picture books

I gave in to temptation whilst packing Poet’s books today and opened a few of my favourites. Beautiful stories and whimsical illustrations; so many of my motherhood memories etched into pages.

Children’s picture books are an absolute joy and I often marvel at the ability of the writers; capable of engaging a child and entertaining an adult in so few sentences.

If you’re looking for some new reads I highly recommend the following:

Maudie and Bear is heartfelt and funny and this edition includes four different stories. I adore the way illustrator, Freya Blackwood, has brought Maudie to life; her wardrobe is exceptional! Another Freya Blackwood favourite is Amy & Louis – picture book perfection (especially the backyard playing scenes, such honest depictions of a good, healthy childhood).

Alison Lester’s Magic Beach is an apt read for us right now as we prepare to move to our very own beach house. Her most recent release, Kissed By The Moon, is part poem, part lullaby and if you’re at all hormonal, you’ll be blubbering by the end.

Peepo (which I could recite off by heart) and Spring is Here are two of my favourite books to read to babies and young toddlers. Whilst Peepo is very sing-song, Spring is Here is more poetic…I will never tire of either.

I was introduced to Elsa Beskow when I took Che to a Steiner Playgroup. Emily and Daisy and Pelle’s New Suit are beautiful stories – traditional and magical and imbued with good life lessons. They are best suited to pre-schoolers.

And then there’s Shirley Hughes who really does bring innocent childhood to the page. Her stories are wondrous but it’s her illustrations that really draw you in – so much to look at, so many little details. I always stumble upon old copies of her books at op-shops so keep an eye out! If you prefer to buy new consider The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook and Out and About (one of my all time favourites).

What stories are you currently reading at bedtime? We’d like some suggestions for our next library trip.

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  • Craftysquirrel

    Ruby red shoes goes to paris by Kate knapp came home from our library today and is lovely. Alison Lester's – when frank was four was a favourite and one that always makes me laugh is -What colour are your knickers by Sam Lloyd.

  • jacqui // dusty country road

    We are loving the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd – we found Showbusiness at the library, which I love reading as much as my little does, and some younger board books about Hairy Maclary and friends. Some more of these are on the Christmas list.

  • Aino

    Lovely books, we love Elsa Beskow as well. We just finished reading the Moomin-books by Tove Jansson with my boys. They also adore Sven Nordqvist´s Findus and Pettson -books which we read over and over again. Aino x

  • Carie

    I was about to say Lynley Dodd too – though I'd go for Slinky Malinki or Sniff Snuff Snap! Allan Ahlberg has a whole heap of other books, some with his late wife and some more modern and I've never met one I didn't like. And if you enjoy Shirley Hughes (and why not, her My Naughty Little Sister books were a childhood staple) then keep an eye open for second hand copies of Audrey Tarrant books, especially Pip Squeak!

  • Nicola van Boxtel

    If by Sarah Perry, The Berenstain Bears books, Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina, The girl who loved wild horses by Paul Goble, The paper bag princess, anything by Shaun Tan or Graeme Base, Maia and what matters by Tine Mortier, The day the crayons quit by Oliver Jeffers, I want my hat back by Jon Klassen. The other way to listen by Byrd Baylor, Creatures of earth, sea and sky: Animal Poems by Georgia Heard, The man from snowy river, i love molly Idle books too her illustrations are gorgeous.

  • knitbakecultivate

    I love Magic beach, its my absolute favourite read with my little one

  • Lily Boot

    We are huge Alfie fans too! Another old one to look for – and also wonderfully illustrated by Shirley Hughes – are The Naughty Little Sister Stories. Oh they are so good – very gentle, funny and real stories of a little girl who is much more curious and mischievous than naughty, and has lovely friendships with people of all ages in her neighbourhood. Tomie dePaola's books are wonderful – especially his autobiographical ones – Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs will have you weeping into your tea. And then Lauren Child! Oh Lauren Child – her collage illustrations are fabulous – but go for the original stories, not the ones taken from the television series. We loved Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel – so many phrases that 15 years later are still favourite things to quote at each other. And Margaret Mahy is a wonder. Her story "Jam" still makes me laugh out loud. One that I think you'd really love – especially with your beachside move – is Alvah and Arvilla by Mary Lyn Ray – it's about an elderly farming couple that pack up their animals and travel across the country to holiday by the Pacific Ocean and the beautiful way they remember their adventure – it's funny and sweet for the child listening and a true love story for the mama reading it.

