Christmas is a time for sharing and creating new memories. Discovering new books and fostering a love of reading is motivation for giving the gift of books at Christmas.
This year’s selection has evolved from picture books published in 2016.
However there are a vast array of titles and browsing in your local bookshop will lead to further finds and much enjoyment.
Pig the Winner by best-selling creator of Pig the Pug and Pig the Fibber, Aaron Blabey will be a children’s favourite.
Pig is a greedy, obnoxious, selfish pug with a lot of lessons to learn. His stalwart friend Trevor, a sausage dog gives very wise advice but pompous Pig always thinks he knows his self- centred best.
The comic sardonic illustrations are irresistible and children will be captivated and totally absorbed in the lessons and humour of the book from the first moment they set eyes on the fascinating cover.
In this tale Pig will do anything to win and if he loses he throws almighty tantrums. Adults and children alike will howl with laughter when they read about these two very different dogs.
Once again Blabey sprinkles this Pig tale with exuberant rhyme and catchy idioms. This read aloud picture book will delight and enchant.
Aaron Blabey has also written a hilarious Christmas story in Pig the Elf. This time the greedy Pig the Pug goes to extreme lengths to make sure he gets ‘all’ the presents on his Christmas list even if it means staying up all night.
His list is endless and includes “a motorbike, a rocket, a drumkit, a pony, a skate board and a fairy floss maker.” In contrast, Trevor his long suffering friend asks “may I have something nice for Christmas?”
The style and charisma of Aaron Blabey’s books is instantly recognised by children and the humour contagious.
The ABC Book of Food is a new non-fiction book in the ABC Book Of … series that explores the world. Children will learn and be intrigued by the processes involved before food reaches the table.
The book helps children to understand the energy food gives us and the diverse taste sensations food offers.
“We eat food often through the day to help us run and jump and play.”
The inspiring text and illustrations invite children to extend their culinary experiences and celebrate the joy of new flavours. The book will encourage children to grow their own produce and feel first-hand the joy of harvesting home grown food.
This delightful factual text engages children in understanding food in a simple yet practical guide.
Jeannie Baker is an acclaimed international author and illustrator of fourteen children’s picture books, including Where the Forest Meets the Sea and Mirror. Her latest breathtaking book is Circle.
Godwits are an endangered Australian migratory bird that follows ancient invisible pathways from Alaska to Australia and New Zealand. This 11,000 kilometre journey is a continuous nine nights and nine days flight and the birds do not stop to rest.
The miracle of this natural phenomenon is investigated with empathy and reverence in both illustrations and text.
The intricate format of her exquisite collages and the lyrical beauty of her text in Circle are merged to construct a richly layered children’s picture book.
Baker’s subtle messages about the environment, the need to respect the importance of the world’s remaining wetlands and the interdependency of nature evolve in a mysteriously tender and wise literary expression.
I Just Couldn’t Wait to Meet You is well loved actress and radio personality Kate Ritchie’s first published book and it is a winner at every level.
Artworks by Illustrator Hannah Sommerville are beguiling, and they make real connections with the reader.
“Once upon a special time, before you had arrived, when you were still a treasured bump, tucked safe away inside, I thought of you night and day and in my sleep – it’s true.”
The heart felt sentiments usher a soothing tale of love and expectation. A simple truth is often a profound manifestation of the miracle of new life. This would be a significant addition to a toddler or pre-schooler’s picture book collection, a special keepsake for later adult life. It is a gem of a picture book.
A Child of Books is a unique celebration of words, books and the imagination. Oliver Jeffers has written a fine book that is powerfully haunting where children can travel “over mountains of make-believe” make discoveries and compose their own stories.
Sam Winston has created poignant illustrations that unlock a boundless curiosity and a wealth of lingering details.
He writes “From the very beginning we both wanted to create a tale that celebrates our own love of classic children’s literature with an added modern twist. For us it was about capturing some of the magic that happens when you first get lost in a timeless story, but doing it in a way that readers haven’t seen before.”
Innovative couple Beck and Matt Stanton have created another bestseller with Did you take the B from my _ook? Children will love the fun they have with sounds and missing letters.
They will romp through this engaging text appreciating the minimalism of the captivating illustrations. The three primary colours enhance the naive shapes of favourite things beginning with ‘b’.
This picture book makes learning about initial sounds fun and rewarding and the mystery of the missing b’s hilarious for both reader and listener. The book lends itself to innovation as each child explores their own favourite letter.
“Danny Parker’s evocative verse expresses the freedom of an idyllic childhood, and paintings by Freya Blackwood magically evoke the light, scents and feel of a perfect summer day” is the astute blurb on the back of Perfect.
The activities the three children enjoy are accessible for most children and focus on the beauty and simplicity of natural things. The children are actively engaged in creating their own memories.
“Some fresh air and somewhere to breathe it.
A secret and someone to keep it.”
The poetic language and the skillful rhyming in a picture book are charmingly combined with the stimulus for imagining and sharing thoughts for the readers.
Calmness and tenderness are sensitively expressed and exquisitely paired in text and illustrations.
Perfect was a worthy recipient for The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Honour Book for 2016.
The book is a precious reminder of the power of gentleness.
Warmest wishes for a Christmas filled with peace and joy, and a New Year bright with promise.
Rose Niland, Special Features, The Culture Concept Circle, 2016