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In a nutshell: gripping, sometimes heart-breaking story of a dog and his boy Guardian award-winner Andy Mulligan brings his own sensibility to a much-loved model - boy and dog form special relationship - adding a particular humour, seriousness and depth. It’s love at first sight for Tom and Spider, but a series of accidents results in Spider running away from home. The animals he meets are almost universally cruel, their animal natures leading them to torment Spider and other animals too; a vixen offers to help him home but loses her life in the process. Things get bleaker still, until Spider finally fights his way back to Tom. A thrilling climax allows the two of them, both bullied, to emerge as heroes. Original, thought-provoking and with a dark humour, this is an ultimately uplifting read, and very memorable. Andrea Reece
The Station Mouse is a perfect bedtime read. Every page is a feast to the eye, with jokes and things to spot to keep it interesting read after read. The hero of our story is a most diligent mouse employed in the local railway station on a mission to keep the site clean and tidy. He does this under a strict Rule Book which, amongst many, dictates he must stay out of sight and never approach a passenger. He follows these rules most conscientiously until he spots the opportunity to reunite some lost property as a little boy drops his comforter while crossing the concourse. Hurray for the Station Mouse! I think we've all been unfortunate enough to lose something whilst travelling - if only there were more busy little mice reuniting property. This is a lovely book with original and charming illustrations and a cheerful storyline.
June 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: animals, adventure and an irresistible cast of characters This new series has everything that marks out the best, most satisfying and enjoyable children’s books. For a start there’s a smart but impulsive, ready-for-anything central character in Kat Wolfe, who quickly finds an equally enterprising new best friend, Harper Lamb. Then there’s a procession of the best pets/animal helpers ever, from half-feral Savannah cat Tiny to flighty racehorse Charmed Outlaw, to movie-line quoting parrot Bailey. Put them into an adventure involving genuinely threatening double-crossing secret agents, and incompetent would-be assassins, all set in a beautiful and perfectly described Dorset coastal village, mix in warm family relationships, and you have one of the best new adventure stories of the year. Lauren St John brings all the elements together with seemingly effortless ease and there can’t be a young reader in the country who won’t lap this up. ~ Andrea Reece
May 2018 Book of the Month | All children should grow up with Elmer and this abridged version of the original story, presented as an Elmer-shaped board book, is the perfect first introduction to his particular celebration of difference and acceptance. It’s a good size for parent and child to share and David McKee’s timeless, vibrant illustrations provide so much for even the youngest to look at, enjoy and discuss. ~ Andrea Reece *** Andersen Press invites YOU to join in with Elmer Day and 'show your colours’. You can hold an Elmer parade in a library, a bookshop, a classroom, at home, outside – anywhere! Download an Elmer’s Parade Pack here which includes craft activities, games, colouring sheets, bunting and lots of ideas for holding your own Elmer party!
Once, in an old rusty bin in an old rusty playground in an old empty park. . there lived a little tortoise. But Tortoise is lonely. He's never seen any other tortoises, and wonders where they could all be hiding. Then, one day, he looks up and the night sky, and sees a million blinking lights winking at him. That must be where the other tortoises are - at the top of the sky! I wish I could join them. But how can a little tortoise get to the top of the sky? And so begins a magical journey...
