This year has been a memorable one for some wonderful and not so wonderful reasons. But putting the state of the world aside, our family has been blessed with a new addition, while we’ve also been lucky to enjoy a new home that we’ve been renovating since just before last Christmas.
And the world of children’s books is significantly richer than a year ago, thanks to shelves of magical, wise and inventive new reads, from both established authors and illustrators and exciting new talent.
With everything going on at Chez Bookworm, we’ve not had as much time to plough through our book pile in 2019 – and there is still a large stack for us to read and review. But we’ve enjoyed plenty of gems and picked out 15 titles that were favourites for either Baby Bookworm, his new brother or his parents, whether due to a captivating story, for putting a smile on our faces or for doing something a little bit new and different.
In no particular order, here’s our pick of the best newly published books of 2019 – please do let us know which were your favourites and any we might have missed!
1. Molly’s Moon Mission by Duncan Beedie. £6.99 (paperback), Templar
Ever dreamed about travelling to the Moon? Molly the Moth has – but she’s determined to make her dream come true, even though her wings are tiny and she’s not completely sure of the way.
This delightful new book by Duncan Beedie has a wonderful message about never giving up and has lots of humour, as Molly mistakes light bulbs, street lamps and lighthouses for her ultimate destination. We love Duncan’s funky artwork too and there are lots of little nods to the space race between the USSR and USA too. Available from Amazon
2. The Dinosaur Department Store by Lily Murray and Richard Merritt. £6.99 (paperback), Buster Books
When dino-loving Eliza Jane demand a prehistoric pet of her own for her fourth birthday, her reluctant parents bravely agree – and take her on a bonkers trip to the Dinosaur Department Store.
Here flamboyant owner Mr Magisaurus gives them a tour of his collection of hadrosaurs, sauropods and ankylosaurs, but Eliza-Jane declines to take one home – leading to a fabulous twist in the tale. Not only is it huge fun but it smashes a few stereotypes and has some important messages for kids too. Available from Amazon
3. The Fate of Fausto by Oliver Jeffers. £16.99 (hardback), HarperCollins Children’s
The bestselling storyteller and artist has created a stunning modern-day fable about a man who believes he owns everything and his sticky end. Created using traditional lithographic printing techniques, it is designed to appeal to both adults and children.
It’s vintage Oliver Jeffers – simple and complex, classic and modern, all at once. And proof that picture books can be works of art as well as entertainment. Available from Amazon
4. Baby’s First Jailbreak by Jim Whalley and Stephen Collins. £6.99 (paperback), Bloomsbury
Mini mastermind Baby Frank is back for a witty and wacky follow-up to the brilliant Baby’s First Bank Heist, leading a rescue mission to free the animals from a rival zoo owned by spoilt brat Bruce.
Like the previous title, this comedic caper’s got a snappy rhyme, surreal humour and amusing artwork to boot. Plenty of LOLs guaranteed. Available from Amazon
5. Chatterbox Bear by Pippa Curnick. £12.99 (hardback), Hodder
Gary loves to talk but his fellow bears are tired of his incessant chatter. So he jumps in his dingy and lands on an island inhabited by birds who like a conversation just as much – if only they spoke the same language!
This funny and warm story has a lovely message about how communication isn’t just about words and how who can find friends anywhere. Pippa Curnick’s vividly coloured illustrations are joyous and we love the amusing eyebrows that Gary’s feathered friends adopt to speak with him. Available from Amazon
6. Don’t Tickle The Hippo by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Ana Larranaga. £12.99 (board book), Usborne
This tactile sound book combines the joys of Usborne’s That’s Not My series with lots of amusing animal noises, as your child makes parrots squawk and bears growl by touching their fur and feathers.
Its been a huge hit with both Baby Bookworm and his little brother, and a real joy to see them enjoying the story together at bedtime. A perfect gift for babies through to preschoolers. Available from Amazon
7. Billy and the Dragon by Nadia Shireen. £6.99 (paperback), Puffin
Sassy Billy and her cool companion Fatcat return for another comedic adventure in this follow up to last year’s brilliant Billy and the Beast. This time our heroine with the glorious hair has to save her feline friend from a dangerous dragon who snatches him from a fancy dress party.
