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March 2021 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2021 | A heart-warming and magical story of a very special relationship between a child and a polar bear which will inspire readers of all ages to realise that they, like April, can make a difference in the battle against climate change. When animal loving April arrives on Bear Island in the Arctic Circle where she will live for the next six months while her father runs the scientific operations she is told that, despite the island’s name, there are no bears on it. The melting ice caps mean that the polar bears can no longer arrive from the nearest mainland near Svalbard. But April soon finds out that there is one bear left. And April needs to do everything she can to keep him alive. Confident of her ability to communicate with the bear and to feed him, April nourishes the bear and even plans his return to safety. Beautifully illustrated by Levi Pinfold, The Last Bear invites readers to care about the science behind the fate of an endangered species and to believe in one girl’s magical solution to the problem. **The images and illustrations in this extract are subject to copyright © Levi Pinfold and may not be used without permission.
March 2021 Book of the Month | Scaredy Cat demands they follow his rules or he'll cause all kinds of trouble - knock over lamps, spill kitty litter, and even get them shipped back to the animal shelter! But Pasha and Poop are stubborn and rebellious. They won't follow the Scaredy Cat's ridiculous rules like all of the other pets on the block. Together, they set out to find the truth behind who the Scaredy Cat really is, and how they can end his mischief-making for good.
Poppy Anne Field loves ants and spiders and ladybirds and butterflies and dragonflies. Watching them for hours while deep in the countryside she feels entirely at home in their company. But when she is with people, she is overcome with shyness and does everything she can to blend into the scenery – rather as her beloved insects do to keep themselves safe. How Poppy’s love of nature helps her to overcome her shyness is conveyed gently and in a way that will reassure all those who are equally shy.
When Finney the fox proudly announces he’s written a book, his friend points out it’s all there, except the story. Finney is sure he’s full of stories though, and he is – the only trouble is, they’re all old favourites. Fortunately, the two friends work out that we’ve all got one, very unique story to tell – our own! Finney’s tale will intrigue and entertain children who will understand, better than adults, that their own story is one of the best. Finney and his friend are jolly little characters and the illustrations a feast of bold primary colours and inky black shapes.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Told from the perspective of the beloved family dog Pickles, this beautiful and uplifting story is testament to Earle’s storytelling power and skill. Written with sensitivity and honesty this title deals with various important subjects including poverty and homelessness. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
A beautiful new short story for World Book Day 2021, from the bestselling author of Where the River Runs Gold. Immy has always loved wild swimming; one day, she hopes to become a marine biologist. Tomorrow is the first step towards that goal - completing her entry level diving certificate. But her plans for a good night's sleep are ruined by a strange and vivid dream of a distressed whale in the river. At school she tries to shake it off, but discovers that her nightmare has leaked into reality. Immy and her trusty friend Cosmo must head for the Thames on a mission to save the trapped river whale. Can Immy use her skills to release it from the rubbish-filled nets it's caught in and guide it home? Told in a mixture of free verse and prose, this is the beautiful new short adventure from Sita Brahmachari.
With bold illustrations and energetic storytelling, Wolfboy perfectly captures the big feelings that come with being very hungry! Engaging, original and perfect for reading aloud, this funny and fresh picture book is a must-have for anyone who's ever been impatient for their food.
February 2021 Book of the Month | Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | 10-year-old Opie Jones is smart, but otherwise pretty ordinary. She doesn’t much enjoy her school, St Francis of Assisi, until seriously cool Jackson takes her under his wing anyway. But there is one really remarkable thing about Opie and that is she can read animals’ minds and communicate with them. Before you can say, ‘Call Chris Packham’, she’s working with a team of secret superheroes to thwart a dastardly villain whose plans for domination include closing down St Francis by forcing its pupils to misbehave, via telepathy. The story that follows is as funny as you’d expect from author, stand-up comic Nat Luurtsema, especially the frequent interjections from assorted animals, who have their own views on what’s going on. The climax comes at London Zoo, which gives you an idea of the levels of fun and games to expect. It’s book one in a series and I for one cannot wait to hear more from Maine Coon cat Margot and guinea pig Malcolm. One to recommend to fans of David Baddiel’s children’s books.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Gill Lewis is contemporary children’s literature’s nature writer par excellence, telling moving stories of human encounters with wild animals that powerfully connect readers with the natural world. Swan Song tells the story of Dylan, expelled from his school and struggling with depression until he moves with his mother to her family home in a tiny Welsh village. In the peace and quiet of days on his grandfather’s boat, Dylan begins to find himself again, but it is the discovery of an injured Whooper swan that is life-saving, and shown to be literally so. Written for dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, this short novel will be accessible to all readers and its message of the healing power of nature and community more important now than it’s ever been.
Mikey the T.rex has a plate of donuts and he really doesn’t want to share them. But with each turn of the page, there’s one donut missing. Who is taking Mikey’s donuts? Uh oh, he thinks it’s YOU! Mikey’s fury is very entertaining and little children will love the thrill of turning the page to discover his reaction when yet another donut has gone missing. Fortunately, all ends in smiles, with donuts all round, and a lesson in good manners as well. This will be great fun to share – expect high levels of squealing!
