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The books in this section have been given a primary age range of 5+. At 5 many children are learning to read and this selection includes books to give children the opportunity to take off privately into worlds of their own. There are picture books and easy readers with a background of richer stories to further stimulate the imagination. All books are suitable for 5-6+. The books in this section might also be given a secondary age range. Suitable for 7+ year olds reading slightly below the average level and for 3+ ready to explore a more challenging read with the help of an adult.
August 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2020 | Positive feelings that make you smile; Feelings that can make you cry – these and all the emotions that lie between them are explored in the words and pictures of It’s OK to Cry. Sarah Jennings’s attractive illustrations capture how someone may look while experiencing SAD, HURT, SURPRISED, HOPEFUL and much more while Molly Potter uses a reassuringly matter of fact tone to explain a wide range of the feelings that we all have everyday. An excellent book which can open up good conversations when shared while also being useful for a child to browse through on their own.
The Diddle that Dummed is like your favourite pantomime distilled into 32 pages. Fiddler Flinty Bo Diddle is writing a tune for his fiddle – diddle diddle diddle diddle … all is going well until – dum! Which diddle went dum? The culprit steps forward, shrugging: ‘I’m not like the other diddles. Sometimes I like to go dum.’ Flinty is beside himself, he wants all his diddles to diddle. They try again, and again – they try with the defiant diddle at the beginning and at the end, but every time the diddle goes dum. They swap things round, and try a dum dum dum sequence for Flinty’s drum – you can probably guess what happens. By this point, everyone will be laughing out loud at the sheer silliness of it all, at the diddle’s cheekiness, at Flinty’s furious indignation – and then it gets sillier and more comic still. What seems a simple idea is full of surprises and cleverness and every one of us knows a diddle that dums. Sheer picture book brilliance.
With a short, simple but often lyrical text, and through striking, beautiful illustrations, Moth tells the story of the peppered moth, and through that explains evolution and describes the changing landscapes of our world. The peppered moth provides a perfect example of natural selection: some moths are born with speckled wings, some are charcoal black. The speckled markings are most effective as camouflage when moths are resting on pale tree branches, but as the Industrial Revolution begins and trees are covered in sooty deposits from factories and chimneys, suddenly the black moths do better and their numbers rise. Then, as laws are passed to reduce pollution and the air clears, the situation is reversed again, and the number of speckled moths increases. Not only does this encapsulate natural evolution, it also reminds us of nature’s resilience and offers hope for the future. The final line encourages children to go out and observe moths for themselves, something this book will surely inspire them to do.
With a simple narrative and eye-catching spreads, this picture book delivers a powerful and timely message. Meera and her mum are enjoying a day at the seaside, when suddenly a giant approaches them – a huge, blue giant that comes out of the sea and is actually a wave. It has a message from the ocean: ‘We need your help.’ Sailing out, mother and daughter find the sea is full of rubbish and start to clear up. Next day, Meera goes back to the beach and piles up as much litter as she can. Friends join in, and friends of friends, and when everybody helps out: ‘even the biggest messes can be fixed.’ The final pages make suggestions for ways we can all cut down on plastic and while the story doesn’t dodge the size of the problem we face, it does provide hope and encouragement. With its rich, painterly seaside and deep-sea scenes, this is very beautiful, and very memorable. For more books with an eco theme visit our Green Reads collection
It’s Superhero Day at school and Milly is ready in her costume – she’s used all the tinfoil, a tea towel and her brother Joe’s pants and really looks the part. She knows that she doesn’t have any superpowers though, or has she? As the day goes on, we see Milly being a hero in all sorts of ways: she’s super kind for example when she helps William, super clever when she works out a way to help Archie, and a super friend when she works with Iqbal on his show and tell. Gwen Millward’s illustrations are very appealing and the story is full of incident and great fun to read. At the same time, it will give young readers real insight into what actually makes us super, and how powerful it is to help and work with our friends.
