I want to highlight some truly lovely picture books that I have had the immense joy of reading recently. Luckily, some have arrived as physical copies, though I am still able to enjoy the books that arrive digitally as well.

Five More Minutes, written and illustrated by Marta Altés, published by Macmillan

An adorable story about Dad, raising two boisterous fox cubs. Time is always an issue- it either ticks by too quickly or drags on too slowly. Dad wants five more minutes of sleep, the cubs want more time to play yet at the end of the day, they are all happy to share five more minutes of storytime.

This book celebrates all that happens in the day of a parent and reminds us to share “five more minutes” of time with our children. I am in awe of Marta’s talents as both author and illustrator. The illustrations are gorgeously detailed and full of clues to the busy-ness of the home- from drawings on the wall and toys scattered along the floor. Reading this should remind us to slow down and enjoy moments together.

I Can Catch a Monster, written and Illustrated by Bethan Woollvin, Published by Macmillan.

Woollvin’s distinctive artwork fills the pages of this story of bravery and monsters. Bo is small but mighty, left behind by her brothers on their quest to catch a monster. Bo knows she “is smart and brave and strong” so she too goes in search of a monster.

Monster hunting takes a twist as Bo befriends monsters instead of hunting them, and we learn who the true monsters are towards the end of the story. Bo’s brothers learn never to underestimate the bravery of Bo and her incredible kindness towards monsters. There are so many positive messages to explore in this book.

Bloom, written by Anne Booth, illustrated by Robyn Wilson-Owen, published by Tiny Owl.

Bloom is the beautiful tale of a young girl, happy and thankful for the world around her. She is particularly fond of a pink flower near her school. She talks to it every morning until the man who owns the bloom chases her away.

When the flower starts to droop and lilt, the mans frustrations grow and he blames the gardener, lack of shade, not enough water. It takes him awhile to realise that the key to the flower blooming has been chased away. Finally seeking advice, it is not only the plant that comes back to life. A charming and endearing story full of stunning illustrations.

Animal Explorers, Lola the Plant Hunter. Written and Illustrated by Sharon Rentta, published by Scholastic.

Lola is “a bear on a mission”, determined to sail to the Amazon Rainforest in search of singing orchids. Her grandpa Reggie was an intrepid explorer and Lola wants to follow in his footsteps. She gets ready for her adventure, though all the Arctic animals think she is silly.

Her adventures are captured in her diary every evening just like her Grandpa. The jungle is loud, hot and full of amazing plants and animals. When a mudslide takes Lola and the jungle animals on a ride, she is pleasantly surprised to hear a special sound. Could it be she found the singing orchid after all? This adventure is just the beginning for Lola…where will she go to next? Colourful and delightful illustrations fill the pages!

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