Sylvia Liang
(Thames & Hudson)

Norm (short for Normal) lives in a world where everything is the same. Him and his friends go round with rules making sure everything is the right size, the right shape, etc. But when Norm across Odette (Odd for short), she introduces him to a whole different world, one where every one is different and enjoys life to the full. Norm soon realises that there is no such thing as ‘the norm’ and every one’s quirks is what makes them special. Beautiful, quirky artwork and a gentle narrative makes this début picturebooks a lovely story to delve into. The theme of challenging the norms is tactfully explored, while the book highlights there is no such thing as ‘normal’, it also conveys there is nothing worng with conformity and liking things just so (as many children do), as long as one stays open to other other possibilities, change, an a little bit of chaos too. This is a lovely inclusive message, in a overall delightful book.


B is for Baby
Atinuke & Angela Brooksbank
(Walker Books)

B is for Baby. B is for Brother, Bus, Bridge and Butterfly. The title of this glorious picturebook might fool readers into thinking at first that this is simply another ABC book, but oh no! Using the letter B as focus, the narrative describes a day in the life a toddler, from her morning routine to visiting her grandparents. Brookshank’s use of colour is superb, wonderfully reproducing the vibrancy of the local flora and fauna of  the village from an unspecified African country (though most likely to be Nigeria, the author’s home country). You can almost smell the Bougainvillea! Her scenery illustrations are incredibly detailed and movement bursts from the page, really bringing the simple text structure to life. The themes running through the narrative are universal, highlighting that while the backdrop might be different, children across the world have much in common. A wonderfully joyous picturebook!