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New children’s books for May 2016

Written by · Published May 3, 2016

Tidy by Emily Gravett

Picture books and board books

Captain Jack and the pirates by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury

Captain Jack and the pirates by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury

This roll-along rhyme set on a sandy beach and starring two little boys and a baby, is tenderly enhanced by Helen Oxenbury’s beautiful illustrations. It’s a pleasure to read.

The perfect picnic by Ciara Flood

The perfect picnic by Ciara Flood

If you like detailed illustrations of domestic interiors in a hedgerow sort-of-a-way (think Brambly Hedge), and delicious drawings of picnic food (think Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch), then you might like to pore over the pictures in this book. It’s about a poor old long suffering mole and a demanding, flighty squirrel (in an Alison Uttley sort-of-a-way) and it’s just lovely to read to young children. Ciara Flood’s first book Those Pesky rabbits, came out last year, and that’s a joy too. Roll on book number 3!

Tidy by Emily Gravett

Tidy by Emily Gravett

A cautionary tale with all the wit and brilliant artistry we’ve come to expect from Emily Gravett. Her hero this time is an OCD badger called Bill, who battle against the anarchy of nature leads to deforestation and flooding. I wonder if someone will pass a copy to the Environment Agency? She is one clever cookie that Emily G!

I went to the supermarket by Paul Howard

I went to the supermarket by Paul Howard

A brother and sister play the traditional memory game in this fun-filled picture book, competing to add the most outrageous items to their shopping lists. I love the contrast between their choices, the expressions on the faces of the children and the creatures they introduce, the way the little girl prefaces every sentence with “Well”, and the surprise ending. A good choice for story time at playgroups.

Nibbles: The book monster by Emma Yarlett

Nibbles: The book monster by Emma Yarlett

Nibbles looks like an emoticon with teeth, but there the similarity with digital format ends. This is an astonishing book about a voracious little creature who eats his way through several traditional stories. Emma Yarlett must have worked for months to create such stunning paper engineering, and we are the lucky beneficiaries of her creativity. Wow what a book!

Junior novels

Sputnik’s guide to life on earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Sputnik’s guide to life on earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

“Frank Cottrell Boyce uses the sad story of Laika the dog, the first living creature in space, as inspiration for a novel about the importance of home”. Prez Mellows’ grandfather has dementia, and Prez, who hasn’t talked since his grandfather was taken away, is spending the summer with a temporary foster family. When he answers the door to Sputnik, a mind-reading alien, the rest of the family, just see a cute dog whom they welcome into their home. Prez and Sputnik spend an amazing summer saving the world, (and cutting hair with lightsabres!) and Prez is eventually reunited with his grandfather. It’s a poignant touching tale, but as with all the books by this marvellous author, it’s just plain funny. It’s easy to read too, and happily enhanced by Steven Lenton’s illustrations.

Junior non-fiction

Eat your greens, reds, yellows and purples by James Mitchem and Carrie Love

Eat your greens, reds, yellows and purples by James Mitchem and Carrie Love

This super cookery book has bright colourful photographs, with clear captions and well written instructions for delicious looking vegetarian recipes. If only the type face were thicker, it would be just perfect and we’d buy even more copies.

Young teen

A seven letter word by Kim Slater

A seven letter word by Kim Slater

This is a page-turner of a book about an intelligent articulate boy who developed a stutter after his mother’s sudden disappearance. And stutter is the 7 letter word of the title. Finlay hates the word and his stutter, which has made him an easy target for bullies. Scrabble is how he pours out his thoughts to his missing mum, and Scrabble rules head each new chapter. However a new friend he meets at a Scrabble tournament, and the belief that he can find his mother, change his life. Kim Slater was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize last year for Smart, her debut novel.

Head over heels by Holly Smale

Head over heels by Holly Smale

This is the 5th title in the Geek Girl series, about Harriet Manners, the girl whose head is filled with useful facts and helpful suggestions, and we think her fans will love it. Poor old Harriet just can’t resist organising every detail of her friends lives for them, but this time, much to her astonishment, some of them resist. She’s been so busy organising them and using her baby step-sister as a fashion prop, that she almost misses the boy who has fallen in love with her. (Now I would love her to organise my life, it sounds like heaven!).

Desolation by Derek Landy

Desolation by Derek Landy

This is the second title in the Demon Road trilogy “Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell - five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.” NB All Landy fans, American Monsters (the final instalment) is due to be published on 25 August, but if it’s as fat as Desolation, you may want to borrow it in digital format too – so much lighter to pack!

Jo Dixon

I work for Suffolk Libraries Stock Team.