Book Reviews: New picture book releases

This month there is an interesting collection of new picture books;  some with an important message and one raising money for Rural farmers suffering from the recent effects of floods and drought.

a_flair_for_hair_front_cover_lrA Flair for Hair

by Bilyana Di Costanzo & illustrated by Mauro Di Costanzo (New Holland Publishers, HB, RRP$19.99) Age Group 3+ years

This is the cutest book we have seen for ages. The cover is a giveaway for the laughs that will follow when this book is read to littlies. Twenty-one animals of all shapes and sizes comment on how they think their hair looks best. The simple but detailed illustrations are quirky and give each animal a personality-even the sleepy koala who says “I’m always tired so never inspired” while the mouse exclaims ‘I think sleek makes me look meek’. In the end, you can decide ‘So, what’s the verdict…don’t we look perfect?’

Lovable LottieLovable Lottie and the Shy Sheep

by Asia Upward (New Holland Publishers, HB, RRP$19.99) Age Group 3+ years

Lottie is an adorable young dog at Logan Brae apple orchard whose farm family have three new sheep to keep the grass down in the orchard. The sheep are shy and try as hard as Lottie does she cannot get the sheep involved in farm life at all. She tries bubble baths and picnics and still, they are shy until they see Lottie playing with the other farm animals. Based on a true story, staged photos illustrate each page as the story develops with lots of interesting objects to look for as you read along.

In large letters in the front of this book is ‘Asia will Donate 20% of the profits from Lovable Lottie and the Shy Sheep to Rural Aid’ (for Australian farmers) another great reason to purchase this book!

My-daddy-is-different-cropMy Daddy is Different

by Suzie Faed & illustrated by Lisa Coutts (Empowering Resources ( (NewSouth books), HB, RRP$25, PB RRP$17) Age Group 3+ years

I used to have a Daddy who was like all other Daddies. One who would go to work, and play with me when he was home. But one day, something changed. He started saying strange things, doing strange things. I was confused.

Empowering Resources bring to us books for very young children to explain situations that they might have difficulty in understanding. This book looks at mental illness and the changes in personality a person can appear to have for a small child in a way that educates and makes mental illness something to be talked about: ‘This wasn’t fun. This was confusing! Things didn’t get better. Daddy didn’t get better. We couldn’t help him, so mummy took him to a place that could.’ The ending is open-ended. The author Suzie Faed’s father had a mental illness which affected her childhood – so she speaks from experience in ‘My Daddy is Different’.

The girl and the DinosaurThe Girl and the Dinosaur

by Hollie Hughes & illustrated by Sarah Massini (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, HB, RRP$22.99) Age Group 3+ years

Beautifully illustrated and set in rhyming verse this is story about a little girl living by an English beach who dreams of digging up dinosaur bones. The adult ‘fisherfolk’ gossiping say “She needs to find some friends…and let those old bones be.” But the little girl dreams of her new friendship with her dinosaur ‘bony’ and every night of the wonderful, magical adventures that they can have.

the_human_body_cover_working_lrThe Human Body

by Karen Seinor (New Holland Publishers, HB, RRP$19.99) Age Group 7+ years

This is a reference book with a short introductory timeline of the history of the anatomy of the Human Body followed by a look at the complex and complicated systems that make up the body such as the Musculoskeletal and Digestive systems. Clear cross-sections of the body and detailed descriptions of areas such as the lungs and the kidneys are interesting for all ages! Fun facts and Weird facts plus a clear index and reference websites make this a very good reference book for a home library.

Midnight NinjaMidnight Ninja

by Sam Lloyd (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, PB, RRP$14.99) Age Group 3+ years

Written for her son and incorporating Ginger the cat, this book invites the young reader to imagine turning from a small child into the mysterious night-time Ninja ‘who captures naughty baddies, without making a peep’. This is a great bedtime read to get the imagination going as the little boy’s ‘Ninja Den’ full of fabulous James Bond-style gadgets has a secret emergency bell that calls when something needs the Midnight Ninja’s help. The bell rings and the missing socks need to be found. Using all sorts of imaginative ways, the little Ninja braves the spiders ‘creepy temple’ to find the missing socks. Illustrated with lots of quirky illustrations, the story moves along quickly through illustrated panels, large handwritten text and other amusing ways as this mystery is solved. Bedtime reading fun from the bestselling author/illustrator of Calm Down, Boris, Mr Pusskins and First Day at Bug School and First Day at School.

Charlies ShellCharlies Shell

by Marina Zlatanova (New Holland Publishers, HB, RRP$16.99) Age Group 3+ years

This is a sweet tale of difference, as Charlie the little snail with a big shell – mixes with the slugs who tease him for having such a large load to carry around. Charlie wants to be like the slugs and works hard to get rid of his shell (to be like the slugs) only to find that there is a reason he really needs it after all. Written in rhyming verse with delicate watercolour illustrations this is a tale with an important message for those who always think the ‘grass is greener on the other side!’.