Bookshelf Picture Books

The Same But Different Too

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There are many similarities and many differences in this lovely book, each one acknowledged and celebrated as they should be. A whole host of wonderful animals and equally wonderful children compare and contrast the things they do, enjoy and are good at, making sense of their world as they share it with those around them. It is a truly delightful book full of gorgeous illustrations.

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Simple rhyming sentences bounce along, making this a wonderful read aloud with plenty of opportunities for joining in and guessing the rhyming words.

I am listening.

You are too.

I love stories.

So do you.

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The illustrations are just wonderful, celebrating the joys of diversity every bit as much as the text. My class were quick to spot the little boy in the wheelchair, for example, and be pleased to see a child like X (a child in another class) being shown in the story. There are so many little details to spot and enjoy- I love Mr Mole’s house! The last spread sums up the closeness and companionship felt by everyone in the story, no matter what their differences. I would love this as a picture on my wall- it makes me smile every time I see it!

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Perfect for assemblies or story time, ‘The Same But Different Too’ would be wonderful for opening discussions about diversity. It could also be used to create some more rhyming sentences celebrating other similarities and differences, illustrated in the same vibrant, fun style.

A joyful celebration of the differences that make us unique and the similarities we share, ‘The Same But Different Too’ is a delightful, thought-provoking book for all to enjoy.

The Same But Different Too Karl Newson, illustrated by Kate Hindley

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-1788004008

The Lost Book

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Henry lives in Rabbit Town with his family, a place where everyone loves books- except for Henry. However, his adventures lead him to find a book- not a rabbit book- with a bright yellow cover. Curious to know where it has come from, Henry crawls through a hedge and sets off to find the owner of this lost book. No one seems to care until Henry meets a little girl and he knows his Lost Book will be in good hands.

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This beautifully illustrated book not only shows a non-reader’s discovery of the joy of stories, but highlights how our obsession with technology can blind us to the world we live in. Henry is shown exploring and playing- enjoying the outside world in a way so few seem to these days- wondering why the other rabbits enjoy reading so much. And play and exploration are celebrated- as he crawls through the hedge, a cut-through section of the each beneath him is shown to hold both the wonders of nature and a buried treasure chest! When Henry meets the little girl, she shows him her favourite things which are presented in coloured vignettes which contrast to the grey of the city, highlighting the pleasures being outside can bring if we just take the time to appreciate it.

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Everyone in the little girl’s world seems enveloped in their own bubble, focusing on the gadgets they clutch. Most look down at the phones in their hands, one man studies his watch, obviously rushing to be somewhere, others wear headphones. Adverts for devices scream from every wall. In all of this, the little girl alone notices Henry clutching his book, lost and alone on the tube train. The curious glance they exchange is beautifully captured and their friendship is established. The girl’s father remains oblivious as he is glued to his phone- a sad reminder here of how some parents seem to spend time with their children without actually connecting with them. He is affectionate, but it is only when they are joined by her mother that the little girl speaks to them both, trying to introduce them to Henry, who having gifted her the book, has returned to his family.

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The book ends with Henry enthusiastically telling his first bedtime story and the little girl sharing the yellow book with friends. Each illustration is beautifully created in soft tones which add a dream- like quality to the tale. A lovely story to share at home or at school, ‘The Lost Book’ is a joy to read and explore.

The Lost Book Margarita Surnaite

Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783446841

I Don't Want to be Small

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This little boy has had enough of being so small. His friends can go on the BIG rides at the fair; his brother’s hand-me-down clothes swamp him and nothing he tries seems to help him grow. When he loses his teddy high up in a tree, he tries everything he can think of to get it back. Even a new friend, who is tall, can’t help solve this problem- until they work together.

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This is such of lovely book about the joys of friendship and being happy with who you are. The frustration of being too small to do things that others can do is one many will recognise, making the story a great starting point for discussions and encouraging empathy.

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The illustrations are a complete delight, beautifully depicting the whole range of emotions from frustration to disappointment to real joy. Laura Ellen Anderson really captures each feeling as her little hero encounters each new challenge and experience. The book also offers plenty of humour through both illustration and text and the story is a joy to read aloud as it bounces along at a pleasing pace.

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It is also so lovely to see a boy and girl depicted as enjoying friendship. Having worked together to rescue the bear, they are then happy to continue their new friendship, sharing the bear, playing together and also reading in companionable silence, being perfect in their difference.

I Don’t Want To Be Small Laura Ellen Anderson

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408894064

You can read our review of ‘I Don’t Want Curly Hair’ here.