Eric, The Boy Who Lost His Gravity by Jenni Desmond

Life with siblings isn’t all cookies and cream, so to speak. After all, the flip side of anyone spending so much time together is that there’re bound to be instances of bickering, petty quarrels or fights, which is normal. What’s more important is not allowing whatever negative emotions that are riding high in that moment to linger long enough to cause any real damage. And this, essentially, is the gist of Eric, The Boy Who Lost His Gravity, which is almost uncanny in its depiction of sibling rivalry.

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Oliver by Birgitta Sif

Introverts have it tough. Sadly, since the world is made up of a greater percentage of extroverts who make it harder for quieter voices to be heard and understood, anyone who doesn’t quite fit the outgoing, social-butterfly mould is often ostracised for being ‘shy’, ‘a loner’, or just plain weird — and made to feel almost apologetic for being the way they are. For kids, especially, it can be hard to feel — and/or be teased for being — different, especially since it’s so much easier to blend in and be (or pretend to be) the same as everyone else. These are the kids who should read Oliver.

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Applesauce by Klaas Verplancke

Most picture books for kids tend to give a rosy-lensed and idealised vision of parents. And while these are feel-good and sweet, and reassure the child of his/her parents’ love, we all know that as much as most parents strive to be ever chirpy, patient, encouraging, nurturing, loving, etc, there are just times when kids push all the wrong buttons and send us right over the edge, causing otherwise benevolent parents to do or say things that they don’t mean to and later regret.

Perfect parents and kids hardly ever exist in real life: there are good days and bad days. Thus it’s rare to find a book such as this that doesn’t try to patronise kids and their parents by whitewashing the reality that parents are only human — imperfect and flawed.

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Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky

There are many alphabet books out there, but none that we’ve read so far have incorporated a credible storyline nor been as funny as this one. The premise of Z Is for Moose is an alphabet theatrical production run by the zebra, who seems to double up as both an actor and the stage manager of sorts. Thus, the animal/person/object representing each letter is introduced alphabetically onstage.

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What Do I Look Like? by Nick Sharratt

What Do I Look Like? is a very slim book that is useful as a tool to help very young toddlers to learn to read facial cues, and understand their own feelings/emotions, as well as those of others.

The book uses the format: “When ____________ (a particular scenario described and illustrated), I look like this” followed by a half-page flap that the reader flips to reveal a closeup of the boy’s reaction, which can easily be elaborated on to help the child understand what the boy is feeling, and why.