Book review: Animal Opposites by Petr Horáček and other children’s books about creative creatures

Animal Opposites by Petr Hor�'ek and other children's books about creative creatures
Animal Opposites by Petr Hor�'ek and other children's books about creative creatures

Big is beautiful in Petr Horáček’s amazing new picture book… but so too is small, heavy, light, fast, slow, weak and strong!

Animal Opposites features a brilliantly inventive pop-up introduction to the whole concept of opposites from award-winning artist Horáček. Turn the pages, lift the flaps and discover the magic as animals of all shapes, sizes and colours bring to life creatures of every size, colour and shape.

From a slow snail to a fast cheetah, a heavy hippo to a light butterfly, a smooth frog to a prickly porcupine, Czech-born Horáček’s pop-up animals encourage early literacy, language and communication.

Spectacular illustrations in a simple but effective pop-up format make every page a journey of discovery on the road to learning about the diversity and strange quirkiness of not just the animal kingdom but all life’s opposites.

Animal Opposites is a robust, hard-wearing and innovative book and a bright, bold and interactive introduction to the fun of learning…

(Walker, hardback, £10.99)

Things You Never Knew About Dinosaurs by Giles Paley-Phillips and Liz Pichon

As the father of two young sons, award-winning author Giles Paley-Phillips knows a thing or two about books for fun-loving children.

His perfectly pitched picture book, The Fearsome Beastie, won The People’s Book Prize last year and will soon be transformed into a CG Short Animation film, starring Alison Steadman and Brian Blessed, produced by Slurpy Studios and UCA.

Here he unleashes his poetic talents on a bunch of daredevil dinosaurs who are doing things you never thought possible. On every street in every town, maybe next door to you, dinosaurs are getting stuck into the most outrageous adventures… like roller skating, dancing the Highland fling, starring in the movies and sailing the seven seas! Turn the pages, enjoy the ride and discover the scary thing that dinosaurs love to do most!

Paley-Phillips’ addictive rhyming text is brought to life by the wacky, wonderful illustrations of Liz Pichon, creating a delicious dinosaur romp that will have your little ones joining in the verse and begging for the story over and over and over again.

A dead cert bedtime story favourite…

(Meadowside Picture Books, paperback, £5.99)

Too Many Hats by Hilda Offen

And how about a charming and timeless story to capture the hearts and minds of children just starting to read alone?

Too Many Hats, a My First Reader book with pictures on every page, comes from the pen of Hilda Offen, a popular author and prolific children’s book illustrator who has been shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, and from the stable of Troika Books, a new independent children’s publisher run by Martin West.

Star of the show is the adorable Princess Paloma who would like to have a pet more than anything in the world. Unfortunately for the little royal, it’s strictly No Pets Allowed at the palace so imagine how thrilled she is when a big furry cat jumps though her window. Paloma calls her new pet Hattie, or Hat for short, but disaster strikes when Hat disappears. What a commotion there is in the palace so thank goodness that Peter the Laundry Boy is on hand to save the day.

Too Many Hats, with its large, clear, simple text, comes with an enchanting fairy tale element, a cast of funny, eccentric characters and plenty of lively illustrations to add momentum to the story.

A perfect introduction to the magical world of reading…

(Troika Books, paperback, £4.99)