How exciting it is, that moment when your child begins to read along with you and then discovers the joy of reading by themselves. In this special section you'll find a great selection of early reader books to introduce children to wonderful new authors, fantastic illustrations and then watch their love of reading grow.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | Kaye Umansky, the creator of the much-loved Pongwiffy stories follows up Witch for a Week with a new adventure about Magenta Sharp, a rather muddled local witch, and Elsie Pickles, the little girl she gets to help her. In this new adventure Elsie is invited back to the wandering tower that is Magenta’s home to help the witch to sort out the terrible chaos of her magic-selling business. Magenta has been ignoring the paperwork and she is now attracting so many complaints that she is threatened with the loss of her magical licence! Can Elsie save Magenta’s business? And can she also help her to keep an unruly genie under control while she is about it? as ever, Kaye Umansky’s magic is deliciously frothy and ridiculously good fun. Julia Eccleshare's Picks for September: The Legend of Kevin: A Roly-Poly Flying Pony Adventure by Philip Reeve The Girl, the Bear and the Magic Shoes by Julia Donaldson Happy: A Children's Book of Mindfulness by Nicola Edwards Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by Michael Rosen You've Got a Friend by Judi Curtin Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co., Book 1) by Anna James Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umansky Poems to Live Your Life By by Chris Riddell Once Upon a Wild Wood by Chris Riddell
Tony Bradman packs a great deal of adventure and humour into this little book, all presented in a way to make it ideal for new readers. Elvis is an impetuous young squirrel, and persuades his friend Chuck to leap onto the bird table without looking. Uh-oh, before you can say “Breakfast is served”, a huge crow called Ronnie has snatched Chuck away. Can Elvis persuade the other garden birds to help him in a rescue attempt? It’s a learning experience for Elvis, while readers will appreciate the short chapters and bright full colour illustrations, and as well as the exciting story of course, which all keep the pages turning smoothly
A week in the life of Eric Doomsday contains more chaos than most 7 year old boys could possibly achieve..but what fun! After a disastrous magic show which descended into a food fight Eric really needs to improve his reputation at school or he'll never be invited to another party again. Cue the school Talent Show and Eric sees the perfect opportunity to win back some credibility. Unfortunately for Eric the judges turn out to be aliens, here on a voyage to inspect and destroy UUURRTH. And unfortunately for the aliens Eric has a few tricks up his sleeve. This is a great early reader, with short chapters, lively artwork and the jokes keep on coming. Bonkers and brilliantly entertaining.
Interest Age 5-8 | Rose's Dress of Dreams reads like a wonderful fairy tale; the little girl who dreams of beautiful dresses and spends her time drawing designs for fanciful frocks (much to the amusement of her family) grows up to create couture for Paris royalty. In fact Katherine Woodfine's dreamy tale is based up on the life of Rose Bertin, a pioneer of fashion in the court of Marie Antoinette. Rose's dresses are breathtaking works of art, using the finest materials and jewels and lashing of imagination...but first she must serve out her time as an apprentice. Despite the hard work and exhaustion Rose never lets go of her dream. The book is dressed with colourful and ornate artwork from Kate Pankhurst.
In a nutshell: another inventive, clever and hugely appealing story There’s great excitement in the Smith-Pickle household when an old egg given to Eddie by Uncle Morton suddenly appears to be hatching. It’s clearly something very special and the cute little feathery creature that emerges has a strange effect on dragons: they seem to be both drawn to it, and terrified of it. With seven dragons in the garden, sporadically trying to attack the little fledgling in the house, no wonder Eddie’s Mum is cross. As ever the story is recounted through Eddie’s emails to Uncle Morton and it makes for fast, funny and highly entertaining reading. This is book nine in a consistently excellent series. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: comic mishaps and triumphs of a schoolboy detective A sign in his local library catches the eye of schoolboy detective Damian Drooth: it offers a weekend at Disneyland Paris for the winners of a ‘mega quiz’. Damian rounds up his gang and sets them to work, first of all to raise the £10 entrance fee, and then to swot up in readiness. He’s understandably furious when the quiz turns out to be a scam, but quickly cheers up at the prospect of tracking down the conman. With echoes of Horrid Henry and Just William, Damian is a terrific character, determined, confident, and totally unfazed by adult disapproval. This series will have children and adults alike chuckling and is perfect for newly independent readers. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: comic mishaps and triumphs of a schoolboy detective Damian Drooth, self-proclaimed boy detective, is off with his mum to Green Park Holiday Village. Mum is standing in for the chef, who’s ill, and Damian can have a holiday – or at least that’s what Mum suggests. Fat chance! As soon as he hears that kids’ bikes are going missing, Damian is on the case and determined to track down the culprit, no matter what. As ever, he causes complete chaos without even really trying, but manages too to apprehend the thief. It’s another funny, satisfying story in an excellent series and is absolutely perfect for newly independent readers. ~ Andrea Reece
