Seeing as it was Burns Night this week, the day where Scotland celebrates its national bard each year, I thought it would be a good excuse to introduce you to some more of our favourite Scottish kids picture books. You can also check out my previous post on Scottish kids books, and the one specifically on picture books set in Edinburgh, for additional recommendations. But back to today’s round-up, clockwise starting from the top:
- Maggie’s Mittens, by Coo Clayton (author) and Alison Soye (illustrator) – This book was only just released end of last year, and of course we had to go straight out and buy it. Maggie doesn’t like her mittens, because they are hot and fuzzy, so she sets out to find a new home for them on her trip around Scotland. But wherever she goes, nobody needs them, not the doggie, nor the Kelpies, the piper, the golfer or even Nessie. Until a naughty puffin steals them, and Maggie realises that her mittens were quite good at keeping her hands warm after all. But all’s well, that ends well. The book never actually mentions where any of the places are, but anyone familiar with Scotland will recognise some of the famous landmarks such as Greyfriars Bobby in Edinburgh, the Kelpie statues in Falkirk, the Duke of Wellington in Glasgow with a traffic cone on his head, the Dandy’s Desperate Dan in Dundee, or St Andrews famed for its golf courses, and Loch Ness, home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster. It’s a funny sweet story, and the illustrations are lovely too. There’s a colouring picture of mittens at the back of the book, and a little squirrel to spot on each in each scene.
- Katie in Scotland, by James Mayhew – This book is part of the Katie series, which often see Katie exploring artists and artworks in various museums. In this edition, however, she is on holiday in Scotland with her brother and grandma, and lo and behold, runs in to the Loch Ness Monster. Nessie decides to tag along to visit the Edinburgh Festival, via a stop-over in Glasgow, and they all end up performing at the Edinburgh Festival together. The book features lots of real life landmarks, such as Kelvingrove Museum and Park, Edinburgh Castle and the One o’Clock Gun, Holyrood Palace, Greyfriars Bobby, the Scottish Portrait Gallery, and the Forth Bridge. And Loch Ness, of course. A great book to prepare for a trip to Scotland, or as a souvenir.
- The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee, by Michelle Sloan (author) & Kasia (illustrator) Matyjaszek – This is one we read at the library, and the story is quite funny and sweet. It’s told from the point of view of the baby’s big sister, who spots a sign for a contest to find the bonniest baby in Dundee. So they dash home to scrub up the baby and make it to the judging in time. But along the way they are caught in the rain, splash through puddles, get soaking wet, and arrive with “sticky, claggie, clarty” baby instead. Is there any chance left of winning? Especially after the baby blows a raspberry in the judge’s face? Read to find out! (though the title of the book is a bit of a giveaway, lol) Featuring recognisable scenes from downtown Dundee.
- The Tobermory Cat, by Debi Gliori – This is another one we read at the library. It’s set in the real life town of Tobermory on the island of Mull in the Inner Hebrides. All the other villages in the area have special cats – wooly cats, fishing cats, singing cats – drawing in tourists, but not Tobermory, so there the tourists are staying away. Up steps one ginger cat, to try and save the day. Will he succeed? A lovely, cat filled story about realising the skills you have and embracing difference.
- Wee Granny’s Magic Bag, by Elizabeth McKay (author) & Maria Bogade (illustrator) – This book doesn’t feature any real life places at all, just a Scottish grandma and her magical tartan bag. A little reminiscent of Mary Poppins and her infamous bag, this story centres around Emily, Harry and their ‘Wee Granny’. Surprising things always happen, when Granny brings her bag along and pulls out things such as a lamp-post to assist with carol singing, or deckchairs for the beach. What will she pull out of her bag this time? Find out, as Granny steps in to help get the cakes ready for the school fair. A slightly bonkers story, but the boys love it.
Do you have any other favourite Scottish picture books recommend? Please feel free to share them in the comments below.
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