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New children's books for May 2019

Written by · Published Apr 29, 2019

Slow Samson, Malamander, The Big Book of Birds

Board books

That’s Not My Zebra, by Fiona Watt & Rachel Wells

Another title for the eternally popular series.

Superhero Dad and Daughter and Superhero Dad and Son, by Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger

Just in time for Father’s Day.

Moon Landing, by Lon Lee

“A novelty board book for toddlers about the first Moon landing in 1969, with push, pull and turning mechanisms.”

Picture books

Grumpycorn, by Sarah McIntyre

“Unicorn wants to write the most fabulous story in the world. He has a fancy notebook. A special fluffy pen. He has everything just perfect. But Unicorn has no idea what to write! When his friends try to join in, will Unicorn turn into a Grumpycorn?”

Sophie Johnson: detective genius, by Morag Hood & Ella Okstad

Follow-up to Sophie Johnson: unicorn expert.

“Sophie Johnson studied very hard to become a detective and it’s a good thing she did - there has been a terrible crime! Someone has stolen Lion’s tail.

“Unfortunately, this means that Sophie doesn’t have time to train her new (and not very good) assistant, Bella. However, is it possible that, while Sophie is busy rounding up suspects, she doesn’t see that Bella may be better than she thinks?”

The Same But Different Too, by Karl Newson & Kate Hindley

“These children and animals are all very different to each other. Some are big, some are small. Some are gentle, some are rough. Everyone is playful, but who’s the best at hiding? But one thing’s certain: they all love a good bedtime story!”

Paper Planes, by Jim Helmore & Richard Jones

From the team behind The Snow Lion.

“Mia and Ben are the very best of friends. They live side by side at the edge of a great, wide lake and together they sail, and swing, and sing. But the thing they love the most is making paper planes. They dream of one day being able to make a plane that will fly all the way across the lake, and their planes become more and more intricate.

“But one day: terrible news. Ben’s family are moving far, far away. How can Mia and Ben stay best friends if they are so far apart? And how will they ever realise their dream of making a plane that can fly across their lake?”

I Don’t Want to be Small, by Laura Ellen Anderson

From the author of I Don’t Want Curly Hair.

“NO! I do NOT want to be so small! I wish I’d keep growing so I can be tall.

“This little boy is fed up with being so little. He wants to be as tall as his friends and his big brother. But when he loses his teddy bear up a tree, not even his new tall friend can get it back for him. Maybe with a little bit of help they can reach the bear together.”

Slow Samson, by Bethany Christou

“Everyone likes Samson the sloth, and he gets lots of invitations to parties. The problem is that he’s far too slow to ever get there on time. When Samson finally makes it to the celebration the cake is eaten and the party games are finished. Luckily Samson’s resourceful friends have a plan!”

Who doesn’t love a sloth? Christou was highly recommended in the Macmillan Prize for Illustration.

Hugless Douglas and the Baby Birds, by David Melling

“When a nest full of eggs comes crashing down, Hugless Douglas offers to look after them until Swoopy Bird has built a new home. But Douglas soon discovers a hug is not enough to keep a little egg safe.”

The Suitcase, by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

“When a strange-looking animal arrives pulling a big suitcase, the other animals are curious. What on earth could be inside the suitcase? When the animals break into the suitcase and discover a very special photograph, they begin to understand what the strange creature has been through, and together they create a very special welcome present.”

Short chapter books

Boot, by Shane Hegarty

Recommended for fans of Wall-E and Toy Story.

“When toy robot, Boot, wakes up at a scrapyard, it has no idea how it got there and why it isn’t with its owner, Beth. It only has two and a half glitchy memories, but it knows it was loved, which means something important to humans. Boot soon realises its emotions make it different to other robots, who just function and don’t think.

“Boot is scared but tries to be brave, which is hard when its screen keeps showing a wobbly, worried face.”

The Unlucky Eleven, by Phil Earle & Steve May

“Ridiculous injuries… strange illnesses… cancelled games… Everything’s going wrong for the Saints this season, and Stanley’s team-mates believe they finally know why. Their football kit is cursed! But the team’s attempts to break the curse take things from bad to worse. Soon, they’re ready to call it quits.

“Stanley’s still got some tricks up his sleeve… but will his curse-cracking ideas save the team in time for the last game of the season?”

All the Fun of the Fair, by Sophy Henn

Second in the Bad Nana series.

“Hi! I’m Jeanie - 7 3/4 years old, and a BIG fan of badges.

“BAD NANA is one of my three grandmas (yes, three). Of course, “Bad Nana” isn’t actually her actual name - but it’s what everyone has been calling her for MILLIONS of years. If I had MY way, I would call her “Fun Nana”, because she is actually brilliant. Yes, she’s a bit NAUGHTY sometimes, but in an EXCELLENT way.

“My Dad says she really should know better, but I think she’s so bad, she’s GOOD!”

Picture books for older readers

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea! and Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, by Ben Clanton

The Narwharl and Jelly series is already a big hit in North America and now it comes to the UK to ride the wave of the narwhal craze.

My Two Grandads, by Floella Benjamin & Margaret Chamberlain

Companion book to My Two Grannies.

“Aston wants to learn to play both the trumpet and the steel drums just like his grandads. He also wants his grandads to bring their bands to the school summer fair. But there’s a problem - only one band is needed! Aston soon saves the situation and brings his grandads together in a musical extravaganza.”

Junior novels

Malamander, by Thomas Taylor

One of the mostly hotly anticipated titles of the spring.

“Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep.

“Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents 12 years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander.

“Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger!”

The Maker of Monsters, by Lorraine Gregory

From the author of Mold and the Poison Plot.

“Brat has always lived in the isolated castle on the island, unwillingly taking care of the vicious creatures that his master creates. But then the unthinkable happens. The monsters get out.

