Best New Picture Books 2017 June 7, 2017 – Posted in: Book News – Tags:

So many new picture books are released all the time, it can be impossible to know where to start looking for the really good ones. So here is a rundown of some of the very best picture books released in the last six months (in my opinion, of course!). They are listed in no particular order and are all paperback editions.


Up and Up by Shirley Hughes.  Encourage children to engage with stories in a different way with this fabulous wordless picture book about a little girl whose wish to fly magically comes true!  Perfect for sparking the imagination and inspiring creative writing, Shirley Hughes’ iconic illustrations show a cheeky little girl taking delight in her new skill, much to the alarm of the grown-ups around her, who try their hardest to catch her and bring her back down to earth! Best for KS1 & KS2

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin.  Little Red Riding Hood meets a wolf on her way through the woods to visit her sick grandmother. The wolf is hungry, and Red Riding Hood looks tasty, so he hatches a dastardly plan, gobbles up Grandma and lies in wait. But this Little Red Riding Hood is not easily fooled, she has a sharp axe and is not afraid to use it!  In this defiant twist of the traditional tale, the cheeky, brave little girl seizes control of her own story, and things don’t end at all well for the greedy wolf! Best for KS1 & KS2

Nara and the Island by Dan Ungureanu. A beautiful, unusual, picture book, with a gentle tone and beautiful soft-focus illustrations of  life on a tropical island. Nara lives with her father on a tiny island and dreams of visiting the island across the waves. So when she gets the opportunity to visit this mysterious place, she is eager to go exploring and make some new friends. Best for KS1

My Name is Not Refugee by Kate Milner. A young boy discusses the journey he is about to make with his mother. They will leave their town, she explains, and it will be sad but also a little bit exciting. They will have to say goodbye to friends and loved ones, and that will be difficult. They will have to walk and walk and walk, and although they will see many new and interesting things, it will be difficult at times too. A powerful and moving exploration that draws the young reader into each stage of the journey, inviting the chance to imagine the decisions he or she would make. Best for KS1

I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt. Still the funniest book of the year so far! Will Mabbitt has created a counting book and picture book like no other. This brilliant book subverts our conceptions of what a picture book is; it’s about worms, because that’s all he can draw, but it’s also about worms who have amazing adventures. But because Will can’t draw the adventures, the reader just has to imagine them! A hilarious and superbly silly book that will have children in stitches! Best for KS1

Tidy by Emily Gravett. Award-winning Emily Gravett’s stunning picture book is a charming, witty and moral tale about the perils of making the world look too spick and span! Deep in the forest lives a badger called Pete with a mania for tidying up. Pete tidies up the leaves as they fall from the trees, then he tidies up the trees themselves. When that causes a flood he sets to deal with the mud. Tidying up mud leads to putting down concrete. But then, how can Pete ever get back into his own home? Pete realises he must put all the mess back! Best for EYFS & KS1

Grumpy Frog by Ed Vere. Frog loves green, and he loves to hop, and he loves winning. And if he doesn’t win, or encounters animals who are different colours and like doing different things to him he gets extremely grumpy! Brilliantly funny, this fabulous picture book ends with Frog learning an important lesson and a positive message about friendship, compromise and saying sorry. Best for EYFS & KS1

There Is a Tribe of Kids by Lane Smith. Award-winning Lane Smith’s stunning illustrations depict colourful adventure through the natural world, following a child as he weaves through the jungle, dives under the ocean and soars into the sky. The child’s playmates include a colony of penguins, a smack of jellyfish, a pod of whales, an unkindness of ravens, a parade of elephants, a troop of monkey, a band of rhinos and a crash of gorillas. And then, at last, he finds his own kind – a tribe of children. Best for EYFS & KS1

Can I Join Your Club? by John Kelly. Great fun to read out loud, this funny story deftly celebrates inclusivity and the importance of openness and friendship. Duck wants to make new friends so he decides to join a club, but he faces multiple rejections: Elephant will only let those who can trumpet like he can into his club; Snake is suspicious of those with legs and wings and also demands that members hiss to his high standard; Lion will only accept those who can roar. In the end Duck decides he’ll set up his own club and let in anyone who wants to join – he ends up with lots of friends as a result! Best for EYFS

We’re All Wonders by R J Palacio. “Wonder” is about August Pullman, an ordinary boy who has to live with a terrible facial abnormality. The remarkable novel, which was released a few years ago, has (deservedly!) had huge success. And now there is “We’re All Wonders”, a picture book for younger children which introduces Auggie and Wonder’s message about difference, empathy and kindness. “I know I can’t change the way I look, BUT maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see …” Best for KS1 & KS2

