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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.
Witch Winnie and her long-suffering black cat Wilbur are two of the most appealing and endearing picture book characters, and their adventures, as told by Valerie Thomas and illustrator extraordinaire Korky Paul, a fabulous mix of magic and mishap, the relationship between the pair the rock on which it all stands. Thomas’s straight-as-a-die text finds the perfect foil in Korky Paul’s fabulous illustrations, each one packed with so much quirky, humorous detail that there’s something new to find on every read. Not only does this box set contain six of their liveliest adventures, it also includes two CDs featuring more than 90 minutes of stories and music. Unmissable fun. ~ 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
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
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!
February 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2019 | Charmingly produced, this is a beautifully illustrated and designed book which makes the very best use of its stylish illustrations and layout to tell an important story about friendship and its complications. Lula and Lenka enjoy and acknowledge their many differences while also remaining steadfastly good friends. It doesn’t matter that Lula loves talking and Lenka loves drawing. Or that Lenka loves cats and Lula loves dogs. But then they have an argument and words are said which hurt. Now they don’t want to play together or even speak to each other. But that feels all wrong too. How can the two girls make things better. Friends everywhere and of all ages will recognise the intensity of these two little girls’ friendship and will be willing them on to make it up!.
March 2019 Book of the Month | Jasper is the type of cat who knows what he likes. He likes his smart flat and his smart wardrobe (lots of bow ties). He’s determined to be accepted into the Sophisticats club, ‘for the finest felines around’, and invites them to dinner. Somehow though while doing the shopping he meets the scruffiest puppy you can imagine. When Scruff follows him home it looks like Jasper’s dinner party will be ruined but in a surprise ending he discovers that maybe the little puppy is exactly the right kind of friend after all. It’s a fun story about friendship and acceptance, and Jasper and Scruff are very appealing characters especially in Nicola Colton’s boisterous illustrations. A great book to share, but it’s also just right for newly independent readers.
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.
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
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.
Interest Age 5-8 In a nutshell: granny always knows best Priya and her grandma swap jokes, stories and memories over ice-cream at the market café. Priya’s parents have a stall at the market and she loves it there, roaming round on her own or with her friends, checking out the displays on the other stalls and sharing the news with her Nana-ji. Her parents are despondent when a new pet stall opens, it’s competition for their own, and they’re even more worried when they hear of a new retail park, but Nana-ji has seen it all before and is totally relaxed: everything will be fine. This funny, gentle, reassuring story is a lovely tribute to age and experience, and to the special relationship between child and grandparent. Lovely to read it’s lovely to look at too, filled with Hannah Coulson’s warm, lively illustrations. Andrea Reece High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all. About the Little Gems series: Little Gems are in a gorgeous new chunky format, with high-spec production including coloured endpapers and jacketed flaps with activities. Additional features include high quality cream paper, Barrington Stoke font and illustrations on every page. They are perfect for 5-8's. These quality stories promote good reading practice for all newly independent readers.
In a nutshell: stoat-ally wonderful story; friendship, fun, upsets Young readers will love Ermine, star of this new series by Atticus Claw author Jennifer Gray. Ermine is a stoat which, in fictional terms, gives her carte blanche to behave as both adult and child: she’s independent enough to travel around solo but, like a child, ignorant of how the adult world works. As guest of Michael S Megabucks and his young son, Ermine is looking forward to exploring New York but a mix up at the airport means that she accidentally leaves with a priceless stolen diamond. Crooks Harry and Barry Spudd are no match for Ermine and the lively, fast-moving adventure that follows is full of slapstick humour, while giving readers a real sense of New York too. At the end Ermine is packing her bags for Sydney and it will be well worth tagging along for more fun and adventure. Highly illustrated by Elisa Paganelli this is great for newly independent readers, who will also enjoy the equally cosmopolitan Violet stories by Harriet Whitehorn and Alex T. Smith’s new series Mr Penguin. ~ 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.
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.