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September 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Matt Sewell is a passionate bird spotter as well as gifted artist and his enthusiasm shines through in this sumptuous book. He’s selected favourite birds from around the world, the exotic as well as the everyday, and each one featured is illustrated in his beautiful and expressive watercolour. The passages of text that accompany the illustrations include fascinating facts as well as information on the bird’s appearance and habitat, and some of the facts are really quirky – how the Australian Southern drongo came to provide the slang term for an idiot for example. This is a book to delight, intrigue and inspire as well as inform
Christina is sent to stay with her terrifying uncle and her cousins at Flambards, a rambling house in the country where riding and hunting are the most prized activities. Everything about the countryside - and her relatives - is new to Christina but she soon finds she loves riding. And, in different ways, she begins to love her cousins. The first volume in a hugely romantic trilogy.
The story follows little Turtus as he hatches and makes his way towards the sea along with the other little turtles. However, he does not feel that he is like his brothers and sisters and this is confirmed as his journey continues. Eventually, he encounters his mother who explains that his father was in fact a giant land tortoise and assures him that he will meet him one day. This is a charming picture book using an effective, fairly natural and simple rhyme format which tends to appeal to young children. The illustrations are varied and appealing and match the text extremely well. Intrigue draws us in at the onset with the mystery of what is a 'Turtus' and reappears at the end of the tale when the reader is left with the expectation of eventually meeting Turtus' father in the next book. The story is also effective on other levels with its educational value and as an introduction to the fact that we are all different and can have a variety of different family situations. My granddaughter is 7 and really enjoyed this story and wants to know what happens next! Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Who needs gritty, dark psychological thriller when you can curl up in your armchair with your furry companions and read a cosy murder mystery especially one where a feisty Scottish wildcat pits his superior feline wits against a delightfully wicked murderer in the rugged heart of the Scottish Highlands?
Mr Moose and Mr Brown first meet on an aeroplane flying from America to London. Mr Moose should be with his brother Monty, but absent-minded Monty has got on the wrong plane. Mr Brown, who is a famous fashion designer (as is the book’s author Paul Smith), offers to help his new friend find his missing brother. As they travel the world, Mr Moose helps Mr Brown with his fashion range, suggesting some very interesting garments – parkas for penguins, sneakers for cheetahs, scarves for giraffes. As they fit out an Alaskan bear for snow-shoes Mr Brown has an idea … It all ends with a happy reunion at a big catwalk (moosewalk?) show. It’s an engaging story and very strong on the fun and satisfaction that comes from designing things and from creative partnerships. Sam Usher paints some wonderful scenes, including a witty reimagining of Hopper’s Nighthawks, 1942.
Howl with laughter with the SEVENTH book in the hilarious full-colour, illustrated series, Dog Man, from the creator of Captain Underpants! The Supa Buddies have been working hard to help Dog Man overcome his bad habits. But when his obsessions turn to fears, Dog Man finds himself the target of an all-new supervillain! Meanwhile, Petey the Cat has been released from jail and starts a new life with Li'l Petey. But when Petey's own father arrives, Petey must face his past to understand the difference between being good and doing good. Dav Pilkey's wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including: empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one's self. Full-colour pages throughout. OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES Dog Man (book 1) Dog Man: Unleashed (book 2) Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (book 3) Dog Man and Cat Kid (book 4) Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas (book 5) Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (book 6) Dog Man: Fetch-22 (book 8)
There’s magic and joy in this gorgeous picture book. Little Merrylegs is a riding school pony, clumping round the stables wishing his life was more interesting. He longs to be as tall and beautiful as the racehorses he watches from his paddock, and when his friend Feathers reminds him how happy the children are to ride him, Merrylegs doesn’t listen. Then a fair comes to town, and a magical encounter with the carousel horses changes Merryleg’s view of himself forever, his stumble clop turning into a clippetty trip. It’s a lovely, truly satisfying story of friendship and self-belief, perfectly told through Pam Smy’s illustrations and gentle text. ............................ An enchanting story of friendship and self-belief illustrating you can see the world with new eyes. Merrylegs is a bored riding school pony just plodding around the school, not noticing the delight of the children who ride him. It takes his friend Feathers to show him the Carousel in a local fair to inspire him to new heights. It takes a while, and the magic of the night for Merrylegs to realise he can be the pony that strides out, going from ‘stumble, clump, clippety clomp’ to ‘snippety trip, clippety trip, trip, trot, trip’! His dreams have inspired him and he’s now the pony enjoying all the children riding him. This is a beautiful simple storybook showing you can achieve your dreams – a truly inspirational message. The illustration style is clear and accurate with lovely details to spot, the ponies look like you really could ride them. Spot the deliberate changes from frontispiece to end papers – reinforcing the story message. Pam Smy uses so many different techniques in her books I do hope she continues to use what I assume are lithographic processes. The lovely rhythm of Merrylegs strides, repeated often in the text, will make this a read aloud favourite for classes and children everywhere. Tricia Adams
The distinctive Collins trademark bold colour backgrounds to each page serve to highlight the hugely characterful and expressive animals that should be the stars of The First Book of Animals except, as we the audience can blatantly see, a very excitable dog has decided that he is the only animal that counts. He has acquired a pencil (no doubt from the artist) which is going to come in very handy. Dog enjoys the first page This is a Dog. It certainly is – very perky and proud- but he doesn’t want to lose the spotlight. He makes the cat very nervous as he peeks into her page, he frankly laughs at the poor rabbit and cannot resist chasing the squirrel( where the side of the page cleverly becomes a tree) Children will delight in what he does to the giraffe and I love the fact that we never see the giraffe’s head- he is obviously too tall! But he pushes his luck with the bear, gorilla, crocodile and dares to try to dress up as an elephant so they all give chase and this is where his pencil comes in very handy! Minimal text allows a young audience to tell their own story and they will relish every scrap of humour. A laugh aloud treat for everyone to enjoy (and don’t miss the authors dedication to his own dog ‘Who taught me the meaning of irony by destroying some of the artwork from this book.’
