Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

Published: 25th July 2006
Goodreads badgePublisher: Candlewick Press
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Pages: 48
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
Genre: Children
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

Miss Merriweather, the head librarian, is very particular about rules in the library. No running allowed. And you must be quiet. But when a lion comes to the library one day, no one is sure what to do. There aren’t any rules about lions in the library. And, as it turns out, this lion seems very well suited to library visiting. His big feet are quiet on the library floor. He makes a comfy backrest for the children at story hour. And he never roars in the library, at least not anymore. But when something terrible happens, the lion quickly comes to the rescue in the only way he knows how.

I am a sucker for anything with a lion and I knew there was a book called Library Lion I just hadn’t come across it before. I found a copy at work and I sat down and read it right away and it did not disappoint.

I loved this book. It’s adorable and charming and so incredibly sweet. It’s not just a fantastic story, it’s also beautifully illustrated. I’m in love with Hawkes’ illustrations on top of being in love with Knudsen’s storytelling. I definitely need my own Library Lion, right now.

The story is about a lion who wanders into the library, originally causing a little chaos as he navigates his way around, but he then decides to stay for story time. After a rocky start and after given a talk about the rules of the library, he is soon beloved by the staff and the public and is an asset to the library in many ways.

I loved everything about this story. I loved the lion, he’s just gorgeous, and I love the staff for their quirkiness and attitudes. It’s a fun story but it is also filled with heart. Hawkes’ illustrations make it that much more divine; they are gorgeous and emotive. He captures the personality of the lion, the staff, and the public who come across him superbly.

You can use it as a lesson about following rules and breaking them, but it really is a great book on its own. There is no clear Message, but it can be drawn from it easily enough. I would, however, like to live in this world where a library can have a lion hang around. I didn’t know I could envy fictitious children in a picture book until now.

You can purchase Library Lion via the following

Book Depository | QBD

Booktopia | Dymocks

Fishpond | A&R Bookworld

Wordery |

 

 

 

A Soldier, A Dog, and a Boy by Libby Hathorn

Published: 22nd March 2016
Goodreads badgePublisher: Lothian
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
Genre: Children
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

A moving story, told completely in dialogue, about a young Australian soldier in the battle of the Somme. Walking through the fields away from the front, he finds what he thinks is a stray dog, and decides to adopt it as a mascot for his company. Then he meets Jacques, the homeless orphan boy who owns the dog. The soldier realises that Jacques needs the dog more – and perhaps needs his help as well.

With stunning illustrations from Phil Lesnie, this is a deeply moving celebration of friendship in times of war.

Look, who doesn’t love a good cry at a picture book. I am usually so worried when there’s a ‘serious’ style picture book with dogs because it’s always going to make me sad and this was no exception, but it was also so beautiful.

I loved this story, and as a note in the back tells you, it’s based off a picture and Hathorn’s own family history. I was so worried when one combines dogs and ANZACs, but Hathorn has told a beautiful story that makes you emotional and feel all the feelings while not being too sad.

Hathorn tells the story about the ANZACs and war without being too detailed for younger audiences. She mentions the ruined towns and orphaned children, but the words are so lyrical and so lovely that it’s almost like a dream reading them. The story follows a soldier who finds a lost dog and who then tells him about coming back to camp, how he’ll make him their mascot and protect his ears from the fireworks at night. Along with the dog he also finds a young boy and their conversations are some of the most beautiful things I’ve read.

I don’t want to ruin the story because it’s so so wonderful and heartwarming, but it is a beautiful tale to read and one that will delight children and adults alike. With so many ANZAC stories out there I think this is one of my favourites. It’s lyrical and honest and beautiful. It brings out the emotional content with respect and with restraint and with joy. A must read.

You can purchase A Soldier, A Dog, and A Boy via the following

Booktopia | Hachette

Kinokuniya | QBD

Dymocks | Angus and Robinson’s Bookworld

aww2017-badge

The Little Green Goose by Adele Sansone

Published: 1st May 2010Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 NorthSouth
Illustrator: Faust Anke
Pages: 32
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

Mr Goose longs for a chick of his own. When he finds an abandoned egg, he hatches it and raises a peculiar green-skinned long-tailed chick of his own.

