My 15-month-old loves books with sounds in them. She loves hearing different animal sounds and pointing at the animals so that daddy will make the sounds. Noisy books aren’t best for bedtime though, unless they’re all about going to sleep, like Fleur McDonald’s new book, Noisy Nights.
Noisy Nights follows Farmer Hayden as he tries to get to sleep. It is very noisy on his farm, between the crickets, dogs, cows, sheep, horses, foxes and trains. Farmer Hayden just wants to sleep but the animals just won’t be quiet. When he goes outside to look at his farm and his animals it is the sheep who help him to get to sleep.
Noisy Nights is a delightful picture book that young readers, especially preschoolers, will love. It’s the perfect picture book to curl up with and share together at bedtime as it leaves you feeling relaxed and sleepy. It reminds me of one of my favourite books from childhood, Jill Murphy’s Peace at Last. The noises of the farm are keeping Farmer Hayden awake, much like the noises of the night that keep Mr Bear awake in Peace at Last. I certainly have fun making lots of animal noises while I read Noisy Nights. It would be a great book to act out, with different children making all the noises.
Annie White’s illustrations are the perfect match for the story as the tones of the colours are soft and the animals look cuddly. I really like the way that Annie has portrayed Farmer Hayden and his frustrations. You can see him getting increasingly tired and agitated throughout the book.
Grab a copy of Noisy Nights and cuddle up with this delightful story.
Win a copy of Noisy Nights!
Thanks to everyone who entered. The winner is Vicki.
What present do you get for a girl who has everything? What could she possibly want that she doesn’t already have? Why, a parrot of course!
Petunia Paris really does have everything – a swimming pool, a city of toys, and her own personal library. When her parents ask her what she wants for her fifth birthday she can’t think of a single thing she wants, so she says the first thing that comes into her head – a parrot. It is a beautiful parrot all the way from Peru, but no matter how hard she tries she just can’t get it to talk. One day she loses patience and shouts at her parrot but her butler suggests that she ask it nicely why it won’t talk. Petunia learns exactly why her parrot won’t talk and she sets out to maker it happy.
Petunia Paris’s Parrot is a perfectly pleasant and pleasing picture book. It is so much fun to read and it gives your mouth a work-out in several places with all the alliteration. Kids will wish that they were Petunia, with all of her extravagant gifts and a parrot of their very own.
Katie’s delightful text and Jo’s elegant illustrations are the perfect match. Like Petunia and her family Katie’s text has an air of sophistication. I almost feel like I should read the book in a posh accent. Katie uses some lovely language and introduces young readers to words that they’ve probably never heard before, like ‘pertinent’ and ‘perturbed.’ She sprinkles alliteration throughout the text, whether it is Petunia ‘presenting pertinent topics of conversation,’ or ‘planning preposterous new outfits.’ These little touches make the story a joy to read. My favourite part of the story is when ‘persistent Petunia finally lost her composure.’ I absolutely love Jo Williamson’s illustrations too. Jo has used mostly pinks and blues in the illustrations, which give them an old-fashioned but elegant look. Jo includes lots of lavish details that highlight the privileged life that Petunia leads, from her shelf full of toys to the chandeliers in her house and the butler who is holding an umbrella while she swims in her pool. When Petunia’s parrot shows up he really stands out on the page because of the splash of colour that he brings to Petunia’s life. Jo has given the parrot lots of expression too, from his determination not to try the exotic food, to his embarrassment over having to wear a silly outfit.
Petunia Paris’s Parrot is delightful from beginning to end and it is sure to be a picture book that will be shared again and again. I’m certainly looking forward to sharing it with children.
For a sneak peak at Petunia Paris’s Parrot check out the Five Mile Press website.
As a father of a 15 month old I’m always on the look out for some great board books to share with my girl. She will certainly let me know if she doesn’t like a book (either by pointing to a different book or just getting off my lap and walking away). We love going to the library and she’ll usually choose books that she likes the look of. Every night we have 2 or 3 stories just before she gets into bed and I love having a bedtime book, one that signals it’s time for bed. Our favourite bedtime book at the moment is the brilliant board book from Gecko Press, Tickle My Ears by Jörg Muhle.
