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Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month July 2016 A timeless classic with stunning illustrations Farmer Duck tells the story of a hard-working Duck who is saved from his life of drudgery when the animals on the farm revolt against their lazy farmer, tip him out of bed and send him packing. Now all the animals own the farm and do the work. Martin Waddell’s simple text captures the unjustness of the situation without labouring the point while Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations bring the farm dynamic vividly to life. This handsome board book edition celebrating the book's 25th anniversary makes it perfect for young readers. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2016 Melric and the Crown by David McKee The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Chris Riddell Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin Strange Star by Emma Carroll Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell Such Stuff: A Story-Maker's Inspiration by Michael Morpurgo
Three little owl babies sit in the tree and wait…and wait…and wait…for their Mummy to come home from hunting. Stunning illustrations match this brilliant classic picture book story. This beautiful board book edition is perfect for little hands. Never has the plight of young ones who miss their mum been so sensitively told or so beautifully rendered as in this tale from picture book masters, Patrick Benson and Martin Waddell. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Have you ever wanted a pet? How do you find the right one? An elephant is too heavy, a giraffe is too tall, a frog is too jumpy. Hidden behind a flap, each new arrival that the zoo sends is a wonderful surprise but never quite right. Until, at last, they send the perfect pet. Dear Zoo is one of the books chosen to be part of the World Book Day Big Little Book Corner, especially aimed at younger children. Four picture book favourites from Rod Campbell have been brought to life as video books with Rod's original illustrations and narrated by the author himself! Find out more at worldbookday.com/big-little-book-corner.
A delightful board book with simple rhyming text and engaging interactive pictures. Children will be able to find characters that are mentioned in the text, such as Mother Hubbard and Cinderella. Wonderful detail in the illustrations provides endless entertainment in that with each view you find yet more in them – so clever and yet so simply done. Janet was an artist extraordinaire whose life was sadly cut short by illness some years ago. ~ Julia Eccleshare Kate Greenaway Medal winner in 1978.
If the first page doesn’t make you want to read on then this isn’t the book for you. It’s violent and to the point – it’s psychological suspense at its best and provides a window into a school where respect for others doesn’t appear to exist but why? Jackson is determined to find out and investigating a teacher’s death might just do it.
This classic children’s book looks wonderful in its new edition and has lost none of its effectiveness as a book to lull children to sleep. As he snuggles down in bed, a little rabbit quietly and methodically says goodnight to all the familiar objects in his room, to his comb and his brush, to the quiet old lady whispering ‘hush’, and finally to the stars and the air, ‘goodnight noises everywhere’. The poetry of the words demands to be read in a hushed singsong, and the equally quiet and gentle illustrations make this a perfect bedtime book. This edition also features some very helpful tips on helping children to fall asleep from an expert sleep consultant. ~ Andrea Reece
Special 10th Anniversary Edition Quirky and great fun. We’ve all experienced the problem of wanting the loo at the same time first thing in the morning. Well here, Jeanne Willis’ talent with words comes up trumps and will bring a smile to every face, both young and old alike. This special 10th anniverary edition has a downloadable audio book plus tabbed pages (each is a part of the animal on each page) throughout so children can help each animal go to the loo.
Two of our Guest Editors chose Not Now, Bernard - celebrating it's 35th anniversary in 2015 - as one of their favourite books. Sophie Mckenzie 'This dark, rather depressing picture book opened my eyes to what was possible with children's writing. Adults often assume kids should be protected from what scares or threatens them in literature, but Not now, Bernard, helped me to realise that nothing needs to be taboo - its all in how you treat the material.' and chosen by Michael Rosen. 'An Andersen classic, this well-loved picture book story is about parents too preoccupied to notice their own child! They are so busy doing their own thing, that a monster can eat Bernard's dinner, break his toys, and even eat Bernard, without being noticed! An hilarious cautionary tale.'
This was the book that introduced the lovable Kipper to millions of children the world over. A truly wonderful story to share and to be treasured and loved time and time again. Written in a single afternoon by the author, the story of a magic blue balloon takes a boy and Kipper on a wonderful adventure. Unique back in 1991 and still pretty unusual now, it has pages that expand into huge spreads that help to tell the story in a way that will have children gasping for more.
Elmer the colourful patchwork elephant has been a nursery favourite since this first book was published in 1989. A modern classic, this picture book is known to millions, and continues to be one of the biggest selling picture books ever, having sold over 2 million copies around the world. The subtle message is that it is OK to be different, and combined with the vibrant colour and cheeky humour of the main character, it’s an essential bedtime story. To see other Elmer titles click here.
A stunning 40th anniversary edition of one of THE classics of the 20th century that will remain timeless forever. Available in both hardback and paperback in this anniversary edition. Great for sharing or reading alone, this edition celebrates their special brand of magic that has been enchanting children for generations.
A new paperback edition of this classic celebration of babies – their dinners, prams, accidents, gardens, bedtimes and bath times, books, pets and even their Mums and Dads. Everything that is familiar to a baby is beautifully captured in Janet Ahlberg’s soft illustrations which ask to be looked at time after time by babies and parents alike.
November 2012 Book of the Month Old Bear was first published in 1986 and became one of the bestselling picture books ever with spin off merchandise that ensured he became a household name for a whole generation of children. Now, like the story of the much-loved bear in Old Bear, that was lost and then found, the book has been found again and is now waiting to be loved by a whole new generation. This special LIMITED COLLECTOR'S EDITION includes scrapbook pages of bonus material making this a truly special gift for children to share and treasure.
Best-selling author and illustrator Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler have teamed up again to create a heart-warming story about loyalty and friendship. When Tabby McTat the busker’s cat gets separated from the busker he begins a new life on his own. But though the new life with Sock and her owners has great attractions, McTat misses his singing partner and the times they had together. Luckily he comes up with a neat solution for putting the two parts of his life together. Other Axel/Julia collaborations can be found here.
Creators of The Gruffalo, best selling author/ illustrator Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are back with another bestseller on their hands. “Stick Man lives in the family tree/ with Stick Lady love/ And his children three”. But one day Stick Man is pounced on by a dog. Help! This is not what Stick Man wants….While others find many ignominious uses for Stick Man – a bat, a pen, a bow and a boomerang among others – Stick Man does all he can to find his way back home…And, happily, he does! A brilliant visual treat. The Lovereading comment: This new picture book classic from the award-winning creators of The Gruffalo is dazzlingly original with a touching and witty rhyming story featuring an unforgettable hero with real sticking power.
This is where the adventure begins, as Harry Potter discovers that he is no ordinary boy but a wizard of great reknown, as well as expected at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Moreover, at Hogwarts, he encounters "He Who Must Not Be Named", a master of magic whose ambition is more dark and terrifying than Harry can possibly imagine.
Winner of the Greenaway of Greenaways in 2007 and Greenaway winner in 1977. Filled with humour and Shirley Hughes' deft touch, this is a book for young readers to tackle by themselves, as well as a delight to read aloud. It’s moving and inspirational on how to cope with a problem situation. A classic for every bookshelf and it will strike a chord with adults and children everywhere. (4-7)
Delightfully witty, Two Monsters is a classic picture book with a strong message about understanding other people’s point of view. The Two Monsters live on different sides of the mountain and so see the world from different angles. Communicating through a hole in the mass that lies between them, the Two Monsters argue about what they can see and exchange insults. “You’re just a stupid old wind-filled prune!” one yells at the other bringing the quick response, “And you’re a bandy-legged, soggy cornflake!” But as the argument escalates into rock throwing, the Two Monsters bring the mountain down and find that they actually like each other’s company…
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2013 A simply told story with a delicious and irresistible mischievous twist in its ending. Poor Bear! He has lost his hat. He asks everyone if they have seen it but no one can help. Where can it be? Just when Bear has given up all hope he spies it. And someone else is wearing it. Poor Rabbit! Where is he once Bear has his hat back? With its spare, building text and beautifully simple illustrations this tells its tale wittily. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A very big welcome to this beautiful new edition of an award-winning title which tells exactly what very special ingredient is needed to make Hue Boy grow. Smaller than all his friends, Hue Boy just doesn’t seem to grow despite everything that his mother does to help him. She feeds him well, encourages him to exercise, and even takes him to both the doctor and the Wise Man of the village to see if either can be of help. But then Hue’s dad comes home. Is that what is needed to make Hue grow?
All young readers will delight at knowing the trick the animals play on the unsuspecting zoo keeper! It’s bedtime and the zoo keeper sets off to lock the animals up for the night. But, the gorilla has a clever plan. When bedtime comes, will everyone be in their beds? Don’t you believe it!
Celebrating thirty years of Alfie, one of the most popular characters in children’s books, this is a glorious collection of stories which capture the joy of young children. Shirley Hughes has perfect understanding of the intense relationships with parents and friends and the small things that delight the very young. Here, in a handsome edition packed full of Shirley Hughes’s lovely illustrations, Alfie celebrates birthdays, going on holiday, exploring secret dens and much, much more. Visit the Alfie website by clicking here. This site has exclusive content including a special monthly message from Shirley, roughs from the first book and lots of downloadable activity sheets.
In this masterpiece for all ages, best-selling illustrator David McKee has created a miniature morality tale. The General leads his army into one country after another, subjugating the population and bringing them under his command; they are the Conquerors. Finally, there is just one tiny country left to invade and the General leads his men forth. But here there is no conquest. Instead the soldiers join the people and soon two countries are co-existing rather than fighting. Beautifully understated this nonetheless packs a punch.
Full of wit, this classic story tells how a tired old tiger cleverly swaps his dangerous life in the jungle for the easier lifestyle of the Rajah’s palace. Becoming a tiger skin rug is not so hard for the thin old tiger! Now he is surrounded by glorious food and drink, he is kept dry and warm and he has lots of friendly company to play with. But what will happen when he gets found out? Luckily for the tiger he has a chance to show just how valuable he really is to the rajah and so earns a lifetime reward. Children will love knowing the joke they see in the pictures while the adult reads something different!
Prize-winning illustrator Quentin Blake’s stunning illustrations bring great pathos to this touching story of how two lonely birds make a hash of communicating. Back and forth across the swamp the two leggy birds go as Crane and Heron make offers to each others but never seem to find the moment when both are agreed on what they want. Much pain, confusion and downright surprise is brilliantly conveyed in Quentin Blake’s soft-palette illustrations which offer no solutions leaving children the opportunity to think how this will resolve.
