Big sister Edith, a kind and studious child, tries patiently to introduce her brother to wildlife. But Arthur’s wooden sword and rallying cries of “Come out you old rabbits!” see off any wildlife pretty sharpish. Until it gets dark.
And there’s more wildlife-hunting-in-the-dark in the latest picture book by Chris Haughton. With few words, this tale of feckless hunters would be good fun to read aloud.
And the latest Willow Valley title should land on our shelves in time for Easter, for children who like their chapters short:
A brother and sister unwillingly evacuated from London, discover 2 boys hiding in a ruined tower in this gripping time slip novel (1940s meets the fifteenth century). Sonya Hartnett is a masterful teller of tales. Her other IIWW novel The Midnight Zoo published in 2010, was set in war torn Poland
The second book about the Littlest Dragon, who has the biggest and best ideas. Familiar family stories for beginner readers.
With nine older brothers, no. 10 has to be ever more resourceful to get what he wants. In the first story, he is determined to get to the breakfast table before his brothers, so he can get the freebie gift from the cereal box. After three attempts, he manages it, with the help of a feather duster and 9 pairs of tickly toes.
In the second story, the Littlest Dragon is left at home while his older brothers go to the big dragons’ swimming pool. How will he get to go swimming?
With plenty of repetition and alliteration, this book is perfect for children who are just able to read on their own. Hugely popular with Year 2s.
Young teen novels
If you missed this “utopian dystopia” novel back in 1994, read it now, before the film comes out this Autumn. Ira Levin meets Margaret Atwood, if you like that sort of thing.
A film version of this is due out later this year too. Described as “a gutsy version of Hogwarts, fairy tales and the supernatural”, it’s been nominated for Waterstones Children’s book Prize 2014.
An appreciation of the twin sisters who illustrated hundreds of children’s books, including Dodie Smith’s Hundred and One Dalmatians. If you’re quick, you can still catch Ipswich Art College’s exhibition featuring their work.
Alex Rider’s eighth adventure and the most action-packed yet.
Targeted by a hitman and under threat of his past being exposed by the media, Alex reluctantly turns to MI6. But their help doesn’t come cheap: they need Alex to spy on the activities at a GM crop plant.
There he spots Desmond Cain, a high profile charity organiser, who realizes that Alex is on to him and the real plans for the money he’s raising. Kidnapped and whisked off to Africa, Alex learns the full horror of Cain’s plot: to create an epic disaster that will kill millions.
Getting word to MI6 only makes matters worse. Now, before even facing the real enemy, Alex must also stop his own side before they unwittingly trigger the death of a whole nation.