“Now Brat must overcome his fears, and venture into the world he has hidden from his whole life. For the fate of everyone rests on his shoulders alone.”

Diver’s Daughter, by Patrice Lawrence

Second title in the Voices series, the first of which was Now or Never, by Bali Rai.

“Tudor Story brings Eve and her mother, who was stolen from her family in Mozambique as a child, from the Southwark slums of Elizabethan London to England’s southern coast.

“When they hear from a Mary Rose survivor that one of the African free-divers who was sent to salvage its treasures is alive and well and living in Southampton, mother and daughter agree to try to find him and attempt to dive the wreck of another ship, rumoured to be rich with treasures. But will the pair survive when the man arrives to claim his ‘share’? Will Eve overcome her fear of the water to help rescue her mother?”

Wildspark, by Vashti Hardy

New from the author of Brightstorm.

“In Medlock, a secretive guild of inventors have brought spirits of the dead back into the world, harnessing them in animal-like machines. Young Prue has joined as an apprentice, but she’s on a mission of her own: to bring her brother back to life. To find him, she needs to get the ghost machines to remember the people they used to be.”

Rumblestar, by Abi Elphinstone

First in a new series from the author of Sky Song.

“Eleven-year-old Casper Tock hates risks, is allergic to adventures and shudders at the thought of unpredictable events. So it comes as a nasty shock to him when he accidentally stumbles into Rumblestar, an Unmapped Kingdom full of magical beasts.

“All Casper wants is to find a way home, but Rumblestar is in trouble. An evil harpy called Morg is sending her followers, the Midnights, into the kingdom to wreak havoc and pave the way for her to steal the Unmapped magic for herself. But Casper cannot turn a blind eye because the future of his own world, he discovers, is bound up with that of the Unmapped Kingdoms. And so, together with Utterly Thankless, a girl who hates rules and is allergic to behaving, and her miniature dragon, Arlo, Casper embarks upon an adventure full of cloud giants, storm ogres and drizzle hags.”

The Umbrella Mouse, by Anna Fargher & Sam Usher

Critically acclaimed debut novel.

“1944, and London is under attack. Young mouse Pip Hanway’s safe and quiet world is turned upside down when her home, umbrella shop James Smith & Sons, is destroyed by a bomb.

“Orphaned and alone, she must begin a perilous quest to find a new home. But the only way to get there is by joining Noah’s Ark, a secret gang of animals fighting the resistance in France, operating beneath the feet of the human soldiers. Danger is everywhere and as the enemy closes in, Pip must risk everything to save her new friends.”

Barry Loser and the Trouble with Pets, by Jim Smith

11th instalment in the comedy series.

“As far back as Barry can remember, he’s always wanted a sausage dog. They’re like two of his favourite things (sausages and dogs) squidged together! Who cares if they bark the whole time, do poos everywhere, need three walks every day and stop you going to the cinema with your friends? Not Barry. Until he actukeely gets a real-life sausage dog, that is…”

Lampie and the Children of the Sea, by Annet Schaap

Schaap is one of the Netherlands’ best-loved illustrators.

“Lampie the lighthouse-keeper’s daughter must climb sixty-one steps to light the lantern every evening and warn ships away from the rocks. One night, in the midst of a terrible storm, she discovers that her matches have run out. Disaster strikes, and an adventure begins.

“Lampie is sent to work as a maid at the Admiral’s Black House, where rumour has it that a monster lurks. What she discovers there throws her into a world of pirates and mermaids and puts her in terrible danger. Can she find a way to save the ones she loves?”


Sea: a world beneath the waves, by Patricia Hegarty & Britta Teckentrup

Another beautiful book from one of our favourite illustrators.

Everest: the remarkable story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, by Alexandra Stewart & Joe Todd-Stanton

Released in time to mark the centenary of Hillary’s birth. Todd-Stanton won the Illustrated Books category at the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2018 for The Secret of Black Rock

“In the late morning of May 29th 1953, the sun was shining brightly on the roof of the world, a gentle breeze was blowing and two men were there to witness it for the first time ever. Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and the roof of the world was Everest.

“This is the story of how two very different yet equally determined men battled frost-biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds and death-defying ridges to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain. Join these two unlikely heroes on the most amazing of adventures and discover the impact of hundreds of men and women that helped Hillary and Tenzing achieve their goal. But triumphs can be marred with tragedy as not everyone who climbs Everest survives.”

David Bowie, by Isabel Sánchez Vegara & Ana Albero and Gandhi, by Isabel Sánchez Vegara & Albert Arrayas.

New titles in the Little People, Big Dreams series.

D-Day, by Michael Noble

“For the 75th anniversary of D-Day, relive the dramatic events of one of the turning points of World War II through 20 incredible eyewitness accounts.”

Hummingbird, by Nicola Davies & Jane Ray

“A hummingbird weighs less than a nickel, less than a 20 pence piece, less than a 50 cent bit. Whatever way you use to measure it, it’s tiny. But every spring, hummingbirds that have spent the winter in Mexico fly north to make the most of the warmer weather. They nest as far north as Canada and Alaska - a 2,000-mile trip, made by a bird smaller than your thumb. This is the story of one spring migration: of a tiny bird, its amazing journey and the people it meets along the way.”

The Big Book of Birds, by Yuval Zommer

First it was Bugs, then it was Beasts, last year it was The Blue and now illustrator Zommer turns his attention to the beautiful world of birds.

“Why is a flamingo pink? Can a parrot talk? Is a bald eagle really bald? This book answers these questions and many more.”

Incredible Cross-Sections and Cross-Sections Castle, by Richard Platt & Stephen Biesty

Back in print after more than 20 years, these amazingly detailed cross-section books are all being re-released with jazzy new covers.

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.