The irrepressible Winnie the Witch and her cat Wilbur climb onto their broomstick again for a new adventure. Flying over a castle Winnie decides to take a closer look and is disappointed to find it’s in rack and ruin. But it only takes a wave of her wand and - Abracadabra! – it’s full of ladies and knights again and mid-tournament. Wilbur makes quite an impression in a cat-size suit of armour especially with Winnie lending a magic helping hand. These are two of the most entertaining characters in children’s books and Valerie Thomas has the relationship between them down to a tee. As ever too Korky Paul works his own special magic, filling the pages with extravagant humorous detail and embellishing the straightforward text to a dazzling degree. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: bumper fun with some of the best-loved characters in children’s books There are no less than twelve different Winnie and Wilbur stories to enjoy in this collection, each one just the right length for bedtime or storytime and guaranteed to leave everyone smiling. Winnie squeezes the most fun possible from any activity, whether she’s cheering up a giant, learning to play the bagpipes or tossing pancakes, and Wilbur is the perfect companion – calm (mostly), and always ready to be supportive or to help Winnie out. Winnie’s wonderful use of language is another of the many joys of these stories, and of course, each one of Korky Paul’s illustrations is a miniature story in itself. ~ Andrea Reece
February 2018 Debut of the Month Plenty of twitchy nosed, fluffy fun and adventures are in store as we are introduced to Stevie and the residents of Teacup House. Stevie has been living at the top of a tall, thin tower of flats for as long as she can remember. It's her home and she loves it; so when it’s time to move miles away to a cottage in the countryside she’s not very happy about it. Nanny Blue brings her a special going away present. It’s a beautiful teacup house complete with four toy rabbits who just happen to be the Twitch family. Gabriel, Bo, Silver and Fig Twitch. Disaster strikes just as they arrive at the new cottage when Daddy Twitch falls out of the bag unnoticed and is lost in the garden. Whilst Stevie searches for the missing rabbit the rest of the twitches come alive and it’s soon down to little Silver Twitch to find her missing daddy. Both Silver and Stevie must overcome their anxiety and fears of a new, strange place as they search for Gabriel and it's not long before magic begins to fill the air. This is a wonderfully colourful and beautifully illustrated chapter book that shows how even the scariest changes can soon bring wonderful adventures and exciting new beginnings. A gentle, delightful story to start what promises to be an exciting new series of adventures for these friendly bunnies. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
In a nutshell: comic triumphs and mishaps of school boy super-sleuth Damian Drooth’s life changes when he comes across a book called A Hundred Ways to Catch a Criminal. Overnight he is transformed from – in his words – ‘bored brat’ and ‘droopy drop-out’ to school boy super-sleuth. His first attempts at crime solving are not entirely successful to put it mildly, but then he gets the chance to lend the police a hand in a real life kidnapping. The mix of perfectly observed ordinary boy behaviour (a la Horrid Henry) and zany far-fetched adventure make these stories hugely satisfying and enjoyable. Packed full of illustrations by Tony Ross they’re great for children happy to read on their own, but read aloud wonderfully too: adults will find much to amuse them in Damian’s wry comments and moments of self-awareness. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: action-packed, slime-filled fun early reader Set inside the world of a computer game, the Goozillas series offers non-stop action, fun characters, and jokes galore (the more cringe-worthy the better as far as fans are concerned), all of it liberally drenched with goo and snot: irresistible stuff therefore for a large swathe of young readers. Bright, lively, cartoon-style illustrations add to its appeal. The plot pitches Max and his friends the Goozillas against various enemies led by the thoroughly wicked Bubble Kitten of the Sicklies and this episode features a kung-fu fighting hamster to add to the frenetic fun. The chapter titles - Tanks A Lot, Towers of Terror, Angry Blobs – say it all and guarantee an unbeatable reading experience for those who like their books fast, funny, and friendly. ~ Andrea Reece
By moving children gently away from picture books and gradually increasing the amount of text on the page your child will naturally become comfortable taking the next step towards independent reading.
This selection of carefully chosen titles are perfect for sharing and reading together.
With short accessible chapters they are ideal for newly confident readers and are a perfect next step on your child's reading journey.
In addition to this selection of fantastic early reader titles, do have a look at the Little Gems collection too. Little Gems, published by Barrington Stoke, are gorgeous early reader chapter books, written by the cream of children’s talent, with super-readable layouts and design, and a chunky friendly format.
Click here to download a free guide from Barrington Stoke to help you help your child to love reading.
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