A prize winning title, this introduces Susan who loves to swing, dance, swim, ride do all the things other children do. In fact, she’s no different from any other little girl except that, as the final spread shows, she gets about in a wheel chair. The vigour and active text is perfectly supported by Tony Ross’s warm hearted illustrations.
This is a delightfully simple and light-hearted story told with a poetic jauntiness written and illustrated by one of the foremost literary novelists writing today. Two children love their home in a tree, they can feel the wind rushing by and they can dance in the branches. But when the ladder they use to get down is suddenly removed….life in the tree is not quite so much fun! Luckily there is a hugely satisfying resolution and the two children are able to be up in the tree and to get down when they need to!
Celebrating the value of friendship, this is an exquisitely illustrated picture book with a simple story line. Opening his door and finding a penguin on it, the little boy takes pity on the sad looking creature who he immediately assumes is lost. Together they set out on an adventure across icy-blue wastes to find the penguin’s real home. The cool of the landscape makes a perfect backdrop to the warmth of the friendship between the pair.
A simple and utterly delightful joke lies at the heart of this classic picture book now celebrating its 40th anniversary. Rosie the hen sets out for a walk around the farmyard. The words describe exactly the route Rosie takes as she steps proudly on her way. But, what Rosie doesn’t know is what the pictures tell the reader. A fox is greedily following behind... Young readers will delight in following the unfortunate fox as one terrible fate after another befalls him. And they will cheer at Rosie’s narrow escapes. The accompanying CD read by Samantha Bond adds a memorable audio version too. This is one of the Lovereading4kids ‘Must Read Essentials’. To view others in this category, click here.
Best-selling author/ illustrator of The Gruffalo have created a fantastic new character with Tiddler, the little fish who tells some big stories! Showcasing their remarkable talent at the top of their game, they tell the story of tiddler with humour, character and the all important read-out-loud factor. A bouncy, rhyming text delights while the jewel bright illustrations bring alive the feeling of life on the sea bed.
One of our 'Must Reads'. Fabulous illustrations, wonderful rhyming text with not a word out of place; this is a book that no nursery bookshelf can be without. Guaranteed to have huge appeal with babies and young toddlers. It’s definitely the kind of book that will live long in the mind of children and parents for it’s a pleasure for parents to read and children to listen to or as they get older read for themselves.
This is one of the all time favourites of any nursery and certainly a book to turn back to time and time again whether you’re a child or an adult. No words, just the most wonderful pictures telling a poignant and moving story about a boy and a snowman. It’s a book that will fire the imagination of every child because they themselves can create the words to go with the pictures. Not just a classic but THE classic of all time, in our humble opinion. A book for parents to ‘read’ aloud with young children as well as perfect for slightly older children to immerse themselves in an imaginary world.
Many happy returns to Mog the Forgetful Cat who has been delighting readers for forty years. Brilliant author-illustrator Judith Kerr’s timeless stories about Mog, the cat who has a habit of forgetting everything, charm readers young and old. Toddlers adore the loveable and expressive cat whose unreliable behaviour often brings surprising results! From board books to stunning gift editions, the many stories about Mog capture the heart of all who come across her. This is the paperback 40th anniversary edition and it even has a flocked cover. Click here to see more 40th anniversary Mog books and other titles by Judith Kerr.
One of our 'Must Reads'. Lively pictures, charming characters and the fact that the story only uses 24 words, but to beautiful effect, make this a brilliant book for beginner readers. The bears are running through the woods in the dark and up the hills and finally getting spooked ‘up spook hill’ and returning home.
This is a much-loved classic but as relevant today as it was when first published in 1969! The vivid and colourful illustrations and cut back and die-cut pages, together with some very simple text, provide a wonderful story that is immensely satisfying for parents and children alike. It’s a book that’s more threadbare than most in the nursery in my house. Each year on 20 March, the first day of Spring, Very Hungry Caterpillar Day is celebrated! Why not celebrate too?! Click here to download a Very Hungry Caterpillar Activity Pack to help you get the most out of the Day.
This is definitely one of those ‘essential experiences’ of childhood. Children identify brilliantly with the naughty little dog through some big bold illustrations, simple text and lots of flaps revealing Spot’s many friends. A real classic first published 25 years ago but as fresh and contemporary now as it was then.
Winner of the Greenaway of Greenaways in 2007 and Greenaway winner in 1977. Filled with humour and Shirley Hughes' deft touch, this is a book for young readers to tackle by themselves, as well as a delight to read aloud. It’s moving and inspirational on how to cope with a problem situation. A classic for every bookshelf and it will strike a chord with adults and children everywhere. (4-7)
Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "The text is very minimal but perfect - and the illustrations are glorious. This isn't a scary book in the slightest, though the monsters are grotesque, equipped with very sharp teeth and pointy claws. Little Max in his wolf suit tames them instantly and they declare him king of all wild things. But Max is still a little boy and although he has uproarious fun in the land of the wild things he's clearly glad to be back home where his supper is waiting for him. I've read this story to countless children and they've all loved it, especially when they join in, roaring their terrible roars, gnashing their terrible teeth, rolling their terrible eyes and showing their terrible claws." Julia Eccleshare: A classic story of the power of a childhood tantrum.
Reminiscent of the writing of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear, this brilliant debut children's novel is completely unputdownable as well as being almost uncategorisable. The author has succeeded in delivering on a book that incorporates a terrifically funny yet mysterious story, full of larger-than-life highly improbable characters that I couldn't begin to do justice to by describing them here, other than to say they are wild and wacky and completely original. He's also delivered a story that is full of tongue-in-cheek humour and skilful word-play. It's staggering to think that it was not picked up by one of the mainstream publishers and has instead been self-published by a very determined author/illustrator. It's 174 pages of pure unadulterated pleasure and has consistently been one of Lovereading's top titles since it was published back in 2008. This is a book that will be loved by anyone from 7 to 107. It may not be as widely available nationwide as some books but that's through no fault of the book. If you would like to buy a copy direct from the author plus have it signed and/or personalised to someone, then please contact Alan direct at email@example.com. and more commendation: Brian Sibley, author & broadcaster, WINNER of BEST ADAPTATION for The History of Titus Groan in the BBC Audio Drama Awards, 2012, and author of the official Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film guides, wrote in his Ex Libris blog (excerpts): “Alan Gilliland’s delightful book for children (their parents and the young at heart in general)... is a heady mix of the tried and trusted format featuring nursery-toys-come-to-life with riddling, punning, nonsense in the style of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear punctuating a twisting, turning roller-coaster adventure story filled with dangers, outlandish encounters and weird and wonderful beings....There are a mass of subtexts and literary and historical allusions within the story (it is not accidental, for example, that the creature encountered named the ‘Dodongs’ is an anagram of that Carrollian alter ego, ‘Dodgson’) and readers armed with the map below can trace the route of Curd & Co’s adventures in the real location of Brimham Rocks in the Yorkshire Dales. With delightful illustrations by the author, this the perfect read-aloud book for bedtime readers – and their listeners. ...a unique and wonderfully quirky book.” (http://briansibley-exlibris.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/). In a book regarded as a summation of her life’s work, which won her Author Award from the UK Literacy Association academic Margaret Mallett has featured Curd in her book, Choosing Fiction and Non-Fiction 3-11: A Comprehensive Guide for Teachers and Student Teachers in the over 9 section, which is introduced thus,“… (in) the huge and ever-growing number of books falling within the fantasy category… How does the teacher select from so many? … In a necessarily selective account, I have been concerned to pick out some of the best writers and most memorable titles which have survived over the years and which I think are likely to continue to be read.” ...and this is what she said about the Amazing Adventures of Curd the Lion and Us:Four soft toys go off on a journey to find a stolen brooch. Sounds cosy? It is not. In fact this is an exciting addition to fantasy novels for children from about age seven years, although it is also a most engrossing adventure story. The pencil drawings by the author fit the written text perfectly and add atmosphere and often energy to the story. It is not surprising that this story has been compared to the work of Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear: riddles and word play, mysteries and surprises are wonderfully interwoven. The play on names is superb: for example, the four animals are called Curd the Lion, Pilgrim Crow, Sweeney the Heenie (a hyena) and O’Flattery the Snake. Dialogue is convincing too. When the mother of Henry and Henrietta, the two children in the story, wrongly accuses them of losing her brooch she threatens that if they do not find it soon she will cancel their birthday party. Worst of all she will give their beloved toy animals to the charity shop for Children in Need, adding, ‘You don’t care about them. Look at the way you were treating Curd the Lion just now. Beating him to rags!’And in an email reply to Alan Gilliland's thanks, she wrote this week: “Dear Alan, Many thanks for getting in touch. In 'Choosing and Using' I wanted to help student teachers know about some of the very best books for children after my lifetime in teaching children and students. Your book about Curd the Lion is hugely original and imagination stretching. My grandchildren are all 4 and under, but I will be getting them each a copy to treasure in the future. I wonder what you are working on now. You deserve every success. With warmest regards, Margaret.” A terrific review from one of the top fantasy writers of today, Katherine Langrish: 'This is a really unusual book – with brilliant illustrations, too. Think Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, lots of wordplay and paradoxical fun, and you’ll be there. Not for every child, perhaps, but any budding chess players or crossword puzzle fiends will have a whale of a time. It demands something of the reader, and that’s not a bad thing at all.' Here are some more reviews from some other inspired readers: Isabelle Hammersley, age 10:“I just got back from Waterstone's Guildford. When I bought the book I got it signed by the author and he is one of the kindest men I’ve ever met. Anyway on the book I couldn’t put it down ITS AMAZING! Ive read right up to the bit with the Minorbores riddle. I really need to find out what it means. I cant wait till the next book comes out. ITS THE BEST BOOK EVER AND IVE READ HARRY POTTER AND JACKY WILSON BOOKS!