Top Picture Books of 2014

We thought it would be a great time to reflect back on some of the picture books we here at the library have most enjoyed in 2014. From a brave bear to a scared crocodile, there were plenty of stories we were happy to share with little ones. There are so many books we could mention here, but we’ve narrowed the list down to just five:

Very Brave BearThe Very Brave Bear by Nick Bland. Bear and his friend Boris the Water Buffalo compete to see just who is the bravest between them. Beautifully illustrated with a story that’s great for reading aloud.





Pigeon Needs a BathThe Pigeon Needs A Bath! by Mo Willems. The pigeon is back, and he still doesn’t want to listen! It’s all about bath time this go ’round. Pigeon may be dirty, but he’s not getting in that tub willingly. A story many parents will undoubtedly be able to relate to.




Pet for Fly GuyA Pet for Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold. Fly Guy has been a loyal pet to Buzz for a long time, and now he’s searching for a pet of his own. There’s lots of humour that kids are sure to love in this one, and a very sweet ending.





Where's My HomeworkWhere’s My Homework by Michael Garland. The pictures really sell this story, about homework that has mysteriously disappeared. Each scenario of what might have happened to the homework is entertaining and the pictures are attention grabbing. The truth behind the missing homework finally comes out in the end.




Crocodile Who Didn't Like WaterThe Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino.  Little crocodile tries hard, but he just doesn’t like the water the way all of his friends do. He can’t understand why he’s different, until a surprise is revealed that will delight readers.




We look forward to seeing what new picture book treasures will come out in 2015.  Until then, we wish you all a Happy New Year!

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Press! Push! Tap!

One of the things I love most about reading to very young children is their tendency to reach out and touch the illustrations, almost as if they’re soaking up the story and words with their pudgy little fingertips!  As they grow older, it seems that they often learn to sit more passively and listen as stories are read to them. Sure, some books invite verbal participation through repetition and other techniques, but more tangible interaction is sometimes missing from books for older children. Happily, there seems to be a trend in  book publishing at the moment that invites a more interactive experience. Here are three newish picture books that are begging to be touched!

Press Here by Herve Tullet

Released in North America in 2011, this book by French author Herve Tullet has enamored teachers, parents and children of all ages with its simplicity, imagination and playfulness. The book invites readers to press dots of various colours and watch as they move, grow, shrink and dance across the page. A simple idea, brilliantly enacted.

Don’t Push the Button by Bill Cotter

Instead of a variety of dots, this book simplifies everything down to a single red button.  A purple monster named Larry first forbids but then urges readers to push the button, not realizing the zany effects this will have!  Interactive, silly and great for read-alouds. 

Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson

This lovely book invites readers to help a tree change through the seasons by tapping, blowing, shaking and rubbing the pages. As buds appear, fruit grows and falls to the ground, leaves change colour and whoosh away, children are immersed in the cycle of the four seasons. Magical and beautifully illustrated.  

Press Here

Don't Push The Button!Tap The Magic Tree




Additional fun interactive picture books in our collection include “Can You Make a Scary Face?” by Jan Thomas and “Count the Monkeys” by Mac Barnett. If you know of others please share below! 


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Dragons Are Taking Over!

They’ve invaded the movies with “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, and they’re popping up all over the library, too!  You may not be able to train your own dragon at home, but there sure is a lot of fun stuff out there to watch and read.

You may not realize that the very popular movies are based on a book series by Cressida Cowell, which are of course available for you to borrow from the library.  If you just can’t get enough of Hiccup and Toothless, the books are a great way to keep up with all their adventures.  If you need to get caught up on the film series before you head out to the theatre for part 2, we also have the first movie in our collection!

We have many other items related to the mystical world of dragons, from picture books such as “Old MacDonald Had A Dragon“, to chapter books like “The Dragon Prophecy” by Geronimo Stilton, and even numerous nonfiction titles, including “The Art of Drawing Dragons” and “A Practical Guide to Dragons“.  So if you’re in the mood for more of these scaly, fire-breathing creatures, the library has you covered!


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Connect with WPL Facebook Contest

If you haven’t already, be sure to head over to the library’s Facebook page for a chance to connect with WPL and win!  Until May 14, all you have to do is post a picture of yourself on our page, using any WPL resource, with the hashtag #usingWPL, and you’ll be entered to win an awesome $75 gift certificate.   We’re looking forward to seeing all of your entries!  

