New Picture Books for March 2022

The two books below are my featured books, writes Margaret Hamilton, because they deserve special attention but the others I received from publishers coming out in March— all special in themselves.

The Tree Of Ecstasy And Unbearable Sadness by Matt Ottley. RRP $39.99 (Dirt Lane Press).
Words almost fail me in my recommendation of this magnificent book. It’s a masterpiece. It’s about a boy’s experience of psychosis, with mental illness represented as a fantastic tree. Its flowers are ecstasy and its fruit is unbearable sadness. It’s based on Matt Ottley’s own experience, with the drawings and paintings taking readers through the boy’s early discovery of his strangeness, his surrender to the disease, the ensuing psychotic journey, and eventual self-acceptance. A CD of a full orchestral score composed by Matt Ottley accompanies the book. Highly recommended for older readers.

We Children and The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Libby Hathorn & Sadami Konchi RRP $43.09 Ages 8-12. (Interactive Publications). This beautiful book is an introduction to Haiku and the famous Japanese poet Basho. Libby and Sadami acknowledge the Australia Council for funding their trip to Japan. Their journey resulted in this beautifully written and illustrated picture book, engaging readers with the Japanese children and introducing haiku. The text is moving and involving and the watercolour illustrations are gentle and expressive. Special mention of the endpapers, which at the front are a stunning painting of the Japanese landscape and at the back, the same scene with examples of haiku. Highly recommended for all ages.

Boss Of Your Own Body

by Byll & Beth Stephen & Simon Howe. $10 (ABC Books).

Colourful and energetic illustrations support this simple but effective message of empowerment.

The Great Barrier Thief

by Suzie Starfish RRP$17.99 (Little Pink Dog).

Two very topical books about saving our environment. Entertaining text and illustrations but serious message.

Dogs In Disguise

by Peter Bently & John Bond RRP$19.99. Ages 3+ (Harper Collins).

The text and illustrations are clever, witty and very funny, combined in a book that will entertain and enthrall young readers.

The Dunggiirr Brothers and The Caring Song Of The Whale

by Aunty Shaa Smith & Yandaarra. Ages 7-12 RRP$24.99 (Allen & Unwin).

A wonderful book to connect readers with a unique story from the Gumbaynggirr people on the NSW coast. Beautifully illustrated with a mix of photos and paintings.

Little Nic’s Big World

by Nic Naitanui & Fatima Anaya RRP$19.99  Ages 3-6 (Allen & Unwin). This entertaining story, with the excitement of the school fete acknowledges our multicultural society in simple playful text and colourful illustrations.


Ouch! Tales Of Gravity

by Kate Simpson & Andy Hardiman RRP$24.99 6-8 (Allen & Unwin).

From the apples falling down on the endpapers to the bright pages, this is an entertaining introduction to gravity. Very useful fact pages added.

The Love That Grew

by Sarah Ayoub & Mimi Purnell RRP$19.99. Ages 0-3 (Harper Collins).

A mother’s love expands with each new child. This tender rhyming story is illustrated with appealing pastels.

Our Country: Ancient Wonders by Mark Greenwood & Frané Lessac RRP$26.99. Ages7-9 (Walker Books).

This spectacular book invites several readings, on different levels. It reveals many of the wonders of our country with striking illustrations, accompanied by a timeline and a glossary.

The Secret Of Sapling Green

by Penelope Pratley RRP$24.99 Age 4-8 (EK).

Unusual, believable and original — about saving of a school playground tree. Engaging illustrations.

That Cat by Jacqueline Harvey & Kate Isobel Scott RRP$19.99. Ages 0-3  (Puffin).

As it says on the back cover ‘purrfect for the whole family’. A fun introduction, in simple rhyming text and energetic, colourful illustrations, to all kinds of cats.

A Squiggly Line

by Robert Vescio & Kathy Creamer RRP$24.99 (Little Pink Dog). Inspiration to draw and produce a picture is very simply conveyed but it will involve young readers from the front to the back endpapers. Very cute.

When You’re Older by Sofie Laguna & Judy Watson $24.99 3-6 (Allen & Unwin). Heartfelt and tender text shares a boy’s dreams of adventures with his baby brother when he’s older. Stunning illustrations. Recommended.

This Is My Dad

by Dimity Powell & Nicky Johnston RRP$24.99 Ages 4-8 (EK).

A unique and touching way to deal with having a single parent during Show and Tell. Pastel illustrations echo the mood.

100 Watermelons

by Trevor Todd & Steve Page RRP$43.09 Age 5-8  (Interactive Publications).

This chaotic story of runaway watermelons with its equally chaotic colourful illustrations will entertain readers again and again.

Feeling Blue

by Trevor Todd & Mark Eatwell RRP$43.09 (Interactive Publications).

Don’t fret about the things you haven’t got. rather be thankful for what you have. this message is simply and evocatively put and illustrated with stunning photographs.