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.


Zoo train by Sally Sutton; illustrated by Daron Parton (2015)

[Published by Walker Books]


Last month in Auckland a seal made his way into a city car wash and stubbornly refused to leave. He drew a huge crowd and was quite the hit with the locals.

In Zoo train it’s an enclosure escape that provides all the entertainment. A crowd of excited zoo-goers chugga chugga and thugga thugga their way around, delighting in the animals on the way. “Wind blows round the big cats. Fanning the giraffe. Glad I’ve got my warm hat. Where’d I put my scarf?”

After they pass by the monkeys, a series of strange events unfold, from odd bursts of rain, to disappearing items of clothing. How on earth did the tiger end up wearing a belt? It’s all very mysterious, unless of course you’ve been paying attention to the wonderful illustrations along the way.IMG_1876

This lovely bright, bubbling picture book will provide much entertainment for your young audience. You will find yourself keeping a much closer eye on the monkeys at the zoo in the future!

Check out Zoo train at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Zoo Train from Fishpond.


The crocodile who didn’t like water by Gemma Merino (2013)

[Published by MacMillan]


I’m fairly sure that being a third child has left me with the ridiculous habit of saying yes to everything just so I don’t miss anything good. There is nothing worse than feeling left out.

Little crocodile hates the water and because his brothers and sisters spend all their time swimming he never has anyone to play with. Determined to make it work, he buys a rubber ring and gives it a go. “But he couldn’t play ball. Or swim underwater. And although climbing the ladder was fun, he just didn’t want to jump.” Poor little guy. After a particularly embarrassing experience, something strange happens, and the reason for his water hatred is revealed with gusto.IMG_1787

It was only on my second reading of this sneaky wee number that I realised I’d missed a vital clue as to where this story was headed. Keep your eyes peeled!

Check out The crocodile who didn’t like water at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy The crocodile who didn’t like water from Fishpond.


Who’s driving? by Leo Timmers; translated by Bill Nagelkerke (2006)

[Published by Gecko Press]
geckoThere has been sad lack of transportation stories here at myfriendlucy over the last few months. I’m making it up to you today I promise. Chock-full of magnificently onomatopoeic words and delightful animals, Who’s driving? will send your preschool transport fans straight to heaven.

A group of animals in snazzy outfits walk towards a series of vehicles. “Who’s driving… the tractor? Pig! He’s driving to the farm. Chug chug chug chug chug.” For the eagle-eyed and sparky-brained in the audience, there are cunning visual clues to match driver to mode of transport. I’m particularly taken by pig’s red and white-spotted neckerchief; no farmer should be without one.


I love Gecko Press. They are a New Zealand publisher, selecting wonderful picture books from around the world, and translating them into English. Who’s driving was originally published in Belgium and the translator Bill Nagelkerke is an awesome New Zealand author and ex-fellow-Librarian.

All round vehicular greatness.

Check out Who’s driving? at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Who’s driving? from Fishpond.


Side by side by Rachel Bright; illustrated by Debi Gliori (2015)

[Published by Orchard Books]


This week’s stack of books to review are all exceptionally shiny and twinkly and hot-off-the-press. Mmmm… new book smell, I may need a moment.

These two cuties are just friendship in a nutshell, aren’t they?

Little Mouseling suffers from younger sibling disease. Sometimes her brothers and sisters move far too quickly and she’s left all on her own with no-one to play with.

It’s time for Little Mouseling to hunt for a friend in Wintermouse Wood, and there’s no shortage of candidates. Sadly, not being able to swim, to climb or to fly makes it all a little tricky.

“It seemed, in this world, she was out on her own. Deep in Wintermouse Wood she felt… quite alone.” If IMG_1538you are exceptionally fleet of eye (love a mixed metaphor) you may have noticed Little Mouseling had a friend-shadow all along. It’s a “tinyful, weenimous, little black vole.” And a beautiful friendship is born.

This is another picture book in the fabulous rhyme, beautiful illustrations category. A real sweetie.

Check out Side by side at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Side by side from Fishpond.


Slobcat by Paul Geraghty (1991, 2012)

[Published by Andersen Press]

slob“Slobcat is our cat, He does nothing but lie about and sleep.” Our very cute narrator goes on to list Slobcat’s additional failings; how he’s often also too lazy to eat, he’s not interested in chasing mice, and he just spends all his time lying about in the sun.

Were you ready for the “BUT?” Think of Slobcat as a sort of Clark Kent type character. When he’s in domestic cat/journalist mode he’s all pliable and sweet, but let him loose on the world and he turns into Superman… or Supercat.

Slobcat’s secret life includes stealing fish from the butcher’s, 20150320_170413rescuing kittens from dogs, and ridding the garden of dangerous animals.

This is such a clever story. It is a lovely example of words and pictures deviating on a grand scale. One for the cat-lovers.

Check out Slobcat at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Slobcat from Fishpond.


Shark in the park! by Nick Sharratt (2000)

[Published by Random House]

sharkIf you ever find yourself at an event where children’s librarians have been invited to bring along their favourite picture books, I can guarantee there will be at least one copy of Shark in the park.

And for good reason as it has everything you need:

  • brilliant bright Nick Sharratt illustrations
  • bundles of rhyme
  • opportunities to yell, “THERE’S A SHARK IN THE PARK!’
  • visual surprises
  • actions that beg to be joined in with

Timothy Pope is at the park trying out his brand new telescope. “He looks at the sky. He looks at the ground. He looks left and right. He looks all around.” (Invite your audience to join you in telescope peering). Behind a circular cut-out IMG_1520is what looks most definitely like a shark. Three times we peep, we turn the page, and oh do we laugh!

Nick Sharratt at his reliable greatest.

Check out Shark in the park at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Shark in the park from Fishpond.