It’s World Book Day 2015 and to mark the occasion the Essex Baby have hunted out some of the best new picture books for babies and young children – and we’ve revisited a few classics, too! If you’re looking for a great book to enjoy with your little one, we recommend taking a look at this selection of modern masterpieces.
Children’s Book Reviews
That’s Not My Owl by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
The latest in the bestselling That’s Not My… Usborne series by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells, That’s Not My Owl is a colourful board book that allows babies and toddlers to explore the touchy-feely patches on eight different owls. Designed to help develop sensory and language awareness, this chunky book is perfect for little hands and the repetitive text is great for children who want to start ‘reading’ for themselves.
Colours by Aino-Maija Metsola
Early learning can be fun when it takes the form of this bright and tactile book. Created by Finnish designer, Aino-Maija Metsola, Colours is divided into blocks of images based on the theme of colour. Each page offers an opportunity for interactivity – sturdy flaps to lift, lines to trace with your finger, and misplaced colours to spot. A beautiful book for lovers of style.
Snail, Where Are You? by Tomi Ungerer’s
Originally published in 1973, Tomi Ungerer’s almost wordless book encourages young children play the sleuth and search each page for the spirals of the snail’s shell. With retro illustrations and a deceptive simplicity, Snail, Where Are You? is a lovely book to explore with under-fives, and even slightly older children who can enjoy pointing out the shapes that younger siblings may have missed.
Miffy’s Birthday by Dick Bruna
Miffy, the little white bunny, is turning 60! In this classic picture book, Miffy dons a pretty floral dress and enjoys her special day with all the people she loves most. The story and illustrations are sweet, and the book barely feels as though it has aged at all in the 45 years since it was first published; it is this timelessness that makes Miffy such an iconic character. If you haven’t already introduced her to your child, Miffy’s Birthday is an excellent place to start.
The Pigeon Needs A Bath! by Mo Willems
Winner of the Goodreads Choice Book Awards Best Picture Book, The Pigeon Needs A Bath! tells the story of a pigeon who really doesn’t want to have a bath, and he uses every trick in the book to avoid it. The clear and distinctive illustrations make it easy to identify Pigeon’s emotions, which is great for younger children who tend to be very aware of expressions. There are instances of more sophisticated language, like “purely coincidental”, which could potentially have put some children off, but its delivery through the likable Pigeon means that it is pitched at just the right level. Funny, sassy and relatable, Mo Willem’s skilful depiction of an everyday family situation makes this book a winner for both parents and children alike.
Mix It Up by Hervé Tullet
This irresistible work of art is the second book about colours we have reviewed for World Book Day, but it really does feel very different. Mix It Up encourages us to follow simple instructions and explore each page as spots of colour appear, disappear, and get mixed up. “With one finger take a little bit of the blue…” says the narrator in a conversational tone, “and just touch the yellow. Rub it… gently.” A turn of the page reveals a splodge of realistic-looking green paint, as though it has just been freshly mixed. This book is great for teaching the basics of colour mixing on those occasions when you just don’t have time for the real thing.
Mr Wuffles! By David Wiesner
Richly imaginative, Mr Wuffles is a story about a mischievous cat who finds himself pitted against a tiny spaceship of aliens. While the story itself is virtually wordless, a strange language emerges between the aliens and a group of friendly ants – triangles for the aliens, dots for the ants. This is an unusual touch and adds extra entertainment value as children try to figure out what the creatures could be saying. A 2014 Caldecott Honor winner, this book has all the feel of an epic, but with plenty of laughs along the way. A captivating tale that offers new discoveries upon re-reading – perfect!
Where Bear? by Sophy Henn
Where Bear? is a humorous and meaningful tale about a boy, his bear and finding a place to call home. This multi-layered but simple story is beautifully illustrated with subtle colours that are pleasing to the eye and work well with the book’s major themes – understanding others, and learning to let go. Moving and heart-felt, this offering from up-and-coming children’s author, Sophy Henn, is definitely one for the ‘keeper’ shelf.