Mini Picture Book Round-Up Review

Monday, April 4, 2022

 Occasionally, reading a picture book is just a fantastic way to chill out, or look at some good art, or learn something new. Sometimes it's all of the above. And when I receive picture books for review (thank you to the publishers!), I will sit down with my partner and we will read aloud to each other and it's lovely. So here are a couple of picture books that we have read recently in mini-review form! <3

Wombat Underground
Sarah L. Thomson
Illustrated by Charles Santoso
11th January 2022

This one is about the wildfires that Australia experienced in 2019 and 2020, and is based on stories of animals taking refuge in wombat burrows. The book is beautifully illustrated - and I mean beautifully. Each animal and all of the surrounding flora are lovingly depicted, and you can see each hair on the wombat, each quill on the echidna. Pair that with the spare, but still emotional story-telling, and this book is a winner. There's a little section at the end that answers a few questions about the books content, and I really appreciated that it was written out a little more there.
This book is fantastic, and I think fulfills all my needs in a picture book - beautiful, emotional, and also educational. A real winner.

10/10 wombats dozing underground.

(I received a review copy of this book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!)

Our Country: Ancient Wonders
Mark Greenwood & Frane Lessac
2nd February 2022

I was drawn to this one as I want to learn more about Australia this year and this seemed like a lovely picture book romp that might help me do that. Well, this was certainly educational. But I found it just wasn't really for me. Let me elaborate - each double-page spread talks about a different location, and gives a shorter, more picture-book-style narration, and then a larger more complex section going into a little more detail, and usually also a single sentence to describe basically what the location says about our country (for example, in an area talking about fossilised tracks, it refers to the fact that dinosaurs used to walk here).
This was good, but also kind of confusing in a way. It felt like it was trying to be three different books at once - each one for different levels of readers. While other readers may like this, I didn't really, and my partner and I kind of found ourselves struggling to read the book without getting sleepy (granted, we read this after a pretty long day, but still).
The illustration is really colourful and I loved how vibrant and saturated the whole book was. I also liked that the endpapers were maps, although I couldn't really find some of the locations spoken of on the map, which I found odd. The illustrations, whilst vibrant, were not really a style that I enjoy, and I found that also took me out of the book, along with the sometimes very specific, and sometimes very vague, story-telling.
All in all, not one I enjoyed, but still glad it exists.

5/10 old gumtrees.

(I received a review copy of this book from Walker Books in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and feelings are my own. Thank you!!)

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