The Picture Atlas: An Incredible Journey
Simon Holland (text) &  Jill Calder (artwork)
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

A new addition to the new generation of large format, highly illustrated information books, “The Picture Atlas” offers  an overview of the world with a varied selection of facts, looking at nature, culture, history to name of few, with some quirky facts along the way.  The artwork is stunning, bursting with vivid colours and in a sketch-like style which makes them particularly attractive, giving the book the overall feel of an elaborate travel sketch book. The art really makes this title stand out from many recent similar titles; the European food spread is without a doubt my favourite. Well designed both inside and outside, this is a lovely book for if you enjoy reading non-fiction for pleasure, as well as for research purposes.


Luna Loves Library Day
Joseph Coelho (text) & Fiona Lumbers (artwork)
(Andersen Press)

Luna loves her weekly library visits, not only because she can get lost amongst the pages of a myriad of books, but also because she gets to spend this very special time with her dad. Coelho’s story of the bond between a child and her father is  a joyful ode to the power of stories and the special place that libraries offer. Brought to life superbly by Lumbers’ vivid colours and playful characters, “Luna Loves Library Day”  gently touches on so many important themes : the solace found in stories, how they help us make sense of our feelings, how sharing them help us bond, and how libraries provide a safe and special place for members of the community. Varied, positive images of reading are bountiful throughout, and this is one truly very special book.


The Snow Lion
Jim Helmore (text) & Richard Jones (artwork)
(Simon & Schuster Children’s Books)

Imaginary friends often pop un in picturebooks for obvious reasons; they often appear in children’s lives as they seek reassurance, and as a way to channel their worries. Here, the majestic snow lion appears as Caro and her mum move into a new home. He steps out of the white walls offering friendship and solace to a lonely Caro. After much encouragement from her gigantic friend, she begins to make friends and it is time for Lion to move on. But he is never too far away. The gentle, reassuring tale is brought to life beautifully by the artwork, which has a lovely dream-like quality. A clever use of colour supports inference throughout: the shades of off-white used to convey the ‘hidden’ nature of the lion the lion’s claws, the stained glass above the door. A visually stunning and hugely comforting read.