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Naomi Howarth’s beautifully expressive pictures have seen her twice nominated for the Kate Greenaway medal and shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize and she is renowned for bringing the wonders of the natural world to life for young readers. In this picture book, which would be a perfect resource for Cold Places topics, we first meet Magnus the Ringed Seal woken from his slumbers by a loud rumbling noise. What could it be? Neither he nor any of his friends- the Arctic Hare, the Snowy Owl, the Arctic Fox and the Polar Bear can identify the source of the noise. It’s not the wind nor the ice breaking or trees creaking. But when they reach the sea, wise Walrus has an idea. Magnus is told to dive for juicy pink shrimps, and he brings back a feast for them all to share. Suddenly they realise the noise has stopped and it was Magnus’s hungry stomach all along. In a delightful denouement, when they all try to sleep, another loud noise wakes them and this time it is Magnus’s snores! The animals are realistically depicted in their glorious Arctic settings but are simultaneously real characters that children can engage with. The end papers have key facts about all the animals featured. This is an enjoyable repetitive tale and a lovely introduction to the animals of a threatened habitat.
This hugely enjoyable picture book put a thoroughly positive modern spin on the Sleeping Beauty story. Beauty here is space princess Lex, a lively young girl whose passion is books and reading. She’s understandably miffed when, on her 15th birthday, her parents take away all her books. They explain that she was cursed as a baby by a grumpy fairy and the next paper cut she gets will be fatal. Not one to sit back and wait for help, Lex sets off to find the fairy and get the curse lifted (using reference books to help). She manages it, discovering some important things about the fairy in the process, and all ends with everyone reading happily ever after. The story is told in energetic rhyme and the space-age setting is lots of fun too. Here’s to more go-get-‘em bookworm princesses!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2019 | October 2019 Debut of the Month | A warm-hearted picture book about a special friendship in which free spirited Emily tempts anxious and pampered Frederick to brave the outdoors and enjoy some wonderful and unexpected adventures. Emma Chichester Clark’s illustrations capture the magic of the children’s friendship and play perfectly.
A new Timmy Failure book is always a cause for celebration and this is another glorious mix of humour, surrealism, incompetent detection – and chickens. Timmy is on holiday in Florida with his mum and her new husband. With Total the polar bear hiding out in Cuba he needs a new sidekick – step up Emilio Empanada, willing if nervous unpaid intern. Together they cause the kind of chaos and confusion that is Timmy’s natural state, while adopting a chicken along the way, and it’s wonderfully funny. The description of a surprise meeting with his father for Timmy tugs at the heartstrings as well as finding the funny bone. Stephan Pastis’s cartoon illustrations are a joy in themselves and this is clever, original, inspired fun.
There are life lessons galore for young readers of this hugely appealing picture book. Little dragon Fergal is a bit anxious about going off to summer camp – he’s never been before – and when he arrives, he’s so determined to make his mark that he doesn’t notice he’s being a bit selfish and upsetting the other little dragons. Fortunately, the camp leader can sort things out and give Fergal some useful advice: he needn’t be best at everything, he just needs to relax and be himself and everything else will follow. It’s an important message for all young children and it’s fun to learn it with Fergal and his little friends, as colourful and companionable a group as you could hope to meet. Look out for the first Fergal story too, Fergal is Fuming, which is just as good at prompting conversations about feelings and behaviour.
Roger Paxton is an ordinary kind of boy and a very reluctant hero – which is unfortunate as he’s tasked with saving the world from a massive goblin invasion. At least he’s got a good team on his side, including the marvellous and utterly fearless dwarf captain Mossbelly Macfearsome. This is a wonderfully raucous bit of fantasy adventure full of thrilling scenes, some irresistible characters, and very entertaining details (I love the fact that the goblins smell of burnt toast and fart into bottles to make their drinks fizzy). The story is set at Hallowe’en and this would make a terrific October read, but it would be fun to share at any time of the year. You could go on from this to Terry Pratchett, it’s that much fun.
Book Band: Purple Ideal for ages 6+ | Short, but action-packed, Chitra Soundar’s story has all the ingredients to make a tasty, satisfying story. There’s a magic lamp, seven wishes and a genie, and it all culminates with a delicious birthday cake. Manju and her cat Cumin are puzzling about what to give Manju’s mum for her birthday when they discover a magic lamp. A genie grants them seven wishes – surely they can conjure up the perfect present now, but it proves harder than they think and takes all seven wishes to get a gift that’s just right. In the new Bloomsbury Young Readers series this is a fun, accessible story perfect for children just getting ready to read on their own. A Tips for Grown Ups section and suggestions of fun further activities are helpful, an added bonus.
Uncle Gobb is back for a third utterly ridiculous, absolutely hilarious and totally originally told adventure. Michael Rosen and Neal Layton use a brilliant integration of words and pictures to tell this meandering and many-layered story which engages readers with the complexity and creativity of storytelling.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Rabbit realises that he doesn’t have to go to bed until it is dark. If it never gets dark, he won’t ever have to go to bed. It is easy to lure the Dark into the biscuit tin but the consequences aren’t what Rabbit expected. The pictures and text together build a charming allegory about the importance of thinking beyond our immediate pleasures.
Fresh from their first round of adventures, squirrels Ben, Cassie, Alfie and Salty are back, and setting off on a new adventure: dastardly Sir Archibald Kevino Rapscallion Buck has offered a reward of cash and popcorn for life to the first team to cook popcorn on the summit of Everest – when young Alfie is kidnapped by one of the teams, our popcorn-loving heroes dash to the rescue and the Himalayas. Author Matt Dickinson knows Everest well and there’s lots of real information together with a wonderfully wacky race to the summit. New characters include Wilberforce the high-altitude mole, and yes, we even get to meet a yeti! Original and lots of fun, this will really hit the spot with readers who like their adventures fast, action-packed and full of humour.
The bestselling, fully illustrated Tom Gates series is back! Winner of the ROALD DAHL FUNNY PRIZE. This book contains: - MONSTERS - MYSTERY - A MUSIC FESTIVAL - MISSING stuff - ME and Marcus (Not necessarily in THAT order). AND a very strict supply teacher - but don't let that put you off!
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