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January 2019 Debut of the Month | OK, here’s the plot of this hugely entertaining and very funny book: ogres that sleep under Britain’s standing stones have been awakened by a malignant gnome called Leatherhead Barnstorm. He has the Doomstone Sword and therefore control of all the dwarves and is marching on Perth. Out to stop him are our heroes dwarf Mossbelly MacFearsome and the eleven-year-old he’s appointed as the Destroyer, Roger Paxton. The stage is set for a thoroughly rambunctious fantasy adventure, packed with wonderful characters, unexpected moments, a bevy of fabulous fights and some very nasty little monsters. An ogre-sized helping of fun and adventure, this is one to push into the hands of fans of Danny Wallace, Shane Hegarty and Will Mabbitt.
December 2018 Book of the Month | Santa turns to modern gadgets to deliver his presents in this gentle, humorous story. He still uses reindeer, though the sleigh has been updated to a nice old open-topped car, but resorts to a jet-pack in busy cities - well, it makes parking much easier - and he keeps a check on deliveries via an iPad. His best laid plans go wrong though when he drops it but fortunately the little girl he’s delivering to is a digital native and can fix it for him. The story may hinge on modern technology for its drama but there’s a charmingly vintage feel to Angela Perrini’s illustrations and the final message - one of kindness and generosity- is thoroughly traditional.
December 2018 Book of the Month | Irrepressible young dog Junior is back with a dog’s-eye view of Christmas, or as he knows it Crisp-Mouth.This will be his first Crisp-Mouth, but he’s heard all about it from one of the old dogs at the dog’s home, and now settled with the Khatchadorians is very excited at the prospect of filling his mouth with canine crispy crackers! His enthusiasm knows no bounds, and it proves a real struggle to be good, especially as Junior consistently gets things WRONG… Junior’s breathless narrative style and Richard Wilson’s illustrations make this super-readable, and newly confident readers will love this funny story and its bouncy, endlessly optimistic narrator.
Irish TV presenter Ryan Tubridy and award-winning illustrator Chris Judge team up on this jolly and utterly charming story which claims to document the creation of the first Christmas jumper. Central character is little ewe Hillary who stands out amongst the other sheep because of her multi-coloured coat. Like that other patchwork hero Elmer, Hillary is friendly, kind and very popular, so everyone is thrilled when she is chosen to provide the wool for a jumper for Father Christmas and flown to the North Pole in his sleigh. Reading this is like putting on a festive sweater, and will leave you warm, tickled and all set for a happy Christmas.
October 2018 Book of the Month | | The Nothing to See Here Hotel offers a 5 star reading experience for youngsters, hilarious but still exciting adventures, a fabulous setting and a cast of totally eccentric but utterly lovable characters. The hotel you see is not for humans, but magical creatures – a scenario offering all sorts of possibilities, exploited brilliantly by writer Steven Butler and illustrator Steven Lenton. In this second book, preparations for the annual Trogmanay celebrations are threatened, first by the arrival of a family of yetis (in magical snowstorm), then by something that seems a lot less friendly. Can Frankie, son of the owners and our hero, sort things out before the Trollidays are ruined? No matter how much snow and ice the yetis bring, reading this provides a real sense of warmth, and everyone will want to be part of the hotel’s community.
November 2018 Book of the Month | Max Einstein is a genius; aged 12 she’s already enrolled herself at university, where she’s careful to score perfect Cs in every test (she doesn’t want to stand out). She’s also an orphan who lives in a squat. Two very different groups of people have plans for Max though – the CMI (Change Makers Institute) and the equally mysterious but far more sinister Corp. Whisked away to study with other super-brainy kids, she’s challenged to bring about real change for good. The spirit of Einstein runs through this – it’s endorsed by the Einstein Archives – and in particular his belief that the imagination is more important than knowledge. Max uses her imagination and compassion together to dream up ways to improve the world. If anyone’s going to save the planet it will have to be the next generation, and this book could be the inspiration they need. As with lots of Patterson’s children’s books, this is smart, funny and fast moving, with real heart beneath the slick packaging.
Kellen and his murderous squirrel cat, Reichis, are on their own. They've heard rumour of a mythical monastery, known as the Ebony Abbey. It's a place that outsiders can never find - but Kellen is getting desperate. He's been told that the monks inside the Ebony Abbey know more about the Shadowblack than anyone else - and that they even know how to cure it. Then Kellen and Reichis are separated and for the first time, Kellen must face the world alone - and venture deeper into shadow magic than he ever knew he could.
For laugh-out-loud adventures young readers can’t go wrong with the Pirate Blunderbeard books; each episode offers a barrelful of zany action, delivered at top speed. Young Blunderbeard is excited to learn that award-winning actor and director Jolly Roger is coming to Crossbones Island to film his new movie, and that he’s auditioning for actors too. Could this be the opportunity Blunderbeard and his chicken Boris have been waiting for? Of course, things start to go awry quicker than you can say “May the rotten-sea-cabbage-eating Stinker Shark never pass wind in your direction” with Boris causing chaos and Blunderbeard banished to The Rather Big Rock Where We Put Naughty People We Are Really Fed Up With. It all ends happily though with Boris and Blunderbeard in the spotlight. Great fun, and Ben Cort’s lively illustrations make this as satisfying to look at as it is to read.
October 2018 Book of the Month | Who better to introduce children to the world of ancient Greek myth than gladiator Julius Zebra (and if you don’t know, he really is a zebra). Julius and his band have already survived being kidnapped by Romans and thrown into the Colosseum, a stay in Britannia and a shipwreck in Egypt, but can they survive a challenge from the hero Heracles (or as Julius knows him Hairy Keith)? It brings them into contact with the Minotaur and King Midas, and ends with a trip into the underworld no less. The story is brilliantly funny as always, and action packed while there’s loads of proper information on ancient life amongst the silliness. Glorious stuff!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2018 | Everyone who has ever had a pet will love this funny and charming story about a little boy and the hamster he gets for Christmas. Leo needs cheering up and, with Christmas coming, he takes the opportunity to ask for the one thing that he thinks will make him happy: a pet hamster. Luckily, Dad has Father Christmas’s number on his phone so Leo can order it direct – and get some help from spell-check! But when the hamster comes Leo can see that his new pet is not altogether happy. Hampstead the Hamster needs a present too!
November 2018 Book of the Month | Fizzing with style, energy and charm here’s a new adventure for little witches Tiga and Fluffanora and it proves to be their most testing yet! Idabelle Bat has invited them to join The Points, here super-cool and exclusive gang – but why? The one thing they know about Idabelle is that she is NOT to be trusted … As ever the story zips along as though on fairy wings, sprinkled with fashion and fun, and these gorgeous little books are hard to beat for style and substance. Readers who like Tiga and Fluffanora will also enjoy the Amelia Fang stories by illustrator Laura Ellen Anderson, and Sibeal Pounder’s Bad Mermaids series.
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