A Dyslexia Friendly Picture Book for Parent and Child | Whisper it, but not everyone automatically loves reading. Some people think they’re too busy to read, or that reading is just for school, or even say that reading is rubbish. This book points out just how wrong they are, countering each anti-book statement page by page in lively, funny text and illustrations. It’s an irrefutable argument, especially when presented with so much wit and invention. The book also poses some interesting questions for authors and publishers about those people we don’t see in our books and challenges them to think again too. A book to read, and a book to share. ~ Andrea Reece Publisher Barrington Stoke was inspired to create the Picture Squirrel Books titles after meeting a man with dyslexia at a book event. “We were approached by a gentleman who told us that it broke his heart that he couldn’t read to his child because of his dyslexia,” M.D. Mairi Kidd told The Bookseller. “So we talked to Michael Morpurgo, who we were already working with on low text books [textbooks that use a limited number of words]." The layout of picture books can be difficult for adults with dyslexia as the language and typeface are often very varied, the text can be cut into small chunks or is sometimes spun around a picture, which can make a book tricky if you don’t have good reading skills. Barrington Stoke worked with the authors and illustrators to ensure that the books are suitable for dyslexic readers and thereby helping more families grow a love of reading. On the Picture Squirrels...Michael Morpurgo says: “I was immediately taken with the idea of the Picture Squirrel books, a picture book list that dyslexic parents and less confident readers can read with theirchildren too.”
The story of Little Red Riding Hood gets an inventive, original reworking in this lively picture book. Little Red Reading Hood is never happier than with her nose in a book – and that’s not a typo, Reading is definitely this little girl’s middle name. Taking a book back to the library she runs into the Big Bad Wolf and, ignoring her mother’s warning to stay on the path, lets him persuade her to stop and read for a bit. He meanwhile dashes ahead to the library and ties up the librarian. Red is set to end up as a tasty snack until she suggests to the wolf that he rewrite the ending of this particular story. Written in cheerful verse and splendidly illustrated by Ben Mantle, this celebration of stories and the imagination is great fun to read aloud and perfect for sharing. ~ Andrea Reece
Those pants-mad aliens are back for another bonkers and utterly irresistible episode of knicker-nicking! Lightning sends the aliens’ spaceship crash-landing into the deepest jungle where to their great surprise they discover a stash of gigantic underpants. They’ve chanced upon the last surviving dinosaurs on earth but it’s good news because these giant lizards love pants too! Before you can say ‘elastic’ the aliens are taking the dinosaurs to their planet for pant fun and games. Text and illustrations are bright and bouncy as ever and this will bring a smile to the face of the tiredest adult, while where young readers are concerned, this series is simply pantastic. ~ Andrea Reece
There’s no excuse for anyone who, having read this book from cover to cover and followed its instructions carefully, does not emerge a superhero. Contained within its pages is a complete superhero training course. Not only do you learn how to invent your superhero name, and how to choose a sidekick, but you can also have a go at some special superhero activities, such as making a mini jet-pack (you’ll need string, a straw, sticky tape and a balloon), or an electro-magnet. The superhero fun and games are very entertaining, as are the science bits, and it’s all delivered in a friendly, knowing and thoroughly engaging way. An unusual information activity book that cleverly mixes science learning with the allure of superhero-dom. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Elizabeth Jenner, Head of Children’s, Laurence King Publishing: 'Through Jason Ford’s brilliantly evocative drawings and creative activities in The Super Book for Superheroes and The Superhero Comic Kit, his superheroes have captured the imaginations of children everywhere. I am so excited to finally be able to share the next one in the series, The Superhero Handbook, with you. Now not only can you learn how to draw superheroes and create super comics, but you can learn everything you need to know to BE a superhero too! The book contains all you need to set yourself up as a superhero, from finding your secret identity to employing a sidekick, plus 20 innovative activities to help you do everything from making yourself invisible to learning to defy gravity. And each activity comes with a ‘Superhero Secret’ showing you the top secret science behind each one. It’ll make for a truly super summer!'
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2017 T.S Eliot’s best-loved verses, originally published in an anthology, work brilliantly singly in this attractive series of picture books. In Jellicle Cats Arthur Robins captures the wit of the delightful nonsense at the heart of The Song of the Jellicles. How the Jellicle Cats celebrate at the Jellicle Ball when the Jellicle Moon comes out is delightfully demonstrated in his exuberant line illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2017 Jellicle Cats by T.S. Eliot and Arthur Robins William Bee's Wonderful World of Trucks by William Bee The Story of the Dancing Frog by Quentin Blake George's Marvellous Experiments inspired by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake My Name is Victoria by Lucy Worsley Many Moons by Remi Courgeon Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer by Alexanda McCall Smith Black Cats and Butlers by Janine Beacham Triangle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
In a nutshell: pigeontastic comedy capers with Dave and Skipper | Things are not looking good for pigeons Dave and Skipper. The Human Lady who feeds them has gone on holiday leaving them easy prey to the devious Reginald Grimster, a man with an irrational hatred of pigeons dating back to his schooldays (a pigeon pooed on him). Soon Skipper is a prisoner, along with lots of other pigeons, as Grimster gets ready to turn them into nuggets. Narrated by Dave, with frequent interjections by Skipper, this is totally nutty, totally original and a hoot from start to finish. With frequent illustrations, and pages of speech bubble dialogue it’s particular fun for gaining reading confidence. Don’t stop the pigeon! ~ Andrea Reece
Opening with an exhortation to readers to ‘discover, inquire and wonder’, this is another example of the exciting trend in non-fiction for beautifully illustrated, handsomely produced information books for children. Striking wordless scenes of wildlife and plants challenge children to work out the stories being told: some are stories of defence against attack – an armadillo curling into a ball, a squid squirting out ink; others are stories of courtship – a male Gentoo penguin dropping pebbles at his mate’s feet; while other beautiful pages illustrate the life cycles of a butterfly and ladybird. Illustrations sometimes fill whole pages, elsewhere spreads are divided into eye-catching strips. Endnotes on each image provide readers with additional information. A book that brilliantly demonstrates the rich variety of life on earth as well as its interconnection. ~ Andrea Reece A Letter from the Publisher: Dear Reader, How does one put together a large format picture book with one hundred separate illustrations? I could detail the meticulous planning; the writing and re-writing of text that will never be read; the hours of researching and verifying the facts; the careful planning of colour balance and atmosphere; the sleepless nights putting paint to paper and the in-depth discussions of paper stocks, cover finishes and format variations. Or I could just tell you why... The premise is simple. Events from nature ~ or stories as we are calling them. A book that opens our eyes to the natural world around us and forces us to observe it and ask questions. A book that encourages the use of imagination without spelling everything out to the reader and enables parents to converse with their children about nature, with a simple ‘what do you think is happening here?’ It’s about heart. We’ve created a book that is close to our hearts. It is the kind of book I hope my son will enjoy. I want him to be aware of the world outside his window, to ask questions about it, to engage with it, and to feel. I hope you do too. Thomas Truong Publisher, 360 Degrees
Hilarious and with a memorable rhyming text, this is the perfect advocate for the adage, you don’t know if you like something until you’ve tried it. Sam won’t eat green eggs and ham. However they are disguised the list of the ways in which he will not eat them is very inventive and very long…and that is that. Or is it? How Sam comes to eat green eggs and ham – and to enjoy them – is a delight and may persuade all fussy eaters to give something unknown a try. ~ Julia Eccleshare
From the Psammead to the Cat in the Hat, there’s a long tradition in children’s books of young protagonists befriending a magical creature whose lack of knowledge of, or lack of respect for how things work leads to all sorts of adventures. Here Eric finds himself looking after Pan, a Mini-Dragon, and though it’s fun, it’s not always easy. Pan insists on going to school in Eric’s backpack, but won’t stay hidden, then Eric’s nasty neighbour Toby dragon-naps him to take in for his school’s show-and-tell. The second in a new series this is action packed and lots of fun with some great comic touches – the description of Toby’s posh school uniform for example. Sarah Horne’s illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the lively text. ~ Andrea Reece
More than 60 years after they were first published Dr Seuss’s books continue to work their magic on children: his rhyme and rhythm, nonsense humour and wordplay and sudden bursts of anarchy have strong child appeal. All of these Seussian characteristics are to be found in this ‘new’ story – actually an early manuscript and sketches discovered at his home and completed with loving attention by the editorial team. The story of two children (the two from the classic One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish in fact) sent to choose a pet from the pet shop it has lots of charm and looks wonderful. Adult readers will be interested in the extra material included which contains information on Theodor Seuss Geisel (he was a self-appointed Dr) and the background to his books. ~ Andrea Reece
Children’s favourite Humphrey the hamster is back for another adventure, his twelfth no less. The good news is that he’s just as delightful as ever, his school-hamster-eye view of the world just as funny and generous. Humphrey gets to listen in on all the children’s lessons from his cage in the corner, and is particularly excited at the thought of trying some creative writing. It’s not easy, but he perseveres; trips home with children for the weekend providing him with lots of ideas. By the end of the book, his imagination is working overtime, the BEST-BEST-BEST feeling in the world! These sweet and easy to read little stories have much to recommend them: Humphrey is a real character and there are little moral messages slipped in with the animal fun. ~ Andrea Reece
February 2016 Debut of the Month Dragons come in all shapes and sizes in children’s stories, but the one that Eric finds in a box of beansprouts is small, friendly and lots of fun. Pan is a mini-dragon, lost en route from China to Mexico, but soon happily settled in Eric’s sock drawer. Cue lots of opportunities for fun and games, including run-ins with both the cat and Eric’s greedy, spoiled next-door neighbour. Tom Nicholl has a relaxed but lively writing style that makes this very readable, and very funny too. Sarah Horne’s equally lively illustrations – mini-dragon burping the alphabet for example – make it even more accessible. If misbehaving dragons light your fire, try the equally funny Dragonsitter series by Josh Lacey. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from editor, Emma Young There's a Dragon in My Dinner! is the first in a new young fiction series which is guaranteed to delight readers. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of a very naughty but very endearing pet dragon the size of a spring roll arriving in their takeaway? Talk about livening things up! Pan the Mini-Dragon likes chatting (a lot), setting fire to his own farts and snacking hungrily on dirty laundry, and it is impossible to know what he is plotting at any given time. Poor Eric – his human owner – must keep Pan a secret while covering up the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. Tom Nicoll’s warm, hilarious text is complemented perfectly by Sarah Horne’s energetic and characterful illustrations and I predict that children across the land will be left examining their dinners to see if they can find a Mini-Dragon of their own! Commenting on the inspiration for Pan the Mini-Dragon, Tom said: “I’ve always been drawn to stories about unusual friendships and a miniature dragon who can talk and light his own trumps is, by anyone’s definition, an unusual friend to have. I always enjoyed the ‘Little Vampire’ books growing up, for example, where you had a normal kid constantly struggling to keep a friendship going with someone from a completely different world. I’ve tried to capture that aspect in this series, except with considerably more dragon-based flatulence.”
Hey you, Mouse needs help! He has to catch the gorilla in the bright yellow car, let’s go! On Mouse’s instructions, readers follow the path taken by Gorilla, through brightly coloured, super-busy spreads. There he goes, through the town, round the building site, the car park and into the mountains. White arrows show us the road to take, avoiding various obstacles and road blocks – mind those sheep! At last Mouse catches up with Gorilla – why? He’d forgotten his banana! Young readers will adore this interactive adventure story. Gorilla, crouched over the wheel of his car in natty stripy sweater and hat is an irresistible quarry, while the pages are packed with exciting or comic scenes, and every type of vehicle. Great fun! ~ Andrea Reece Louise from Nosy Crow says: "Books for pre-school boys don't get much better than this. There's so much to spot and find, and boys will love looking for their favourite cars on every page."
