For this post we've selected five picturebooks from the 50 we've reviewed in 2015, chosen for their brilliant combination of art, words, character and sheer joy that emanates in abundance from their pages.
Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb, published by Macmillan Children's Books
Lunchtime was one of our daughter's first picture books, and it remains a firm favourite. As with all of Rebecca Cobb's wonderful books, beautiful, distinctive illustrations are combined with a fun, well-told story. Here, a determined and imaginative girl is reluctant to interrupt her busy schedule and eat her lunch, only to find that three ravenous creatures (who fortunately think children taste revolting) are more than happy to eat it up for her. Lunchtime is a delicious winner, and it will always have a special place on our shelf. Our full review is here
Norris The Bear Who Shared by Catherine Rayner, published by Orchard Books.
It's a rare week when Catherine Rayner's wonderful creations don't feature during bedtime reading (we've also reviewed Smelly Louie and Solomon Crocodile). Her illustrations are stunning and the messages that underline her stories are those of adventure, fun and the value of persistence. This was the book that inspired our daughter to invent a song, "I see a Ploringe". Our full review is here
The Storm Whale by Benji Davies, published by Simon & Schuster UK
We're big fans of Benji Davies' work (we've also featured On Sudden Hill and Grandad's Island), and The Storm Whale remains our favourite of his work, its rain-soaked pages capturing a heartwarming tale of loneliness and friendship, set in a salty landscape of raw, wind-swept rocks and the cold beauty of the sea. Davies' immersive scenes feel like they've been frozen in time, his words are minimalist yet rich, and his characters as bright and memorable as Noi's and his father's yellow mackintoshes. Our full review is here
Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek, published by Walker Books
Petr Horacek's books are among our daughter's most requested. His distinctive, colourful and full of life animals and birds are vivid wonders to behold. Here, his illustration is combined with a charming story of Peter, a small puffin, separated by a storm from his best friend, Paul - a noisy, funny and colourful puffin. This is a highly satisfying adventure, filled with vistas created by sweeping brushstrokes, and a sweet, happy ending. It's a perfect depiction of the value of friendship and loyalty. Our full review is here
I Love You Night and Day Words by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Alison Brown, published by Bloomsbury Children's
This was one of the first books our toddler loved and our first ever review. It's a perfect example of a picture book where the words and illustrations are ideally matched. The comforting sentiments are sweet and true, the illustrations are full of life and movement, and the gentle rhyming helped our toddler read along to the story. Our full review is here
A few final remarks for 2015...
We launched www.booksmytoddlerloves.co.uk in June this year as a way of remembering some of the precious reading moments we've shared with our daughter and to help others discover a selection that we thought they would enjoy.
Since then, we've posted more than 50 reviews, received more than 11,000 visitors to our website, and met a community of readers through our Twitter account @books4mytoddler.
Thank you so much for your interest and wonderful feedback. See you next year!