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The higher Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s treehouse grows, the better. There are few books that reach such levels of absurd comedy and adventure, and the authors’ ability to weave the craziest adventures into satisfying plots is phenomenal. As the treehouse reaches 104 storeys, new additions include a stupid-hat level, and a money-making machine that also makes honey. They still have their books to write for Mr Big though, and as always are up against the delivery deadline. But Andy’s got toothache and can’t laugh because of the pain. Could a Joke Writer 2000™ pencil be the answer to their problems? 104 Storeys and 300+ pages of brilliant, ingenious cartoon adventure.
Tolerance and friendship are at the heart of this picturebook which is written and illustrated by newcomer Maisie Paradise Shearing with charm and panache. Anna and Otis are best of friends: Anna is a little girl, a real character with her inky black bob, red shorts and yellow lace up boots; just as distinctive, Otis is a snake, sunshine yellow with bright red markings. Delightfully, despite their very different forms, they seem to mirror one another as they move, a lovely emphasis on their closeness. Otis is worried when Anna decides on a trip into town – he’s noticed that other people find him alarming, but Anna’s determination and his own efforts win him lots of friends. This is great fun to read while the illustrations, original, idiosyncratic and full of vitality, make Anna and Otis unforgettable.
August 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2018 | Oscar the talking dog is back for a wittily entertaining third adventure with his friend and owner Sam. Oscar’s problem is the very big white cat who suddenly arrives to live next door; Oscar hates all cats but he hates Carmen especially because she sits in all his favourite places. Sam is more worried that there’s a thief on the loose and his mother’s ring has gone missing. Is there a connection between Oscar and Sam’s worries? And can they help the police solve the mystery? With lots of twists and turns along the way Oscar and Sam play a key role in this fun adventure. - Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for August 2018 Once Upon A Wild Wood by Chris Riddell Oscar and the CATastrophe by Sarah Horne Run Wild by Gill Lewis Peril in Paris (Taylor & Rose: Secret Agents) by Katherine Woodfine The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter
Fast-paced and very funny, Eddy Stone’s new adventure involves wizards, emperors, talking (dancing) camels and lots more that is very silly indeed. It all begins when Eddy buys a parcel of stuff in the house clearance at the town’s old manor. It turns out to contain a wizard with no body and a curse. He has to give everyone a wish, but they never work out as the wisher wanted. For example, when Eddy’s dad wishes he could sit around in front of the TV all day, he turns into a sofa. The only way Eddy can put things right is by heading to the wizard’s home in another magical land. The adventure that follows is consistently inventive, packed with cracking one-liners and lots of very funny set ups. There are two other Eddy Stone adventures, and I’d recommend you buy the lot.
Tom McLaughlin creates some of the best, and funniest adventures for young readers and this is another hilarious, cleverly structured story. Nine year old Pete just wanted a quiet day watching the snooker on the telly, so how on earth did he end up committing armed robbery (sort of), impersonating a policeman, and driving a tank across his own lawn, before breaking up a gang of admittedly incompetent criminals? Read the book to see how it all begins with his mum’s parsnip bake… It’s part of the joy of the book that even as the plot gets more and more convoluted, and as yet more accidental disasters heap on Pete and his new friend Sammy, there’s a logic to everything that happens. Irresistible page-turning fun, and McLaughlin’s cartoony illustrations are an added bonus.
Award-winning duo Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks have created a brilliant new adventure for the clever Ladybird, star of What the Ladybird Heard. The Ladybird’s old adversaries, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh, are planning another dastardly crime. This time they are after the Queen’s crown and to get it they plan first to steal a monkey from the zoo. Can the Ladybird, who happens to be on holiday in the same place, stop them? Clever Ladybird comes up with a brilliant plan and, helped by some very noisy Zoo animals, she once again saves the day. Gloriously glittery pages add a sparkle to this delightful and witty story with includes a CD of the story read by Alexander Armstrong.
July 2018 Book of the Month | No-one knows better than James Patterson how to keep the pages turning and of all his junior heroes Rafe Khatchadorian is perhaps the most appealing. He’s the kid who just attracts trouble, the one the teachers call out the minute something goes wrong; but readers know that Rafe is actually pretty insecure, sometimes lonely, and very alert to others and how they are feeling. In London on a school trip, Rafe finds himself sharing a room with his arch-enemy, while special attention from his friend (and secret love) Jeanne marks him out for some sneaky treatment by her boyfriend. The story unfolds against a backdrop of busy, tourist London and is funny, exciting and touching all at once while the action is non-stop. Congratulations again to Patterson and his writing and illustrating partners on another irresistible and thoroughly satisfying read.
