12 terrific picture books from July to September

Picture book lover Bronte Coates shares 12 of her the best new picture books from the past three months. You can find more of her favourites from 2018 here and here.


Cicada by Shaun Tan

Cicada is another masterful work from Shaun Tan – a stunningly illustrated story of transformation. Tan imagines the eponymous cicada as an unappreciated, abused office worker. There are echoes of the refugee experience to be found here but the story itself, and especially its surreal ending, can be interpreted any number of ways.

For ages 4+


Wren by Katrina Lehman & Sophie Beer

With its emphasis on narrative, Wren draws an immediate comparison with the books of Julia Donaldson. I love Sophie Beer’s bright, bustling artwork and here they beautifully illuminate a tale of a noisy new baby and her long-suffering older brother, who might just have more in common with her than he thought. This warm and gently humorous ode to family chaos already has the feel of a classic.

For ages 2+


Sonam and the Silence by Eddie Ayres & Ronak Taher

Sonam and the Silence is the first picture book from musician and broadcaster Eddie Ayres and features evocative illustrations from Iranian-Australian artist Ronak Taher. A fable-like tale of a young girl in Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, this is a moving tribute to the power of music. The titular Sonam is a resilient heroine who must overcome her fear to seek out joy which is a lesson we can all take heart in.

For ages 3+


Are You Hungry? by Janik Coat (design by Bernard Duisit)

Created by Janik Coat and paper engineer Bernard Duisit, Are You Hungry? is a fun and interactive exploration of food, complete with lift-the flaps, pull the tags and surprise pop-ups. Moving through each day of the week, we’re shown an array of culinary treats by different animals – from the exciting, like a lovely lollipop, to the well, vastly less exciting, like dandelions.

For ages 3+


The Girls by Lauren Ace & Jenny Lovlie

The Girls is the kind of picture book that you’ll want to gift your adult friends as well as children. Four very different little girls meet under an apple tree and form a bond that deepens as they grow into very different women, overcoming disappointments and sharing their joys. This is an inclusive and celebratory book about the value of friendship and the importance of being yourself.

For ages 4+


Niblet & Ralph by Zachariah OHora

I’m already a big fan of Zachariah OHora’s bold and expressive illustrations. He often partners with Ame Dyckman for his picture books but Niblet & Ralph is a solo work – a fresh and funny story about two cats who are almost identical in appearance but are very different in their tastes. When they accidentally end up at each other’s apartments, confusion ensues until their owners work out what’s amiss.

For ages 4+


Puddle Hunters by Kirsty Murray & Karen Blair

Together with Mum, siblings Ruby and Banjo head out on an urban adventure in search of the ‘perfect’ puddle. This simple story is made fresh by Murray’s lyrical language and this is a fantastic readaloud. Blair’s soft watercolours imbue the book with a dreamy quality that beautifully conveys that hazy, otherworldly moment just after the rain stops.

For ages 2+


Poor Little Rabbit! by Jorg Muhle & Eva Eriksson

I absolutely adore Jörg Mühle’s Little Rabbit series. These are sweet and simple board books which invite children to directly engage with the stories. Poor Little Rabbit! is the latest addition and asks you to help care for Little Rabbit after he accidentally hurts himself. This is a really lovely book for encouraging kindness and caring for others.

For ages 1+


A Day at the Show by Gwyn Perkins

Following on from the award-winning A Walk in the Bush, Gwyn Perkins gives us another sweet and tenderly wrought tale with Grandad and Little Iggy. Declaring that Doreen the hen has laid another perfect egg and deserves a prize, Grandad takes the whole family to the Show to enter her in a competition. This book’s sparse text is paired with elegant line and pen drawings that allow for imaginations to roam.

For ages 2+


If I Was Prime Minister by Beck Feiner & Robin Feiner

Written and illustrated by Australian husband and wife team, Beck and Robin Feiner, this book asks what would happen if the grown-ups weren’t in charge but instead kids ran the country? Ideas range from the fantastical (mandatory rainbows), to the more serious (decreasing our reliance on cars). This is a colourful and empowering call-to-arms for children to think about community and how change can be enacted for the better.

For ages 4+


I Hate Everyone by Naomi Danis & Cinta Arribas

This funny and oh-so-relatable book fully inhabits the tumultuous inner landscape of a disgruntled toddler. It’s the young narrator’s birthday, and she is a tangle of contradictory emotions: first she demands nobody looks at her, then acts out to get their attention. The bold shapes and thick lines reinforce her passionate feelings, and enhance the mood of the book.

For ages 3+


Wallpaper by Thao Lam

Thao Lam’s exquisite paper collage style illustrations make this picture book feel a like a work of art. A young girl has just moved into a new home and, feeling too shy to introduce herself to the other children, she instead discovers the entryway to a magical world behind the walls. Here, she comes face-to-face with a monster: at first frightened, she realises he simply wants to be friends. A beautiful, wordless story about courage.

For ages 4+

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Katrina Lehman, Sophie Beer

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