Julia Eccleshare's Pick of the Month August 2016 Lovable Pugly, a pug with a great character, is back for a hilarious new adventure. This time she is all set to solve the mystery of what Glitterpuff the Poodle who lives next door is really up to. Pugly doesn’t trust any poodle so, when things begin to go missing, he is sure it is Glitterpuff who is to blame. Dogs, cats and adventure – the mixture is irresistible in this easy to read and copiously illustrated story.~ Julia Eccleshare The Editor at Nosy Crow says “Everyone knows that pugs are the best dogs around and Pugly is the best pug ever! He thinks way beyond the back garden and while this can get him into trouble, he has a lot of fun too!” Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for August 2016 The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison Pugly Solves a Crime by Pamela Butchart Good Night, Everyone by Chris Haughton Dotty Detective and the Great Pawprint Puzzle by Clara Vulliamy The Sands of Shark Island by Alexander McCall Smith Return by Aaron Becker Super Gran by Forrest Wilson Oi Dog! by Kes and Claire Gray
In a nutshell : daring puppy heroes Gill Lewis’s little stories of the doggy students of the Puppy Academy have much to recommend them. Each story stars a different dog tasked with learning a rescue skill, but generally facing a personal challenge too. Murphy, a Leonberger pup, is big and strong, used to being admired by the other puppies. He’s determined to do best at water rescue training and finds it hard to cope when tiny Rodrigo, the Mexican hairless dog, proves to be a natural in the water. Murphy has to swallow his pride, along with quite a lot of sea water, before he feels at ease with himself again. It’s a fun and reassuring story and gently delivers a message about the right way to behave. Holly Webb also writes gentle animal stories for young readers. ~ Andrea Reece
In three words: secret worlds - adventure – magic There are echoes of Narnia in this exciting adventure which begins with two children finding a door into another world, not in a wardrobe, but in an abandoned workshop full of old railway paraphernalia. Behind the door Ella and Leo find a magic steam train, powered by squirrels and driven by a young man called Barty Buckle. The children are vital to the kingdom of Izzambard: only if they can find missing special objects will its magic return. The story is full of intriguing and original scenes and will sweep readers along while Ella and Leo are thoroughly appealing characters. Sam Usher has fun illustrating robot butterflies, beaver waiters and a hippopotamouse! ~ Andrea Reece
This new book, part of the Prehistoric Beasts Uncovered series, brings us hot off the press scientific information on Triceratops, one of the most recognisable of all the dinosaurs. It shows how these new discoveries are constantly adding to and even changing what we know about the creatures, and reminds young would-be palaeontologists that there’s still lots to discover. The discovery of a Triceratops tooth in 2017 proved that the animals lived in Appalachia, now the eastern part of the USA, far outside the area they were thought to inhabit. Now scientists can look for Triceratops fossils in whole new areas, and new discoveries will certainly be made. Other pages show how modern technology has revealed new information about Triceratops eating habits, but that scientists learned lots too by recreating battles between Triceratops using plastic models. Full colour throughout and with a useful glossary, this is an inspiring information book. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Publisher Ruth Owen: I love science and I love dinosaurs – so it was a fantastic opportunity to work with author and palaeontologist, Dougal Dixon, to create and publish our new series. It was also fascinating to work with the artists, from around the world, who created the life-like 3D artworks of the animals featured in the series. Every year new fossil discoveries are made, or advancements in technology allow us to gather more evidence from bones that were dug from the ground decades ago. This means the books are just jam-packed with the latest information on these incredible animals. From seeing T. rex skin for the first time, to an investigation that recreated T. rex’s sinister, blood-curdling sounds, I was learning new things every day. I didn’t want the project to end and I hope that readers have as much fun reading the books as we did making them! The Prehistoric Beast Uncovered series includes; Tyrannosaurus Rex - King of the Dinosaurs Megaladon - The Largest Shark That Ever Lived Triceratops - The Dinosaur Built to Do Battle Titanosaur - The Giant Earth Shaking Dinosaur
In a nutshell: half vampire, half fairy, all fun Harriet Muncaster’s stories of little Isadora Moon have deservedly won a huge and enthusiastic following amongst young readers. Isadora’s lively adventures are full of the kinds of magic and make-believe that has real appeal for children, while the descriptions of her mixed family (Dad’s a vampire, Mum’s a fairy) ring very true too. In this episode, Isadora is excited to be going to a human fair, but when she and her family arrive, they find the rides are looking very battered and forlorn. A few touches of magic turns the fair into something very special indeed, but for Isadora the best fun of all is simply spending happy times with her family and friends. The illustrations are full of charm and the short chapters makes this truly accessible to newly independent readers. ~ Andrea Reece A message from the author about her inspiration for the character of Isadora Moon : There is actually quite a bit of history behind Isadora Moon. About ten years ago, on my art foundation course, I created a character called Victoria Stitch and wrote and illustrated a picture book about her. She was a grown up, naughty, slightly gothic, fairy type character and she had a Pink Rabbit who she always dragged around with her. Victoria Stitch became like my alter ego and I always kept her close to me and worked on her in my spare time. Over the years she evolved. She started with pink hair and then she turned even more gothic looking with black, messy hair and with bat wings instead of fairy wings. As my style of illustration changed, she changed too. She is extremely special to me. However, whenever I showed Victoria Stitch to publishers I was always told that she was ‘too mean,’ ‘too naughty,’ ‘too spiky,’ ‘not child friendly.’ Looking back, I can see what they mean. I decided to create a new, separate character who would be more suitable for children but with the black/pink/gothic aesthetics of Victoria Stitch - a younger, friendlier, sweeter version. So Isadora Moon was born! I also gave Isadora Moon fangs (unlike Victoria Stitch) as when I started to think about the backstory for her (why she has batwings, what species is she etc…) it made sense that her mum was a fairy and her dad was a vampire. This is why Isadora Moon is so special to me – because she was born out of a real passion project of mine. I absolutely adore her. The series comprises: Isadora Moon Goes to School Isadora Moon Goes Camping Isadora Moon Goes to the Ballet Isadora Moon Has a Birthday Isadora Moon Goes on a School Trip Isadora Moon Goes to the Fair
In a nutshell: comic mishaps and triumphs of a schoolboy detective A sign in his local library catches the eye of schoolboy detective Damian Drooth: it offers a weekend at Disneyland Paris for the winners of a ‘mega quiz’. Damian rounds up his gang and sets them to work, first of all to raise the £10 entrance fee, and then to swot up in readiness. He’s understandably furious when the quiz turns out to be a scam, but quickly cheers up at the prospect of tracking down the conman. With echoes of Horrid Henry and Just William, Damian is a terrific character, determined, confident, and totally unfazed by adult disapproval. This series will have children and adults alike chuckling and is perfect for newly independent readers. ~ Andrea Reece
A brilliantly funny odd couples comedy from one of our very funniest authors for children. The Primms and the Weirds are totally different: fish-eating, hedge-trimming, neighbourhood-watching, the Primms are as strait-laced as they come, while the Weirds are just, well, weird! Mum is a stunt woman, dad’s an inventor, Gran is very, very small and just what is making all the thumping sounds in the attic? Despite their differences, when the Weirds move in next door, Pinch Primm becomes friends with Ott Weird, and their adventures make wonderfully comic reading. There are three different stories, each is short, very funny and with a momentum that keeps the pages turning right until the end. Packed with treats, including Chris Mould’s black and white illustrations. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Guffaws, giggles and gags aplenty By a curious twist of fate Daniel Kendal - the self-confessed NOT-brainiac - has been chosen to represent his school at the National Brainiac Championships. An honour indeed and his headmaster Mr Biggend has high hopes of success, promising a party for the whole school (hurray!) instead of the end of term Maths Day (boo!) when Daniel wins. There's just one problem...Daniel doesn't have the skills. In a family of high-achievers the only thing Daniel wins at is being tall. He's exceptionally tall but that really isn't going to help him here. Through fair means or foul, Daniel realises he must somehow win the competition to avoid national humiliation - and the wrath of the rest of the school! With short chapters and lots of fun cartoon illustrations this is a great choice for the more reluctant reader. Perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates.
In a nutshell: fun and friendship at 21st century boarding school Eleven-year-old Dani is a few weeks into life at her new boarding school, St Grizelda’s, aka St Grizzle’s. She’s got used to the school’s relaxed attitude to rules and regulations, and to going to assembly in her pyjamas! And she’s made some good friends too. But she still feels a bit homesick. When the school decides to enter a film-making competition set by the local council, Dani is in her element - back at home she often makes videos with her friend Arch. But managing groups of people isn’t easy, can Dani give everyone a chance to shine – including her flamboyant granny – without making herself invisible again? Amongst the fun and crazy adventures, there are subtle messages about being yourself, and developing confidence. A great take on the boarding school genre. ~ Andrea Reece Readers will also enjoy Jeanne Willis’s new take on Enid Blyton’s avant-garde boarding school stories, The Diary of the Naughtiest Girl.
Bestselling Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre have created a fabulous feisty new heroine in Emily who is determined to be as helpful as she possibly can be to Jinks and O’Hare the unusual duo who look after all the repairs and technical needs at the amazing Funfair Moon. But can Emily really help Jinks and O’Hare with Violent Fudgesplosion and a Marauding Candyfloss Creature? Or are these problems just too big for Funfair Moon? Verbal and visual jokes about in this fantastical adventure. ~ Julia Eccleshare
May 2017 Debut of the Month | In a nutshell: daft and thoroughly entertaining football adventure with llamas | There aren’t enough good football books and this is definitely a good one even though it’s also very silly. Tim and his family move to the country when his dad decides to become a farmer. Unfortunately farming is harder than it looks, and things don’t go at all well. Bankruptcy is looming when Tim persuades his dad to take in a pack of llamas. For various unlikely reasons, the llamas turn out to be footballing geniuses, the Ronaldos and Messis of the animal world, and are soon competing at a very high level. Silly, and as satisfying as stories of unlikely champions always are, the book is also full of quality descriptions of the footballing action as Llama United progress up the league. As always, Sarah Horne’s inky illustrations add to the fun. Supporters of Llama United will also enjoy The Mighty Dynamo by Kieran Crowley. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age 7+ Reading Age 7 | Fact and fiction are cleverly combined in this space travel adventure story. It’s 2075 and young Billy is setting off for a trip into space with his grandad on his restored spaceship. And what a time they have, passing all the planets from Mercury to Pluto before returning home, navigating their way through an asteroid belt on the way. Each short chapter is full of information about the galaxy, and packed with illustrations by Tony Ross too. Lots to learn, and lots of fun to be had while publisher Barrington Stoke makes sure that this is a book that is particularly easy to read. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Rover, star of The Giggler Treatment and others, is back for a new and equally hilarious dog-poo centred adventure. As ever, Rover needs to collect dog poo to keep the Gigglers well-supplied. Assisted by his favourite nephew Messi, whose name does not capture his nature as he is actually a very tidy and organised dog – except when his own tail knocks him over, Rover knows he can deliver all the supplies the Giggler’s need. But can he also find the Big Fat Baby or BFB who has gone missing? It’s a wonderfully fast-paced, harum scarum adventure adventure of dastardly doggy goings on. ~ Julia Eccleshare
In a nutshell: fart-powered non-stop adventure, part book part comic-strip | Fresh from their triumph in the Science Club Soap Box Derby would-be super-inventors Danny Dingle and his best friend Percy are back and even more determined to one day go and work for their hero Metal Face in his super-secret lair. Could joining the scouts help (Danny assumes that’s the Spy Club Only for Ultra-Terrific Spies)? Probably not, but a camping trip certainly allows for lots of comic adventure. The jokes come thick and fast (and mostly from the nether regions) and the story is told as much through cartoon illustration as through the text making this a super accessible read for everyone. Children who enjoy Danny’s adventures will also like anti-heroes Norman, of the World of Norm books, and Compton Valance. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Cecilia Bennet at Sweet Cherry Publishing Working in children's publishing as an acquiring editor, I am always looking for something that stands out from the crowd. Danny Dingle does just that with it's all-singing, all-farting, larger-than-life characters and irreverent tone. It is a treat to work on a book that's so genuinely funny and full of personality, which can be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The book's universal appeal is something that is mentioned over and over in reviews, and it is one of the reasons it is so brilliant for engaging reluctant readers. Danny's witty, imaginative and relentlessly optimistic personality is infectious: you can't help but love him despite his many flaws.
Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this book is indeed packed with things for kids to do with science and the great news is that all 101 of them are fun and generally easy to do, and that they can be created from craft materials or items that all of us will have readily to hand. The instructions are straightforward and written in a conspiratorial style that positively encourages children to ‘create mayhem’ while on each page a paragraph called ‘The Sciencey Bit’ explains the scientific process behind each experiment. Diagrams and colour photos make it more accessible and attractive to look at too. With activities that can be carried out indoors and outdoors, this will be great for the Easter and summer holidays. ~ Andrea Reece ***There is special activity pack with ideas to celebrate Science Week to download here! British Science Week is 10–19 March - find out more at www.britishscienceweek.org
In a nutshell: reassuring funny story about overcoming shyness and making friends | Polly is starting big school but not looking forward to it. She wishes she could take Neil, her puffin, with her. In a nice touch we see that mum is feeling a bit sad about it too. It’s not easy making friends and then Polly has an argument with another girl, who owns a parrot, about what bird is best. Fortunately, the teacher sees a way to make things right. Children will understand exactly how Polly feels while guest appearances by Neil and Skittles the parrot add excitement and more humour. The short text, lively adventure and frequent illustrations make this just the thing for readers at the start of their own schooldays. ~ Andrea Reece
March 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: original, clever, fast-paced and very, very funny | With no messing about at all, Danny Wallace gets straight into the comedy action in this the third adventure for Hamish and his friends: Hamish comes in to find his mum and brother lying flat on their backs, on the ceiling. Along with a bowl of fruit, six batteries and a wind-up meerkat. Once again the town of Starkley is at the centre of something strange, and it’s down to Hamish and co to put it right. Danny Wallace’s inventiveness shows no sign of slowing and this is another brilliantly imagined and genuinely exciting caper with the superb comic timing and sharp one-liners we’ve come to expect. Terrific fun. For more fast-moving, funny, highly illustrated adventures try David Solomons’ My Brother is a Superhero series, or Frank Cottrell Boyce’s Sputnik’s Guide to Life. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: pets protect the world from alien attack | Planet Earth Is under constant threat from aliens, and who is there to protect its inhabitants? Why, our pets. When Dung Guzzler beetles arrive from the former star Dun-Glowing, things look bad: these things thrive on rubbish, and as they get bigger will happily trample whole cities to produce more rubble. How will agent Biskit and his new partner Mitzy the cat stop them? Packed with excellent jokes as well as exciting action scenes, this neatly balances comedy and thrills, and Steve May’s black and white illustrations capture the tone perfectly. Garth P Jones has a deservedly dedicated fan-base and they will love this new series. For more mad-cap but exciting adventures see Guy Bass’ new Spynosaur series or Steve Cole’s Magic Ink. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: band of toy superheroes conquer all in a doll eat doll world | The Spy Toys are quite possibly the unlikeliest band of superheroes you could to hope to read about: Dan is a teddy bear accidentally built 1000 times stronger than he should have been; Arabella is a rag doll with the attitude of a bad-tempered rattlesnake; and Flax the rabbit is actually a custom-made police robot. All of them have computerised brains so, rejected by the specialised toy factory that made them, they are recruited by the mysterious Auntie, head of the Department of Secret Affairs and assigned a special mission to protect the prime minister’s son. A fast-moving adventure ensues, a mix of daft but exciting action scenes, wisecracks, slapstick and some proper character development too. Black and white illustrations by Tim Wesson add to the all-round appeal. Young readers who relish this cracking toy story will also enjoy My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons and Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 7 In a nutshell: two children and their cat escape a sticky situation Hilary McKay’s name on a book’s cover is a guarantee that you are in for a treat and The Sticky Witch is a delight. A thoroughly modern fairy tale it features parents reckless almost to the point of calamity, a mean old witch, magic frogs, a clever cat and that age-old conundrum of what to wish for if you’re only given three wishes. Oh, and there’s a pond made of treacle too, ‘beautiful. And awful’. Funny, surprising, original, it unfolds as smoothly as treacle dripping off a spoon, but much much faster. Delicious! ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Shortlisted for the Smarties Prize and the Kathleen Fidler Award. Oliver is struggling at school, and the other children laugh at him. What he really wants is a dog, a dog to love him loyally and uncritically; a dog to obey his word and never mind what Oliver can or can’t do at school. Though he has problems with his hearing and his sight, Flow is just such a dog, and when a time comes in which Oliver is in real danger, Flow stands by him. This is a lovely, satisfying story that delivers important messages about bravery and friendship. It will be enjoyed by any young reader who, like Oliver, longs for a dog and will speak to any who, like Oliver, struggle with dyslexia. A reissue, this book was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize on publication. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: comic-book inspired crime story | The action in this exciting crime story is set in a comic shop, and come-strip sensibilities inspire the whole adventure. The Cosmic Comic Shop and adjoining café are threatened with closure by ruthless developers and the one thing that might cover the rent and save the day is a rare edition of a Komodo Jones comic. When it disappears, young friends Zac and Coco set out to find the villains, using everything they’ve learned from reading about Komodo and her crime-solving techniques. They are as lively a pair of protagonists as you could hope to meet and there are twists, turns and surprises galore as the story unfolds. Each chapter opens with a Komodo Jones comic front cover – someone should publish those stories too! ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of the Ruby Redfort stories by Lauren Child.
Award-winning Michael Morpurgo weaves a charming and witty story around sport and history as they have come together in the recent twin triumphs of the City of Leicester with the discovery of the remains of King Richard III in a car park and Leicester City football club winning the 2016 Premier League. The link between the two? A family of foxes! When Daddy Fox finds the ghost of the king and helps to release him from an unseemly grave he is granted one royal wish. What will it be? As a mad-keen footballing family the Foxes have one over-riding wish; that Leicester City can go top of the League. Can the King do it? You bet he can! Michael Foreman captures the spirit of this entertaining adventure perfectly. ~ Julia Eccleshare Nick Lake at HarperCollins Children’s Books said “Michael is the master, and The Fox and the Ghost King has all the hallmarks of his inimitable storytelling: it’s a ghost story, a fairy tale, and a classic animal adventure, all rolled into one timeless magic spell”
In a nutshell: rabbits save the queen | You may not know this, but whenever a rabbit hears the words ‘the Queen’, they sit up and use their ears to bow, even if they are in bed or on the run, at least according to this charming new book by best-selling authors Santa and Simon Sebag Montefiore. It’s testament to their gifts as storytellers that within a few paragraphs readers will believe this completely, and be immersed in a world in which rabbits wear clothes, read stories of heroes and boldly take on rats that dare threaten her majesty. There are shades of Watership Down in the story of Shylo, the runt who embarks on a daring adventure, but it brings to mind Wind in the Willows too, in the depictions of the English countryside and the creation of eccentric yet believable animal characters. ~ Andrea Reece One of our Books of the Year 2016
Award winning Philip Ardagh’s Mr and Mrs Grunt are as disgusting as ever as they trundle into this fourth adventure in their ramshackle caravan which, in a typically unusual way, is drawn by an elephant. Still up their always crafty and usually revolting tricks (and with lots of witty asides to the reader), Mr and Mrs Grunt have an encounter with a doctor who’ll find he has a lot less garden when he has treated a very swollen nose, engage in some serious skulduggery in the preserves, jams and jellies competition and even end up in prison (again). As ever, Sunny and Mimi have a lot to do just to keep the hilarious show on the road. ~ Julia Eccleshare
From the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, the Best Book for Younger Readers - Red House Children's Book Award, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 5 - 12 year-olds and the Blue Peter Best Story Book Award 2013, comes the ninth amazing instalment of this brilliant series! TIPS FOR BEING TOP OF THE CLASS (Sadly...I did NONE of these things.) 1. Stay awake in lessons (it helps.) 2. Don't draw HILARIOUS pictures of your teachers. 3. AVOID the class bully to stay out of trouble. 4. Don't let Mum and Dad write ANYTHING in your school planner. 5. Don't let your grumpy sister Delia BOSS you around. (Technically not a school issue - but still important.) I'm TRYING to get voted onto the school council as well - but thanks to the ABOVE list it's not exactly going to plan.
In a nutshell: Fluffy invisible friend conquers all at country fair There’s tension at the heart of this new Squishy McFluff story: Ava and her family are going to a country fair and she is determined that Squishy will win the Prettiest Pet competition. Mum, Dad, and maybe readers too, are concerned that the judges might not appreciate Squishy’s many qualities – he is invisible after all! Pip Jones’s stories are full of charm and a wonderful unforced humour that derives from Ava’s obliviousness to the chaos she so often causes, and her special friendship with Squishy. Written in sprightly verse, that demands to be read aloud, and illustrated with equally lively pictures by Ella Okstad, it’s another perfect book for emerging readers. Fans of Squishy will also like Alex T Smith’s stories of Claude, and Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy’s Dixie O’Day tales. ~ Andrea Reece
In 3 : invisible goodies – dastardly baddies – killer chickens (poultry-geists!) Steve Cole is a national treasure: creator of series such as Astrosaurs and Magic Ink, and now writing the Young Bond books, he’s delighted huge numbers of young readers with his ever inventive, clever, often very funny books and stories. Invisible Inc, in which a young boy is accidentally made invisible and then joins forces with a Victorian lady scientist, medieval knight and horse (all also invisible) to save the world, has all his trademarks: the action is fast and furious, the jokes are many and varied, and it all feels absolutely up to date, exactly the kind of book that today’s young readers want. Jim Field’s illustrations are the perfect complement to the text adding extra tension or humour as required. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell : noble kings – evil laughs – chocolate Good versus evil is given a very funny workout in this the first book in what should become a very popular series. As kings go, Edwin is lovely, always distributing chocolate to his subjects. Unfortunately, being so nice – and being just a boy – he’s no match for his nemesis the Emperor Norbison, who has his very own evil laugh (it goes ‘Foo Hoo Hoo Hoo’), and a dastardly plan to make Edwinland his own. Andy Riley cleverly lampoons comic book conventions while simultaneously constructing an action story that will thoroughly satisfy their readers. The book finishes with hints of a new threat for Edwinland, and the sheet music and lyrics to the Emperor’s Striding Theme! For sheer daftness see also Matt Brown’s Compton Valance books, or Guy Bass’s The Legend of Frog books. ~ Andrea Reece
London-based children’s author Karen Inglis is back with another illustrated page-turner, this time for ages 7-9. Karen has made a name for herself with teachers, reading charities and librarians for producing fun and fast-paced stories that get the most reluctant of readers turning the pages. Walter Brown and the Magician’s Hat is no exception. Walter Brown and the Magician's Hat is a magical story bursting with adventure and excitement. Walter is woken on his 10th birthday by his cat Sixpence, and as he opens his presents he receives a rather special hat, with some rather special abilities. When some video game monsters run amok in Walter’ house, he needs all the help he can get! Black and grey illustrations bring the story to life, and Sixpence in particular looks very real and more than a little mischievous. Amusing, imaginative and entertaining, this story is a perfectly magical treat. The author says : “As a mother of two boys, one of whom took a lot of persuading to pick up a book, I have found that each time I sit down to write I have the more reluctant boy readers in the back of my mind. This really keeps me on my toes (well, fingertips I suppose…) and the great news is that every one of my readers wins. I also often get comments about how refreshing it is to have a book that can be read in a short space of time due to its manageable length. Many children who are not natural bookworms get a great sense of achievement from this – and those that read regularly find time to easily fit in my books alongside all the other distractions available to them. So I hope I am doing my small part to inspire and support a love of reading.”
In a Nutshell: silliness – disguises - dogs Jeremy Strong continues to set the standard in comic writing for children and his Hundred-Mile-An-Hour Dog series is a tour de force of silliness. Trevor’s dog Streaker is behaving as badly as ever and after a particularly unfortunate incident involving Trevor’s dad, a stepladder, wallpaper paste and an escaped chicken called Captain Birdseye, she’s threatened with dog boot camp. Trevor is determined not to let this happen and with his NOT-girlfriend Tina works out a clever plan. Meanwhile, someone is kidnapping dogs, the fancier, the better. The plot proceeds at the kind of speed even Streaker would be pushed to match and this is joyfully, inspiringly ludicrous. Fans will be more than satisfied. ~ Andrea Reece Authors following in Jeremy Strong’s comedy footsteps with books to make young readers howl with laughter include Matt Brown (Compton Valance series) and Guy Bass (Dinkin Dings, Stitch Head). A Message from Jeremy Strong “If I've had any hopes for writing they have been mostly concerned with helping young children become readers for life, whilst at the same time giving myself the double joy of making them laugh and getting paid for it! For me, thereâ€Ÿs no better job. I have been very fortunate to get this far, fortunate with both my readers and my publishers to whom I am most grateful. It's a disconcerting feeling, and an exciting one too, to know that you've published a hundred titles for children. I find myself sitting here thinking: how on earth did all that happen? When did I do all that? I have spent the last thirty seven years writing and publishing, nevertheless it certainly doesn't feel like thirty seven years. Ten feels more like it, and even that seems a lot.”
Superfairies is a sweet new series about four little fairies, in which the emphasis is very much on kindness and helping others. In this springtime story the fairies are working together to clean their home inside the cherry blossom tree, when they get a call that one of their animal friends needs help. They climb into the fairycopter and fly to the rescue as always. Little Basil the bear cub has got into trouble in the river and things are scary until the fairies manage to help him out. With just the right amount of risk and reassurance, and a gentle message about the danger of playing near water, this will charm young readers. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from the Publishers, Curious Fox Growing up, I remember being enchanted by Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies (as was author Janey Louise Jones). I also had a wonderful illustrated book about the tooth fairy that included, most importantly, instructions on how to ensure my tooth was not missed in exchange for some pocket money. So when Curious Fox was introduced to Rose, Berry, Silk and Star, we knew we wanted to bring the Superfairies to the next generation of girls (and boys!) growing up with fairy friends.The Superfairies live in a cherry blossom tree in Peaseblossom Woods, alongside their animal chums. A celebration for the changing seasons and the beauty of nature is always round the corner, and with summer fairs, petal parades and winter feasts, their active social lives alone could keep their calendar full all year round. But nature also brings challenges. When the Autumn Queen flies over Peaseblossom Woods ushering in a storm, the animals’ habitats are in danger. The fairies are torn: how can they protect their friends and still respect Mother Nature?There are plenty of times, however, that the animals need no help at all to get themselves in sticky situations. Wonder, curiosity and refusing to back down from dares are the prime culprits in keeping the Superfairies on red alert. They are what I like to think of as ‘thoroughly modern’ fairies. Nature and technology harmoniously mix to aid animal rescues. When the Superfairies hear the bells ring, they check the Strawberry computer to see who’s in trouble and where. Then it’s straight into the fairycopter (because obviously they would get tired out flying long distances with just their wings), check key items like healing honey and the warming feather cloak are in the rescue pack, then it’s up and away to the rescue! Each fairy has a special power: Berry uses her super eyesight to scout for missing animals and Silk spins super strong webs to make ladders or catch falling friends. When they work together, they can solve any problem. This happy union is echoed by the author and illustrator, who are partners in crime and friends in real life. Following the success of her best-selling series Princess Poppy, Janey Louise Jones knew she wanted illustrator Jennie Poh’s super drawing skill to bring her fairies to life, and each spread features Jennie’s gorgeous colour artwork. Join the Superfairies on their rescues with books 1 to 4 available now, and books 5 and 6 publishing in August this year.