From the team behind the hugely popular Oi Frog! and Oi Dog! comes another daft and utterly wonderful new rhyming spectacular. Frog is in charge and has decided that cats must sit on gnats, much to Cat’s irritation. Dog tries to help, running through various rhyming combinations, but Frog’s rules are rules and Cat is stuck on the gnats, until Dog has a brainwave: what if Cat was a kitty, or a mog? Children (and adults) will love the increasingly silly seating arrangements, and the ending will have everyone laughing. Utterly brilliant!
Welcome to the Ministry of Silly Animal Names in the company of Kes Gray, one of our funniest picture book authors. A string of animals are lining up to change their names and the laughter from those behind them in the queue – let alone the readers – gets louder and louder as they reveal what they’re called: Blue-Footed Booby, Blobfish, Pink Fairy Armadillo. The names and the animals’ aggrieved or resigned expressions - as depicted by Nikki Dyson - are very funny indeed, while readers will be amazed to discover that all these animals really exist, even the Bone-Eating Snot Flower Worm. The comic timing and delight in words that marks out Gray’s Oi Frog works just as well here and this is a real treat for young and old alike.
Pity the poor McScurvy children, Vic and Bert – they used to sail the ocean with their pirate parents, until they lost their ship. Now they have to wear shoes and do homework. And their baby sister Maud is an absolute terror, a blue-eyed, golden-haired tyrant! Maud it is who sparks the adventure, one that will bring the children – and some newly made frenemies – up against Captain Guillemot the Third, aka the Hipster Ripster. At stake is their ship, their future, and the family treasure the Blighty Bling. It’s fast and funny, and a great example of kids versus adults adventure: the junior McScurvys may squabble a bit, but they are loyal, brave and determined. Great fun, and Eric Heyman’s black and white illustrations add to the sense of excitement and adventure.
July 2018 Debut of the Month | Based on the author's own unconventional upbringing on a Thames Barge, Mud is an unusual and touching roman a clef. Lydia tells her father he is ruining her life when he announces that the family - she has one sister, two brothers and a much loved cat - will be going to live on a boat, and that his girlfriend Kate and her three children will be moving in too. His casual reference to Swallows and Amazons makes her shudder and it's hard to imagine any teenager would enjoy their new life - the boat is leaky and uncomfortable, adults and children alike squabble, and the atmosphere is far from happy. At least Lydia makes a new friend - the fabulous, straight-talking Kay - while other bright spots of life away from home include teenage parties and a burgeoning romance. Events are recounted by Lydia via diary entries, and she is a wonderful storyteller - funny, honest, with a wry self-deprecatory tone that endears her to readers. It's a story that could be very sad - Lydia's father's drinking becomes a real problem and eventually Kate leaves him; but Lydia's quirky stoicism, and descriptions of the love and support of her friends and siblings keep it an uplifting read. This is a great story for teenagers, but would be enjoyed by readers of any age. ~ Andrea Reece ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ As the 1980s dawn, Lydia finds herself caught in a maelstrom of monumental change herself, which she recounts in her unassumingly witty diary. Her mum died three years ago and her dad has remarried Kate, which means she now has a new stepmum, new stepsiblings, and then - horror of horrors – her dad announces that they’re all moving to a new home. On a boat. Cue much conflict and upset courtesy of two families trying to get on in ramshackle surroundings, her dad’s increasingly worrying behaviour and her big sister flying the nest for Cambridge University. Lydia’s articulation of her grief is deeply moving; those moments that leave her “overwhelmed suddenly by the strangeness of my mother just not existing anymore.” Throughout Lydia is a loveable bundle of self-effacing honesty and contemplation, and her astute observations cut to the core: “Everyone has to grow up, don’t they? Everyone has to go away one day.” As Lydia navigates these swirling new waters, she practices the art of getting on with things and discovers the delights of genuine friendship. Funny, poignant and perfectly-formed, this is a triumph of true-to-life storytelling. ~ Joanne Owen
July 2018 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | A wonderfully funny romp of a story full of all kinds of imaginative nonsense including a cast of talking animals. Young Jack is an unlucky boy; his father vanished before he was born and his mother is in prison for a crime she swears she didn’t commit. As a result, Jack must live with his horrible uncle and cousin with only a cupboard for a bedroom. Driven by his passion for horses, Jack finds solace with an aged scrap-yard owner and his two horses with some very surprising skills of their own! It’s a friendship that leads Jack into a wonderful adventure I which he fulfils all of his wildest dreams. Unlikely and carefree, this is a perfect story for reading aloud. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for July 2018: A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talks by Adrian Edmondson All About Families by Felicity Brooks A Stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker Sleep by Kate Prendergast The Storm Keeper's Island by Catherine Doyle The Cook and the King by Julia Donaldson
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