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT AND THE AUTHOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!XXXXXX And it's not just Lovereading and Isabelle that's been caught by the Curd the Lion bug: Steven Ryan, aged 46, Fareham:"I have been an avid reader of Terry Pratchett for many years and find it difficult to pick up books from other authors because few seem to combine imagination with wit and ingenious wordplay. I have to say, humble pie has never tasted so good. I picked up "The amazing adventures of Curd the lion in the back of beyond" in Waterstone's bookshop in Fareham not realising that the person I was talking to was the author Alan Gilliland. The artwork on display was very similar to Josh Kirby who does Pratchett's artwork, an instant bonus point. I bought a copy of the book mainly, I have to say, at first for the artwork, but when I got home and read the first few pages I couldn't put the book down. The story is compelling, as good and in places better than any Pratchett book. The Minorbores puzzles are my favourite part of the book (still working on the 3rd puzzle). Overall impression? I loved this book and can't wait for the second. Thanks for the chat we had Mr. Gilliland, you've opened my mind to a new realm." From Emily Sanders, Dorset"The Amazing Adventures of Curd the Lion and us is fab. I can’t wait to read the story of The Ineffable Emperor. I read the book in about three hours! It is really tricky to put the book down and I can’t wait to read it again and again and again. I started last night and finshed it this morning! The day is Good Friday the tenth of April 2009. I bought the book from Alan Gilliland himself after he had told me about the amazing story. I couldn’t wait to get home and read it. Also it sounded so fabulous that mum got my best friend called Genevieve one. I absolutely loved it. I know Genevieve will like it. I don’t know of another author that can do really great stories and illustrate their story in such a fantastic way. GET THE BOOK, IT’S GREAT!!!" From Simone Gilson (student)"Your book detailing Curd’s adventures I could read again and again! The way in which it crosses the boundaries of childhood and adulthood imagination was truly inspiring – a magical tour de force through the imagination, that reminds you of what it was to dream as a child and to comprehend as an adult! The illustrations are amazing and all who I have shared the book with have commented likewise. They captured many of the images I had in my head from the days of reading Lewis Carroll and Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree! Plus as someone attempting her own poetry and looking for new ways of reading, the linguistics used within your book were very inspirational. I have also found myself puzzling over and working out the riddles." From Henry Alden (Burpham, Guildford)"I am writing to you because I love your book. It was brilliant I have a couple of questions to ask you. Where do you live? And what is your favourite animal? And what your favourite food? My favourite animal in the book is the hyena. And in real life it is a tiger My second favourite animal is a penguin. I hope you make more books soon." From Juliette Stuart , aged 11"I loved your book about Curd the Lion so much! As soon as I got home I read it and I didn't stop until I had finished. I think I read it in about 4 hours flat! My favourite character was Pilgrim Crow and also King Ziggu. Please do the second book quickly. I can't wait until the second book comes out." From Emily Tout, aged 9, Hampshire “WOW!!! what a book. i couldn't wait to finish it! [and as i finished it in 24hrs you can see how desperate I was!!!] It had a surprise on each page just waiting to delight anybody reading it. The characters were imaginative and funny at the same time; they always spoke nonsense, which made reading it much more enjoyable. The illustrations are fab and made the characters jump out of the pages. It is the best i've ever read and i've read a few… i.e the whole series of harry potter… i would greatly recommend it to anybody of any age.” From Nathan Hutchison, aged 8, Surrey "I am writing to tell you your book is great. I love the names, 'Sweeney the Heenie', 'O'Flattery the snake' and 'Pilgrim Crow'. They're so good." From Lynne Rothwell, aged 10 "A very amazing book about an adventure of nonsense and riddles. I liked the fact that you can go on the same adventure after you have read it. This is the best book I have ever read and I have been inspired to do a book similar (not the same). (Thanks for signing it Alan Gilliland and I will not forget my map, when we go to Yorkshire) From Tony Benn, longtime Member of Parliament "A lovely story book with super illustrations for children of all ages." For even more praise and passion from all sorts of people, then scroll down this page.
This much-loved picture book puts a comic and clever twist on the familiar fairytale. Three polite young wolves set off to make their way in the world and build themselves a charming little house in the country. But their rural idyll is interrupted by the arrival of the big bad pig. When they won’t let him in, and huffing and puffing doesn’t work, he takes up a sledgehammer and knocks the house down. No matter how much bigger the wolves make their houses, he still manages to destroy them. So the wolves try a different tack, and build a house of flowers. Sniffing the fragrant scent, the pig’s heart becomes tender, and he changes his ways. The last page sees all four of them enjoying china tea and strawberries together, set to live happily ever after. The twist will delight children, and the message is particularly timely: higher walls and barbed wire will never offer solutions, talking together probably will. Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations are masterful, the wolves dance across the pages, as they move from bright, happy countryside to drab concrete bunker, and back again. ~ Andrea Reece
John loves drawing monsters. Red monsters. Purple monsters. Spotted monsters. Furry monsters. Any kind of monster. And then he draws just a monster’s tail. And that takes up four big pieces of paper….Can John control his monsters? Of course, the adults think that he can but what if he can’t? A potentially threatening story is wittily told in words and pictures by Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake.
Ideal as an early introduction to Roald Dahl just as a child is starting to read alone because it’s a short story by comparison to some of his others. Filled with quirky black and white illustrations by the wonderful Quentin Blake that complement the story so beautifully. As three of the nastiest and most crooked farmers vow to wreak revenge on the foxes eating their chickens, little do they know what the foxes have in store for them. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A special 25th Anniversary edition of the international bestseller in which Grace learns that she can be anything she wants.
Tim returns from a long sea voyage to find that his home is boarded up, a ‘To Let’ sign in the window, and his parents gone. He cries a little, but resourceful as ever, sets off to find them. Knowing they will be near the sea, he signs on as a cabin boy to search up and down the coast. His odyssey involves him in all sorts of adventures, until he’s shipwrecked one the beach by a small seaside town where he at last finds his mother. Young readers will be fascinated by Tim’s adventures and love the vicarious excitement of his tribulations and happy reunion while Ardizzone’s detailed illustrations are little worlds in themselves. ~ Andrea Reece Scan the QR code at the back of the book for the audio edition, read by Stephen Fry. Winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal Chosen by Quentin Blake as one of his favourite stories. Ardizzone’s illustrations may seem a little dated now, but that’s the real joy of this one and the various other Tim stories. It’s a fantastic story that’s also wonderfully satisfying for parent and child alike. It won the Kate Greenaway Award in 1953 and has stood the test of time quite brilliantly. A wonderful story to read aloud.
Award-winning author Dick King-Smith is best known for 'Babe', the story of the Sheep-Pig. A lover of all animals and a master teller of stories about them, Dick King-Smith was particularly keen on pigs. Lollipop is a pig with a difference. And it is lucky that she is as Lollipop becomes the pet pig of the very, very spoilt Princess Penelope. Can Lollipop, who seems to have some very special powers when people look into her eyes, really change the brattish Princess? It is a delightful fairy story with just a touch of magic.
Brian Patten is one of Britain's best-loved poets. This is his retelling of the touching story of Jumping Mouse, a remarkable Native American fol tale and teaching story that has captivated people of all ages for many years. Brian first heard this story from a friend when they were riding through Dublin on the top of a bus. Stories, like buses travel and this one tells how a mouse has the courage to leave the security of its nest in the roots of a giant tree, and set out on a dangerous journey of self-discovery. It's a beautifully written story and one to treasure, and like The Little Prince is a memorable story for all ages. 'A magic book, moving and wise, Jumping Mouse is the lind of story a child will remember forever' Roger McGough
The bestselling Aliens decked out in the finest underpants, are back for a new set of adventures. This time it’s nothing less than saving the universe – and all with the help of underpants! Easy to read aloud, this ebullient rhyming text will delight all young readers. To see other Aliens in Underpants titles go to the author page.
Age 3+. Here is a collection of more than 80 poems and rhymes from a glittering galaxy of more than 50 poets. It is a delectable assortment of light, melt-in-the-mouth poems for the very young to dip into again and again. They are the poetic equivalent of good mood food!There are poems for playtime, teatime, bathtime and bedtime - a mix of cautionary verse, nonsense rhymes, lullabies and comic verse. Over 100 pages of pure delight. First published back in 1993, we're thrilled that this timeless collection has been reissued with a wonderfully vibrant new cover for a new generation of children to enjoy.
Celebrate liberation! Forced to wash grubby hankies, horrid socks and ghastly towels by their skinflint boss, seven oppressed washerwomen go on strike and, getting aboard a goat cart, set out to have fun. Seven woodcutters think they’ll get the better of them but they are easily outwitted by the ebullient and determined washerwomen. All ends happily as washerwomen and woodcutters settle down to married bliss, which includes making choices about washing and woodcutting. A wonderful treat for young and old alike and a real classic that should sit proudly on every nursery bookshelf.
A wonderful celebration of a boy who is thought to be bad but is just... different! At school, Michael’s teachers despair of him. He is late, scruffy, cheeky and doesn’t listen. He loves reading and sums and science. But NOT the kind that happens in school. While the teachers wag their fingers, Michael gets set for the adventure of his life. Oh, how those teachers have misjudged him! The simple text is effortlessly and perfectly extended in the illustrations. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
A brilliant sequel to the best selling Aliens Love Underpants. This time there is more hilarious fun as the dinosaurs fight to the death over underpants. Envious of the cavemen’s pants, the dinosaurs get all knickers in a twist as they create a battle royal over the priceless objects…the bouncy rhyming text and ridiculous illustrations will keep everyone thoroughly entertained.
Classic and best-selling, the rhyming verse story of The Cat in the Hat remains as fresh as when it was first published. Arriving announced and uninvited the exuberant Cat shocks Sally and her brother with the total mayhem he causes. They know it is wrong, they know it is not what their mother would like. But the Cat is an unstoppable force and readers will love the chaos he causes and the children’s horror at it. Just when disaster seems to be inevitable as mother returns, the Cat shows the tidying up tricks he has up his sleeve! The LoveReading Comment: One of our 'Must Reads'. The perfect book for reading aloud with your toddler or for children who are just beginning to read on their own, Dr Seuss’s classic rhyming story about a mischievous Cat wearing a red and white striped hat who shows up to entertain two children when it’s pouring with rain. The story was crafted from just two words ‘Cat’ and ‘Hat’ and has wonderfully memorable lyrics and laugh out loud illustrations. This edition was released on the 50th anniversary of the Cat in the Hat’s first publication and will be treasured for a long time to come.
