finding winnie

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and Sophie Blackall

Sometimes, the stories behind books are as fascinating — or even more so — than the books themselves, as is the case for Finding Winnie, when two stranger-than-fiction real-life sequences of events — an army veterinarian buying a baby bear off a trapper at a train station, and a little boy’s unusual friendship with a certain grown bear at the London Zoo — collide to result in the creation of one of the most beloved literary characters ever written: Winnie the Pooh.

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The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond

Nature is fascinating in itself, but this doesn’t always carry across in non-fiction books that are purportedly written for young children, but which are bogged down by dull text and dry facts. Thankfully, we seem to be in a golden age of picture books, where even non-fiction works are increasingly becoming as readable and aesthetically pleasing as their fiction counterparts — and a shining example of this renaissance is The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond.

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The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sis

Today Antoine de Saint-Exupery‘s name is synonymous with his most famous legacy: the small but mighty novella Le Petit Prince, which has been translated into over 250 languages and is one of the best-selling books ever published. For anyone else, such an achievement would probably be the highlight of their lives, so it speaks volumes that Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince) was but a footnote in Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s incredible life.

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Picturebook Biographies on Artists

The recent trend of high-quality picturebook biographies is one that I hope will continue, since there’s nothing more edifying than learning about the inspiring lives of real people. These artists’ biographies are particularly apt for the picturebook medium since their life’s work is pictorial by nature. The authors and illustrators of these books have also done a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the artists and their unique visions.

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

To describe this book as ‘lovely’ or ‘NICE’ would be understating it, to put it mildly. Thankfully, there’s also ‘marvellous’, ‘awe-inspiring’, ‘breathtaking’, ‘remarkable’… — just a few examples of the more than a dozen more accurate words that may be used to convey the accomplishment that is this non-fiction picture book.

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