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New children's books for January 2017

Written by · Published Jan 3, 2017

Be Brave Little Penguin, Thank You, Mr Panda and I'm In Charge

Picture books

Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees - Be Brave Little Penguin

This picture book about Pip-Pip, the little penguin who is frightened of water, should work a charm at playgroup storytimes. Perfectly tackling the theme of overcoming fears, and featuring brilliant rhymes and absolute cuteness, we predict it will become as indispensable to the Early Years repertoire as Giraffes Can’t Dance.

Steve Antony - Thank You, Mr Panda

“Mr Panda is happy to help his friends prepare for a special surprise - if they remember to say thank you, that is!”

Could there be a better way to teach manners than with Mr Panda? I don’t think so, for with Steve Antony you get a gorgeous book full of visual style and humour too.

Jeanne Willis - I’m In Charge

“This romping rhyming story from award-winning author Jeanne Willis is all about a little rhino who likes to make the rules! When Rhino finds a tree bursting with fruit, he isn’t about to share it with anyone - after all, he’s in charge round here! But it looks like things are about to change.”

If your family life takes place within the forcefield of a bossy toddler, then the territory in Jeanne Willis’s latest gem should be familiar. Be grateful that your small child is human. Hers is a rhino…

Junior novels

Lissa Evans - Wed Wabbit

“You’re called Fidge and you’re nearly 11. You’ve been hurled into a strange world. You have three companions: two are unbelievably weird and the third is your awful cousin Graham. You have to solve a series of nearly impossible clues. You need to deal with a cruel dictator and three thousand Wimbley Woos (yes, you read that sentence correctly). And the whole situation - the whole, entire thing - is your fault.”

Two children get trapped inside a bizarre and threatening picture book world in this exciting new adventure. It’s being hailed as a title to watch out for in 2017, funny, well written and a bit scary too. Sounds like a good one to read as a family.

Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton - The 78-storey Treehouse

“Join Andy and Terry in their spectacular new 78-storey treehouse. They’ve added 13 new levels including a drive-thru car wash, a combining machine, a scribbletorium, an ALL-BALL sports stadium, Andyland, Terrytown, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre. Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!”

If you haven’t climbed through the literary branches of this series yet, you MUST read the 13-, 26-, 39-, 52- and 65-storey Treehouse books before starting this new one. It’s the rules. OK? We mean it…

Ross Welford - What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible

“Turning invisible at will: it’s one way of curing your acne. But far more drastic than 13-year-old Ethel Leatherhead intended when she tried a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed. It’s fun at first, being invisible. And aided by her friend Boydy, she manages to keep her extraordinary ability secret. Or does she? When one day the invisibility fails to wear off, Ethel is thrown into a nightmare of lies and deception as she struggles to keep herself safe, to find the remedy that will make her seen again - and solve the mystery of her own birth.”

Ross Welford’s first book Time Travelling with a Hamster has been nominated for several awards, so we can’t wait to read this one. It’s due out at the start of the month, so it could be just the thing to stave off that New Year boredom.

Kennilworthy Whisp and J. K. Rowling - Quidditch Through The Ages

“This text includes all of the information you could ever need to know about the history, the rules - and the breaking of the rules - of the noble wizarding sport of Quidditch.”

We’ve ordered lots of copies of this quasi-historical analysis of the famous sport especially for HP fans, young and not quite so young. First published back in 2001, we are delighted to see it reissued. Our only regret was that it wasn’t available in time for Christmas.


Sara Barnard - A Quiet Kind of Thunder

“Steffi doesn’t talk, but she has so much to say. Rhys can’t hear, but he can listen. Their love isn’t a lightning strike, it’s the rumbling roll of thunder. Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk and, as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.”

Sara Barnard’s first title, Beautiful Broken Things, caused quite a stir and featured in the first Zoella Book Club list. Her new novel A Quiet Kind of Thunder, about a girl who has chosen to be mute and a boy who can’t hear, is already being flagged up as “one to watch for” in January.

Phil Earle - Mind The Gap

“When Mikey’s dad died, something in Mikey died too. He loved his old man and he never stopped dreaming that one day his dad would land the role of a lifetime, prove them all wrong and rock back up to the estate in the flashiest car anyone had ever seen. Now there’s just numbness, and not caring, and really, really stupid decisions. He says the worst of it is that he can’t even remember his dad’s voice any more. Eventually Mikey’s best mate can’t bear it any more, and so he sets out to give Mikey the memories - and his dad’s voice - back.”

Author of the excellent Storey Street series for middle graders, Phil Earle’s new powerful YA novel is in a different league.

Jo Dixon

I work for Suffolk Libraries Stock Team.