In a nutshell: llama football stars called up for England at the World Cup | Llamas United took the footballing (and book) world by storm in their first adventure, and will win more readers still with their second. Real llamas, they are brilliant footballers, thanks to having eaten the ashes of one of the world’s best players, and their manager young Tim Gravy is determined to take them to the World Cup. And let’s face it, the England national team could do with a shake up! There are some hurdles to overcome, ensuring the llamas and human players bond for example, working out just what is upsetting Tim’s friend and team trainer Cairo, not to mention portions of poisoned lasagne, but it all comes to a climax – doesn’t it always? – with England versus Germany in the final. Wonderfully silly, completely engaging and with top class footballing action, this is one for football fans everywhere. ~ Andrea Reece
May 2018 Book of the Month | Wonderful rhyme carries you through this rollicking ride through the wild west and a town they called Fear, whose scary inhabitants wear rattlesnake socks, chew rocks and and soon leave newcomer, the colourful and jolly Bingo B. Brown without his cheerful grin. Bingo soon discovers that as scary as the cowboys in town are, the wildest, scariest cowboy of all comes calling after dark. Frightened by the tales he hears of this terrible stranger, Bingo and his dog decide to leave town. They soon discover that you can't run away from the things that scare you as they come face to face with the fear spreading cowboy. Bingo soon finds his courage though and before long this baddie goes from spiteful to delightful. This is an absolute joy to read and is packed full of fun and colourful illustrations that complement the story perfectly. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
In a nutshell: another charming, joke-filled adventure for everyone’s favourite hyena family The Bolds, for those who don’t know, are a family of hyenas living disguised as humans in a quiet street in Teddington. They wear clothes and hats to cover their hyena features, so the neighbours have no idea what they really are, though they notice they laugh a lot, as will readers of these hugely entertaining stories. In this adventure the Bolds run into trouble. A couple of foxes are disturbing the human residents of Fairfield Street putting themselves in danger of being captured. But when the Bolds try to help the foxes they get a very rude response. The story is full of incident, packed with humour (including masses of very good jokes) and the Bolds continue to demonstrate that kindness, tolerance, and a good sense of humour are the elements for a happy life. Required reading. ~ Andrea Reece
With its comic storyline and bright, bold, minimalist illustrations, The Steves is another bit of picture book genius from the hugely talented Morag Hood. It stars two young puffins, both lively and busy, both called Steve – which is where the trouble starts. The two compete – with increasing determination and bluster – to be top, ‘the Stevest Steve’. Watching their antics as they try to best one another is very funny and the illustrations brim with vitality right to the last page, with its unexpected twist. Children will laugh out loud at what the two Steves get up to, but they’ll recognise all the emotions they’re feeling too. Brilliant! ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: another inventive, clever and hugely appealing story There’s great excitement in the Smith-Pickle household when an old egg given to Eddie by Uncle Morton suddenly appears to be hatching. It’s clearly something very special and the cute little feathery creature that emerges has a strange effect on dragons: they seem to be both drawn to it, and terrified of it. With seven dragons in the garden, sporadically trying to attack the little fledgling in the house, no wonder Eddie’s Mum is cross. As ever the story is recounted through Eddie’s emails to Uncle Morton and it makes for fast, funny and highly entertaining reading. This is book nine in a consistently excellent series. ~ Andrea Reece
Bestselling author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Lydia Monks have teamed up for another brilliant picture book. Right in the farmyard among all the noisy animals with their MOOs! and QUACKS! and BAAs! and OINKs! lives a tiny silent ladybird. This beautiful glittery creature (little fingers will love to feel her sparkly shape) is so quiet that she hears two crafty robbers plotting to raid the farmyard. And she comes up with a very clever plan to stop them, helped by the very noisy animals all around her. A wonderful adventure with gorgeous stylised illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare Can you find all the words in this special What the Ladybird Heard Picture Wordsearch?
In a nutshell: brave, loyal, upstanding rabbit hero versus despicable rats Fans of rabbit hero Shylo Tawny-Tail will be delighted to hear that he is back for another exciting adventure. Shylo and the other Royal Rabbits of London are pledged to protect the queen and operate from secret headquarters under Buckingham Palace itself. Their arch enemies are the rat Ratzis, unscrupulous vermin not above using the internet to spread their web of evil. The forthcoming visit of POTUS provides the Ratzis with the opportunity to cause chaos, can Shylo stop them? This second adventure is faster-paced and more action-packed than the first, full of exciting moments though there’s plenty of room for humour and lovely character descriptions too. It’s great fun and there’s a proper emphasis on doing the right thing and discovering your own reserves of courage too. ~ Andrea Reece
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