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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.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2020 | Penny, the notorious dog-napper, has a host of dogs already but there is one very special dog she is determined to get her hands on. Quick, clever, a master of disguise and very good at problem solving, he is the dog she wants. And he is covered in spots so should be easy to find. Penny’s assistant Pat sets out to find the dog. Can the dog-nappers catch their prize or will they be outwitted by the super-smart dog? Emma Lazell’s energetic and vivid illustrations inject this simple story with great energy.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2020 | Noah and Hatty are thrilled when they discover their Uncle Lofty owns a zoo. But Uncle Lofty is no longer able to look after the animals and has decided he needs to get them back to their own homes. Although he has a boat, he has a boat but he needs helpers! Soon Noah and Hatty, together with their Aunt Smiley who looks after them while their parents do their special work far from home, and a lively group of animals including the very lively Monkey Robertson, are off round the world finding out a lot about animals as they do so!
With a short, simple but often lyrical text, and through striking, beautiful illustrations, Moth tells the story of the peppered moth, and through that explains evolution and describes the changing landscapes of our world. The peppered moth provides a perfect example of natural selection: some moths are born with speckled wings, some are charcoal black. The speckled markings are most effective as camouflage when moths are resting on pale tree branches, but as the Industrial Revolution begins and trees are covered in sooty deposits from factories and chimneys, suddenly the black moths do better and their numbers rise. Then, as laws are passed to reduce pollution and the air clears, the situation is reversed again, and the number of speckled moths increases. Not only does this encapsulate natural evolution, it also reminds us of nature’s resilience and offers hope for the future. The final line encourages children to go out and observe moths for themselves, something this book will surely inspire them to do.
Best friends Betty and Maud love doing everything together. And they are sure that their favourite toys, Duck and Penguin do too. But Duck and Penguin do NOT! While Betty and Maud share playing in the sandpit, taking turns on the swings, painting and baking, Duck and Penguin push each other off the swings, crush each other’s sandcastles, and cover each other with paint and cake mix. Can they ever be friends? Luckily they can! Julia Woolf conveys this witty story about friendship – or not – most effectively through the venomous scowls and frowns and ferocious looks between the two soft toys in contrast to the brilliant warm smiles of Betty and Maud.
Bear and Squirrel are best friends and do everything together. Bear describes it beautifully: ‘Like peas in a pod, you and I fit/ Like strawberries and cream, we are a hit’. The pictures however are telling a different story and we can all see that sometimes – quite often in fact – Squirrel is more than a little irritated by Bear, not to mention squashed, bashed and accidentally knocked about! When it all gets too much, Squirrel tells Bear he needs space and Bear, being a really good friend, understands. Check the illustrations again though, and we can see that life without Bear just isn’t the same. Steve Small’s illustrations are full of humour but poignant too and Smiriti Hall’s rhyming text a delight to read aloud; this is a virtuoso portrayal of what friendship means.
‘Please remove the Mouse from the House’: the instructions could not be clearer, but mouse-catcher Mr Bosh and his assistant Mr Bumble make such a mess of it! Children will squeak with glee as My Bumble tries and fails to catch the mouse, each time more spectacularly than last. We know things won’t go well when he can’t avoid the mouse-traps he’s laid – the same traps the clever mouse has nimbly side-stepped – but everything really goes to pieces when Mr Bosh sends him out to bring back a cat … The scenes are increasingly outlandish and comical, perfectly represented in Russell Ayto’s bright, scratchy illustrations, and it all culminates in the biggest disaster you can contemplate. Stylish, irreverent, unruly fun for all!
With a simple narrative and eye-catching spreads, this picture book delivers a powerful and timely message. Meera and her mum are enjoying a day at the seaside, when suddenly a giant approaches them – a huge, blue giant that comes out of the sea and is actually a wave. It has a message from the ocean: ‘We need your help.’ Sailing out, mother and daughter find the sea is full of rubbish and start to clear up. Next day, Meera goes back to the beach and piles up as much litter as she can. Friends join in, and friends of friends, and when everybody helps out: ‘even the biggest messes can be fixed.’ The final pages make suggestions for ways we can all cut down on plastic and while the story doesn’t dodge the size of the problem we face, it does provide hope and encouragement. With its rich, painterly seaside and deep-sea scenes, this is very beautiful, and very memorable. For more books with an eco theme visit our Green Reads collection
Ant Chloe is a little ant with a great attitude to life. She is industrious and always ready for an adventure. Naturally curious, this sometimes gets her in trouble. She wants life to be fair and is hard working, She is part of a happy family of ants together with her 10 brothers and sisters.
A group of animal friends think they have found some stars that have fallen to earth. Together they endeavour to get the stars back into the sky. Reach for the Stars is a book about teamwork and encouraging others to do their best. This is book three of a larger series however I think they could be read in any order. This is a very unusual book as it is designed to be read aloud by a group, giving 4 children the chance to be one of the characters and allowing them to read the book between them. I liked that the contribution from each character is clearly stated at the start as I think this could be a nice way to encourage less confident, or perhaps younger readers to join in. At the end of the book are suggestions for discussion and a chance to explore our feelings. I liked the illustrations, which are clear and colourful and I think that Reach for the Stars is a good book for early readers to enjoy. I think that this is a lovely book to share with friends or siblings and take it in turns to be each character.
