Book Week is always a riot at The Book Bird. Small people scan the shelves for inspiration and launch into passionate speeches about ‘the bestest books ever‘, sharing grand ideas for costumes that are going to blow their mates away (and send Mum into an early retirement). So far this year, we’ve had an aspiring Sherlock Holmes, Friday Barnes, and Nit Boy visit the shop in preparation for today.
As booksellers, we love matching books to a theme. It’s an opportunity for us to flex our sizable bookselling muscles. So, here are our top recommendations for books on ‘Curious Creatures, Wild Minds’, this year’s theme for Book Week. Of course, these aren’t just books to discover during Book Week, but rather a handy guide to some beloved titles that unlock the imagination, encourage learning, and start meaningful conversations.
BOARD BOOKS (0-3 years old)
- Monster Clothes: These monsters are very curious creatures. They have names like Harriet and Simon and Pauline and Terrence, and they’re contending with the weird morning ritual of putting on clothes. For these little monsters, just like little humans, clothes are a bit difficult. Pauline puts her pants on her head, Cassie is intent on wearing her toy cars, and Evie – well Evie doesn’t know what she’s doing. This is a delightful new board book guaranteed to get some giggles.
- Let’s Count Wildflowers: We’re running with the ‘wild’ aspect of the theme here – wildflowers! Let’s Count Wildflowers by Tracey Gibbs is a captivating introduction to numbers and Australian native wildflowers. Introduce your budding naturalists to banksias, kangaroo paws, dessert peas and mulla-mullas by counting how many are depicted on each page. We love the bright, high-contrast design of this book, which will be great for training young eyes.
PICTURE BOOKS (3-6 years old)
- Be More Bernard: This is an absolute shop favourite. Bernard is a rabbit, but he’s not like all the other rabbits. Let’s just say he’s a little bit… curious. While all the other rabbits dream of carrots, Bernard dreams of disco. When the others hop, he bounces, and when they bounce, he hops. Bernard refuses to believe he’s the same as everyone else. And one day he decides it’s time to be more Bernard – no more conforming. Different, he decides, is good. Different stands out. Different is disco. Be More Bernard is a joyous celebration of individuality and being yourself.
- Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros: This is another celebration of breaking the mould, but told through a different set of eyes: those of a small rhinoceros. In this story by Australian author Meg McKinlay, a small rhinoceros is curious about the big world – not the small world of mud and grass and riverbanks, but the big world of oceans and skies and faraway lands. Despite being told that rhinoceroses don’t build boats and sail the seas, the small rhinoceros is determined to prove everyone wrong. The adventures that ensue will encourage young readers to aim high and test the limits of possibility.
JUNIOR FICTION (6-8 years old)
- The Wolves of Greycoat Hall: Anyone who’s had a chance to chat to us about The Bolds will know that we love books about animals trying to be posh. In this new junior novel by Lucinda Griffiths we meet Boris and his family, who are wolves. But they’re not just any old wolves – they’re high class, they’ve got taste. And so when they find out Scotland is reintroducing wolves into the forests they decide to holiday there… And book themselves into the exclusive Highland Hotel. No woodlands, no forests, no camping for them! Delicious funniness about being a little bit… unexpected.
- Mermaid School: Mermaid School?! Need we say more? This is a heartwarming new chapter book series about Marnie Blue, a little mermaid who is starting school and is absolutely terrified. We all know that school is a wonderful place for curious minds, but at first it can be a pretty scary place. That’s exactly what Marnie Blue is dealing with: school blues. What if, for instance, she’s asked to ride a seahorse? And what if she doesn’t make any friends? This is a great junior series for the mermaid lovers out there that also tackles themes of starting school, anxiety, and bravery. And if they love the first one, there’s more!
MIDDLE FICTION (8-12 years old)
- The Midnight Guardians: There have been some stunning new releases in middle-grade fantasy lately, but The Midnight Guardians is a standout. Set during the London Blitz in WWII, Cole must rescue his sister with the help of his imaginary friends – a tiger, a badger and a knight – who may or may not be so imaginary after all. A blend of historical and fantasy fiction, The Midnight Guardians is ultimately about the power of hope. This is a great entry-point for readers interested in different historical and geographical settings, and the importance of learning history.
- Malamander: Sea-monsters are strange beings. They’re frightening, especially when they may have something to do with the disappearance of your parents. This is the story of Violet, who needs the assistance of Herbert Lemon, a professional Lost-and-Founder. Herbert returns things to their owners, and Violet happens to have lost her folks in the small seaside village where the Malamander lives… beautifully written, Malamander is about fear and judgement and assumptions. And again, if your young readers love this one, there’s a second.