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.


Never ask a dinosaur to dinner by Gareth Edwards; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees (2014)

514c4hdFMDL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Yup, you got it, today’s gem is full of some very useful advice. It’s more of a list of things you possibly don’t want to do really, like inviting barn owls into your bed, sharing your toothbrush with a shark and letting a beaver in the basin. These are all eminently sensible recommendations.

“Please don’t use a tiger as a towel.

Really, please don’t use a tiger as a towel.

Because in case you have forgotten2015-01-25 16.38.17

Tigers are not made of cotton,

And although they’re furred quite thickly

They can get cross very quickly.

And you’ll find they have a rather scary growl,

So please don’t use your tiger as a towel.”

Chocka block with rip-roaring rhyme and hilarious ideas, this is bound to spark a classroom’s imagination. One day I’m going to make that magnificent beaver-infested basin! And bonus points for fitting into the diverse book category with an adorable caramel-coloured main character.

Check out Never ask a dinosaur to dinner from Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Never ask a dinosaur to dinner from Fishpond.


Jolly Olly octopus by Tony Mitton; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees (2010)


Tony Mitton and Guy Parker-Rees have paired up for loads of brilliant picture books, and Jolly Olly octopus is vintage them. We’ve got:

  • bright crazy illustrations
  • a fast-paced delightful rhyming story
  • bundles of repetition offering loads of opportunities for audience participation
  • the all-essential tickling and giggling!

“Underneath the ocean, down beneath the sea,IMG_1228

one wriggly octopus is giggling with glee.

Jolly Olly Octopus laughs away his troubles.

Wriggle-wriggle-giggle – what a lot of bubbles!”

Our wobbly friend is joined by two tickly turtles, three smiley sea horses etc. Everything becomes a little less perky when a shark appears. But as I’m sure you can guess, even sharks are not immune to hilarity.

Loads of fun for a preschool audience, tickles are a must!

Check out Jolly Olly octopus at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Jolly Olly octopus from Fishpond.

[Recommended by Sian – thanks Sian!]


Giraffes can’t dance by Giles Andreae; illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees (1999)

Wow, I hope you’re in the mood for a boogie, because it is almost impossible to read today’s picture book without getting twitchy feet. This book is a treasure, I can’t believe it has never crossed my path before today!

Gerald the giraffe has no dancing skills which makes the annual Jungle Dance something of a traumatic occasion.
“The chimps all did a cha-cha with a very latin feel. And eight baboons then teamed up For a splendid Scottish reel.”

Mocked by his fellow animals for his lack of dance-skill, Gerald slinks away unnoticed from the party. And he stumbles into some great advice from a cricket, “But sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.”IMG_1058

Everything falls into place for Gerald the giraffe and he discovers his inner dancer. Gerald is an absolute delight. This story is beautiful, the language is lovely, the illustrations are brilliant, it’s one I could rave about for ages. Instead let’s all crank up the music and get our groove on in honour of Gerald.

Check out Giraffes can’t dance at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Giraffes can’t dance from Fishpond.

[Recommended by Emily – thanks Emily!]