Book Reviews: The latest picture books for littlies

Little kids love hearing books read to them, it helps them learn their language. All these new books have a wonderful message to share.


Meanwhile Back on Earth

written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, pub. HarperCollins, H/b RRP $27.99. Ages 5+

Following on from his two previous books (‘Here We Are’ and What We’ll Build’) the author takes us into space for a history lesson type guide to the universe and our world from space. Great artwork takes us in our space suits (via a space-capable car) through the cosmos looking at the planet that we all live on.


Nice & Slow

by Sarah Ayoub; illus. Mimi Purnell, pub. HarperCollins, H/b RRP $22.99. Ages 0-3

Just the book for the holidays especially if busyness is making everyone grouchy and a slow day is much needed! The illustrations give a wonderful, relaxed feeling to go with the text.

“Let’s take today nice and slow,
Have a break for the go-go-go.
We can lounge about and rediscover
what we love about each other.”


Sleep Through the Night

by sisters Byll and Beth Stephen (performing as a kids band Teeny Tiny Stevies); illus. Simon Howe, pub. HarperCollins (ABC), H/b RRP $19.99. Ages 3-6

Following on from their first book based on one of their popular songs Boss of Your Own Body, comes Sleep Through the Night, a bedtime story for littlies about the joy of sleeping.


Diary of a Rescued Wombat: The Untold Story

by Jackie French; illus. Bruce Whatley, pub. HarperCollins, H/b RRP $24.99. Ages 3+

Jackie French is prolific author of books for all ages, but her children’s books allow her to keep the text simple but the message powerful. Mothball, the baby wombat, needs a home and to get her humans used to her, she keeps a simple ‘diary’ of her needs!  Bruce Whatley and Jackie French go back to the beginning prior to their best-selling 2002 book, ’Diary of a Wombat’

Grass too short,
Too  brown
Too dry.
Complained to the neighbours


If I Were the World

by Mark Sperring; illus. Natelle Quek, pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, P/b RRP $16.99. Ages 3+

Beautifully illustrated and with rhyming text this picture book asks us to take care of our planet:

If I were the world, I’d want flowers and bees.
A chorus of birds singing high in the trees.
If I were the world, I’d want sparkling seas.
If I were the world . . .
would YOU look after ME?


Breathe In and Out (Play School Mindfully Me Series)

by Jan Stradling; illus. Jedda Robaard, pub. HarperCollins (ABC), H/b RRP $19.99. Ages 3+

All the Play School favourites appear to help Big Ted to ‘breathe in and out’ to reduce his ‘stormy’ feelings. The author was the Executive Producer for Play School TV show and her collaboration with Jedda produced the just released ‘The Very Play School Christmas’. Both books have beautiful ink and water colour drawings of the favourite toys from TV’s Play School.


The Blue Umbrella

by Emily Ann Davison, illus. Momoko Abe; pub. Walker Books (Anderson Press), H/b RRP $29.99. Ages 3-5

It wasn’t meant to rain when a little girl went out walking with her mum. But it did! Could she shelter all those who were caught in the rain with her (magic) umbrella? The whimsical illustrations by Momoko (with a background of soft rainy lines) brings Emily’s story to life.


Out of the Blue

by Robert Tregoning, illus. Stef Murphy; pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, P/b RRP $16.99. Ages 3+

Colour is banned by law. Everything must be Blue! One little boy loves the colour yellow and bravely tells his dad. Using colour, the author and illustrator have given a simple analogy of being different in a world of sameness. A simple idea that is useful to explain the many differences in our world.


Koko and the Coconut

by Turia Pitt with her mother, Celestine Vaite; illus. Emilie Tavaearii, pub. Penguin Books (Puffin), H/b RRP $19.99 Ages 3+

Caught by a bush fire whilst on an Ultramarathon, Tahitian born, Turia uses her island heritage and her amazing bushfire survival, to relate a story of resilience through Koko the little crab.


written and illustrated by Anna Walker; pub. Scribble Kids Books H/b RRP $24.99 Ages 0-4

This beautifully illustrated book conveys a simple message using onomatopeic words like ‘splish, splash, splosh’…


All these books are available at good book stores, on-line and many are available as eBooks.