Top Ten Picture Books of 2008

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Nothing beats a good picture book. We remember the ones we loved as children and we remember the ones our children loved. We remember the ones we loved reading to our children. They teach rhythm, rhyme, counting, sorting, matching and simple words. They assuage early fears and they tickle an early sense of humour. Here are Bookbag's favourite from 2008 - in no particular order! Why not tell us about your favourites?


Big Blue Train by Julia Jarman and Adrian Reynolds

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Ben and Bella are off on another adventure and this time they're in the big blue train. They're on their way to the seaside and as they steam through the countryside all their animal friends want to join them. Will they all manage to climb aboard big blue train? It's a splendid book full of excitement and movement which will delight any child in the the three- to six-year old age group. Full review...

The Scallywags by David Melling

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A delightful and refreshing story where important ideas are deftly handled. Children will love the story line, where the wolves try to improve their manners and adults will love the verbal and visual puns which litter every page. Full review...

Stick Man by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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Stick Man is a very lucky stick, living with his Stick Lady Love and their three small sticks. However, one day he goes out for a jog and becomes caught up in many precarious events. He becomes a toy for a dog, a pooh-stick, nesting material and even firewood. Things go from bad to worse and it looks like Stick Man will never find his way home. Full review...

Manfred The Baddie by John Fardell

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Manfred is a baddie. There can be no doubt about that. There he is, with his gang of henchmen, breaking into a house whilst one of the men keeps a lookout. Brilliant inventors are kidnapped and whisked away to his hideout where they are forced to build diabolical machines on pain of being fed to the piranha. It's a book which both adults and children will find hilarious. Full review...

Where Is Home, Little Pip? by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman

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A fantastic book about a lost penguin. Despite the cold Antarctic setting, it can't help but warm the cockles of your heart. It would make a perfect present for any young child. Books of this quality come along once in a blue moon. Full review...

What's That Noise Mr Croc? by Jo Lodge

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Join Mr Croc as he makes all sorts of noises but be careful when you hear those snappy teeth! Snip, snap! With fantastic tabs and pops. It's simply the most delightful fun and it will likely be the most well-thumbed book in your child's collection. Full review...

Mr Big by Ed Vere

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Mr Big has a small problem. Compared to everyone else he is extremely BIG. Ed Vere's style fits perfectly with his subject matter. It's bold. It's brash and it's in your face. The colours shout at each other and the only muted thing in the book is the enormous Mr Big – a dark brown great ape with big bright eyes and immaculate clothing. You could cry just to look at him, but he's so big that no one sees the sad and lonely person underneath. Full review...

The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett

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Every bird has an egg except duck - until he finds the biggest one of them all. Bookbag loves Emily Gravett. We'd hang her gentle, sympathetic, watercolour-and-pencil illustrations on the wall and gaze at them. The Odd Egg is a beautifully-illustrated visual joke which will entertain adults and children alike. Full review...

Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey

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'Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush are on the North-West Slope of the Compost Heap. Traction Man is wearing his Rubber Rescue Harness, Glacier Boots and lots of rope. Scrubbing Brush is carrying LUNCH. The Ancient Potato is guiding them to the top.'

A witty and surreal picture book that's suitable for both reading aloud and first attempts at reading alone. It's slightly subversive in a Toy Story way, but is absolutely and utterly British. Full review...

Shine Moon Shine by David Conway

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An inspirational story about how the moon was persuaded to return to the night sky with wonderful illustration which will delight any child from 3 to 103! We've read this book several times now and each time it's left that same warm glow behind. Full review...

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