Book Reviews

Kitten Corner: Funny Picture Books

Recently in Kitten Corner I’ve been reading a fair few funny picture books, so that’s what we’re looking at today! All of these were sent to me for review, but that doesn’t affect my opinions. It’s been fun to share them all with my toddler!

This is Not a Dinosaur! by Barry Timms and Ged Adamson, from Nosy Crow

This exuberant picture book is a fun exploration of the powers of imaginative play! Told in a rollicking rhyme scheme that begs to be read aloud, we follow a little boy and his dinosaur friend as they think of dozens of things they can do together, from ‘a supersonic-kick-osaur’ to a ‘hold-on-really-tight-osaur’. It’s great fun, and the bright, joyful artwork has lots of funny moments to add to the experience. Plus, that not-a-dinosaur is really cute!

Agent Llama by Angela Woolfe and Duncan Beedie, from Little Tiger

I’ve never read a spy story for this age range before but Agent Llama pulls it off well! This is a silly, fun adventure with only minor cartoon violence – very sensitive little ones might find the plane crash or kung-fu a bit much but it’s all presented in a very upbeat, non-intense manner. The colour palette and art is absolutely spot on for an action-flick style story, and there’s lots of drama in the fonts used that make it easy to add excitement to your reading. The dynamic, comic-style panels do occasionally make it a little tricky to follow the flow of the text – rhyming lines are split up rather than being kept in couplets and a few times I found myself having to flip back to pick up the rhythm again – but overall it feels slick and entertaining. A good bet for kids looking for a more substantial story.

The Upside-Down Detective Agency by Ellie Hattie and Brendan Kearney, from Little Tiger

This tale of two sloth sleuths on the hunt for a missing racing car part is lots of fun if you have an eye for detail! There’s something hidden to spot in every detailed spread, and questions that draw the reader in to help with the case. It’s like a preschool precursor to the old Usborne puzzle books! I could see a whole series of these books with Stan and Stella solving lots of different cases, and I hope we get them, because it’s a super cute idea.

I Don’t Want To Go To School! by Lula Bell and Brian Fitzgerald, from Little Tiger

Oh, this one is cute! It has parallel stories of Mouse and Dinosaur getting ready for their first day at a new school, feeling very nervous and scared. I really liked the way this one focuses on emotions and their physical effects, both in the text and in the very expressive art, like having wobbly knees or being too nervous to eat – it’s a great way to help kids understand how emotions present. Of course, when they get to school everything is fine – this is of course meant to be a reassuring story for kids about to start school – but there’s a really fun twist I didn’t see coming at all, which will certainly make me remember this one as unique!

Tickle by Amelia Hepworth and Jorge Martín, from Little Tiger

This lift-the-flap book is from the same series as Roar, and has the same premise of several spreads with flaps and then the final one has a noise-making surprise! This one didn’t go down quite as well in our house as Roar – I think my toddler finds the laughter a bit creepy – but the concept is great and will certainly amuse slightly older kids. Great for a quick chuckle!

You Can Be A Supercat by Rosamund Lloyd and Chris Dickason, from Little Tiger

And to finish up, this adorable read! This book tells the story of Supercat, whose powers are kindness and helping people, and as we find out more about her the book encourages the reader to think about ways they can be kind or make people smile. The included mask is a great way to fire kids up to emulate Supercat, and while my son is a little young to play with it, I’m looking forward to seeing him wear it when he’s a bit older. It’s a lovely idea and a really well-executed book, with bouncy rhymes and a simple but effective message.

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