What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks 

Published by Pan Macmillan, for kids aged 1-4

What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Lydia Monks 

In a Nutshell 

This push and pull slide book follows the story of a ladybird on a farm who hears two thieves planning to steal the farmer’s cow. 

Book Club Notes 

Julia Donaldson  captivates the interest of toddlers and very young children in her portrayal of the brave and caring ladybird who goes out of her comfort zone to stop  the thieves. The humour and rhyming are brilliantly combined to draw the child into story and create a memorable book. The illustrations and interactive push, pull and slides add magic to the adorable characters. 

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I Am Angry by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Robert Starling

Published by Pan Macmillan, for kids aged 3-5 years 

I Am Angry by Michael Rosen

In a Nutshell

I am angry powerfully depicts the emotion of anger through a little kitten who stomps and yells and destroys the world around him. 

Book club notes

It’s a reactive not responsive depiction of anger that while powerful and perhaps relatable lacks tools to help calm intense anger. The book ends with the kitten going to sleep which seems like an escape from the emotion instead of dealing with it. 

This ever so powerful depiction of anger of a kitten is reactive and not responsive. The most powerful kids’ books are the ones that not only describe a feeling (in this case anger) but also impart a lesson and tools in a way a child can grasp and in this, this book is lacking. 

 

Wonderfully Made by Tshwanelo Serumola, illustrated by Subi Bosa 

Published by Pan Macmillan, for kids aged 4-8 years 

Wonderfully Made by Tshwanelo Serumola

In a Nutshell

Wonderfully Made is a book of positive affirmations for brown girls of all shades, sizes and shapes. Through it’s main character, it teaches little brown girls to embrace and celebrate their uniqueness while encouraging them to dream big. 

Book Club Notes 

Serumola’s portrayal of her main character captures a proudly South African sentiment. The little girl’s character is built up beautifully and positively as she speaks these positive affirmations that celebrate her. The story highlights qualities every parent or educator wish their child to emulate. The storyline together with authentically drawn illustrations come together to create an empowering book that is uniquely catered to little Brown girls.

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If I had a Unicorn by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow

Published by Thames & Hudson, distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers, for kids aged 3-5 years 

In a Nutshell

If I had a Unicorn is a charming small picture book filled with a child’s expression of magical wishes that having a unicorn would grant. 

Bookclub Notes 

The story line is filled with the joys of life as only a child could dream them. The unicorn is depicted as a loveable and magical creature who fixes everything ad creates a world of fun and fantasy inviting young readers in through storytelling and delightful illustrations. 

 

If I had a Vampire Bat by Gabby Dawnay and Alex Barrow

Published by Thames & Hudson, distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers, for kids aged 3-5 years 

In a Nutshell

From the same series as If I had a Unicorn, If I had a Bat takes the reader through the imaginative journey of a child who describes what life would be like if he owned a vampire bat as a pet. 

Bookclub Notes 

This book is for the bold child who loves animals and would enjoy a peak into the life and habits of a bat. It mixes fantasy and science to build the mischievous nature of a bat. The illustrations appeal to a child’s sense of adventure and curiosity. 

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Egg Must Hatch by Mariken Jongman and Marieke Ten Berge 

Published by Lemniscaat , distributed by Jonathan Ball Publishers, for kids aged 3-6 years

Egg Must Hatch by Mariken Jongman and Marieke Ten Berge

In a Nutshell

When the egg is discovered by an explorer in an unfavourable icy climate, the little explorer must apply problem solving skills to bring the egg to an ideal place to hatch.  

Bookclub Notes 

The author endears the egg to the young reader in an enticing way using discoveries and problem solving The illustrations are beautiful and depict a love for nature, while capturing a child’s humour through the animated characters. 

 

The Crystal Chronicles: The Amazing Underground Adventure by Benjamin G Hewett and Paddy Muldoon

Published by Penguin Random House, for kids aged 5-9 years

The Crystal Chronicles: The Amazing Underground Adventure by Benjamin G Hewett and Paddy Muldoon

In a Nutshell

The first book in this series, this adventure starts as a Pandemic sweeps across the world putting everyone under lockdown. Jack, bored at home and his little sister Lily discover a mysterious and magical world under his bed and so begins their adventure!

Book club Notes

This is a unique book in that it is a story created by 30 different people. Over one weekend, the author, his son (Jack) and a group of people from all over the world collaborated to create this unique story. It’s a book that will appeal to young readers and they’ll see themselves in the characters who’ve been stuck at home for what feels like a million years. 

 

The Crystal Chronicles: The Amazing Deep Sea Adventure by Benjamin G Hewett and Paddy Muldoon

Published by Penguin Random House, for kids aged 5-9 years

In a Nutshell

The second book in this series has the same crew of characters with one new addition – Odin. This time, Jack and Lily find adventure inside their toilet when they hear a cry and discover the ocean and all it’s underwater creatures. 

Book club Notes

Once again this series reveals what happens when you collaborate and when kids are tasked with creating stories. The author began with a one minute story crafted by his son and daughter, Jack and Lily who then sent it to Jack’s best friend Ottis to add to. From there it travelled the globe as over 10 others added their imagination. The characters become like friends and the story encourages young minds to imagine, dream and create. 

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