Book Band: Lime Ideal for ages 6+ | Dylan dreams that he’s living in a jam jar, cut off from his family, in a silent world. In fact, he’s losing his hearing and that brings all sorts of issues. He doesn’t like how loud the world is with his hearing aids in, doesn’t like the way the others in his class treat him differently now; and he feels that without sound to anchor him he’s somehow floating away. It takes a hair-raising experience, and the quick-thinking and love of his dog Pluto to bring him back down to earth. In the new Bloomsbury Readers series, this story is written specifically for children just growing reading confidence and understanding, with short chapters and illustrations on every page. Nonetheless, the story is subtle and moving, with lots to prompt discussion and reflection. There are questions to share with children at the end to help them get the most from the story.
A fabulous book. Granny Franny is a great character, every child would love a granny like her. She takes her grandchildren on a big red bus to see the sights of London for a birthday treat. As a granny myself, it reminded me of playing 'buses' with my own grandchildren when they were younger. Maybe the Big Red Bus could do future trips around some other places. Big, bright illustrations and a story told in rhyme, makes this a really fun book to encourage children to make their own 'buses' and go on their own adventures. Chris Woolfenden, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
A group of animal friends think they have found some stars that have fallen to earth. Together they endeavour to get the stars back into the sky. Reach for the Stars is a book about teamwork and encouraging others to do their best. This is book three of a larger series however I think they could be read in any order. This is a very unusual book as it is designed to be read aloud by a group, giving 4 children the chance to be one of the characters and allowing them to read the book between them. I liked that the contribution from each character is clearly stated at the start as I think this could be a nice way to encourage less confident, or perhaps younger readers to join in. At the end of the book are suggestions for discussion and a chance to explore our feelings. I liked the illustrations, which are clear and colourful and I think that Reach for the Stars is a good book for early readers to enjoy. I think that this is a lovely book to share with friends or siblings and take it in turns to be each character.
On first glance this seems to be a short book with a very simple storyline but upon reading and reflection it offers much more. Illustrated in bright and bold colours, the story focuses upon a young boy called Eddie and his dog, Kenny. Eddie thinks about animals and their special qualities, envisaging what it would be like if he himself had those physical attributes. He transforms himself into a wondrous creature consisting of a variety of animal body parts and succeeds in avoiding dangerous situations by calling upon one of the animal traits. After his adventures, he finally decides that he would actually rather be himself. This would be the perfect story for a teacher to read to a class when celebrating the uniqueness of one's own individuality. Its fantasy element would appeal to young children, yet its underlying theme enables the opportunity to encourage self-worth and confidence. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Olive (The Little Paws Hotel series) by Clare Luther is a delightful but also very helpful rhyming story for children of 3+ years of age. It is imaginatively illustrated by Maria Floyd in colour and monochrome. The book is about Olive, the miniature dachshund, whose family are going out for the day and, for the first time, need somewhere for her to be looked after. The Little Paws Hotel is the obvious answer and Olive is booked in. Upon arrival, she is devastated to be left behind when her family leave and can't imagine how she will survive the day without them. Gradually though, the other small-pawed dogs at the hotel welcome her, calm her fears and talk to her soothingly until she ends up relaxing and even having some fun! The questions at the end of the story are designed to help young children verbalize about and overcome separation anxiety so this would be an invaluable book for those about to start at a childminders, playgroup, nursery or reception class for the first time. An altogether ideal way to get youngsters thinking and talking about their emotions. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2020 | Actor and screen writer Nathan Byron has teamed with illustrator and character designer Dap Adeola to create a stunning and endearing new character called Rocket for their first venture into picturebooks. This is a little girl to inspire us all with her passion for space and the natural world just like she is inspired by her heroine Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. But Rocket struggles to get people to pay attention particularly older brother Jamal who is hooked on his smart phone and notices nothing around him and she really does not want to miss the meteor shower and even makes an announcement in the local supermarket to make sure everyone gets a chance to see a natural wonder. Adeola’s skill in inclusive characterisation shines from the pages and captures both Rocket’s enthusiasm and passion and Jamal’s sulky teen grump! Dotted with fascinating facts about meteors and space and with a very well realised and warm family relationship, this is a real treat and it is good to hear that Rocket will feature in two more books to come. Perfect for improving representation in your picture book collections.
