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This is the perfect place to find storybooks on animals from across the world - from wild animals to our household pets.
Two Can Toucan, a contemporary creation myth by the inimitable David McKee, is full of quiet, surreal humour, one of the things that always sets his picture books apart. The story explains how the toucan got not just his name but his colourful plumage. At the story’s opening, our hero is all black and because he has no name, is laughed at by the other animals. Unhappy, he leaves the jungle to walk to the city where he finds a job carrying cans of paint – you can probably guess where the story is going. Carrying two cans is no problem, but he overreaches trying to carry three. With bright new paint-stained feathers he returns to the jungle and is welcomed back by his old friends. As he shares his adventures with them, they all laugh together – readers will join them. Though written over fifty years ago, the story has lost none of its appeal and McKee’s glorious jungle and cityscapes are as bold, vivid and fresh as if he’d painted them yesterday.
Jonathan Stutzman’s second Tiny T. Rex tale is a dream of a picture book for dinosaur mad toddlers, with Jay Flack’s stylish, warm-hued illustrations a perfect partner for the heart-warming, empathetic sentiment of the story - how to make a friend feel better through a hug (even when you have teeny, tiny arms!). Tiny T. Rex faces something of an existential crisis when his poor friend Pointy is feeling sad and needs a hug to cheer him up. Alas, Tiny, observes, “I have tiny arms. It is very difficult to hug with tiny arms.” But, never one to give up, never one to let down a friend, Tiny T. Rex resolves to “try anyway. Pointy needs me”. After going to considerable lengths to improve his capacity to hug, Tiny is thrust back to Pointy and - though still small of arm - his vast heart provides his pal with the biggest hug EVER!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2021 | Award winning Eva Ibbotson’s poignant and beautiful last book celebrates a boy’s passion for a dog. All Hal has ever wanted is a dog but his parents refuse to contemplate the idea. A dog would mess up their beautiful house and disturb their busy routine. When they discover East Pets, they hire Hal a dog for a weekend thinking that will do the trick. But they don’t know Hal! Hal takes matters into his own hands. Soon Hal and all the dogs he has released from Easy Pets are out on the road – with a price on their head. How Hal makes his escape is both thrilling and moving as it marks his growth from sadness to great happiness.
Inspired by a true story. It's 1940, and Joseph has been packed off to stay with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no great fondness for children. To Joseph's amazement, she owns the rundown city zoo where Joseph meets Adonis, a huge silverback gorilla. Adonis is ferociously strong and dangerous, but Joseph finds he has an affinity with the lonely beast. But when the bombs begin to fall, it is up to Joseph to guard Adonis's cage should it be damaged by a blast. Will Joseph be ready to pull the trigger if it comes to it?
Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn't know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn't have even imagined MUD. Luckily he's got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around. But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She'll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he's got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? STOP PRESS! A charming and hilarious new illustrated young fiction series about the things dogs get up to when their humans aren't looking, from the author of The Adventures of Pug series. Perfect for fans of Toto the Ninja Cat and The Secret Life of Pets.
Margaret Sturton announces herself as a major picture book talent with her debut. Little rabbit Herbert loves foxes. Indeed, he loves them so much he wants to be one, making himself a pair of fox ears and a tail. At first his mummy is amused, then angry when he messes up the living room with red paint and cuts up her dress to make a tail. When she sees him out playing as a fox, despite her instruction to be a ‘good little rabbit’, she is cross again, until she suddenly realises how important it is to Herbert to be a fox. The story is full of comic moments and the little rabbit family will be recognisable to all readers. It’s also a wonderful story about identity and love, delivered lightly but most effectively. Highly recommended.
It's been almost a year since Sila's mum travelled halfw ay around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperw ork that w ould allow her to return to her family in the United States. The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to bear. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with a unique boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places. A moving story of family separation and the importance of the connection between animals and humans, this novel has the enormous heart and uplifting humour that readers have come to expect from the beloved author of Counting by 7s.
With five delicious eggs to find and count, it's a perfect springtime adventure! Can you help the bunnies climb trees, peek into nests and look under leaves to find their eggs? You'll have to lift the flaps to search for the tasty prizes - and there might be some surprises along the way too!
Young children will find lots to laugh at in this jolly story of a little dragon who can’t help losing his temper, and they’ll learn ways to manage their own anger too. When Fergal gets cross, he really gets cross, and being a dragon this results in burned buns (he couldn’t wait to eat them), scorched suppers (he didn’t want the veg), goalposts burned to cinders (he really didn’t want to play in goal). It upsets his friends and it’s making him unhappy too. Fortunately Mum has a useful suggestion – take a breath and count to ten. It works, while Fergal’s friends have helpful tricks of their own too. Robert Starling’s illustrations are full of life and character, and this is very good for sharing.