July 2019 Book of the Month | Characteristically, Gill Lewis skilfully conjures a vivid sense of landscape and wildlife in a story starring a character driven by her love of wild things and determination to achieve justice for them. Bobbie lives on a sheep farm in the Scottish Highlands with her parents and strong-willed, somewhat eccentric grandma. In a shocking opening chapter, Granny’s little dog dies suddenly and horribly, poisoned by bait intended to kill a magnificent young golden eagle. Bobbie and her granny know that the local landlord’s gamekeeper is responsible, and that he’s a threat to all birds of prey in the area. Can they prove it, and protect the eagle? Readers will be gripped by the story and quickly come to understand Bobbie’s love for the eagle and her passion to stand up for it and all wild birds. It’s a terrific story, told with real impact, one for all animal lovers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Cleverly blending story and information and beautifully illustrated, Hello, Horse captures the best qualities of a horse called Shannon and describes how a very special bond between and animal and a child can be made. Vivian French brief text provides the perfect introduction to the different features of a horse and to details about how a horse should be approached by a child. She explains how to touch and feed a horse and also how to ride one! Catherine Rayner’s illustrations capture the gloss of Shannon’s coat, the sinews of her body and, above all, her characterful expressions which bring her to life perfectly.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2019 | Harry Stevenson may look like an ordinary guinea pig and he may behave like an ordinary guinea pig in that he spends his time eating and sleeping. But Harry Stevenson is not your average creature in a cage. Although he has no special powers he seems to get caught up in some amazing adventures. This volume contains two wild and wacky adventures in which Harry does all kinds of unexpected and crazy things. They are fun to read and perfect for readers who are just starting out.
An enchanting four-book series featuring the adventures of Anna and her array of animal friends The temperature is rising, which can only mean one thing: it's summer! Bookings are up at Hotel Flamingo and the hotel is getting busy. Anna is excited to receive word from King Penguin royalty asking to holiday in their Royal Suite. But there's a lot to get done, and it's not easy to manage the needs of the penguins when there's a heatwave on and a huge ice shortage. Help! Can Anna get Hotel Flamingo back to its usual shining self and have happy guests all round?
June 2019 Book of the Month | Kids who like their adventures wild, funny and full of the unexpected will love Adam Stower’s King Coo stories. Starring ordinary schoolboy Ben and his best friend, the totally extraordinary Coo, a bearded girl who lives a secret life with her wombat Herbert in some woods near Ben’s home, they are a brilliant mix of action, invention and jokes of all kinds – verbal, visual, slapstick. This escapade sees the two friends thwart a band of thieves who are intent on stealing priceless golden artefacts from the local museum. For all the zaniness, the plot makes perfect sense and Stower’s excellent illustrations move it along at pace. One to recommend to fans of Tom Gates or Timmy Failure.
This reassuring tale of friendship and kindness will charm young readers. Friends Bear and Spider are as different as you can be, and not just in size either. Spider loves the outdoors – the sunshine, the breeze, the colourful plants and the bugs of course. Bear likes nothing more than a ‘tidy day’ at home, followed by a nice cup of tea in his cosy chair. But when Spider’s kite blows away into the forest Bear agrees to help him find it, even when it starts to rain. Bear and Spider make a comic couple in Jacob Grant’s crayon-and-ink illustrations, Spider silent but hugely expressive perched on his friend’s shoulder. The final picture shows the two of them enjoying a cup of tea, while flying kites – a lovely image of compromise and happiness that will have everyone smiling.
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.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | Even a dog as clever as McTavish has his work cut out for him looking after the Peacheys. In this new instalment of witty, sharply observed domestic drama, Mr Peachey has developed a passion – indeed, an obsession – with baking. He is convinced he will win the local bake-off with his entry, a recreation of the Palace of Versailles in gingerbread. His family are only too aware that his skill as a baker falls far short of his ambition. Fortunately, McTavish is prepared to do whatever it takes to save Mr Peachey from disaster and humiliation. McTavish’s dog’s-eye view of family life is very funny but also cleverly delivers shrewd messages for us all on how to get along. Delicious!