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New children's books for April 2018

Written by · Published Mar 29, 2018

The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily, The House with Chicken Legs, Ghost Boys

Board books

Where is Little Fish? and Count with Little Fish, by Lucy Cousins

New, vibrant board books from the creator of Maisy Mouse.

Farm, by Marie-Noelle Horvath

In the first of a new series for children aged 6+ months:

“Take a trip to the farm! Lift the giant flaps to reveal the farm animals and touch lots of exciting textures. Feel the sheep’s woolly fleece, the goat’s shaggy fur, and the pig’s leathery skin.”

Picture books

Dinosaur Juniors: happy hatchday, by Rob Biddulph

“Meet Otto, Winnie, Greg(osaurus) and all the other dinosaur juniors, as they traverse life’s first ups and downs.”

The first in a new series from the bestselling author/illustrator or Kevin, Sunk! and Odd Dog Out.

Sophie Johnson: unicorn expert, by Morag Hood & Ella K. Okstad

“Sophie Johnson is a self-confessed unicorn expert (among other things) and has dressed up her toys and pets with their own unique horns. Strange then, that she doesn’t seem to notice the real unicorn who has come into her house.”

A humorous story about “a unicorn hiding in plain sight and a little girl who is totally oblivious to his presence!” from the author of I Am Bat.

The Story of Tantrum O’Furrily, by Cressida Cowell & Mark Nicholas

“Tantrum O’Furrily’s kittens are hungry and doubt that a story can ease a stray cat’s rumbling stomach. However, they soon learn that stories are powerful, and that if you’re courageous you might find a saucer of milk at the end of that story.”

Illustrator Nicholas won the Carmelite prize, which recognises excellence in a student of children’s book illustration. His reward was the opportunity to work in this picture book, his debut, with bestselling author Cowell.

The Weather Girls, by Aki

“Spring, summer, autumn or winter - the intrepid Weather Girls are ready for whatever the seasons might bring! Join them as they stomp through autumn leaves, enjoy a summer swim, explore the lush green forests and climb a snowy mountain.”

Nothing whatsoever to do with raining men! Publisher Pan Macmillan describes this as “a charming, rhyming story with striking illustrations and additional nature facts.”

The Things that I LOVE about TREES, by Christine Butterworth & Charlotte Voake

“Learn how a plum tree changes with the seasons in this picture book, beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake. Chris Butterworth’s gentle, lyrical text describes how the buds of the plum tree bloom in the spring and how its leaves grow green and lush in the summer. Time goes by, and soon we see those same leaves fall in the autumn - now the branches are bare for the cold winter months.”

Grandmas from Mars, by Michelle Robinson & Fred Blunt

The new title from There’s a Lion in my Cornflakes, which won the first ever Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award in 2014.

“Fred and Nell’s grandma is babysitting and the kids couldn’t be happier. But hang on, there’s something not quite right about her. In fact, she’s acting very strangely indeed. And is that a spare eyeball? A tail? A striped tongue? That’s not their grandma; it’s an alien - run!”

Nimesh the Adventurer, by Ranjit Singh & Mehrdokht Amini

“School is over and Nimesh is about to walk home. He will cross the road, pass the bakery, walk through a park and eventually find himself in his own street. Perfectly normal, right? Wrong! If you decide to join Nimesh on his walk home from school, your journey will be anything BUT normal. There will be dragons and sharks and pirates - and maybe even a princess!”

Riding a Donkey Backwards: wise and foolish tales of the Mulla Nasruddin’, by Sean Taylor & Shirin Adl

“A collection of 21 riotous tales and riddles about the Mulla Nasruddin” from the author of Hoot Owl: master of disguise and I Want to be in a Scary Story!.

Ruby in the Ruins, by Shirley Hughes

“Ruby and Mum cling to each other while they live through the terrifying London Blitz, waiting for Dad to come home from the war. Day after day they hope for his return – but when the moment to meet him at the station finally comes, Ruby hardly recognises the tall man who steps off the train. He’s big and sunburned, and he doesn’t seem to be as engaged as he once was. It’s easier to play outside in the wreckage of the bombings than to stay at home with a dad she doesn’t know anymore. But when Ruby hurts her knee in the ruins, there’s only one person who can rescue her and make her feel all right.”

Junior novels

The Lifters, by Dave Eggers

“What if nothing was as it seemed? What if the ground beneath your feet was not made of solid earth and stone but had been hollowed into hundreds of tunnels and passageways? What if there were mysterious forces in these tunnels, mere inches below you as you sit in class or eat a banana? What if it were up to just two kids to stop these forces? What would it feel like to know the fate of an entire town rested on your shoulders?

