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Full of the funniest new books, this section has laugh-out-loud fiction, joke books and stories to make you smile. Most of our featured books have expert reviews and the first chapter to download to help you choose your next read.
January 2022 Debut of the Month | Inventors don’t come much more inventive than young Leonora Bolt. In her home on remote Crabby Island, shared with her otter Twitchy, eccentric housekeeper Mildred and (occasionally) with her nasty Uncle Lester, Leonora comes up with all sorts of amazing gadgets and most astonishing of all is the Switcheroo, which can make objects swap places, via a nifty bit of quantum computing. Despite her brilliance, Leonora has never yet left the island and Uncle Luther seems determined to keep it that way. When a boy called Jack is washed up though, Leonora has to help and in the process she discovers secrets her uncle was keeping (we knew he was a bad un!). The story is full of fun and surprises, plus a fair bit of tension: will Leonora escape the island and Uncle Luther? Were her parents really lost at sea? Favourite scenes include a ride in a hot air balloon, suspended from a wonderful variety of inflatables, and another in the stinkiest cave in fiction. Lots of fun, this is one to recommend to readers who like their adventures wild, wacky and full of invention(s).
We all have feelings and, as parents, it’s very important to discuss or explain them to young children. Katie Abey’s book is an excellent means to doing just that. Over bright, lively and inviting double page spreads, a host of friendly animals demonstrate different feelings, the ones that make us feel good and those that do the opposite. Short accompanying text explains what’s happening and asks questions, ‘when do you feel calm?’ or ‘do you sometimes feel shy?’ It’s a simple but clever way to open relaxed and meaningful conversations about feelings and explain how to understand and manage them. The animals themselves are quite comical and so appealing that you’ll find yourself pausing over each page to point things out or do some counting games, and it offers lots of excellent opportunities for interactive learning. A fun, funny and very useful book.
This is the third book about Stanley Bradshaw and his classmates in 4B, also known as ‘LITERALLY the worst class in the world’ by their headmistress Mrs Bottomley-Blunt. Once again, Stanley and co indulge in the sort of behaviour that tests their teacher Mr Nidgett to the limit, whether dealing with an outbreak of nits (a great way of being sent home as Stanley and his friend Manjit see it, thereby escaping Maths Test Tuesday) or facing the terrible dares set by new girl Bridget Pickersgill. By the end of the book, Mrs Bottomley-Blunt’s laminated list of rules has grown to 125 and includes: ‘no eating Very Dead Flies’, ‘no painting yourself blue’, and ‘no claiming Mrs Bottomley-Blunt is a MOOGOL’. The stories are perfect for children reading independently, not just because of their short sentences, many pictures and neat repetition of words and phrases, but because they are absolutely hilarious, and also wonderfully true to life. Full of the kind of absurdity that young children generate without even trying, they’re full of joy as well as humour.
Ollie Spark LOVES fixing things, so when his aunt asks him to convert her ramshackle mobile library into a camper van, he’s in heaven! Little does he know that it will result in him being whisked up into the craziest of adventures involving kidnap, eco-warriors and a race against time through secret underground tunnels . . . on a QUAD BIKE! Told with excitement and charm, with fabulous fully integrated illustrations throughout, Ollie Spark and the Accidental Adventure is perfect for reluctant readers and story-lovers alike.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month January 2022 | A hungry monster opens the fridge but there is nothing there! Luckily, he has a phone and the number to ring for a pizza so he knows he won’t be hungry for long. But it takes several miss-placed calls answered by a range of unlikely pizza providers before he finds just what he is looking for. And even when the pizza does arrive the Monster doesn’t get what he is expecting! Just a few words and spreads of highly dramatic illustrations ensure this book will be highly entertaining for young readers.
Here’s a thing I bet you never knew about wombats, but which is a big part of this entertaining picture book: they are the only species on the planet to produce cube-shaped poos. The story that follows the imparting of this piece of fascinating information, is all about wombat poo, specifically that of little George, whose mummy won’t let him go and play until he’s used his potty. Potty stories are always popular, and George’s efforts to obey his mum, and the advice he gets from friends, are both funny and charming. The illustrations are warm and full of life – George is a very appealing little character – and parents will find this a good way to introduce the subject of toilet training.
