International picture books for young children

Helen Speirs reviews the latest international picture books for young ones.

Leo Timmers
Gecko Press

Gus the pig is a bit of a hoarder. At his garage, he has "some bits and bobs'' for any job his customers might require. Whether it's a bigger seat for Rico the rhino's scooter, or a madcap contraption to keep Gina the giraffe warm as she pokes out of the top of her little VW, Gus finds a solution, but does he have the right materials left to fix his problem? This is another imaginative invention from the Belgium author illustrator. Ages 3+.


Penny Morrison & Gabriel Evans
Walker Books

Captain Sneer certainly talks the talk in front of his motley crew: "I'm rough and tough. I'm brave and bold. I sail the seas for gold, gold, gold.'' But when the weather turns it's a different matter: "Arrr! The sea is wild and so's my tummy. I musn't panic, I want my . . .'' This is a hilarious pirate story from Australia, with rhyming text and stunning rich pencil and watercolour illustrations. Ages 3+.


Jon Klassen
Walker Books

This is the last in a trilogy by Californian author illustrator Jon Klassen but works perfectly well in its own right. Two turtles find a hat but there is a problem: "There is only one hat. And there are two of us.'' Gorgeous simple illustrations with a Wild West look and large text are a perfect combination for this story (told in three parts) that puts friendship to the test, and finds it comes up trumps. I love everything about this book. Ages 3+.


Dorothee de Monfreid
Gecko Press

This lovely French book introduces us to the world of canine breeds and their daily activities, which are surprisingly like those of humans, involving washing, dressing, going to school, work, the doctor, making trips around town and to the country . . . Rather than a story, themed headings and names of objects combine with lively pictures to create plenty of scope for looking, learning and discussion at various levels. Reminiscent of Richard Scarry. Ages 2+.


Kate Pankhurst
Bloomsbury/Allen & Unwin

From fashion designer Coco Chanel to author Jane Austen, young diarist Anne Frank to scientist Marie Curie, pilot Amelia Earhart to suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst (the author is a descendant), this book charts some of the women and girls who have left their mark on the world. Pages are packed with story boards and snippets of information. Great girl-power reading! Ages 5+.

Helen Speirs is ODT books editor.

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