Fantastic, cumulative adventure as a family cheerfully sets out on a brave hunt to find the bear. It could be frightening but they’re not scared. They’re full of confidence in what they are doing. Caves, mud, rivers, forest … whatever obstacles the family encounters, they resolutely overcome them happily repeating the chorus:“We can’t go over it”, “We can’t go under it”, “Oh no! We’ve got to go through it”.But when they find the bear its’ a lot more scary than they had thought and they hurtle home repeating all the noises as they go. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood. A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good.”So begins the story of how a clever little mouse outwits his big scary enemy. The tasty little mouse needs to make his way through the deep dark woods. How will he do it? By inventing the gruffalo, a fearsome creature with terrible claws, terrible tusks and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws. It’s a brilliant trick. The little mouse’s self-preservation is a witty scam that delights children time after time. Winner of the 2007 Prima Baby and Pregnancy Reader Awards Best Buy for Toddlers Award. For lots more information on the Gruffalo books, games and activities visit www.gruffalo.com
The fantastically brilliant and amazingly adventurous Saga of Erik the Viking by Terry Jones returns in this new edition with an exclusive foreword from Terry who is of course, most famous for his membership of the Monty Python team. It is a wonderful tale, expertly spun, which won the Children’s Book Award back in the 1980s and is fully illustrated throughout in colour by Michael Foreman. As Erik and the crew of the Golden Dragon set sail in search of adventure and to find out where the sun goes at night, little do they know that their courage, skill, strength and stamina will all be tested to the extremes. They must win through against storms, against the dogfighters, against giants and enchantments, face up to spirits and to trolls. Read it to find out whether they achieve their goal...
A book that requires no introduction as it is probably Dahl’s best-known and most read creation and deservedly so. The secretive and magical world of Willy Wonka's chocolate factory is revealed to five ‘lucky’ children, each of who has won a golden ticket. However each child gets their comeuppance in some way, except Charlie of course. Brilliant.
The best-selling author of The Sheep Pig tells a charming and witty story about a bold young kitten who is always getting into mischief! Aristotle lives with Bella Donna, a very kind, very witchy woman who protects Aristotle as best she can – and especially helps out with some magic from time to time. Bob Graham’s illustrations make Aristotle adorable!
Roald Dahl's Matilda in glorious full colour! Matilda - Roald Dahl's best-loved story - though now over 25 years old, is as fresh, funny and poignant as when it was first published in 1988. The story of a child genius, it has been adapted into film and, most recently, a hugely successful, award-winning musical with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. ** note the extract is taken from Matilda with black & white illustrations.
Published in the early 1960s and yet as relevant today as it was then, this is a book that will captivate the imagination of a 7 or 8 year old – in fact even the most reluctant reader will be hooked. When Barney falls into a disused quarry he’s confronted by Stig, a caveman but none of Barney’s friends believe the story of Stig. So Barney has the time of his life and the two of them get up to a whole heap of adventures. Just read it – we guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
The trials and tribulations of a disastrous new girl at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches a gloriously witchy boarding school, The Worst Witch has magic galore. Unfortunately for Mildred Hubble, most of it has a habit of going badly wrong. Her broomstick won’t fly straight, her cat is tabby not black and she manages to turn her arch-enemy into a toad. Nice short chapters with stunning illustrations also by Jill Murphy make this a perfect first reader. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Worst Witch a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'Mildred Hubble chews on her plaits, wears her hat back to front and her shoe laces trail on the floor. She is worst witch in her school but it isn't her fault. ' - Jemima Foyster. Scroll down to read the full review...
A joyous celebration through Quentin's uniquely original illustrations of the art of ageing. A delightful little picture book to share with any child, but parents and grandparents will delight in its contents too, so in that respect it will make an ideal companion to the bookshelf in the loo as well as the nursery bookshelf! Whether it's making music, keeping fit or looking back on life, Quentin Blake, one of the world's favourite illustrators, shows just how much fun growing old can be.
A must-read for anyone who thinks that fooling about is a waste of time! Through the brilliant combination of Russell Hoban and Quentin Blake, the story celebrates all the skills that children learn on their own. Tom likes nothing more than messing about whether it is sliding in the mud, wobbling about on high and dangerous things, dropping things from bridges and fishing them out or rolling around in barrels in alleys. His aunt disapproves of all such activities and threatens him with Captain Najork and his Hired Sportsmen who are known to be able to knock anyone into shape. But it turns out that Tom has learnt some things after all…as the title reveals!
Category Winner of The Red House Children’s Book Award 2013 & Shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012. Following in the footsteps of the great Roald Dahl, David Walliams has shown in his previous titles including Mr Stink that he knows how to make his readers laugh! Ben’s granny is really boring; staying with her is a nightmare of eating cabbage, playing Scrabble and being treated like a baby. But then he discovers something rather AMAZING about his dull old gran; she has a biscuit tin full of jewellery including the biggest and most sparkling diamond he has ever seen. Life with a gangsta gran is quite a different thing and soon Ben is off on a wild and hilarious adventure. STOP PRESS! We are giving away tickets to see Gangsta Granny at the Harold Pinter Theatre, London! Scroll down to enter!
Not to be missed, this is a newly translated edition of this classic story about a wonderful little girl. Pippi Longstocking is nine years old; she lives alone with a horse and a monkey and spends her days having wonderfully imaginative adventures with her friends. Once hooked on Pippi, readers will find she’s a character that will never be forgotten. Perfect for children just setting out on the wonderful experience of reading alone. Be sure to check out the lovely hardback gift edition of this title from Oxford University Press. Pippi Longstocking is as popular as ever, with dedicated fans all over the world. She's funny, feisty, and has the most amazing adventures. Over 145 million copies of Astrid Lindgren's books have been sold worldwide in 91 languages. Spot-on for boys and for girls, and for reading aloud or for reading alone, this book is illustrated throughout by bestselling artist, Tony Ross, who also illustrated the Horrid Henry series and the Little Princess stories.
This is an absolutely charming modern classic from one of Britain’s all-time favourite authors. There is no one more impressive when it comes to animal stories than Dick King-Smith and this one is our favourite. The Hodegheg has everything – humour, adventure, inspiration and plenty of advice for youngsters on the issue of safety when crossing roads! As fun for kids to read alone as for parents to read aloud with their children.
'I decided to run away. There simply wasn't anything else to do.' Here at last is Moominpappa's promised life story - from the days when he was abandoned in a newspaper parcel on the doorstep of a Moomin orphanage, to when he ran away to see the world and was lucky enough to meet Moominmamma. Click on 'Download Extract' for a brief taster or CLICK HERE for a longer extract from this book.
This award-winning book is an outstanding collection of stories to inspire dreams and wonder. Eleanor Farjeon has put together an elegant collection of diverse stories that capture mystery and surprise from around the world and moments of homely magic too. The collection is ideal for reading aloud to all age groups.
Highly entertaining, these are a pair of fast paced, classic fantasy adventure stories freshly illustrated by Quentin Blake. In The Midnight Folk, Kay Harker is sent to stay with his bad tempered guardian in a big house in the country. Here he has a series of night time adventures after he sets out to find the treasure missing or lost by his great grandfather. Out at night, he is introduced by Nibbins the cat to some unusual and entertaining creatures who are the Midnight Folk of the title. During the nights, the Midnight Folk are engaged in a series of skirmishes and set piece battles against the Seven Witches. The Box of Delights tells Kay, now older but still up for adventure, gets involved in an adventure to stop a service in a cathedral.
Lizzie is an archetypal twelve-year-old dreamer who wanders around with her head in the clouds. Despite her family’s failure to believe her, Lizzie makes friends with a witch with exciting, funny and often charming consequences. Anyone aged seven to nine will like this book enormously. First published back in 1973, this book will be enjoyed now as it was then.
A truly timeless adventure of a horse with an unbreakable spirit and a bond that eventually goes almost full circle. Animal lovers will love the story of Black Beauty even though the tears will be almost as frequent as the smiles. An essential read. This is the paperback edition but if you’re looking for a gift purchase then look no further than the Everyman’s Library edition. We also rate very highly a new edition from Oxford Children’s Books.
Full of hilarious and likeable characters, this is a book that will be read over and over again. It’s one of those rare books with a confident magic and quality all of its own. Children will find Lila wonderfully inspirational for her determination in what she wants to do and achieve shines through.
Published in the early 1960s and yet as relevant today as it was then, this is a book that will captivate the imagination of a 7 or 8 year old – in fact even the most reluctant reader will be hooked. When Barney falls into a disused quarry he’s confronted by Stig, a caveman but none of Barney’s friends believe the story of Stig. So Barney has the time of his life and the two of them get up to a whole heap of adventures. Just read it – we guarantee you’ll enjoy it.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2018 This beautiful paperback celebrates 50 years of Ted Hughes’ classic tale - One of the most dramatic and exciting stories of all time, this classic modern fairy story by the former Poet Laureate takes on the biggest theme of all time: how the world can be saved. Here, it is the strange Iron Man, an enormous creature who arrives unexpectedly and terrorises a community by destroying everything he comes across. But later, when a terrifying monster from out space arrives, the Iron Man fights him to the death and becomes a hero when he saves the planet from total destruction. Told in short chapters it is perfect for reading aloud as well as reading alone. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for February 2018 Kevin by Rob Biddulph Eliza Rose by Lucy Worsley Lots: The Diversity of Life by Nicola Davies A Busy Day for Birds by Lucy Cousins Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2018 An eye-opening book, The Girl Who Saw Lions (originally published as Abela) is the touching and profound story of two girls who apparently have nothing in common. The two girls tell their own stories. Abela, growing up in Tanzania, is surrounded by suffering. Her father has already died and now her mother and her baby sister are desperately ill. When they die too, Abela is sent off to England and an uncertain future as an illegal immigrant. Rosa, growing up in England, has everything she could possibly want. There is no reason why these two should become sisters. Their individual stories and the story of how they come together through adoption make a beautiful, satisfying and complete story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for January 2018 Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by by Mem Fox Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal Emmeline and the Plucky Pup by Megan Rix Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy The Girl Who Saw Lions by Berlie Doherty The Poesy Ring by Bob Graham
Brian Moses is one of our most widely read and popular poets, a regular visitor to schools and festivals. This collection gathers together over 100 of his best poems. It includes some of the poems that make his public performances such barnstorming hits – Walking With My Iguana, What Teachers Wear in Bed – but also more thoughtful poems, such as the beautiful title poem Lost Magic, with its mournful refrain ‘but there are no unicorns now’. My favourite is probably The Bonfire at Barton Point, a vivid description of a particular moment of childhood, but everyone will have their own. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our 'Must Reads'. C.S Lewis’s classic fantasy book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of the four Pevensie children, Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan, and their adventures in the mystical world of Narnia. Sent to the British countryside for their own safety during the blitz of World War II, they discover an entryway into a mystical world through an old wardrobe. Mythical creatures suffering under the rule of the cruel White Witch inhabit Narnia and the arrival of the children gives them hope for liberation. All are dragged into the inevitable conflict between evil and good. Fantastic stuff filled with beautiful symbolism that still captures young hearts today.