Richly rewarding for 7-year-olds to enjoy by themselves, and a joy to read aloud to 5+ year-olds, Iona Rangeley’s Einstein the Penguin debut is packed with comic capers, compassion and relatable family dynamics as it tells a wonderfully whimsical tale of an attempt to reunite a pair of flightless feathered friends. The adventure begins when the Stewart family decide to stave off December chills with a visit to London Zoo and find themselves drawn to a little penguin. Later that evening, said penguin (who turns out to be called Einstein) turns up at their front door with a rucksack. Naturally the Stewarts take him in, pending returning him to his rightful home. The question is, where is Einstein’s home? The initial investigations of would-be detective Imogen reveal that he wasn’t supposed to be in London Zoo at all. As Imogen ups her sleuthing game, her younger brother Arthur finds confidence and friendship through Einstein, and the family embark on an exhilarating quest. With charming, witty illustrations from David Tazzyman (he of Mr Gum fame), this delightful adventure makes a magnificent modern-day alternative to Paddington, and is perfect for sharing as a family.
Billy Smith is ordinary with a capital O, so how on earth does he end up as internet sensation Hashtag OrdinaryBilly, Hashtag Relatabill? All is revealed in The Boy Who Accidentally Got Famous, David Baddiel’s typically funny and engaging new adventure. Billy’s life is changed in totally unexpected ways when TOTALTV TV descend on his school to film reality show School Daze, resulting in him swapping fish finger teas with mum and dad for red carpet film premieres. Sort of anyway… The storyline is deliciously unpredictable, but Baddiel’s depiction of Billy and his friends is as accurate as ever, and his shots at TV producers very funny too. Could that be inspired by real life? Most of us will never know. A great read for anyone who’s ever imagined themselves famous for five minutes.
Poems are made to read OUT LOUD! A wittily illustrated anthology of poems, designed to be read aloud. Twenty poems by the award-winning Joseph Coelho arm children with techniques for lifting poetry off the page and performing with confidence. Perfect for confident children and shy readers alike, this book teaches all sorts of clever ways to performing poetry.
The absolutely brilliant, extra special NUMBER ONE bestseller from multi-million copy selling author and illustrator Liz Pichon - now available in an epic paperback edition. A laugh-out-loud, fully illustrated collection of stories starring Tom Gates and his friends, family and foes! Featuring: A delicious chicken pie Getting stuck in a lift with Delia A teacher swap at school Some tiny ants in tiny pants and the adventures of Wafer Boy...
The brand new, read-in-one-sitting, packed-with-twists mystery from bestselling Lisa Thompson. Todd and Laurie's dad is either on top of the world, taking them on fun adventures, or down in the depths and sleeping all the time. In the middle of the night, he bundles them into the car and drives them to the Paradise Hotel. He paints a picture of a luxurious mansion surrounded by acres of land - a fairground, a swanky swimming pool, a grand ballroom, firework displays. The reality is a rundown dump - and the disappointment means Dad takes to his bed. Todd and Laurie have the run of the place, and meet Scout, the daughter of the owner, who tells them about the night many years ago when a famous novelist vanished from her room on the top floor, which was locked from the inside... with clues to crack, a mystery to solve, and Dad to worry about, this holiday is full of twists and turns. A sensitive, empathetic portrayal of having a parent with bipolar Funny, moving and brilliantly plotted - a true page-turner The Grand Budapest Hotel meets Paddington 2!
A touching story about family interactions – and hair! When Dad takes his son to have his hair cut they spin the stories of Rapunzel and Sampson into the excitement of a hair cut. The new look brings new power! But when Dad goes away there are no more haircuts. The little boy gets more and more lost as his hair grows longer and longer. It is as if his thoughts and feelings are all tangled up in the wayward curls. How will he ever feel happy again? Poet Joe Coehlo tells the story of a moment of sadness in a child’s life with great sensitivity and a suitably hopeful ending.
