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February 2020 Book of the Month | Expect this whimsical and gorgeously illustrated picture book to infect children with an urge to go exploring, if not bird-spotting. Otto’s family are obsessive bird-spotters, indeed, so deep is their passion that they’ve turned their home into a hide. Otto though loves exploring and it’s on one of his trips that he finds, and secretly brings home, a very unusual baby bird. He’s able to hide it from his family because his new friend proves surprisingly good at camouflage. But, as the bird grows (and grows), Otto realises that it’s missing its family and recruits his own to help track them down. There’s lots to enjoy in the story and Graham Carter’s glowing illustrations are full of treats too, the camouflage scenes are particularly delightful. A funny, original story with satisfying underlying themes of adventure, friendship and family.
February 2020 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | This little story sparkles with magic and fun. It starts on Hallowe’en when friends Jessie and Ali find something very unexpected in their treat bucket – a little kitten. What’s even more surprising, the kitten is magic and can talk. They take the perfectly named Magicat home and all sorts of adventures follow – sheds are turned into treehouses, pancakes are cooked (almost) and the bully next door is put in his place. It’s all made even more exciting because Magicat isn’t quite as expert at the magic thing as he’d have you believe and some of the spells go delightfully wrong. Purrfect for newly confident readers as well as for those who are reluctant or dyslexic. Let’s hope there are more adventures to come for Magicat and his friends. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
This witty, stylish counting book will catch the attention of adults as well as the imagination of the very young. A rhythmic, rhyming text and eye-catching illustrations present us with one fox in socks, then two gorillas looking in mirrors, followed by three jolly llamas in pyjamas, right up to the twenty birds who have the last words. Along the way we also meet five goats wearing coats, the goats labelled and clearly identifiable under their coats (Nubian, mountain, angora…). Other favourite spreads include the one featuring sixteen chickens reading (and clearly enjoying) Dickens! A wonderfully original counting book that is as handsome as it is effective.
Fabio the flamingo and Gilbert the giraffe are the animal Holmes and Watson, solving mysteries from their office on the banks of the Laloozee river. A trip in Gilbert’s new plane leads them off the beaten track to a small town where there’s something fishy going on with the water supply. Red herrings are scattered all over the place before Fabio solves the case, identifying the culprits. It all makes for fun and flamboyant reading (love Emily Fox’s illustrations and the fluorescent colour scheme). Fabio and George are a great comic double act and there’s real satisfaction to be had as they work out the crimes too.
Although the original tale of the wild wolf and proud girl is known to have a sad ending this has been retold for this version giving a hopeful outcome. Wild Wolf is the guardian spirit to his people, wise in knowing that people can be very proud and cruel in their actions. When Proud Girl refuses many suitors one, Bravest Warrior, seeks revenge by making her fall in love with a creature built from ice and scraps.As Proud Girl follows Ice Man, she is separated from all she knows, until Ice Man melts in the sun. Proud Girl might also perish, except for the care of the spirit wolf who helps keep her warm until Bravest Warrior finds her and keeps her alive, ultimately winning her hand, though they had both gone through many changes.A simple but very tough story of revenge, pride and forgiveness told in bold pictures with bright, vibrant colours. Each double spread has few words and big illustrations with bold blocks of colour filling the page. The wolf has an almost hypnotic stare, you could imagine him as a truly great guardian spirit in a harsh natural world. A moral fable for our times.
Spring is well and truly here in this bright, engaging board book. Based on the nursery rhyme Sleeping Bunnies, the text is full of bouncy rhyme and repetition, while sturdy flaps hide sleeping little animals, giving young readers the opportunity to shout, ‘Wake up!’ on every other page. There’s still more opportunity for joining in with animal noises as the crowd grows bigger. Laura Hughes’ animal characters are friendly and full of life, and the pages are packed with things to spot and count. Best of all, after a hop, hop, hop, and a mew, mew, quack, quack, everyone ends up quiet, sleepy and ready to sleep again.
A daring dog takes a whirlwind tour of Rome in search of freedom in new picture book from beloved storyteller Mac Barnett and masterful illustrator Claire Keane. Paolo the dachshund is trapped. Though he lives in Rome, a city filled with history and adventure, he is confined to a hair salon. Paolo dreams of the sweet life-la dolce vita-in the Eternal City. And then, one day, he escapes! Paolo throws himself into the city, finding adventure at every turn. Join our hero as he discovers the wonders of Rome: the ruins, the food, the art, the opera, and-of course-the cats. Readers will cheer the daring of this bighearted dog, whose story shows that even the smallest among us can achieve great things.
Interest Age 5-8 | Clever children who use their wits to get the better of much more powerful adversaries star in this duo of stories by the one and only Michael Rosen. Masha escapes a big and thoroughly bad bear in a particularly delicious way, while little Peggy outsmarts her admittedly rather stupid king to win big. Rosen’s lively, direct style make these stories wonderfully accessible for those growing in reading confidence, and Ashley King’s full colour illustrations add to the appeal of this little gem of a book.
