Category Archives: Picture book

Lulu Gets a Cat

Anna McQuinn shows how children can prove they will manage something they want very much. In this case it’s Lulu who loves cats (I counted ten toy cats in her room!), and who really, really wants a real cat.

Anna McQuinn and Rosalind Beardshaw, Lulu Gets a Cat

By pretending that one of the toy cats is real, she shows her parents that she understands the work involved in having a live animal to look after, and her mum gives in. (They – nearly – always do, don’t they?)

So after some reading up on facts they visit the cat shelter, where one of the cats ‘chooses’ Lulu. Plenty of shopping for cat things later, it is time to pick up Lulu’s new friend.

This is lovely, and should inspire children that maybe they can influence what happens in life.

Memorial

The trouble with time is that it passes. When I was younger I felt it completely natural that soldiers from WWI were still alive. Now it is the people who fought in WWII who are barely still with us. What was once very big, ceases to have relevance to new generations. Whatever it is, it feels hard for those who do remember; that the thing that changed their lives so completely gets relegated to the history books.

Gary Crew and Shaun Tan, Memorial

In Gary Crew’s book Memorial, with illustrations by Shaun Tan, this is evident. It is not a new book, but a re-issued classic, almost. First published in 1999 it shows us a young boy who visits his (Australian) town’s memorial to The Big War with his great grandfather, and the personal memories this man still has, of those who fought with him, and those who didn’t come home. And of the planting of a tree next to the statue.

Then we meet his son, the boy’s grandfather, with his own memories of the next war. And the boy’s father, who was in Vietnam. A lot has happened under the tree; at the various homecomings, but also in everyday life.

The trouble is that the tree has grown quite big, and its are roots damaging the road, which by now is much busier than it was. And the council wants to remove it.

Can you remove a Shrine of Remembrance?

Or is there something else that people remember you by?


Reading this book now, another 18 years have passed, and the kind of family continuity it describes is no longer possible. Soon this boy will be able to tell the story to another generation, but it will be someone who hasn’t met the former soldiers.

Picture This!

At my age I have seen most, but not all, of the art featured in Paul Thurlby’s new picture book guide to the National Gallery in London. But I’m hoping that the young reader this book is aimed at will either not have seen any, or might feel good about recognising an iconic picture or two, and then want to look at more art.

Paul Thurlby, Picture This!

Paul’s book would be a good start. You could look through it before visiting, and you could either take it along, or revisit these pages after your trip to London’s enormous gallery where you can see so much interesting stuff.

The art is ‘the real thing’ and then Paul has added some of his own, as well as making comments or explaining the great masters. And every now and then you can add your own art into small frames dotted about, or you have questions to answer, quizzes and puzzles.

In other words, lots to do, what with reading the book really thoroughly and then traipsing round the National Gallery.

There isn’t enough of Paul’s own art in this book, but then I suppose that wasn’t the intention. Anyway, if you have lobsters to spot and snowball fights, that’s good enough.

Get Colouring With Katie

Get those colouring pens out! James Mayhew’s Katie is back, and this time she has some half-finished masterpieces for us.

James Mayhew, Get Colouring With Katie

If you are a long-term fan of James’s, you will recognise these pictures. As you will if you are a regular in art galleries or paid attention at school.

Fifteen works of art where James has helped with lines and things to get you started. And I believe you want to be quite careful as you go, since this really is fine art, so no big, sweeping brush strokes, please.

With care, this book could keep you, or your child, quiet for most of the summer holidays. And, you could always see if you can go and visit some of the originals. See who did the better job.

I love Katie!

The Story of the Car

At first, my flippant reaction to The Story of the Car was that it was for the daddies more than for the children. Then I recalled a little boy I knew, who was crazy about cars. In fact, my garage still houses two carrier bags full of tiny cars that mustn’t be got rid of.

And non-driving girl that I am, I quite liked this book too. So it’s really for everyone.

Giles Chapman, The Story of the Car

Giles Chapman takes the reader through the very early cars, that were barely cars, dangerous and difficult, and then on to the early cars many of us know about, and then the ones we actually remember.

In 1922 the first car for women was made. How lucky that someone thought to invent a way of starting a car that’s not too hard for women! And if you were rich you could have any design car you wanted. I didn’t know that. Now I want a custom-made car. (Which I wouldn’t be able to drive. I Know.)

Among lots of attractive pictures of cars, we are still reminded that cars are not good for the environment, and that – so far – cars can’t time travel.

I suspect that little boy I mentioned would have loved this book.

The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart

The second time I pondered the meaning of this book title – from Vivian French, with illustrations by Nigel Baines – I didn’t quite get it, despite remembering I had the first time…

The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart is a fun title, and the second time the penny dropped I decided it means that someone thinks the book is too thick, too many pages, too hard to read. Too hard even to consider starting to read.

You know, some sort of excuse. We all have them.

And Vivian knows them all. Probably heard all of us grumble at some point. Pink covers. Boys can’t read a book like that! Dyslexia. Can’t read at all. Too big for bedtime stories. I’m busy. Reading’s rubbish.

Vivian French and Nigel Baines, The Covers of My Book Are Too Far Apart

Sounds pathetic, doesn’t it? And Vivian has ways round all of them. With Nigel’s pictures and her suggestions we find that ‘comics are cool,’ you can read while cooking, read a book about your favourite film, ask a librarian. If you want to read more of the same, that’s possible. Or something entirely different. Or re-reading a book again.

There are LOTS of options. Really inspiring picture book, which should get nearly everyone reading.

Dads and Ducks

David Melling, Just Like My Daddy

I might be in love with David Melling.

Just in time for Father’s Day we have the re-issued Just Like My Daddy. We meet a young lion cub who rather admires his fierce and clever lion daddy. The adult reader can tell daddy is not perfect, and maybe the little lion can too. I don’t know.

But he definitely loves his dad. And so does all his friends.

This picture book shows you a new side to the powerful lion image. But a dad’s a dad, anyway.

David Melling, Colour with Splosh!

And if you want more, I give you ducks. They are also by David Melling, and Colour with Splosh! is a lovely and fun take on colours and rhymes, with the most adorable ducks.

And one rabbit.

There is just something about David’s style…