picture books

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

A new release by Shaun Tan is always cause for celebration. I like how he isn’t afraid to explore fringes, or probe into the more unsettling or mysterious aspects of our lives, and does so with such superb execution. They aren’t ‘easy’ reads, and neither is this one, but older children and those who are advanced enough to appreciate the nuances won’t be disappointed.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket and Jon Klassen

This book was released earlier in the year, so we’ve read it already. Many times. Riley and I in particular are big fans, both of the power-duo of the creators and because they’ve managed to make the theme of overcoming fear, a familiar one in picture books, fresh and entertaining. Love it.

A Swim in the Sea by Sue Whiting and Meredith Thomas

Another book about overcoming fear/nerves, this one tells the story of Bruno’s first ever swim in the sea. A first encounter with the ocean can be a somewhat daunting experience, and given the time of year, many parents will understand and appreciate this tale and how it might be able to help overcome a child’s trepidation.

neil gaiman and lauren child

Ruby Redfort: Catch your Death by Lauren Child

Keira has made just one Christmas request, and this book is it. Ruby Redfort is an undercover agent, and a brilliant one at that. (Keira has a thing for spy stories.) Catch your Death is number three of a series, and is quite popular among her friends. And to be honest, any book that Keira wants to pick up voluntarily is okay by me. And Lauren Child as the author? Cherry on the top.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

This is exactly the kind of book I think would be great to be read aloud to the kids, as they both still enjoy me doing that. Here’s the synopsis:

You know what it’s like when your mum goes away on a business trip and Dad’s in charge. She leaves a really, really long list of what he’s got to do. And the most important thing is Don’t Forget to Get the Milk. Unfortunately, Dad forgets. So the next morning, before breakfast, he has to go to the corner shop, and this is the story of why it takes him a very, very long time to get back. Featuring: Professor Steg (a time-travelling dinosaur), some green globby things, the Queen of the Pirates, the famed jewel that is the Eye of Splod, some wumpires, and a perfectly normal but very important carton of milk.

Sounds like great, Gaiman-fun.


Karen Andrews is the creator of this website, one of the most established and well-respected parenting blogs in the country. She is also an author, award-winning writer, poet, editor and publisher at Miscellaneous Press. Her latest book is Trust the Process: 101 Tips on Writing and Creativity