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Spring Picture Book Reviews

Updated: Jul 25, 2020

Cannonball Coralie and the Lion by Grace Easton

Coralie is the Pippi Longstocking for a new generation! She's funny and strange and incredibly brave. She can juggle five squirrels, can stand on her hands and even becomes a human cannonball! Just like the iconic Pippi, it seems that there's nothing little Coralie wouldn't do.

But on top of this is a charming tale of friendship, bravery and a celebration of our differences. Featuring an array of wonderful characters with lively illustrations, Cannonball Coralie and the Lion is as much a visual treat as it is a heartwarming message.

Quirky and colourful, this picture book is sure to delight its little readers. I do hope we get to see much more of Coralie and her grand adventures!

My Best Friend by Rob Hodgson

Rob Hodgson puts a deliciously dark twist on the meaning of friendship in this hilariously bold tale of one mouse's sweet naivety and an owl's perilous hunger, all wrapped up in a perfect, quirky twist!

Just like Hodgson's The Cave, I've no doubt My Best Friend is destined to be loved by many. You're in for a treat!

PS. little ones will love spotting each of the worms popping out of the branches - such a fun touch!

Read my review of The Cave here.

Oh No, Bobo! by Donna David

Illustrated by Laura Watkins

A simple and sweet picture book with a touching message about respect and permission when it comes to personal space and boundaries. Little ones will find comfort and understanding in Bobo the Orangutan's mistakes, and the 'Discussion and Comprehension' steps at the end will encourage insightful communication between parent and child.

With charming and vibrant illustrations that will whisk readers away to the starry, sleepy jungle.

Meesha Makes Friends by Tom Percival

In his newest 'Big Bright Feelings' picture book, Tom Percival focuses his attention to the joys and difficulties in making and keeping friends in Meesha Makes Friends.

For Meesha, making friends is difficult. She doesn't know quite what to do, what to say or when to say it and nobody seems to see the world her way or face similar struggles. That is, until the day she discovers that her special talent for making and creating things might just help her make a friend.

As ever, Percival's signature style is a joy to behold! Beautifully written with striking illustrations that reinforce the story throughout, I am constantly amazed by everything Percival delivers.

As in Perfectly Norman, Ruby's Worry and Ravi's Roar, Percival effectively touches on themes surrounding mental and emotional health, positive self-image, building self-confidence and managing feelings. In Meesha Makes Friend, Percival gently touches on themes surrounding loneliness, navigating challenging social situations and the struggles in making friends, whilst also celebrating the power of friendship and always being your brilliant, unique self.

Read my review of Perfectly Norman here, and Ravi's Roar here.

Bunnies on the Bus by Philip Ardagh

Illustrated by Ben Mantle

Watch out! Move out of the way! Hold onto your tails! There are bunnies are on bus and they aren't stopping for anyone!

This wild and wonderful rhyming romp of a picture book will have your little ones giggling none stop as the bunnies whiz and swerve and zoom across the streets of Sunnytown.

With fantastically chaotic illustrations by Ben Mantle, children will adore spotting all the different animals and their hilarious facial expressions across the full colour spreads.

I featured this picture book in my 'Happy Easter: A Booklist for Kids' but it's definitely a tale that will entertain all year round!

Cyril the Lonely Cloud by Tim Hopgood

It is sad but true that no one is ever pleased to see Cyril the cloud. All Cyril wants to see is happy faces smiling up at him, but instead he is only confronted with sad and angry stares, blaming him ruining their days.

Gloomy and alone, Cyril decides to drifts far, far away in search of a friendly face: over farmlands, towns, and a mighty ocean. Finally, Cyril arrives in a new land whose ground is baking hot and where lions, elephants and giraffes roam wild and free. Here, everyone welcomes Cyril's tranquil shade and refreshing rain, and now, the once lonely cloud is greeted with beaming smiles and happy faces.

Beautiful, touching and thought-provoking, Cyril would be bursting with happiness if he saw all the smiling faces reading this book! This wholesome and uplifting tale cleverly highlights the importance that rainwater has in making our natural planet thrive and flourish, whilst also touching on issues surrounding loneliness, appreciation and finding your place in the world. Tim Hopgood's illustrations are a joy to behold! Striking and spirited, each spread is vividly brought to life with charm, character and colour. Cyril the Lonely Cloud is a spectacular delight for both the sunny and rainy days!

