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Our top 10 new picture books 2016

A large number of children’s books are published every year. Here is our selection of some of the best newly published picture books to look out for.

A Brave Bear Sean Taylor, Emily Hughes (illus)brave bear
Age 3-5 years

What is the hottest thing in the world? Well a pair of hot bears of course! Bear cub and his father set off on a journey together to reach the river and cool off. Despite warnings to stick to ‘small jumps’ the young cub wants to impress his father and slips over. Luckily dad is there to provide comfort and praise for being brave.

A Brave Bear is a lovely simple story beautifully illustrated about the father/son relationship. The repetition in the text make this an enjoyable story to read aloud to young children.

Watch the author, Sean Taylor read the story here 

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goodnight everyoneGoodnight Everyone Chris Haughton
Age 0-5

Visually stunning with vibrant use of colour, this is a delightful picture book likely to become a favourite, particularly at bedtime.

It is night time in the forest. All the animals are sleepy, stretching and yawning with heavy eyes, ready for bed. All that is except Little Bear who just wants to play. The build-up of the sleepy animals’ yawns make this story fun to share and join in with.

Older children (5+) and adults will enjoy talking about the end papers which show the constellations of the night sky and the planets in our solar system.

See our top ten books for bedtime

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little homebirdLittle Homebird Jo Empson
Child’s play
Age 3-7

Little bird loves his home, he can sit on his favourite branch, listen to his favourite music and eat his favourite food. When his family start to get ready to fly south for the winter he is worried about leaving his home and decides to take all his favourite things with him. The journey is long and his things don’t all reach his destination, instead finding new homes along the way. However in the end little bird finds lots of new favourite things and soon starts to feel happy in his winter home.

A beautifully illustrated book about feeling at home and coping with change, with an insight into bird migration as well.

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lottie potterLottie Potter wants an OtterJeanne Willis, Leonie Lord (illus)
Harper Collins
Age 3-7

Lottie Potter is very keen to have a pet, and only an otter will do! She finds Mr Trotter’s shop which is full of otters and Lottie makes her choice. But this otter turns out to be an absolute rotter! So Lottie’s search for the perfect pet continues.

This is a rhyming picture book with a very satisfying rhythm which skips along delightfully making it a great read aloud and easy for children to join in with too. The story is very silly but great fun and the illustrations add to the humour.

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max and birdMax and Bird Ed Vere
Age 3-5

Max the kitten meets a bird. He want to make friends with him and then chase and eat him as he is such a tasty looking snack. Unsurprisingly bird is not too happy about this!

This is a delightful and strikingly illustrated story in which Max learns that friends should help each other and not eat each other. Max decides to help his new friend learn to fly and he tries to learn too. Unsurprisingly, bird is the most successful at this.

This is the third book in the series about Max, a very appealing kitten. See our activity ideas for Max the Brave.

See author/illustrator Ed Vere on BBC Authors Live sharing Max and Bird and other books in the Max series with an audience of children here.

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rainRain Sam Usher
Age 3-5

It is raining and a little boy is very keen to go outside and catch raindrops, splash in puddles and maybe meet a sea monster! Unfortunately his grandad wants to wait until it stops raining which takes a very long time. Eventually the rain stops and they go out to post a letter. It is worth the wait as the pair have a wonderful, watery adventure together.

The illustrations are beautiful, with raindrops on the cover, magical watery reflections and exciting floating cities. A mini love story plays out too as grandad receives a very special letter, who from I wonder?

A story to inspire lots of fun on rainy days, wellies at the ready!

See our activity page

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steven seagullSteven Seagull Action hero Elys Dolan
Oxford University Press
Age 5-7

Steven Seagull is a retired cop.  When mysterious holes appear on the beach he is asked to help out by his ex-partner, Mac. Who could be responsible for stealing the sand? Steven sets out to identify the criminal and eliminate the suspects.

An amusing story with jokes to appeal to adults as well as children (A gull’s gotta do what a gull’s gotta do…!). It would be fun to talk about the clues in the detailed illustrations and try to solve the crime together as you share the story.

See our activity page

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there's a tigerThere’s a Tiger in the Garden Lizzy Stewart
Frances Lincoln
Age 5 -7

Nora is bored. Grandma suggests she should go into the garden, she might see dragonflies, carnivorous plants, a grumpy polar bear and even a tiger! Nora is very sceptical about this idea but goes into the garden anyway. In no time at all she finds Grandma is right, even about the tiger! But is it a real tiger?

This is an enjoyable story about imagination and what is real which could spark more storytelling; perhaps about the tiger and polar bear and where they came from, or perhaps imagining what might be in your own garden or nearby park.

Children familiar with Judith Kerr’s The Tiger who came to Tea may make links with Nora’s tiger both in appearance and friendliness.

See here for a peek into the book

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tidyTidy Emily Gravett

Two Hoots
Age 5-7

Pete is a badger who likes things to be tidy. Not content with tidying away the Autumn leaves he decides to get rid of the trees as well and even goes as far as concreting over the forest. Now the forest is really tidy but Pete soon discovers he has no food and no way to get into his home either. Has he done the right thing?

A clever story about the natural environment and what happens when it is destroyed. Are there possible perils in being just too tidy?! Lots to talk about here in this stunning picturebook. The cut outs in the cover and end papers make a lovely woodland scene.

See here for how to finger print leaves and some activity sheets designed by author/illustrator Emily Gravett

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where my feet goWhere my feet go Birgitta Sif Andersen
Andersen Press
Age 0-5

A little panda gets up one morning and wonders where his feet might take him today. As he steps outside, his feet have all sorts of imaginary adventures; he is not jumping in a puddle he is splashing in the sea, when he is on a swing his feet are being tickled by the clouds and in a sandpit his feet just disappear!

A simple but charming story which shows how the everyday can become an adventure with just a little imagination. The delightful illustrations and repetition make this book fun to share again and again and there is lots of scope for playing the story as well.

 See our activity page

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See also our top ten prize winners 2016

and our top ten prize winners for older children 2016