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A Bear, Babies and a Knitting Cat: The Brand New Picture Books We’re Most Looking Forward to Sharing

If you’re after something brand new for your child’s library, or a beautiful gift you can be pretty sure the recipient hasn’t read yet, you’ll find a lovely crop of new picture books on the shelves this February.

Here are some which we’re most looking forward to sharing with the kids we know.

Bear Make DenBear Make Den – three  of our favourite children’s book creators – Jane Godwin, Michael Wagner and Andrew Joyner – have collaborated on this story about a handyman bear. Bear creates himself a wonderful den, but he has a feeling something’s missing. So he makes more and more objects (chairs, a table, a bed, a sofa, cake, a game, art) to fill ‘the gap’.

Bear is just so charming, and his face so expressive! And we think kids will love guessing what bear might be making, before turning each page to find out. This is also a beautiful, gently funny and quite profound reminder that relationships sustain us, not things. The den is finally truly finished when the other bears visit to share cake and a game.

Arthur and the Curiosity – we’ve been keeping an eye out for this book from the winner of the inaugural Five Mile Press Illustrator Prize, a great initiative which fosters talented Australian illustrators. The story – about a little boy who visits the museum on a class trip and spots an escaped exhibit (“the Curiosity”) in all sorts of places – sounds like a lot of fun, and we’re looking forward to exploring Lucinda Gifford’s bright and beautiful images.

Stanley the Amazing Knitting CatStanley the Amazing Knitted Cat – we think our crafty friends might love this story even more than their kids will! Stanley the cat is obsessed by knitting. He knits anywhere and everywhere, conjuring up bobble hats, tail cosies and all manner of good things for his friends. But then his hobby turns into a major preoccupation with winning a competition… We love the illustrations of giraffes in knitted neck warmers and elephants in trunk tubes!

Maisy’s Sports Day – We’re really excited that Lucy Cousins is visiting Australia this month! Cousins’ most famous creation, Maisy, continues to delight toddlers more than 25 years after featuring in her first book. And there are still new adventures to be had: in this book, Maisy’s attending her first athletics carnival with events including a relay, a sack race, and – our favourite – a game of quoits, with Eddie the Elephant holding his trunk very still to catch each quoit.

Maisys Sports Day internalIt’s a Little Baby – we adore Julia Donaldson’s picture books and we know she’s hugely popular with our readers, too. This is Donaldson writing for the youngest of children: a light and delightful rhyming text about babies doing all the things babies do, like waving, clapping, and pointing. The book features gentle illustrations by Rebecca Cobb with large flaps to lift, and there’s a song of the text available online.

Cyclone – another of our favourite picture book teams is Jackie French and Bruce Whatley. They’re known for light-hearted tales like Diary of a Wombat, but they’ve also worked together on some extraordinarily beautiful books about natural disasters and humans confronting extraordinary challenges. This new account of Cyclone Tracy feels quite timely given the wild and devastating weather we’ve been experiencing recently.

Looking for more recommendations? You might also be interested in our pick of the latest children’s novels and chapter books.

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