Whoops! by Suzi Moore; illustrated by Russell Ayto (2015)

[Published by Templar]


The out-loud-reading-speed-test is a wee invention of mine, that gives a fairly accurate indication of how fun a picture book is to read aloud. It’s pretty scientific/mathematical, so I won’t bore you with all the formulae, but, in simple terms, if I find myself reading a book really fast by the end, it means it’s a winner.

As I trial-read Whoops! to my husband while he cooked dinner, I accelerated to such speeds, he nearly lost his eyebrows. A definite A+ on that test paper.IMG_1913

“This is the cat
who didn’t know how,
she didn’t know
how to say MEOW.”

It’s not just the cat with vocalisation issues, her friends dog and mouse are also decidedly voiceless. The owl recommends a visit to the old lady at the tumbledown house who will have just the spell for the silent trio.

“She went to look at her big spell book.
She cast a spell but the whole house shook.
Then the wind blew in.
And the rain came down.
And the tumbledown house
turned round and round.”

Her first attempts at spell casting are not hugely successful, so the whole process is repeated… several times. Finally everything is right with the world again, the cat miaows, the dog barks and the mouse squeaks. And the little old lady? Well, you’ll just have to read the book to find out what happens to her!

A whole bunch of fun in a very stylish package.

Check out Whoops! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Whoops! from Fishpond.

[Recommended by Pranita – thanks Pranita, excellent taste as always!]


Mouse paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh (1989)

[Published by Orchard Books]

mouse paint

The advantage of being a white mouse on a white piece of paper is that a cat won’t be able to spot you. But one day, our three white mice discover three jars of paint, and life is destined to become a whole lot more colourful.

Very quickly, three white mice become a red, a yellow and a blue mouse. But they don’t stop there, because everyone knows the most fun part of painting is mixing colours! I’m almost certain that if mice came in bright colours like the cuties below there would be a lot less screaming and standing on chairs in the world.


This wonderful classic is a great introduction to colour-mixing, and lends itself very nicely to a crafting bonanza.

Check out Mouse Paint at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Mouse Paint from Fishpond.


Mo and Beau by Vanya Nastanlieva (2015)

[Published by Simply Read Books]


I’m keeping it short today because it’s an insanely cold morning here in Auckland, and my fingers still haven’t thawed out!

Mo and Beau is just a big slice of sweetness. Mo the mouse really wants to play and he lures Beau the bear in with everyone’s favourite game of copycat. Everything Beau does, Mo does too. There is fur bristling, stretching and scratching. While it might seem that Mo is in control, it turns out that Beau is one step ahead all along.

These two cuties will have your audience joining in with their game, be prepared for teeth showing and roaring (or possibly squeaking).IMG_1838

Check out Mo and Beau at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Mo and Beau from Fishpond.


There’s a bear on my chair by Ross Collins (2015)

[Published by Nosy Crow]


We have a new contender for the position of rhyme-minister. Way back in September, Juliette MacIver set the bar pretty high with her picture book, The Moose and the Goose, featuring 25 words that rhymed with moose (I will admit to being pretty generous with my definition of the word “rhyme”).

With much anticipation today I am going to see if Ross Collins has created a new winner with There’s a bear on my chair. Here goes…

bear, chair, share, spare, pair, glare, unaware, there, flair, leisurewear, hair, pear, lair, scare, underwear, care, rare, aware, declare, despair, fair, where.20150630_102153

So close Ross, so close.

That list of rhyming words makes an intriguing review all on its own, so I guess my job is done for the day. See you all tomorrow.

Check out There’s a bear on my chair at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy There’s a Bear on My Chair from Fishpond.


The lion and the mouse by Jenny Broom; illustrated by Nahta Noj (2014)

[Published by Templar Books]

untitledThis gorgeous wee book called my name from the library shelf. Add to that its cover announcement, “Peek-through windows on every page!” and there was no chance of me leaving the library without it.

I love Aesop’s fables and this is a bright, accessible modern version for a new generation.

“Once upon a time, there lived a great and mighty lion and a hungry little mouse.”IMG_1795

You know how the rest of the story goes, and if you don’t, then this is the perfect version for you!

Check out The lion and the mouse at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy The lion and the mouse from Fishpond.


By mouse and frog by Deborah Freedman (2015)

[Published by Viking]

by mouseAs a teacher-in-training there are all sorts of new and interesting things filling my brain. Encouraging kids to use their imaginations and write great stories is one of many challenges for my future.

By mouse and frog is such a treat because the story writing process is laid out for us, albeit in a slightly madcap way. The idea of collaborative writing has now been added to my “consider doing in the future” mental list.

Mouse is writing a story, which he is rather excited about. His friend Frog is determined to get involved and in spite of some not-so-subtle discouragement from Mouse, Frog takes over. The story explodes in a IMG_1778lot of enthusiastic sentences, “some had two feet and some had four and some had a comb and a brush and a bowl full of soup, with noodles, not rice, and they cheered we are here! We are here! We are here! We have no end of stinky cheese!”

This story is received very poorly by Mouse, but when he eventually suggests the story could be by Mouse and Frog, it all becomes rather lovely. There are loads of clever illustrative details, and the story is such fun to read. By mouse and frog is inspirational for aspiring writers of all ages!

Check out by mouse and frog at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy by mouse and frog at Fishpond.


Little Mouse’s BIG secret by Eric Battut (2011)

[Published by Sterling Publishing]


Oh boy, I do love a good secret…

Little Mouse finds an apple, “Oh! What a delicious treat!” Burying it in the ground seem like a great idea, that way, no one will ever know!

A series of friends stop by, curious to know what Little Mouse is hiding, but he has amazing powers of secret-keeping and refuses to let slip even a tiny hint. Hilariously, the buried apple has put up a shoot behind him and slowly but surely grows and grows until his secret is a hard-to-hide fully grown apple tree.

Little Mouse’s plan to keep his secret forever is scuppered by a laden apple tree throwing its fruit all over the ground. And what does Little Mouse discover? “Sometimes… secrets are even better when you IMG_1601share them.”

The design of this picture book is genius, from a tiny mouse tucked into the bottom of the page, alone with his apple, to the final spread where animals with red apples bustle around beneath a bright green tree.

A beautiful story, with delicious illustrations.

Check out Little Mouse’s big secret at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Little Mouse’s big secret from Fishpond.