Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 22)

These are richly illustrated books and they are not just for young readers. Although we have given the ages 2 to 5 as a rough guide, many will appeal to older children. Some are thought-provoking titles from which all ages can gain pleasure. You're never too old for a picture book! Plenty here for all ages to share and enjoy.

The most recent reviews are at the top of this page - so these are generally the most recently published books.

Jungle Jamboree by Jo Empson

The jungle creatures have been invited to a jungle jamboree... but who will be the most beautiful? They all decide they are not beautiful enough so set out to change themselves. Meanwhile, unimpressed, a little fly flits contentedly through the pages - can your child spot him everywhere? Vibrant illustrations show how the animals decorate themselves but then - disaster! The clouds decide to have a bit of fun and soon the animals are back to their old selves. But Fly has a surprise in store and helps out in the darkness. The judges and all the animals decide that kindness is the most beautiful thing of all. It's a lovely story with a pointed message for us all, told with gentle humour.

Wisp: A Story of Hope by Zana Fraillon

This is a moving and emotional story about Idris, a child refugee, born into a world of tents and fences. This has been his whole life. Beautifully illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith, whose illustrations capture the darkness of Idris' world, then brightened by glimmers of hope. When the Wisp arrives, those who knew another world are able to recapture memories - but Wisp has no such memories... Magically, the Wisp holds out a promise. It's a sobering message, movingly told, with hope at its heart.

Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish by Lara Hawthorne

Alba the fish is over a hundred years old; she has always collected objects from the sea bed but she starts to notice the seas are changing. Along with her, we learn that this is the result of pollution. Alba determines to do her bit to help, and this message strongly shows that we all have a role to play and every single one of us can make a positive impact. The gradual loss of colour, and then its return, is tellingly depicted in the telling changes in the colours of the stunning illustrations. THey are full of detail and well worth looking at to learn about the world of the coral reef and its creatures. It's effective and thought-provoking - an excellent way to highlight the dangers of marine pollution and to encourage children to think about the effects of plastic

The Sea Saw by Tom Percival

Most parents will have experienced this - a heartbroken child when a favourite toy is lost. This emotional and understanding picture book, Sofia loses her beloved teddy after a day at the beach. She never gives hope of getting it back and, miraculously, the sea saw it all and cared for Sofia's teddy ... but I'm not going to spoilt the ending. The stunning use of artworks from the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, is simply brilliant. The Press Release included far more detail and I would love to see this information included in the book, so adults especially can understand the clever illustrations. An unusual and very special picture book, lyrically and compassionately written.

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