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Expect this whimsical and gorgeously illustrated picture book to infect children with an urge to go exploring, if not bird-spotting. Otto’s family are obsessive bird-spotters, indeed, so deep is their passion that they’ve turned their home into a hide. Otto though loves exploring and it’s on one of his trips that he finds, and secretly brings home, a very unusual baby bird. He’s able to hide it from his family because his new friend proves surprisingly good at camouflage. But, as the bird grows (and grows), Otto realises that it’s missing its family and recruits his own to help track them down. There’s lots to enjoy in the story and Graham Carter’s glowing illustrations are full of treats too, the camouflage scenes are particularly delightful. A funny, original story with satisfying underlying themes of adventure, friendship and family.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2019 | October 2019 Book of the Month | A young meerkat travels the world looking for Christmas in this festive card-packed picture book, perfect for fans of The Jolly Christmas Postman and the modern classic, Meerkat Mail. Sunny isn't quite sure if Christmas in the desert with his meerkat family is the right sort of Christmas - there's no snow, no fir trees and no figgy pudding! So he heads off on a journey round the world looking for the picture perfect Christmas . . . before realizing he might have left it at home after all. From the twice winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal and the creator of Tidy, Cyril and Pat and Again!, Meerkat Christmas is a witty and heartwarming celebration of festive fun and family love that shows Christmas can be whatever you want it to be.
Bring the Bolds into your home for some festive fun and frolics! Julian Clary’s stories of the Bolds, a family of hyenas who live in Teddington disguised as humans, are full of fun, mischief and charm, and so is this Bolds-themed Christmas activity book. Packed with David Roberts’ fabulous illustrations it’s gorgeous to look at and the different activities featured are certain to keep everyone smiling too. Naturally the jokes are of a particularly high standard – Mr Bold’s job is to write cracker jokes after all – but there are some good riddles too as well as puzzles and, best of all, lots of chances to draw or write about the Bolds. Lots of fun and a perfect Christmas gift.
Winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal | A girl is lost in a snowstorm. A wolf cub is lost, too. How will they find their way home? Pictures rich with feeling tell this satisfying story of friendship and trust. Here is a book set on a wintry night that will spark imaginations and warm hearts, from award-winning author and illustrator Matthew Cordell.
Level 5 - National Geographic Kids Reader | Newly adapted to British English and the Key Stage 2 Curriculum and benefitting, as do all the National Geographic Kids excellent series of readers, from their archive of superlative photography, this Face to Face series gives a fascinating insight into the skills, techniques and routines of the wild-life photographers who capture such wonderful images. Brian Skerry here shares treasured family moments as his 11-year old daughter is befriended by a manatee calf and the reader can share his genuine respect and interest in these gentle and increasingly vulnerable sea mammals. A carefully balanced account shows how manatees have in some cases gained from human developments such as power stations providing the warm water and expanding their habitable areas as well as the obvious dangers caused by pollution and increasing numbers of boats. The reader learns about their worldwide distribution and conservation issues as well as fascinating facts about their, place in myth, legend, history and biology. They are, in fact, most closely related to elephants! At Level 5 the text contains some complex, technical language and varied sentence structures suitable for a confident, independent readers, but the image quality, design and layout will engage readers and support understanding. Research skills are also facilitated with the help of all the correct information text features such as contents page, and excellent index and glossary.
Former Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson followed up her best-selling The Gruffalo with a story about The Gruffalo’s Child. Now celebrating it's 15th anniversary it is reissued in a special hardback. An entertaining story for the very young as the little mouse outwits the Gruffalo’s Child with a plan that is just as cunning as the original one he hatched to frighten away the Gruffalo. Axel Scheffler’s illustrations once again capture the humour of the text and the fear that lurks behind the joke. The Gruffalo's Child 15th Anniversary Edition features a wrap-around snowy wood play scene and press-out characters for an interactive reading experience, plus additional book content including material from author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo's Child Song and tips for putting on a Gruffalo's Child show!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2019 | | Elmer the patchwork elephant has been delighting readers of all ages for more than 30 years. This bumper collection includes the very first story about Elmer, an elephant who celebrates difference and teaches all the other elephants to do the same. Other stories in this collection include Elmer and The Rainbow, Elmer and the Lost Teddy, Elmer in the Snow and Elmer’s Special Day. Full of humour and kindness, each story shows how difference can be celebrated by elephants – and by all of us!
She may have won the Golden Acorn for eight years running but Squirrel still has a lot to learn about friendship. When a rule change for the annual Golden Acorn Hunt is announced, then Squirrel has to find a team and does not think her friends are up to it. Indeed when they set off she has to keep going back impatiently to rescue them from their comical misadventures. But eventually her need for speed gets the better of her and she zooms off. She gets to the Acorn first only to discover that it is too heavy for her to move alone. What is more there is no sign of her friends and she realises that the Acorn does not matter, she needs her friends. From the talented author and illustrator of the popular Too Many Carrots, this endearing fable about the importance of friendship and teamwork has a lovely message for young children learning all about making friends in the new environment of school or nursery.
