Moira Court: At the Dog Park

Illustrated by the author

Published by Fremantle Press, WA, 2020

My son and I have been going for long walks in the morning just about every day of the week. Our goal is to visit the lakes nearby and say hullo to the ducks and satisfy ourselves that all is well with them and their babies. On the way we pass two big parks, sometimes home to cricket, football or soccer games, but mostly we see people with their dogs. Fortunately, the parks are enclosed, and the dogs make the most of this by running around wildly chasing balls and each other. Like liquorice, there are all sorts, shaggy and smooth, fast and slow, black and white.

This picture book has an abundance of dogs in all shapes and sizes. They are wonderfully crafted out of paper. Moira Court is an artist who works in print making, creating her images using her own prints. The result is so life-like that you could name all the breeds if you were that clever.

Each double spread has an image of two dogs which have opposite attributes: one is noisy and the other is quiet, one is clean and the other is grubby, one is idle and the other is busy. They are placed on a green grassy background, but each double spread has a different kind of green texture, pattern and hue. An added reading bonus is that each couplet rhymes and you can hear the gentle rhythm of the text as you read it aloud.

I can highly recommend this picture book for children 2-4 years as well as for anyone who loves dogs and paper in equal amounts! Below are some of my favorite picture books about dogs:

Dogs by Emily Gravett

Charley’s First Night by Amy Hest Ilustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion Illustrated by Margaret B. Graham

It’s a Dog’s Life
by Michael Morpurgo
Illustrated by Patrick Benson

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Fetch by Jorey Hurley

The Detective Dog
by Julia Donaldson
Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Bob the Railway Dog
by Corinne Fenton
Illustrated by Andrew McLean

The Pocket Dogs by Margaret Wild Illustrated by Stephen M. King

Dog on a Train
by Kate Prendergast

The Perfect Guest by Paula Metcalf

McDuff and the Baby
by Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by Susan Jeffers

My Friend Fred by Frances Watts Illustrated by A. Yi

Charlie and Lola: A Dog with Nice Ears by Lauren Child

‘Let’s Get a Pup!” by Bob Graham

If You Give a Dog a Donut
by Laura Numeroff
Illustrated by Felicia Bond

Captain Sir Tom Moore: One Hundred Steps

Illustrated by Adam Larkum

Published by Puffin Books, Penguin Random House, London, 2020

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Christopher Reeve

This wonderful picture book is about Tom Moore and his pledge to walk 100 lengths of his garden before his 100th birthday to raise funds for all the NHS health workers in the UK. I remember seeing him on TV being knighted by the Queen and thinking that here were two people facing each other, similar in age, having witnessed and lived through almost 100 years of world history. One was royalty and the other an ordinary individual. Both, in their own ways, making and leaving their marks on the world.

Simply by walking, and declaring his intent to raise money, Tom Moore garnered the attention of the world, and reinforced the idea that you are never too old to have an adventure, make a difference and be the change that you would like to see.

In this picture book, the story of Tom’s life is told humbly, and with a sense of humour, and reflects a time gone by when the world was quite a different place. We learn about his love of cooking with his beloved mum and Tom’s passion for racing and riding motorbikes. Tom was 19 when WWII was declared, and he was sent to Burma when he joined up. Fortunately, Tom came home from the war and met Pamela, together they began the next stage of life’s adventures and soon had children of their own. There were many ups and downs, but family and love sustained him through it all. Even in his 90s, Tom made the trip to see Mt Everest, a long-held dream that finally became a reality for him.

Adam Larkum has illustrated this story with gentle humour and grace, enhancing the text and giving us an almost photographic glimpse of the world that Tom knew and lived. Scattered through the story are Tom’s pearls of wisdom:

“The first step is always the hardest, but unless you take that first step, you’ll never finish.”

You can do and be anything you want.”

“For those finding it difficult: the sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away. Remember that tomorrow will be a good day.”

I can highly recommend this picture book for children 4-8 years and below I have suggested other picture book biographies that have inspired me:

The Watcher by Jeanette Winter

On a Beam of Light
by Jennifer Berne
Illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky

One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Born to Fly by Beverley McWilliams Illustrated by Timothy Ide

Wednesday is Jim Day
by Catherine McLeod
Illustrated by Andrea Radley

So She Did: the Story of Mary Wirth by Simi Genziuk
Illustrated by Renee Treml

Miss Franklin by Libby Hathorn Illustrated by Phil Lesnie

Anne Frank by
Ma Isabel Sanchez Vegara Illustrated by Svetlana Dorosheva

The Little Stowaway
by Vicki Bennett
Illustrated by Tull Suwannakit

Ada’s Ideas by Fiona Robinson

What Miss Mitchell Saw
by Hayley Barrett
Illustrated by Diana Sudyka

Brush of the Gods by Lenore Look Illustrated by Meilo So

Marco Polo by Demi

Marie Curie by Demi

Ned Kelly by Mark Greenwood Illustrated by Frane Lessac

24819508. sx318
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Albert Namatjira
by Vincent Namatjira

Drover by Neridah McMullin Illustrated by Sarah Anthony

The Cat Man of Aleppo
by Irene Latham &
Karim Shamsi-Basha
Illustrated by Yuko Shimizu

Katrina Germain: Let’s Go Strolling

Illustrated by Danny Snell

Published by Little Book Press, 2018

One of the great pleasures of life is going for a walk. Whether you do it in company or alone, with music or without, in the sunshine or rain, all rugged up with coat and hat or cool and easy in shorts and t-shirt, there is something special about slowing down and following the rhythm of your own footsteps. The minutiae of the things around us call out for our attention as we wander by: blades of green grass, hovering butterflies, waving wattle on sturdy branches, lengthening shadows, busy birds and the different textures of bark on trees. We breathe more deeply and feel more connected to the world around us.

Let’s Go Strolling takes us on a walking expedition following a young dad and his small daughter. There is the wonderful routine of just getting out the door. Check the weather, yes, the sun is out. Shoes, bag, hat, teddy, tick! Into the stroller, out the door, let’s go! There is so much to see and name: a pussy cat, blue letterbox, butterfly, aeroplane, a cloudy sky, traffic lights, a mother duck and her babies.

Two big double page spreads wordlessly announce their arrival in the park and look, there’s mum with the little girl’s older brother. Together they explore the simple wonders of being outside: playing in the sand, swishing through the grass, catching the falling leaves, discovering a spider’s web and bird’s nest, counting rocks and resting quietly with mum. Soon, it’s time to go home and we notice all those things we saw on the way to the park, but this time in reverse!

When you read this story aloud, there is a gentle rhythm and rhyme to the words, much like the rhythm and rhyme of walking! This simple experience makes a great learning experience too. A trip to the park enriches vocabulary, relationship and sensory awareness.

The illustrations are simple and uncluttered, making it easy for young readers to match the text to the picture. And there is green grass everywhere, even on the end pages!

I can highly recommend this picture book for children 2-4 years and below are more suggestions for picture books that explore the joys of walking:

I Went Walking by
Sue Williams
Illustrated by
Julie Vivas
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt
by Michael Rosen
Illustrated by
Helen Oxenbury
Rosie’s Walk by
Pat Hutchins
Mr. Grumpy’s Outing
by John Burningham
Maisy’s Nature Walk
by Lucy Cousins
When We Go Walkabout
by Rhoda Lalara
Illustrated by
Alfred Lalara
A Walk in London by
Salvatore Rubbino
A Walk in Paris by
Salvatore Rubbino