Jeanne Willis

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 1

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Picture books- such a wonderful thing! We love them and use them across the curriculum in lots of ways, including just being enjoyed! Perfect for all ages, there really is a picture book for all occasions. Their length makes them very achievable, but there is often great depth and plenty to think about within those pages- not to mention the beautiful illustrations that make them so special. So here is this year’s long list- 20 fabulous books across four posts!

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Beautiful in both sentiment and illustration, ‘Wisp’ is a powerful story for sharing with everyone. It is a story of hope in the bleakest of situations. As the wisp seeks out each person, it fills them with memories of their time before the camp, offering them hope. The book lends itself perfectly to discussion, but could also be used for drama work and to inspire poetry and other types of writing. The illustrations are simply stunning. Perfect for using in many ways, this is a must have for all schools, libraries and homes.

Wisp: A Story of Hope Zana Fraillon, illustrated by Grahame Baker- Smith

Hachette ISBN: 978- 1408350119

You can read another review of this here.

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When a competition is announced to find who is the most beautiful of all, the animals are thrown into a state of worry and self doubt. Each (except fly) is unhappy with their appearance and tries to change themselves for the jungle jamboree. The weather, however, is not on their side and it is left to the little fly to shed some light on the matter so that they realise they are beautiful just as they are. It’s a lovely message and firefly’s kindness is also celebrated. The illustrations are wonderful- vibrant colours leap off the page and dark and light have been cleverly used. Simply joyful!

Jungle Jamboree Jo Empson

Penguin ISBN: 978-0141356891

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The perfect text for starting discussions about internet safety, ‘#Goldilocks’ tackles this subject with great humour, but does not shy away from making the point about the need to act wisely when posting pictures on the internet. Cleverly using the original tale as a framework, Goldilocks’ desire to be ‘liked’ online leads her to behave in more and more outrageous ways which will have children laughing, but will also make them think. Tony Ross’s wonderful illustrations are full of life and humour. An excellent book!

#Goldilocks Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross

Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783447176

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This is a wonderful re-telling of the traditional tale, versions of which can be found in many cultures. As well as encouraging drama and puppet work, this would be a wonderful place to start in developing oral re-tellings as well as encouraging written versions. There is much to discuss and the characters are perfect for developing through role play and other activities. It would be fascinating to compare different versions of the story from around the world and to look at other tales about the pitfalls of greed! The illustrations are lively and colourful, making the book very attractive. As a great fan of traditional tales, I think this is a must have!

Please Mr Magic Fish Jessica Souhami

Otter-Barry ISBN: 978-1910959183

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Who doesn’t love Elmer? This colourful, cheeky character has been a part of many childhoods and is often used in school. This new story reminds us all of the need to pause, notice things and take in the beauty of the world around us. As Elmer goes on his walk, he notices many things, but when he tries to interest the other animals, they are far too busy to stop and pay attention. It is only when he meets Wilbur that he finds someone else prepared to wait and watch, to listen and notice. Plenty to think about and plenty to discuss, this is also the perfect book for inspiring Elmer walks and encouraging us all to be a little bit ‘more Elmer’.

Elmer's Walk David McKee

Andersen ISBN: 978-1783446049

Stardust

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Constantly feeling outshone by her sister, a little girl gazes at the sky wondering whether she will ever find her place in the world.

'Will I ever sparkle? Will I ever shine?'

she asks her grandfather who gently reassures her by telling her a story of how everything is connected: we are all made of stardust.

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This beautiful story encourages everyone to believe in themselves and to reach for their dreams.Always second to her older sister, the 'star' of the family, the little girl longs to shine at something, something you often see in siblings -or with those children in a class who feel overshadowed by others. Being reminded that we all 'shine in different ways' is so important as is encouraging each one of us to find that special thing!

The illustrations are absolutely stunning - full of details, rich colours and different perspectives. The emotions depicted on the little girl's face are wonderful: from hurt to despair to wonder, love and joy. The spread showing a diverse range of big sisters and little sisters is just delightful!

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I love the relationship between grandfather and granddaughter. Warm, loving and supportive, he is the one who notices her worries and consoles and guides her. Achieving her dream is in no small part due to him as she remembers her advice as she makes her way into the stars. 

Beautiful book!

Stardust    by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Briony May Smith

Nosy Crow     ISBN: 978-1788000680