Tony Ross has illustrated a series of traditional tales, and this sturdy board book version is great. It’s for an older toddler who can listen to a whole story, rather than for a baby, but the illustrated tabs (cow – beanstalk – hen – harp – axe) will I’m sure provide, a useful aide-memoire to the narrative sequence!
This is the 4th wonderful title about Archie the hippo. If you own or are otherwise related to an impatient toddler with a will of iron, you’ll recognize all the moves and laugh and cry with his exasperated tired parents. This picture books is sheer joy, and so clever.
The bright cheery illustrations of this hungry mammoth are so full of humour they “carry” the story of his prodigious appetite joyously along. The story is in rhyme, though you’ll need to gabble the odd word, to make all the lines scan!
At the Ferocious Dragon Academy, dragons-in-training learn the arts of bone crunching and teeth sharpening. But there is one dragon who harbours a passion for a most undragon-like pastime. Meet Flamie Oliver. To look at, Flamie is as terrifying as a dragon can get. But behind closed doors, Flamie is a stupendously spectacular Star Baker! That's right - choux, rough, salty, sweet and puff - Flamie loves it all. In fact, he loves baking so much that his studies at the Ferocious Dragon Academy are starting to suffer, and there's a chance he won't graduate. Flamie's going to need a real showstopper to get out of this one. On your marks, get set - BAKE!
Short chapter books
Dixie (the dog) decides to get fit, and sets off on the front seat a tandem with his friend Percy occupying the rear. There’s a delightfully retro feel to the text and the illustrations in the Dixie O ’Day books, with detailed maps to pore over and a limited colour palette. They are gathering quite a following now, and have some ardent fans here in Suffolk. With the Tour de France still going strong and the Olympics coming soon, this particular title has appeared at just the right time.
A welcome return for this exciting mythical story set in Wales, about a boy, an evil lord and a harp with sinister qualities. First published back in 1968, it won the Guardian Award the following year. It’s perfect for those avid readers of 9-13 (now called middle-grade) who “consume” books.
Pan is missing his parents in China and is delighted when Eric helps him to speak to them over the internet. But his joy turns to despair when his parents announce that they are sending his aunt and uncle to bring him home. Travelling through the sewer system, Pan's relatives show up in Eric's house via his toilet - and they're not going back without him!
If you’re off to Scotland for your summer holiday, do not read this review. “Hidden in the water, something is stirring …” so reads the quote on the cover. Set in a town beside a Scottish Loch, where a pet rabbit is just first thing to disappear, Polly Ho-Yen’s second novel is as exciting and unusual as her first. (But it’s not for the feint hearted!)
Young teen fiction
Perhaps it was the financial crash of 2008 that inspired Simon Mayo to write Blame. The main characters have been blamed and imprisoned for the “crimes against society” committed by their parents and grandparents. This thriller of a book is about their attempts to escape and to clear their names. It is thought provoking, edge of the seat stuff which appeals across barriers of gender and race. A brilliant read!