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February 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: well-written, enthralling magical adventure The age-old theme of good versus evil is given a lively reworking in Celine Kiernan’s new series. When her father is kidnapped by witches, her mother sets out with Mup, her brother and dog, plus the ghost of Aunty Boo to fetch him back. The world they enter is a dangerous one, ruled by a tyrannical queen using spies and informers – the raggedy witches – to enforce her cruel, arbitrary rules. There’s a shock for Mup who discovers the queen is actually her grandmother, and that she too has magic powers. The story bristles with excitement and adventure while allowing space for friendships to form, and for humour too (Mup’s baby brother is transformed into a puppy, much to his delight). Well-written, this is a thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying story. Firmly in the tradition of classic tales of magic such as Narnia, and with hints of Tolkien and Susan Cooper too, readers would also enjoy Peter F. Hamilton’s The Queen of Dreams series. ~ Andrea Reece
Darkus and his friends continue their unforgettable adventure in this final instalment of the Beetle trilogy. Arch-villainess Lucretia Cutter has a secret Biome hidden in the Amazon rainforest: can Darkus and his friends, human and beetle alike, find it before it's too late? If they can't stop Lucretia, she will release her hoard of giant Frankenstein beetles, and the planet will never be the same again ...
February 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2018 | A stunning book that is also an invaluable introduction to how to look at the world around us. Nicola Davies invites readers to look at the flowers, the birds, the insects, the fishes and more in habitats of all kinds around the world. She shows the value of individual groups and also the importance of the how all aspects of nature are interconnected. Emily Sutton’s beautiful illustrations bring the natural world sharply into focus making it both delightful and accessible. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2018 Kevin by Rob Biddulph My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley Lots: The Diversity of Life by Nicola Davies A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal The Iron Man by Ted Hughes Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram No More Kissing by Emma Chichester Clark
March 2018 Debut of the Month A huge story is packed into this striking and thoroughly involving picture book. Erik is one of the youngest members of his wolf pack and definitely the most reckless. He thinks his family’s rules are silly and one day, when no-one’s looking, stomps off to be a real lone wolf. He climbs higher, wobbles further and skies faster – right into disaster. Stuck at the bottom of an icy crevasse, Erik wishes for his wolf pack. Fortunately for him, they arrive to save him but Sara Finan’s painterly illustrations show readers just how dangerous and scary the snow and ice are, as well as how much safer and happier Erik is back with his loving family. ~ Andrea Reece
Dave Pigeon and his best friend Skipper were living happily in the Human Lady's house, but now they're travelling in a box to Pawsville Vets ... maybe Dave will finally get his broken wing fixed. The pet shop is full of new friends... Jet the dog, Cricket Ball Face the hamster... and with friendship comes a bit of healthy competition, and what could be better that a race for a racing pigeon? But the only animal who thinks Dave is capable of going up against the infamous Mickey Lightning is Dave himself.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2018 Celebrating thirty-five best-selling years, Whatever Next! is a classic story of a child’s imaginative adventure. It’s bath time for Baby Bear but he is determined to fit in a quick trip to the moon beforehand. Can he do it? Sure he can. Finding a space rocket under the stairs, a helmet in the kitchen and some boots by the door Baby Bear is soon off and away floating high in the sky, up through the stars and all the way to the moon. A gloriously imaginative story brought to life in Jill Murphy’s wonderful illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2018 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by by Mem Fox Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie Doherty The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
Prize winning illustrator Emily Gravett triumphs again in her witty story of how a lonely chameleon does what he does best in a desperate attempt to make a new friend. Changing colour comes naturally to the blue chameleon so he tries yellow and says hi to a banana, pink to greet a cockatoo, brown to say Howdy to a handsome cowboy boot… Nothing seems to work until the triumphant and delightful final spread when the chameleon finds another chameleon – just like him! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Apparently a celebration of dogs of all kind, this is also a book with a witty twist at the end. Gorgeous pictures of big dogs and small dogs, hairy dogs and bald dogs, stroppy dogs and soppy dogs delight in themselves but the best is kept to the end when the reader finds out exactly who the narrator is! Prize-winning illustrator Emily Gravett delights with Dogs, now happily available as a chunky board book. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Emily Gravett was selected as one of The Big Picture campaign's Best New Illustrators in 2008 And since her launch onto the children’s book scene she has made a considerable name for herself with children with her stunning and clever but simple picture books. Young children will love guessing what animal they are pretending to be, before shouting out the answers as the pages are turned to reveal the real creatures. Click here for an activity sheet related to this book !
A new board book edition of the picture book classic, in a size that's perfect for little paws! A timeless storybook classic full of bright colourful pictures that accompany a simple, repetitive text. Children will delight in all the wonderful sound effects and Mr Bear's reaction to the noises that stop him going to sleep until...you'll find out when you read it to your toddler. The familiar noises, repetition and beautiful illustrations make this delightful picture book an all-time favourite with children and adults everywhere. Click here for an activity sheet related to this book !
January 2018 Book of the Month A prizewinning story idea from Neal Jackson gave birth to this wonderful tale of adventure, spies and man’s attempt to be the first aeronaut. Emma Carroll has a wonderful ability to capture a particular time in history and make it accessible to her young readers. Beautifully written and perfectly capturing 18th century France Sky Chasers, follows Magpie, a young girl destined to stand out. Her dark skin sets her apart but Magpie is an expert at performing the unseen as she excels as a petty criminal. She steals from those who can afford to lose a little to feed herself and her cockeral Coco. Set during the reign of King Louis and Marie Antoinette, when France is racing against its enemy England, to be the first to fly in a hot air balloon. This wonderful reimagining of real life events is full of adventure, peril and excitement. Emma has created a daring, courageous character in Magpie, a girl who doesn’t quite fit but despite her differences has a strong sense of loyalty and a desire (despite her criminal background) to do what’s right. She is a fantastic character and one that stands out as a strong willed, intelligent girl with a fierce determination to follow her own heart to achieve her dreams no matter what conventions try to hold her back. She proves to be a fierce and brave friend. Sky Chasers is dedicated to "all those names that don’t make the history books", and testament to all the unsung heroes out there and is yet another fantastic offering from this superb children’s author. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here. From a prize-winning idea by Neal Jackson, Winner of the Big Idea Competition, chosen as unanimouswinner by the judges: Tess Daly, Neil Blair, Barry Cunningham, Philip Ardagh and theatre producer Sonia Friedman.