Deservedly a modern classic, this action packed and hilarious picture book brings all kinds of traditional – and not so traditional! – Christmas excitement vividly to life. Like everyone else, the mice are eager to have a big Christmas party but, without money, it is hard to see what they can do. As ever, Arthur and Humphrey come up with some inventive ideas but nothing, especially raffling off Sampson the Cat, goes exactly according to plan! An exciting encounter with various Father Christmases, irate shoppers in the toy shop and more have unexpected results which leave the mice with a Christmas to remember.
Wolves, wildness and freedom are at the heart of this thrilling story. Wolf wilders are employed to reintroduce wolves unfortunate enough to be brought up as pets in rich households back into the wild, and they’re easy to spot: they’ll be missing a piece of finger, the lobe of an ear, a toe or two. Feo and her mother are wolf wilders, content deep in the forest, at least until the arrival of General Rakov and the imperial army. Rakov treats their wolves with the same brutal contempt he shows to the peasants, and despite her reclusiveness, Feo finds herself fighting alongside her neighbours for what is right. ‘Wolves, like children, are not born to lead calm lives’ we are told and this a marvellous adventure, original, beautifully written, and full of scenes and ideas that will excite and inspire young readers.
What a perfect book to celebrate the 80th anniversary of Puffin and its founder Allen Lane and an intensely personal book for author, Michael Morpurgo, suffused with his love for the Scilly Isles and for his family history - his wife Claire being one of Allen Lane’s daughters. The utterly beautiful illustrations by Benji Davies evoke his own holidays with grandparents in Cornwall and one can see that this story of a boy who loved to paint is one that is very personal to him too. Every inch of this book is crafted with love (make sure that you look at the hardback cover beneath the dust jacket with its soaring puffin against a glorious blue background and the images of both author and artist at the end) The illustrations range from dramatic double paged spreads, to little sepia vignettes but every page illuminates the absorbing and heartfelt story which begins with the lighthouse keeper Benjamin Postlethwaite and a terrible shipwreck from which he singlehandedly rescues 30 people including the 5 year old narrator of our story. Recently fatherless and travelling with his French mother to grandparents in Devon, the rescue and Ben himself make a huge impact on the boy – not least because of the paintings which fill the lighthouse and the gift of a small painting which becomes his most precious possession. The portrayal of the grim and bleak life with unloving grandparents in Devon, the misery of boarding school and of an artistic child who was a bit of a loner is very moving. As soon as school is finished the boy retraces his steps to the now defunct lighthouse and discovers a home, a friend and an artistic vocation as well as an injured puffin that together they nurse back to health. A puffin who keeps returning and brings others with him. By the time the young man returns from the war he could not avoid - the island and Ben have become a sanctuary for these characterful birds as well as our narrator and his future family. A charming book which evokes a very real sense of place as well the importance of being true to yourself and finding your place in the world.
For the adventurer in your life - young or old - discover a dazzling lost classic and escape to distant shores... Eepersip is a girl with the wild in her heart. She does not want to live locked up behind the walls of a house. So she runs away - first to the Meadow, then to the Sea, and finally to the Mountain. Her heartbroken parents follow their daughter, trying to bring her home safe, but Eepersip has other ideas... Republished by Penguin with a new introduction and hand-inked illustrations by beloved artist Jackie Morris, The House Without Windows is a timeless fable about wildness, freedom and the redemptive power of the natural world.
A seasonal sequel to the beloved Dogger | Forty-three years after the publication of Dogger, where we first met Dave and his very precious toy dog, 93-year-old Shirley Hughes has gifted a new generation of children an equally beautiful story, which I am quite sure that parents and teachers who grew up with Dogger will relish reading to their children. Dogger of course was a huge success and won not only the prestigious Kate Greenaway Medal but was voted by the public in 2007, their favourite winner of the medal in 50 years of the annual award. In this sequel we see that the family has increased to include toddler Joe and Dave is a little older too and his taste in toys is changing, but Dogger is still taken to bed every night and is as important as ever. Big sister Bella still has her teddies as well, but tells Father Christmas in her letter that she did not want any more ‘because she had seven already’. I love all the little references back to the original story where, as I am sure you all remember, Bella heroically gave up a big new teddy that she had won, so that she could reclaim the lost Dogger for Dave. We suspect that people have been buying her teddies ever since to make up for it! It will probably come as no surprise that Dogger goes missing again and in such a way that will be instantly recognisable in every home and strike terror into every parent’s heart! Needless to say, it is Bella that saves the day again and all ends well. Even though we must assume the book is set in the 70’s, it has a timeless quality and it’s nice to see a Dad helping with the cooking, childcare and cleaning. Shirley’s beautifully naturalistic style captures every nuance of body language as the family makes their preparations for Christmas. A Christmas full of nostalgic detail, family traditions and kindnesses which remind us all of things that really matter. A wonderful Christmas classic in the making!