A classic Roald Dahl title, a most touching story of a boy and his very special father. Danny and his father live in a caravan parked right next to the garage where his father works. Danny father teaches him how to fix bits of car, reads him bedtime stories and introduces him to the wonders of nature. One night, Danny discovers his father has a secret. He is a brilliant poacher and he is determined to outwit the local gamekeepers. How Danny helps his father carry out his most daring plan of all without being caught is a thrilling read and a triumph for father and son.
Jeremy Strong knows just how to pitch a story to junior readers and the three different adventures in this collection have all his hallmarks: exaggerated characters; bags of slapstick; fast, furious storytelling that still leaves children with something to think about. Pudding Lane Primary, as explained in the first story, is the proud owner of a pet ostrich, Iris aka Mad Iris. Iris is prone to get up close with things she likes (telephones, children) and doesn’t like (Pudding Lane’s football rivals, unpleasant school inspectors) and opportunities for fun are all explored! At the same time, Strong describes a budding KS2 romance, comments on today’s over-anxious parenting, and has a go at current teaching dogma. Sarah Horne’s illustrations catch the method in the madness and this is a star addition to Barrington Stoke’s excellent Conkers series. ~ Andrea Reece The Conkers imprint has quickly and successfully established itself: offering the very best authors and illustrators, all heavily illustrated throughout, in a range of gorgeous formats.
Loveable world-class detective Timmy Failure is back for a new adventure. And his business partner and side-kick Total, a.k.a. the polar bear is with him, too. Timmy’s problem is that not everyone – and certainly not those who try to take charge of him like his teachers – realise just how important his work is! Can Timmy keep out of trouble at school and ahead of the game? There are laughs a plenty as Timmy finds himself in – and out - of some ludicrous situations. The combination of hilarious words and drawings will have even the most reluctant readers laughing their way through another great story from Stephan Pastis. Global domination may well be just around the corner after all… ~ Julia Eccleshare See the UK exclusive, first look, of children's video reviews (quite a few via Lovereading4kids) of Timmy Failure We Meet Again. ***Timmy Failure is now on Poptropica© - a games website that is popular with children around the world!
Michael Morpurgo has created a fresh version of the classic story of Pinocchio, the wooden puppet with a terrible habit of telling lies who comes alive and has some incredible adventures. Here, Pinocchio tells his own story which, in his own words, he describes as ‘a roller coaster of danger and disaster, mistakes and misery, hope and happiness”. And this is not one of Pinocchio’s lies! Bouncing from one adventure to another Pinocchio certainly tells a story that more than lives up to his description of it! Emma Chichester Clarke’s illustrations breathe vibrant live into the lively hero and the wonderful cast of friends he meets long the way.
The crew of the Leaky Battery are a rum bunch alright: steam-powered metal robots of different shapes and sizes. Originally designed to be servants, they choose piracy as a new career, as it offers adventure, the chance to see the world, and freedom. First Mate Mainspring feels he’d be a better leader than Captain Clockheart, who is a bit unpredictable on account of a loose valve sending too much steam to his head, and a fair amount of squabbling goes on but on the whole they are successful buccaneers. This brings them up against the cruel and snobby Iron Duke who is determined to send them for scrap. The steampunk twist gives this fun piratical adventure an original touch, and the metal pirates themselves are refreshingly moral free. There are great illustrations of the pirate crew too to add to the enjoyment. ~ Andrea Reece
Hard Luck, book 8 of the hilarious, globally-bestselling and award-winning Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, is now out in paperback. Francesca Dow, m.d. of Penguin Children’s, said: “Millions of kids in the UK are readers because of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. And Jeff’s new book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, is the funniest yet. Alongside Jeff’s funniest tour ever, this is set to be another great milestone for this incredibly popular and original superbrand.” Jeff Kinney is the second biggest selling writer of children’s fiction in the UK this year (behind David Walliams), and sales of his books totalled £2.9m from the beginning of the year until the end of August, according to Nielsen BookScan. The eighth book in the series, Hard Luck, had a UK first printing of 800,000 copies, making it Penguin's biggest-ever first printing of a children's book.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning Neil Gaiman brilliantly weaves a spell-binding story taking readers up and away on a wild fantasy in which dinosaurs and space travel happily coexist. And all because…Dad has to go out and by the milk! Chris Riddell’s line illustrations capture the invention perfectly. Children of all ages (and lots of childish grown-ups) will be swept along laughing with glee as Dad tries to get the milk home...and possibly save the universe along the way! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Fortunately, The Milk... a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'a brilliantly funny and strangely weird time travel adventure.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
A thrilling adventure in which you the reader decide the route of the adventure, using your knowledge and learning more from the book about robotics and inventions. You may have to sneak past sensors, pull the power on a monster robot and outwit an evil genius to make it out alive and save the day. The Rubik's Quest Robot's Revenge is part of a series of four exciting books. Each one takes the reader on an engaging adventure into the science and maths behind the Rubik's Cube which in 2014 celebrates its 40th birthday. Readers must use their problem-solving skills in a twisting-turning world of toys and puzzles.
Join Tom on an incredible treasure hunt through time and battle history's mightiest warriors. The twelfth book in an action-packed, time-travelling series - perfect for fans of Beast Quest. We asked some of our Lovereading members to review the first in the Time Hunters series, Gladiator Clash. Here's a taster....'I would recommend this book to people who like history and action-packed excitement. It's full of great characters and takes you on a journey through time.'. Read more reviews of Gladiator Clash here!
Love the new CBBC series? Read the original books! TV tie-in edition of the New York Times bestselling series about the hilarious adventures of a cheeky, loveable hero. In this story, Hank is the star in the school play, but a costume disaster on opening night threatens the whole show. Twelve-year-old Hank is a likeable, struggling hero that readers will adore. He is a smart and resourceful boy with a unique perspective on the world. Hank has dyslexia, and when problems arise, he deals with them in a way no one else would - putting him on a direct collision course with his teachers and parents.
Meet the amazing monster customers and try the foul-food at Fuzzby's diner - the third book in the hilarious 'Monster and Chips' series from author and illustrator, David O'Connell. We asked a small number of our Lovereading members to review the first in this funny series - Monster and Chips. Here's a taster of what they thought....'I thought this book was AWESOME, disgusting and horrible all at the same time!.' Click here to read more!
Mildred, notoriously the worst witch at Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches, makes a wish on a shooting star - and to her great surprise it comes true! But it also spells trouble. Mildred's wish-come-true is a small dog but she has to keep him a secret from her friends, and especially the formidable Miss Hardbroom.
Winner of the Blue Peter Book of the Year 2007 and winner of Blue Peter Prize 2007 'The Book I Couldn't Put Down.'Varjak Paw is a cat with attitude – as well as knowing each of the Seven Skills that give cats their special powers. All of that should make him invincible but Sally bones who leads the most dangerous gang in the city knows all of that too – and more. Can Varjak survive in this cat-to-cat world? The claws are out in this great feline adventure.
With the World Cup coming up, football stories are even more appealing than usual, and Alan Gibbons knows just how to win and hold young readers’ attention. There are two halves to the story: interspersed with the tale of youth team East End United’s season are chapters with facts and figures on the world’s greatest players. It’s all with one goal in mind: as Cairo, East End’s star player, learns, football is a team game, and the side that plays best is the side that plays as a proper team, everyone working to each other’s strengths. It makes for lively reading – another winner from a writer who always finds the net. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Spending time with the eponymous Jacky (Ha-Ha because she’s both funny and a stammerer) is always great fun and, as ever, there’s lots to hold the attention and keep the pages turning in this new book. It’s summer 1991 (cue amusing explanations for kids about the way we used to live), and Jacky’s holidays are action-packed. She’s got a summer job at the fair, is appearing as Puck in a production of Midsummer Night’s Dream, experiencing her first crush, and trying and failing to match-make for her friends. Even when things veer towards the tragic, you can rely on Jacky to keep readers laughing, and to ensure there’s a happy ending, just like Puck in fact. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: wacky humour, thrilling action, nail-biting suspense and cool raps From the creator of the hugely popular Dork Diaries comes this new series starring comic-obsessed, wannabe superhero Max Crumbly. One of the great things about Max is his no-nonsense narrative style, here’s the introduction to this story for example: “I knew Middle School was going to be challenging but I never expected to end up dead in a computer lab, wearing a superhero costume with four slices of pizza stuck to my butt.” It’s a good summary and Max continues the story at this pace right up to the cliff-hanger ending, sometimes using rap to make it even bouncier. There are masses of illustrations throughout and the cartoon format suits the story perfectly; reading doesn’t get any faster. The story will satisfy its readers thoroughly and Max looks set to give Dork diarist Nikki a run for her money. One to recommend to fans of other hapless heroes such as Tom Gates, Greg Heffley and Rafe Khatchadorian. ~ Andrea Reece
February 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: Rafe Khatchadorian heads down under In this special episode of the hugely popular Middle School series, Rafe Khatchadorian, surely everyone’s favourite reformed troublemaker, has won a special art competition, first prize an all-expenses paid trip to Australia. Rafe isn’t sure he wants to go – he’s worried about snakes, sharks and all those other deadly indigenous creatures – but Australia isn’t ready for Rafe either: by the end of the book he and his mum, who accompanies him, are facing down an angry mob waving pitchforks. Finding out just what leads up to this is very funny indeed and readers will be pleased to hear that Rafe still returns home something of a hero. Kids everywhere will identify with Rafe, and especially those who just can’t help attracting trouble; he’s a very special hero, and Patterson’s narrative technique means the pages turn almost by themselves. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+. How do you see off the school bully? Sick of being picked on and called ‘chicken’ the narrator of this story thinks up a dare to show up Darren Bishop, the school bully. A farm boy himself he is quite at home with the big bully Olly and he dares Darren to come up close too. When Darren Bishop flees from the field his bullying days are over but there’s a twist in the tale…Is anyone really safe from the bully? A gripping story with a surprising ending. ~ Julia Eccleshare Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 7+
In a nutshell: historical adventures full of facts and fun Not since Horrible Histories has the past been brought to life for young readers so accurately and with so much humour. Written in partnership with the National Trust in the form of the diary of a young boy, page to a knight at Widemoat Castle, the story recounts an exciting episode in his life culminating in an attack on the castle by the rebellious Welsh. Young John Drawbridge and Widemoat are fictional but everything else in the book is real and it’s full of interesting historical detail, giving a complete view of life in a medieval castle. You can always rely on Philip Ardagh to add humour and this rollicking story has some very good jokes as well as appealing characters. ~ Andrea Reece The Editor at Nosy Crow says: “This is the perfect book for Philip: it takes advantage of his incredible mix of talents as an author - hilarious writing, brilliant characters and voice, and lots of fascinating factual detail. Jamie’s brilliant artwork is the perfect complement - it’s lively, funny, full of rich detail and expression, and hugely child-friendly. A winning combination!”
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: the highs and lows of our national obsession | Football has the power to excite passions like no other sport. In the words of the great Bill Shankly: ‘Some people think football is a matter of life and death. It's much more serious than that.’ But for all the joy, flag-waving and exhilaration, there’s a dark side too of fan violence, racism and a disregard for fans’ safety. From Hillsborough to Munich and the Heysel Stadium, Alan Gibbons examines the worst events in football in a way that enables young fans to understand what happened and why. A fan himself, his book still celebrates the best of football too as a way to bring people together. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 9 | In a nutshell: it’s only a rock’n’roll story but we like it! Part of dyslexia and reluctant reader specialist Barrington Stoke’s ‘super readable’ collection, Jonathan Mere’s novel will hit all the right notes with readers, male ones in particular. A meeting with this friend’s cool big brother Nigel (named after the XTC song) changes Darren’s life: he determines to become the best guitar player ever, just as soon as he’s persuaded his parents to buy him a guitar. Meres gives almost-eleven-year old Darren a very authentic voice, and his diary extracts are broken up at regular intervals by lists and fun facts, making this very accessible. A fun and satisfying story to make reading rock! ~ Andrea Reece Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
September 2016 Fascinating Facts Book of the Month Anything you can imagine, you can animate says this stimulating book, and it explains clearly and simply the ten key skills readers need to become expert animators, starting with flipbook loops and ending with special effects, lighting and camera skills. The instructions are carefully worded to be friendly and easy to follow, while the colour illustrations on every page help to explain the different processes, and keep it all feeling fun and uncomplicated. There are lots of extra handy tips in text flashes, a page of useful links and a glossary with definitions of technical and unfamiliar terms. This is an inspiring and really useful guide for young would-be animators. ~ Andrea Reece
This is a hilarious story of dead fish, gorillas with bananas in their ears, poetry, cunning plans and highly legal documents (kind of). Oh and iPads, iPhones and vlogging of course. I’m sitting at home chortling away at How To Update Your Parents when Ben suddenly looks up from his gamepad and asks… ‘Whatcha reading Mum?’ ‘Oh just a book I’m reviewing.’ I say and carry on reading. Not long after he can’t help but come and take a peek. The cover alone is enticing and the title well… ‘Does it really tell you how to update your parents?’ And then I tell him it’s about a boy called Louis The Laugh who is really funny and all he wants to do is make as many people as possible laugh so he attempts to start his own comedy vlog. However his parents think he spends too much time ‘glued to a screen’ and have decided that their home should become totally device free. Louie of course thinks they’ve ‘totally lost the plot’. Oh the horror, the indignity! Yes, Louis and his younger brother Elliot are forced to return to ‘ye olden days’. The days when people would sit around the fire playing board games, take long walks and do jigsaw puzzles – all the time. ~ Shelley Fallows A Piece of Passion from the Editor How to Update Your Parents is the fourth instalment in the highly successful and popular Louis the Laugh series. Louis is an aspiring comedian and, with the help of girlfriend and ‘agent’, Maddy, he sets out to conquer the world of comedy using vlogs and social media. But there’s just one rather big problem – his parents have enforced a total ban on technology! This results in Louis’ hilarious attempts to get his parents to change their minds and to make them see the error of their ways.Will Louis convince his parents that social media and technology are good things after all? Or will Louis have to find another way to make his voice heard? You’ll have to read the book to find out!In an age where the issue of technology and social media addiction is becoming ever more topical and debated, How to Update Your Parents provides a fresh outlook on the subject and shows both sides of the argument in a thoroughly entertaining, non-judgmental, and hilarious way.
