Book Reviews

Kitten Corner: Funny Animal Picture Books

Octopants: The Missing Pirate Pants by Suzy Senior and Claire Powell, from Little Tiger

I usually try to take photos without me holding the books, but I needed to do justice to how phenomenally shiny this purple foil is! The moment you spy a copy of this book, you’ll just want to wave it around to enjoy the shine. But do make sure you get to the inside too, because this sequel to the original Octopants (review here) is just as funny and sweet as the first book!

This has some of the best picture book rhyming I’ve ever read, and the rhythm is perfect – the story simply rollicks along in verse and it’s a delight to read out loud, smooth and yet never boring. The pants theme will be a huge hit for toddlers, but adding pirates to this whimsical world of underwater underwear just makes it even better. The art is both adorable and hilarious, and overall, this is just a perfect read.

The Hotel for Bugs by Suzy Senior and Leire Martín, from Little Tiger

This is another fabulous read from Suzy Senior, whose rhyming style I’m coming to love – she just writes books you want to read aloud! This has a different rhythm from the story of Octopants, but it’s equally bouncy and fun – plus, different words are emphasised with font and size changes, so it’s easy to add drama as you read. The art is perfectly matched to the fun, and I loved the bright, busy cacophony of bugs on every page – there’s lots of humour in the illustrations and plenty of little details to spot. The story itself is a really sweet one, focused on inclusivity and accepting differences; it’s not particularly subtle, but it gets the message across well without being preachy. And it’ll get you thinking about what defines a bug!

Frank and Bert by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

I really liked this author’s earlier book, The Suitcase, which I reviewed here, so I was excited to see he had a new book coming out! Just like The Suitcase, this is a sweet and thoughtful story about kindness, but this is on a smaller scale, as Frank learns that sometimes, friendship is more important than winning a game. Although the story is simple, there’s something really charming about it, especially paired with the cute, scribbly art and adorable faces of the characters. Frank’s counting when it’s his turn to seek is a lovely touch too, as the numbers are all laid out on the page so kids can count along, even all the way up to 100! It’s just a nice gentle read that feels very home-y and heartwarming.

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