All Creatures Great and Small


Ever wondered: What Do Animals Do All Day? Find out this World Wildlife Conservation Day in Wendy Hunt’s new book (Wide Eyed Editions), with pictures by Marijke Buurlage! Move around the world with this fully illustrated adventure featuring fourteen different habitats to explore; from coral reef to desert, jungle to savanna. Discover how every animal has its own special job to do that suits the place where they live, and how they work together in nature. Travel the world from the comfort of your own home, school or library, find answers to questions and be inspired to ask even more.

Ready to learn more? How about lions next? After all, A Lion is a Lion, isn't it? But what if he happens to be carrying an umbrella – is he still a lion? How about if he ‘hoobie-doobie’ dances around the room? Then what if he gets hungry and wants a bite to eat – is a lion still a lion? And if he is, what is one to do? Join in the exuberant fun and games in Polly Dunbar's anarchic picture book (Walker Books) and remember: A Lion is a Lion!

Now, animals all get along, don’t they? Well, not always - as you may know from the odd fairy tale or two! So what happens when the pigeons deliver the news that The New Neighbours are rats? The bunnies get excited, the sheep aren’t sure and the pigs are certainly not happy. When their excitement and grumpiness cause a big tumble down the stairs, who will be brave enough to take the first step and knock - and just what will they find behind the door? A riotous story about learning that there is no room for prejudice and to keep an open mind, from the exuberant pen and imagination of Sarah McIntyre (David Fickling Books).

Meet The Mouse Who Wasn’t Scared by Petr Horáček (Walker Books) and enter into a world of flaps to lift, big scary wolves, big scary bears and more... Will anything scare Mouse? Don’t forget to check for the clues in the pictures as you enjoy the vibrancy of every page. Oh, and be prepared: you just don’t know what might be behind that flap...!

On the subject of big scary animals, did someone mention a wolf? So often they are big and scary but what it they are small, fluffy and alone? Erik the Lone Wolf is not alone, but he wants to be. He dreams of setting off to enjoy an adventure on his own! His pack always seem to be in his way, but can he learn why they do things together? Find out in Sarah Finan's stunning reach-out-and-touch illustration (Lincoln Children’s First Editions). This is an important story of family and friendship which teaches the significance of understanding why we are never alone. Your pack will always be with you... even when they're not!

Smaller animals live in groups, too. Like wolves, puffins are never alone and it is thanks to a Wee Puffin Board Book that we are able to share the story of Skye the Puffling, by Lynne Rickards and Jon Mitchell (Wee Kelpies). A simple yet gentle full-colour board book, this is a delight for little hands to hold and marvel at, whilst bigger hands can help turn the pages and read the words. Join Skye, an adorable - but cheeky! - baby puffin as she plans to leave the nest (well, burrow, actually!) for her very first adventure.

From the same author-illustrator team publisher (this time under their Picture Kelpies imprint) comes another charming story of leaving the nest for a first taste of adventure. Rowan the Red Squirrel and his sister Hazel are about to embark on their first tip away from the cosiness of the nest and venture into the big, wide world. Wonders await and although the pair feel brave, the noises of the forest can sometimes be frightening. With beautiful illustrations of iconic Scottish wildlife, this is a comforting story explaining why it is not silly to be scared - but it is always good to know that home is safe, sound and always waiting for you.

And finally, (from Scotland, that is) comes a new edition of a delightful and classic story that last year celebrated its 50th roaring anniversary … The Teeger that Cam for his Tea by Judith Kerr, translated by Susan Rennie, can now be read in Scots! For Scots and fans of all things Scots, then this book is a must; a bright, bonny take on a classic, it's a delight to read and share.

If it is comfort that you seek, then look no further than I Love You, Bunny by Alina Surnaite (Lincoln Children’s Books). Its quaint pastel sketch on the front cover nestles into the classic cloth binding just as the little child nestles into her bed with Bunny. A beautiful debut, this gentle story encourages children to understand how they can overcome a fear of the dark in a very nostalgic style that will have great appeal to parents. A story to soothe its readers (and listeners) every bedtime that it is shared. I was charmed.

It is a welcome return for Oliver, Patch and Ruby who, in their latest adventure, must discover how to work as a team when a lost baby penguin enters the picture! Join the three friends on their visit to the zoo, growling with the tigers, smiling at the meerkats and laughing at penguins. The Lost Penguin by Claire Freedman and Kate Hindley (Simon & Schuster) is a sweet and thoughtful story from a well-matched author-illustrator team.

Having discovered all the noises made by the animals at the zoo, it's time to find out What Can Cats Do?, as written and illustrated by Abner Graboff. I am sure you know that they can lap up milk, use their tongues as combs, and even make their toenails go in and out! Can you do that? But there are things you can do that cats definitely can't! Discover what in this bold, distinctive and utterly charming picture book from Bodleian Library Publishing. Then, if you have enjoyed the distinctive style of Abner Graboff, why not dip into There Was An Old Lady who swallowed a fly? Think you know the rest? Think again! With a galloping rhythm and delightful rhyme, here is a compelling read, a memory game and a bold, distinctive style of story-telling that is not to be missed!

If there is anything truly terrifying to behold, it must be a fire-breathing dragon. Look Out, It’s a Dragon! by Jonny Lambert is naturally the next title we will turn to in our exploration of books about animals. Suitably published by Little Tiger Press, this book is … well, not very scary, actually! And that's because Saffi is not quite like other dragons... Discover why when you read this story - but for now, I will tell you that Saffi loves flowers and she wants to find friends. All it takes is one special act of helpfulness for everyone to realise that they can all live together with Saffi - they just have to find … well, I shall leave that for you to discover.

Talking of scary, not only must it be a daunting task to write your first picture book, but to then have it illustrated by the masterful talents of Brita Granström? Wow. All this was probably a more than a little scary for Jonnie Wild (an appropriate name for an author penning a story about wild animals?) but he clearly did not let that get in the way of a great story - which is certainly how to describe The Carnivorous Crocodile. Published by Otter-Barry Books and supporting wildlife conservation in Africa, this is a gloriously bright and compelling read. I love the brilliant pink flamingoes and that it combines character, scary moments and a wonderful story. Read, enjoy and join me in hoping for more from a great new talent.

To draw this all to a close, I will finish with a story that does not have any words. It's a story that you need to tell. A story that will change with every telling. Chalk Eagle by Nazli Tahvili (Tiny Owl) is a powerful and completely wordless picture book. Using just white, green, dark and light blue silkscreen, this is the story of the author’s husband, of his childhood in the city, of his dreams and his imagination. Imagination is all you need for this book, so where will yours take you? It is difficult to say more for this is a sublime and special book that you need to open, enjoy, open enjoy, over and over again. A book that I hope will become a timeless classic.

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