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This vibrant inter-planetary picture book sees mini Mercury, the smallest planet closest to the sun, fulfill his mythical job as a messenger when he warns his fellow planets that a sun storm is approaching. Mercury’s message makes its way to each planet in turn – loving Venus, lively Earth, warrior Mars, giant Jupiter (who “farts a lot”, due to being such a gaseous planet!), singing Saturn, ice-giant Uranus, before finally reaching freezing Neptune. Thanks to Mercury’s thoughtful warning and the planets’ varied ways of preparing for it, everyone stays safe from the storm. The story imparts an underlying message of friendship and support through the entertaining and educational personification of the planets, and the page of planet-themed questions at the back is a great extra. All in all, this is a fun way to introduce 4+ year-olds to the solar system. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
Jacqueline Wilson is as at home writing about the past as she is writing about contemporary times and this story of Mona growing up in the 1920s is full of her trademarks: a booky little heroine, an unconventional family, creativity rewarded, and the importance of love and honesty. Mona lives with her aunty who works her fingers to the bone as a seamstress to support her niece. Their home is the gamekeeper’s cottage in the grounds of the local landowners’ estate and as the story unfolds Mona’s life becomes intertwined with the aristocratic Somersets, for all her lowly birth. The post-war period with its new sense of freedom and expression is brilliantly evoked, and Mona’s journey of self-discovery perfectly matches the new era. With a special guest appearance by Hetty Feather this is classic Wilson and will thoroughly enchant her legions of fans.
Eric’s aunty has a history of finding really unusual presents, and the latest is a stone that can apparently make wishes come true. In the best tradition of stories about things that grant wishes, Eric’s caught out and ends up accidentally wishing for the thing he really wants – a dad. As it slowly dawns on Eric that his headmaster Mr Hodgett, aka The Bodge, is a possible candidate he panics – wouldn’t you? But perhaps the stone knows what it’s doing after all … Barbara Mitchelhill cleverly weaves magic into everyday life and equally skilfully mixes zany humour with touching, real emotions and there’s a great deal of story packed into this little book. Illustrations by Tony Ross are typically lively, Eric and his friends wonderfully loose-limbed and scruffy.
It’s definitely a case of (very) slow and steady winning the race in this amusing and original picture book. Sloth is inspired by the superhero story he finds in a comic book left in the jungle so when mean Anteater starts stealing fruit from the other animals he – leaps is definitely the wrong word – goes into action. It turns out that moving very slowly and looking like a bit of tree are actually useful superpowers. Sloth is an engaging hero and Starling fills the jungle scenes with movement and character. The action builds to a rewarding conclusion, and neatly delivers a message about the value of different types of ability.
It’s a superhero book, folks, but not as we know it. Murph, star of this funny and good-natured series by Greg James and Chris Smith, is different from most of the kids at his school in that he doesn’t have superpowers. However, there’s a lot to be said for teamwork, and as leader of the Super Zeroes, he’s discovered a way to be heroic without the powers. Have he and his compadres met their match though in the thoroughly unscrupulous supervillain Magpie? As ever it’s a fast-moving caper packed with jokes and humour, and thoroughly satisfying from beginning to end. Erica Salcedo deserves special mention too for her energetic and distinctive black and white illustrations. One to recommend to fans of David Solomons’ My Brother is a Super-Hero series and Danny Wallace’s Hamish books.
Framed was shortlisted for the Blue Peter Prize 2007 'The Book I Couldn't Put Down.' and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal | Framed has been chosen as a favourite book by our Guest Editors Philip Ardargh and Joanna Nadin. Philip Ardagh: Reviewing children's books for a national newspaper on a fairly regular basis means that I have to read a goodly number of books I might never otherwise have made the time to do. Stumbling upon books such as Framed is one of the perks of the job. I could tell you that it's about the redemptive power of art but I'm not absolutely sure how to spell 'redemptive' and, anyway, what it's really about is a boy and his dad... and families, and what makes them tick, stop ticking and then tick again. Frank Cottrell Boyce is a craftsman. I can't recommend this book highly enough. Joanna Nadin: Frank Cottrell Boyce writes boys with humour, irony and compassion. Although best known for Millions, it is his second novel, Framed, that I go back to time and time again: the laugh-out-loud funny and try-not-to-cry story of nine-year-old Dylan Hughes, man of the house, boss of the failing family business, and the only boy left in Manod.
Shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2008 and the Carnegie Medal 2008 | Comic and cosmic, this is a roller coaster adventure that takes Liam Digby up into space with a handful of other children and their parents. It’s an hilarious journey of discovery as Liam hurtles around the world finding out exactly what makes children and adults different.
Shortlisted in the UK Author Category in the National Book Awards 2018 | She’s back - Tracy Beaker, star of the dumping ground and daydreamer extraordinaire, and what a joy that is! She may be grown up and with a daughter of her own, Jess, but she’s still our Tracy: generous, quick to lose her temper but just as quick to apologise, always hoping for the best and coping with the worst. Life with Tracy is all highs and lows, and it’s wonderfully described by Jess – the new boyfriend who seems set to make Tracy’s dreams come true, the special relationship between mother and daughter, and their version of happy ever after. Funny, touching, true, the story will appeal to Tracy Beaker fans old and new.
Winner of the 2004 CILIP Carnegie Medal | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2019 | When a bag stuffed full of money falls out of a train and into their camp, Damian and Anthony are suddenly rich. Very, very rich, to be precise. But, there is a problem. They only have a few days in which to spend the money. When the Euro arrives, it’ll be worthless. A thrilling story about the real value of money but Millions is more than an adventure as the boys have recently lost their mother and their search for happiness is tinged with the sadness that, however much money they have, they’ll never be able bring her back
With an engaging rhyming text that’s ideal for reading aloud, this picture book is a warm-hearted way for Muslim pre-schoolers and those of infants school age to understand and celebrate what it means to be Muslim. It would also make a great tool for teachers and parents to introduce all children to the principles of the faith. It’s underpinned by a warm message of inclusivity – “we don't all look the same”, Muslims are “different colours, shapes and sizes” – and accompanied by soft, fuzzy illustrations of all kinds of toddlers enjoying each others company in harmony and a spirit of kindness.
This is the story of a ten-year-old orphan and a 10,000-year-old mammoth... Read all about it! Read all about it! ICE MONSTER FOUND IN ARCTIC! When Elsie, an orphan on the streets of Victorian London, hears about the mysterious Ice Monster - a woolly mammoth found at the North Pole - she's determined to discover more... A chance encounter brings Elsie face to face with the creature, and sparks the adventure of a lifetime - from London to the heart of the Arctic! Heroes come in all different shapes and sizes in David Walliams' biggest and most epic adventure yet!
November 2018 Book of the Month | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | A stunningly original ocean adventure by a one-of-a-kind author whose work defies convention and abounds with a purity of ideas and execution. Kel was “always running away from something”, seeking escape “from the world she inhabited within and the world that bullied her from the outside”. She’s a swamper, born oceans apart from the wealthy tower people who live in the same Cornish coastal community. She’s also an unforgettable heroine, a girl with danger in her eyes, a baby to care for and “a stupid heart that beat wrong and was shaped wrong and had wrongness stretched clean through it”. Kel “didn’t want what the tower people had; she only wanted two things, a heart she could rely on and freedom from kin”, which is why she kidnaps Rose, the daughter of a cargo ship captain. Kel plans to use her ill-gotten gains to travel to South America to have a heart operation, because in the UK “swamp folk don’t get operations”. Aboard the ship Kel tracks down Rose and forces her to board a smaller vessel, soon running into trouble when the engine fails amidst scenes of devastation on the mainland. Steering clear of well-worn clichés, Carthew’s stories cut to the heart of human experience, often portraying and championing life’s underdogs and outsiders. What a thrilling, thought-provoking novel this is, brimming with perilous encounters, and the rawness of real-life relationships.