A picture book every day

Author Archives: Melissa Gijsbers

theanimalcountdown-200The Animal Countdown by Frances Bacon is a gorgeous book. One thing that stood out is that, unlike most other counting books, it counts the numbers down from 10 to 1.

The book starts with an invitation to count down the number of animals playing in the sun, with each page dedicated to a different animal. The numbers are made with the animal they are talking about with a picture on the facing page of the animals playing in the sun.  The story ends with zero animals playing in the sun because they are all asleep.

The illustrations look like they have been made by sticking paper to make the pictures – I can’t remember the name of the artistic method (if anyone can help, please add a comment).

This is a simple, fun book that will help kids learn how to count down numbers from 10 to 1.

oldmacdonaldhadaband-200I had completely forgotten about today’s book, Old MacDonald Had a Band by Jane Cornish. Reading it, I couldn’t help but sing along.

This is a fun book that you can sing along to, with the tune of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”, instead of going through the different farm animals, this one goes through different instruments.

If your kids don’t already know about instruments, this is one way to introduce them to a few of them. The last page is a mini quiz about identifying instruments.

The illustrations are fun and colourful with pictures of different animals playing the instruments. This can bring on further conversations with kids – what animal is playing the flute? what instrument is the pig playing? and so on.

captainskillystrawler-200Captain Skilly’s Trawler by Martin Bailey is adventure on the high seas. Captain Skilly goes out fishing every day and eats his lunch, sharing the crumbs with the seagulls. This is the story about one day when things went a bit wrong.

This is a fun story and my kids enjoyed the seagulls coming to the rescue, and what Captain Skilly did afterwards. The only problem being they would want to feed the seagulls whenever we went to the beach – just in case!

The words follow the same rhyming format as the other Cocky’s Circle books, and the illustrations are fun, brightly coloured and simple/ The cover of the book we have isn’t as sharp as the pictures inside the story.

This was a fun book, but it wasn’t one of our favourites.

DiggyDog-200Diggy Dog by Martin Bailey is a book that brings back a lot of memories. It’s one of the first non-reader books Mr Z.

This is a fun story about a dog who loved to dig and would dig up the whole town, before finding the perfect home. I won’t give away the ending, only to say it is a happy one.

The text has a great rhythm to it, with every second line rhyming. The pictures are fun, showing all the chaos Diggy Dog causes with his digging as well as the different reactions of bystanders.

I don’t remember why Mr Z chose this book to learn to read, but he loved it and would read it to anyone who would sit still enough to listen!

sebastianthesportscar-200Sebastian the Sports Car by Ann Martin was a favourite book of Mr Z, my now 9 year old, when he was a preschooler. I think it was a mix of seeing the sports car splash in the puddle as well as the fact it has a cool car on the cover.

This book has a message for kids about not being proud, taking time and being careful. The illustrations are fun and detailed and I can remember spending time with Mr Z going through the book and looking closely at the pictures to add to the story.

The text has a wonderful rhythm to it and we had nearly memorised the book before Mr Z discovered something else.


davethedonkey-200I have been looking for a kids book about Easter for a while. I specifically wanted one that had nothing to do with bunnies or chocolate eggs. In desperation I turned to social media and posted asking if anyone could recommend a book. A recommendation came back quickly for Dave the Donkey by Andrew McDonough.

Dave the Donkey is a fun book that explains the Easter story to children through the eyes of the donkey who carried Jesus on Palm Sunday and his Grandpa.

The language is simple and the bright pictures bring the story to life. I enjoyed the idea of Jesus racing in to Jerusalem on the back on the donkey with robes flying.

The pictures also explained what happened at Easter without going in to any details that children or parents may be uncomfortable with.

If you are looking for an Easter story without eggs or bunnies, this is a great book to read.

Buy the Book:

Amazon.com – Dave the Donkey, An Easter Story (Cecil and Friends)

Amazon.com – Dave the Donkey, An Easter Story: Storytelling Kit (Show & Tell / Cecil and Friends)

letsplaycolours-200As you can probably tell from the picture, Let’s Play Colours by David Bedford & Leonie Worthington was a well loved book when my kids were small. This was given as a first birthday present for one of my kids (I think) and it came with another book in the same style.

The book is a simple story about Rabbit, Harriet and Wallace. Each double page spread has a different colour, complemented by gorgeous illustrations that are made of felt and other materials. The detail in these images is amazing. My kids loved watching how Wallace ended up with something that wasn’t quite as cool as the others, such as a blue hat with a hole in it. There is even a fun twist at the end.

One thing I loved about this book was the Australian spelling of “Colours” as most of the books about colours we have are from America and the spelling is different.

I keep trying to find these books again as I think they would make a great gift for a little person, but I haven’t found the… yet.