A lovely hardback edition to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of this world famous children's classic. A book that’s chock full of great conversations between Alice and some extraordinary animals, ranging from the pipe-smoking caterpillar and the Mad Hatter, to the March Hare and the sneezing Duchess. From Philip Pullman: "Indispensable. The great classic beginning of English children's literature."
Exciting, atmospheric, romantic and stylish, The Wolf Princess marks a welcome return to the comfort of traditional storytelling. Steeped in history and nostalgia, but delicious in its telling, The Wolf Princess is a celebration of innocence, friendship and resourcefulness. For fans of C S Lewis, Eva Ibbotson and Cornelia Funke, The Wolf Princess is both a nostalgic fairy tale and a contemporary adventure about a girl who discovers the past is not quite as ordinary as she thought. A Piece of Passion from the Publisher, Barry Cunningham:I was all alone in Scotland: the snow was falling, the fire crackled in the grate, and I turned the first page of The Wolf Princess. After midnight I looked up again, a small tear in my eye, and my heart bursting with that special feeling that you only get when a book is absolutely fantastic! I started it again. This story is exciting, heart-warming and totally satisfying. Curl up with Cathryn, jump on that unexpected train and steam through the snow - wolves and a magical palace await you.
Twins Mika and Ellie first appeared in The Roar, a suspenseful thriller set in a not-too-distant future Britain in which humanity lives behind a huge concrete wall to protect them from animals carrying a plague. Readers who may not have read The Roar are quickly brought up to speed and the action proceeds at pace. The twins have superpowers – they can hear thoughts – and in this adventure they use them to attack the wall in an attempt to release the brainwashed army of children locked behind it. The narrative switches from Mika to Ellie and Mika’s friend Kobi, providing different perspectives and carrying the plot forward. The action never lets up while the book also explores some serious themes. A first-rate sci-fi adventure. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Publisher, Barry Cunningham If The Roar made you tremble with the excitement of a video game made scarily real in a walled world gone wrong, The Whisper will give you hope that children themselves can take control of tomorrow and turn back the damage that adults are doing to that world. Hope, true excitement and brilliant action make Emma Clayton’s The Whisper a must-be-heard voice before it’s too late! Awesome, colourful action for today’s eco-warriors and the fiercely passionate protectors of animals and what matters!
Special hardback gift edition celebrating 15 years of Skellig - one of the best-known, most-awarded debut children's novels of the past 20 years. This is a wonderfully eerie and magical story about believing in something extra special and why it may make a difference. It’s full of happiness and sadness but ultimately it’s incredibly fulfilling. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year as well as a string of international prizes.
This unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing Germany before the Second World War, is now available in a special hardback edition to celebrate the 90th birthday of its author Judith Kerr, with a reproduction of the original illustrated cover.
'The Little White Horse was my favourite childhood book. I absolutely adored it' - J K Rowling. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge is a timeless classic, a novel that has been a favourite of many a child since it was first published back in 1947, the year in which it won the prestigious Carnegie Award. It is also much loved by J.K. Rowling. It is the story of Maria Merryweather, a plain (ginger!) orphan sent with her dyspeptic governess to live with her only surviving relative, Sir Benjamin, in the picturesque Moonacre valley. There she discovers a mystery and an ancient wrong that only she, her friend Robin, and their variously magical animal friends must put right in order to bring peace to the land.
From the world famous creator of Pippi Longstocking comes this touching magical adventure about an unhappy little boy who meets a genie and is transported from the misery of his life to Farawayland. Once Karl Anders, an unwanted foster child, in Farawayland he becomes Mio, the son of a king with a vital role to play in defeating the evil Sir Kato who is terrorising the land. Mio tells his own story capturing the excitement of the adventure and the enchantment and wonder of the make-believe.
Prize-winning author and illustrator duo Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell are masters of creativity. Muddle Earth is a cracking adventure set in a topsy turvy world peopled with incredible characters such as a wizard who knows only one spell, an ogre whose hobbies are thumb sucking and cake decorating and a schoolboy who, thanks goodness, is almost completely normal! What happens to them in a world with purple moons, sinister flying wardrobes and much, much more is mad, magical and exciting to read. Click here for the sequel !
A pony lover's dream, Follyfoot is a great adventure story which will also touch the heart of all who care about animals. Full of drama and action which shows children acting resourcefully to protect their beloved horses; this is a heart-warming story which stands the test of time brilliantly.
Winner of the 1958 CILIP Carnegie Medal A classic time slip story in which Tom, staying in big house now divided into flats, manages to get into the garden at night and make friends with a little girl. But who is the girl? Can she really be the old woman in Tom’s waking life? This is one of the most touching and magical children’s books I’ve ever read and it’s one that’s stayed as fresh in my mind as if I’d just read it yesterday. Tom’s imaginary garden is beautifully portrayed and the characters and situations within are richly satisfying and the poignancy of the moments are cherished. Children will love the story and it is as relevant now as it was some 20 years ago when it was first published. (9-11 key age range)
A heart breaking and heart warming story of a special friendship that grows between Willie Beech, evacuated to the country to avoid the Blitz on London, and Tom Oakley, the reserved old man who takes him in. Willie has been lonely and neglected all his life as his mother lacks the ability to care for him. Under Mister Tom’s patient and kind guidance Willie grows emotionally and physically to become the boy he should have been. But then his mother wants him back home in London. Must Willie loose everything that has made him happy?
First published in 2003, The Wee Free Men is the second story in the Discworld series for young readers. The Queen of the Elves has another attempt at invading the Discworld, by stealing children and infesting dreams. However 9-year-old Tiffany Aching plans to stop them and after finding out she is descended from a witch she sets out with the help of the Wee Free Men to steal her baby brother back. This book is the best sort of Terry Pratchett fantasy.
Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have falled before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts. But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins. To celebrate publication of The Spook’s Nightmare, you can read this book online, for free. Visit www.spooksbooks.com by Friday 25th June to read the first spine-chilling instalment then check back for part two…
This is the complete and unabridged original text from J M Barrie, complete with a stunning new cover and black and white chapter heads, the perfect companion to its sequel by Geraldine McCaughrean, Peter Pan in Scarlet. Together, they are books to treasure forever. Also available in Hardback.
At last a sequel to one of the most endearing classics of all time. The author chosen to undertake this literary feat is not a household name but she is, a supremely talented storyteller and a winner of virtually every book award. The quality of her writing is breath-taking and she quickly transports you into the world of Neverland that you will remember from Peter Pan, whilst at the same time introduces you to some wonderful new characters, who together with Pan, with Wendy and the lost boys undertake some joyous, magical and fantastical adventures. Parent and child will enjoy it with equal enthusiasm but if you haven’t read Peter Pan for a while then why not read that first. We’re offering free copies of Peter Pan to everyone who orders Peter Pan in Scarlet.
Christina is sent to stay with her terrifying uncle and her cousins at Flambards, a rambling house in the country where riding and hunting are the most prized activities. Everything about the countryside - and her relatives - is new to Christina but she soon finds she loves riding. And, in different ways, she begins to love her cousins. The first volume in a hugely romantic trilogy.
Chosen by Jacqueline Wilson, February 2012 Guest Editor: "This is a very touching utterly convincing book about three wartime evacuees billeted to Wales. It's very much a children's story, with a mystery to be solved, but Nina Bawden is very subtle with her characterisation - even hateful Mr Evans with his cruel bullying is seen as sadly pathetic too. Carrie and her little brother Nick are a delight, but my favourite character is their friend Albert Sandwich. He might sport steel spectacles and have a few spots on his chin, but he's one of the most charming boys in all children's fiction." ............................................................................ I loved Carrie’s War from the moment I read it and have enjoyed it more and more with each rereading. At first, I appreciated Nina Bawden’s descriptions of the place and the people: the way she created the stifling atmosphere of the shop and how it contrasted with the freedom of everything that happened at Druid’s Bottom. I read it as the story of a girl being brave when she was away from home. Later, I came to realise that I and all other readers learned tolerance and understanding just like Carrie does. When Carrie is evacuated to Wales with her brother, Nick, she is removed from everything she knows. In a new home and without her parents to advise her Carrie has to work out for herself how she feels about the places around her and how to respond to the unusual circumstances in which she finds herself. While Nick’s emotions are always open, both as he grieves for his missing parents and in how he throws himself without restraint into the new way of life, both embracing Auntie Lou and challenging the bullying councillor Evans, Carrie is more reserved. Carrie waits and watches: she accepts the new situations and considers them coolly. She takes time to adjust to living apart from her parents and to find that she can make decisions for herself. But it’s only when she and Nick are sent to Druid’s Bottom, the strange spooky house set down in the bottom of the valley, that she can really let herself go, having at last found people she can trust. Carrie’s personal journey of discovery is a rich and marvellous one. It’s at Druid’s Bottom that Carrie meets Mrs Gotobed and discovers that growing old is not as terrible as it seems. Here to she meets Mr Johnny with his strange gobbling speech and learns that differences need not be frightening, while from her fellow evacuee Albert sandwich she learns to value her own intelligence. Above all it’s at Druids bottom that she meets the kindly and wise Hepzibah Green whose all-enveloping love and common sense keep Carrie going in difficult times. Despite these themes of separation and the very real dangers posed by the background of the war, Carrie’s War is an upbeat lyrical story containing moments of emotional truth. It is also universal story about growing up, making choices and learning who you can trust. Above all, it’s a story of enormous warmth and understanding, capturing that all-important transition from childhood to adolescence as Carrie grows in her understanding and finds out what really matters to her. One of the most heart-warming and unforgettable stories of the war tells the story of the evacuation of two children to Wales and about growing up amongst strangers and without family. It’s a wonderful evocation of times past and beautifully written. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
A wonderful adventure as two children flee from the yranny of their wicked guardian and bravely set out on the road to London. Miss Slighcarp is as chilling as her words sound and she is now in charge of Bonnie and Sylvia. How will they ever escape from her clutches? It would be hard in any circumstances but it is especially hard since the snow lies thick on the ground around Willoughby Chase and the wolves are snapping closer and closer. It’s scary enough, but Bonnie and Sylvia are a determined pair and nothing, not even the wolves are going to stop them from getting back to London and Aunt Jane. Helped on their way by Simon and the flock of geese he is taking to market, Bonnie and Sylvia’s journey is a thrilling adventure – and not for the faint hearted!
