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May 2019 Book of the Month | 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.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | The world of wolves is brought vividly to life in this brilliant story which takes the reader right into the mind of a young wolf cub who has to make a brave decision to leave his home and head out into the wide, wide world. Swift is one of a litter of cubs who grow up under the careful protection of their mother and father. From them they learn how to smell and see food and danger and how to stay safe in all circumstances. But, when a rival wolf pack invades their territory, Swift has to move on. Alone, he has to travel on a journey risking everything. Rosanne Parry captures the awesomeness of the vast open spaces through which Swift travels making them come alive. The effect is to leave readers with the greatest respect for the wild and the animals that live in it.
Following their adventures in The Battle of the Blighty Bling, the McScurvy children are back where they belong on their pirate ship Sixpoint Sally. But not for long: as they prepare to enter the famous Hornswaggle Boat Race their nemesis, Captain Guillemot, aka the vainest pirate on the south coast, steals their ship from right under their noses, and with their parents on board to boot. They can’t let him get away with that, and with the help of their friends Arabella and George, go all out to get the boat and their parents back – and win the race in the process. It’s another fast-paced comic adventure and any right-minded child will love the McScurvy’s can-do attitude, not to mention their wilful disregard of rules and good behaviour.
May 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | Enduringly fascinating and inspiring, the story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s ascent of Everest is always worth re-visiting. This strong narrative biography matched with atmospheric illustrations brings the two men to life from their childhoods in New Zealand and Nepal respectively to their amazing feat of climbing the world’s highest mountain. Alexandra Stewart and Joe Todd-Stanton capture something about the personalities of the two and the reasons that they felt the need to take on this great challenge. Most successfully, in words and pictures they describe the extraordinary landscape of Everest and the surrounding mountains and in particular the enormous dangers and the unique magic of mountaineering - especially when you take on the challenge of the highest mountain in the world.
Sally Prue’s compelling debut is unlike anything we’ve seen here for a long time. Written in a beautifully lyrical style, it explores the nature of human relationships and issues of identity, all within an impressive and at times chilling tale. Hunted by his parents, Tom is forced to flee the Tribe and so seeks refuge in the world of ‘The Demons,’ where he encounters Anna, a girl whose own fractured family life provides a poignant reminder of human fragility. A dark splendour emerges throughout the tale as Tom struggles to find safety and sanctity between these two very different worlds. This is without doubt a highly original piece of writing which should be experienced by young and old alike.
April 2019 Book of the Month | Lauren St John knows just how to create the perfect children’s adventure stories. Her junior detectives Kat Wolfe and Harper Lamb return for a second outing in this new book, another enthralling adventure that combines crumbling cliff edges, dinosaur bones, an A list celebrity who isn’t what she seems and, of course, lots of glorious animals. As they investigate a suspicious death, Kat and Harper face real dangers, but quick-thinking and teamwork, not to mention a bit of luck, see them through. There’s an important eco-message contained in the adventure too and this is exactly the kind of book to encourage children’s interest in the environment and their world as the pages keep turning. Thoroughly recommended.
Best-selling duo Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks’ new picture book is a charming adventure full of magic and friendship. When Josephine buys a new pair of running shoes she is told that they are magic. And it is lucky that they are! While Josephine loves the pit-a-pat sound her new shoes make as she hurries down the road from the shop she is very frightened by the Bear with a rucksack who is following her. Helped by her magic talking shoes which very splendidly adapt to any situation including climbing up a mountain and ski-ing down it, squelching through mud and swimming a river, Josephine keeps just ahead. And when the pair finally do meet up, Josephine discovers that she had never had anything to fear after all! Wonderful glittery and embossed illustrations add extra magic to the story.
Full of fun and adventure, this stylish lift-the-flap board book promotes the wonders of imaginative play with verve. When Ted stands by the fridge eating an ice cream, lifting the flap transports him and his readers to explore a “cold, snowy iceberg”. Standing at the bottom of the stairs leads Ted to a giddy goats’ mountaintop. Designed with care and executed with energy, this is pitch-perfect for exploring-mad pre-schoolers.
This is a charming little story with beautiful illustrations of the chubby, lovable looking Dorps (think friendly abominable snowmen, with the head shape of The Grinch). Dongle return to Dorpington to find the place destroyed, with only one Dorp left - Doodle. The quest begins to find the townspeople and save the day. I really enjoyed this story and the accompanying illustrations perfect for younger children to enjoy as the story is told. The world created is magical - the ethereal Dingle, to the very scary looking Trungle (a snake-like creature with enormous teeth and hundreds of legs!). The plot moves at a fast pace, which I think will be great for keeping younger readers engaged, and includes clear descriptions of the more magical aspects of the story, allowing the reader to walk alongside Dongle and Doodle as they go looking for the other Dorps. I particularly enjoyed the prowess of the Dorp's snowball throwing and how this replaces weapons during the rescue, it's a really innovative idea. I found Dongle teaching Doodle how to throw a snowball particularly funny. There is a flow created by the alliteration used throughout - the repeated use of the 'D' sound in particular- I feel like this could become a tongue twister for any parent reading it out loud. (I would suggest, if in future books there is a focus on more than two Dorps, it could be a bit difficult to keep track of who's who - it might be a nice idea to have a little bit of a 'cast list' bit at the beginning, with an image, the name and perhaps a little description, so children can look through and get better acquainted with the characters.) It is a brilliant adventure to read with your child, or perhaps for independent readers. I wouldn't want to suggest a particular age range as I think the story itself would suit younger readers however, the amount of text would suit the 7+ age range better (perhaps a 5+/7+ age recommendation?).
Comic trivia, a safety superhero, and a super-cool scavenger hunt all over downtown San Diego, as young hero Stanley Fortinbras grapples with his anxiety—and learns what, exactly, it means to be brave. Nobody knows comics trivia like Stanley knows comics trivia. It’s what he takes comfort in when the world around him gets to be too much. And after he faints during a safety assembly, Stanley takes his love of comics up a level by inventing his own imaginary superhero, named John Lockdown, to help him through. Help is what he needs, because Stanley’s entered Trivia Quest—a giant comics-trivia treasure hunt—to prove he can tackle his worries, score VIP passes to Comic Fest, and win back his ex-best friend. Partnered with his fearless new neighbor Liberty, Stanley faces his most epic, overwhelming, challenging day ever. What would John Lockdown do? Stanley’s about to find out.
The Unnamed Beast is a tale that follows are creature of the forest that is so shunned and lonesome, it is never had a name. As it braves it’s first steps into a world it has never known, it soon experiences tragedy, friendship, heroism and bravery in saving it’s world from destruction. Written in entirely in iambic couplets, the story seeks to set a grand and cinematic narrative world while exploring complex emotions.
There’s monster-sized fun for readers to be had at the Nothing To See Here Hotel – after all, it is the world’s number one holiday destination for magical creatures. In the company of the proprietors’ son, the irrepressible Frankie Banister (who is part troll by the way), we get best seats for the action which here concerns the return of Frankie’s great-great-great-grandfather Abraham, as a ghost. You’d think great-great-great-granny Regurgita would be happy to see her husband back, but nothing goes as you’d expect in these stories, and maybe everyone should be a bit suspicious of Abraham. Adventures don’t come more extraordinary or more enjoyable than these, and any readers with a taste for fast-moving, fabulously funny illustrated tales should book in asap.