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Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves...
Out walking, Elmer the Elephant is in a reflective mood, taking his time to soak up the sounds, smells and sights around him. He spots shapes in the clouds and in the sandstone rocks, he listens to the noise of the river crashing over a waterfall, notices the raindrops in a spider's web that look like sparkling diamonds and smells the scent of wild flowers. The other animals hurry past, far too busy to stop and enjoy these natural wonders. Fortunately Elmer meets his cousin Wilbur and they both stand happily together to watch the night-time draw in. This is a gentle introduction to mindfulness, a celebration of being in the moment and making time to appreciate the world around us. Head to over our KidsZone for more Elmer fun! Elmer the Elephant celebrates Elmer Day on 25 May 2019! Visit our Elmer the Elephant feature to find out more about the Elmer books and ways to celebrate Elmer's 30th Birthday!
April 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | The inspiring story of Mary Anning who, born at the end of the eighteenth century, fought against all the odds to become a pioneering scientist and fossil hunter. Inspired by her father who took her out on fossil hunting expeditions on the cliffs and beaches around Lyme Regis, Mary was fascinated by the beauty of the finds and by what they said about the past. Her exceptional curiosity was matched by incredible courage which led her to take dare-devil risks as she searched for rare examples. She also knew their worth and was never shy in selling them well to the many visitors to the area who came to wonder. Anthea Simmons tells Mary’s story as an exciting adventure and also as a rousing story of what an intelligent and brave woman can do.
Eighteen-year-old Birdie is fanatical about mystery and crime fiction, a world in which she immersed herself while being brought up by her strict grandparents following the death of her mom. Birdie’s perception of detectives reveals much about her own aspirations and personality: “Detectives were cool, calm, and capable. They were usually loners, helping people from a distance...underdogs that people miscalculated.” Now, following the death of her gran and with the support of her mom’s fabulously flamboyant best friend, Birdie tries to find her own way in the world by taking a summer job as a night clerk at a glamorous historic hotel. It’s here that she forms a swoon-some, life-changing relationship with Daniel, the hotel’s handsome, hearing-impaired night driver, as they try to solve a real-life mystery involving a guest. Then, alongside the edge-of-your-seat twists and turns of their investigation, and their fast-blossoming, fated romance, it turns out that Daniel is harbouring secrets of his own. Underpinned by relatable real-life complications and curveballs aplenty, this engaging feast of young adult fiction fizzes with multiple mysteries and the jittery joys of first love. Head here to discover the author’s previous novels, which come equally recommended for their compassionate championing of offbeat, authentic young adult characters.
Like all classics of American middle grade fiction - as this may well be esteemed in future - this is radiant with humour, heart and a whole lot of indelibly authentic child-centred observations and emotions. With his dad away on army service, and faced with being plunged into the jungle of middle school, Carter already has plenty on his plate when his family inherits the services of an eccentric British butler. While Carter is quick to revolt against the butler’s rigorous regime of tea-drinking, homework and housekeeping (including folding underwear, can you believe it?!), the butler’s ways, wisdom and polite-but-firm guidance (AKA being “a pain in the glutes”) casts a healing spell over the family’s soul, exactly when they need it most. Then, as the butler shares his love of “the most lovely and sportsmanly game that mankind has yet conceived” (AKA cricket) with Carter’s schoolmates, Carter himself comes to share his troubles and release his anger and grief so he can keep the metaphoric “bails from coming down”. Suffused with the same warmth, compassion and originality of the author’s stunning debut, Orbiting Jupiter , this funny, moving middle grade novel is a true treasure with broad appeal and rich rewards.
No matter how exciting, zany and surprising the action, you can always be sure that Frank Cottrell-Boyce will build his stories on real human emotions, and that’s as true of this brilliantly funny, original and touching novel as of any of its predecessors. Alfie ‘swerves’ both school and the Limb Lab, where he should be going to learn how to control his state-of-the-art new hand, by hanging out at the airport. But everything changes when, through various happy accidents, he finds an enormous robot called Eric in Lost Property. Eric holds the Allen key to the book’s mysteries, both a generations-old legend, and the secrets that Archie is keeping from the reader and himself. Beautifully told and full of characters readers will love, this book will have you laughing out loud one minute, in tears the next. Robot Eric, unfailingly polite, kind and helpful and trying to explain himself through misremembered jokes is an iron man for our time. Unmissable. Once readers have finished this, point them in the direction of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s other books including The Astounding Broccoli Boy and books by Ross Welford. Peter Brown’s story The Wild Robot is another great automaton adventure. **Head over to our LoveReading4KidsLoves Channel to find out more about Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Author of the Month.
Quirky and original, this will be a real joy for parents to share with babies and toddlers. Full of kindness, Barry, a fish with the special attributes of fingers, uses his unusual feature to delight his friends. Fingers are good for all sorts of things and they are especially good for tickling! But they turn out to be even more useful when Barry saves the puffer fish from disaster by being able to point out the terrible danger that is about to befall him. All ends well with a gloriously fishy romp.
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