The best picture books of 2015
Here are our top ten picture books of the year, voted for by Readings staff. Displayed in no particular order.
Mr Huff by Anna Walker
Anna Walker’s latest picture book is a beautiful insight into that ‘huffy’ feeling; you know, when nothing is turning out right, and it definitely isn’t going to be your day? The tale is uplifting, but isn’t magically solved in the end – a more realistic, relatable outcome for children and adults. A beautiful story in itself, it is perfect for opening up discussion about emotions with those 4 and up.
- Jo Boyce
The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
They’re back! Those cheeky crayons who left Duncan for all sorts of silly reasons a couple of years ago have decided that they will forgive him and join his happy house once again. This is laugh-out-loud storytelling at its best! Adults and children will chuckle at the many bizarre apologies that the crayons invent to get back in favour with Duncan.
The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty by Beatrice Alemagna
Illustrator and writer Beatrice Alemagna is an emerging star on the world picture book scene. Witty, delightful and inventive, The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty is the story of one child’s big day in Paris in search of the perfect present. If you were charmed by the film Amélie, prepare to be thrilled by five-year-old Edith and the joy she brings. For ages 3 and up.
The Underwater Fancy Dress Parade by Davina Bell
The day before the Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade, Alfie gets that funny feeling in his tummy. He’d like to wear his special starfish costume but after terrible nightmares he just knows he can’t. His mum isn’t mad; she takes him to the aquarium where he spots a shy little clownfish. This utterly gorgeous book gently and lovingly explores the social anxiety experienced by so many kids, and makes a wonderful present for kids aged 3–7.
A River by Marc Martin
This is an important picture book for curious children and adults to share. A River reminds us that nature is an integral part of reading and storytelling magic. Marc Martin’s wonderful illustrations take readers on a dreamy journey along a river through freeways, farmlands, forests, jungles and the ocean. Both the natural landscapes and the cityscapes feel intimately connected to our world, no matter our location. A beautiful picture book for ages 4 and up.
Most Wonderful Thing in the World by Vivian French & Angela Barrett
Oh my, this book is so pretty and the detail so exquisitely delightful, I didn’t want it to end.A young princess will be wed as soon as a suitable husband is chosen by her parents, but before this happens she requests the freedom to explore the city outside the castle. What the princess discovers, and her parents come to understand, in this enchanting story is that true love should triumph over material riches any old day and that is a wonderful thing! Ages 3 and up.
Tree: Seasons Come, Seasons Go by Britta Teckentrup
One tree, four seasons, so many changes reflecting the magic of nature. Peek through the cutaways in this gorgeous book to reveal the bountiful activity in this grand tree. As the year progresses the landscape changes, the tree transfigures in shape and colour and the wildlife comes and goes. I love the pleasing palette and the gentle accompanying rhyme of Tree and I love the steadfast owl observing all. Pure arboreal delight for ages 2 and up.
Bob, The Railway Dog by Corinne Fenton & Andrew McLean
The first time I read this heady story about a train-loving dog who travelled Australia and was welcomed in guards’ vans and station masters’ offices wherever he went, it felt so free and open-hearted and adventurous. It was everything our risk-averse, success-focused, electronic-device-entertained world is not. It’s wonderful. You can feel the heat and dust and the open space, love the little dog’s free but loving spirit and relish the fact that it is based on a true story!
Butterfly Park by Elly Mackay
This is a truly beautiful book about community, nature and the determination of one girl to bring butterflies to her town. The intricate paper-cut illustrations by author-illustrator Elly MacKay are amazing, creating a magical story that will be enjoyed by both adult and child.
How the Sun Got to Coco’s House by Bob Graham
From the North Pole to the eye of a whale, follow the sun across the world as it makes it way to Coco’s house. Bob Graham’s latest picture book delightfully depicts how the sun, no matter where in the world, connects us all. Beautifully illustrated, with lots to look at on each page, this picture book will enchant readers of all ages.