So many wonderful picturebooks have been published in 2022.
Here’s our selection of some of the best.
As always, we hope that these are books that you and your children will enjoy sharing again and again and which might prompt conversations, creative activities, finding out more or imaginative story play. We hope you enjoy them.
The Boy Who Sailed the World
Julia Green and Alex Latimer (illus) David Fickling Books
A young boy who loved the sea and stories about the sea decides to build a boat and sail the world to have adventures of his own. He negotiates busy shipping lanes and stormy weather, sees magical sunsets and star filled skies, discovering wonderful creatures, and making new friendsBeautifully written and illustrated, this is a joyous picturebook about the excitement of adventure, the wonders of the ocean and making dreams come true.
Visit our activity page for The Boy who Sailed the World
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Colours, Colours, Everywhere
Julia Donaldson, Sharon King-Chai (illus), Two Hoots
A little girl opens her paint box and wonders what to paint today. She starts with a blue tree frog and in no time at all the two of them are off on an adventure with a hot air balloon, oceans, islands, helicopters and lots and lots of colours. This is a concept book with a difference; a story celebrating colour in the world around us. It is a lovely book, with a rhyming story and beautiful illustrations, with flaps to lift and holes to peep through. It is likely to encourage talk about colours, colour collections of objects or cut out from magazines and of course painting too.
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Joe Todd Stanton
Flying Eye Books
Nyla is a creative child who enjoys life in the countryside with her dad. They spend lots of time playing and cooking together, making up stories and watching the night sky.
Everything changes when they move to the city. Dad has no time to play, the buildings are grey, the streets are busy, her school is strange and there are very few stars in the sky. Then one night Nyla spots a comet, sparking her imagination, her memories and lots of creative activity.
This is a story about the challenges of moving house and changing your way of life. We see Nyla and her father re discovering their close bond through making a new house into a home and becoming part of the community. With minimal text and wonderful illustrations this is a beautiful picturebook full of imagination, creativity and a sprinkling of magic.
Visit our activity page for The Comet
Goldilocks and the Three Crocodiles
Michael Rosen and David Melling (illus)
In an amusing spin on the familiar tale Goldilocks and her dog Tiddles head off to rediscover the house in the woods – you know the one with the chairs, the porridge and the bears. But the song of the sea calls them, and they find themselves in a cave at the seaside– home to three crocodiles, who just like the three bears are not happy at the intrusion. With a pleasingly familiar patterned story, a repeated refrain and clever twists this is great fun and may lead to lots of speculation (what might the crocodiles have for breakfast?) and imagination too – children could reenact this version or wonder which other animal homes Goldilocks and Tiddles could visit.
Michael Rosen introduces the story here: Goldilocks and the Three Crocodiles | Michael Rosen – YouTube
Granny Came Here on The Empire Windrush
Patrice Lawrence and Camilla Sucre (illus)
While Granny is helping Ava decide on a historical figure and outfit for a school assembly about people we admire, Ava spots a small cardboard suitcase with some intriguing objects inside. It was the case Granny brought with her from Trinidad when she travelled to England on the Empire Windrush. Prompted by the contents, Granny begins relating her own story.
Beautifully written with bold, colourful illustrations, this picturebook brings a sense of the experience of the Windrush generation to young readers, as well as introducing several significant black women from history. Full of the warmth of family love, this story also has the message that the people we admire most may not be those we encounter in history books but much closer to home. It may prompt conversations about the Windrush generation and also between grandparents and grandchildren about the stories behind the objects they treasure.
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The Greatest Show on Earth
Mini Grey sets out to tell the 4.6-billion-year story of life on Earth in this exciting picturebook.
The story is presented as if it is a theatrical performance by Rod the Roach and his international troupe of insect performers in the world-famous shoe box theatre. Each double page spread represents a key moment in the evolution of life on earth and we find ourselves jumping a mere billion years or so as the pages turn.
There is lots of wry humour, for example the asteroid which wiped out the dinosaurs is introduced with ‘Here’s one for all you mass extinction fans!’
Drawing on her extensive skills in picturebook creation, knowledge and fascination with the animal world and environmental awareness this book is a tour de force, introducing a complex topic in an accessible and engaging way. There is plenty of food for thought too, with the importance of looking after our fragile planet an underlying theme.
Read interview with Mini Grey
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Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton (illus)
After a busy day playing at the North Pole the penguins like to form a huddle to keep warm and cosy every night. One morning however, after a freezing gale, they wake up to find themselves stuck together! This prompts a crazy adventure as they try to find a way to get unstuck seeking help from their friends then travelling across the seas to a distant city. The story is great fun with lively illustrations full of detail from the same team who created Ten Delicious Teachers. A story which definitely needs to be followed with a big cuddle.
The Perfect Present
Otter Barry books
Tom and Mot are best friends who share a birthday. They want to give each other a special present. Taking turns, Tom gives Mot a feather and Mot gives Tom a marble, but maybe the feather is really a spectacular colourful bird, and the marble is the smallest planet in the universe. The friends talk about what they would love to give each other; anything and everything from an elephant to the sun. They have a magical day together, full of imaginary fun. This is a gentle and beautifully illustrated story about friendship, love and imaginary play. Families could play the perfect present game too, making exaggerated promises about what they would give each other or imagining that the most every day of objects are actually something amazing and of course talking about the importance of spending time together as the best present of all.
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Well Done, Mummy Penguin
Little Penguin and Daddy Penguin watch as Mummy Penguin goes out to sea to find dinner. Little Penguin is slightly anxious but very impressed with her swimming, fishing, climbing and jumping but seeks reassurance she will be back soon and worried about the scary looking seals blocking her way. With very appealing and stylish images, lots of sound effects and a repeated refrain, this is a delightful picturebook capturing the feelings of the young perfectly and celebrating the determination of mothers everywhere to look after their young.
Read about the development of the story and watch a trailer here blog – Chris Haughton
Visit our activity page for Chris Haughton’s wonderful story about three baby monkeys unable to resist temptation Maybe…. now available in paperback
The Zebra’s Great Escape
Katherine Rundell illus, Sara Ogilvie
When Mink is trying to avoid bedtime on her garden swing, she doesn’t expect to meet a young zebra, or that this young zebra would be in urgent need of her help and that she could understand what he is saying. This is the beginning of a magical adventure with talking animals and a dastardly villain, thwarted through our heroine’s bravery and a determined team of animal helpers.
This is an exciting story with a satisfying ending. Mink is an appealing heroine as are the animals particularly her sceptical helper Rainbow the dog.
A major theme in the story about being brave and helping others.
‘When people ask you for help, they are giving you the chance to change the world for the better.’
Author, Katherine Rundell introduces the book here Katherine Rundell on The Zebra’s Great Escape – YouTube