One of the things we love about children's books is that they deal with a lot of life's issues and problems in straightforward, easy to understand, and often times humorous ways. The best part is not only can children benefit from the lessons and morals found within the pages, but adults can as well. One author/illustrator who is great at speaking to children and also adults is Nicholas Oldland. It's no secret around here that we love his books. His previous picture books "Big Bear Hug" and "Making the Moose out of Life" along with the newly released "The Busy Beaver" are recommended by us on a regular basis. With his trademark simple and colourful artistic style, each book has an excellent lesson to think about.
Big Bear Hug (Kids Can Press 2009)
One of the funniest picture books you will ever read, "Big Bear Hug" tells the story of a bear with so much love in his heart that he is compelled to give everyone and everything he sees a great big hug. Large or small, bear gives hugs to all the forest animals much to their surprise. When he encounters a lumberjack cutting down one of his beloved trees, he is conflicted and unsure of how to act. Should he be angry and attack the lumberjack or should he be his usual loving self and give him a hug? A wonderful tale about being yourself and acting in your character.
Making the Moose Out of Life (Kids Can Press 2010)
No matter what activity his friends are doing, Moose sits on the sidelines and watches. Jumping in puddles is too wet for him, flying a kite is too windy, and skiing is too cold. However, he can't shake the feeling that he is missing out on something. So, in order to find a sense of adventure he sets out on a sailing trip. When disaster strikes, Moose learns some important lessons. "Making the Moose Out of Life" is a great way to teach about enjoying life and making the best of whatever situation you find yourself in.
The Busy Beaver (Kids Can Press 2011)
"The Busy Beaver" tells the story of a beaver who is so consumed by his constant work that he misses what is going on around him and doesn't pay attention to what affect he is having on everyone. His carelessness causes all kinds of destruction to the forest and injury to his friends and fellow animals. It isn't until he is forced to stop working that he finally sees all the damage he has caused. A perfect reminder for all the workaholic adults out there.
Make sure to check out these books next time you're in your local bookstore or library and keep them in mind not just for the children in your life, but the adults as well.
Now go read a book with your kids...
We've always found it odd that pirates have become such popular characters for children. Gone are the brutal realities of their exploits, replaced with funny little costumes and odd speech. We're not sure what has made this sanitized modern image of pirates popular, it's probably "Treasure Island" or the Disneyland "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, but whatever the reason it is here to stay. Not only are pirates popular characters for Halloween costumes and Lego sets, but there are also some mighty fine picture books with pirate characters. Here are some of "arrrrr" favourites:
Mungo and the Picture Book Pirates by Timothy Knapman and Adam Stower
The "Mungo" series of picture books is one of our favourite series (also includes "Mungo and Dinosaur Island" and "Mungo and the Spiders from Space"). The basic premise of each title in the series is the little boy named Mungo reads one of his favourite books and magically ends up inside the book and part of the story. In this instalment, Mungo is reading "The Seafaring Adventures of Captain Horation Fleet" which chronicles the dashing hero saving the day as he battles the dastardly pirate Barnacle Bill and his crew of scurvy pirates. After Mungo reads the book many times one night, the hero Captain Fleet decides he wants a vacation and it's up to Mungo to take over as the hero of the book. The Mungo series is packed with exciting and colourful illustrations and is great for promoting imagination and the love of reading.
The Pirate and the Penguin by Patricia Storms
Once there was a penguin who hated the South Pole. It was boring and too cold. There was also a pirate who found sailing around the world looking for treasure pointless. He wanted to stay in one place and relax. As fate would have it, the penguin and the pirate run into each other and figure out the perfect solution to their problems. Each illustration in this delightful book is full of little jokes and details which makes it perfect for repeated readings.
Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andrea and Russell Ayto
What could be better than pirates? Why dinosaur pirates of course! One day while searching the art cupboard at school, a little boy named Flinn finds a pirate sobbing in the corner. It turns out that someone stole his pirate ship. Flinn and his school friends decide to help the pirate, but get more than they bargained for when they find out that the ship thieves aren't just normal pirates, but are dinosaurs as well. This is a really imaginative adventure story that will please all action-loving children. If you enjoy this one, also look for the sequel books in the series.
Now go read a book with your kids..."