3 new books in February 2021

It’s been a while but we’re back to share 3 new picture books released this month that have hit the mark! As usual, we love sharing picture books that read aloud well, show strong narrative structure, provide opportunities for vocabulary learning and conversation and that we think you and your kids will enjoy! We always couple our reviews with a top reading tip for each book. Enjoy our picks for February 2021!

1. Slug in Love by Rachel Bright and Nadia Sheree

Cover of “Slug in Love”, published by Simon & Schuster

Doug the slug is looking for love and in a need of a hug! Join Doug as he is continually rejected by the other creepy crawlies (poor Doug) who claim he is too grimy, slimy, icky and sticky….that is, until he meets Gail the snail. Doug attempts to woo Gail, but it is not meant to be. I won’t spoil the ending for you but this book provides a simple story structure (characters, setting, problem, attempts, resolution) and many opportunities to explore adjectives and rhyming words.

“Slug in Love”

TOP READING TIP: Talk about the differences in the descriptive words grimy, slippy, squelchy, slimy, yucky, sticky. Talk about other objects or animals that could be described using these words.

2. Backyard Magic by Wenda Shurety and Harriet Hobday

Cover of “Backyard Magic”, published by Affirm Press

We’ve all been there before as parents, we turn off the TV and the kids immediately say they are bored. This beautiful picture book sees Tilly explore the backyard in a new way after her mum turns off the TV. She follows a birdsong, a refrain of ‘Til-Lee! Til-Lee!’ (your kids will LOVE joining in with this) and her imagination comes alive. A stick becomes a magic wand, a telescope, a fishing rod! Tilly plays and sings in nature as she continues her search for the bird that has called her into nature. Your kids will enjoy trying to spot the bird camouflaged on each page. Shurety uses a great selection of Tier 2 vocabulary throughout investigate,surveyed, crouching, discovered. Harriet Hobday’s illustrations are stunning – vibrant blue, green, orange and red hues with two fantastic end papers worth pointing out to your kids – the beginning showing inside toys and the end, showing a colourful splash of nature. This opens the perfect opportunity to discuss the endless possibilities of outdoor play!

TOP READING TIP: Talk about the power of make-believe, ‘Was it really a fishing rod? Why not?’ and link your child’s own imaginative play experiences to Tilly’s. Talk about what things you might find in your own backyard and what they could become.

3. Ham by Dhana Fox and Anna Demchenko

Cover of “Ham”, published by New South Books

A hilarious tale that follows the farmyard animals, Ham, Satay, Chops and Stew as they work together to save themselves from their inevitable fate – the dinner plate! There are so many great themes to explore and discuss in this story including teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, resilience, different diets and preferences. This book has a strong narrative which encourages predictive and problem-solving skills. The book is entertaining and the vibrant and detailed illustrations by Anna Demchenko and the fun rhyming couplets by Dhana Fox work well together to create meaning.

“Ham” (New South Books)

TOP READING TIP: Highlight the ‘plan’ (“when characters think of a way to solve their problem”) and the ‘attempts’ (“what the characters do to try fix the problem but it doesn’t work”) in the story. Talking about these features will help your child build a clear narrative structure to prepare them for retelling and creating stories.

We hope you will enjoy these books as much as we have! If you would like more high quality children’s books in your home collection, check out our 6 month memberships and themed book boxes. Coupled with reading guides and activities created by speech pathologists, they are bound to be enjoyed by you and your children!

Thank you to the publishers who gift books for us to review or give us an early look at the books!

Until next time,

Janice & Tania