The second in Chris Hoy’s cycling-with-a-touch-of-magic series sees Fergus and his friends Daisy, Callum and Minnie form their own cycling team, Hercules’ Hopefuls. They may not have brand new bikes, or fancy jerseys like their arch rivals Wallace’s Winners, but they’ve got lots of heart, and sometimes that what counts. It’s a classic children’s sports story, with a fun cast of characters, made even more lively by Fergus’s visits to a magical world, Nevermore. Not only does Fergus learn a lot about teamwork on his magical adventures, there’s also a clue as to the whereabouts of his dad, not seen since Fergus was a baby. A successful mix of pedal-action, friendship and fantasy adventure, this is a very satisfying story for newly confident readers. Clare Elsom’s lively illustrations add to the fun. There are more books in the series to come, and readers might also like Frank Lampard’s football-with-magic series Frankie’s Magic Football. ~ Andrea Reece Emma Matthewson, Editor, Hot Key Books, said: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements. What drew me to Flyign Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation. We can’t wait to see young cyclists across the country enjoy reading about their new hero!”
Brilliantly visualised, these graphic novel versions of the best-selling stories of boy spy Alex Rider add a fantastic new dimension to the original and terrific for getting even the most reluctant of readers to enjoy the experience of reading. Following the death of his guardian, Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6 and so finds himself off on some seriously hair raising missions in which he faces terrible danger and the real risk of death. In the second in the series, PointBlanc he is taken from his own school and sent to infiltrate the mysterious Point Blanc Academy. Can he uncover the horrible secret behind what is going on? Alex Rider is a perfect hero. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Shortlisted for the Laugh-Out-Loud Book Awards 2016, 9-13 years Category Dr Noel Zone is without doubt the world’s greatest dangerologist, and his books are required reading for anyone eager to avoid danger wherever it may lurk and, as we know from his first book, danger really is everywhere: toast, pets, birthday cake, bicycles EVERYTHING is a potential threat to wellbeing! Imagine the doctor’s horror therefore when danger is introduced into his house in the form of a yapping, shoe-chewing, pee-and-poop-doing havoc machine called Napkin (ie a small puppy belonging to his sister). This is another brilliantly funny survival guide, the kind of book readers carry around so that they can read favourite passages out loud to friends and family. Huge fun and great for dipping into. ~ Andrea Reece A message from the author, David O'Doherty: There is now 88% more danger in the world than when I was a kid, when there was just the odd bit of lightning and an occasional escaped zoo animal. Chris and I, via the delusions of the world's premier (only) dangerologist Docter Noel Zone, are delighted to get this opportunity from Puffin to terrify children with tales of awful made-up things that could happen. I mean, are you completely sure that your cat isn't a baby dinosaur?
Brilliantly visualised, these graphic novel versions of the best-selling stories of boy spy Alex Rider add a fantastic new dimension to the original and terrific for getting even the most reluctant of readers to enjoy the experience of reading. Following the death of his guardian, Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6 and so finds himself off on some seriously hair raising missions in which he faces terrible danger and the real risk of death. In Stormbreaker, the first in the series, he pits his wits against a sinister organisation run by arch crook Darrius Sayle. Alex Rider is a perfect hero. To view other graphic novels click here.
February 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: joyful story of a boy and his dancing feet Hari lives in a biggish city in India with his sister and aunt. He’s always cheerful and enjoys helping support them all delivering tiffin boxes for the nearby take-away and running his own sweet-making business. He spends some of the proceeds on tickets to the cinema and particularly likes musicals. When he accidentally stumbles onto a real film set, his special talent is suddenly revealed: when Hari dances, everyone has to join in. It makes him a local celebrity then, with the help of his friend Mr Ram, Hari uses his gift to spread happiness further afield. The story is as tempting and delicious as Hari’s coconut barfi, and its engaging narrator will have readers almost convinced it’s a true story; the world would certainly be a better place if it was. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
In a nutshell: myth, mystery and adventure Sharon Tregenza’s exciting mystery story opens in very dramatic fashion when a huge sinkhole appears under Griffin’s home. With his mother badly injured and in a coma he goes to stay with his uncle in his strange, crumbling house. It’s a very different way of life to what he’s used to: his uncle and his family enjoy a kind of eco-warrior existence and believe in white magic. Despite initial tensions Griffin becomes friends with his cousin Cinnamon and when the two witness a daring robbery of a priceless but sinister antique from the town’s museum they face very real danger together. Fast-moving, with a great sense of the natural world as well as hints at supernatural beings – good and bad – this is a thoroughly satisfying tale of young people saving the day. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: super-readable story | robot rumpus at high school | Uh-oh, things are not running smoothly in the Hayes-Rodriguez household, which is highly unusual, because Mum, a robot scientist, has invented a host of machines to ensure it does. Something has upset the robots, and suddenly it’s chaos. With Mum busy on something else, it’s up to Sammy and his little sister Maddie to work out what’s gone wrong. It’s James Patterson’s mission to get and keep kids turning pages, and he’s a master of the art. Sammy’s wise-cracking narration hooks readers from the first, the action is pretty well non-stop, and the cartoon illustrations come thick and fast too; yet there’s still space for feelings and emotions too. Other authors creating addictive and irresistible page-turners for young readers include Steve Cole, Liz Pichon and Jim Smith. ~ Andrea Reece
October 2017 Book of the Month In a nutshell: lively, comic story celebrating kids’ reading and determination James Patterson creates books kids love, and his latest book is all about a boy who decides to create books kids love by setting up his own book company. Jimmy is determined to follow his dream of a company run by kids for kids, despite the scepticism of parents, teachers and the bank. The story mixes real life and fantasy, and along the way slips lots of recommendations for other unputdownable children’s books from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, the book that inspires Jimmy to keep trying no matter what. It could have sunk under the weight of self-reference (the book also mentions lots of Patterson’s own children’s books) but the author knows what he’s doing and the pacey narrative, variety of scenes and events, and Jimmy’s straight-to-camera narrative keeps the pages turning nicely. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: the perfect story for keen young ballerinas | Jean Ure understands exactly what makes ballet such an all-consuming passion for young dancers and conveys that excitement perfectly in Born to Dance, the first in a new series. Maddy is born into ballet royalty – her mother was a famous ballerina, her father’s a top choreographer, even her brother and sister are rising stars. Though she’s occasionally frustrated by her family’s single-minded dedication, she loves to dance too. At school she picks out new girl Caitlyn as a fellow ballerina, and is surprised when Caitlyn doesn’t want to be friends, then mystified when she sees her dancing – whoever is teaching her is getting some things very wrong. The two do become friends though, and when Maddy discovers how Caitlyn is learning to dance, she’s determined to help. Maddy is a warm, thoroughly engaging central character, with just a touch of the Emma Woodhouse about her, and the ballet scenes will leave readers itching to stand at the barre. One to recommend to fans of Noel Streatfeild’s Ballet Shoes. Jonathan’s Leap by Celia Purcell is another strong contemporary ballet story with a boy in the ballet shoes. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Super Readable Books of the Year 2016 | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: funny story of football, fandom and fame | George is over the moon when she finds out her favourite footballer Dean Johnson has moved into the massive mansion in her home town, and even more excited when she actually meets him. He seems really nice, but that’s not what the papers say: has he invited her to the cup final to talk football, or just to exploit a PR opportunity? A different take on the football story, this is fun and easy to read, and the banter between George and her mates is top division stuff. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: shocking levels of sucking-up in super-readable school story | Aidan Abet works hard at school making sure he stays teacher’s pet – it’s the best way of ensuring protection from horrible bullies the (unrelated) Robert and Robin Robinson. But can he win over Miss Vowel, who seems to care more for her growing collection of school pets than any of her pupils? Fortunately for Aidan, he discovers just what makes Miss Vowel’s pets so special and his problems disappear in two shakes of a rat’s tail! Roald Dahl would have appreciated Miss Vowel’s approach to maintaining discipline in the classroom, and there’s a deliciously dark ending to this lively, funny adventure. ~ Andrea Reece Mairi Kidd from Barrington Stoke says: “Guy has done us proud – Aidan Abet is as wickedly funny as any fan of Stitch Head could desire. I honestly can’t remember when I last laughed so hard at a book. Guy hascreated a wonderfully grotesque cast of characters, headed up of course by awful Aidan, for whom I have a ridiculous soft spot, horrid creature though he is. I love Guy’s word-play – that title is an all-time favourite – and I may never forget what Auntie Pauline said about the postman that time…” Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
A special 15th anniversary edition of this award-winning classic adventure from Eva Ibbotson in which orphaned Maia travels from England to the Amazon with her governess. August 2013 Guest Editor, Lauren St John "To me, Eva Ibbotsen is a genius. You can pick up any of her books – The Dragonfly Pool and One Boy and His Dog are also fantastic – and be guaranteed a good read. Journey to the River Sea is about orphaned London schoolgirl, Maia, who, accompanied by her strict but kind governess, is sent to live with her ghastly relatives in South America. Unlike her nature-phobic relatives, Maia loves her exotic, colourful new world. This is a journey of the spirit as well as the globe and the way Maia unfurls like a flower with each new adventure and encounter is one of the many reasons Journey to the River Sea is a classic. A warm, joyous book to be enjoyed by any generation." Chosen by Anne Fine as one of her favourite reads... 'A charming and magical adventure story that is full of wisdom, warmth and understanding. Orphaned Maia is sent off to stay with her relatives far, far away in the heart of the Amazon jungle. She’s excited by the prospect of living such an inspiring place but soon finds that life with her twin cousins Gwendolyn and Beatrice is torture.'
One of our Super Readable Books of the Year 2016 | Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8 | In a Nutshell : accessible | edgy | sinister Branded super-readable Steve Cole’s short novel is just that, and the action moves as fast as thought. Luke has always been good at guessing what people are going to do, but then he finds he can actually hear what they’re thinking inside his head. As the horror of that is sinking in, the situation gets even more frightening and he meets a dangerous girl who is able to control others with her thoughts. It’s an electrifying read created by an author who knows just how to handle tension, and readers will in all likelihood find themselves reading it in one nerve-shredding session. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of super-readable short fiction by some of the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK. Each title has a host of unique accessibility features to offer cracking reads to more children including reluctant and struggling readers and those with dyslexia or visual stress. Here at Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting the best of their new and backlist titles to recommend to you. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
In 3 words : in it together The Kidd family, stars of some of James Patterson’s liveliest and most boisterous adventures are back and centre stage in the latest episode in his globe-trotting series, Treasure Hunters. This time the Kidds are in Russia and hot on the trail of some missing masterpieces of the art world. Chapter are short but always full of action, and full of appealing illustrations too. The Kidds are a fun bunch of people to spend time with and kid readers will feel well and truly part of the action. This is fiction to get even the most reluctant readers avidly turning the pages. ~ Andrea Reece For more unputdownable reading see Steve Cole, including his new Magic Inc book, and Ali Sparkes’s Shapeshifter series.
