For the littlies: New picture books from Graeme Base and Marc Martin

Max by Marc MartinMax by Marc Martin
Viking  RRP: $24.99

–          Australian author and illustrator

–          Sentimental story about friendship and change

–          Unique, retro inspired  illustrations

For more information visit Penguin Books Australia

Marc  Martin is the creator of one of my family’s all time favourite books – The Curious Explorer’s Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals A to Z – so I was already inclined to welcome Max enthusiastically into our library before I’d even read it.   Max is a very different book, but equally delightful, with unique, retro-inspired illustrations (a little like an old school Golden Book) and a gentle story about friendship that works on a few levels to engage different ages.

Max is a cheeky seagull who lives on the end of a pier.  Max helps out in Bob’s fish and chip shop;  he keeps Bob company and greets the customers as they arrive.  Bob gives Max a few chips at the end of each day, before they head down the pier together and go fishing.  One summer, though, everything changes when Bob closes the chip shop.  Max waits and waits, but Bob doesn’t return, so Max takes to the sky to try and find his old friend.   The narrative addresses issues of change and loyalty.  It can be interpreted as a seagull’s little adventure, or in a deeper sense about long term love and friendship.   Either way,  Max rewards being read over and over, allowing children to explore the complex illustrations as well as the deceptively simple story.


Graeme Base - Little Bug Books Little Bugs Books series by Graeme Base
Puffin  RRP: $9.99 each

–          Bestselling author of Animalia and other favourites

–          Gently educational about animal families 

–          Interactive illustrations, fun for pre-readers

For more information visit Penguin Books Australia  

Graeme Base has created some of the world’s best loved picture books, including Animalia and The Eleventh Hour.   This new series of four titles is aimed at very young readers,  offering simple education about animal behaviour and habitats alongside interactive illustrations.    Little Bug Books have sturdy hard covers and fold out pages that reveal different aspects of animal life.   They invite playful reading where a parent might engage little ones in a game: ‘What does a cow say?  A cow says moo!’   The pictures are beautiful, but nowhere near as complex as Base’s usual elaborate illustrations, making it easy for youngsters to identify realistic looking animals within naturalistic environments.

Having said that, there is an added bonus for observant kids in every Little Bugs Book:  a little bug!  A sneaky little bug hides on each page – can you see him?  My whole family, including the older children who are well beyond such simple books, took enormous pleasure in finding the colourful but well-hidden little bugs.  Some pages even had the adults of the household stumped!

These books work well individually or as a set.  They’d make lovely new baby gifts or sight word practice for early readers.   The series includes:  Cows Say Moo; Pigs Have Piglets; Birds Fly; and Monkeys Live In Trees.

With thanks to the publishers for my review copies of these books

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