An absolute classic of children’s literature, the great adventure of Bilbo Baggins and the Dwarfs. It’s important to remember how long ago this book was written, the style is not that of a modern children’s book, but the magic of the tale shines through the old-fashioned language. It is, and always has been, a little treasure of a book ~ Sarah Broadhurst
Magical, this timeless farmyard story tells of the power of friendship. When the runty little piglet is saved from an early death, he grows into a fine and handsome pig. And the farmer wants to kill him. Can Charlotte, the spider who has grown to love him, save his life? Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
When Granny begins to need more looking after, Mum and Dad decide she’d be better off in a home. But Ivan, Tanya, Nicholas and Sophie have other ideas. Saving Granny soon becomes the topic for their school project as well as a useful way of persuading – or blackmailing- Mum and Dad into letting Granny stay at home. A funny and touching story which says much about optimistic and loving grandchildren are about their grandparent.
Rich in detail which brings the past to life and makes the forest background vivid to all readers, Wolf Brother tells how orphaned Torak must set out on a terrible mission. Tricked, trapped and betrayed at almost every turn, it’s a lonely quest but Torak finds comfort in the support of a wolf cub. Relying on their quick wits, the two journey through danger until Torak must make the final sacrifice. Titles in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series: 1. Wolf Brother 2. Spirit Walker 3. Soul-eater 4. Outcast 5. Oathbreaker 6. Ghost Hunter
Throughout this book, you can delve into stories, poems, memoirs and letters galore all wonderfully illustrated by Quentin Blake as well as other well-known artists, including Raymond Briggs, Babette Cole, Posy Simmonds and Ralph Steadman. This book is the perfect gift for Roald Dahl fans 'Those who don't believe in magic will never find it', Roald Dahl told his readers. Every page of this stunning gift book contains a touch of magic and will delight existing fans as well as those who have yet to discover Dahl's genius.
Best-selling Michelle Magorian brings the magic of theatre and the joys – and terrors – of performance to life in this exciting, funny and touching story about Elie’s first excursion onto the stage. Set after World War Two has ended but with its legacy still very much affecting everyone’s lives, A Spoonful of Jam tells how Elsie manages to avoid the horrible gang who seem to be out to get her by securing a part in play at the local theatre. It’s a roller coaster of an experience for shy Elise which has a profound effect not only on her but on her whole family. Michelle Magorian is a storyteller with a rare gift for getting to the heart of family life.
A remarkable and heart warming story of survival that avoids sadness or sentimentality because of its original story telling and brilliant black humour. Junior relates the complicated journey of his life travelling from the poverty and lack of opportunity on a reservation to a new life with different problems a shrewd eye, compassion and exceptional understanding. A fantastic journey of discovery for all readers. Jenny Downham, YA author - "This is a book I discovered only recently. It made me jealous because the writing is so acute and the writer so talented! It delighted me for the very same reasons. This is the funniest, wisest book I’ve read in a long time. A complex story of identity. Truly beautiful."
A tender love story and coming of age novel set against a backdrop of wartime uncertainty and it tells how the war effects the sleepy town that Rosie lives in and especially how it effect her and her search for love. Magorian’s wonderful stories are the perfect reads to curl up on a sofa with.
Wholly original and brilliantly plotted, Holes is a funny and poignant story about surviving. When Stanley Yelnats is falsely accused of stealing a pair of trainers, he is sent off to Camp Green Lake which is not a camp, not green and not near a lake but a boys’ detention centre in the middle of the desert. Every day every boy has to dig a hole five foot deep and five foot across because, the Warden says, it’s good for them. How Stanley survives and proves that the Warden has a different and far more sinister motive for wanting so many holes to be dug unravels in unexpected and wholly satisfying ways. Roddy Doyle was our Guest Editor in 2011 and chose Holes as one of his favourite books... "Boys in jail – a great idea. The jail has no roof and they have to dig huge holes in the baking sun all day – it’s getting even better. I read Holes in hospital a few years ago. I wasn’t ill, and was only there for the day. I actually forgot I was in hospital, the book was so good. I had about ten pages left when a nurse told me I could go home. I was half-hoping she’d tell me I’d have to stay longer, so I could finish the book." Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. Find more books that we think are great for reluctant readers here.
Bestselling Anthony Horowitz doesn’t miss a beat in this thrilling new adventure that links back to his favourite hero, Alex Rider through the terrifying and gripping story of Yassen Gregorovich. Gregorovich is ruthless and calculating; he is a contract killer who will do the business. But how did he get to be in that position? And what is his link to Alex Rider? In a story of trickery, cruelty, ruthlessness and all out violence, Anthony Horowitz shows how some terrible choices are made. An absolute must-read after finishing the Alex Rider series rather than before the series. Anthony Horowitz discussed Russian Roulette in a special live event that was streamed into schools. For more information go to www.alexrider.com/horowtizlive or watch it on the window below.
Anne Holm’s novel, first published in the UK in 1965, is one of the most honest and searing accounts for children of man’s inhumanity to man. It’s also one of the most hopeful. It tells the haunting story of a 12-year-old boy who is helped to escape from a concentration camp in Eastern Europe by an otherwise hateful guard. Convinced this is a trap to kill him, David nevertheless sets off by way of Greece, Italy, Switzerland and Germany in order to get to Denmark, where his former captor had told him he would find ultimate safety. His journey is full of incident, this is a tense and exciting story. Brought up in the camp, David knows nothing of the outside world, but he knows who he is. No matter what happens, he has decided he will not give in to men who love violence and he won’t let them change him. Holm felt that children need ‘real, valuable literature’ and I Am David is a masterpiece. This new edition is an attractive little hardback, its clear layout matches David’s voice. ~ Andrea Reece
The harsh realities of 18th century life, of slavery, of prejudice, of tragedy, of corruption, of the haves and the have-nots are woven together incredibly intricately and yet quite simply told too. Rest assured this book will have significant impact on a teenager, just as it will an adult and I do urge you the parent to read it as well for it won't disappoint, in fact you'll find it wonderfully exciting and totally unputdownable. Coram Boy won the Whitbread Children's Book Award in 2000.
This special edition of War Horse commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the beginning of the First World War, and features a brand new introduction by Michael Morpurgo and cover artwork by Rae Smith, designer of the National Theatre's production of War Horse. Michael Morpurgo’s tender story of Joey, a brave hearted farm horse who finds himself caught up in the horrors of war, cleverly conveys both the violence and the occasional compassion, which occurs during conflict. A classic story of animal courage and bravery. ~ Julia Eccleshare *** There is a stunning new hardback edition of War Horse, beautifully illustrated by Rae Smith, the stage designer of the epic theatre production. Click here to find out more.
The three volumes of this award-winning trilogy are beautifully presented in this mighty single volume. Set in two parallel universes, the story of Lyra, a young orphan and her demon Pantalaimon begins in Oxford. Swept up in a dangerous plot against children, Lyra and Pantalaimon set off for the frozen north on a terrifying mission to save the children from their terrible fate. The subsequent volumes follows Lyra on her quest to discover more about the mysterious substance, Dust. One of the finest contemporary books, His Dark Materials enjoyed by adults as children alike.
Best-selling Judy Blume has made her reputation by writing books which show the world from a child’s point of view. She is skilful at catching how children see the world and how they make sense of it and deal with it. Tony’s story is an interesting one. Newly and unexpectedly wealthy, his family move into a smarter neighbourhood. While his parents are thrilled, Tony finds adjusting hard. In particular, he knows that Joel, the boy who lives next door, is not to be trusted despite the excellent manners he impresses Tony’s parents with. When Joel steps over the line, Tony has to make a brave choice. Money’s nice but however much you’ve got having good values and being true to yourself is far, far more important. Click here to visit the Pan Macmillan website, www.mykindabook.com, where there's a special feature on author Judy Blume and much more.
Winner of the Puffin of Puffins. Chosen as the Puffin Modern Classic 2000 - 2009. Although only twelve years old, Artemis Fowl is already famous as a criminal master-mind. But, when he kidnaps Captain Holly Short of the LEPrechaun unit in his ruthless bid to steal the fairy gold, he finds he has gone a step too far. In the headlong adventure that follows, Artemis discovers that fairies are not the creatures that he had been expecting. Fast paced and packed with one jokes after another, Artemis fowl is irresistible humour for young readers. John Walsh, author and Independent columnist: "Lively, amoral, wildly imaginative debut (six more followed) about the money-grabbing master-criminal Artemis, 12. The author called it 'Die Hard with fairies'." This title is also available as a Nintendo DS™ FLIPS title - click here
Voted 2009 Penguin Orange readers' Group Book of the year Now a major film released in September 2008. When Bruno’s father is promoted to a new job, the family have to move from their comfortable home in Berlin to a strange new house in the middle of nowhere. Gone are the neighbours and the friends Bruno used to play with. The only people around are all in the strange fenced-in area which Bruno can just spy from his bedroom window. Who are they and why do they wear striped pyjamas? When Bruno sets off on an Exploration to find out he learns something very shocking which has unexpected and terrible results. Bruno’s childhood experience provides a new way of looking at the horrors of the Holocaust. (12+) A word from the author: "I'm thrilled that The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has been selected as the Penguin Orange Readers' Group Book of the Year. From the day the novel was published, it has received extraordinary support from reading groups who debate the novel back and forth with all the passion and argument that good literature demands - I know, because I've been there for some of those debates! That the story of Bruno and Shmuel continues to move readers is a source of great encouragement to me as a writer. I'm very grateful to Penguin and Orange and all the readers who selected the novel for this prize."
