Beautifully illustrated books fill my book loving heart with joy. The four books shared today are spectacular, all unique! Yet they all have brilliant illustrations and a wonderful story in common.

Play Outside by Laurent Moreau, Published by Norton Young Readers

A bright colourful book urging children to play outside- “you’ll find plenty to do” says Mum as she ushers them from the house. What follows is a beautiful foray into the world- full of animals and habitats to spot. The illustrations are particularly striking and bold, beckoning the reader to each page.

Travelling from the seashore to the countryside, past mountains and jungles and to the furthest corners of the planet- there are 250 animals to discover. A handy guide at the back lists each animal to spot within the pages. It also gives an indication as to the animals status, from least concern to critically endangered. So many animals to learn about as well as some surprising status. As a population, we really need to protect and care for the animals in our world.

Paolo, Emperor of Rome by Mac Barnett and Claire Keane, Published by Abrams Kids

Paolo is a dog with no freedom- stuck looking from the windows of the salon and knowing he is missing out on all the wonders Rome has to offer. Finding the door left open one morning, Paolo makes his escape and doesn’t look back.

“And was the city all he imagined?” Of course! It was more than he could have dreamed. Travelling alone Paolo goes where he wants and discovers much about the city and its inhabitants. He also learns a lot about himself. However, big cities tend to have big problems- Paolo finds trouble with cats bigger than he, dogs unwilling to share food and Nuns to be saved.

Paolo faces every situation with confidence, determination and an unwavering sense of self! He fast becomes the most popular pup in Rome. The illustrations in this book are art gallery worthy- bringing Paolo and Rome to life!

Hugo by Atinuke, Illustrated by Birgitta Sif, Published by Walker Books

Another gloriously illustrated book with an animal as the main character. Hugo, the pigeon, is the park warden, looking after the park and the residents who lives near by. He is there season by season and visits everyone. There is one window that does not open for Hugo when he knocks.

Over time, somebody looks out and Hugo makes it his mission to help them. However, it is Hugo who needs help after an accident involving a dog. Somebody finds Hugo and takes him home to help him heal.

This is an adorable story of friendship and patience for those who may be a bit shy. Hugo is thrilled when the little girl comes out and they can play together in the park. There is a very Parisian feel to the illustrations and they are a complete joy!

There’s a Lion in the Library by Dave Skinner, Illustrated by Aurelio Guillerey, Published by Orchard Books (Hachette)

A modern and hilarious twist on the cautionary tale of The boy who cried wolf. Little Lucy Lupin looks so sweet and innocent and no one believes she could possible lie. When she invents a tale of a lion in the library, everyone takes one look at her, and they then freak out!

Police, firemen and vets with nets come racing time after time, searching high and low for a lion- who they never find. When the staff of the library get together one evening, they realise Little Lucy Lupin has tricked them over and over. Vowing not to fall for her tricks again, they are ready when she yells “There’s a Lion in the Library”.

Bold and brightly coloured illustrations bring this funny story and its events to life. Little Lucy Lupin and her big fat lies get her into trouble of the fiercest kind. What could possibly happen to Lucy when she is caught out? Read on to find out.

All of these books will go in my special read aloud collection for school as they are all brilliant, colourful and fun!

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