Penguin and Pumpkin
(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Salina Yoon’s books are just perfect for toddlers , thanks to their bold and bright artwork and simple text. This latest title in no exception; Penguin and Pumpkin is a gentle tale of celebrating Autumn and one of its most prominent Halloween features: pumpkins. As you can imagine, there aren’t many autumnal features on the ice floe. But Penguin and his friends are desperate to see what autumn looks like and therefore plan an adventure to a faraway farm. Sadly Pumpkin, Penguin’s baby brother, is too little to join the others on their journey to discover what the beautiful season has to offer. But they find the perfect way to bring back autumn back to him. Penguin and Pumpkin is not so much a “scary” read but rather a beautiful celebration of this season and focusing on the more important things: family and friendship, the beauty of nature. Hopefully this gorgeous little book will show the youngest readers that this time of year is not only about sweets and chocolate, and has much more to offer than that.
No Such Thing
(Flying Eye Books)
No Such Thing follows Georgia, the little heroine, as she becomes increasingly frustrated by things disappearing right under her nose. What is going on? Who is stealing all her stuff? Even her socks have disappeared! But she is not to be defeated; she confronts everyone and anyone from little brother to scary spiders. But wait .. could it be? Nah, surely there is no such thing as ghosties?
This picturebook is not only perfect for Halloween (particularly its final spread) but also ingeniously dealing with children facing their fears. Georgia might be feisty and determined but she is nonetheless showing that sometimes it is ok to feel scared at night, even if really there is no reason to. The artwork is reminiscent of Marc Boutavant, particularly in the way characters are draw, and is absolutely delicious, with its washed-out retro colour palette with a lot orange tones, again perfect for this time of year. The book encourages a “spot the hiding ghosties” game which young readers will revel in. With gorgeous design from Flying Eye books, this is a really lovely début from Ella Bailey.
Seen and Not Heard
Katie May Green
In a big old house, up creaky stairs, in a silent nursery full of dolls and teddy bears, you’ll find the children of Shiverhawk Hall. They’re children in pictures on the wall – seen and not heard …
This is the opening of Seen and Not Heard and it has me spooked out already. There is something so creepy about old portraits … so when they start climbing out of the frames… *gulp*. But all they do at night, when they climb out, is run riot in the house and have fun, jumping on beds, eating the food in the kitchen until the appearance of dawn forces them back to their frames and their immobile, silent selves.
There is something a bit chaotic, a bit zany, a bit à la Alice in Wonderland, about this book which will delight young children. I have to say the De Villechild twins did remind me of the twins from The Shining, which made the book all the more ominous. Thankfully young readers will not have that kind of reference but will undoubtedly be fascinated by the artwor,k which is rather unusual for the British market and beautifully detailed. Yet little readers will probably notice that those twins do stay at the fringe of all the fun, standing there, watching. This emphasizes the sinister side of the tale but with much merriment and magical happenings, it remains spooky, but in a “safe” way. Unusual and elegant, Seen and Not Heard will delight discerning picturebook enthusiasts.