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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.
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
Who needs gritty, dark psychological thriller when you can curl up in your armchair with your furry companions and read a cosy murder mystery especially one where a feisty Scottish wildcat pits his superior feline wits against a delightfully wicked murderer in the rugged heart of the Scottish Highlands?
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Cleverly blending story and information and beautifully illustrated, Hello, Horse captures the best qualities of a horse called Shannon and describes how a very special bond between and animal and a child can be made. Vivian French brief text provides the perfect introduction to the different features of a horse and to details about how a horse should be approached by a child. She explains how to touch and feed a horse and also how to ride one! Catherine Rayner’s illustrations capture the gloss of Shannon’s coat, the sinews of her body and, above all, her characterful expressions which bring her to life perfectly.
February 2010 Book of the Month | Treasure, tropical islands, shivering timbers – everyone loves a pirate story and this one is particularly fun, especially for newly confident readers. The crew of the Golden Earring are a rum bunch, from grumpy Captain Halibut to hapless cook Cannonball. Their antics are observed by the animals on board – Cutlass the parrot, Patch the ship’s cat and Monty, the ship’s monkey. When a treasure map is discovered, only the animals know how dangerous finding it will be – how can they keep the humans safe? It’s all lots of fun, a jaunty, thoroughly satisfying story full of incident and humour. Illustrations by Kate Pankhurst make this as fun to look at as it is to read. Ooo-arrrs all round!
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.’
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | The world of wolves is brought vividly to life in this brilliant story which takes the reader right into the mind of a young wolf cub who has to make a brave decision to leave his home and head out into the wide, wide world. Swift is one of a litter of cubs who grow up under the careful protection of their mother and father. From them they learn how to smell and see food and danger and how to stay safe in all circumstances. But, when a rival wolf pack invades their territory, Swift has to move on. Alone, he has to travel on a journey risking everything. Rosanne Parry captures the awesomeness of the vast open spaces through which Swift travels making them come alive. The effect is to leave readers with the greatest respect for the wild and the animals that live in it.
It’s definitely a case of (very) slow and steady winning the race in this amusing and original picture book. Sloth is inspired by the superhero story he finds in a comic book left in the jungle so when mean Anteater starts stealing fruit from the other animals he – leaps is definitely the wrong word – goes into action. It turns out that moving very slowly and looking like a bit of tree are actually useful superpowers. Sloth is an engaging hero and Starling fills the jungle scenes with movement and character. The action builds to a rewarding conclusion, and neatly delivers a message about the value of different types of ability.
Celebrate World Book Day 2019 with this wonderful new picture book, based on the much-loved characters from The Hundred and One Dalmatians. When Cadpig gets lost playing hide-and-seek, she stumbles into the path of evil Cruella de Vil . . .But can her new furry friends help her to escape?
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.
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
It is a fine yew tree that for many hundreds of years has protected Punchbowl Farm from gales and storms. Lindsey loves it and feels certain that it holds the spirit which guards their home and that to destroy it would be wrong and might cause some dreadful disaster. But Dion, who has taken the many problems of running the farm on his practical young shoulders, knows only that its poisonous branches are a constant menace to his herd and even to their beloved ponies. They cannot afford to have the tree fenced and so, he says, it must come down. But Lindsey is determined that some other solution must be found; that somehow the yew must be preserved yet the cattle protected. It seems that they will never understand each other’s point of view, until they are linked together by strange and enthralling experiences which reveal to them the past history of the tree, and, in sympathy at last, they see what must be done…
April 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Take an inspiring journey into sixteen very special and important landscapes each of which is brought to life in glorious large-scale illustrations. These set the scene for amazing dramas of nature that are taking place within them. From tropical rainforest to scorching deserts, these protected environments are home to rare and beautiful animals and plants which are shown here in glorious illustrations that display their finest details. While the illustrations will draw the readers in, there is also a wealth of information included in the fact file at the end making this a book that is full of value as well as beauty.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | Even a dog as clever as McTavish has his work cut out for him looking after the Peacheys. In this new instalment of witty, sharply observed domestic drama, Mr Peachey has developed a passion – indeed, an obsession – with baking. He is convinced he will win the local bake-off with his entry, a recreation of the Palace of Versailles in gingerbread. His family are only too aware that his skill as a baker falls far short of his ambition. Fortunately, McTavish is prepared to do whatever it takes to save Mr Peachey from disaster and humiliation. McTavish’s dog’s-eye view of family life is very funny but also cleverly delivers shrewd messages for us all on how to get along. Delicious!