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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.
June 2021 Books of the Month | This clever and thoroughly charming picture book is full of information about emperor penguins and human dads too. Sam is waiting for his dad to come home and for their nightly storytelling session – his dad makes up brilliant stories. But Dad is late, arriving only just in time in fact, and Sam is put out; he refuses a dinosaur superhero story, normally his favourite. So his dad tells him a very different story, the true story of Papa Penguin who waits in the freezing cold, guarding his egg, hardly moving for weeks and weeks until at last the egg hatches and he sees his chick. I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate a father’s unconditional, superhero love for his child, no wonder Sam loves it and asks for the same story the next night. Momoko Abe’s illustrations are full of warmth and family love, even in Antarctica and like Sam, children will want this story again and again. A final double page spread includes more facts about how real-life Papa Penguins behave.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | No wonder he is angry! Bombs are raining down on the city that Joseph is sent to as an evacuee. And anyway, who came up with the stupid idea that he should live with Mrs F. who doesn’t even like children! He knows he should just run away but where would he go? Instead, he finds himself inexorably drawn into Mrs F‘s life and the zoo and the animals she is fighting to keep safe – in particular, Adonis, the powerful silverback gorilla. Every night when the bombs fall, Mrs F rushes to the zoo. She risks her life to be with her animals safe knowing that, if the very worst happens and the zoo is bombed she will have to take exceptional and radical action. Will she be brave enough? And would Joseph be? In this deeply moving story of Joseph’s journey of self-discovery Phil Earle not only tells a brilliant story of a child’s emotional development but also added an important and true dimension to World War 2 stories.
Dot isn't like the other dogs: she doesn't like going out for walks, and she doesn't like going to the park. Her favourite thing is staying at home with her favourite toy and best friend, Peep. But when Peep goes missing under the garden fence, Dot might have to venture out into the world...
Dot the hospital dog is a much-loved visitor on the Wallaby Ward; from a crying baby to a bored teenager – a pat, a stroke and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up! But the work of the hospital dog doesn’t stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it’s up to Dot to save the day! This exciting rhyming story full of bravery and friendship is the new hardback title from a stellar picture book partnership; Julia Donaldson's captivating storytelling is perfectly expressed in Sara's characterful and wonderfully rich artwork.
'Tiny Polly: The story of a brave chicken' is a little book with a big message. Written by Jinan Samman and beautifully illustrated in watercolour by Evgeniya Kozhevnikova, it can be shared with young children but is also simple enough to be tackled by beginner readers on their own. Polly lives on a farm with other chickens but because of her small size, she is not included in any of their activities. Desperate to be like the others, she tries to make herself grow but to no avail. It takes a serious occurrence when the farmer is away at market before the flock realises that Polly is more than worthy of their respect and friendship and that differences are to be praised not condemned. Her courage and ingenuity win acceptance in the end and her self esteem is really boosted. Children will more than likely pick up on the bullying by the bigger chickens and relate this to their own experiences, so the story is an excellent way to encourage the sharing of any concerns. Even if this is not a problem though, young children will surely appreciate the lesson the chickens learn in this delightful picture book and will read it again and again. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Amabssador
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Recommended by Stephen L Holland, Guest Editor, June 2021: An exuberant bundle of wisdom which wittily wraps its warm heart around the welcoming of strangers, this is more a Young Readers picture book than a comic, but the narrative is so image-driven and those pictures are so cleverly controlled that it counts. New neighbours move into some flats; they’re rats. That was succinct, wasn’t it? I love this book so much that we made a film of me reading from (and reviewing) it which you can watch below.
Set in ancient Rome, during the terrifying rule of Caligula in fact, Annelise Gray’s book is a mix of history, adventure and horses – a winning combination! Dido’s father trains riders and horses for the famous, and frequently deadly Circus Maximus chariot races. She dreams of being a charioteer too but that’s not allowed, and she’s stuck watching the boys compete. When her father is murdered, Dido has to flee Rome, leaving behind her beautiful horse Porcellus. But Fate will bring the two of them together again, and sees Dido compete in the Circus after all. The story of Dido, Porcellus and their fellow riders and horses makes for thrilling reading. Gray transports the reader to Rome in a hoofbeat, places, people and the dangerous times vividly brought to life. Caligula plays a part in the book, and he’s not the only real person to do so – watch out for Cassius Chaerea too – but Dido is the star, as she makes her way in Rome’s macho world, determined to set her own path and avenge her father. A superb historical adventure story. If Dido’s story sets readers looking for more classical adventures, as it undoubtedly will, point them to Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries, Rosemary Sutcliff’s Eagle of the Ninth Chronicles and Philip Womack’s The Arrow of Apollo.
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.
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.
It’s time for the sixth and final instalment of Julian Clary’s much-loved children’s book series The Bolds! Teddington’s wildest family of hyenas have decided to do their bit for the planet and go green. They're reducing, reusing and recycling as much as they can. Not all of their eco-friendly ideas are welcome, though - especially when it comes to 'watering' the neighbours' front garden with wee ....
A hungry little mouse strolls through very prettily illustrated countryside scenes, reminiscent of favourite folk tales, and is lucky enough to discover four juicy apples. So far, so good, but then she runs into a bear, a bear who holds that might is right and who refuses to share. Undeterred, the clever mouse finds a way to eat her apples and to persuade her new friend of the joy of sharing. Written in rhyme this is particularly pleasing to read aloud and children will love the story of a lesson learned and friendship formed.