A World Book Day 'Recommended Read' for 2011 One of our 'Must Reads'. Alan Garner weaves together Arthurian Legend and local folklore to stunning effect in this magical adventure. 10 year olds and upwards will devour this weird and wonderful fantastical adventure. The story revolves around Susan and Colin, two children holidaying in the town of Alderley Edge. They find themselves pursued by sinister eldritch creatures controlled by the Morrigan, the Norse goddess of war and destruction. When the Weirdstone of Brisingamen is lost, they become the key in aiding the wizard Cadellin Silverbrow and returning it to its rightful place. If you like this book then there is an excellent sequel called The Moon of Gomrath.
Ursula Le Guin’s creation of Earthsea, an ancient world of wizards, magic, darkness and light and an ever-shifting balance of power is an acknowledged masterpiece. It’s undoubtedly one of the major works of fantasy from the 20th century. With wonderful cross-over appeal it is sure to enchant adults and children alike.
Winner of the 2007 CILIP Carnegie Medal and Winner of the Costa Children's book award.A razor-sharp portrait of a teenage boy and his relationship with his image, his inner life and fate itself. Shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie to be announced on 21 June, Just in Case was also shortlisted earlier this year for the Costa Children’s Book of the Year. A faultless narrative that combined with an original storyline makes it incredibly special. (12+)Judges' comment:A story that deals with anxiety, depression and coming of age that has real emotional resonance. This is a distinctive and outstanding book written in an intelligent, yet spare style. There is an ‘edginess’ to the way the author writes; the result is clever and bold. The character of the teenage boy is conveyed in an interesting way and is not at all stereotypical. This is a story of survival in the modern world that is utterly compelling.
This book is awesome in its power. A chilling fable of a heroic girl prepared to risk everything in the pursuit of justice. The heroine is an inspiration for all who read about her. Though written primarily for the 9-12 year old market, Fearless has universal appeal. It is a classic tale of freedom, imprisonment and redemption. With echoes of Orwell, Fearless addresses issues of control and religion in society but above all it is a haunting, powerful story that should not be missed. Lott may have written for adults before but this is his first foray into writing for children and what an exciting new voice it is.Julia Eccleshare comment:A modern fable, this tells how Fearless, a young girl locked up in the City Community Faith School, determines to escape so that she can tell the whole world about what is really happening. A thought provoking account of how one courageous individual can bring about change if they are brave enough to do so. Quote from Jacqueline Wilson: ‘Fearless is powerful, haunting and utterly original, a disturbing but ultimately uplifting story of an indominatable child who will not be crushed by the system. I think it will become an immediate classic. Fearless is fabulous in all senses of the word.’
An intriguing, action-packed, highly readable story that has a twist in it that you’ll never guess. The characters are beautifully drawn and the storyline very original. If you’re not into fantasy this is the author to get you into it for he merges fantasy and the real world so brilliantly. Having read this one we guarantee you’ll want to read the sequel, Dark Flight Down.
The Eagle of the Ninth is one of the most celebrated children's books of the twentieth century and is now the subject of a major film, The Eagle, starring Channing Tatum. This new edition, with its movie tie-in cover, is being published to coincide with the film's release - see below for the trailer. Whether you've read the book on which its based or not, it's a film well worth seeing but do read the book as well. It's a classic of children's literature. It's a welcome return of a classic story of loyalty and bravery at the time of the Romans. Brought up the stories of his father’s heroism and speculation about how he and his 5,000 soldiers disappeared without trace, Marcus sets out to try to unravel the mystery. His journey is full of danger and emotion which makes this both a thrilling adventure and a thoughtful story about one boy's search for his missing father.
Mark Haddon’s best-selling story of how Christopher, a boy with Asperger's syndrome, sees the world and makes sense of it in his own particular way became a success for children and adults alike. When Christopher finds a dead dog on his neighbour's lawn he applies the principles he has learnt from Sherlock Holmes, his own literary hero, to the situation and so begins the narration of his own remarkable story. In particular, Christopher traces the mystery surrounding his mother's absence and his father's unexpected behaviour, drawing on the clues he can understand. Christopher's use of clues that help him rather than using the more familiar props of emotional recognition make this story a very special journey of discovery. John Walsh, author and Independent columnist: "Age-transcending tale, both funny and sad."
Cameron’s operation is risky. Very risky. He needs a new heart and the best match comes from an unusual source - a pig. A pig heart transplant has never been done before. It may not work out and it’s controversial but Cameron and his family are prepared to give it a try. After all, it’s the one chance Cameron has of leading a normal life and at thirteen that’s the one thing he really wants to do. Told by Cameron as he faces up to the bravest decision of his life this is an emotionally rich and thought-provoking story. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Watership Down is an epic journey, a stirring tale of adventure, courage and survival against the odds. First published in 1972, this paperback reissue with a stunning new cover celebrates its 40th anniversary. Stunning and compulsive are two words that best describe the story of Fiver, of Hazel and the rabbit warren full of family and friends. Rejected by most publishers before eventually being snapped up by Rex Collings in 1972, it was an instant hit and has since sold millions of copies the world over. Beautifully written with some of the best characterisation you'll come across in children’s literature, it tells the story of a group of rabbits and their will to survive despite human attempts to do otherwise. Full of adventure, humour, excitement and sadness it will enthral as much now as it did when it was first published.
Philip Reeve, June 2012 Guest Editor: "The Lord of the Rings was my favourite book of all as a child - my mum and dad read it to me when I was about nine, and after that I read it to myself several times. I still love it for its landscapes and the music of its words. At the time, not many people seemed to have heard of it - at least, not at my school - so it was as if Middle Earth was my own private world. It prompted me to start inventing worlds of my own, and I’ve never really stopped." Charlie Higson, April 2012 Guest Editor: "This really doesn’t need a recommendation from me. I think some of you might have already read it. But it was a huge influence on me. It’s interesting that although the hobbits aren’t kids (they’re all about seventy years old!) we react to them as children. I read the books when I was fourteen and loved the feeling of being utterly immersed in another world. I’ve always loved fantasy – books that took me out of my own humdrum existence and transported me to another place, another time, another reality. I love it where Tolkien says in his introduction that ‘The tale grew in the telling’. The story starts small scale, with its social satire of the very English shire, and then just keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger, so that by the end you can look back and think – my God, I’ve come all this way, what an adventure it’s been. That’s the feeling I want to get into my new adventure/horror/epic series The Enemy. It’s building into a huge multi-character saga, with touches of LOTR, Greek mythology, historical fiction and Tintin. In fact I’ve probably stolen something from every book I’ve ever read." Sally Nicholls, March 2012's Guest Editor: "I read The Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was ten, which was far too young, but I loved it even though I didn't understand all of it. I read it over and over and over again, until I knew whole sections off by heart. I loved the size of the story, and the fact that its narrators – the hobbits – were so easy for a child to relate to." The Lovereading Comment: One of our 'Must Reads'. Chosen by the public through a survey to coincide with the 10th birthday celebrations of World Book Day 2007, this title is one of ‘the ten books the nation can’t live without’. Have you read them all? Below are links to each title and position on the list. 1. Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen 2. The Lord of the Rings JRR Tolkien 3. Jane Eyre Charlotte Brontë 4. Harry Potter JK Rowling 5. To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 6. The Bible 7. Wuthering Heights Emily Brontë 8. Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 9. His Dark Materials Philip Pullman10. Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Chosen by April 2011 Guest Editor Sharon Dogar: "A master class in how to write fictionalised memoir. Place, time and character are all brilliantly put together to make a story that grips, entertains and gently informs. I was completely at one with Scout in not seeing the point of going to school. I could already read, so what else would I ever need? I first read it when I was about twelve. As I grow and re-read it, so my love and understanding of each character changes. It has my favourite piece of dialogue ever. When Jem offers old Mrs Maud a piece of gum, she gently refuses, with the words : ‘I won’t thank you very much Jem Finch, I find it cleaves to my palette and renders me speechless.’ Wonderful."
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Michael Rosen on a compelling favourite: "A book that dared to go where no one thought you could with young audiences because it raises tough stuff to do with race." It takes a brave author such as Malorie Blackman to consider a sequence of the like of Noughts and Crosses and to pull it off with utmost aplomb. Award-winning author Blackman has tackled the issues of racism and prejudice in a world set in an alternate historical reality. Although 11 year olds will take great joy and learn much from reading this first one in the sequence, adults will devour it with equal enthusiasm. The contrast of the two main protagonists makes the novel totally compelling and the writing style is both original and superbly paced. The plot unravels at the pace of a thriller and as a consequence it’s a book that is almost impossible to put down. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Winner of The Branford Boase Award 2014. Shot through with danger as adolescence can be, this is a powerful coming of age novel which combines dark realities with optimism and naivety. When Iris’s mother takes off on a road trip, things at home begin to fall apart. The arrival of a family of travellers close by sets off a chain of events which leads to tragedy. But Iris sees Trick and his family differently; she knows he isn’t the boy his is made out to be. But, when everything spirals out of control, will she ever be able to feel the same about him? Beautifully written, this is a poignant story of young love from a talented new author. A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Venetia Gosling Infinite Sky is one of the books I’m most excited about publishing next year. Simply and beautifully written, it’s the heart-breaking story of the summer Iris experiences love and loss for the first time.When Iris’s mum leaves home, her brother, Sam, goes off the rails and her dad is left trying to hold it all together. So when a family of travellers sets up camp illegally in front of their farm, it’s the catalyst for a stand-off that can only end in disaster. But to 13-year-old Iris, it’s all an adventure. She secretly strikes up a friendship with the gypsy boy, Trick, and discovers that home can be something as simple as a carved out circle in a field full of corn…Starting as it ends, with a funeral, Infinite Sky keeps us guessing about the identity of the boy Iris is left mourning – is it her tearaway brother, Sam, or Trick, her tentative new boyfriend? The conclusion is devastating, and will make you cry. A stunning read from a really talented new author -whose writing reminds me of early Meg Rosoff and David Almond - this is a book to fall in love with. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did. - Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 14-16 age category - One of our Must Reads of 2013.
