Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reviews: Recent Picture Books about Animals 2015 (4)

Reviews: Recent Picture Books about Animals 2015 (4)
by Susan Stephenson,

I’m a Hungry Dinosaur is the latest delightful dinosaur picture book from Janeen Brian and Ann James, published by Penguin, 2015. It follows on from I’m a Dirty Dinosaur which I reviewed in 2014.

Our little dinosaur has a hungry tum, so he decides to make a cake. And what a glorious, gloopy, gluey chocolate cake he smears all over himself and the kitchen! Brian sticks to the formula that was so successful in the first book, so delighted young readers can join in the new refrains and do the actions, slipping, slopping and sprinkling until the cake is just right.

A must for homes and libraries everywhere.

The Crocodolly
by Martin McKenna, published by Omnibus Books (2015) is a hoot. RRP: $Au24.99.

It’s about Adelaide, a resourceful and handy heroine who one day cracks an egg and out pops a baby crocodile. She loves Ozzy, the baby croc, and he loves her. But due to some unfortunate incidents with previous pets, Adelaide decides to disguise Ozzy as a doll, a crocodile, in fact. McKenna’s illustrations of Ozzie’s "transformation" are priceless, and involve a wig, mascara and frilly clothes. Somehow that toothy grin and green leathery skin don’t give Ozzy away until he starts to grow. And grow. Kids will love the humour and problem solving in this charming picture book, and chortle over the twist in the final page.

Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas is written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey, and published by Scholastic Press (2015). RRP: $Au 16.99 I have previously reviewed Blabey’s Thelma the Unicorn, and The Brothers Quibble.

‘Hey there guys. Would you like a banana?’
‘What’s wrong with you. Brian? You’re a piranha.’

Brian loves bananas. Trouble is, Brian’s a piranha. And his friends aren’t happy about his fondness for fruit...

From the best-selling author of Pig the Pug and Thelma the Unicorn comes one of the funniest and cheekiest books you’ll ever read.

This children’s picture book is basically an extended joke. The text is simple, the illustrations are eye-catching and the book will have kids of a certain age rolling around on the floor, laughing. It actually uses the word “bum” twice, so under 7s will eat it up.

Blue Whale Blues is written and illustrated by Peter Carnavas and published by New Frontier Publishing. RRP: $24.99 I have previously reviewed Carnavas’ The Great Expedition, The Children who Loved Books, The Important Things and Last Tree in the City.

When Penguin hears Whale singing the blues, he tries to help. But how do you stop a blue whale feeling blue?

A delightful story about a whale with bike trouble and the happy-go-lucky penguin who cheers him up.

I do love to find cheerful stories for children. Whale starts out blue. He is a little like Eeyore, feeling down in the dumps about his efforts to ride his bike (which is actually an upside down abandoned shopping trolley). Luckily his pal, Penguin is around to point out the positives to him. But then Turtle comes along, riding a real bike… Lots of visual and language humour in this one!

As Big as You by Sara Acton, published by Scholastic Press (2015). RRP $Au24.99.

My Storytime kids were initially intrigued because the book opens from top-to-bottom, rather than left-to-right. This makes the size of Claude the great big elephant easier to compare with his tiny elephant friend, Finlay. The children loved joining in with all the trumpeting, stomping, water spraying and ear-waggling, and enjoyed reading of Finlay’s adventures, especially his balloon-like floating to earth again. Acton’s beautiful soft watercolour illustrations complement an enjoyable tale.

A You’re Adorable (with CD) was illustrated by Nathaniel Eckstrom, with words by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise and Sidney Lippman, published by Scholastic Australia (2015) and Bonus CD by Justine Clark.

A You’re Adorable was originally a song written by Buddy Kaye, Fred Wise and Sidney Lippman. People of my vintage and older may remember it, and enjoy sharing this rather lovely picture book with their grandchildren. I’m sure my parents used to play the Perry Como version, but this book is accompanied by a CD with Justine Clark singing the song. The book itself is an alphabet book, using each line of the song to bring the letters to life. As children turn the pages, they will see animals in soft colours, depicting lines like “U make my life complete” - a unicorn accompanied by his horse friend who carries an umbrella to keep the rain off his own “horn” (a conical party hat.)

Seagull is a beautiful children’s picture book. It was written and illustrated by Danny Snell (also illustrated Jeremy, 2014 CBCA winner) and published by Working Title Press (2015).

Seagull loves to fly. It makes her heart sing. But when she gets caught in a tangle of fishing line on the beach, Seagull can only watch as birds fly effortlessly above. What can she do?

Although the story is simple, it’s simplicity and repetition make it perfect for young readers. The environmental theme, too, makes Seagull a great acquisition for school libraries. I think children will appreciate this reminder about how something as simple as a length of fishing line or plastic bag can cause distress and death to animals. They will wonder about all the animal characters who try to help. And they will rejoice with Seagull when she is again able to enjoy some unsullied land and sea she finds.

Find more children’s picture books about dinosaurs and other animals: Reviews: Recent Picture Books about Animals 2015,  Reviews: Recent Picture Books about Animals 2015 (2), Reviews: Recent Picture Books about Animals 2015 (3), Dinosaur Books for Kids, Three New Picture Books about Dinosaurs,  Letter to the Book Chook - Dinosaur Books. Find some of my articles about using animal resources with kids here.

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