Busy Bookworms' 10 Best Books of 2017

As the year comes to an end, we look back at some of the best new children’s books of 2017…Happy reading!

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Under the Love Umbrella Written by Davina Bell, illustrated by Allison Colpoys

This is ultimately a book about love, and about the people we love being there for us, even when we are not physically together. It depicts many different types of families going through life’s joys and challenges, sharing a common thread of devotion and support.

This beautiful book is perfect to begin reading from birth – babies and young children will love the gorgeous bright colour scheme and simple text, while older children will enjoy the challenge of finding the many umbrellas hidden throughout the book. The final page leaves readers with a question: “Who’s under your love umbrella?” – a wonderful springboard for discussion between parents and children.

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Storm Whale Written by Sarah Brennan, Illustrated by Jane Tanner

This lyrical rhyming story is a joy to read aloud – a simple tale of three sisters who find a beached whale and attempt to rescue it. The text is full of rich imagery of the seaside, and beautifully captures the feel of the sisters’ desperation in the midst of the summer storm. Both the language used and the realism of the illustrations have a classical, old-worldly feel that is not found in many picture books today, which tend to use simpler words and bright, stylized artwork.

While at first the language may seem too complex for 4-8 year olds, Storm Whale invites repeated readings, as parents and children can discuss and discover together the meaning of many wonderful new words.


Do Not Lick This Book Written by Idan Ben-Barak, Illustrated by Julian Frost

This is a fantastic book to introduce 3-7 year olds to the unseen world of microbes all around them. With the help of microscopic photos that enable readers to see incredible close-up images of fabric, skin and teeth, we gain an understanding of the millions of invisible microorganisms that populate our bodies.

Despite this seemingly serious subject matter, the book’s message of the importance of cleanliness and hygiene is delivered in a lighthearted, humorous way. The friendly germs have been illustrated by the artist who created the hugely popular Dumb Ways to Die animation, and their journey through the book is as interesting and entertaining for parents as it is for children.


One Thousand Trees Written & Illustrated by Kyle Hughes-Odgers

In this beautifully illustrated book, Frankie takes a journey in her mind, out of the dreary, barren city and into an immense forest where she can interact with the peaceful, nurturing trees. The magic of the book lies in its ability to transport readers along with Frankie, so we feel that we too are experiencing the woodlands in all their majestic beauty.

With very few words in the story, the pictures in this book succeed in creating a world that draws readers into a dreamlike connection with nature. Best suited for children aged 2-8.


The Sloth Who Came to Stay Written by Margaret Wild, Illustrated by Vivienne To

 Amy’s family is always in a rush, until the day she brings home a sloth she found in the park. The unhurried new houseguest shows Amy’s parents the delight of slowing down and taking the time to enjoy all the wonders that life has to offer them together as a family.

This gorgeous, richly illustrated book is a fantastic addition to the library of any 3-6 year old, and holds a timely message for parents to make sure they are not missing the everyday pleasures of life with young children.


Garcia & Colette Go Exploring Written by Hannah Barnaby, Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

While Garcia has his heart set on exploring the wonders of space, his friend Colette is determined to delve into the depths of ocean, to see what lies below. They go their separate ways, only to discover that their destinations actually have a great deal in common…but they both feel that something is missing.

This sweet, humorous story for 3-7 year olds teaches readers that embarking on adventures alone isn’t as exciting as journeying together.


I Just Ate My Friend Written & Illustrated by Heidi McKinnon

This hilarious book follows the challenging journey of a monster who, upon eating his only friend, discovers the difficulty of finding a new companion. Each creature he approaches is not interested in striking up a friendship, until he finally comes upon one who seems absolutely perfect…but things are not always as they seem!

Children aged 2-6 will love the twist at the end of this book. The striking illustrations are instantly appealing, and the simple text will make it easy for young audiences to join in with the reading.


The Scared Book Written by Debra Tidball, Illustrated by Kim Siew

As soon as this book discovers there are monsters in the story, it becomes too scared to continue the narration, and it asks for the readers’ help to rub away its goosebumps, blow away its butterflies and fan away the monster smell before it can carry on with the story.

This is great fun to read aloud - the interactive elements are a sure-fire hit with 2-6 year olds, and the lighthearted tone and humorous illustrations make this an excellent choice for kids who are scared of monsters. 


Danny Blue’s Really Excellent Dream Written & Illustrated by Max Landrak

Danny Blue lives in a world where everything is – as you might guess – blue. But what happens when Danny dreams of a new colour? How will he describe it? Can he create it? And how will people respond to this new colour, ‘Not-Blue’?

This is a whimsical tale of dreams and creativity. It shares a message of perseverance and thinking outside the box, and will be enjoyed by children aged 4-7.


Hugo Makes a Change Written by Scott Emmons, Illustrated by Mauro Gatti

 This is the tale of a vampire who, after years of eating only meat, accidentally mistakes an apple for a meatball one night when he’s out on the hunt. The delicious mistake opens up a whole new world of fruits and vegetables for him to try, and once he gives them a go, he finds these tasty treats also make him feel stronger and full of energy.

This is a colourful, humorous tale with a fantastic message, and would be perfect for fussy eaters aged 4-7.

NOTE: Busy Bookworms reviews the latest children’s books each month for My Child Magazine. This content originally appeared at www.mychildmagazine.com.au