Isle of You by David LaRochelle
Illustrated by Jaime Kim
A beautiful book with a big message that encourages children in their difficult days to take a deep breath, shake off their worries and set sail to an enchanting land where all their wild and wonderful dreams can come true. Whether that's swimming in waterfalls, soaring with eagles or roller skating with polar bears, David LaRochelle dives deep into the magic of imagination and creates a charming yet incredibly calming picture book that will envelope little readers in a big hug.
Jaime Kim beautifully envisions the isle of you using soft, dreamlike tones that illuminate a way for young readers to visualise a brighter and happier mood.
For a picture book capturing the magic of dreams, LaRochelle and Kim really make a dream team.
The Lost Property Office by Emily Rand
Explore and marvel at all the wild and wonderful objects that can be found in a lost property office in this charming picture book about one young girl and her missing teddy bear.
From umbrellas to lost keys, false teeth and a whole mountain of teddies, these everyday, ordinary objects have been transformed into a field of fascination and curiosity for little readers to dwell on.
With a strong balance of soft and high contrasting colours, Rand's vividly, eye-catching palette commands complete attention. I loved Rand's sharp attention to detail and the constant stream of little lost items leading up to the grand lost property office - discarded newspapers on the train, forgotten toys under the bed, a solo mitten on the sidewalk.
Coupled with a simple narrative, Rand weaves together a glorious picture book that offers a comforting thought that lost doesn't mean forever.
The Cloudspotter by Tom McLaughlin
Take to the skies in this whimsical and heartwarming picture book celebrating the power of imagination and the importance of friendship.
Everyone knows young Franklin as the Cloudspotter - there isn't a single cloud that Franklin can't spot - big ones, small ones, silly ones, sneaky ones. But when Scruffy Dog comes along and disrupts Franklins' adventure spotting, Franklin must decide whether to keep flying solo or realise that some adventures are better with two.
The soft, fresh pastel tones beautifully compliment this short, sweet and utterly charming tale about looking for stories in the sky. Definite Oliver Jeffers vibes.
The Green Giant by Katie Cottle
You've met the Iron Giant, the Big Friendly Giant and the Selfish Giant. Now meet the Green Giant!
In this lush and whimsically illustrated picture book, Katie Cottle highlights the concern for environment, greening our cities, guerrilla gardening and making the world a better place, all beautifully captured between the friendship of one young girl and the green giant.
I so loved the final spreads that saw the grey, dull city come alive with joy and greenery, so skilfully captured using a contrasted colour palette.
Such a magical yet important story that will delight readers young and old. I can't wait for Cottle's The Blue Giant published this summer - a poignant and timely picture book introducing children to the issue of ocean pollution, with ideas to help the world become a better, cleaner place.
Angry Cookie by Laura Dockrill
Illustrated by Maria Karipidou
Don't even think about opening this book you nosy noodle. I am warning you. I am very anrgy.
But perhaps you, the reader, can find a way to turn his grumpy frown upside down?
Brilliantly quirky and wildly inventive, Angry Cookie is a delicious laugh out loud read!
Breaking down barriers surrounding anger and annoyance, Laura Dockrill offers a comforting and heartfelt message that it's okay to feel these emotions and have bad days but that a calm solace can always be found in your friends and loved ones. For Cookie, it's the realisation that the reader is still around and listening to Cookie's problems that in turn eases her frustration. A real gem with bright and playful illustrations by Maria Karipidou.
My Monster and Me by Nadiya Hussain
Illustrated by Ella Bailey
A great baker and now a great storyteller, is there anything that Nadiya Hussain cannot do!
Wonderfully heartwarming and confidently crafted, Nadiya has written a touching tale about one little boy and his worry monster.
For the boy, this monster has always been with him, right from the day he was born. His monster is big and bossy and stubborn, and despite the boys attempts of hiding from him, his monster just won't go away. It isn't until the boy shares his worries with his loving Gran that his monster begins to shrink. For the more the boy talked the smaller his monster became, until it was so small that it wasn't so scary anymore.
Conveying such a powerful and positive message about opening up and confiding with loved ones, My Monster and Me makes a truly fantastic tool for supporting both children and parents in talking about their worries and anxieties. Accompanied with Ella Bailey's endearing illustrations, this really is an all-round perfect package!
But what makes this picture book even more heartfelt is the inspiration behind Nadiya's own personal sufferings with anxiety. In an inspiring interview with Young Minds, Nadiya shares her story about her own monster and also about the importance of talking and listening when it comes to mental health.
Perfect for fans of Francesca Sanna's Me and My Fear and Tom Percival's Ruby's Worry.