What We Are Reading: The Picture Books

This week’s top children’s picture book reads:

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Classic

“Peepo” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
(first printed 1981)

This classic children’s picture is such a nostalgic visual feast of domestic bliss. The little ordinary things in life; like cleaning windows, the detail of the illustrations in both the foreground and the background as well as the endearing features of the characters all add up to the creation of a wonderful heart-warming snapshot of family life. I never get bored of looking through this book and reading this to little children will give hours of great recounting, exploration and story building of their own. Who needs i-pads when a book like this is available?

Contemporary

“Big Red Kangaroo” by Claire Saxby and Graham Byrne
(released 2013)

Although set out like a story, this book released in 2013 is essential an information book. With its rustic, earthy colours smudging and blending across the pages it radiates the arid Australian outback. The pictures thought rough are also detailed and accurate and give an authenticity to the book. I love the way the more zoological information in italic, differentiating from the “story” of the kangaroo’s daily life is on the facing page. This book is a winner in any primary classroom library as much as a delightful children’s story-time book for the home.

Diverse

“A Secret Sydney” by Kristine Valenzulea and Matthew Green
(published 2012)

This week I give you some children’s poetry with a difference. This sweetly presented collection of poems takes the reader around Sydney showcasing some of our city’s great and lesser-known delights. From the iconic Harbour Bridge to the tucked away Coogee Cafe this book simply and whimsically reveals the locals’ favourites haunts. The question of how to introduce a child to poetry is cleverly covered by each place being located and shared by magical fairies. These fairies are so wise and far removed for the more “girlie” trappings that their appeal is far reaching. Well done and bravo to these two young creators for their eye for a good poetry collection and a sense of what will appeal to old and young, local and tourist alike.

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