Julia Eccleshare's Book of the Month June 2016 Ten wickedly funny and wonderfully surreal stories of truly terrible children show best-selling David Walliams’s amazing gift for spinning entertaining stories. Contained in a handsome edition and illustrated in colour throughout by Tony Ross, the worst children who are featured include Dribbling Drew, Peter Picker, Miss Petula Perpetual-Motion, Grubby Gertrude and Nigel Nit-Boy. Each child has an obvious revolting characteristic and each of their stories is hugely disgusting, richly inventive and cheeringly anarchic. Walliams has created a unique take on the classic cautionary tale. ~ Julia Eccleshare A message from David - “I loved writing this collection of stories, as I let my imagination run completely wild. There is a huge emphasis on surreal humour in this book. I hope children around the world will enjoy it, even the most reluctant reader.” A Piece of Passion from Ann-Janine Murtagh, HarperCollins Children’s Books Executive Publisher, “Children love surprises, and what a brilliant surprise to have a new and unexpected book from their hero: author David Walliams! A wonderfully Walliams twist on the classic cautionary tale, this is David’s very first short story collection and demonstrates just what a genius storyteller he is, with every story fizzing with the power of his unique and incredible imagination. And, for the first time, we will publish Walliams’ fiction in glorious colour with illustrations blazing throughout by Tony Ross. These stories are a joy and will have children everywhere reading all summer long. Only David Walliams could deliver such a wonderful book as such a terrific surprise.” Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for June 2016 The World's Worst Children by David Walliams Seacrow Island by Astrid Lindgren The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne A Stitch in Time by Penelope Lively Street Child by Berlie Doherty Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster
In a short book of less than 80 pages Malorie Blackman delivers an exciting, incisive story with a credible, interesting central character and powerful message about the importance of taking a stand and fighting for what you believe in. Michela travels through space with her people on an Alliance spaceship commanded by her mother. Like all her friends she wears a Peace Maker non-aggression gadget. But Michela loves reading stories – Treasure Island, the Hunger Games – and can’t help dreaming them up herself, stories about fighting. When an apparently hostile spaceship demands they put forward a champion or face destruction, Michela steps up, with surprising results. Exciting, thought-provoking stuff. ~ Andrea Reece
One of our Books of the Year 2016 Deep rivalries, hand to hand fighting, daring raids and surprise revelations, they all feature in this collection of stories about young ninja warrior Taka. Together with his ninja clan he’s fighting the Samurai in 16th century Japan. The background is vividly described, and fascinating, whether you know your nunchaku from your shuriken or not, and Chris Bradford is an expert at keeping the tension high. It’s great to see that female ninja Cho is as fast and fierce as her male companions. In Barrington Stoke’s Conkers series, this is particularly good for reluctant or dyslexic readers, but it will work its warrior romance on all readers. ~ Andrea Reece The Conkers imprint has quickly and successfully established itself: offering the very best authors and illustrators, all heavily illustrated throughout, in a range of gorgeous formats.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Martin Moone- one boy and a load of sisters! That means Martin is always in trouble of one kind or another. What would you do? When Martin asks his friend Padraic for advice about changing the gender balance in the Moone family home, Padraic suggest finding a IF – imaginary friend. Martin is hilarious as he tells of his search for a suitable choice. Just what a kind of a person should he pick? ~ Julia Eccleshare And you can catch Moone Boy in his own tv series on Sky 1 starring co-writer and Hollywood actor Chris O'Dowd - watch a trailer here!
The heroes of Eoin Colfer’s wonderful time-travelling W.A.R.P. series, Victorian orphan Riley and Shawnee FBI juvenile consultant Chevie are back for another adventure, once again coming face to face with the evil – and now apparently immortal - Albert Garrick. This time the wormhole drops all three into 1647, i.e. slap-bang in the middle of the witch-hunting era, which suits Garrick perfectly. Don’t worry about coming to the book new, Colfer fills you in brilliantly on what you need to know, and this is an unmissable series: life-or-death situations; gory action; sharp, funny dialogue; and characters you’ll believe in – Colfer does it all, superbly. ~ Andrea Reece
Everyone thinks they know what it's like, going to school. But have you ever wondered what life must be like at a boarding school? A school for young offenders? A school for the blind? With her trademark humour, insight, sensitivity and razor-sharp wit, Anne Fine explores these different worlds in a short story collection that will fascinate young readers.
With crazy inventions, disappearing socks, half-men half-frogs, a moon chameleon invasion and, of course, plenty of super-sonic bottom burps, this is the gang's most explosive adventure yet! Can they stop an alien invasion in its tracks, or is this actually the end of the world?
Wimpy Kid fans will love this new boy-diary with a difference. Saddled with the name Timmy Failure, our narrator has clearly been dealt a tough hand. Luckily, he has a perky temperament and is not easily deflected from his ambitions. Timmy founds Total Failure Inc, the best detective agency in town. Or is it??? Young readers will enjoy spotting Timmy’s rookie errors which are wittily conveyed in both the words and the engaging illustrations. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Timmy Failure a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It is really funny… Anyone who likes 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' or 'Mr Gum' will like this book, I think it is even better.'.... Scroll down to read more reviews... CLICK HERE to download a Schools Reading Guide for this book.
In a nutshell: exciting, unusual rescue story set in Australia’s dense forest A Different Dog is the story of the special relationship that develops between a boy and a dog and how it saves them both. It’s beautifully told in short, spare sentences that will make it accessible to all readers, and full of unexpected twists. The boy at the centre of the story – we never learn his name – is poor, lonely and bullied by other children because of his selective mutism. The dog he rescues from a car crash that has killed its owner is subject to its own set of painful compulsions, finding out why is one of the surprises and rewards of the story. This will absorb readers, from the opening page to its warm, uplifting final line. Readers will also enjoy Pippa Goodhart’s A Dog Called Flow, which tells another satisfying story of the special, healing bond between a boy and a dog. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from the Publisher Ruth Huddleston: “From the moment he wakes up on the floor, his dilapidated bed having been chopped for firewood, my heart went out to our plucky narrator and I wanted to know his story. His life is quite literally an uphill struggle, but his instinct to help others leads him to a healing bond with an extraordinary little dog and ultimately to find his voice again. You will empathise with the boy when he’s bullied for having to wear his mother’s old pink coat, with a bin bag pulled over against the rain, but he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He doggedly persists until he achieves his goals – working hard to understand what the little dog is trying to communicate to him. The final twist of the story highlights the lightness of touch and humour throughout.” A note from the author: I have had a number of different occupations over the last fifty years: a special school teacher, a speech pathologist, a lecturer in reading education and an author. A Different Dog draws on many experiences in these fields. And of course, it also draws on my own childhood. If you ask me, ‘Where did the story come from?’ that’s another thing altogether. I will have to say that I don’t know. It was a matter of putting my hand into the lucky dip of my own mind. There are many presents in that barrel and they are all wrapped so you don’t know what you are going to get. One of the influences on a writer would have to be the books that he or she has read themselves. An author cannot copy another’s work and each writer must find their own voice. But somewhere in the back of our minds are tucked the stories we have enjoyed in the past. Of the books that I loved when I was aged between thirteen and fifteen I can think of three which I turn back to and read again and again. They are still readily available more than fifty years later. Teenagers and adults love these stories. I still have my old copies and like to look at their torn and worn covers which beckon me from years gone by. Here they are: Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. A boy and a runaway slave on the Mississippi River. How I wished I was on that raft. And little did I know that I would still be amazed by their wonderful adventures all these years later. The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico. A girl, a bird and disabled man feature in this moving story. When you finish it you just know that there is an untold truth hinted at within the main story and it makes you think for weeks after you have read it. The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. This is a lovely story about a boy, an old man and a fish. Exciting, sometimes sad but always making you ask yourself, ‘Could I ever do that?’ I don’t know if these authors influenced me when I wrote, A Different Dog but if you read any of them you might like to give it some thought. I can tell you how I think A Different Dog came into being. When I was eight years old, I had to bury a dead dog. This unpleasant memory was the starting point for my new book. I began writing about how I felt while I was digging the grave for the poor animal. But as the story developed I dropped this bit out altogether and came up with a dog named Chase that was alive but very strange indeed. As the wrapping paper came off, something else revealed itself and the story changed completely. It was not about death any more but had ended up being about … Well, what do you think? Paul Jennings, 2017
In a Nutshell: Fleeing bullies leads to a fight (and flight) of a lifetime | Action-packed adventure in which three friends bite off a whole lot more than most kids can chew when they take flight from a bully, and crash land into a criminal underworld of drug dealers. Largely due to a bullying “cyber-slimebag”, Steve and twins Fran and Dan have decided that “the sooner they get away from here the better”. With almost Blyton-esque instinct, they’ve built a raft and are now ready to go. But it’s not long before they lose the raft and are forced to take shelter in a cave. While this does offer cosy protection, it also exposes them to unimaginable dangers when they discover a kitbag containing over £30k. And a gun. With their lives now in danger, fearless Fran steps up and deploys immense nerve in an effort to extricate them from this hugely hazardous situation. The sharp, snappy style combined with criminal-themed content (not forgetting the white-knuckle ride of an escape scene…) put me in mind of Alex Rider, only with the action rooted around three small town heroes-next-door, rather than an international hi-tech hero. As such, this pacey page-turner will surely appeal to 10+ year-olds with a thirst for high-octane escapades, but also has enough grit to keep older – and perhaps more reluctant – readers on the edge of their seats. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: sharply realised slice of real life This finely written story speaks directly to readers in language that is frill free but shines with original, precise imagery. It opens with a scene in which a young rook is attacked by a larger bird. Nicky and his younger brother Kenny save it. As the bird hovers between life and death, Nicky’s own future is in the balance: an incident with the school bully sees him facing expulsion, at the same time he’s tentatively trying to start a relationship with a girl he fancies. For all his nerve Nicky is vulnerable, and things could easily go wrong for him, instead they start to look up. He isn’t expelled, Sarah likes him too, and Rooky is taken in by the animal sanctuary despite being, in Nicky’s dad’s words, ‘too common and too scruffy and too much trouble. Bit like us, eh?’ There’s a lot of story effortlessly packed into this short novel and readers will be very happy for Nicky. Readers shouldn’t miss the two previous books in this trilogy, Brock and Pike. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
November 2016 Book of the Month In a nutshell: dazzling journeys into other worlds | Philip Reeve continues to turn us all into railheads in his glorious new sci-fi adventure. The follow up to Railhead, this is set in a gleaming future world where trains, great, beautiful sentient machines, travel from one world to the next. It’s a thrilling adventure and political thriller too, with a cast of young exiles, outsiders and rebels – petty thief Zen Starling, his friend the android Nova, ousted empress Threnody and the tough, disillusioned Chandni. Romance is never far away either, not least the romance of travelling on beyond the sunset. Full of scenes and images that bring you up short, and driven by an unstoppable plotline, this is epic, dazzling stuff. You could point readers who enjoy this towards H G Wells or Ray Bradbury. ~ Andrea Reece
In Holes, best-selling author Louis Sachar showed his understanding and compassion for a group of boys who have got outside the system. In There’s a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, he shows the same sensitivity to Bradley Chalkers, one boy whose behaviour has increasingly alienated him from his teachers and his peers. Bradley seems unable to change but then Carla arrives. Carla believes in Bradley; gradually Bradley begins to believe in himself. Without preaching and with his familiar humour, Sachar tells a heartwarming story.
Eyebrow-raisingly, heart-stoppingly pacey adventures starring the boy every would-be teen superhero wants to be, the Alex Rider books are now available as stylish graphic novels. The medium is perfect for these adrenaline-filled stories and, in the hands of some of the best comics artists of the day, the book looks terrific. The whole story is compressed into 176 colourful pages, action conveyed entirely through the illustrations and speech-bubble dialogue and it has all the excitement and thrill of the novel – the shock ending will leave readers gaping! Great stuff for fans of Alex Rider old and new, and a super accessible version of an excellent children’s book. ~ Andrea Reece
Life’s not easy for Adam Meltzer, or rather death isn’t. You see, he’s a zombie – bad enough for anyone let alone someone who has OCD. In this his second adventure, he’s worked out a way of getting by and keeping his undeadness unnoticed, but then his parents drop a bombshell: they’re sending him off to summer camp. How will he cope in the great outdoors? And can he keep his best friend Corina, who’s a vampire, from snacking on her fellow campers? Fast-paced and zany, these are great fun, but what really sets them apart is Adam’s voice – wry, sardonic, with a pithy turn of phrase, he’s a real character. ~ Andrea Reece
Wholly original and brilliantly plotted, Holes is a funny and poignant story about surviving. When Stanley Yelnats is falsely accused of stealing a pair of trainers, he is sent off to Camp Green Lake which is not a camp, not green and not near a lake but a boys’ detention centre in the middle of the desert. Every day every boy has to dig a hole five foot deep and five foot across because, the Warden says, it’s good for them. How Stanley survives and proves that the Warden has a different and far more sinister motive for wanting so many holes to be dug unravels in unexpected and wholly satisfying ways. Roddy Doyle was our Guest Editor in 2011 and chose Holes as one of his favourite books... "Boys in jail – a great idea. The jail has no roof and they have to dig huge holes in the baking sun all day – it’s getting even better. I read Holes in hospital a few years ago. I wasn’t ill, and was only there for the day. I actually forgot I was in hospital, the book was so good. I had about ten pages left when a nurse told me I could go home. I was half-hoping she’d tell me I’d have to stay longer, so I could finish the book." Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. Find more books that we think are great for reluctant readers here.
