Bedtime Picture Books

My initial reason for choosing Firefly Home was the fact that it is illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. Little P has already fallen in love with her beautiful night time images in Mole’s Star.

Here her night illustrations tell the story of a little lost firefly in this wonderfully interactive book by Jane Clarke. Firefly sees lots of different lights in the night sky, including a lighthouse and a speeding train, but none of them take him home. The reader must encourage firefly along his journey until at last the sparkling lights of other fireflies appear to finally guide him home.

This is a gentle bedtime story perfect for reading aloud. It encourages plenty of chat and interaction with a lovely comforting conclusion.

Firefly Home written by Jane Clarke and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup is published by Nosey Crow. ISBN: 978-1-78800-490-9

It may be bedtime but Ella, Barney and Olive are getting ready for a night time adventure. Barney wants to see pirates and Olive is hoping to visit the jungle but all that Ella wants is to meet a real live dragon. They travel to faraway magical lands but when their hot air balloon crashes a huge shadow swoops down from the sky to help. Finally Ella finds her dragon.

This story has a wonderful dreamy quality and although it is exciting there is a gentle wind down to a sleepy ending.

Wishing for a Dragon written and illustrated by Becky Cameron is published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978-1-444-93623-0

The Light in the Night is the ideal picture book for little ones who may feel nervous in the dark. Cosmo, the bear in Betty’s storybook, is afraid of the dark. When he pops out of the book and into Betty’s bedroom she decides to take him on a little trip to soothe his fears. Into the darkest cave they go to see the most spectacular light show from the fireflies. ‘We need the dark’, explains Betty ‘to see the light’. But when Betty can’t remember the way home through the dark forest it is brave Cosmo who leads her back home. Together they find the light of courage that shines within.

Cosmo and Betty are charming characters and the illustrations capture the magic and beauty of the night perfectly. This book would certainly help to allay any night fears.

The Light in the Night written and illustrated by Marie Voigt is published by Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 978-1-4711-7326-4

Lots of Frogs written by Howard Calvert and illustrated by Claudia Boldt

Frogs are the creature du jour in our house at the moment. Mostly because they can jump, make funny noises and they start life as squishy looking frog spawn! Anyway it was inevitable that Little P would make a grab for Lots of Frogs when she saw it in the library. And it didn’t disappoint.

The story of Tom and his box of frogs is told in short and snappy rhyme and it’s a lot of fun to read aloud. Tom brings his frogs to school all safely tucked away inside their box. Unfortunately Tom sneezes and releases the entire box of frogs to create mayhem. They leap around the classrooms landing on desks and jumping on teacher’s heads much to the amusement of Tom’s classmates. Luckily a bright yellow space hopper and a net prove to be very effective frog catching devices. Eventually Tom manages to get all the frogs back into the box. Until he…………coughs!!

This story is crazily chaotic and the illustrations reflect it perfectly. They are bold and bright with lots of movement, pen lines and brush strokes. Each frog has it’s own unique personality created by Claudia Boldt using googly eyes and giant smiles.

Little P loves the madcap antics of the scampy frogs and the fact that the whole adventure starts all over again at the end of the book makes her laugh every time! This scores a seven out of ten on the P-OMETER.

Lots of Frogs written by Howard Calvert and illustrated by Claudia Boldt is published by Hodder Children’s Books. ISBN: 978-1-444-93964-4

Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals created by Aga Grandowicz and Rob Maguire

As a child I remember so many wonderful wildlife books around our house by authors such as Éamon de Buitléar and Geritt van Gelderen. When I saw the cover of this compelling compendium I was reminded of them all and I knew that Little P would love it. She is fascinated by the animals, birds and sea creatures she sees daily and is full of questions about them. This book provided plenty of answers and was an education for both of us.

Every double page spread is full of information laid out in a most accessible fashion with a large detailed illustration. The full name, Irish name and class of each creature is included along with a descriptive paragraph written in witty conversational style by Rob Maguire. There is a list of essential facts such as size, diet, home and expected lifespan. Each page also contains text boxes with interesting points about where in Ireland the creatures can be found or what their name actually means. There are also smaller illustrations of baby animals, details of paw prints or depicting the actual size of the tiny creatures like the pygmy shrew.

The sheer size of Aga Grandowicz’s illustrations mean that every anatomical structure stands out. The robin’s feathers, the stickleback’s fins and the dragonfly wings are all expertly drawn in fine detail. It’s the next best thing to having the actual creature sitting on your kitchen table!

Not surprisingly Little P gets loads of fun out of this book. She really enjoys spotting the creatures that she is familiar with like the hermit crab, the fox, the hare and the seagull and we are already making plans to seek out the ones we haven’t seen yet. First on the list is the natterjack toad! This scores a solid nine out of ten on the P-OMETER.

This is a fun and accessible reference guide to the wild creatures that every Irish child is likely to see in their environment. Whether in the countryside, city or suburbs seagulls and squirrels, badgers and butterflies can be easily spotted. A book that is worth having in every house to foster the innate curiosity and fascination that all children display for the natural world.

Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals created by Aga Grandowicz and Rob Maguire is published by Little Island Books. ISBN: 978-1-910411-94-0