Starting conversations with your child about positive mental health | Part of a successful series of books written by the author, who is an experienced specialist in PSHE and SRE education, this provides a child friendly introduction to mental and emotional health and will prove its value within both home and school contexts. The publisher describes the series as ‘helping grown-ups have difficult conversations with little people’ and this is exactly what this book does. The lively and amusing illustrations help to engage the reader and the scenarios provide prompts for discussion and the explanations are perfectly pitched and yet in enough depth to provide many a useful reminder to adults. The opening page even explains the difference between your brain and your mind which is quite a difficult philosophical concept to master! Covering positive self-image, emotional intelligence, relationships and mindfulness with strategies for developing the right sort of mental habits and approaches at an early age can only be a positive help for children. Just giving them the right vocabulary to be able to talk about their feelings is incredibly useful. There is a fascinating section explaining the dangers of rumination – a word I had not considered in this context before- but undue dwelling upon an issue has now been identified as a cause of, for example, OCD or eating disorders. The advice and guidance section for parents and carers at the end of the book is particularly well considered and helpful. With the current situation undoubtedly causing children and families additional anxiety this could not be more useful and relevant. Highly recommended for home and school. You can find more books on this theme in Anxiety & Wellbeing - Helping Young Ones Cope
If you’ve ever looked at a furry ball of purry cat asleep in the sunshine and wondered what they are getting up to in their dreams, then you’ve got something in common with Philip Ardagh. In these exciting, comic and purr-fectly written little adventures, he imagines his feline star, Furry Purry Beancat exploring one of her other eight lives while asleep. In the first story, she finds herself on a pirate ship, a pirate ship’s cat. She arrives at a particularly exciting moment too as the ship is under attack from fellow pirates. With her captain locked up in his cabin, things look bleak, but Furry Purry Beancat soon discovers that the ship’s rats are a resourceful bunch and together they turn the tide in favour of their own pirate crew. It helps that one of the opposing pirates, a huge chap called Ten-Tun, falls for Beancat, but really, who wouldn’t? The little story is packed with incident and adventure as well as some gloriously comic moments thanks in the main to the young rats. It’s irresistible reading, made even more so by fabulous black and white illustrations by Rob Biddulph. All in all, this is a real treat, and it’s great to know that there will be eight more Furry Purry Beancat stories to come.
An exciting introduction to the awesome adventures of the eager explorers, dynamic daredevils, imaginative inventors, and other pioneers who shaped the world. Take a dive into the great unknown and go on a daring journey across land, sea and sky - exploring everywhere from the highest mountains to the deepest ocean. In addition, visit the workshops, labs, and studios of history's most important minds and meet inventors, explorers, pirates, daredevils, and more. Read about the pioneers who dared to go where nobody had been before, archaeologists who made startling discoveries, and all of the exciting adventures they had along the way. Packed with fun facts and colourful illustrations My Encyclopedia of Very Important Adventures that will feed your imagination and quench your thirst for knowledge.
With consultant Professor Graham Medley of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the adviser on this book you can use it in confidence that the information is relevant and correct. The idea behind the book was the brainchild of the publisher Nosy Crow - to make something freely available to help children understand the current situation and to try to ease some of their concerns. No-one has received any fees for this book. Plus, using such a well-known illustrator as Axel Scheffler (recognised worldwide for the Gruffalo illustrations) makes the whole thing feel recognisable and familiar. The book takes us through explaining what a virus is and how you might catch it – and what happens if you do catch it. A fascinating fact gleaned on the way is that there are more different antibodies inside us now than the number of people in the world! Everything is explained in simple terms so that young children can understand the way antibodies react to virus incursions. The book goes on to explain why we need to take care, why a vaccine may take some considerable time to develop and why so many things are closed at the moment. It also tackles the issues of being at home all the time, lack of fun and activities – and how to share and how to talk to your grown up about worries. Talking about ways to help is a very useful way forward – and also being kind to those you live with. The book finishes on the very positive statement that ‘one day this strange time will be over – we did it together’ a vital message of hope. There are also sections of information for children as well as for the parents, guardians and carers. It was a brilliant idea to create this – and a very generous act to make it available free of charge – excellent call Nosy Crow!
