Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons by James Dean & Eric Litwin (2012)

[Published by Harper]


Hello again world. I know I know, it’s been far too long. All my promises of continuing to blog after my year was up fell apart slightly. However, in good news, I have now completed my Grad Dip in Teaching, have a job lined up for next year (teaching new entrants!) and am officially on holiday. I won’t do anything rash and make any blog-frequency promises, we’ll just see how it goes. Okay with you? There will probably be more “teacher stuff,” but I can promise there will always be picture books.

Pete the Cat is such a stunner and today’s Pete book is full of maths. Hooray, love maths! Pete begins his day with four buttons. After several popping incidents, he ends up entirely button less, well apart from one special body button that is. With a super groovy song, a nice message and numbers galore, this is picture book party central.20151130_153440

There are heaps of great ideas for using this book in the primary school classroom, with a particularly fantastic selection on this blog.

It’s nice to be back, if I’ve missed any picture book gems in the last few months, feel free to let me know.

Check out Pete the Cat and his four groovy buttons at Auckland Libraries.


Counting crows by Kathi Appelt; illustrated by Rob Dunlavey (2015)

[Published by Simon and Schuster]


The last library where I worked as a children’s librarian had a fantastically multi-cultural customer base. One of my favourite memories is of a regular Chinese grandfather, who spoke almost no English, sitting with his granddaughter after storytime, singing her the alphabet song, just like we had done during our session. That day I discovered that reading stories and singing songs the audience can join in with might not just be benefiting the small people in your audience.

And look at that, today’s book is a winner in the audience-joining-in category! A series of bright perky crows descend on our pages in small clusters. “One, two, three, four, five, six crows in a nest of straw and sticks.” All sorts of tasty goodies are consumed by these peckish chaps until the arrival of a cat encourages a hasty getaway. IMG_1777

The illustrations are beautiful, pencil sketches provide the backdrops, which contrast with the bright stripy flappy crows. Definitely one to add to the counting storytime pile.

Check out Counting crows at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Counting crows from Fishpond.


Five little platypuses; illustrated by Karen Erasmus (2014)

[Published by Lothian Children’s Books]

fiveShe’s a quick and cute review today team. Based on the well-known rhyme, Five little ducks, today’s picture book has added an Australian flavour.

“Five platypuses went out one day,

over the puddle and far away.

Mummy platypus called, “Come back here!”

But only four platypuses appeared.”

The illustrations are adorable. This is the perfect book for a preschool storytime about counting.

Check out Five little platypuses at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Five little platypuses from Fishpond.



Shout! Shout it out! by Denise Fleming (2011)

[Published by Henry Holt and Company]


Look out world, today we’re cutting loose, we’re letting it all out in an auditory explosion. Think a party of exclamation points, bemused bystanders and post-yelling hoarseness and you’re on the right track.

I’m very new at this whole teaching lark, so have no authority on the subject, but I feel it’s safe to say that some days kids are just really noisy. In spite of all the very best classroom management techniques, and most magnificent flexible pedagogy, there are times when it might be best just to admit defeat. I propose this would be the perfect time to reach into your box of voluble tricks and bring out, Shout! Shout it out!20150315_140555

It goes a little something like this, “Everybody loves to shout. So, if you know it, SHOUT it out! Ready. Set. Go!” This is followed by the numbers 1-10, the entire alphabet, a smattering of colours, a bunch of animals, and finally a succession of vehicles. Each time our deliciously diverse narrators encourage the
audience to shout out the words.

So simple, so satisfying. I dare you, give it a go.

Check out Shout! Shout it out! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Shout! Shout it out! from Fishpond.


How many legs? by Kes Gray; illustrated by Jim Field (2015)

[Published by Hodder Children’s Books]

One of my favourite books of last year was the hilarious Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field. I opened How many legs? with that tricky old combination of anticipation tinged with trepidation, hoping their latest offering would be equally great. Phew, it’s okay team, you can stop holding your breath, we have another winner!

In a room ready for a party stands a small boy. He poses the question, “How many legs would there be if in this room there was only me?” That’s the easy part, from that point onwards my mental calculator started to fry, “What would all the legs come to if a frog hopped in on a kangaroo?” It was the insects that did me in, “Why would the number stay the same if a slug, a snail and a maggot came? How would the number multiply if a centipede came wiggling by?”

Luckily the book finishes with a leg summary and the answer for anyone else who finds themselves drowning in feet. Your audience will love this brilliant rhyming tale complete with bright fun illustrations and the added bonus of an extreme mental challenge. Enjoy.

Check out How many legs? at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy How many legs? from Fishpond.


This old ram by Errol McLeary (2013)

I love a good sing-along storytime and today I have found you the best singable book.

Written and illustrated by a kiwi, the illustrations are delightful, featuring kereru, and other native New Zealand birds.

“This old ram, he played one,

he set out to have some fun.2014-12-29 18.31.46

With a baa baa, ha de ha, leave the dog alone,

this old ram came strolling home.”

A great choice for a counting or singing storytime for preschoolers, they’ll be joining in in no time!

Check out This old ram at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy This old ram from Fishpond.


We all went on safari by Laurie Krebs; illustrated by Julia Cairns (2003)

Are you ready to leave your world behind and head on a safari? This wonderful book will whisk you there instantly.

The story is simple, a group of Maasai people wander through the grasslands of Tanzania spotting and counting animals.

The illustrations are fabulous, from the giraffes and zebras to the delightful Maasai people both big and small.

“We all went on safari,IMG_1279

When the day had just begun.

We spied a lonely leopard.

Arusha counted one.”

A lovely counting picture book that an audience of wild animal fans will find spellbinding.

Check out We all went on safari at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy We all went on safari from Fisphond.