“Twelve-year-old Gran Flowerpetal is about to find out. When Gran’s friend, the difficult-to-impress Catalina Catalan, presses a silver handle into a hillside and opens a doorway to underground, he knows that she is extraordinary and brave, and that he will have no choice but to follow her, and help her save the town (and the known world). With luck on their side, and some discarded hockey sticks for good measure, they might just emerge as heroes.”

According to author Mac Barnett, “this book is a ripper, full of all the good stuff: adventure, mystery, and lots of great jokes.”

The House with Chicken Legs, by Sophie Anderson

In this much-anticipated debut novel steeped in Russian folklore:

“Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays somewhere long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning. The only people Marinka meets are dead; they disappear when her grandmother, Baba Yaga, guides them through The Gate. Marinka wants to change her destiny, but her house has other ideas.”

The Chosen Ones, by Scarlett Thomas

In the sequel to Dragon’s Green:

“Effie Truelove has learned to travel through magical books to the Otherworld. Maximilian Underwood, Effie’s classmate, is more interested in the dark and forbidden Underworld.

“When Effie and Maximilian both mysteriously vanish, their friends Raven, Lexy and Wolf don’t know where to turn for help. Raven is a witch and her horse, Echo, has revealed that Effie is in deep danger and time is running out. To make things worse, Raven’s mother, the author Laurel Wilde, is caught up in a plot with the ruthless billionaire Albion Freake, who will stop at nothing to become invincible.

“Where are Effie and Maximilian? Are their disappearances connected? And can Albion Freake’s deadly plan be stopped?”

Iguana Boy Saves the World with a Triple Cheese Pizza, by James Bishop

“Dylan has wanted a superpower for as long as he can remember, especially since his brother and sister have got really cool ones. But when his wish finally comes true, Dylan is mightily disappointed. For Dylan has become Iguana Boy. He can talk to iguanas - rubbish.

“And when supervillain Celina Shufflebottom kidnaps all the superheroes in London, Dylan must work out how to use his new team of chatty iguanas to save the day. He’s going to have to think outside the box, (the pizza box), if he’s going to become the hero he’s always dreamed of. If he’s going to make Iguana Boy cool.”

This is one of the titles recommended for the 2018 Summer Reading Challege.

Twelve Nights, by Andrew Zurcher

“Kay and her little sister, Eloise, never imagined that their standard icy Christmas Eve in Cambridge would be the start of a twelve-night odyssey. Kay’s father is working late - as usual. Fed up, her mother bundles her daughters into the car and drives to her husband’s Cambridge college to collect him herself.

“But when they arrive, the staff claim that nobody by his name has ever worked there. Kay is puzzled by her mother’s reaction - silent tears, not anger and confusion. And what is even more puzzling is the card on her pillow when they return home: Will O. de Wisp, Gent. F.H.S.P. and Phillip R.T. Gibbet, Gent. F.H.S.P. K.Bith. REMOVALS. That night, Kay is woken by voices at her window: the voices of Will and Phillip, the Removers. But they are not human. And Kay shouldn’t be able to see them. Except she can!”

Publisher Puffin describes this as the kind of book that “every editor dreams of discovering; the kind that gives you goosebumps from the off because the writing, characters and setting are all so vivid.”

The Bolds in Trouble

In the fourth book in this comical series about a family of hyenas living in suburbia:

“Teddington’s wildest family have decided to stay at home and keep their heads down - it isn’t always easy hiding tails and fur under clothes, and it’s important not to raise suspicion amongst their human neighbours. But trouble soon comes skulking when a very sly fox starts making a big nuisance of himself. It’s up to the Bolds to try and stop him - but the solution has them foxed!”

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, by Victoria Williamson

“Reema runs to remember the life she left behind in Syria. Caylin runs to find what she’s lost.

“Under the grey Glasgow skies, 12-year-old refugee Reema is struggling to find her place in a new country, with a new language and without her brother. But she isn’t the only one feeling lost. Her Glaswegian neighbour Caylin is lonely and lashing out.

“When they discover an injured fox and her cubs hiding on their estate, the girls form a wary friendship. And they are more alike than they could have imagined: they both love to run. As Reema and Caylin learn to believe again, in themselves and in others, they find friendship, freedom and the discovery that home isn’t a place, it’s the people you love.”

Ghost Boys, by Jewell Parker Rhodes

“Twelve-year-old Jerome doesn’t get into trouble. He goes to school. He does his homework. He takes care of his little sister. Then Jerome is shot by a police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, watching his family trying to cope with his death, Jerome begins to notice other ghost boys. Each boy has a story and they all have something in common. Bit by bit, Jerome begins to understand what really happened - not just to him, but to all of the ghost boys.”

