Australian publisher Walker Books produces consistently high-quality children's books.
This one by Canadian illustrator Kate Wilkinson and Canadian-born author Elizabeth Pulford (who now lives in Waikouaiti) is no exception.
The action takes place at night, as little Michael discovers he can't find his bedtime companion, Monkey Moon, in any of his favourite places.
Worried Monkey might be frightened without him, Michael and his father go to the dark park to look for him.
A simply told tale about the perennial bedtime/night-time fears, with exquisite and atmospheric acrylic paint illustrations.
In contrast, Australian author/illustrator Bob Graham's book celebrates the light of day.
The book begins as the sun's first rays burst forth from behind a mountain peak to light up a snowscape complete with polar bears.
We follow the sun as it journeys across the sky, shining over a fisherman, a whale, plane passengers, city dwellers and desert nomads, before it streams in Coco's window for the start of her day.
A simple story, beautifully realised, with dreamy evocative pictures, that presents lots of opportunity for discussion.
This Australian book has a bit of a dark side. Mr and Mrs Cripps own a little dog, but he is unwanted and unnamed and calls himself ''Sad''.
Sadly, his talents for creating artworks in the garden (aka digging), singing wonderful songs (aka yapping), and reading the newspaper (aka ripping up the pages) aren't appreciated.
Things get even worse when the Cripps move house, leaving the dog behind.
But a new day brings a new family and finally opportunity for larks, laughter and love, and a new name.
The beautiful, realistic illustrations capture the emotion and complement the thought-provoking text.
This is another book about being lonely, by UK author/illustrator Tom McLaughlin.
Franklin is a little boy who is known as The Cloudspotter.
Having few friends, he finds solace in the clouds, where he can see vehicles, animals and have ''adventures in the sky''.
But a ''bothersome'' Scruffy Dog has other ideas.
This is a lovely book about friendship and the power of the imagination.
The pictures are simple but colourful, and children will enjoy finding the variety of shapes in the clouds.
Poor Magnus the dog, try as he might, he just can't fit in.
He is just too big! It takes his whole family the strength to walk him at the park, he drinks the swimming pool dry, eats the butcher out of meat, and causes traffic jams - but none of it's really his fault, he's often only trying to be helpful.
Then one day an emergency unfolds and it's Magnus to the rescue.
A charming book by this UK author/illustrator, complete with beautiful natural-coloured drawings, that will teach children about appreciating individuality.
Wellington's Gecko Press translates and publishes what it calls ''curiously good books'' from around the world. This book also focuses on an animal who stands out.
Elephant invites a little boy to play hide and seek, warning him: ''I'm very good.''
The little boy ''plays along'' trying to find the giant animal which cannot hide to save itself!
When the game finishes, another creature suggests an equally absurd one for its characteristics.
This is a gorgeous take on childhood games by UK author/illustrator David Barrow.
It's a case of animals, animals everywhere in Swedish-born German-domiciled illustrator Ole Konnecke's large-format board book.
Here we find common and lesser-known animals from throughout the world in a variety of habitats on different continents - plus a two-page spread of sea creatures.
Packed pages reminiscent of Richard Scarry will provide hours of discovery and discussion for a range of ages.
A brilliant resource.
From the United States comes this whimsical tale, which is an ode to the humble book.
It decries the ''buttons, bonus levels or sounds'' associated with digital technology, instead ''the friends of fact and fiction make believe all night long under the milky stars of possibility''.
Some of the drawings have a Maurice Sendak feel to them, and the book is likely to appeal to young and older readers alike.
Canadian illustrator Isabelle Arsenault makes learning the Nato phonetic alphabet as simple as - well - ''Alpha, Bravo, Charlie'' in this simple but effective book on the internationally recognised code used be emergency services and others.
A great home and school resource that is bound to have wide appeal.
• Helen Speirs is ODT books editor.