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Share this sturdy little book at bedtime for a perfectly charming festive read, full of frosty scenes, inviting flaps to lift, and the friendliest little bunny characters. Read it in the day, and ideally before a walk in the park, and it turns into a set of instructions for a special holiday adventure, with an invitation to join a very jolly elf chase. With shades of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, there’s lots of repetition, lots of actions to copy (skate, skate, glide) and lots of fun. A lovely book to make the Christmas holidays even more fun.
November 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | The best-selling series of Usborne touchy-feely titles get a welcome addition with this great new title. Perfect for very small fingers to explore, these books combine strongly outlined pictures which include patches of different textures. These patches invite very young children to get up close to the animals and engage! Just like the little mouse in the pictures does. Here he checks out the polar bear’s claws which are too shiny, nose which is too squashy and tongue which is too rough. It is only when he gets to the lovely fluffy tummy that he knows he’s found the polar bear that belongs to him!
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!
November 2019 Debut of the Month | 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.
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!
This is a superb well written in simple language for young children and superbly illustrated with a lovely drawing that will appeal to youngsters. This is a small book covering a large range of everyday topics that are currently occurring every day. The author has written about dealing with death, deforestation, extinction of animals and other similar topics in a first-class way that can allow grown-up to approach the subjects with a child with a positive perspective instead of the difficulty of explaining the sad things in life that some grown-ups may feel difficult to approach. A great book for children who are both dealing and not dealing with the topics covered in the book and allow youngsters and grown up to be able to discuss the topics openly Superb book and expertly written. Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Naomi Howarth’s beautifully expressive pictures have seen her twice nominated for the Kate Greenaway medal and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize and she is renowned for bringing the wonders of the natural world to life for young readers. In this picture book, which would be a perfect resource for Cold Places topics, we first meet Magnus the Ringed Seal woken from his slumbers by a loud rumbling noise. What could it be? Neither he nor any of his friends- the Arctic Hare, the Snowy Owl, the Arctic Fox and the Polar Bear can identify the source of the noise. It’s not the wind nor the ice breaking or trees creaking. But when they reach the sea, wise Walrus has an idea. Magnus is told to dive for juicy pink shrimps, and he brings back a feast for them all to share. Suddenly they realise the noise has stopped and it was Magnus’s hungry stomach all along. In a delightful denouement, when they all try to sleep, another loud noise wakes them and this time it is Magnus’s snores! The animals are realistically depicted in their glorious Arctic settings but are simultaneously real characters that children can engage with. The end papers have key facts about all the animals featured. This is an enjoyable repetitive tale and a lovely introduction to the animals of a threatened habitat.
This section - the first part of the story - introduces us to Maisha and her family and focuses upon the main message that she has learnt at school; she is so traumatised by the fact that her species is in danger that she needs support to communicate it to her herd. The section ends with her being teleported back to the school with the prospect of her partnering with another wild animal in order to work towards their protection. There is a lot to like about this introductory part of the story. It is well written and focuses very clearly upon the lifestyle of elephants and the danger that is facing them by man's intervention. I especially enjoyed the dedication to living creatures and the fun element of the 'Note to Big 'People'. The illustrations are delightful and match the text well. If the story continues as positively, I can envisage that this would be a good text for teachers to read aloud to their lower junior aged classes or to be used in themed assemblies on wildlife protection. I look forward to reading the rest of the book! Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
It's a lovely, sweet story and quite unusal. The illustrations were very good, although they would be better in colour. Ferdinand is a very friendly dragon and this comes across both in the story and in the illustrations: I don't think any child would perceive him as being scary. My only concern is that the language is a little grown up in places and doesn't always flow although I don't think that a child would necessarily notice this because they would be too interested in what is happening in the story. As well as being an entertaining story, I think it teaches a child about sadness and hope and the importance of friendship. I think adults will enjoy reading this story too, I certainly did. Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Written for young adults but will appeal to adult readers also. The author tells the story of two differing boys and what brings them together, they both have an interest in habitats and badgers living in a wood near to where they live. It shows how friendship is important regardless of status or where they have come from. I found myself in the treehouse whilst the boys looked into the badgers and the illustrations added this beautifully drawn. The author writes well and has a great understanding of nature and the natural world, and I literally could not put the book down and boy was there an ending. moralistic which again will apply to both young adults and grown-ups. Recommended read. Jane Brown, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
November 2019 Book of the Month | Not since The Snowman have readers been taken on such a magical, snowy journey of love and adventure. Phoebe lives in a gloomy orphanage run by the cruel Griselda Bone. The two clash frequently, and often over Phoebe’s creative response to her school work: Griselda does not approve of words like ‘whispery’ and ‘flumping’. Locked up in the snow overnight, Phoebe and her little dog Herb are surprised by a huge and magical snow dragon, who takes them on an extraordinary ride through the skies. Filled with snowflakes, starlight and revelling in the power of the imagination this is a gorgeous story for Christmas nights and Fiona Woodcock’s illustrations are very special indeed.
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.
Award-winner Katherine Rundell has already taken readers on thrilling journeys over rooftops, across the Russian steppes and of course deep into the forest. She understands absolutely children's longing for wild adventure and no-one is better suited to write new stories for Kipling's Jungle Book characters. This very handsome book, which features beautiful colour illustrations by Kristjana S Williams, tells five different stories, and with each perfectly-imagined episode adds to what we love about Kipling's unforgettable characters, including Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan and Kaa. It opens too with a story about one of the most interesting characters, Mowgli's fierce wolf-mother Raksha, who has long deserved more time in the spotlight. These are stories of bravery and cunning, full of excitement and danger, but most of all they are stories of loyalty and community, and by the time they reach the end, readers will be daydreaming themselves into the jungle family. Mowgli links all the stories, and has his own of course, and is exactly the same impetuous, selfish, boasting but warm-hearted, generous boy drawn so vividly by Kipling. In fact the book does exactly what sequels should but seldom manage - it tells us new stories that grow out of the originals, and enhance and enrich them.
'Picco Puppy Loves Football' is a simply written tale about a puppy who finds things difficult, doesn't give up and who's perseverance is rewarded by success in the end. It is written in a way that small children will be able to understand. There is a suggestion in the introduction that Picco faces specific challenges which make keeping going more difficult for him but these adversities are left vague, allowing the readers to apply the message of the book in all circumstances. The illustrations are clear and uncomplicated, portraying a diverse collection of characters; I think they will appeal to small children - as will the charming story. Jane Welby, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Rabbit realises that he doesn’t have to go to bed until it is dark. If it never gets dark, he won’t ever have to go to bed. It is easy to lure the Dark into the biscuit tin but the consequences aren’t what Rabbit expected. The pictures and text together build a charming allegory about the importance of thinking beyond our immediate pleasures.
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.’
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Grace is intrigued by the idea of spending the summer in the ancient house that is an important part of her family history. As she learns to heal herself following a life-changing accident and a family breakdown, Grace finds she is also able to help new friends. Like the original Flambards books, this offers at several levels from great story to psychological insights.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Shortlisted for the Children's Book Awards 2019, Books for Younger Readers Category | Patrick is delighted to go to stay at his grandparents’ house, especially when he is told he can choose a rescue puppy. Oz, the puppy has had a terrible start but Patrick is determined to help, until his own life falls apart and he daren’t love his dog. Colfer explores his subject with an empathy which makes the characters and dilemmas very real. A great read.
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
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+