Peapod’s Picks is a weekly round up of some of the books that Peapod* has read (often, but not always, for his bedtime stories) each week plus a review of at least one of them.
*His social media alter ego, not his real name!
We have had a bumper haul of brilliant new books recently, so thought we’d share these with you today. (It’s a long one because we loved them all so much – sorry!)
Dinosaur Department Store by Richard Merritt and Lily Murray
Eliza Jane wants a REAL dinosaur for her birthday, so a trip to the Dinosaur Department Store is in order…
This is the only book we bought where the author and illustrator were new to me, but they’re definitely ones we’ll be keeping our eyes on in the future!
I think it’s fair to say Eliza Jane is a handful! She’s a great main character – fiery, fun and full of confidence, this is a girl who knows what she wants and most importantly, how to get it – we loved how the story ended (and the lead up to it in the illustrations throughout!)
This book has huge appeal on so many other levels too.
Its a must-read for Dino fans with wonderful descriptions and illustrations of all kinds of different prehistoric pets, not just your standard fare, as well as a handy pronunciation guide at the back (I don’t know about you but I am awful at knowing how to say dinosaurs’ names!)
The illustrations are beautifully bright and colourful, with a touch of magic in simultaneously making the dinosaurs fairly realistic and utterly absurd (bowler hats and bow ties, hot dogs and stargazing, not to mention the glam rock theropods!)Absolutely fantastic.
The story itself zips along with enjoyable rhythm and rhyme and LOADS of exciting and interesting vocabulary and opportunities for expression and ‘sound effects’ when reading aloud.
In short – brilliant.
Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
Most of you will already know how much I love these books. I was so excited for this one that we read it on the bus home from the shop (and again when we got home, and again at bedtime, and…)
Circle was definitely worth the wait!
I never fail to be amazed at the depth and expression in Klassen’s illustrations considering the limited pallette and facial features. Indeed there are several double pages that are dark save for eyes yet they say so much – there’s not many books that could get away with that!
Likewise, the text is carefully considered and had us cracking up.
Just as dry and funny as the first two books – Circle has retained her cool, Triangle is as sneaky as ever and Square is still, well, square.
And surely with that ending there’s a glimmer of hope that we’ll see these guys again?!
The Steves by Morag Hood
Meet Steve. And, erm, Steve. This book ain’t big enough for the both of them!
Aside from giving me a Sparks earworm every time I read the back cover, I love this!
Morag Hood is fast becoming one of my favourite, favourite picture book authors – if you don’t know her other books either, I highly recommend rectifying that!
The Steves is hilarious. And it has puffins in and I love puffins.
With bold, print-like illustrations against bright but plain backgrounds, the illustrations really pop off the page and with nothing else going on you can really home in on the expressions and body language of The Steves which capture their feelings perfectly.
The text is simple and short and all the more effective for it – it has all the energy and exuberance of a child’s sulky strop!
And it’s fantastic for reading aloud – even better if there’s two of you to do it (Daddy and I read this one jointly for bedtime, each taking on the role of a Steve and it was great fun! We laughed a lot!)
Loved it! (And I’ll be sending a copy to my friend Uno, another Rachael, to whom I am Dos…!)
In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon by Frann Preston-Gannon
Frog is singing in the swamp one night, but singing alone isn’t much fun so he heads off to find others to join his swampy-song!
Perfect for anyone who ever played the triangle at school, this is the tale of Frog’s search for all the sounds of the swamp to make his song complete. He has a crocodile and mice, fish and birds but something’s still missing – it couldn’t be the tiny firefly who thinks their song isn’t good enough though, could it?
It’s quite different to Frann Preston-Gannon’s other books (I think) but no less charming. The illustrations are immersive and it feels like a lazy, summer evening.
A lovely, lyrical, rhythmic book with plenty of repetition that children (ok, not Peapod just yet!) will love to join in with and which lends itself brilliantly to inspiring other musical activities!
Have you read any of these?
What picture books/bedtime stories have you enjoyed this week?