Pre-schoolers will have lots of fun on Treacle Street, the setting for Kate Hindley’s new and very appealing lift-the-flap board book series. In this adventure, the residents are looking forward to a special show given by the little bunnies who attend Prima’s Dance School, but poor Prima Pavlova is worried: her star performers have all gone missing. Readers can help her find them by opening various flaps – there are bunnies under the cake cover, hiding in the dressing room wardrobe and – gloriously – inside the grand piano! Fortunately, they’re all in the right place when the curtain goes up. Kate Hindley’s characters are irresistible, and she creates a lovely sense of community for Treacle Street. These chunky board books and their sturdy flaps are perfect for little hands and there’s lots for little eyes to spot too.
January 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | Charming Little Owl returns for a new amusing and reassuring story about an everyday occurrence that will be familiar to all: bedtime! Mummy Owl does everything she can to make sure Little Owl is all ready for bed. She’s read a bedtime story – and then one more on the promise that Little Owl will settle afterwards. And she’s tucked Little Owl in with all his favourite things. But Little Owl can’t sleep because it is too dark, too noisy and because he is too excited about seeing his Grandma and Grandpa Owl. Mummy Owl uses all her best powers of invention and story telling to make sure Little Owl can go to sleep!
Michael Foreman’s dazzling watercolours bring the beauty of the natural world into readers’ hands in this outstanding picture book, reminding us all how precious our planet is, and how we need to care for it. A little girl watches the sun rise and then the moon as it follows, and thinks of all the creatures under the sky. With her brother, she explores the seashore and together they create a mini-world in a rockpool. This shows them just how fragile nature is, and the threat it faces from pollution. Together brother and sister clean the pool and determine to ask other children to help. First published thirty years ago, One World is recognised as a classic, and its message is even more important today. A beautiful, inspiring and timely book.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2020 | Award-winning illustrator and commentator Posy Simmonds is brilliantly entertaining in this touching story about the death of a pet. Sophie and Nick love their cat Fred very much. They and all the neighbours remember him fondly as one of the laziest cats in the world. Now he’s died and Nick and Sophie discover there is a whole other side to their beloved cat. Far from sleeping all the time, it turns out that he is one of the most famous cats in the world! That night, as all the cat’s in the neighbourhood come out to give Fred a rousing send off, Nick and Sophie learn the true story of their beloved pet. A review from Andrea Reece; This is a really special book, three cheers for Andersen Press for bringing out this new edition! Sophie and Nick are sad when their cat Fred dies and in a poignant scene, the family buries him in the garden. As far as they knew, Fred was a lazy old thing who spent most of his time asleep. Not so! Sophie and Nick find out who Fred really was that night, when they’re woken by the neighbourhood cats who have come to give ‘Famous Fred’ a proper send-off. The two children join in with the cats’ tribute – a wonderful ‘caterwauley-wailey-woe’ – and dance all night at the wake. It’s all described in Simmonds’ sparkling, beautifully observed comic-strip and is funny, touching and true. An anthem to the secret life of cats, this is also a meditation on loss and the importance of sharing memories.
A beautiful, limited edition of Guess How Much I Love You to celebrate 25 years of being a heartwarming children's classic. Best-selling and glorious Guess How Much I Love You has delighted children – and adults - for a quarter of a century. Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare want to tell each other just how much they love each other. But how do you measure love? Luckily, the two Hare’s know just how much they mean to each other. And Anita Jeram’s illustrations convey that brilliantly.
Generosity, unexpected kindness and warm welcomes are at the heart of this story, making it perfect Christmas reading. It’s closing time on Christmas Eve in a big department store and all the shoppers and staff have gone home leaving only Clawdia the cat – and a family of lively mice. They lead her a merry dance around the shop, stopping occasionally to point out scenes that make her rethink her ‘bah, humbug’ attitude to Christmas. A surprise ending sees Clawdia and the mice enjoying a proper Christmas day. The message is lovely and the hectic chases around Christmas displays are lots of fun. As good as any John Lewis ad!
Don't tickle the lion! You might make it roar... Little ones just won't be able to resist tickling the touchy-feely patches to hear each animal make a sound in this hilarious novelty book. At the end, readers will find all the animals being noisy at once. An exciting new series for babies and toddlers, from the creators of That's not my...
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | Full of Meg Rosoff’s delightful wit and evident affection for dogs, the is a great return for McTavish the big-hearted rescue dog who is already well-known for the good care he takes of all those around him. This time it is Betty who needs help. When Pa Peachey gets a new job the whole family is upheaved. Everyone is excited about it except for Betty. Not only has she got to move house but she also to say goodbye to her old friends and go to a new school. Betty does not want to be the new girl: she is terrified. Luckily, McTavish thinks of the best possible way to turn her arrival at a new school into a triumph rather than a catastrophe.
Wonky Donkey had a child, it was a little girl. Hee Haw! The laugh-out-loud follow-up to the viral sensation The Wonky Donkey is finally here! Featuring playful verses by Craig Smith and charming illustrations by Katz Cowley, The Dinky Donkey follows the same formula that made its predecessor a worldwide hit. Readers will love the antics of this stinky punky plinky-plonky winky-tinky pinky funky blinky dinky donkey!
The colourful illustrations are so vibrant. It helps bring the characters to life for little children. They will see the funny side of the Imps. This book helps children to learn to be polite and have manners all the time, even when being tempted by outsiders who are just plain rude, like the Imps. But Granny had her magic wand to help get the Imps outside where they belong. It is a wonderful story for young ones and the colourful characters make it believable for them. Diana Mason, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador