, illus. Chris Riddell
Walker Books
Age 0-5

This is a collection of playground songs and nursery rhymes collated by Michael Rosen and beautifully illustrated by Chris Riddell. Adult readers may recognize a few here eg ‘Jelly on the plate’ and ‘The North Wind Shall Blow’ but there will be lots of new discoveries too.

Great to share with children dip into develop favourites read or sing and maybe act out together.
Listen to Michael Rosen reading some of the rhymes.

This book would make a perfect companion to A Great Big Cuddle by the same team which contains Michael Rosen’s original rhymes. See our activity page here for A Great Big Cuddle 
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Just One of Those Days
Jill Murphy     
Macmillan
Age 3-7

The Bear family are having one of those days. After oversleeping, just about everything goes wrong. Both Mr and Mrs Bear have mishaps at work and at Nursery things don’t go well for Baby Bear either. ‘Someone Else’ has his favourite dinosaur toy and ‘Someone Else’ has his favourite mug. When they get home, they console themselves and put it all behind them. Mr Bear treats them all to a pizza and a surprise for Baby Bear.

This is a delightful story full of warmth and humour in the words and the illustrations which both adults and children will relate to. A welcome return of the Bear family we first met in the picturebook classic Peace at Last 40 years ago.  

Visit our activity pages for Peace at Last and Whatever Next (also about the same family) 
Hear the book’s creator Jill Murphy talk about the book 
Buy here


Last                                                  
Nicola Davies
Tiny Owl
Age 7-9

A lonely rhino pacing a zoo in a cold colourless world fears he is the last of his kind. He dreams about happy days with his mother before she was killed, and he was snatched from his home. Look closely and you can spot a child watching, a child who grows into an adult who helps return the rhino to the wild where he finds another rhino and is no longer alone.

There is lots to talk about here in a book Inspired by a true story, which highlights the plight of the white rhino and the power of every individual to notice and take action. This is the first book which acclaimed author Nicola Davies has illustrated as well as written. Colour is used very effectively to contrast the rhino’s experiences in captivity and in the wild. Carefully selected snippets of text support of the theme of the book.

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Nicola Davies


Pirate Stew
Neil Gaiman, illus. Chris Riddell
Bloomsbury
Age 7-9

What if mum and dad go out for the evening and choose a pirate cook as a babysitter? In Pirate Stew we find out exactly what might happens. This is a splendid, rollicking rhyme of a picture book guaranteed to delight young readers. The illustrations are just fabulous, packed with comic characters, lots of detail and pirate themed fun. Look out for the many references drawn from classic pirate books such as Treasure Island and Peter Pan.
Buy here

Author Neil Gaiman introduces his book and reads aloud from it here;



You Choose Fairy Tales 
Nick Sharratt (illus) and Pippa Goodhart
Puffin Books
Age 5-9

Imagine you could be in your own fairy tale, what kind of a hero would you be? This book gives you lots of choice to help you build a fairy tale in which young readers take the starring role. Choose to be a pirate, a princess or a billy goat. Decide whether you live in a palace, a gingerbread house or a crooked house. What are your talents? Where will you go, what will you take? Who is your friend and who is your enemy?  

Every page presents a stunning array of new choices in Nick Sharratt’s distinctive artwork. As you work though the book your tale can build. When you finish start again and build a different story! Creative and interactive this is a book designed for sharing and lots of talk. The latest in the very popular ‘You Choose’ series which includes You Choose in Space, You Choose your Dreams and the original book You Choose.
Buy here 

Neil Gaiman reads aloud from the book here