|The Tall Man and the Twelve Babies by Tom Niland Champion & Kilmeny Niland and illustrated by Deborah Niland would have to be my favourite of this years picture book selection. It’s fun to read aloud, infectiously silly and amusing for adults and children.
Also by Deborah Niland is It’s Bedtime William. The illustrations failed to engage me and I felt like we were revisiting the story of ‘Alexander and the Dragon’.
My Uncle’s Donkey by Tohby Riddle is quirky and eccentric in true Tohby Riddle style. I loved the simple illustrations and their ability to tell a deeper story. But I tend to think that Riddle’s work is appreciated more by adults.
The Family Forest is well-intentioned and worthy. It takes a humorous look at all kinds of families including steps, halves and wholes. As a former teacher and someone who lives in a blended family, this book resonates for lots of reasons.
Two Peas in a Pod is a story about friendship, moving and loss told with humour and understanding. The illustrations are busy, detailed and interesting. Some days I look at them and find them too busy and scribbly; and other days I find them stimulating and engrossing. McKimmie can be an acquired taste.
Look See, Look At Me is aimed at the younger reader. It has a lovely, simple rhyme all about being 3 that works most of the time. The illustrations are energetic and reflect the 3 Northern communities visited by Norrington & Huxley during the creation of this story.
Our World: Bardi Jaawi: Life at Ardiyooloon is a history of this Dampier Peninsula community told through photographs, drawings and traditional stories. Depictions of modern life in the community, focusing on the children, are interspersed with sections on how to make spears, dig for water, catch mud crabs and various recipes for bush tucker.
The Return of the Word Spy follows on from the success that Dubosarsky and Riddle had with their first Word Spy book. We still have a puzzle to work out as we read through the book. We learn about the beginning of language, how it spreads and diversifies, different languages such as Esperanto, sign language & braille and how a language (and words) die. Sure to be a favourite with teachers.
The Deep End by Ursula Dubosarsky is part of the Aussie Bites series. It’s a believable story about being frightened of the deep end of the pool. Told through several short chapters, the fear is well-developed and resolved in a satisfactory manner.
Noni the Pony is full of Alison Lester’s usually rhymes and lively illustrations. For me this one fell a little flat as I couldn’t get into the right rhythm to read this book aloud well.
Jan Ormerod’s Maudie and the Bear is delightful. A longer picture book to be enjoyed over several chapters. I loved the gentle pace and the old-fashioned illustrations – charming from start to finish.
My predictions are – early childhood – Maudie and the Bear.
Picture book – Mirror. Eve Pownall – Our World.