Book list of good ideas from our 2021 books

By Rachel Lawson

Looking back on what we published in 2021 we noticed some unexpected recurring themes. Together they turned out to be a pretty good list of ideas to improve the day. So we’ve collected them here: good ideas found in our 2021 books.

Pablo… celebrate the shy ones

When it’s time for the eponymous Pablo to come out of his egg, he starts with just a tiny hole. His confidence grows but this clever chick knows to keep a piece of home for later.

Te Hipo Huna is a favourite New Zealand picture book translated into te reo Māori, starring the quiet, observant Kauri—a small child who lives up to his big name and can always spot the hipo when others are distracted.

Up the cherry tree… break small rules and defy incompetent authority

In Can You Whistle, Johanna? Ulf and Berra take their adopted grandfather out of a rest home for one of the best nights of his life, picnicking with tea, cakes and pigs’ trotters, puffing on a cigar perched high in a cherry tree.

We looked out over the world and spat our cherry stones on the ground… “Here we are sitting, just like in heaven,” said Grandpa Ned.

The Santander children of The Uprising join a youth resistance in Cruxcia, a land ruled by a vain buffoon—the young people triumph through use of cunning, good noticing, legal research, tramping skills, paint and fireworks, pigeon couriers and maps (of course).

Where Is the Dragon spread… enjoy an unanticipated poem

In A Mother Is a House we see the the mother through the eyes of the child. She becomes a hill, an umbrella, a refuge, a window, a work of art, all in rhyme and in neon.  

Where Is the Dragon? has a cracking funny rhyme and rich, glowing illustrations of a fearful king and three silly knights with big noses.

Dulcinea reading to duck and dog (c) Ole Konnecke… notice faithful friends with non-speaking parts

In Dulcinea in the Forbidden Forest, courageous Dulcinea is accompanied by her loyal pet duck through the forest, over the moat, up the ramparts of the wicked witch’s castle and all the way home again.

In The Tiny Woman’s Coat, illustrator Giselle Clarkson gave the tiny woman a silent companion to help her make her coat of leaves – a pet snail, just the right size (quite large compared to the tiny woman).


Inside the Suitcase… and don’t forget to pack a sandwich!

The little boy going on a journey in Inside the Suitcase knows that alongside his jumper, swimmers and key, he will definitely need to pack a sandwich.

A child and their grandfather in Koro by Gavin Bishop, shape their day together around building a lovely sandwich, followed by stories and nap to finish. Perfect!

These are two high-quality sandwiches that provide more than a nourishing lunch. Food writer Nigel Slater asserts that “only the generous can make a sandwich worth eating”. Sandwiches are always good so long as you trust the sandwich maker. We hope you enjoy these Gecko Press sandwiches.

These books are available now from your favourite bookstores in North America, United Kingdom, Australia and Aotearoa, and on our website (for the full range).