I love this book. This is a great little book about a male goose (technically a gander) who wants to be a father and wishes for an egg of his own. He laments that he has no wife goose provide one for him and so he asks the hens if they have an egg to spare.

When they chastise him and mock him for daring to consider this, Mr Goose gets given one by the friendly farmyard dog who digs one up. The problem is, the egg isn’t a goose, but is a little baby dinosaur.

This whole story is wonderful and it has so many great messages. Mr Goose’s baby loves his dad and vice versa. But of course, others on the farm feel the need to comment and they put ideas in the little dinosaur’s head that Mr Goose isn’t his real dad because they look so different and so the little dinosaur goes on a journey to find out who is his daddy.

It’s such a sweet story and you can’t help read societal issues into it which I think Sansone demonstrates cleverly and creatively.  Coupled with Anke’s colourful illustrations, Sansone’s story is a heart-warming tale about what it means to be a family and sometimes that means not looking exactly the same.

You can purchase The Little Green Goose via the following

Booktopia | Dymocks

Angus & Robinson Bookworld

Amazon

 

 

 

 

 

Grandad’s Medals by Tracy Potter

Published: 2005Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 Reed Publishing
Illustrator: Bruce Potter
Pages: 25
Format: Picture Book
★   ★   ★   ★  – 4 Stars

‘I love my grandad. We have lots of fun together.’ Every year Grandad marches in the ANZAC Day Parade and wears his medals, walking proudly beside his old comrades. but this year Grandad’s best mate is too sick to walk and the number of old soldiers still marching is getting smaller.’

The story is about a young boy and his grandfather. With each page the young narrator tells us about the fun things he does with his grandfather and the good times they have together.

The illustrations by Potter are lovely. They are like paintings, very realistic and show off the scenes the words are describing. Potter does a great job of bringing the grandfather and the boy to life on the page. You can easily imagine these silent figures partaking in the events described.

The story isn’t just about ANZAC Day; it brings the occasion into the real life experiences of the young boy and how it relates to his grandfather. His experience of the ANZAC March is touching, he reflects on the ages of the veterans and in the simple words of a young child he is matter of fact and explains things how they have been explained to him.

Duncan uses real words and phrases like cenotaph and the RSA Hall to put the ceremony and march into context without explaining it or simplifying it. Seeing the day’s events from the eyes of an outsider is interesting. He doesn’t understand why things are happening that much but he knows it is important.

This is set in New Zealand but there are a lot of things relatable to an Australian as well. It is also a great book to show that there are other countries that fought in wars, and the NZ in ANZAC does have meaning.

There is a wonderful little page of explanation at the end that explains more about ANZAC Day and the traditions. This is where the events are explained and terms and icons are given more meaning so it doesn’t take away from the story.

Grandad’s Medals is currently unavailable to buy from my online searches, but try your local library for a copy.

Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman

Published: January 2013Goodreads badge
Publisher:
 HarperCollins Children’s
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Pages: 30
Format: Hardcover Picture Book
★   ★  – 2 Stars

Chu is a little panda with a big sneeze.
When Chu sneezes, bad things happen.
In dusty library, diner pepper, circus tent,
Will Chu sneeze today?

This may be the shortest review I’ve done yet, even for a picture book. I just don’t have much to say about it. After seeing Gaiman talk about writing and publishing this book for so long I was excited to find it at the library. Having now finished it, I have to say I’m a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it was cute. But I also kind of expected more.

The layout is nice, it’s suspenseful in how Rex and Gaiman have set out the text and the illustrations, but there is just something missing. I don’t even think I know what it is, but I finished and kind of went, is that it? I’ll give it credit, it’s cute, the story I can see would appeal to some people, but I found it a tad anti-climactic unfortunately.

Previous Older Entries