Fabulous Pie by Gareth Edwards; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

[Published by Alison Green Books]


“Deep in the forest
Where the trees meet the sky,
A very bad bear
Baked a very big pie.”

In spite of his badness, I have to admit to a certain fondness for the sneaky old bear. He hatches a cunning plan, asking the animals of the forest to help him fill his fabulous pie. Mouse provides ripe berries, and squirrel adds delicious hazelnuts. It’s all sounding rather tasty. Badger brings honey and then otter offers the slightly less-traditional salmon.

At this point the bear shows his true colours, shoving the mouse, squirrel, badger and otters into his pie. IMG_1908With a little ingenuity the pie-filling/animals engineer a rather slippery escape. I must say the character I feel sorry for in all this is the salmon, look out for his doleful eyes as the escapees celebrate with a delicious slice of pie.

Fabulous Pie is heaps of fun to read. Told in bopping rhyme, its illustrations are almost as delicious as the pie.

Check out Fabulous Pie at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Fabulous Pie 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 wild girl by Chris Wormell (2005)

[Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers]


It’s a snoozy sunny afternoon and I’ve happily spent the last 20 minutes on a rambling daydream inspired by The Wild Girl.

A little girl lives alone in the wilderness with her small brown dog. Her solitary lifestyle is rather appealing, full of trout-fishing, outdoor sleeping, berry and root gathering (the insect eating I’m less excited about). Their existence is totally isolated, not even the smoke of another fire enters their world.

One winter day, the little girl discovers bear tracks around her cave and she is forced to defend her home. It turns out the IMG_1767company of bears is not such a bad thing after all.

This is a gentle and original story that I loved very much.

Check out The wild girl at Auckland Libraries.

[Apologies team, this is the first book I’ve reviewed that is out-of-print. I’m breaking all my rules by including it, but I figure you’ll forgive me. Fingers crossed your local library has this wee beauty.]


Goodnight already! by Jory John; illustrated by Benji Davies (2015)

[Published by Harper Collins]

goodSpecial Guest Post by the wonderful Pranita, editor of Auckland Libraries’ Picture Book Newsletter.

Wanting nothing more than to go to sleep, an exhausted and grumpy Bear is pestered by wide-awake neighbour Duck, who makes endless and increasingly riotous requests. This book is truly hilarious! It works best read aloud by two people, in this way the natural flow and humour of the book comes through brilliantly. I have read this aloud a few times at the library and a school and it has been very popular and well received. Readers and listeners both thoroughly enjoy this one.

Check out Goodnight already! at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Goodnight already! from Fishpond.


Bear snores on by Karma Wilson; illustrated by Jane Chapman (2002)

[Published by Simon and Schuster]


Writing today’s review late at night is a terrible idea, because Bear just looks so wonderfully peaceful. All I can think about is sinking into bed…

I’ll stick around for long enough to give you a quick run-down on this rhyming delight of a story.

Bear is hibernating in his cave, nothing will disturb his slumbering through the long cold winter. A selection of animals find their way into his warm home, and make themselves comfortable. A fire, some popcorn, tea and honey-nuts all make an appearance. It turns into a regular ol’ humdinger of a party, until a stray pepper fleck sneaks up Bear’s nose and he wakes up. “Bear gnarls and snarls. Bear roars and he rumbles!” IMG_1539

It turns out he’s just sad to have missed the fun. But there is still plenty of tea and popcorn, and everyone has a lovely time sharing tall tales, warm and snug in the cave.

This illustrations are adorable and the rhyme is loads of fun to read out loud.

Check out Bear snores on at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Bear snores on from Fishpond.


I want my hat back by Jon Klassen (2011)

[Published by Walker Books]

hatsA prize-winning book of greatness is what you’re getting today. It’s also ridiculous, so it gets instant awesome points from me.

Sadly Bear has lost his hat, and no-one has seen it anywhere. Rabbit seems a little on the suspicious-side, especially given that he’s wearing a hat. But he too claims innocence,

“No. Why are you asking me.

I haven’t seen it.

I haven’t seen any hats anywhere.

I would not steal a hat.

Don’t ask me any more questions.”hatback

Bear keeps on asking, and keeps on getting hat-seeing rejections. Then the inevitable light-bulb goes on, and while it’s not so great for rabbit it’s beyond awesome for us. The finale is one of the funniest pages ever in a picture book.

I love it all, from big old Bear, to his ludicrous pointy red hat. You will not be disappointed.

Check out I want my hat back at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy I want my hat back from Fishpond.