This week in Kitten Corner I have an array of lovely animal-themed picture books to show you, so let’s jump right in! All these books were sent to me free of charge by the publishers, but that doesn’t affect my opinions.
This is Crab by Harriet Evans and Jacqui Lee, from Little Tiger
This is the tale of a pesky, pinchy crab that is full of fun! The text has lots of instructions on ways to interact with the book to move the story along, like tapping, shaking, or talking to the crab, and there are also lots of part-page flaps that add even more interaction. The story itself is funny, and I think little ones will have a great time following the instructions, as it’s a bit more of an energetic reading experience than most picture books! The bright pictures are very cute and attention grabbing, especially the amount of expression packed into the deceptively simple faces! My one complaint is that the paperback format has a tighter binding than a hardback would allow for, which means that some of the flaps can turn themselves before they’re ready, but if you’re not squeamish about cracking the spine, that’s an easy fix.
Along Came a Fox by Georgiana Deutsch and Cally Johnson-Isaacs, from Little Tiger
One word for this book: adorable! Bramble, a sweet little fox, is on the hunt for fireflies, but finds a mysterious fox in a pond instead, who looks just like her and copies everything she does. With the help of Hazel the hedgehog and Twig the owl, she investigates the mystery… The story is full of joy, and the night-time scenes of the forest are really lovely. I fell in love with the scribbly style of the animals, which makes them really leap from the page with exuberance! It’s a simple book, but it works perfectly, and I really enjoyed it.
Wide Awake Wolf by Georgiana Deutsch and Megan Tadden, from Little Tiger
I really liked this sweet book about getting to sleep – the story follows a little wolf who can’t sleep despite trying everything, so he sets off to find sleep, and is eventually joined by all the other animals in the forest. It’s a cute way to introduce the nice things about bedtime – lullabies, yawns, dreams, bedtime stories – and would make a great night-time read. The way Tadden illustrates the forest at night is just marvellous – everything looks so moonlit and magical, and I love the purples, greens and blues used. It’s a very soothing style that really creates a cosy night-time feel. I’m almost tempted to buy another copy of the book to frame a couple of the pages. I also adore the knitwear on the animals, especially Wolf’s herringbone jumper! The animals themselves are super cute – I just love the overall aesthetic of this one!
The Crocodile Who Came For Dinner by Steve Smallman and Joëlle Dreidemy, from Little Tiger
I didn’t realise this was part of a series of the ongoing friendship between Hotpot the lamb and Wolf, but you can read this on its own as an odd couple story without the backstory – it’s very sweet how the two of them compromise despite their different personalities. In this adventure, the pair find a mysterious egg and are shocked when a baby crocodile hatches! The crocodile creates chaos in their lives at first, but soon they learn he’s the cuddliest, most friendly crocodile they could imagine – could this be a new friend to join their unlikely household? It’s a funny, cute story with a great message about not judging by appearances, but it’s pretty long for a picture book, and quite wordy, so might suit slightly older readers. The art feels a little old-fashioned to me, I’m not sure why – it’s not a criticism, just an observation, but compare the style to something very modern, like This is Crab above, and you might see what I mean. It gives the book a sort of cosy, nostalgic feel, even though this was only published this year!
Now You See Me Now You Don’t by Patricia Hegarty and Jonny Lambert, from Little Tiger
This is a fun and hectic tale of a naughty chameleon who can’t resist using his camouflage powers to prank all the other animals, until he gets taught that it’s not very fun to be on the receiving end of the joke! The art is bold and bright, and the rhyming narration is really fun to read – this will definitely make kids laugh, and it’s great fun to spot the chameleon hiding, too. Plus, I love the holographic cover – I’d love to see more picture books include foiling and textures like this! This would be a great one if you’re looking for something funny and boisterous.