This month we were thrilled to feature two hardcovers in the Picture Book Box. Both these very talented author/illustrators are from Australia.
The Fabulous Friend Machine by Nick Bland. A charming story about a very friendly chicken named Popcorn. She insists on greeting all the animals every morning on the farm and does her best to brighten everyone’s day. One morning she discovers a cell phone in the barn and low and behold she is able to say “hello” to all kinds of new friends. She spends so much time on her fabulous new friend machine that she begins to ignore her old friends. Popcorn decides it’s time to meet her fabulous new friends, but they don’t turn out to be so fabulous when she realizes they are wolves! This book tackles some important issues in an amusing way with lots of great extras in the wonderful illustrations. Nick claims to be colour blind and is a self-taught artist! He is the creator of the adorable Very Cranky Bear series. He lives in tropical Darwin, Australia, where he works as a guardian for 120 aboriginal boys who board nearby.
I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey. This story is such fun that if your kids are like my grandson, you will end up reading it several times in a row. I love Aaron’s animals with their big eyes full of expression and the clever rhyme easily brings on lots of giggles. All this poor porcupine wants is a hug, but all his friends take one look at his spikes and run in the other direction. Aaron was an actor and teacher before becoming an award-winning author/illustrator, best known for his Pig the Pug series (another favourite of mine) and the Bad Guys early chapter books. Aaron lives in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, with his wife and two sons.