September 2019 Book of the Month | Room on the Broom, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s story of a kind-hearted witch is now recognised as a modern classic, a book that should be in every little child’s collection. With its rhyme and repetition, jolly cast of characters and wonderfully satisfying ending, it can hardly be bettered – except that here it can, because as well as the story and the pictures and the rhyme, there are also sound buttons so that children can join in and croak with the frog, woof with the dog and ‘whoosh’ with the broom. One to share for Hallowe’en or indeed any night of the year.
If you are of a certain generation, you may remember reading, or having read to you, the original Grimm's Fairy tales. This collection of stories took me back to those childhood days. They are a little bit dark; somewhat unusual in their content, but very readable. I found the endings of some of them unsatisfactory, and I question how appropriate it is for a nine year old to read about a premature birth, in quite a bit of detail. Some of the stories have an Aesop's Fables slant to them, they certainly have a message to deliver, and I personally felt uncomfortable reading the Christian based tales, but that's just me. What I really liked was the dictionary at the end of each story which explains some of the more unusual, less common words. Each story is aimed at a particular age group, from age 9 to age 12, but that of course is just a rough guide. Each story is just long enough for a child to read at bedtime, and the collection provides a range of stories from different genres and cultures. An interesting change from some of the more generic short stories on offer today.
August 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Best-selling author and illustrator Judith Kerr tells a wonderfully warm and funny story about the very many things that go wrong when Tommy’s little sister Angie brings home the school rabbit. Snowflake is the star attraction in Angie’s class: he is at the centre of every subject in the curriculum and Angie adores him. But Tommy does not. (And he doesn’t adore Angie very much either…) Tommy recounts the terrible things that go wrong when Snowflake is in the house starting with him peeing on the trouser leg of a visiting famous actor. As far as Tommy is concerned it would be much better if Snowflake went back to school. But luckily for all Snowflake accidently brings Angie and Thomas’s family huge and unexpected good luck! A new family story full of all Judith Kerr’s hallmark good cheer, this will delight readers of all ages.
Chris Judge’s Beast – enormous, black, hairy – is an irresistible character, and hugely comic. Here he’s presented with a special challenge: opening his door to get his newspaper, he finds an egg. He’s never been given an egg before and isn’t very sure how to look after it but tries his best in scenes that will have young children squealing with laughter (especially those with a baby brother or sister). Fortunately, the egg accidentally lands in hospital where kindly Dr Yoko provides useful advice. More fun and games follows when to the Beast’s huge surprises, the egg hatches. Though very silly indeed the story is perfectly told, maintaining suspense and delivering its surprises with eggspert comic timing, and will bear multiple readings.
Lydia Monks’ Twit Twoo School stories are perfect for reading with children just about to start school and Rabbit Races Ahead is both a fun adventure story and a cleverly delivered lesson about kindness and thinking of others. Rabbit can’t wait for sports day. She knows she’ll come first in every race, and she does. Why aren’t her friends more pleased for her, she wonders? Fortunately, the long distance race is still to come and instead of rushing to the finishing line, Rabbit interrupts her race to help her friends. She wins a special cheer and realises that it feels good to be kind, even better in fact than coming first. The bright illustrations are lovely to look at and this is a hugely appealing book for the very young.
July 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2019 | Award-winning Carl Hiaasen has a rare gift for telling very entertaining stories which combine great adventures which have a strong ecological message with touching family stories which tell what really matters in relationships between parents and children. In Squirm, Billy Dickens, a lover of snakes in his home in Florida and a passionate watcher of bald eagles too, takes off to Montana to find his Dad who moved out when he was only small. In a completely new landscape with big mountains and dangerous animals such a grizzly bears, Billy finds his dad’s new family and eventually tracks down his dad who is permanently on some secret trek or another. When the two finally meet, Billy discovers that the mystery surrounding his dad is rooted not in something sinister but in their shared determination to protect animals in the wild. Full of danger, the battle to keep the animals safe is a fast-paced one making this a thrilling read as well as a heart-warming story.
This is a delightful pacy read, led by Evie with her super-talent of being able to hear and talk to animals. When Evie has released the school rabbit and caused a deal of trouble, she promises her father she will ignore her talent – which she does for a whole year. But then animals start to disappear, all sorts of animals, can Evie help to find them and solve their mysterious disappearances? This is a timely novel which has themes around helping save the environment and its animals and will surely appeal to all animal lovers. This character led tightly plotted thriller enables the reader to fully engage with the heart-warming story, whilst also embracing your own difference – making for a very satisfactory reading experience in a chapter book. Emily Gravett’s amusingly lifelike illustrations of all the animals add a great deal of pleasure to the reading experience – creating a book you won’t want to put down until you know the end! A book to stimulate thoughts about the environment and self-worth wrapped up in an excellent story for young readers.
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