12 New Picture Books for 2018

January is the perfect month to look ahead to the new picture books that will capture the imaginations of our little ones this year. Whether you have a new baby on the horizon, or a child scared of trying new things, there are picture books to fascinate and delight all ages. Here's a selection of some that we just can't wait to see hit our shelves!

Cover of I Love You Stick Insect
Love is in the air this January in Chris Naylor-Ballesteros's I Love You, Stick InsectWhen one stick insect claps eyes on his perfect partner, his feelings run away from him and he imagines all of the fun adventures that he and his sweetheart will have together. Unfortunately love doesn't run smoothly for him this time, despite butterfly's attempts to warn him. Don't worry, though, he doesn't stay heartbroken for too long!

While we're on this theme, LOVE by American author and illustrators Matt de la Pena and Loren Long will be making its debut in the UK at the beginning of February. Told in the form of a poem, this enchanting picture book explores the many ways that we experience love throughout our lives, and the powerful ways that it can connect us all as humans - perfect for cuddling up and sharing with the little loves of your life.

For those of you who follow Bookbug's Book of the Month, you may be familiar with author/illustrator Sophy Henn. Her lift-the-flap book, Playtime with Ted, was a Bookbug favourite last year, and we can't wait to see her latest book, Almost Anything in early March (main image, above). It tells the story of George, a rabbit who doesn't believe he's very good at anything. If you have a little one who is nervous to try new things or scared of failing, this is sure to be an empowering read that encourages all of us to give things a go! 

Eric the Panda in Eric Makes a Splash
We're delighted to see so many new Scottish releases on the cards this year too. We waited with anticipation to read When Grandad Was A Penguin by Morag Hood in 2017 and it didn't disappoint! We very much hope that The Steves, her bright, bold book for toddlers will be just as funny and engaging this year.

Emily MacKenzie won us all over with her book-loving Ralfy Rabbit a few years ago, and it looks like we're all going to fall in love with Eric in her latest offering, Eric Makes A Splash. Eric is a worrier, and nothing worries him more than the thought of swimming. Thankfully he has a brave and fearless friend on hand who may just be able to convince him to take the plunge! And if, like us, your wee ones are fans of Alison Murray and her fabulous retelling of traditional fairytales, they will be in for a treat in March when Dino Duckling hits the shelves. In her funny and heart-warming celebration of difference, Alison brings the classic Hans Christian Anderson tale of The Ugly Duckling to life in her own inimitable fashion! 

Talking of fairytales, Bethan Woollvin's two previous titles - Little Red and Rapunzel - have been fabulous, so we can't wait to read her retelling of Hansel and Gretel in May. Woollvin's illustrative style is very unique, with a limited colour palette and bold lines that appeal to children of all ages (and their grown ups). Be warned though - don't expect any girly princesses or knights in shining armour! 

Cover of Fantastically Great Women who Made History
There's also a distinct lack of girly princesses in Kate Pankhurst's Fantastically Great Women Who Made History. Released in February, this celebration of extraordinary women from around the world who have made their mark on history is ideal for everyone. I'm sure that girls, boys, mums, dads, grandads and aunties will all learn something about the wonderful women in this fantastically informative picture book.

If it's a book for a new baby you're looking for, Night, Night looks delightful, with its eye-catching black-and-white illustrations and shiny foil. After a busy day, join Little Bunny as he gets ready to wind down - perfect for introducing a gentle bedtime

Image from Night Night
routine of bath, book, bed. For something a little more colourful, David McKee's iconic patchwork elephant returns in a sturdy board book version of Elmer's Friends with tabs - just the ticket for toddlers getting to grips with page turning.

For older children starting to recognise the letters of the alphabet, Not Yet Zebra by Lou Kuenzler and Julia Woolf is pure genius! We've had the fortune of seeing an advance copy and it hits the spot perfectly - funny, energetic and full of rhyming cleverness. 

Finally, we're all advocates of wordless picture books at Bookbug, so are particularly excited about Aaron Becker's A Stone for Sascha which is available in the UK from May. Becker's illustrations look as sumptuous as ever, and the story of a little girl coming to terms with the loss of her family dog is a great conversation starter for any child dealing with the loss of a family pet, or indeed any loss. 

These are just a handful of the wonderful books that will be hitting bookshelves in libraries and bookshops across the UK this year. Keep an eye on the Bookbug blog for more recommendations throughout 2018, as well as your chance to win books in our regular Book of the Month competition.

Happy reading!