New reviews: Picture books to brighten your day

I don’t know about you, but glancing out the window is enough to make one feel a little fed-up with gloomy overcast skies. I can’t wait for the cold, frosty winter sun to come out but until it does, reaching for a picture book or two always works to bring a smile to my face! Especially these lovely titles.

The Three Happy Lions by Louise Fatio, illustrated by Roger Duvoisin is the third title in this very happy series! This time, the third happy lion is a baby and as he grows up his parents begin to wonder which career he should choose. Perhaps a fireman? A policeman? Or a pet? And of course, there’s always the circus…Whichever one he chooses, you can be sure it will be a marvellous adventure getting there, beautifully told and illustrated! Published by Scallywag Press.

Sophie’s Stories by Devon Holzwarth brings the magical world of stories to life with every book that Sophie opens transporting her on a new adventure. How on earth can she go to sleep when stories are so exciting? Vibrant illustrations will bring young imaginations to life, alongside the charming narrative, which shows just how truly magical stories are. Published by Alison Green Books.

The King’s Birthday Suit By Peter Bently, illustrated by Claire Powell is inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Emperor’s New Clothes. Prepare to be amazed as two smooth-talking tailors promise King Albert-Horatio-Otto the Third a stunning new outfit for his birthday…It’s a right Royal Stitch-Up! Young readers won’t fail to be entertained with this hilarious story that leaps to life through fantastically funny illustrations. Published by Bloomsbury.

Betsy Buglove Saves the Bees by Catherine Jacob, illustrated by Lucy Fleming shows every little garden explorer just how they can help the insects in their gardens, especially the bees! Betsy Buglove uses her magical magnifying glass to show her grumpy neighbour Stan why it’s not a good idea to pave over his garden and scare away the bees. Gorgeous illustrations, a delightful rhyming narrative and fabulous bug facts will bring much-needed sunshine to all who read Betsy Buglove! Published by Scholastic.

The Wall and the Wild by Christina Dendy, illustrated by Katie Rewse is another picture book bringing the magic and wonder of nature to life! As Ana grows perfectly-sized plants and flowers in her garden, throwing all the uneven shoots and seeds over the wall, little does she realise the wild she is creating over the wall. The beautifully muted illustrations shot through with colour, show the power of nature to delight and survive, and how through it we can entice wildlife to our gardens. A lovely story. Published by Lantana.

Stop That Dinosaur by Alex English, illustrated by Ben Cort is a rollicking, rhyming roar-some romp, with a gran-napping brontosaurus. What can the little girl do when a dino steals her granny? Follow the adventure as she chases them through the parkm, fields and forests and finally finds out why the dino did it! Full of fun and with a sweet twist at the end, children will want to read this colourful story again and again. Published by Bloomsbury.

The Queen on Our Corner by Lucy Christopher, illustrated by Nia Tudor tells the story of a young girl who is the only one who ‘sees’ the homeless woman on the corner of the street. In her eyes, the woman is a warrior queen who has fought many battles but sadly lost her palace. It’s not until the woman sounds the alarm and saves the street from fire, that everyone sees her, and helps to make her home again. An important story about noticing everyone around us, especially those in need who all have their own story to tell. Beautifully told and beautifully drawn, a lovely addition to any bookshelf. Published by Lantana.

When Cucumber Loses His Cool by Michelle Robinson, illustrated by Tom Knight shows even the coolest of characters can sometimes lose their cool! Join Kevin the Cool Cucumber as he raps his way round the veg store helping everyone keep it together; but what happens when Red Pepper steps up with his own song to share? Kevin is not impressed; but as we see with the fun, rhyming narrative, it’s ok to have your own song to sing, and soon all the veggie friends are happy together. Great fun and full of beans (pardon the pun) this is a fab story to read aloud and share. Published by Scholastic.

The Longer the Wait, the Bigger the Hug by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar is a story we can all relate to, as we meet Hedgehog and Tortoise, who have been waiting for a very long time to see each other. Hedgehog gets more and more upset as hibernation has ended and Tortoise is nowhere to be seen and life is just not the same without him. But when they finally meet again, an extra-big hug awaits! A very simple, sweet narrative accompanied by gorgeous illustrations – each of which is a hug in itself – shows just how wonderful it is to be reunited with the ones we love. An absolute delight of a picture book. Published by Faber.

With thanks to all the publishers for sending me these books to review, which will be finding new homes via my local foodbank.

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