Bookshelf Picture Books

Nibbles The Monster Hunt

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Nibbles is on the loose again and has found his way into a little boy’s bedroom where he is nibbling his way through lots of information books. ‘My Fascinating Book of Facts’ takes them through space, past animals and into the world of art. Chased by a dragon which escaped form a painting, they continue through colour mixing and a counting book where some quick thinking by Nibbles saves them.

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We are such Nibbles fans here at JAB HQ and this new story is every bit as adorable as the others. With flaps to lift and holes to peer through, storytime is full of fun. Each book has been written by someone whose name is an anagram of Emma Yarlett- ‘Lemy A Matter’ for example and it’s details like this that make you really engage with the many layers of the book.

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There are lots of little jokes in every picture as well as Nibbles getting up to his mischievous antics, but the text in the books which they chase through also contains lots of facts. I love the way Emma celebrates the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing by including this fact in their travels!

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At the beginning, the little boy’s bedroom is beautifully neat and tidy. Not so at the end! Everything is nibbled and there are footprints everywhere. There’s even a new toy on his shelves!

Simply a joy from start to finish, ‘Nibbles: The Monster Hunt’ is every bit as delicious as the first two. Naughty, but nice, Nibbles is everyone’s favourite monster!

Nibbles: The Monster Hunt Emma Yarlett

Little Tiger ISBN: 978-1788814003

You can read our review of Nibbles the Book Monster here and Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide here.

Small in the City

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A young child, bundled up against the cold of winter, takes the bus into the heart of the city. Leaving the bus, the child makes their way through the buildings and the bustle, talking as they go. I know what it’s like to be small in the city… As the story continues, the reader comes to realise that they are addressing someone in particular, offering advice about how to survive-dryer vents that will keep you warm, somewhere that plays music to be enjoyed, a friendly shopkeeper who might give you some food…When the child pins a pink poster with the word ‘Lost’ and a picture of a cat, the reader understands who the child is talking to. The storm builds as the child makes their way home, the longing for their pet evident, where they are welcomed home. The final page shows a reassuring set of paw prints through the snow.

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This is a wonderful book in so many ways. The child seems so small and alone against the towering buildings, the busy traffic and the crowds of people as it is captured in close ups, wider scenes and even as a broken image as if seen through panes of glass. Each illustration is evocative of childhood- that sense of being small and vulnerable- yet our young hero seems confident as they walk a familiar path.

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The story is full of clues as to who the child is speaking to. Once you have seen the pink lost poster, you notice them dotted throughout the pages and the advice is couched in language which (once you know!) applies perfectly to cat-like behaviour. This all adds to the touching sense of loss and the tender concern in the advice offered.

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This book offers so much potential for using with a class. The author cleverly leads the reader in one direction, building their expectations, before adding a twist which makes makes you re-read the story with fresh eyes. Succinct text and atmospheric illustrations combine perfectly to create a real gem which really exemplifies the power of a great picture book. Simply beautiful.

Small in the City Sydney Smith

Walker Books ISBN: 978-1406388404

Beaver's Big Adventure

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Having left his home in the dam to set off on an adventure, Beaver suddenly realises that he is lost. Akita, the dog, offers him a ride home in a hot air balloon. But what does his home look like?

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As they fly in the balloon, Akita asks Beaver what his home is like. They see many other homes on their journey and each of these is beautifully illustrated with cut through pictures, showing the animals that live there.

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There is so much to see, enjoy and discuss in each illustration as the rhyming text tells of their conversation. Eventually, Beaver finds his way home and is able to tell everyone of his travels.

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A map of the world at the end of the book shows where each creature- some familiar, some less well known- Beaver sees comes from with additional notes. The book would really lend itself to story telling, developing setting descriptions, lots of writing in different styles and artwork.

‘Beaver’s Big Adventure’ is a book to be read again and again, with lots of detailed pictures which are just delightful!

Beaver’s Big Adventure: A Journey Home Magnus Weightman

Five Quills ISBN: 978-0993553776