Mr. Duck Means Business by Tammi Sauer and Jeff Mack

Mr. Duck enjoys a quiet, structured life in the serene pond where he lives alone, and has a rigid schedule that he follows religiously every morning, right down to the precise time when he would: 1) stretch his wings; 2) fluff his feathers; and 3) glide across the perfectly still water. And that’s just the way he likes it — at least, that’s what he thinks.

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One Too Many by Gianna Marino

Gianna Marino‘s stunning gouache art takes centre stage in this almost-wordless seek-and-find counting book set in the barnyard. Designed for slightly older kids, the reader should have no trouble using his/her own observation and deduction skills to drive the simple but amusing storyline in this book, where every turn of the page sees not only the introduction of a new animal around the water trough where all the action takes place, but also more and more animals, i.e. one flea, two cows, three horses, five sheep, etc. Continue reading

Where’s Tim’s Ted? It’s Time for Bed! by Ian Whybrow and Russell Ayto

There’s something particularly endearing about farm animals that lend themselves well to starring in children’s books — although, I suppose a big part of it is stems from the fact that they are mostly non-threatening herbivores who have no desire to eat people!

In Where’s Tim’s Ted? It’s Time for Bed!, the eponymous young protagonist’s bedtime routine hits a snag when neither he nor his grandparents can find his teddy bear, Ted, anywhere in the house. As a result, Tim — like most children who are reliant on a comfort object during bedtime — is unable to fall asleep.

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Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

At some point in life, one comes to the realisation that sometimes, it’s not just about what you know, but also who you know. Thus, nurturing good relationships with the people you meet is always a good idea, especially since you never know when you’ll need their help.

Case in point: the eponymous protagonist in Little Blue Truck, who takes time to exchange friendly greetings — “Beep!” — with all the various animals he meets along the way.

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Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Farm

As the title of the book hints, this isn’t your run-of-the-mill book on farm animals, even though its basic content — characteristics of the different farm animals and the sounds they make, all written in rhyme — echos that of one.

Well, don’t be fooled.

Instead of regular pages, every page of Flip Flap Farm has been split into two horizontally; and because the book has been so well thought-out and executed, both the text as well as the animal illustration on each spread have been laid out and drawn such that they are neatly divided into two.

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Tillie Lays an Egg by Terry Golson and Ben Fink

These days you read about celebrities who try to cash in on their fame by “writing” (often “co-writing” with the actual writer) a children’s book or two. I can see why people think it’s easy to make a children’s book, but the truth is, truly great children’s books can take years to germinate and a lot of effort to produce — which also explains why there are thousands of bad/mediocre titles out there that don’t read well; are style over substance; are let down by either the text or the images; are pointless copycats of classics (or worse, each other); exist to sell character merchandise; or are just plain uninspired.

It’s a rare thing, thus, to discover a thoroughly sincere and original book with a subject matter that is clearly close to the author’s heart. But that’s exactly what Tillie Lays An Egg is: a labour of love.
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