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Sock monkeying around!

Check out the adorable sock monkeys that our friends made this past Thursday afternoon at the South Walkerville Library as part of our March Break programming! 

If you missed the program but would still like to make your own sock pal, there are plenty of tutorials and patterns that you can find online.  This one here has plenty of photos and step-by-step instructions to help you. If you prefer to hand-sew or don’t have a sewing machine, you might want to look at this one here instead.  Either way, though, this is a fairly complicated craft project that should probably be done under the supervision of an adult!  It’s a great way to recycle a pair of socks that you no longer wear…just make sure you wash them first:)

For more on sock monkeys and other stuffed pals, check out this book from our craft collection titled Wool Toys and Friends by Laurie Sharp. We also carry an adorable picture book titled Oscar: The Big Adventure of a Little Sock Monkey by Amy Schwartz. 

 Wool Toys & FriendsOscar

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March Break at WPL

March Break is fast approaching, but it’s not too late to sign up for some great events that we’ve got going on at the library next week.  The theme for 2014 is “CREATE”, which means we’re going to have lots of programs that let kids get crafty and creative!

We’ve got many interesting programs planned, including “Create a Hedgehog” at South Walkerville, “Actors Studio” at Remington Park, “You Created That with a Map?” at Central, and “Create Your Own Jewelry” at Fontainebleau, to name just a few.  Check out the program guide for a full list of all the fun activities that will be happening, and all the contact information you’ll need to sign up!

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Read & Create: Moo!


 Parents, teachers and early childhood educators take note! “Read & Create” is a new blog feature that we’re really excited about. Each month WPL staff will review a new picture book and include step-by-step instructions for a related craft. We’re hoping these posts will be perfect for storytime inspiration or keeping your children occupied on a rainy (or snowy!) day.  Let us know what you think in the comments. Enjoy reading & creating!



Moo! By David LaRochelle (illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka)

 A joy-riding cow ends up in a heap of trouble in this vibrant, colourful tale. Despite the fact that there are just a few words in this book, it has enough story, humour and visual fun to keep kids engaged for repeated readings. This would work well both one-on-one or in groups and even for very early readers eager to get moo-ing!.  Children will delight in this bovine adventure and be tickled by the surprise ending. Both old and young will be amazed by how much can be expressed with the single sound: Moo! 


  1. To start, you’ll need to create an image of a cow. You can do this any way you like. We created ours using simple shapes cut out from construction paper.
  2. Attach your cow image onto one half of a sturdy piece of paper such as bristol board. On the other half of the page cut the shape of a speech bubble. Punch a small hole in the middle of the page near the “point” of the bubble.
  3. Cut out a white bristol board circle  that will fit behind your page. Punch a small hole in the middle. Write various versions of “MOO” around the wheel in different fonts and sizes.
  4. Attach the wheel to the back of your bristol board using a fastener. Turn the wheel to change the word bubble. Voila, a talking cow!

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Black History Month Challenge

Black History Month Challenge at the Central LibraryStop by the Central Library at 850 Ouellette Ave during the month of February for our Black History Month Challenge. See if you can identify the 24 individuals on display. This self-run challenge is located just inside the children’s area. You can’t miss it!  

Who invented the streetlight? Who wrote “Bud, Not Buddy”? Who is the fastest person in the world?  Who has over 50 degrees? If you think you know the answer to these questions (and even if you don’t) come by and join the 120 other people who have already tested their knowledge this month. There are no prizes…just the fun of learning something new!

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Cupcakes Galore at RPK!

Remington Park hosted a wonderful cupcake party on Saturday, in honour of the Cupcake Diaries books by Coco Simon.  Be sure to check our current program guide and watch the website for future awesome events like this one.  We can’t promise that they’ll all be this yummy, though!  Lucky kids!

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Searching for an eBook?

Good news for those tech savvy kids out there.  Overdrive has made it easier to find eBooks and eAudiobooks written specifically for children.  You can explore the site here.  If you’re new to eBooks, you’re welcome to call the library or visit your local branch for more information about how to enjoy our growing eMedia collection.

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