Meet Mylan - an ordinary blue alien. He's travelling the universe, looking for someone having a bad day, to help them. Meet Chloe. She's just stubbed her toe. Now she's being followed by an alien. Her day can only get better, right? WRONG. Every bad day begins with a stubbed toe. Mylan Bletzleburger's research proves this. But even he couldn't predict how Chloe's day would escalate from a sore foot to the entire Earth being swallowed up. Can Mylan and Chloe save the planet? Will Mylan ever pilot a cool spaceship? And will Tanka Tanka Woo Woo, the Queen of the Universe, ever share her haircare secrets? Funny and packed with action and quirky aliens, this intergalactic adventure is out of this world!
Dooley is an Irish autistic author and illustrator who writes with authority, empathy and humour about the world as viewed by Frankie. Frankie believes she is an alien; she is the smallest person in her class – and she is accused of talking too much! But really all she is different – neurodivergent, though it is not until nearly the end of the book that Frankie gets an insight into why she views things differently. Frankie’s Dad left when she was a baby and she, with friend Sam, decide to track him down. I found it refreshing that Sam is wheelchair bound but that no reference is made to this. This book so easy to relate to – the world from a child’s point of view is such a confusing place – but this helps us all see how it may be even more confusing if one’s reactions are different from other people. Plus, if we all give time and some empathy, we may be in a better position to befriend and understand. This sounds as if the book is preaching to us – it is most definitely not – it is a delight to read - funny, sympathetic, and ultimately uplifting. Drawn in a very simple two-colour cartoon style it should be easily accessible across a range of readers. Highly recommended for all readers offering perspective on autism whilst maintaining care and affection for the protagonists.
This is the second collaboration between Rosen and Starling, following the brilliant I Am Angry. Both take a poem from the award winning A Great Big Cuddle to give it new life as a picturebook and each poem really lends itself to a longer format with more opportunity for an illustrator to tell the story behind the poem and breathe life into the narrator. The bold colours and hugely expressive characters really grab the young reader’s attention, and the words are, of course, a joy to read-aloud. In an introduction the author tells us that when he is hungry, he likes to imagine all the things he might want to eat, and that often quite strange things pop into his mind and suggests this as an imaginative game to try at home. Certainly, this is what our very, very, hungry Squirrel does as his suggestions of what he could eat get increasingly bizarre. Young children delight in the absurd and have no fear of non-conformity and they also will recognise the feeling of being hungry being the most important thing in the world at that moment. A lovely book to inspire imaginative discussions in Reception and reflection upon their own younger selves!
The next amazing book in the bestselling BUNNY VS MONKEY series! Some of the comics in this book were originally published as Bunny vs Monkey: The Floating Cow Catastrophe. There's a new animal joining Bunny and the gang. Ai - a supersonic, super-fast aye-aye! But how will Ai fit in to the Woods? What mischievous schemes is Skunky cooking up? And will Monkey ever stop trying to hit her with a stick?
Full colour graphic novel series of brand new Barry Loser adventures - the onlycomic book you’ll need in 2022! Celebrating 10 years of Barry Loser. Barry has had enough of being a loser and wants to prove he’s a Total Winner, but when his parents ban him from gaming he has to think outside of the box. . . Barry also has a new cat called French Fries – the keelest cat ever amen.
From the fantastic duo behind Poems Aloud comes another compendium of poetry to read out loud and make you smile! Twenty original poems from award winning poet Joseph Coelho designed to be read aloud to project happiness, conjure happiness, make you laugh or cheer others up. Some are odes, some can be said as personal mantras or just poems full of words that you can't help but smile when you hear them. This is a book for any child who wants to build confidence reading aloud, or wants a way to channel their speech and drama confidence. It is a book to foster a love of words and the power that comes with the spoken word. It will show children how speaking a poem aloud has a certain magic, almost like reading a spell. Poems can be read aloud to an audience, muttered quietly to oneself or whispered in the ear of someone who needs to hear some cheerful words.
