This bright and cheerful tactile board book is bound to become a favourite. The very young will enjoy feeling the bumpy rubbery monster mouths on each page, whilst toddlers and pre-school children will soon join in chanting the cautionary rhymes. Fingers crossed that the soft scrubbing brush mouth on the front cover withstands life in a public library!
“When little witch Betty tries her hand at cooking, into the cauldron goes everything from strawberry jam to slices of ham! Betty’s potion keeps on growing and soon it’s spreading all over town. But when a hungry dragon arrives, can Betty’s brew save the day?”
This charming picture book is a heart-warming sequel to Storm in which Noi rescued a little whale. Now as winter sets in, the little whale and his family return the kindness, nudging Noi’s boat across the open sea to safety in the lighthouse where his father is sheltering. Beautiful.
A family of owls try to avoid the family of bats who hang beneath their branch in this brilliant wordless picture book. Their struggle against the elements is heart-warming and those baby owls are just plain cute.
A cautionary tale about the dangers of internet safety, told and illustrated with wit and mastery. The tale is in rhyme, and the internet trolls are just two foolish goats.
“It’s the summer holidays and Rover is busy searching for poo. He works for The Gigglers, small furry creatures who make sure grown-ups are nice to their kids. If they aren’t, they get the Giggler Treatment - a smelly, squishy present on the end of their shoe, which is where Rover comes in. But Rover and his nephew Messi (who is actually very tidy) are distracted from their job by a Big Fat Baby (B.F.B) who’s fallen out of her Granny’s backpack.”
The Jessop family arrive on Storey Street, pitching their caravan in the waste ground known to generations of Storey Street children as “The House That Was Stolen”. Jemima Jessop, tightrope walker extraordinaire, defeats the bullying Milner family, who want to build on the patch of land, using the powers of kindness and understanding. It sounds pious, but it is a laugh-out-loud treat full of larks and japes made all the more enjoyable by Sara Ogilvie’s brilliant illustrations. This is the third book in the Storey Street series (think Demolition Dad and Superhero Street) and I hope Phil Earle is planning another ten at least.
This is a wonderful Viking tale written by Neil Gaiman, about a boy called Odd, who journeys across frozen lands after the death of his father. Chris Riddell’s illustrations are extraordinary and the book itself is so beautifully engineered that you’ll want to own a copy.
“John Watson has barely settled into his new school, Baker Street Academy, when his teacher announces a trip to one of London’s top museums, home to the world’s most famous jewel. But it’s been stolen! When police catch the thief it seems the case is closed. Can Sherlock Holmes uncover the mystery behind this extraordinary gem?”
“Here’s my excellent plan to make DogZombies the best band in the whole wide world! How hard can it be? I’m going to: 1. Write more songs (not about teachers). 2. Make a spectacular music video (easy). 3. Get some sleep (tricky when you’re being kept awake by loud noises). 4. Annoy Delia (nothing to do with DogZombies but always fun).”
The 11th book in the Tom Gates series looks as funny as the first ten. LOL.
“It’s a new era for the Witch Wars witches. Felicity Bat is no longer evil, Tiga has at last found her mum and there’s the whole of Silver City to explore. But it’s not long before the witches find themselves at the centre of another adventure. When a magical book called The Karens offers to grant Fran the Fabulous Fairy’s dearest wish, it seems too good to be true. And it is. Before you can say ‘frogknuckles’, Tiga and the gang are in a race against time - can they save Fran before she explodes in a large ball of glittery dust?”
Picture books for older readers
This is a choose-your-own-adventure picture book. How cool is that! Obviously it could be used to inspire creative writing in schools, but it would be a great book to take on a journey or to read on a long rainy day too, because each time you come back to it you can create a different story.
Young teen novels
This engaging third novel by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is thoroughly recommended both as a good read and as a motivational tale about the power of friendship and perseverance. It stars two young teenagers both of whom feel displaced from their usual worlds. Minty, whose parents have just separated, is intrigued and inspired by Ned, who can ride like the wind.
“Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a glass-half-full kind of guy. A self-described ‘friendless nerd,’ he moves from place to place every couple of years with his overprotective mother, Irene. When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich, Ambrose is philosophical.”
We’ve had keen fans waiting for the publication of this novel by the internet vlogger ‘Zoella’ since it was first announced. It’s the third title of her Girl Online series. Her brother Joe’s new graphic novel book Regenerated came out last month – a talented family!
This well-illustrated guide gives simple instructions for modelling 26 different animals, all of which look adorable. Possibly the best craft book we have bought this year!
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler - Gruffalo Crumble and other recipes: 24 recipes from the deep dark wood
The blurb says: twenty-four recipes specially designed for adults to use with children, easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and lots of hints and tips on what to do next, but what it omits to mention is the names of the recipes. So here to tempt you, are just a few: mouse toast, frog muffins, orange eyes, turned out toes, toadstool pizza, swirly snails. Now if anything can persuade a child to eat several sticks of celery, I would hazard a guess that calling it “snake’s logpile house” might do the trick. If you’re planning a Gruffalo party this book is just the job.
“Brick By Brick - Space will teach you how to build amazing space projects, giving step by step instructions - simple and easy. And all you need for it to work are LEGO bricks!””
This DK book would be simply perfect for PSHE topics in schools and playgroups, and because it’s packed with interesting detail and about families and clothes, food and pets. With full colour photos on every page, it is a great book to just look at too.
“Over billions of years of time travel, the Doctor has run into his fair share of important people - and he’s formed opinions on most of them too. Now the Twelfth Doctor has got hold of a history textbook from Coal Hill School, and he’s decided to improve it with notes of his own. From Nefertiti to Robin Hood, this essential Doctor’s guide gives us his unique take on Earth’s most famous historical figures. Through annotations, scribblings and his trademark snarky humour, the Doctor has plenty to say about the pudding-brained humans he’s met on his travels. It’s history - but perhaps not quite as you know it.”