Tickle My Ears is the perfect book for bedtime. It is very interactive, with lots of signs imbedded in this simple story that tell the child that it’s time for bed. It is short and sweet but fun at the same time. You have to help Little Rabbit get ready for bed by doing things like fluffing up his pillow (by shaking the book), tickling his ears, stroking his back and tucking him in (by turning the page). We read this book almost every night so my girl has got the hang of it and will stroke Little Rabbit’s ears and rub his back. There are some things I have to do myself, like saying ‘Hoppity Hop’ to help him get ready. The great thing about this book is that it will work for different age groups, whether your baby is talking or just sitting quietly listening to you read. I love the interactivity of the book and it is simply adorable watching my daughter stroke the rabbit’s back. I never get tired of reading it and neither does she.
Get your hands on a copy of Tickle My Ears and make this brilliant book part of your child’s bedtime routine.
I love books about books and the experience of reading so when I saw Are You Sitting Comfortably? by Leigh Hodgkinson I fell in love. This wonderful picture book is all about the search to find the perfect place to read.
The story starts like this, ‘The thing is…when I want to read what I really really need is a place to sit…just for a bit.’ The boy in the story tries to describe the perfect place to read, somewhere that’s not ‘buzz-buzzy,’ or ‘slippy, slimy,’ but also somewhere that is not too hot or too cold. He realises that it doesn’t really matter where you sit, but that a book is best when you share.
Kids and adults alike understand the struggle to find the perfect place to sit and read. In winter I want somewhere warm and in summer I often want somewhere cool. Leigh perfectly captures this struggle, both in the text and the illustrations. I love the way that the font changes to match the things that the character is describing. When the boy is talking about a place being too itchy and fuzzy the text looks fuzzy. I also love the way that the chairs change size, shape and pattern to match what the character is describing. The ‘buzz-buzzy’ chair has flowers all over it and ‘stinky grimy’ chair has a pattern of wafting stink lines.
Are You Sitting Comfortably? is the perfect picture book to curl up with and share with your little book worms.
Hervé Tullet is the master of interactive picture books. They are picture books for the ‘app generation,’ those kids who have grown up with electronic devices from a very young age. Much like apps Hervé’s books get kids tapping, swiping, tilting and mixing but on a page instead of a screen. I’ve loved Press Here and Mix It Up! and his latest book, Let’s Play, is just as much fun.
Let’s Play takes readers on an adventure with yellow dot that is full of movement, colour and silliness. Yellow dot talks directly to the reader, giving instructions and asking for help, so the book will keep kids engaged. There are all sorts of concepts included in the book, from colours and numbers to following a line with your finger from left to right, which helps the development of writing in young children.
Let’s Play encourages kids to play and explore and shows them just how fun a book can be. Like Mo Willems’ excellent ‘It’s a Book,’ Let’s Play is a book that really celebrates paper books. It’s the perfect book for one-on-one sharing or for older children to enjoy by themselves. Fans of Hervé Tullet will love this new book and it’s sure to capture new fans both young and old.
I’ve read some fantastic picture books so far this year but the new picture book by Elys Dolan, Steven Seagull: Action Hero, has blown all the others out of the water.
Steven Seagull: Action Hero is the hilarious story of Steven, a retired cop who comes back to the force for one last case. Someone is stealing the sand from Beach City and it’s up to Steven and his ex-partner, a goldfish called Mac, to catch the thief. They have a list of suspects, including reformed criminals Harry, Lola and Rick. Will they catch the culprit and find out what’s been happening to the missing sand? You don’t want to mess with this seagull.
Steven Seagull: Action Hero is the funniest picture book I’ve ever read. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this book for months as I’m a huge fan of Elys Dolan’s books. She creates picture books with so many layers of humour and this book is no exception. I was laughing the whole time I was reading it and every time I read it again it makes me giggle. There is no doubt that kids will love Steven Seagull but this is one of those rare picture books that will appeal to adults as much as kids. I think it’s a book that dads in particular will love, with the references to action movies and action stars like Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude van Damme.
In Elys’s other picture books there have been lots of funny details to find in the illustrations and the pages can be packed with characters. In Steven Seagull though it’s often the sparse pages that are the funniest. Take the first two pages for example:
From Steven Seagull: Action Hero by Elys Dolan, published by Oxford University Press
I love the look on Steven’s face as he looks into the distance. It’s the perfect action hero stare. He looks tough and afraid of nothing.
I also love the stereotypical action movie details in the illustrations. Steven’s partner Mac has his police badge around his neck the whole time, there are posters up around the place encouraging the animals to ‘Vote Clam’ for mayor, and the end papers of Steven doing karate moves look like a montage of Steven preparing himself for a fight.
I urge everyone to buy a copy of Steven Seagull: Action Hero (or at the very least borrow it constantly from your library) and join the Steven Seagull fan club. It’s a picture book that I want to share with everyone and I encourage you to share it with everyone too.