The Crow and the Peacock by Jo Fernihough

A beautiful, modern fable about one crow's quest to find the happiest bird in the world. From the gentle dove to the elegant swan, the beloved cockerel and the magnificent peacock, each bird Crow encounters he believes must be the happiest bird in the world. But when Crow discovers Peacock bound in a golden cage with only a wish to be free, Crow realises that he might just be the happiest bird after all.

Brilliantly bold and bursting in colour, this tale of happiness and freedom is a glorious visual feast! Fernihough's textured collages are a refreshing style and her heartwarming message that we're all wonderfully unique is inspiring. As a debut picture book, The Crow and the Peacock is impressive and I'm excited to see what she does next.

Go behind the book and read about Jo's inspiration and creative process in this interview with The Bright Agency!

Bear Shaped by Dawn Coulter-Cruttenden

This beautiful picture book is inspired by the true story of Jack and his beloved bear and tells the touching tale of what happened when Bear went missing.

Seven-year-old autistic Jack and his teddy bear are inseparable. Constant companions and best friends, bear provides comfort, friendship and confidence for Jack, but when bear is lost one day during a trip to the park, Jack is distraught. With a bear-shaped hole in his heart, Jack valiantly attempts to recover his lost teddy by putting up missing posters. What happens next is a truly touching act of kindness...

Delightfully wholesome, this uplifting tale gently emphasises the importance of love, loss, and growing up whilst treasuring our most precious memories. Dawn's illustrations are classically neutral, delicately capturing Jack's heartwarming story, perfect for anyone who has ever loved a toy.

Nell and the Circus of Dreams by Nell Gifford

Illustrated by Briony May Smith

Written by Giffords Circus founder Nell Gifford, this enchanting picture book is a tale of friendship, family and finding magic when you least expect it.

When Nell discovers the circus has arrived near her home she experiences everything the circus can offer - vibrant velvety curtains, flying acrobats, bright lights and wonderful music! But more importantly, Nell equally finds friendship, happiness, and acceptance amongst the charming circus family.

Lovingly written, Gifford's tale reads like a lyrical lullaby of magic, wonder and imagination. Overflowing with colour and warmth, each page is beautifully brought to life through Briony May Smith's vibrant illustrations, perfectly capturing the spectacular atmosphere of the Circus of Dreams!

We're Going on a Treasure Hunt by Martha Mumford

Illustrated by Laura Hughes

Yo! Ho! Ho! Martha Mumford's bunnies are back and this time they're setting off on a thrilling pirate adventure to find some hiddden treasure!

Mumford and Hughes' bunnies are always a hit and We're Going on a Treasure Hunt is another winner! Little ones will love lifting the flaps, finding the gold coins and spotting the exotic animals in this delightfully fun and bright picture book. I can't wait to see what these charming bunnies get up to next!

Rabbit’s Spring Gift (A Year in Nature) by Anita Loughrey

Illustrated by Lucy Barnard

Hop along with little Rabbit and explore the wonders of springtime in this delightfully charming picture book from Anita Loughrey’s must read A Year in Nature series!

With mum busy spring cleaning their warren, Rabbit and her brother go in search for the perfect springtime thank you gift. But when a cheeky competition has the two in a race to out-do the other, will they realise that the perfect gift might be a little closer to home?

Jumping through vegetables plots and rummaging through flower patches, peering in ponds and skipping past bees, the rabbits are quick to find gifts in the form of beautiful blooming daffodils, tasty treats and fluffy feathers. With each gift, illustrator Lucy Barnard beautifully captures the joys, colours and new life of springtime, but it’s Rabbit’s mum reminder that, the greatest gift is you, that was most joyous of all.

I love that this series not only offers a charming window into the changing seasons, but also includes spring inspired activities – think pond dipping and flower collages – and seasonal discussion points at the back for further learning about the natural world.

A Year in Nature also includes Frog’s Summer Journey, Squirrel’s Autumn Puzzle and Fox’s Winter Discovery.


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