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Sparkle and Spin A Book About Words By Ann Rand and Paul Rand

Through harmony and rhythm, resonance and pitch, Ann Rand inspires readers to listen to the tuneful play of her text as it sings off each page. Illustrated with graphic designer Paul Rand’s colorful, witty artwork, Sparkle and Spin is a children’s classic (now happily available again through Chronicle Books) that reveals to young readers the power and music in the words they use every day.

- Chronicle

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Beautiful Birds by Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker

An alphabet book that serves as a lyrical introduction to a rainbow of plumages from the Bird Kingdom.

In this stunningly illustrated introduction to the world’s most beautiful birds, Jean Roussen and Emmanuelle Walker pay homage to an alphabet of birds in all their feathery fancies. From Warblers to Blue-tits and Kakapos to Owls, Roussen’s playful poem is complemented beautifully by Walker’s delicate illustrations.

- Flying Eye Books

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when Flying Eye Books turn their hand to a children’s book they do it properly. They smashed it with their counting books, smashed it with all their picture books, smashed it with their graphic novels and now they have smashed it with an alphabet book.

I am to Flying Eye Books what a belieber is to Beiber.

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Wolfie the Bunny By Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Zachariah OHora

Would you trust a wolf in sheep’s clothing? No… What about a wolf in a pink bunny onesie?

The Bunny family has adopted a wolf son, and daughter Dot is the only one who realizes Wolfie can–and might–eat them all up! Dot tries to get through to her parents, but they are too smitten to listen. A new brother takes getting used to, and when (in a twist of fate) it’s Wolfie who’s threatened, can Dot save the day?

LB Kids

I am drawn to the illustrations by Zachariah OHora like a moth to a flame. The colours are bold and bright with thick black outlines. The colour palette is perfect, the bright yellow, soft pink and splashes of green complement each other; they look confident and stand out on the pages.

It’s refreshing to have characters express emotions like fear and anger. The facial expressions and amusing details portray this well, the red spikes radiating from Dot’s head and down-turned eyebrows made me smile. A good example of the subtle humour can be found on the page where an untrusting Dot is sleeping next to her new wolf brother, she has her head turned to the side with a head lamp pointed at her soundly-sleeping sibling. He looks peaceful and innocent while tucked up under the covers; however the shadow cast from the torch shows a more menacing picture.

The book plays with the roles of these characters in traditional fairy tales in order to build suspense and challenge the reader’s preconceptions of how they should behave towards one another.

In conclusion, a book full of fun, wit and gorgeous illustrations. Highly recommended.

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Into the Forest by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne toys with our knowledge of the fairy-tales to create suspense with each turn of the page, black and white images of the familiar characters make them seem lost and haunted in their own narrative. What will happen to little boy as he ventures deeper into the forest? The story has a clever and unexpected resolution.

It’s an excellent example of a picture book that encourages children to consider meaning and symbolism within image and text.

As always with Anthony Browne, the illustrations are magnificent.

Published by Walker Books

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Leonardo the Terrible Monster By Mo Willems

“He will scare the tuna salad out of you!”

Leonardo is truly a terrible monster – terrible at being a monster, that is. Despite his best efforts, he can’t seem to frighten anyone…until he finds the perfect little boy.

- Pigeon Presents!

This is one of my favourite of Mo Willems’ picture books. I love them all, but for some reason this one always springs to mind. I like the size of it, the way the type fills the cover, I like the pastel colours of the pages, I like the huge amounts of empty space with a small illustration of Leonardo in the corner. The story makes me smile with every read.

Published by Walker Books