On first glance this seems to be a short book with a very simple storyline but upon reading and reflection it offers much more. Illustrated in bright and bold colours, the story focuses upon a young boy called Eddie and his dog, Kenny. Eddie thinks about animals and their special qualities, envisaging what it would be like if he himself had those physical attributes. He transforms himself into a wondrous creature consisting of a variety of animal body parts and succeeds in avoiding dangerous situations by calling upon one of the animal traits. After his adventures, he finally decides that he would actually rather be himself. This would be the perfect story for a teacher to read to a class when celebrating the uniqueness of one's own individuality. Its fantasy element would appeal to young children, yet its underlying theme enables the opportunity to encourage self-worth and confidence. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
You might know Bunny vs Monkey from the totally brilliant Phoenix Comic. This new book brings together a collection of their comic adventures in one chunky but portable, full colour (obviously) paperback – how great is that! If you are new to the duo, Bunny lives in a peaceful forest with his nice (but dim) friends, Weenie the Squirrel and Pig. Other than the occasional run in with a bear, all is calm until the arrival of Monkey, hell-bent on world domination. (In Monkey’s defence, he was launched into space by scientists with that aim, but the mission failed and he fell back to earth just over the hill from their laboratory). He’s helped in his scheming by a skunk with its own underground laboratory and the two cause no end of trouble for Bunny. With titles like Wrestlepocalypse, Fish Off and The Whuppabaloo, these mini adventures are hugely inventive, wonderfully daft and always very, very funny. Bunny vs Monkey would tempt the most reluctant reader - you can find more books we think are suitable for Relucant Readers here.
Of course you shouldn’t call an elephant in an emergency, he’ll just tangle the fire hoses and cause a flood. Don’t let lemmings fly the rescue helicopter either, or rely on an anteater for a cave rescue (he’ll disgrace himself). These are just some of the ridiculous scenarios dreamed up by Patricia Cleveland-Peck in the latest in this hilarious picture book series, illustrations by David Tazzyman, his scribbly detail catching all the chaos and possibilities of the action. It’s great to read aloud and the action builds to a perfect, and perfectly funny conclusion. Peck and Tazzyman are the consummate picture book partnerships and each double-page is an brilliant adventure in its own right.
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.
Although the original tale of the wild wolf and proud girl is known to have a sad ending this has been retold for this version giving a hopeful outcome. Wild Wolf is the guardian spirit to his people, wise in knowing that people can be very proud and cruel in their actions. When Proud Girl refuses many suitors one, Bravest Warrior, seeks revenge by making her fall in love with a creature built from ice and scraps.As Proud Girl follows Ice Man, she is separated from all she knows, until Ice Man melts in the sun. Proud Girl might also perish, except for the care of the spirit wolf who helps keep her warm until Bravest Warrior finds her and keeps her alive, ultimately winning her hand, though they had both gone through many changes.A simple but very tough story of revenge, pride and forgiveness told in bold pictures with bright, vibrant colours. Each double spread has few words and big illustrations with bold blocks of colour filling the page. The wolf has an almost hypnotic stare, you could imagine him as a truly great guardian spirit in a harsh natural world. A moral fable for our times.
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.
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Anteater wakes up with a problem: he can’t remember what he is supposed to eat. The other animals aren’t much help but, when he finds an anthill, Anteater suddenly remembers his favourite food. Children will love being ahead of the story until the big surprise. Pictures and text dovetail together to create a very enjoyable book.
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.
I think that this is a great inspirational story for kids. Verti-Goat has lots of messages about bullying fears and overcoming those hurdles. This little goat refuses to be just "ordinary". There are wonderful characters in this story and it is well written. I liked that there were lots of messages to provide inspiration for kids. Recommended and make sure this is in your child Christmas stocking this year. Jane Brown, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
I can't wait to read this to my newest great-granddaughter. It is a brilliant story to tell children how they can achieve their dreams. Tilley wants to do gymnastics, but there is no place for her to do it safely. One day she finds out there is a place to go to learn and practice. She is over the moon. Unfortunately, she can't get everything the first time. It teaches children to continue to practice and in the end, they will overcome and be able to do whatever they want to achieve in life. I can't wait to read the next story. Diana Mason, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
When I first started reading this one, I thought it was going to be about a journey through the animal kingdom, but I was so wrong. In fact, this book is about the impact of deforestation affects on the different habitats in the forest. I found this to be a beautifully simple yet very interesting read that I enjoyed very much. By the time I finished it got me thinking about nature and how it’s being affected in by all the changes. The story is told through the point of a tree which I found strange at first but then as the story progressed it really worked out well. This may be aimed for younger readers but I think it should be read by everyone. A great relaxing read. Manish Natha, a LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Toto is no ordinary cat, and she can't wait for you to join her on her SECOND ninja adventure! From one of the UK's best-loved broadcasters, purrfect for fans of The Aristocats, The Secret Life of Pets and Atticus Claw Breaks the Law. Toto, the amazing ninja cat, is back and cooler than ever! Toto is almost blind, but that doesn't stop her having brilliant adventures. Something CAT-ASTROPHIC has happened: ALL the cheese in the world has been stolen. Join Toto, her brother Silver and their best-friend Catface on a secret mission to save the day. Toto is going to need all her ninja skills to defeat the fur-midable cheese thief ... Ideal for reading aloud or for children to curl up with and read alone, the story features brilliant black and white illustrations throughout. With gentle themes of friendship, inclusivity and winning in the face of adversity, this is a hilarious must-read for all animal-loving kids! Dermot says: 'The idea for Toto first came to me when my wife and I rescued two stray cats from an olive grove in Italy. One of them, Toto, has been blind from birth, but we quickly realised she had ninja-like reactions. Like a lot of cat owners (or cat servants), we like to imagine our pets having secret lives when we're out or asleep. So before I knew it I was writing about Toto and her brother Silver's nocturnal adventures around London. I really hope that children who pick it up enjoy reading the adventures of our little Italian underdog (cat).' Have you read Toto's first adventure, The Great Snake Escape?
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