Lionheart by Richard Collingridge. A little boy sits in his room hugging his favourite toy. But something scary is there and Richard starts to run … through streets, fields, forests, over hills and into a magical jungle. Here he meets Lionheart, the favourite toy, no longer a toy but a huge, handsome lion! Together they are brave enough to face Richard’s fears and ROOOOAR the monsters away! Epic in scale and intent, Richard’s journey from fear to bravery is amazingly illustrated with soaring viewpoints and sudden close ups, giving it the glorious technicolour feel of a film. Best for EYFS & KS1

All Aboard for the Bobo Road by Stephen Davies. All aboard for the Bobo Road! Fatima and Galo load the luggage while their dad Big Ali drives the bus. Help count on bikes, sacks of rice, melons and even goats and chickens as the bus travels past Gurunsi houses, the hippo lake, waterfalls and jungle, all the way to the city of Bobo. With the authentic setting in Burkina Faso drawn from the author’s own experience, this is a wonderfully fun introduction for small children to an amazing culture. Best for KS1

There’s a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart. Grandma’s back garden turns into a jungle full of adventure in this striking picture book. Nora is bored, so her grandma suggests she play in the garden, there might, she says, be a tiger there. Nora is scornful, but as she gets further from the house and deeper into the greenery of the garden, her attitude changes. She sees dragonflies as big as birds and a bush that wants to eat her giraffe, just as Grandma said, and then she meets the tiger! A fantastic celebration of imagination! Best for KS1                                                                                                            

A Beginner’s Guide to Bearspotting by Michelle Robinson. If you go for a walk in the woods, you definitely should know a thing or two about bears. Chances are you won’t meet any, but just in case – black bears are black and brown bears are brown. A wonderfully silly story, containing some “useful” information about bears and what to do if you meet them – lying down? Running away? Feeding them? Reading them a story? Ending with the golden rule of bearspotting – only snuggle up to the stuffed kind. Best for EYFS & KS1

The Lumberjack’s Beard by Duncan Beedie. Every day Jim Hickory goes into the forest to fell some trees – after all, he’s a lumberjack, and that’s what lumberjacks do best. But eventually, there are no more trees in his forest and the small animals have nowhere to live. Jim offers them to live in his beard, but this doesn’t work out according to plan! The story ends with the forest being regrown, which takes some time, but it’s worth the wait. Not only does this book have a wonderful green massage, it also boasts hilarious illustration which will have children laughing out loud! Best for KS1 

Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph. In a world where everyone is the same, one little dog just doesn’t fit in! Being different from all other dogs, she feels lonely and decides to leave her home to find somewhere that she belongs. She travels around the world until she finally finds a place where everyone is just like her. Only then does she realise that being different makes her special and that she should always be herself. A story about standing out from the crowd, with exquisite illustrations! Best for EYFS & KS1

Nanette’s Baguette by Mo Willems. Today is a day Nanette won’t soon forget. Today, in the kitchenette, Mum tells Nanette that Nanette gets to get the baguette! On her way, Nanette sees Georgette! And Suzette! And Bret (with his clarinet)! She pats Antoinette. Will Nanette bring home the baguette? An amazing tongue-twister to read aloud about a little girl’s first journey to the bakery which will have everyone cracking up! Best for EYFS & KS1                                                                                                    

The Koala Who Could by Rachel Bright. Kevin is a koala who doesn’t like change. He likes to keep the thing exactly the same. He stays in his tree all the time – it is safe there, whereas the ground below is a dangerous, fast and loud place. When the animals on the ground ask him to come and join them, he always says no, although part of him wishes he had some company. Then one day his tree comes crashing down! And Kevin is amazed to find that life can be wonderful and fun! A funny tale with brilliant illustrations for every child who finds change frightening. Best for KS1

I’m In Charge! by Jeanne Willis. Once there was a little rhino, who always wanted to be in charge. He refuses to do what his parent tell him, and he doesn’t respect other animals in the savannah. One day he finds a tree full of bright fruit and decides he’s in charge of it and won’t share it – until an encounter with wildebeest teaches little rhino a valuable lesson. A fast-paced rhyming story about being bossy. Best for EYFS                                                                   

I Don’t Want Curly Hair by Laura Ellen Anderson. Curly Haired Girl only ever wanted straight hair. So she tries everything – brushing till her hand is sore, straightening them with balloons, sticking them with the stickiest tape of all or flattening them with books. Until she meets Straight Haired Girl, who would do anything to make her hair curly! A hilarious tale about loving what we have for everyone who wants what he can’t get! Best for EYFS