Jasper Viking Dog! is the latest novel from award-winning author Hilary Robinson, and is the second in her series which mixes fun and facts to introduce a range of non-fiction topics to newly independent readers.

Hilary Robinson is the author of over 60 children's books, including her sequence written to mark the centenary of the First World War, for which she received multiple awards and nominations. Exquisitely illustrated by Martin Impey, Where the Poppies Now Grow, A Song for Will, The Christmas Truce and Peace Lily have given primary school age children the opportunity to bear witness to this extraordinary moment in history. On winning the prestigious Historical Association’s Young Quill’s Award for Historical Fiction, 2016 for Flo of the Somme Hilary said: "I feel privileged to be recognised by the Historical Association which does much to promote the love of history amongst children."

From WW1 to the Vikings, Hilary continues in her passion for history with the latest novel in the Jasper series, Jasper Viking Dog. Through a series of letters Charlie Tanner and his dog Jasper ask the curator of the local museum whether Vikings had pet dogs? did they really did wear those helmets with horns? and a host of other questions which help Charlie, Jasper and the readers learn about the lives of Vikings. Angelito Francisco, age 8, a member of our Reader Review Panel told us it was "A really good book with lots of interesting facts for boys and girls. It was also really funny and easy to read." You can read more reviews about Jasper Viking Dog and download an extract here.

The first in this series, Jasper Space Dog, marked the 50th Anniversary celebrations of the moon landing, and explored planetary science and facts about space travel. The books combine fact and fiction, and are published in a dyslexia-friendly font to appeal to a wide range of 5-7 readers. As Hilary said, "Some of us often tend to prefer fact or fiction books and some of us prefer the arts to science, and vice versa. I wanted to combine  all these areas to establish an inclusive approach and a broad readership so that everyone, whatever their reading level, could share in the fun exploits of a loveable, hilarious hound and his owner as they enthusiastically explore fascinating subjects."

We also loved Hilary's stories based around the events of the First World War. Suited to a slightly older age group, they cleverly combine fact and fiction to sensitively introduce children to the subject of war.

Where the Poppies Now Grow marked the centenary of the start of WW1 and, in a tribute to the war poets is written in rhyming text. Our expert reviewer, Julia Eccleshare said; "...a book that reflects the lasting importance of both friendship and place and how they can help to heal the tragedy of war."

Of Flo of the Somme Hilary said: “Amongst the brutality and tragedy of warfare there are endless heart-warming stories of mercy dogs. Not only did they risk their lives, but they brought comfort to the soldiers. Flo represents every single dog, on both sides, that played their part and it has been an honour as an author to pay tribute to that”. 

One of our Reader Review Panel members gave this account; 'This book is just amazing as it gives a different perspective on the war that is appropriate for younger children.  My daughter loved the bit where Flo gets home safely.'

Song for Will and the Lost Gardeners of Heligan is a deeply moving story perfectly conveys the devastating impact of the First World War both on those who took part and those they left behind. Though the story is fiction, many of those who feature were real people, gardeners at what became known after their deaths as the Lost Gardens of Heligan.

It is written in a series of letters which describe simply but vividly the realities of life at home and at the front, optimism and enthusiasm giving way to shock and grief.

Peace Lily is the last in Hilary's WW1 sequence and tells the story of a young nurse at Passchendaele. Our expert reviewer, Andrea Reece : "The story gently demonstrates the extraordinary courage and resilience shown by ordinary people in such a terrible situation, skilfully bringing the past to life through personal stories. There are echoes of the war poets in the text and the illustrations have a timeless feel."

These books are all published by Strauss House Productions, which also publishes Hilary's Copper Tree Series, dealing with difficult issues, including bereavement, adoption and family break-up, in a gentle and honest way. Excellent PSHE resources for the classroom.

Future titles in the Jasper and Charlie include Jasper Eco Dog! and Jasper Rock Dog!