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Nizrana Farook’s latest adventure story sends readers to Sri Lanka in a story that combines treasure hunts, daring escapes from multiple dangers, and some fantastic blue whale action. Ship’s boy Zheng is washed up on the shores of Serendib after his boat is shipwrecked. He knows that two villainous crew mates caused the wreck, and he has with him the reason why – his captain’s treasure map showing the whereabouts of the famous Dagger of Serendib. Razi, a local fisherboy, finds and helps Zheng, but the two villains are almost instantly on Zheng’s trail. With the added assistance of Razi’s twin sister Shifa, the three children just about manage to stay one step ahead, but they need all their wits not to mention the unexpected help of a blue whale. The story is full of action and a great sense too of the camaraderie that develops between Zheng and Razi and Shifa. The setting makes this special as well, Farook treating her readers to a vivid encounter with the people, landscape, and wildlife of Serendib. One for all young adventurers! Readers who enjoy this will also love the author’s previous book, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant, and Natasha Farrant’s Costa winning story Voyage of the Sparrowhawk.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | The fragility of life underpins this heart-warming story from the start. Louie was born prematurely “a pitiful, scrawny, struggling thing”. Newcomer Nora lost a premature baby brother and this experience has left her anxious and slow to trust. The two children bond over Winslow, a frail orphaned baby donkey, not expected to survive, whom Louie adopts despite his poor track record with saving bugs, worms or goldfish. For both, saving the adorable Winslow helps them to feel less powerless about underlying anxieties, such as Louie’s fears for his beloved brother serving in the army who now signs his infrequent letters “remember me”. Carnegie medal winning Creech packs a real emotional punch into so few words of beautifully spare prose. This short novel would be an ideal read aloud with delightfully humorous scenes as Winslow grows stronger (and louder) as well as great pathos and a dramatic and satisfying climax. It is set in an unspecified past and would be a wonderful companion read to Charlotte’s Web or Eva Ibbotson’s One Dog and His Boy and is as deserving of classic status.
Jonathan Stutzman’s second Tiny T. Rex tale is a dream of a picture book for dinosaur mad toddlers, with Jay Flack’s stylish, warm-hued illustrations a perfect partner for the heart-warming, empathetic sentiment of the story - how to make a friend feel better through a hug (even when you have teeny, tiny arms!). Tiny T. Rex faces something of an existential crisis when his poor friend Pointy is feeling sad and needs a hug to cheer him up. Alas, Tiny, observes, “I have tiny arms. It is very difficult to hug with tiny arms.” But, never one to give up, never one to let down a friend, Tiny T. Rex resolves to “try anyway. Pointy needs me”. After going to considerable lengths to improve his capacity to hug, Tiny is thrust back to Pointy and - though still small of arm - his vast heart provides his pal with the biggest hug EVER!
This delightful little tale follows a traditional format which has always been loved by children. When Ariel visits the park, his scooter becomes stuck and none of the animals he asks is available to help him as they are all busy. Fortunately his friends Noel and Sam are able to do so and the three have fun together alongside the animals. I was immediately struck by the unique art work. I found it not only attractive but quite enticing as I never knew what I was going to see next. I especially liked the illustrations of a variety of characters on different scooters at the beginning and end of the book, the changing font styles and spotting the little animals who were making their sounds. Although it is a simple storyline, there are elements such as the fact that the animals Ariel encounters are not those that would be found in parks, adds to its enjoyment and success. The story ends with the positive reminder that friends are always there to help us. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Wolves, wildness and freedom are at the heart of this thrilling story. Wolf wilders are employed to reintroduce wolves unfortunate enough to be brought up as pets in rich households back into the wild, and they’re easy to spot: they’ll be missing a piece of finger, the lobe of an ear, a toe or two. Feo and her mother are wolf wilders, content deep in the forest, at least until the arrival of General Rakov and the imperial army. Rakov treats their wolves with the same brutal contempt he shows to the peasants, and despite her reclusiveness, Feo finds herself fighting alongside her neighbours for what is right. ‘Wolves, like children, are not born to lead calm lives’ we are told and this a marvellous adventure, original, beautifully written, and full of scenes and ideas that will excite and inspire young readers.
Little h Dog longs to do what other dogs do but his weak muscles, which are becoming increasingly weaker, prevent him from doing so. His owner, Big H, is determined to support him and does so by seeking out the best canine experts, holding charity events and featuring on TV programmes. He eventually receives help from the Supervet who constructs a special set of wheels for him, enabling him to run about in the fresh air. It is difficult to read this little book and not feel moved. It is dedicated to a special boy whom the reader surmises is Harrison. In the story Harrison is the 'real little h dog' and his father, Alex is the 'real Big H'. 100% of the profits are going to Harrison's Fund, a charity that is dedicated to research into Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Cartoon-like illustrations are used, together with bold and distinctive font that focuses upon the visual aspect of words such as 'sniff their bottoms', 'run rings' and 'hope'; this has quite a powerful effect upon the reader. At the end of the story, we are encouraged to share reviews and visit the charity website. There is also the incentive of a free colouring book. My heart goes out to all those who were involved in the production of this book and I do hope that it is well supported. Val Rowe, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
This book ticks all my boxes for a good story for younger children. The story, about a trip to the zoo, unfolds well and is beautifully illustrated. The language is clear and simple. It's written in rhyme which flows nicely and isn't contrived. I'd enjoy reading this story to my 5 year old grand-daughter. Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
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