The final shocking, heart-wrenching book in the jaw-droppingly stupendous Skulduggery Pleasant series. This is it; this is the end, the concluding part, the final outcome and as the curtain comes down there is a moment of hush, of quiet, of stunned silence before the applause starts, quite simply because this is the most incredible ending a series could ever wish for. Once you start, you won’t want to stop as the book will open up and swallow you whole. Be prepared for anything and everything; sniggers and cackles, gasps and groans, tears, shock and wonderment. Once you've finished, don’t despair, the series may have ended but you can always start at the beginning and read them all over again. Mr Landy, you wonderful wordsmith you…may you never walk through doors! ~ Liz Robinson See below for links to all the series books: 1. Skulduggery Pleasant 2. Playing with Fire 3. The Faceless Ones 4. Dark Days 5. Mortal Coil 6. Death Bringer 7. Kingdom of the Wicked 8. Last Stand of Dead Men 9. The Dying of the Light
Award-winning writer Cathy Macphail, master of the unexpected twist, leads readers into a tense and sometimes violent story before revealing the truth. Newly arrived on an estate in Glasgow, Logan is thrilled when he finds a friend. Baz seems cool and assured and brave. All the things that Logan is not. Their families are also very different – Baz’s family seem to care for him a lot; Logan is in perpetual conflict with his mother and stepfather. Being friends with Baz gets Logan in with a cool group and provides some action. A LOT of action. When things begin to go very wrong for the boys Logan has to rethink just who Baz is. And he is surprised by the answer.
April 2014 Book of the Month A master storyteller, Robert Rigby sends shivers down the spine in this gripping story of one boy’s escape from Nazi-occupied Antwerp to safety. When Paul sees his father shot in front of him and his mother arrested by the Germans he knows he must flee from everything he knows. To make the journey he has to along the treacherous Eagle Trail into Spain he has to put his trust in others but, dare he do so? In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Eagle Trail a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'This book is filled with action every page you turn and I couldn't put it down.' - Raj Bunet Scroll down to read more reviews...
The Sea of Monsters: The Graphic Novel sees Percy Jackson come to life in this explosive graphic novel adaptation of Rick Riordan's blockbuster title. Featuring a faithful adaptation by Robert Venditti, stunning artwork by Attila Futaki, and sumptuous colours by newcomer Tamas Gaspar.
An attention grabbing title and an arresting opening ensure Morris Gleitzman has his audience hooked. And they will be well rewarded for being so. But alongside its effortlessly entertaining introduction, Bumface is also a thoughtful and serious book about the responsibilities that many children take on. Angus longs to be a pirate. He dreams of being bold, brave, wild and, above all, free. Instead, he is almost fully occupied looking after his younger brothers and sisters and he is pre-occupied by thinking of ways to stop his mother having another baby….When Angus meets Rindi, he finds that he is not alone. An entertaining and realistic view of contemporary childhood. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Award-winning novelist Kevin Brooks made his mark with this, his debut novel. A black comedy is something of a rarity in children’s books but here Kevin Brooks shows how it can be done. Martyn hates his father – and he has good reasons to do so – but he never meant to kill him. And maybe he didn’t anyway. But there’s a body to be got rid off and a story to tell. Martyn finds keeping up the stories gets more and more difficult as the lies get crazier. Martyn’s pessimistic view of the world takes a darker turn but there’s a kind of mad humour to it, too. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
One of the best books ever about the realities of young boys forced into fighting in rebel armies and the effect it can have. Back home, Kaninda has been trained to carry a gun and use it. When he is taken from Africa by aid workers and brought to a different life in London he finds there are tribes and loyalties of a new kind. Unwillingly Kaninda gets drawn into local conflicts while he longs to return home and take revenge. A moving and thoughtful exploration of the scarring effect of violent conflict. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
June 2018 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: themes of fatherhood, memory and guilt explored in haunting YA novella Mal Peet, who died in 2015, wrote with extraordinary sensitivity and insight and this novella, freshly published by Barrington Stoke, is testimony to his talent. Benjamin finds himself by accident outside his old home and revisits memories of the garden and treehouse that 20 years ago were such a key part of his childhood. His father built the treehouse for him but it quickly changed from being a place of shared stories to something less happy – a hideaway from his mother, a hiding place for his father as he turned away from the outside world. The story is a painful one, years on Ben is still torn by conflicting loyalties, still angry with his father, still guilty for abandoning him. His return brings some new perspectives, but no happy resolution. Emma Shoard’s new illustrations equal the text for rawness, depth and resonance. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 14+ Illustrator, Emma Shoard says: “After much anticipation, I am so happy to be working on this beautiful story by Mal Peet. There is so much depth and reality to the relationship between his characters; I hope to illustrate something of those spacious places he has created in between the lines. The huge, ancient beech tree at the centre of this story is a real treat for an illustrator.” Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
In a nutshell: football-set story, accessible to all readers Jackson Law is a talented footballer, newly signed to the United youth squad. Real life carries on though, and a budding romance with the girl he’s always fancied brings him up against her thuggish ex. Jackson’s got a lot to lose now which lays him open to the lad’s threats and blackmail, but he discovers that his team mates are there to support him on and off the pitch. There’s just the right mix of footballing action and domestic drama and the story unfolds at a pace that will keep all readers turning the pages. An enjoyable and exciting contemporary story. ~ Andrea Reece
December 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beautifully written story of life, love and growing up Full of love, humour and heartbreak, this beautifully crafted YA novella from the multi award-winning author of Ketchup Clouds and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is a compassionate and distinctive tale of modern family life and its issues. Archie is devastated at the news his parents are splitting up. He and his dad are very close and when he realises that his father is leaving for another man – something his two sisters have already worked out – the shock has a physical impact. Archie has already been the victim of bullying and, perhaps to avoid a repeat, has become friends with the bullies at his new school; he is terrified of their reaction to the news. Things are complicated further when Tia, the girl he fancies, confides in him about her brother’s suicide and as the pressure mounts, Archie himself contemplates taking his own life. Annabel Pitcher portrays Archie with real insight and readers will understand completely the agony he feels. She chooses to end the story in a supermarket where the aisles, through their very prosaic normality, open up a world of hope and new beginnings. Published by dyslexia specialists Barrington Stoke, this will be accessible to all readers and is worth recommending to all readers. Andrea Reece NOTE: some of the content and language may be seen by some as inappropriate for younger teens - why not read the extract first to find out. A Piece of Passion from Emma Hargrave, Editor : “We are thrilled to publish Annabel Pitcher for the first time, and what a stand-out novel she has written for us. Inspired by a passion to articulate the complex realities of life for teenagers – especially boys – around sexuality, loss, depression and family dynamics, Annabel has created an extraordinary narrator in Archie, a fabulous plotline and a cracking cast of characters as the story is propelled towards a remarkable final encounter. We love the know-it-all older sister; the fresh-out-the-closet dad; Archie’s crush, the seriously hot Tia; and her wise-cracking sidekick … Annabel’s pitch-perfect ear for the details of teenage life at school, home and on the wrong side of the tracks brings this story to vivid, unforgettable life.”And Annabel Pitcher adds: “I was thrilled to be approached to write for Barrington Stoke, having been such a fan of the exciting and important work that they do. As an ex-English teacher, I have seen first-hand how much these books mean to readers who long to access stories but are daunted by words. The idea for The Last Days of Archie Maxwell emerged on a dog walk by a train track near my house in West Yorkshire and I’ve spent many hours wandering alongside it, imagining Archie doing the same as he contemplates taking his own life. As a mum of two sons, it was interesting trying to get inside the head of a teenage boy. I’ve loved getting to know Archie and can’t wait to share him with the rest of the world.” Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 13+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 In a nutshell: Gothic tale of love and obsession Teenage love is the subject of Juno Dawson’s thoroughly creepy new book for Barrington Stoke: ‘I think we love more freely… more playfully, with reckless abandon’, says Eliza to her boyfriend Sam shortly before she is killed in a car crash, which almost explains his actions after her death. Sam’s grief is all-encompassing, and he is prepared to do absolutely anything to see her again… It’s a genuinely chilling story, but Dawson keeps a playfulness there too, and finally leads Sam back to hopes of a happy future. Beautiful full page illustrations by Alex T Smith send more shivers down the spine; one to read with all the lights on. ~ Andrea Reece Readers gripped by this dark story would enjoy short stories by Edgar Allan Poe, M R James and E F Benson. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Hilarious sequel to Diary of an (Un)teenager, from the author of the best-selling How to Train Your Parents. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
February 2015 Book of the Month - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Award-winning Kevin Brooks tells a gripping and thoughtful story about the irresistible appeal of a dangerous friendship. Jack is cruising along in year 10; not part of any group but not likely to be picked on either. And then Dean arrives. Dean is tough and fearless. Jack is wary but also attracted by Dean’s courage and his ability to make things happen. But, when the Jack agrees to go away with Dean on holiday, he soon finds he is out of his depth. Dean courts danger with tragic results and Jack is left considering a brief but influential episode in his life. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ A Piece of Passion from Mairi Kidd, Managing Director, Barrington Stoke All at Barrington Stoke cheered when Kevin Brooks won the Carnegie Medal back in June. Not only is he one of our favourite writers for children and young adults - a truly fantastic prose stylist – but he is also firmly committed to the same principles we are. Namely more young people, reading more. Kevin says: ‘I’ve never quite understood why – and this is something I feel really passionate about – our business as a whole seems to focus so much on a relatively small default audience of young readers (which gets even smaller as the target-age group increases), and we forget about the much larger potential audience that’s undoubtedly out there. It’s almost as if there’s a general acceptance that these kids don’t read, so there’s no point in reaching out to them. But I wonder if a big part of the reason they don’t read – or think they don’t like reading – is that we don’t give them a chance because we don’t reach out to them.’ Hear, hear! We are delighted to add to our list of titles by Kevin with the stunning The Devil's Angel. It's short and although it's not sweet, it packs a power in no way in proportion to its page-count. At its heart is the curious intensity of teen friendships, played out in one particular, lost summer. We think it's brilliant; please do let us know what you think via twitter, Facebook or email. _______________________ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2013 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Nicky knows he must do everything in his power to save the innocent and brave badger. But fighting the three local bullies whose cruelty towards it seems to know no bounds is an incredible challenge. With his father drifting into depression and his younger brother needing constant supervision, Nicky has enough on his hands already but he knows the real value of nature and knows he cannot stand by and see such wilful destruction. A powerful story about the importance of protecting wildlife. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 13+ ............................ Read a special Q&A with Anthony McGowan on his novels Pike and Brock.
In a Nutshell: Battles | Humour | Music | Third hard-hitting book in the hit Rock War series about a Battle of the Bands showdown, by the bestselling author of CHERUB. Rock Wars is now at the halfway mark and only six bands remain. After “near financial collapse” following the contestants' “outrageous behaviour” and subsequent withdrawal of a sponsor, the show now has a brand new backer and has “risen Phoenix-like to become the most watched reality show on British telly”. But there's plenty of music to face offstage as well as on. With one foot still in the school of hard knocks, and the other in hard rock heaven, singer Summer has to get herself back on track after being hit by a motorbike. And cocky Theo’s spending more time mixing with (and winding up) moviemakers at film premieres, and Premier League players at nightclubs than at the mixing desk. And then there’s the shady matter of an undercover investigation, which just goes to show that ambition and fame comes at a cost. With its heady mix of glamour and grit, and a cast of characters who run the gamut from smart, self-aware cynics to easily led-astrays, this is a seriously addictive read. Put on your finest threads and dive into the mosh pit of a plot that has more pace than a speed metal B-side! ~ Joanne Owen
December 2016 Book of the Month A non-stop, action packed, thrilling tale of a race to save humanity from a deadly virus. 15 year old Rebecca Eden and 16 year old Joe Fontana tell their own tales in alternate very short punchy chapters. Each has suffered heartache and each has experienced loss, yet dealt with it in very different ways. They meet in unusual circumstances and soon find themselves battling for their lives. The introduction set me on high alert, it took me a few seconds to understand what I was looking at, it was certainly intriguing and I immediately wanted to know more. Matt Dickinson doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, he exposes pain, corruption, loss, fear and meets them head on, yet with undeniable sensitivity. Well suited to both young men and women, ‘Lie Kill Walk Away’ is an exciting, adventurous and captivating tale. ~ Liz Robinson Matt Dickinson is known as the Everest climber – which is possibly the most extreme form of adventure there is – but did writing Lie Kill Walk Away allow him to explore a different kind of adventure? Matt says: Yes, probably I am best known for my Everest adventures, but I have plenty of other themes that I want to explore. In my previous series Mortal Chaos, I based the stories around chaos theory and the chain reactions that cause disasters. With Lie Kill Walk Away I wanted to create a very different form of adventure, a thriller environment in which two teenage protagonists are trying, quite literally, to save the world. It’s a big story but I have loved the challenge and I hope that readers will identify with my two heroes. Read the rest of this Q&A on Matt's author page. We think this is great book for reluctant readers and Matt agrees..he always keeps ‘reluctant readers’ in mind when writing, ‘I really like it when reluctant readers identify with my books and enjoy reading them. It’s a special feeling because it might inspire a new reading hobby that will last a lifetime. Reluctant readers are often boys with short attention spans. That’s why my books have very short chapters and are generally fast paced. I am the same in my reading habits; I strongly dislike books that are overwritten or just way too slow. I can promise readers of Lie Kill Walk Away that they will be in for a very fast read.’
