Top 5 Books for Christmas 2011 – Children’s Picture Books


A Bus Called Heaven, Bob Graham, Candlewick Press

To my embarrassment, as I sit here now, I cannot recall the finer details of a long review which discussed A Bus Called Heaven in the recent edition of Magpies magazine – although I swear I did read it! – other than that it was positively received. Bob Graham’s talents are legendary (a children’s librarian once said to me she utterly adored him) and so I’m sure this is well worth a look.

A brief description from Walker Books:

A broken, old bus appears one morning, sad as a whale on a beach, right outside Stella’s house. On the front of it, held up with packing tape, is a hand painted sign… “Heaven”.

Look, a Book! Libby Gleeson & Freya Blackwood, Little Hare

Blackwood’s illustrations really shine in this simple but powerful story about giving ourselves permission, no matter setting or place, to allow our imaginations be swept away to magical places by books.

I want my hat back, Jon Klassen, Random House

Absolutely, without question, one of my favourite picture books of the year. My local librarian brought it up to me when it first came in and recommended I read it. I can see why. It’s smart and appeals to my sense of humour.

From Random House:

Told completely in dialogue, this delicious take on the classic repetitive tale plays out in sly illustrations laced with visual humor – and winks at the reader with a wry irreverence that will have kids of all ages thrilled to be in on the joke.

Again! Emily Gravett, Pan MacMillan

This is Riley’s favourite picture book at the moment. It’s a familiar tale for parents everywhere: a child wants a particular bedtime story told to them again and again and again and again. In this story, the child is a dragon and leaves a fiery surprise at the end.

All Around the World, Geraldine Cosneau, Tate Publishing

This might be good for those children interested in geography and different environments or who prefer their books to be a little more interactive as this one has large fold-out panoramas and 400 (!) reusable stickers. I picked it up at my local bookstore and am thinking of getting it for the kids to share as it is rather lovely.

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Karen Andrews is the creator of Karen Andrews. This is one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country and is a two-time finalist in the Best Australian Blogs competition. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Is an exercise junkie (when she finds the time).


  1. says

    “All Around the World” looks perfect for Heidi, she loves interactive books, although I worry she would tear the fold out pages. Worth a look though as she is a visual learner and this looks like a very visual book.
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