'Eve's Ducklings', written by Maria Monte and illustrated by Emelie Wiklund, is a lovely picture book aimed at three to five year olds. It starts with an experience that almost every young child will relate to, that of going to the park with a much loved older family member, and takes us through all the emotions Eve feels there and how she learns and grows because of them. When Grandpa takes Eve to the lake for the first time, they are delighted to see that the duck family has two ducklings. Eve runs to try to catch and hold them, hug and pat them but grandpa warns her that their mother will not be happy about that. On every visit she still tries to show them her love in the only way she knows but the ducklings just retreat to the middle of the pond until one day Eve falls in the water in her efforts to reach them. This makes her really start to think about her approach and, taking a step back, she scatters sunflower seeds for them instead. Before long, the ducklings come for the seeds and Eve is at last able to see them close to. This book is an excellent encouragement for children to start thinking about their relationship with wild creatures, how to show them respect, give them their own space and love and care for them in a suitable and responsible way. A charming and inspiring story. Drena Irish, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Interest Age 5-8 | From worldwide bestseller Holly Webb comes The Beach Puppy – the adorable story of a puppy’s exciting first trip to the seaside. Well-known for her heart-warming animal stories, Holly’s Barrington Stoke debut is no exception. Featuring gorgeous full-colour illustrations from Ellie Snowdon, The Beach Puppy is a sweet, summery delight for all animal lovers.
Stuck inside and feeling blue with nothing do to? No problem! With a dash of imagination, everyone’s home and outdoor objects can be transformed into the stuff of adventures, as toddler Tilly and puppy Toby discover in this charismatic picture book that wears its message on its sleeve - “all the fun of outside was already inside their minds”. With Toby confined to the house on account of his poorly paw, and Tilly stuck inside due to a brewing storm, both of them are feeling pretty despondent. Toby paces back and forth by the door while Tilly gazes sadly outside at the “dark, gathering clouds,” until Toby brings her his lead and she’s struck by inspiration. Together they explore every nook and cranny of their house for “all their outdoor belongings,” discovering lots of toys they’d long forgotten about, from roller skates and balls, to bicycles and an old paddling pool. These objects are quickly transformed into the “most amazing, astounding, and spectacular Dog-Walking, Storm-Protecting Machine,” no less! I loved the retro soft-but-scratchy illustrative style that put me in mind of the original 1970s Topsy and Tim books, and the book’s message of having adventures at home has resonance beyond its current COVID-19 relevance - it’s a perennial theme, here delivered through an upfront story with enduring visual charm.
As one would expect from a much-lauded artist, past Children’s Laureate and winner of the prestigious Hans Andersen Prize and two Kate Greenaway medals, this is a very beautiful book. But this modern fable has some gentle but poignant messages for young readers. As in many of his books one can safely assume the child represented by young Ernest. Safe and happy with his mum and the rest of the herd but bursting with curiosity about life, and one day he sets off to explore the fascinating jungle. Children will pour over the jungle pages with relish, spotting leopard skin tree trunks, flowers made of fried eggs or even Crème eggs in classic surrealist Browne style. But young Ernest gets increasingly alarmed by the strangeness and finds himself lost. Every child will empathise with the lost child trauma. Ernest is relieved to come upon other animals, but what a disappointment they turn out to be and how marvellously is their boredom and selfish disdain captured. They really cannot be bothered to help or listen – just like some politicians! But somebody does listen- a tiny mouse. Ernest thanks him most politely but does not believe help is possible from this unprepossessing source. Yet he can and does and Ernest and his mum are so happy to be reunited. “And so was the little mouse, as it quietly scurried back into the jungle” Illustrating so perfectly that helpfulness brings its own reward – just as it does for all those carers and NHS staff selflessly giving their time to help. A lovely rewarding read to reflect upon together.
Translated by Rachel Ward | The world needs a smart, resilient, lucky little hero right now, and Nibbles the mouse fits the bill perfectly. At the opening of the story, Nibbles is living quietly but happily with his family in Munich but redevelopment means they have to move somewhere a lot less comfortable and when Nibbles gets the chance to hop on a train to Switzerland (aka mouse heaven) he takes it. All sorts of adventures follow – he even finds himself performing in a circus – and his travels take him to France and England too before he makes his way home to his family. Nibbles is a great storyteller and his adventures are both comic and thrilling, while he meets some wonderful characters on the way. The telling is enlivened further by Axel Scheffler’s colour illustrations which are a perfect match for Nibbles’ plain but heartfelt narrative. Thoroughly charming, this is a great little book and perfect for shared or solo reading.
A breathtaking tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder from acclaimed nature writer and Costa Award-shortlisted novelist, Melissa Harrison - the perfect read for children for spring and summer! Three tiny, ancient beings - Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World - wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey which takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world ... The breathtaking children's debut from acclaimed nature writer and literary fiction novelist, Melissa Harrison,. Inspired by 1942 classic The Little Grey Men by BB, with shades of The Borrowers. A tale of disappearing wilderness that couldn't be more relevant in today's environmental crisis, brought to life for children by three tiny, funny, eternal beings - the hidden folk.
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