This is a special Movie Tie-in edition of How I Live Now, Meg Rosoff's debut novel originally published by Penguin in 2004. It won the Guardian and Branford Boase Awards and was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for New Fiction as well as the Whitbread. It garnered the sort of rave acclaim most writers only ever dream of. Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, championed it right from the beginning, saying, 'That rare, rare thing, a first novel with a sustained, magical and utterly faultless voice. After five pages I knew that she could persuade me to believe almost anything.' At heart a story about falling in love, How I Live Now captures the confusion of adolescence especially at a time when the world is turned upside down. When Daisy first arrives in England she falls in love with a new way of life and also, passionately, with her cousin Edmund. When war breaks out, the two teenagers are swept apart. Everyone is struggling for survival. Daisy and Edmund both come through but while Daisy copes with the altered state of things, Edmund’s suffering when his world implodes changes him. He loses a part of himself that can never be replaced. How I Live Now subtly charts a jagged journey of finding out which captures the confusion of adolescence, especially when the world is turned upside down.
William Golding’s iconic and enduring novel is interesting in many ways. Firstly it was a debut book and secondly it was rejected by numerous publishers and editors before it was picked up off the ‘slush-pile’ by a young editor at Faber and Faber. More than 50 years later the schoolboys to savages story is still relevant, disturbing and shocking.
One of our 'Must Reads'. Who is Robert? When he goes in for his operation, Robert is sure he knows exactly who he is. But, things look different when the surgeon opens him up. It leads Robert to set off on a thrilling journey to find out the truth about himself. A funny, spooky, romantic and fast-paced adolescent journey of discovery. The unravelling romance and gory action scenes will keep boys and girls alike hooked, and both will be asking the question, “what is Robert?” - Oscar 14
Hugely entertaining, this is a fully envisaged fantasy adventure, which makes serious points about the importance of the past from the master storyteller and author of the hugely popular Discworld series. Survival! Mau’s world is bowled over and swept away by a towering Tsunami. His past life has vanished and he must build a new life with the scraps he has left. Luckily, someone else has survived too and soon Daphne, or Trouser-Man as Mau calls her, are creating a new Nation building on the bits of knowledge from the past which won’t die away. The novel has been adapted for the stage – Olivier Theatre at The National Theatre in London - by the controversial playwright Mark Ravenhill. Nation will be the National’s family show opening in November 2009, following the success of previous family-friendly productions, His Dark Materials, Coram Boy and War Horse. Described by National Theatre Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner as “a wonderful book and, I suspect, perfect for an Olivier adaptation”, Nation is set on a desert island following a tsunami which wiped out most of the population.
Chosen by Michael Rosen. First published over 60 years ago, Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has reached millions of young people throughout the world. However, the recent major new BBC TV dramatisation has brought her extraordinary writing to life in a way that will engage and inspire a whole new generation. So whether you've watched the TV or not, this is the full unabridged edition of Anne's diaries and is essential reading. Only Anne's spelling and linguistic errors have been corrected. Otherwise, the text has basically been left as she wrote it (translated by Susan Massotty), since any attempts at editing and clarification would be inappropriate in a historical document.
When a Victorian scientist propels himself into the year 802,701 AD, he is initially delighted to find that suffering has been replaced by beauty, contentment and peace. Entranced at first by the Eloi, an elfin species descended from man, he soon realises that this beautiful people are simply remnants of a once-great culture now weak and childishly afraid of the dark. They have every reason to be afraid: in deep tunnels beneath their paradise lurks another race descended from humanity the sinister Morlocks.And when the scientist's time machine vanishes, it becomes clear he must search these tunnels, if he is ever to return to his own era.
Published as a 'shilling shocker', Robert Louis Stevenson's dark psychological fantasy gave birth to the idea of the split personality. The story of respectable Dr Jekyll's strange association with 'damnable young man' Edward Hyde, the hunt through fog-bound London for a killer, and the final revelation of Hyde's true identity is a chilling exploration of humanity's basest capacity for evil.
Winner of the Carnegie Medal 2006.What the judges said: This is an enthralling and multi-layered novel that traces the story of two men caught up in secret operations in World War Two.It looks at the negative impact that war has on those involved and on succeeding generations.Guilt and its ramifications lie at the heart of this well-written and serious novel that skilfully interweaves past and present.
This is a haunting yet truly amazing read but don't read it too young. Definitely not for someone less than 14 years old. If you knew you were going to die what would you want to do? Imagine this from a teenage perspective when you have done so little. Imagine the effects of this on your friends and family. Even with the very bleak storyline this book is incredibly life-affirming. Before I Die is multi-award winning and critically acclaimed; shortlisted for the 2007 Guardian Award and the 2008 Lancashire Children's Book of the Year, nominated for the 2008 Carnegie Medal and the 2008 Booktrust Teenage Prize, and won the 2008 Branford Boase Award.
When Gulliver finds himself washed up on the shores of the island of Lilliput inhabited by ‘little people’ and taken prisoner his life is to change forever but that is just the beginning of his story. For following his escape from Lilliput his travels take him to the huge people of Brobdingnag, the floating island of Laputa and to the land of Houynhnmland where there are horses with great virtues. The characters are wonderfully drawn, and Gulliver has a great talent for the languages of each land and his travels also provide bitter insights into human behaviour. It is in the end an uncompromising reflection of mankind in its many guises but riveting all the same and essential reading.
Sixteen-year-old step sisters Mary and Jane are bored. Longing for romance they dream of attracting the attention of a rich and handsome man who will take them away to somewhere foreign and interesting. When the poet Shelley walks into their father’s shop, Mary immediately falls head over heels in love. He is everything she has imagined and more. But Mary and Shelley’s flight to Europe does not bring the happiness she has hoped for. Tragedy and romantic are brilliantly combined in this powerful story based on the life of Mary Shelley.
Shortlisted for the 2009 Penguin Orange Readers' Group Book of the Year. One of our 'Must Reads'. A great teenage classic. Holden Caufield is the ultimate outsider; he is expelled from school, falls out with his friends and finally suffers a nervous breakdown. The book is a scathing attack on American society in the 1950’s seen through the eyes of one the most fascinating central characters ever created. Originally banned because of liberal use of profanity and powerful portrayal of teenage angst, The Catcher In The Rye has now been deemed essential reading for growing-up.
A swashbuckling adventure story of seemingly epic proportions. The plot follows a half-crazed sea captain who seeks bitter revenge on a white whale who previously deprived him of his legs. Extraordinary details of ships, whale anatomy, and the nature of man make this novel intense and deeply fascinating. The first line of Moby Dick, ‘Call me Ishmael,’ has been described as one of the most immortal openings to any book in literary history. A must read classic.
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Winner of the two most prestigious children's book awards - the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 and the Children's Costa Award 2012. And Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize | Sally Gardner tells a story that is rich in drama and ideas as Standish Treadwell, an unlikely hero, takes on the vicious forces of the repressive motherland in a novel set in a bleak world that is redeemed only by the very human qualities of some of the survivors. Standish and his remarkable grandfather keep going, eking out a living after the disappearance of Standish’s parents. Standish struggles at school and is the victim of relentless bullying. But then he finds a friend in the newly arrived Hector. When Hector is taken, the only hope lies in Standish…Luckily, Standish has just the qualities that are needed.
Controversial when it was first published, Forever is a classic title which tenderly describes a first love affair and a first sexual experience. Michael and Katherine are in their last year at school when they begin going out together. They are sure that they love each other but are they both ready for sex? Judy Blume is tasteful and sensitive in describing Katherine’s need for certainty before she embarks on her first sexual experience; she is also wise on how Katherine’s parents subtly try to influence their daughter’s behaviour.
Winner of the 1996 CILIP Carnegie Medal When it was published in 1996 it created a Storm of Protest - especially from those who didn't bother to read it. The book, however, is credible, honest, realistic, moving and sympathetic - not to drug taking, but to some of the reasons for it and how the young fall into it and then, with luck and a bit of help, get themselves out of it. Junk not for the faint-hearted for it is utterly compelling and terrifying by turns – from bliss through to complete despair we see all manner of emotions that at times will make you feel utterly drained. It’s a real roller-coaster and yet it is completely honest and real to today’s world. Controversy has always gone where this book has gone for it’s hard-hitting approach to the subjects of drink, of drugs and of sex. Junk is an absolute must-read for any teenager and an essential eye-opener to any parent of a teenager. Winner of the Carnegie Medal 1996 and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize A Note from the Author, Melvin Burgess This book is set roughly in the early and middle 1980s, when I myself was living in Bristol. All the major events have happened, are happening and will no doubt continue to happen. I saw many of them myself and heard about many more. As for the people here . . . some are pure invention, some are seeded from real people and then fictionalised, some are fictitious with bits of real people stirred in. The only proper portrait is Richard, one of the nicest and strangest people I’ve ever met, who is beyond praise or prosecution, bless him. He died on the motorway some years ago. The book isn’t fact; it isn’t even faction. But it’s all true, every word.
Winner of the Booktrust teenage prize in 2006, Henry Tumour is exceedingly funny, compulsive, thought-provoking, challenging, dark and tragic by turns. As Mal Peet, another author of brilliant teenage fiction said, ‘Henry Tumour is a boisterous, anarchic, frequently vulgar comedy. It is also a wise, sensitive, questioning novel about the opposing forces that make us what we are’.
At Lovereading4kids we are constantly asked to recommend great books for children and so far we have focused on mainly new books.
However there are some books that we think will grow old gracefully and will affect a new generation as powerfully as the generation before. Simply Essential reading.
Just click on the age range you are interested above the books.
To create this list Lovereading4kids has worked closely with Julia Eccleshare to create a list of ‘essential reads in childhood’ – those titles which we think should be read as part of growing up.
So now, in addition to being guided on the best of the new children’s titles, we're delighted to be able to guide you through those titles we feel have a timeless quality about them and should appear in every child's life at some point.
To view a range of classic literature from Alice (Alice in Wonderland) to Zeus (Tales of the Greek Heroes), then click here.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.