Board books for babies and toddlers
Given the perplexing absence of ‘Busy library’ from the Busy books series, this jolly little book will have to do. After all, it does celebrate stories and has a nice twiddly bit on each page, complicated enough to absorb rather than frustrate a child at the poking stage of development.
Picture books for 2-5 year olds
No pictures, but loads of made-up words, a fan following and its own website. As a script writer, B. J. Novak is used to putting words into people’s mouths. See what he’s put into ours: “ GLuURR-GA-wocko ma GRUMPH-a-doo AiiEE! AiiEE! AiiEE! BRROOOOoOG BRROOOOoOG OOOOOOmph! EEEEEEmph! Blaggity-BLaGGITY GLIBBITY-globbity globbity-GLIBBITY BEEP. Boop. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee eeeeee eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee B DooonGY FACE!!!!”! Synthetic phonics, or what?!
If you’re exhausted after late Christmas bedtimes and long for normality, this lovely new story could set you on the way. There’s quite a lot of text, but it rhymes, it’s funny and it winds gently down to the end.
Short chapter books for 6-8 year olds
Take a dash of mystery and a dollop of friendship, mix well with cute illustrations and you have the recipe for this new title in the Hello Kitty and Friends series aimed at 7 to 9 year olds. There are about 14 other titles to read if this one takes your fancy.
Junior novels for 8–12 year olds
Russell Brand’s re-telling of this traditional tale will not be to everyone’s taste, (frequently including words like “gob” and “bum”), but Chris Riddell’s illustrations are sheer genius. His rats are a masterpiece of evil and his sinister Piper oozes menace.
Saving cows from an abattoir is an unlikely sub-plot, but this debut novel set on a Welsh housing estate is about much more. It deals with the loneliness of a girl whose father is in prison, an unlikely friendship she forms with girl from a nearby farm, and about a community who come together for a common cause. After just one chapter, I’m totally hooked.
Read all the Wimpy Kids and Big Nates? Need another laugh? Timmy Failure, CEO of the aptly named detective agency, Failure Inc could fill your anti-hero gap. However, this is his third book, so you may prefer to read the first two books. Philip Ardagh, well-known author of The Grunts describes the Timmy Failure series as “original and quirky, with real heart” and we would never disagree with him – have you seen how tall he is?
Older teen novels for 14+
Zoe Sugg, vlogger with 3.5 million followers, debuts her first book. It’s about Penny, a panic struck, anxiety ridden teenager whose dad advises her to keep a diary. Penny decides to start a blog instead and this is the story of that blog. I was hooked before the end of the first page, but I can’t read it yet because so many other people in Suffolk want to read it too. Be quick, that’s all I can say! (And if unlike Penny, you fancy starting a diary instead of a blog, keep a lookout for our next book list, coming soon to a website near you!)