So many wonderful picturebooks are published every year. Here is our selection of some of the best new books. These are books we hope you and your children will enjoy sharing again and again which might prompt conversations, creative activities, finding out more or imaginative story play. We hope you enjoy them.
Arlo the Lion who Couldn’t Sleep
Arlo the lion is exhausted, but he just can’t fall asleep. Owl sees his predicament and has the perfect solution – he sings Arlo a song about relaxing and imagining he is in a lovely place. It works – Arlo sleeps all night and feels so much better when he wakes up, he can’t wait to tell Owl. Unfortunately, now Owl is fast asleep, and Arlo wakes him up!
A beautiful picturebook, perfect for bedtime reading with a simple story and a memorable rhyme to share together. The illustrations are wonderful, textured and appealing. This is a story which might lead to discussions about animals which sleep during the day and during the night.
Alexis Deacon, illus. Viviane Schwarz
Ergo is a chick whose life is about to begin. She is inside an egg and developing awareness of her body – her toes, her wings and her beak. This is her world – albeit a very small one. But then Ergo decides to use her toes, her wings and her beak to escape and find out if there are more like her. She discovers she is part of a much bigger world.
This is a book to prompt lots of thinking and talk about our own known worlds and how we find out more about them.
Another philosophical book for children from the team that created the highly successful I am Henry Finch
Fabulous illustrations and striking layout emphasise the confusion of the little chick and her happiness when she discovers she is not alone, and the world is very exciting indeed.
The Fire Fox
Alexandra Page, illus. Stef Murphy
A beautiful written and sensitive story about a young girl, Freya and her mother who go to stay in a remote cabin set in a snowy landscape. A sense of sadness lingers in the first few pages sensitively suggesting the loss of Freya’s father. Exploring her new environment Freya discovers a magical white fox and they play together. The fox seems to be creating wonderful colours as he speeds through the snowy landscape with Freya. When he disappears, colours fill the sky around her as if a gift left behind for her.
This story is inspired by legends of the Saami people of Northern Scandinavia about a white fox who scatters sparks which form the Northern Lights. It might inspire children to find out more about the Northern Lights, create artwork in response to the ideas or illustrations or prompt conversations about loss, grief and sharing good memories of loved ones.
Elizabeth Laird, illus. Toby Newsome
When Gloria makes a bowl of porridge her cat wants some, but Gloria doesn’t want to share. This leads to a chain of events upsetting not only the cat, but also a donkey, a hive of bees, a hen and finally Gloria herself. Fox hears the rumpus and helps them sort out the problem.
An engaging picturebook telling a simple and satisfying story of consequences highlighting the importance of thoughtfulness. It is based on a traditional Ethiopian folk tale.
Watch a trailer
Once Upon a Tune
Otter Barry Books
This is a stunning book containing six carefully selected stories which have inspired great pieces of music including The Sorceror’s Apprentice and In the Hall of the Mountain King. We meet an array of characters including sorcerers, trolls and sea monsters. Scherherazade introduces the brave girl who persuades a bitter sultan into saving her life by bewitching him with stories.
The text is very well written, stories skillfully unfold with some lovely descriptive passages. The illustrations are wonderful with collaged images depicting the story worlds. The back of the book provides information about the composers and the writers whose stories inspired them. There is also a suggested playlist so that families can explore the music inspired by the stories.
A wonderful blend of music, art and storytelling, this is a perfect gift book likely to be treasured and pored over by adults and children alike. It may ignite interest in the music which inspired the story and also encourage children to have a go at storytelling or at creating their own collaged pictures of story settings.
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See this video for an insight into the music which inspired the book
Saving Mr Hoot
Alison Green Books
When he says Mr Hoot stole his mitten, they think it is just his imagination. All winter long Ben and Mr Hoot call to each other. In springtime a lady with a chainsaw arrives to cut the tree down, but Ben is determined to stop her.
A story about the frustration of making yourself heard when you are very small. There is a strong environmental theme and sharing this story is likely to lead to talk about animal habitats and the impact of cutting down trees. It may lead to greater awareness as children look at the trees in their local environments.
This is a beautifully illustrated story by the creator of the highly popular How to Hide your Lion series.
Shu Lin’s Grandpa
Matt Goodfellow, illus. Yu Rong
Otter Barry Books
A young narrator remembers when Shu Lin first joined his school and wasn’t able to speak English well. She didn’t seem to fit in with playground games and had strange things in her packed lunch box. One day Shu Lin’s Grandpa visits and shows the class his beautiful artwork. He has created fabulous worlds with mountains and dragons. Afterwards the children have a go at painting their own magical landscapes. Shu Lin becomes the teacher sharing her brushwork skills, her classmates are very impressed.