Book Reviews: New picture books for the under 8’s

Arriving across our desk over summer have been quite a few new books for the 0-5+ age group of which our favourites are reviewed. Reading to preschoolers is always very revealing, and the genre of ‘picture books’ really does rely on the talent of the illustrator and the writer to make the story come alive.


Poo and other wordsPoo and Other Words That Make Me Laugh

by Felice Arena, Illustrated by Tom Jellett (January 2021 release, pub ABC Books imprint, HarperCollins H/b RRP$19.99) Ages 3+

Bright colours and large illustrations, as well as a fabulous use of typography, make this book on concepts and words for kids a hilarious read!


Its OK to cryIt’s OK to cry

by Molly Potter, illustrated by Sarah Jennings (pub Featherstone, imprint of Bloomsberry RRP$21.99)

Also How Are You Feeling Today?

This book explores emotional intelligence and shows children that you can talk about your feelings and emotions. There are words to describe them. It starts off exploring why boys, in particular, tend to struggle with expressing their feelings and illustrates them with simple drawings to show how these uncomfortable, and also happy, words can help them. Children can learn these ‘words’ and how, for example, words like ‘feeling’ ‘intimidated’ and ‘petrified’ can describe how they feel.

This book has lots of touchpoints to discuss emotions-a perfect for starting place for those all-important conversations. Aimed at younger kids it’s suitable for all ages.


Dino Love coverDino Love

by Michelle Worthington, illustrated by Veronica Montoya (pub Catch a Star – New Frontier RRP$14.99). Age 0-3

Simple illustrations for a book about the concept of love and loving, with a cute mummy Dinosaur (those amazing eyelashes!) and all the little dinosaurs—slightly different in colour and design. With few words, the illustrations perfectly cover the feelings small children might have about being loved.


One Lone SwallowOne Lone Swallow

by Corinne Fenton, illustrated by Owen Swan (pub New Frontier H/b RRP$29.99). Age 3-6

This book is dedicated to the Italian city of Florence. Set in early 19th century Florence, the story follows a lone swallow that flies out into the twilight night to find her mate, leaving her nestlings behind.

Watercolour illustrations, in muted colours, provide a bird’s eye view of this lovely Italian city as the search go on to find and rescue her mate.


Three Dancing FrogsThree Dancing Frogs

by Leigh Hardingham, illustrated by Patrick Shervington (pub New Frontier H/b RRP$24.99). Age 3-6

Violin, cello, viola in tune,

The sound is so loud

it might reach the moon!

This delightful read-aloud, rhyming book is about Australian animals in a Bush setting preparing and enjoying a concert as a summer storm approaches. The three little frogs, dressed as ballerinas, dance around during practice. Then when the animal audience is seated, the concert begins, with a most unusual orchestra!


HOWL_Book CoverHowl

by Kat Patrick, illustrated by Evie Barrow (pub Scribble Books H/b RRP$24.99) Age 3-6

This is an unusual book about a small girl having a ‘bad’ day. Her imagination wanders and things just happen. Her mum appears to have ‘wolfish thoughts’ and shows young Maggie how to do a wolf howl as a form of distraction, and as a way change Maggie’s ‘bad’ day feelings.

The Evie Barrow’s crayon drawings give the illustrations movement, especially to the actions of Maggie and her mother dancing and howling at the moon in their garden.


Bears dont wear shoes coverBears Don’t Wear Shoes

written & illustrated by Sharon Davey (pub New Frontier H/b RRP$24.99). Age 3-6

Suzy’s family has moved countries and there’s lots to unpack. Everyone is just too busy to play with her. So, Suzy puts up a ‘Friend Wanted’ note on her back gate looking for someone to play with.
For a while, no one came but when Bear shows up he seems perfect for the job. Suzy ‘interviews’ Bear to check that he understands her concept of play. Things seem to be working out well until Bear refuses to put on dress-up shoes. Can Suzy and Bear still be best friends?


dandy-and-dazzaDandy and Dazza

by Mike Dumbleton, illustrated by Brett Curzon (April 2021 release; pub New Frontier H/b Ages 4-7)

A wonderful book about making friends; being different and liking different things. And dogs. The humorous illustrations and the use of typography as part of the whole, really works.

Dandy and Dazza are different in so many ways. Dandy is a best in show sort of hound. Dazza is a rough and tumble sort of mongrel. Can these very different dogs ever be friends?


My Summer with Grandad coverMy Summer with Granddad

written & illustrated by Tom Tin-Disbury (pub New Frontier H/b RRP$24.99). Age 3-6

Also The Cave Man Next Door 

This sweet book is about a young boy spending his summer with his granddad. This summer is even more special because grandad gives Eric a very important job on his old fishing boat. Shoo-ing away the seagulls. A young seagull gets caught in the fishing net and injures its wing. So much so that it needs to recover so it can fly again. Eric’s friendship with an injured seagull and the sadness of releasing ‘Beaky’ back to join his other seagull friends, is an important lesson for small children.


Into the Wild coverInto the wild

by Robert Vescio, illustrated by Mel Armstrong (pub New Frontier H/b RRP$24.99). Age 3-6

Also Under the Same Sky

Another beautifully illustrated and written picture book from New Frontier. Both these books by Robert Vescio look at the world outside and the difference as you travel across the world or just search for delights in the natural world like Roman, a lone wanderer around his (large) outdoors. Written and illustrated for the northern hemisphere, the theme of Roman searching for something or someone to share his travels is answered. Is being alone really the only choice for a wanderer?


the-little-pirate-queen coverThe Little Pirate Queen

written & illustrated by Sally Anne Garland (April 2021 release, pub New Frontier H/b RRP$31.25).

Lucy imagines herself sailing across the sea fixing and mending her small rickety raft hoping to reach Far Away Island. Other children race past her easily, in their more typical modes of water transport. When a gigantic wave sweeps all the other children away, Lucy tries to be brave in the storm rescuing the children onto her raft. The Little Pirate Queen is determined to get to land and save the small group, no matter what. A story about resilience, empowerment and compassion, beautifully written and illustrated by Sally Anne Garland.