Silver Buttons by Bob Graham,, hardback picture book, published by Walker Books in 2013.
Jodie is drawing a picture of a duck, in top hat with a cane and silver buttons on his boots. She is just about to draw the second button when her brother takes his first step, an ambulance goes past, phones ring everywhere, children sail boats in the fountain and a baby is born. As her brother tumbles to the ground, Jodie finishes her picture, only a minute has past, but so much has happened.
It’s just a short moment, but many things are occurring, in Jodie’s house, in her neighbourhood and right across the city. For Jodie, her brother taking his first step is a very important moment, but outside and elsewhere, important and not so important things are happening to other people and animals too. Things that we don’t think about much, unless we are the person experiencing them. This is a thought provoking book that can open a new world to children as they contemplate life outside of themselves.
Bob Graham’s distinctive illustrations are beautiful and full of life. We like to study the pictures to see what we can find, and these illustrations gave us plenty to look at. My preschooler spied the jogger in many of the pictures, and this helped her to understand that all of these pictures were happening simultaneously.
Both my second grader and preschooler enjoyed Silver Buttons, and I enjoyed reading it with them. It is a very good picture book for preschoolers and children in lower primary school, though I think some older children would also enjoy this book. As a parent, I was able to use this story to get my kids thinking and talking about things that are happening outside of their own small sphere. It was an interesting conversation! Silver Buttons has already been requested for a re-read, and is sure to read many times in our home.
* Silver buttons was an honours book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Picture Book category.
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Ann James, hardback picture book, published by Puffin Books in 2013.
A dinosaur who doesn’t want to wash, splashing in puddles and sliding his tail through the mud. He really is a dirty dinosaur, with dirty feet and dirty tum and dirty snout.
This funny rhyming tale of a dinosaur who loves to get muddy was very well received by my preschooler and toddler. They laughed and pretended to be the dinosaur, they also like to get very dirty and not have a bath! Suitable for preschoolers and early readers with it’s simple language and large text, this is sure to become a quick favourite. I liked the illustrations, which were simple and different, as the illustrator appears to have used actual mud to create the dirt and mud of the story. This technique is very effective. Overall, a good book for young children.
* I’m a Dirty Dinosaur was an honour book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Early Childhood category.
King Pig by Nick Bland, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.
King Pig has a kingdom full of sheep that don’t seem to like him, and he doesn’t understand why. He desperately wants them to adore him, but nothing seems to work, and this is the one thing that he can’t command them to do. One night he has an idea, and he wakes up all the sheep to make him some new fancy clothes, but it doesn’t impress the sheep. What can he do to remedy the situation?
In this book we see that being powerful doesn’t automatically make one likable. It is much better to be nice and considerate of others, and being bossy all the time only leads to resentment and discontent. This is a hard lesson for King Pig to learn, and a good message for our children. My kids enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the other Nick Bland books we have. It wasn’t as funny, though we still liked the story and the illustrations are lovely. I liked the way that the sheep had their wool dyed and removed, while my kids liked it when King Pig used one of the sheep strapped to a wooden handle to clean his castle. This is a good book for preschoolers and kids in lower primary school.
* King Pig was an honours book for the 2014 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year in the Picture Book category.