In a Nutshell: Gigs • Glitz• Grown-up glitches Super-cool summer escapism with heaps of heat, heart and Hollywood glamour, this third Jessie Jefferson novel is the most satisfying yet. Having recently discovered that her dad is none other than global rockstar Johnny Jefferson, Jessie is settling in LA with Johnny and his new family. On her sixteenth birthday, Johnny springs an awesome surprise. He’s flown her loved ones over from the UK, including stepdad Stu and ex-boyfriend Tom, from whom she split after snogging Jack, the hot guitarist in the up-and-coming band she’s joined. After a day at Disneyland, the evening brings another surprise; Jesse’s LA friends and All Hype bandmates have laid on a party in her dad’s mansion in the Hollywood hills. But, unsurprisingly, these well-meaning distractions do little to take Jessie’s mind off the fact that her mum died in a tragic freak accident on this very same day, just one year ago. Though she’s sad to see Stu and her friends leave, Jessie has more than enough to occupy her time, like settling into her new celebrity-filled high school, band rehearsals, music lessons, learning to drive, doing magazine interviews, and Jack. But Mulholland Drive is a million miles from her Maidenhead hometown; it’s not easy keeping your feet on the ground when you’re reaching for the stars, and it looks like everything might spiral out of control when Johnny’s poisonous ex-girlfriend exacts her malicious revenge at post-gig party. Jessie’s newly-glamorous lifestyle (hanging out with celebs at extravagant parties, being papped while shopping for super-expensive clothes) make this an exceptional escapist treat, but the author doesn't shirk from exploring the flipsides of fame. As a result, Jessie’s journey to stay grounded and true to herself within the weird LA bubble of bright lights and big names resonates beyond her personal circumstances. ~ Joanne Owen
In a Nutshell: Dead gripping • Dead funny • Deadpan urban fantasy Full of fantastical thrills, supernatural spills and wail-out-loud wit, this sublimely plotted sequel to “Thirteen Days of Midnight” is a riotously riveting read. There was a time when Luke Manchett was Mr Popular, but all that changed when he inherited a bunch of ghosts from his necromancer dad. After doing a deal with the Devil to banish the ghosts, he’s now doing his best to get on with his life. But, as Luke knows only too well, “life doesn’t give you a friendly warning when everything changes. There’s no five-minute call before the ice breaks under your feet”, which is what happens when Ash, a glamorous Californian with a shock of white hair, rocks up at his school. Ash’s presence has an immediate and profound impact on Luke, and it’s not long before he discovers that she’s the daughter of his dead dad’s greatest enemy. It’s his dad’s fault that Ash’s twin sister is on a life support machine and has to be sustained by Ash’s life force. That’s what turned her hair white and dulled her blue eyes to grey. And now Ash needs Luke and his Book of Eight to save her sister, and herself… Luke’s wry, dry narrative voice is an absolute joy - for example, on the subject of striking a deal with the actual Devil he deadpans, “I think it's fair to say that was one of the more eventful nights of my life” - and this is a spine-tinglingly refreshing take on paranormal-themed YA, with more unexpected twists than the rivers of the Ancient Greek Underworld. ~ Joanne Owen
Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | July 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell : tense, unusual thriller Set in a not-too-distant future in which, following the collapse of the EU and a major recession in the UK (that must feel much more prescient now than when the book was being written), jails are filled not just with criminals, but the innocent family members of those who have committed crimes too, Simon Mayo’s first YA novel is a gripping, well-thought out thriller that asks interesting questions about our pre-disposition to apportion blame as a way of avoiding more difficult questions about what’s really gone wrong. The central character Ant, imprisoned with her foster parents and little brother Mattie, is the kind of feisty, impulsive and courageous heroine who lights up the best YA. ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of The Hunger Games. Readers who enjoy this kind of thoughtful political thriller will also like One of Us by Jeannie Waudby.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award Set in a near-future version of London, where a drug called Concentr8 has been extensively prescribed to young people diagnosed with ADHD, this is the brilliantly provocative second young adult novel from the bestselling author of Are You Experienced? and New Boy. Against a backdrop of rioting in the capital, a group of socially disaffected friends, led by angry, charismatic Blaze, pull a knife on a man as he leaves work at the Mayor’s office. While the friends wonder why they’ve taken someone hostage, an ambitious journalist investigates whether the withdrawal of Concentr8 might have triggered the rioting. A political scandal unfolds when it emerges that not everyone was medically assessed before being put on the pacifying drug, suggesting that something far more sinister is going on. Told through several authentic first person narratives, and interspersed with revealing excerpts from medical reports, sociological texts and tweets, this gripping, politically-charged novel explores the big issue of how young people get lost and failed by society, and why they might turn to criminal and anti-social behaviour. A fast-paced, thought-provoking rollercoaster of a read. ~ Joanne Owen
July 2016 Debut of the Month | In a Nutshell: Trip of a lifetime • Seize the day • Perfect endings Always heartwarming, often laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a sublime novel about living, loving and savouring every precious moment. As Maddie plans her pre-college summer vacation, her wealthy, flamboyant grandmother, Gram, drops a bombshell. She doesn't have long to live and she’s taking the whole family on a cruise, but not “one of those tacky, eat-all-you-want buffet ships”, she explains. Rather, this is a voyage for the dying and their loved ones, during which the passenger-patients aboard the good ship Wishwell will choose their time to be sent to sleep. Maddie’s family is reeling with shock when Gram springs another surprise. The love of her life wasn’t the man she spent most of her life married to. That honour goes to Bob Johns, the joyous, dreadlocked jazz-loving Jamaican whom she couldn't marry in the “backwards-ass world of the 1940s”, and he’s coming with them. During the trip of a lifetime, Maddie becomes “ship sisters” with 32-year-old Paige, and falls madly in love, as they travel to places of Gram’s choosing where she ticks off items on her incredible loose ends list before her journey ends. This remarkable debut is abundant in life lessons (live to the full, be fearless, be forgiving) but perhaps the most gorgeous message of all comes from Gram. “Take the pain and grow beauty”, she advises. Every bit as poignant on the subject of popping your clogs as it is on popping your cherry (a summary I reckon straight-talking Gram would approve of), this book will make you laugh, cry and emerge from its pages feeling monumentally uplifted. ~ Joanne Owen
April 2016 Debut of the Month Stewart and Ashley are about as different as it’s possible to be. He’s super smart, happy to use words like ‘plethora’ in everyday conversation, but socially a little inept. She’s queen of the popular set at school, can spot a Desigual outfit from five hundred yards, but thinks melodramatic is two different words. Neither is very good at gauging other peoples’ feelings, and the culture clash when they become step-siblings is deafening. Things are complicated further when Jared, the school hunk/bully, enters their lives. This is all sorts of things: a wonderful comedy of manners; a study of some serious emotional issues, including bereavement; and a heart-warming illustration of how it’s possible to make bad things good, by working together. Ashley and Stewart are irresistible characters and this is set to become one of the most popular books of the year. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 Baljit – Jit to his school friends – helps out in his father’s chippy but dreams of playing football in the Premier League. When he’s given a chance to take part in open trials for under-16s in front of scouts for the big teams, he knows he has to be there, even though it will mean lying to his mum and dad. This feel-good story successfully mixes drama, comedy and even a bit of romance (Jit ends up with the girl of his dreams as well as invites to attend second trials at Arsenal and Liverpool), while the descriptions of Jit’s home life, and relationships with his friends, are particularly warm and satisfying. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range. ................................. Read a special Q&A with Bali Rai on his book, Game On.
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Best-selling Caroline Lawrence doesn’t skimp on violence in this action-packed story which captures the bravery of two young boys, survivors of the carnage of the destruction of the city of Troy. Rye and Nisus are only six and thirteen when the great city falls. Both have suffered terrible tragedy and witnessed appalling violence. Following a leader who is determined to found a new Troy, the boys spend seven years voyaging towards their destination during which they train in all aspects of warfare in order to avenge the death of their respective relatives. When the chance to be heroes comes, Rye and Nisus seize it. But will they survive? And where are the gods when they most need them? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 14+
One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Award-winning Linda Newbery gives a fresh insight into the First World War in this deeply touching story. Village sweethearts Tilly and Harry are both willing to do what they can to help win the war. Harry joins up to serve in France and Tilly trains as a nurse stationed first near home and later in France. Despite their best intentions each of them finds themselves unable to keep promises made in the course of action. Can they still trust themselves? Can they trust each other? Linda Newbery sensitively charts the wider ripples of the war and its effect. A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Ruth Williams ‘I loved working on Tilly's Promise. Tilly's such an appealing narrator – sympathetic, yet matter-of-fact and totally lacking in self-pity. Tilly's own experiences as a nurse are moving enough, but particularly distressing are her concerns for her brother Georgie who has learning difficulties – I'd never before thought about what happened to men who were fit enough to fight, but couldn't understand what was going on.’ Tilly’s Promise is the story of a young volunteer nurse. For more information on nurses and medical care during the War and how the War affected those at home visit www.readingwar.co.uk. There is a wealth of fascinating information plus an introduction to the book from Linda Newbery.
Interest Age teen - Reading Age 8+ Bali Rai hits hard in this dark and haunting teen novel. Nothing has gone well for Sam since he and his mother were forced to leave their comfortable home after his dad’s disappearance under unpleasant circumstances. When a beautiful girl befriends him in the middle of a freak snowstorm on the grim estate where he lives, he feels his life will take a turn for the better. But Cassie is no ordinary girl; soon Sam finds himself on a trail of revenge with the most dangerous consequences.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Award-winning Keith Gray tells a page-turning adventure with gusto and style. Comic-mad Toby wakes one morning to find a man with a badly beaten up head staring at him from the end of the bed. Worse still, the man claims that Toby killed him! Did he? Toby sets out on a quest to discover the truth. The result is a quick witted detective story and well as an entertaining journey of self-discovery.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 7 Ben hates being a new boy. Even with a new hair cut and contact lenses instead of his usual glasses, he feels like a misfit. Until the girls start noticing him! Ben seems to attract admiring glances wherever he goes but is that only because they think he is the actor from a top TV show? Ben can’t see any problem with going along with their mistake but gradually, things begin to get a little out of control! An entertaining story about identity and confidence.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2006. Set at the end of the 19th century, Linda Newbery has cleverly carved out an incredible mystery that’s full of clever twists and entwined with drama, all manner of emotions and mind-blowingly powerful multi-dimensional characters, that you’ll find impossible to put down and one that is likely to haunt you long after you’ve read it. There aren’t many books that you can safely say that you’ll enjoy even more by reading it a second time but this is certainly one of them. A tour de force. The Judges said..."A novel of intrigue and deception. Newbery's landscape is a joy to walk into.
Anthony McGowan, Guest Editor June 2015 chose Animal Farm as one of his favourite short novels...."Orwell’s story of a farmyard revolution is one of the very few parables that works on both levels: his animal characters are so wonderfully drawn we come to love (or hate) them, share in their dreams, aspirations, and feel for their ultimate betrayal. Add to that the wider truths it tells us about power and injustice, and we have one of the greatest books of the twentieth century. All in 144 pages …" Animal Farm - the history of a revolution, under the leadership of the pigs Napoleon and Wellington leads to the animals taking over the farm but it all went wrong - is George Orwell's brilliant satire on the corrupting influence of power. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
TURN RELUCTANT READERS INTO BOOK-LOVERS, AND STRUGGLING READERS INTO CONFIDENT ONES.
The experts at Barrington Stoke have put together a great guide with top tips to help you help your child to love reading - you can download it here.
Here at LoveReading4Kids, we want to ensure that every child, however reluctant or struggling a reader he or she is, is given the chance to become a voracious reader.
So with this in mind, our Editorial guru Julia Eccleshare, working closely with the Literacy Trust, asked parents and teachers to recommend books that they had found useful for less confident or unenthusiastic readers. From this initial list Julia has selected a range of titles and put them into age categories. From time to time, we’ll refresh the books so that ongoing you’ll always find something to enthuse your reluctant or struggling reader.
The list includes titles from both mainstream and specialist publishers but all from authors you are likely to recognise. Specialist publishers tend to focus on titles for readers whose reading age is lower than the interest age so if you have a child who finds reading difficult, or who aren’t yet ready to cope with long books, or who simply don’t enjoy books then try one of these titles - each will be clearly marked with its reading age and interest age. The specialist publisher Barrington Stoke is a past master at convincing reluctant readers that books are cool and is at the forefront of this specialist publishing. Their books are short, sharp and sound, skilfully written by some of the top children’s authors around and edited with real flair. So, if your child is really reluctant or struggling we would suggest starting off on the titles published by specialist publishers and then move on to the mainstream titles we’ve also selected.
When a reader is hooked on a story, his or her reading ability is proven to improve. He reads more fluently – because he wants to read on! That’s why books for reluctant readers have to have fabulous stories. We’ve thought long and hard about the selection and we feel every one of the books selected provides a powerful and unputdownable story, even for the most reluctant reader.
Here at LoveReading4Kids, with the launch of this genre, our aim is to get every reluctant or struggling reader to take that first step into enjoying the reading experience.
So why not scroll down our list of titles, which is first and foremost broken down by age of child and within that where a title’s reading age is different from the age of the child, it is clearly marked.
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