This week’s Mini Monday* features four picture books – two we were kindly sent (thank you, Bounce) and two we bought and read this week.
*I’m only halfway through and it’s turning out to be less mini, more mega – sorry!
First up, our free review copies:
The Lost Horse by Mark Nicholas
At a gallery in the city, the sculpture of a horse has disappeared. Meanwhile, in a village outside the city lives Lyra all alone…until one day a horse appears at her window!
This is a book I wasn’t sure about – little girl dreams of horse isn’t a story I’d normally go for! But the illustrations drew me in, with a unique style and unusual palette, they are detailed and expressive and complement the story well.
I also thought the ‘mystery’ of the missing horse sculpture, the two different starting points and the way the story was resolved (no spoilers here!) gave this extra depth and made it much more than a girl-dreams-of-horse story.
This would be a great book to read and use in primary classes across the curriculum, but especially to link with art/gallery visits and stories.
The Lost Property Office by Emily Rand
A little girl leaves her Teddy on the train. Luckily she and Grandpa come up with a plan to get him back!
I really warmed to the characters in this – they felt like real people, as did all the people in the background. In a similar way to Shirley Hughes’ Alfie books (though very different in style) this conjured very familiar places and faces very naturally and convincingly.
It was also good to see a BAME family as main CHARACTERS without that being a focal point of the book, and to see an urban setting too.
My absolute favourite thing about this though was the illustrations, which I loved. With a collage style, they were full of colour, shape and texture. And on each of the spreads (especially the ‘lost property’ ones), there’s so many different things to spot, find, talk about and notice – it’ll never get boring! One of those books you’ll see something new in every time.
Top marks for this one, we really enjoyed it and I’ll be keeping an eye out for more written or illustrated by Emily Rand.
And onto the books we bought…
Octopants by Suzy Senior and illustrated by Claire Powell
There’s all-in-ones for urchins and slipper socks for eels, but will Octopus ever be able to find a pair of pants?
I hadn’t heard of this one, but it caught my eye on a trip into work last week, so we picked it up straight away – it had an octopus and pants, what’s not to like?!
Delightfully silly, bright and fun, this rhyming story was thoroughly enjoyable, with lots of laughs and a pleasing twist at the end.
I’ll be buying more copies as presents for friends’ little ones as I know it’ll go down a treat with them too.
We Eat Bananas by Katie Abey
All the animals are eating their favourite foods in their own hilarious way. We Eat Bananas invites children to choose their favourite foods and how they like to eat them across 12 spreads, packed with animals eating bananas, soup, sandwiches, sausages, ice cream, vegetables, spaghetti and more.
I wrote here about how much I loved Katie Abey’s first offering ‘We Wear Pants’ (yes, I have a thing about pants stories…) so when I spotted this on the table after storytime the other day I positively jumped for joy. We snapped it up!
Just as funny and fun as the first, and filled to bursting with animals doing all manner of unusual things as they cook up their favourite foods. And, as with the previous book, there is SO MUCH to spot, find, match, answer and talk about on each page, with speech bubbles, captions, questions and puns galore (plus a parp-ing penguin!) The cheeky monkey who refuses to do what everyone else is doing is back on each page too!
I also really like that there is both fast food and fruit, pancakes and peas – this is truly a balanced diet of a book, embracing the treats as much as the good for you stuff, making it perfect for fussy eaters to talk about food in a really fun and open way.
Both this and We Wear Pants are books to visit and revisit over and over again, there’ll always be more to find, spot, laugh at and talk about. I absolutely love this series and really hope there’ll be more where these came from.
Peapod hasn’t quite got past the cover yet – he wouldn’t let me open it to look at so fascinated was he!
Have you read any of these with your little ones?
Which picture books have you read recently?