Zippo the Super Hippo by Kes Gray; illustrated by Nikki Dyson (2015)

[Published by MacMillan]


I am no child psychologist, but I can tell from the cover alone that Zippo is going to be a hit with the young ‘uns. “How Lucy? How do you know this?” Well team, I can guarantee that any book with the phrase “Bottom Power” on the cover, which features a large hippo in underpants will be instant “read it again” material.

Zippo the hippo has a hankering for being super, for having a super power to be more precise. By process of elimination, he and his friend Roxi hit upon flying as the perfect power for him.

“You’re right!” said Zippo. “If I could fly, I could get a super cape and some super boots and I could fly 20150729_082518around the world being Zippo the Super Hippo!” Zippo’s attempts at launching himself elegantly in the air fail miserably, ending each time with a giant splat, and an animal squashed beneath his admirable bottom. In good news, it turns out that super bottoms can be quite a weapon against misbehaving animals. And so, Zippo the Super Hippo is born.

There are all sorts of goodies hidden in the pages of this beautifully illustrated, hilariously told story. Come on down Zippo, we’ve saved you a place in the inner circle of friends here at myfriendlucy!

Check out Zippo the Super Hippo at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Zippo the Super Hippo from Fishpond.


The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin (2015)

[Published by Bloomsbury]


I have seen cookbooks beautifully displayed in kitchens, selected because of their ability to perfectly compliment the decor. Look what I found! My very own deliciously matching bathroom picture book. If it ever becomes a thing then I am totally sorted.

I had a very merry time wandering through the pages of The Cloudspotter with my two preschool nephews. The train fan was kept very happy, and it turns out they both love hot air balloons.

Franklin, better known as “The Cloudspotter,” enjoys a lot of entirely solitary cloud observation time. This is the way he likes it, free to pursue adventures in the sky, from swimming with jellyfish to driving racing cars. When The Scruffy Dog sniffs at the edges of his world, Franklin is not happy. “Was she after his clouds?” IMG_1895Eventually Franklin is pushed to drastic measures, enter the hot air balloon. When The Scruffy Dog sails forlornly away The Cloudspotter discovers that he’s pretty darn lonely. After an effective rescue attempt this lovely conclusion is reached, “Because, everyone knows, TWO cloudspotters are better than one… especially when you are BEST FRIENDS!”

The illustration and design of this picture book is truly beautiful. It’s another top to toe package of loveliness.

Check out The Cloudspotter at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy The Cloudspotter from Fishpond.


The Giant of Jum by Elli Woollard; illustrated by Benji Davies (2015)

[Published by MacMillan]


This story comes with a warning, a pre-read before unleashing it onto your audience is essential. I haltingly began to read it to my niece and nephews, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth page that I had mastered the metre (I’m a bit rusty on my poetry terms, hopefully that means what I think it means).

The grumpy old Giant of Jum is hungry. Based on the advice of his brother (you may remember him from a tale involving a beanstalk) he decides to go on the hunt for a small child named Jack.

When he makes it to town he stumbles across a large group of delicious small children,

“Fum!” he said and, “Fo!” he said and,”Fi!” he said and, “Fee!”

Children, I feel, make a fabulous meal.IMG_1882

I will gobble you up for my tea!”

The wily children enlist the giant’s help in rescuing their ball and then cat and finally in carrying a small person home. When it turns out the small person’s name is Jack it all becomes a bit edge-of-the-seat-worthy. But happily while there is a feast, no small children were harmed in its making.

With a cheeky wee nod to a traditional fairy tale, and cleverly shifting perspective in the illustrations, this neatly rhyming story (with a little practice) is a lot of fun to read aloud. Your audience will be fee fi fo and fumming all over the place.

Check out The giant of Jum at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy The Giant of Jum 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.


It’s a groovy world, Alfredo! by Sean Taylor; illustrated by Chris Garbutt (2015)

[Published by Walker Books]


The opening conversation between Alfredo and his friend Marty appealed to me a lot,

“Hello, Alfredo!” said Marty. “Rick’s having a birthday party with disco lights and groovy dancing! And you’re invited.”

“I don’t like groovy dancing,” said Alfredo.

“You’ve got to like groovy dancing,” replied Marty. “It’s a groovy world, Alfredo!”

Poor Alfredo is a horrible dancer, and in spite of some top-notch tuition from the super-groovy Marty, every time he attempts a new dance move, he ends up jumping. And when he jumps, he looks like a duck on a trampoline and Alfredo knows IMG_1881everyone will laugh.

At Rick’s party, Alfredo sits out the dancing for as long as he can. When he finally makes it onto the dance floor, the inevitable happens, but it turns out to be much better than Alfredo could have imagined.

If you have ever felt like the least cool person at a party full of cool people then you will love Alfredo. A little like a slightly mad version of Giraffes can’t dance, this delightful bright story will encourage your audience to strap on their dancing shoes and get their groove on.

Check out It’s a groovy world, Alfredo! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy t’s a Groovy World, Alfredo from Fishpond.


The farmer and the clown by Marla Frazee (2014)

[Published by Beach Lane Books]

farmerMy wordless picture book series continues today. To call it  a series is something of an exaggeration given that there are two wordless books in total. Let’s go with my mini-series of picture books sans words. (Apologies, I seem to feel the need to fill the space left by the lack of words in this book with my own verbal explosion, I will attempt to rein myself in).

In a field, a slightly grumpy-looking farmer works alone. A passing circus train distracts him for a moment and when a small clown tumbles off the back he doesn’t quite know what to make of it. The small clown makes himself right at home initially, but when his painted smile is washed away, it turns out he’s really not too sure IMG_1875about this new situation either. Together the farmer and the clown work towards creating a delightful friendship. But when the circus train returns…

Honestly, this wordless picture book thing is messing with my head, I need someone to talk to about this one. I’m heading out the door for pub quiz, that’s it, the book is coming with me.

Check out The farmer and the clown at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Farmer and the Clown from Fishpond.


Pool by JiHyeon Lee (2015)

[Published by Chronicle Kids]


I’m being a big girl here and admitting that I was wrong. I have always dismissed wordless picture books as being a bit pointless (wait, wordless picture book creators, don’t hate me yet). I think it probably stems from the fact that I LOVE to read books aloud. So for me, no words = no chance to throw bucket-loads of expression at the book.

I read an awesome blog post recently explaining how wordless picture books work so well with an audience. They provide heaps of opportunities for kids to discuss what they are seeing, to predict what they think is going to happen, and to engage with the story in their own imagination. I’m convinced and am now looking forward to trying them out in the classroom.

Pool is mesmerising. IMG_1891A small person arrives at an empty swimming pool ready for action with goggles and a swimming cap. Hordes of happy sunseekers pile into the pool, leaving almost no square inch of water empty. The only thing for it is to dive deep below the surface. Magical creatures lurk in the depths as does a blossoming friendship.

Wowsers, I just stumbled across some of the few words present in the book, on the back cover, “For those who want to swim freely in the world.” It just gets better and better.

Check out Pool at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Pool from Fishpond.