Young children's picture books

SQUARE EYES<br><b>Craig Smith &  Scott Tulloch<br></b><i>Scholastic
SQUARE EYES<br><b>Craig Smith & Scott Tulloch<br></b><i>Scholastic
Poor Panda has developed square eyes after watching too much TV so his Rastafarian bee friend decides an intervention is in order. Craig Smith (Wonky Donkey) serves up some good alternatives to watching TV here, which are humorously illustrated with Scott Tulloch's trademark animals.

The sing-along CD is great fun and is impossible not to dance along to. Ages: 2+.

THE FARMER IN THE DELL<br><b>The Topp Twins &  Jenny Cooper<br></b><i>Scholastic
THE FARMER IN THE DELL<br><b>The Topp Twins & Jenny Cooper<br></b><i>Scholastic

Another toe-tapping book/CD combo is The Farmer in the Dell, which reunites The Topp Twins and illustrator Jenny Cooper (She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain) for their fourth collaboration.

Expect enthusiastic Topp Twins hollering as well as lively illustrations from Cooper.

It's an oldie but a goodie and the sheet music at the back is a nice touch. Ages: 1+.

THE DINOSAUR THAT POOPED THE PAST!<br><b>Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter  & Garry Parsons</b><br><i>Random House
THE DINOSAUR THAT POOPED THE PAST!<br><b>Tom Fletcher, Dougie Poynter & Garry Parsons</b><br><i>Random House

The Dinosaur, who has previously pooped Christmas and a planet, now needs to poop the past so he, Danny and three dinos can travel forward to their own time again.

Luckily he filled up on Gran's cooking earlier!

It's gross but kids love it, and the mention of Greeks, Romans and Egyptians makes it practically educational. Ages: 2+.

AUNTIE ELLIE'S BEACH HOUSE<br><b>Raewyn Caisley  & Lisa Allen<br></b><i>Duck Creek Press
AUNTIE ELLIE'S BEACH HOUSE<br><b>Raewyn Caisley & Lisa Allen<br></b><i>Duck Creek Press

Leyla loves holidays at her Auntie Ellie's beach house and is devastated when she hears it will be sold.

But instead of dwelling on her loss (too much) Leyla celebrates her final night there and learns that what's really special about these holidays isn't determined by location.

This is a beautifully illustrated story, bound to stir childhood nostalgia. Ages: 3+.

WHALE IN THE BATH<br><b>Kylie Westaway  & Tom Jellett<br></b><i>Allen & Unwin
WHALE IN THE BATH<br><b>Kylie Westaway & Tom Jellett<br></b><i>Allen & Unwin

Bruno can't take his daily bath because there's a whale in it.

Only no-one believes him as he seems to have a bit of a history when it comes to ''seeing'' odd animals in odd places.

And, sadly for Bruno, whales need quite a long time in the bath. This is a fun, silly story illustrated with bright cartoony images. Ages: 2+.

GO HOME FLASH<br><b>Ruth Paul<br></b><i>Scholastic
GO HOME FLASH<br><b>Ruth Paul<br></b><i>Scholastic

Scruffy puppy Flash (Bad Dog Flash) is back and this time he wants a walk - badly.

Unfortunately his family aren't getting the message so the Houdini hound tries everything to get out.

Ruth Paul's short, simple rhymes work brilliantly and Flash is adorable. Highlights are Flash's doggy dream and his face when he finally gets a walk. Ages: 1-3.

TOTTIE AND DOT<br><b>Tania McCartney & Tina Snerling<br></b><i>Exisle Publishing
TOTTIE AND DOT<br><b>Tania McCartney & Tina Snerling<br></b><i>Exisle Publishing

Tottie and Dot are great friends and neighbours who love doing things side by side.

That is, until an ugly competitive streak emerges in the girls and they paint, decorate, renovate and landscape their houses to the point of disaster.

The illustrations are the real drawcard here, using collage, colour and flair to create a gorgeous book. Ages: 2+.

THE TOY FAIRY<br><b>Stephanie Thatcher<br></b><i>Duck Creek Press
THE TOY FAIRY<br><b>Stephanie Thatcher<br></b><i>Duck Creek Press

Dad warns Joe that if he doesn't put his toys away, the Toy Fairy might take them. But does he believe him?

Not until he sees for himself.

There are some nice lessons here for children about keeping their rooms tidy and also thinking about those who are less fortunate.

Some might find the concept a bit scary. Ages: 2+.

BEFORE AFTER<br><b>Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Aregui<br></b><i>Walker Books
BEFORE AFTER<br><b>Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Aregui<br></b><i>Walker Books

Before After is a simple concept that's executed brilliantly.

Without words, the stunning pictures show the before and after phases of easily understood ideas, such as caterpillars to butterflies, as well as more sophisticated concepts like a rocket and the moon, or detailed illustrations of changes in the weather, landscapes and seascapes.

Different ages and minds will bring something different to the discussion each time. A beautiful book. Ages: 2+.

WIN A COPY

The ODT has five copies of the imaginative and beautifully illustrated Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein & Matthias Aregui (RRP $29.99) to give away courtesy of Walker Books.

For your chance to win a copy, email helen.speirs@odt.co.nz with your name and postal address in the body of the email and ''Before After book competition'' in the subject line by 5pm on Tuesday, December 2.

LAST WEEK'S WINNERS

Winners of last week's giveaway, Emma by Alexander McCall Smith, courtesy of HarperCollins were: Lynette Brook, Marjorie Brown and Allan Wilson, all of Dunedin, Ann Hill, of Roxburgh, and Eleanor Timpany, of Timaru.

Laura Hewson is an ODT subeditor, and mother.

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