Publisher Hachette describes this as “a heartbreaking and powerful story … drawing connections with real-life history.”

Planet Stan, by Elaine Wickson & Chris Judge

“Stan loves a calming, ordered environment. His dinosaur-loving younger brother Fred is the opposite: chaotic, messy, prone to leaving snails under Stan’s bed. As Stan struggles to cope with his high maintenance brother and his harebrained schemes he charts all the ups and downs of his life in a series of hilarious infographics.”


Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different, by Ben Brooks

“Boys need to know that prince charmings and brave hunters are not the only role-models. In fact, a whole lot of them out there don’t identify with the idea of being a strong, independent, competitive saviour who never cries. As a boy, there is an assumption that you will conform to this stereotypical idea of masculinity, but what if you’re the introvert kind, what if you prefer to pick up a book rather than a sword, what if you’re very sensitive, what if you like the idea of wearing a dress?”

Football School: the amazing quiz book, by Alex Bellos, Ben Lyttleton & Spike Gerrell

From the creators of Where Football Rules the World and Where Football Saves the World:

“Test your knowledge of international football and discover fascinating facts and stats with this quiz book. Packed with over 300 questions on World Cups and international tournaments and filled with funny cartoons and brilliant trivia to impress your friends and family, this is the perfect way for football fans to learn about the beautiful game.”

My First Chess Book, by Katie Daynes & Fitz Hammond

“Meet the characters that make up a chess army and learn how to fight your first battle in this friendly introduction to the game. ‘My First Chess Book’ is written clearly and simply, with entertaining examples, making it the perfect starting point for young children - and a handy refresher guide for parents and grandparents!”

You Are Awesome: find your confidence to be good at almost anything

Sports psychology and beyond from the award-winning journalist and table-tennis champion.

“If you believe you can’t do something, the chances are you won’t try. But what if you really could get better at maths, or sport or exams? In fact, what if you could excel at anything you put your mind to? ‘You Are Awesome’ can help you do just that, inspiring and empowering young readers to find the confidence to realise their potential.”

Migration: incredible animal journeys, by Mike Unwin & Jenni Desmond

“Animals of all shapes and sizes make epic journeys across our planet, through harsh weather and avoiding hungry predators, in their efforts to survive. Picture the migrations of: The emperor penguin, through snow, ice and bitter temperatures. A great white shark, swimming 10,000 km in search of seals. Huge herds of elephants, on their yearly hunt for water. Millions of red crabs, in a migration across Christmas Island that can last for 18 days. With colour illustrations, read and visualise the astonishing migrations of 20 creatures, in this truly inspiring narrative.”

Go Wild in the River, by Goldie Hawk & Rachael Saunders

“This pocket-sized adventure guide teaches young adventurers about all the fun you can have on the river: what to pack, how to spot river animals and wildlife, how to build your own raft, how to catch a fish and much, much more! Children will also learn exactly what not to do, from getting caught in a current to slipping down waterfalls.

“With fun games to play on and around the river, interesting information about the water cycle, and a useful chapter on what to do in a river emergency, this is the perfect book for young adventurers!”

Look Inside: Nature, by Minna Lacey & Carolina Buzio

“This is an inspiring book that explores the wonders of nature, with illustrations and ingenious flaps. Look up in the trees, behind the reeds or under the ground to see what’s living there, and discover how plants grow and make seeds.”

Look Inside: How Things Work, by Rob Lloyd Jones & Stefano Tognetti

“A fascinating flap book packed with interesting information about how lots of things work. Discover the inner workings of cars and boats, farm and building site machines, everyday household items including vacuum cleaners, computers and fridges, and much more.”

Planet Awesome!, by Stacy McAnulty & David Litchfield

“In this hilarious and informative book filled to the brim with eye-opening, kid-friendly facts about our planet, you’ll find scientifically accurate information from children’s book author Stacy McAnulty and vibrant art by award-winning illustrator David Litchfield.”

So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in Ancient Egypt, by Chai Strathie & Marisa Morea

“A kid’s life in ancient Egypt might sound like fun with all the cool pyramids and glorious sunny weather, but actually it was rather tough! In this hilarious book, children will learn exactly how difficult life really was, from dodging Deathstalker scorpions and cleaning up cow dung, to fetching water from the well, eating roast hedgehog and being slammed in the stocks for being naughty at school!”

Sophie Green

Sophie Green

I work for the Suffolk Libraries stock team. I also write children’s fiction, short stories and comedy. Visit my website.