Holly Sterling creates very recognizable, diverse characters and these are the perfect backdrop for this sensitively written guide which will be helpful in both home and school contexts. The situations depicted and described are recognisable and familiar to young readers. The body language is particularly well captured on the page which describes in child friendly terms what it feels like to be shy. The situations used as examples, in Poppy’s story attending a big occasion with her parents and in Matteo’s story attending a friend’s birthday party, are instantly familiar. What is shown and described is how a child might feel at first and how that might change during the event and how they can be supported to eventually enjoy the experience and learn strategies for dealing with new situations. The Story Words page is a simple glossary of words and expressions which really develop understanding. At the end of the book a Next Steps section with suggestions for activities and discussion will be very useful and the section where each story is summarised in four steps will be invaluable for modelling writing. The first of a must have series for the early years.
I am becoming very fond of Justine Avery's eclectic collection of books. She has the ability to consider issues relevant to children and young people that many adults would fail to recognise. This bright and colourful little book almost acts as a little aide-memoire reminding us that when we encounter problems, we need to trust in our abilities, thoughts and ideas and 'think outside the box'. The artwork is attractive and feels new and fresh and the text is professionally constructed. A delightful addition to an already pleasing series. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Meet the Magic Dolls Grace, Lily and Holly. They live in a cottage in Dolly Town, always ready to help the magical inhabitants of the Enchanted Isle. In this adventure, the Isle’s fairies have invited the three of them to a special picnic, but the safety of the Isle’s inhabitants is threatened by the arrival of ogres. Can the Magic Dolls save the day? Young readers will love the sense of teamwork and friendship between the three as well as the magical setting. As an added treat, the book includes pretty colour stickers so that you can dress up the dolls ready for their adventures. An undemanding but satisfying read.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2020 | Meesha loves making things. And she is good at it too. But the one thing she doesn’t know how to make is friends. It seems to be easy but for Meesha it isn’t! When Meesha tries to share her ideas with other children they are just confused or uninterested. So instead of playing with other children, Meesha makes some wonderful friends of her own. Snipping and sticking she soon has a lovely crowd of chums she can enjoy being with. But a real friend would be nice and when Meesha meets Josh she finds exactly the friend she has been looking for. Soon Meesha and Josh are busy making more friends together. In both words and pictures Tom Percival tells a gentle and touching story about the importance of friendship and how to develop it.
Bethan Woollvin won the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition with her first book Little Red and has since produced some wonderfully engaging picture books all looking at elements of traditional fairy tales. I Can Catch a Monster is the story of Erik, Ivar and Bo who live in a land of forests and monsters. Erik and Ivar set off to catch some monsters for themselves, leaving their sister Bo behind as she is ‘too small’. Bo knows she is smart and brave, so she sets off to hunt her own monster. The monsters Bo meets are varied and include a Griffin, a Kraken and a dragon – but rather than fight them (as she knows her brothers will try) she learns something from each of them and becomes the centre of humanity in the book. This picture book tells the story in a series of illustrations which give the impression of being made in old printmaking techniques using a limited palette of colours which emphasizes the bold, simple illustrations used throughout. As one might hope– Bo turns out to be bold, to have more understanding of the natural world – and to be a brave female role model for the readers. This simple take on traditional quest tales will be a favourite – and provides a lovely counterpoint for the old tales with all their slaying and death! Bethan was once asked to describe her books in three words – she chose ‘bold, dark and sneaky’ *– this is most definitely all of those but also delightful and endearing – do read it!
The laughter never ends with Oi Frog and Friends! Another brilliantly funny, rhyming read-aloud picture book, jam-packed with cute puppies and silliness. From the bestselling, multi-award-winning creators of Oi Frog! Dog is looking after some puppies. Quite a few puppies, actually, and none of them will sit! Not even on guppies, like they're supposed to! They're getting a little out of hand. But luckily Frog's got a cunning plan . . .
From the author of There’s a Tiger in the Garden comes this funny adventure story. A delightful picture book about Matilda, who is neat and tidy and tends to want to be very straightforward and her annoying Dad, who always gets distracted by something, whatever he is doing. Matilda finds a treasure map and plans to go immediately to the spot marked by the X, but her father wants to accompany her – and in doing so they digress, but they see some amazing sea creatures, have an adventure with a whale and almost lose each other on the island, until they discover the treasure simultaneously. Beautiful illustrations in watercolour and pencil show us a fascinating array of wildlife in the sea and on the island. The story is told with simplicity and charm; emphasizing that even people we don’t always see eye-to-eye with can be great companions. A great way into a discussion about getting along with people who aren’t like you.
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