Eight picture books about teamwork
Published on: 07 November 2023
Author-illustrator Mariajo Ilustrajo, whose book Flooded won the Klaus Flugge prize for illustration, recommends some feel-good picture books about working together.
Author-illustrator Mariajo Ilustrajo
Mariajo Ilustrajo won the 2023 Klaus Flugge Prize, awarded to the most exciting newcomer to picture book illustration with her book Flooded. Flooded tells the story of animals who attempt to carry on with business as normal, even while their city is flooding. Finally, they listen to a voice of reason and work together on a solution. Here, Mariajo has selected her favourite international picture books about teamwork.
A Que Sabe La Luna by Michael Grejnie
A Que Sabe La Luna (What does the Moon Taste Like?) by Michael Grejnie, from Spain, is a contemporary classic and one of my favourites. A group of animals want to find out what the moon tastes like – but how will they reach it? They find a way by piling on top of one another. A deliciously sweet story!
Illustration: Adam Beer
Solo by Adam Beer is a recent publication, and a masterpiece which dog owners will love! Solo, a quirky and fun dog, feels a bit “invaded” when a lot of dogs come to his island. They play with his toys and eat his food but soon enough he realises that playing together is so much more fun.
Katie Harnett is one of my current favourite illustrators. I love her use of colour and textures. In Monty and the Poodles, a very scruffy dog wants to be friends with Ginger, a well-groomed poodle who lives at the Poodle Mansions. Despite his efforts to fit in, Miss Lillabet makes clear that this place is poodles only. Sad with this statement, Ginger and Monty find a place to live where all kinds of dogs are welcome.
A Pair of Pears and an Orange by Anna McGregor
Every year I come back from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair with a bag full of books from other countries. New, fresh and different kinds of stories, formats and artwork. A Pair of Pears and an Orange by Anna McGregor is a jewel! An orange joins a pair of pears for their games. One of the pairs is annoyed by this intrusion and leaves, but soon enough realises that more people to play means more fun to be had. A totally fun and charming story that delivers a message about inclusivity.
Illustration: Emily Gravett
Tidy by Emily Gravett is another of my favourites. In this story, a very tidy (perhaps rather too tidy!) badger cleans the forest so much that he doesn’t leave any food for the rest of the animals. Fortunately, everyone is willing to lend him a paw in order to put everything back.
Revolución En La Tienda De Animales by Ana Juan
Every book of Ana Juan is a total masterpiece. Her artwork is simply beautiful and, in Revolución En La Tienda De Animales (Revolution in the Pet Shop), a very mean man owns a pet shop where all the animals are caged and sad. One night, Mina, a little girl, frees all the animals. When the man wakes up, he is very sad that all the animals have left. Despite his previous behaviour, everyone works together in order to help him to start a new business.
What We’ll Build by Oliver Jeffers is a beautiful story about a dad and his daughter building a life together. They guide each other, and the story is so full of optimism, it’s a book for families to treasure.
Illustration: Jim Field
In The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field, we meet two greedy squirrels who have their sights set on the last nut of the season! They race after it through the forest, down the river and right to the edge of a waterfall. At this point, they have to work as a team if they’re going to save themselves. A delightful story, and fun no matter how many times you read it.
Flooded is out now.
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