But as Billy scales a mountain to try and snatch her pal from his fire-breathing captor, she spots a lost baby dragon – and realises the catnapping is a case of mistaken identity. As with all of Nadia Shireen‘s books, this story is quirky, witty and has strong messages about friendship. Available from Amazon
8. This Little Piggy by Jarvis. £6.99 (board book), Walker
The traditional nursery rhyme gets a funky twist from master illustrator Jarvis (the man behind our favourite Pick a Pine Tree and Tropical Terry), with ten little piggies helping your child count to ten.
The artwork is a colourful delight while the text is surreal and amusing, with piggies playing bongos, doing keep fit and soaring through the sky like superheroes. The sister title – a colour primer based on Mary Had A Little Lamb – is an equal joy, but we could only pick one. Available from Amazon
9. Baby 101: Economics for Babies by Jonathan Litton, illustrated by Thomas Elliott. £5.99 (board book), Caterpillar Books
The Baby 101 books – a non-fiction series to answer your tiny child’s burning questions about life and the world around them – have been a surprise hit with Baby Bookworm recently. And this 2019 title about economics feels especially timely given the current state of the country.
It is isn’t just a worthy tome – this is education made entertaining and you might find you learn something yourself during bedtime stories. Available from Amazon
10. I Really Want To Win by Simon Philip and Lucia Gaggiotti. £6.99 (paperback), Templar
I Really Want The Cake is an all-time favourite bedtime story Chez Bookworm and this follow-up does not disappoint. This time round, our conflicted heroine and her faithful pup are desperately trying to win at sports, dancing and spelling, but keep getting pipped to the post by a red-headed frenemy.
Featuring a catchy rhyme and fun Manga-esque artwork, this is a book that you’ll enjoy read after read. It also has a wonderful message about playing to your strengths and being gracious in defeat – and a rather spectacular cake at the end, too. Available from Amazon
11. Let’s Explore With Ted by Sophy Henn. £6.99 (board book), Bloomsbury
We adore all things Sophy Henn in our house and this adventure-filled instalment in the charming Ted board book series has been read on repeat since it was published back in April.
The story is simple and repetitive so little ones can join in, with full page flaps to lift and reveal Ted travelling to all manner of exciting places and meeting everyone from jungle-dwelling leopards to slippery seals in the snow. Available from Amazon
12. Oi Puppies! by Kes Gray and Jim Field. £12.99 (hardback), Hodder
The joke keeps going and is as funny as ever in the fifth (!) title in this bestselling series about a frog, a dog, a cat and a load of silly seating scenarios.
This time round, the dog is minding a pack of badly trained pups who just won’t sit anywhere. Can our trio find a way to get Jock, Buster and Tiddle to follow their command? You bet they can – and the results are a tongue-twisting, hilarious riot. Available from Amazon
13. The Colour Monster Goes To School by Anna Llenas. £6.99 (paperback), Templar
We all go to school – but when you’ve yet to start, how do you know what it is? In this second title in the Colour Monster series, our charming little chap has lots to learn as he becomes a classroom fixture with his friend Nuna.
There’s plenty of humour to this tale, as Colour Monster eats the storybooks and hogs the swings, showing children that it is okay to throw yourself into the experience, even if things go a little wrong. The artwork is huge fun too. We love Spanish author-illustrator Anna Llenas’s funky combo of childlike drawings and scrapbook-style collage. Available from Amazon
14. Tad by Benji Davies. £12.99 (hardback), HarperCollins Children’s
Tad is the smallest tadpole in the pond but despite her size, she has a big brave heart and is determined not to be caught by the Big Blub. But when her tadbrothers and tadsisters start to get bigger and leave her behind, Tad worries she will be left all alone in dark.
This tale about growing up, thinking big and staying strong is another heartwarmer from The Storm Whale author Benji Davies, offering equally cinematic artwork and drama, as well as a subtle education on the evolution of tadpoles into frogs. Available from Amazon
15. Beast Feast by Emma Yarlett. £10.99 (hardback), Walker
This tasty tale has three key ingredients that make it so moreish – a funny but touching storyline, amazing artwork and clever interactivity in the form of letters to open and read.
Beast is ever so pleased to have captured Dinner and invites his monstrous pals over for a feast, sending each one an invite. As their replies come in, Dinner uses his wiles to win Beast round and escape his dreaded fate – becoming a guest at the party instead of the meal. Available from Amazon
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