It's tough fitting in when you're born to stick out! When Baron Ben gives the residents of Little Town an exciting new gadget that lets them explore virtual worlds, they can't wait to try it out! Before long everyone is plugged into their techy treats. Everyone that is, except Stick Boy. Left to his own devices and suspicious of Baron Ben's generous gift, Stick is on the case. And when his investigations lead him to a secret underground lair full of robots preparing to take over the town, it's up to Stick Boy to save the day! An exciting and extremely funny new world for middle grade readers and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Timmy Failure with colour illustrations throughout.
There’s huge fun to be had in this gloriously interactive book which is a spur to imaginative play as well as a great introduction to familiar colours and shapes. A singing button, a tickle button and many more. All young readers will be delighted by the invitation to press each one. Once they have done so many possibilities open up as they head off into whatever invention they choose to imagine. Sally Nicholls uses her word carefully and with pleasing simplicity and Beth Woollvin’s illustrations add special details of their own.
A bookish family shipwrecked on a treasure island faces off against a fearsome pirate crew. The keen-reading Robinsons set out to sea, their boat barely afloat with all their books, until a storm strikes dow n their holiday plans. Shipwrecked on a mysterious island, they gather their soggy books up and research how to survive - completely missing the treasure littered all around them! But the Bloodbucket pirates remember it all too well, and when they find the Robinsons have taken their turf, it's time to walk the plank. With only Silly Monkey Goes to the Toilet left to hand, can the Robinsons read themselves free from a watery doom?
A fearless, fun-filled fairytale - perfect for any little reader who loves a twist in the tale! * With a fabulously foiled cover! * Kingsley is the finest cat in the kingdom. How does he know? His crystal ball tells him so! But one day, the crystal ball has a different story to tell. A new cat by the name of Snowy White has arrived in the kingdom. She's beautiful . . . she's kind . . . and Kingsley is determined to get rid of her. Luckily, though, Snowy gets a helping hand - or seven - from some very special new friends! The third hilarious title in a fun-filled fairytale series with empowering messages for young readers!
A warmly reassuring rhyming story (with a fun counting element!) about how it's ok to need a little alone time, from the author of the award-winning The Littlest Yak. Doug the camel is all alone and sometimes he wonders whether one is enough (it makes playing hide and seek terribly tough...). So when at first one, then two, then three, then four more camels turn up (followed by a whole camel herd), Doug delights in the possibilities all these new friends bring. But when Doug is 'all camelled out' from all the excitement, he takes just as much pleasure from the peace of being alone once again. Lu Fraser's warm, funny text is a delight to read out loud and is brilliantly illustrated by Sarah Warburton in the first book from this exciting new picture book partnership.
From the bestselling queen of heart and humour, Jenny Pearson, comes a great big soaring adventure about family and finding happiness. When Frank John Davenport inherits piles of money from a grandma he didn't know he had, things take an unexpected turn... Because the money comes with STRICT instructions...and a NEW grandpa. Frank quickly compiles a list of all the ways he can spend the money and look after his grumpy grandpa. Money may buy hot-air balloon rides, monster-truck lessons and epic parkour experiences, but can Frank discover that happiness is, in fact, priceless?
Four fantastic new stories about everyone's favourite twins. There's always double trouble when these two are about, so get ready for more mayhem as they look after the school hamster for half term, have a competition to build the best snowman, raise money with a yard sale, and have a rollercoaster of a time at the local theme park!
Two warm and funny stories about Luma and her cheeky pet dragon - for readers aged 5+. When Luma Dewan wakes up on the morning of her seventh birthday, she knows that today will be special. But she has no idea just how wonderful and extraordinary it will be. For today is the day she will meet Timir - a real talking dragon. Or at least when Luma is around that's what he is. When anyone else is there, he becomes an ordinary grey puppy with a fluffy tail, who loves chasing squirrels and bouncing on trampolines. It's a big secret to keep - and Luma's clever cousin Arjun is soon suspicious of this peculiar puppy, who doesn't quite behave like any other dog. Luckily Luma's grandmother - Nani - is there to help, and to Luma's surprise, Nani might just know a little dragon magic of her own . . .
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