Guide A Picture Book for Little Children

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The author of the Mr Benn series has a talent for playful picturebooks that concisely express something of the quirks and contradictions of the human condition. Here, a powerful General is furious when his invading troops meet no resistance in the last unconquered territory and instead befriend its people. Three children who live in an orphanage under the uncaring custody of social workers and therapists decide to run away.

Their escape is perilous, but when they meet a girl named Heaven Eyes, there seems to be some small hope in their otherwise bleak world. Almond at his thought-provoking best. In a community dominated by power and battles, a misfit Viking teenager rescues and befriends an injured dragon. Can the two outsiders unite to be accepted and live happily? But one night, Star is not there and Fox must venture into the world alone and make new friends. A funny picturebook fable about two hapless amphibians.


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Not all picturebooks are for toddlers. Scottish poet and playwright Carol Ann Duffy created this darkly beautiful story for older children. A witch steals all the happy endings to bedtime stories and one brave girl must save them. Magical reading for any child with a restless spirit and a creative imagination. Nine-year-old Pippi lives all by herself with a horse, a monkey and a suitcase of gold coins.

As a result, she confounds the village grown-ups and spends her days on wild and wacky adventures. When a pilot is forced to land his plane in the desert, he meets a mysterious little boy who tells him a series of fascinating and wise stories. This simple fable of imagination and compassion has been a treasure handed from parent to child for generations ever since it was first published 70 years ago.

Many authors address themes like the stresses of peer pressure and the threat of violence through fantasy writing. McGowan tackles these head-on in an account of a boy who unwillingly becomes ensnared in a local gang war. Intelligent and honest without being sensational, this is a serious work of bold fiction. Here, a young girl must follow her strong-headed brother down a dark tunnel, but when she emerges into a dark forest, she finds that Jack has been turned to stone….

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This is a beautiful picturebook celebration of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights in which each declaration is illustrated by a different artist or illustrator. Ahlberg is a master of playful, smart stories for picturebook and storybook readers and this adventure is one of his more recent gems. This is the second in a series of fantasy thrillers published between and The adventures draw on Arthurian legends, and Celtic and Norse mythologies. A breathless yarn. However, during lessons at school, he realises that poetry could be the perfect channel for his feelings.

The rich and colourful illustrations in this book add to its nostalgic feel. A little tin mouse and his son are accidentally broken and thrown away.

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Jim Hawkins finds a map and sets off on the Hispaniola on a dangerous quest with his friends. However, they're not alone in the search for the booty. Danny lives in a caravan with his father William, who mends cars and has a nifty sideline in poaching pheasants. One night William is caught in a trap, and thereafter they begin to hatch a brilliant plan to get revenge on the greedy landowner Mr Hazell. This complex page-turner centres around Auggie, starting school after being home educated all his life.

To add to this challenge, Auggie has a severe facial disfigurement that inevitably leads to cruel treatment from many and overprotectiveness from others. A vivid and surprisingly life-affirming read. A family goes searching for a bear in this poetic little adventure. A great storybook for children suffering sticky times with their friends.

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Harriet aspires to be a writer and has a habit of putting down her brutally honest opinions in a notebook. When her classmates discover this, she is ostracised as a spy. Linus wakes up in a dark underground cell, unsure how he got there. At first he thinks he might have been kidnapped for money, but as other prisoners arrive, it seems mental and physical torture is all their captor wants. Can they survive? Will they escape? A challenging, vivid and uncompromising book. Schoolboy Kay Harker finds himself caught up in a battle to possess a magical box that can travel through time. For Kay, it is the start of a dangerous journey to stop magician Abner Brown seizing the box for his evil purposes.

Picture Books Are Not Just for Children: 10 Reasons Why

First published in , the adventure has lost none of its thrilling pace. An industrial age fairytale. A baby caterpillar eats his way through lots of different foods and gives himself a tummy ache. Then he spins a cocoon and rests, eventually emerging as a stunning butterfly. Brilliant for first counting and learning days of the week, this million-selling classic started life as a doodle when Carle was playing with his hole-punch. When Joe, Beth and Frannie move to a new home near the Enchanted Wood, they discover a magical tree and meet strange new friends, Moonface, Saucepan Man and Silky the fairy.


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When they climb to the top of the tree they are transported to other lands and find themselves on fabulous adventures. While playing, the children unearth a grumpy sand fairy, who grants them a series of daily wishes, each lasting until sunset. The resulting escapades and mishaps shape this amusing read. Four children evacuated during The Blitz discover a magical land called Narnia, entered through an old wardrobe.

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They become entangled in a conflict between good and evil and must overcome their fears to save this enchanted world. Emily loves her cuddly rabbit, Stanley. However, when the Queen decides she wants Stanley, she sends increasingly generous offers to swap him for shiny new toys. Emily, however, flatly refuses. When the Queen finally steals him, what will Emily do to get him back?

Although his new friend Stig only speaks by grunting, the pair enjoy lively adventures together. The silly scrapes that Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet and friends get into continue to charm thanks to the dry humour in the telling. A reckless young wizard attempts a spell beyond his ability and accidentally unleashes an evil shadow-beast. The prince is tutored by Merlyn to prepare him for royal responsibility. With magic and a few lapses of historical accuracy, the adventures of jousting, falconry and medieval derring-do make for a thrilling epic, much more gritty than the Disney adaptation.

A stunning picturebook for children and adults, expressing so much without words. A man leaves his homeland in search of a better life. We follow him and other immigrants, as they try to communicate, settle and find work.

The story ends with his family joining him, looking forward to the future. This tale about young rabbits is anything but cuddly. A fabulous, poetic and at times heartbreaking read.

Fans of the sillier excesses of Roald Dahl and Roddy Doyle? Greedy, miserable Mr Gum wants to poison a boisterous dog who keeps fouling up his garden.

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By Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Dressed in his wolf costume, naughty little Max behaves like a wild animal around the house and is sent to his room in disgrace. There he suddenly finds his surroundings magically transformed into a strange new world. He sails to an island and becomes the king of the beastly Wild Things. An American classic that salutes creativity and individuality. Smalltown boy Emil is taking his first trip alone to visit family in Berlin.

When he loses the money his mother gave him he is sure the suspicious man on the train has stolen it, but can he go to the police without proof? One by one, the children who have won the chance to meet the reclusive chocolate magnate Willy Wonka are punished for their brattishness.