  • The Wholefood Mama

    'Magic Beach' and 'Are We There Yet?' are favorites here is as Bob Graham's 'Jethro Byrd Fairy Child' and Pamela Allen's 'The Potato People' and of course pretty well anything written by Enid Blyton. xx

  • Jo @ Country Life Experiment

    Every year we go on a holiday with my family. My kids and their cousins call the holiday "magic beach" after the book. There are 6 kids just like in the book, and they have a fabulous time each year. Of course we read the book too!

  • Caroline Beeson

    I simply love "Can you see a little bear?" by James Mayhew. A friend recommended it to me – definitely a keeper.

  • lucinda smith

    "the house in the night" by susan swanson is still holding on strong at bedtime, even after nearly 6 months! the illustrations are beautiful and there are so many little details, that each time you open the book, you find something new – it makes for 100s of variations to the original story.

  • Sheryl

    We love anything by Oliver Jeffers at the moment. But also, a new discovery and extremely lovely stories by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies 'On Sudden Hill' and 'Storm Whale' I highly recommend.

  • dear olive

    Olive and I are reading The Witches. Roald Dahl has such a way with nonsense words! I'm loving it as much as O. Kellie xx

  • Tina

    My children love Pelles new suit. I think it's because I do a lot of knitting so they can relate to it. We also like to read other books by Rlsa Beskow and other Scandi classics from authors like Astrid Lindgren, Torbjørn Egner and more modern but oh-so-cool Jacob Martin Strid. All books have been translated to engligh as well. We read in both English, Norwegian and Danish!

  • cocoreinhart

    Thanks for the great recommendations! The two ours are asking for all the time are

    "The Apple Cake" by Nienke van Hichtum

    and "Liputto" by Jakob Streit.

    Althought–we'd be hard pressed to find them at our local library. Maybe you will have better luck!

  • FP

    Thank you! I's nice to get new ideas for books, especially now that Christmas is near. Here are some of our favourites. Since we are from opposite corners of the world, I hope they can somehow surprise you. 🙂

    Monster don't eat me, by Carl Norac, is by far one of the best illustrated books we've ever seen

    Every single book by Planeta Tangerina, portuguese publisher which was elected best european publisher for children in 2013

    Some of their books are available in english, you should really take a look at these two:

    When I was born


    Where do we go when we disappear

  • Ariana Lyriotakis-Macdonald

    Thank you for sharing! Book posts are so fun, and it's always interesting what is being read by parents and kids around the world 🙂 We had another birthday in our house this week, and here's what's our 6 y/o got new: Oliver Jeffers, "The Day the Crayons Quit" and "Once Upon an Alphabet"; Mo Willems, "My New Friend is So Fun!" and "There is a Bird on your Head!"; Britta Teckentrup, "The Odd One Out"; Miroslav Slasek, "This is the World"; and Hervé Tullet, "Mix it Up." Our eldest is 8 and she is totally obsessed with "The Sisters Grimm" series of 9 books. For our littlest ones, Xavier Deneux's "Jojo's First Word Book" and anything by Richard Scarry.

  • Anna

    We love Elsa Beskow and all the Alfie books too!
    Here are some of our faves:

    The Tiger who came for Tea
    The Bears who went to the Seaside
    Ferdinand the Bull
    Moving Molly
    Little Fingerling
    Snip, Snap and Snur books
    Any old Paddington Bear book
    Beverly Cleary books

  • Silver

    We really love Tabby McTat – read it to the rhythm of beat poetry.

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