This is a multi-sensory board book, with quizzes to exercise the eyes, and a maze to trace along and a hole to peep through on each page.
Borrow this one from our library and read it yourselves, or buy a copy from a bookshop for every new or forthcoming parent you know. But on no account read it to a baby. Or a toddler.
This charmingly nostalgic tale about a family of mice who live in a doll’s house is delightful to read, as you might expect from Paddington creator Michael Bond, with a storyline that should engage children up to 7 yrs old. Emily Sutton’s beautiful illustrations are a perfect accompaniment, filled with entrancing details to pore over. It could be added to the Christmas lists of Michael Bond fans, lovers of picture book and dolls house collectors too.
This warm friendly rhyming tale about overcoming fears and trying new things, should be a popular choice for story-time at pre-school.
The publication of a new book by national treasure John Burningham is always keenly anticipated. Motor Miles pleases immediately by featuring a “Burningham dog”, my favourite breed. Unlike his real-life counterparts, Norman’s dog, Miles, dislikes walking and so the inventor next door makes him a car. It is a perfect car, rather like Noddy’s, in which he and Norman drive happily through dreamy English scenes. I wonder if the cliff-hanger ending, featuring an aeroplane, suggests that a sequel is in preparation?
Alfie and Bernard are very best friends and together they have lots of adventures. Join them as they go to the library, take part in scooter races and make a very special club with only two special members! A heart-warming tale of friendship by the award-winning Shirley Hughes, creator of Dogger.
Learning your ABC is fun and easy in with Katie and her baby brother, Olly. Join them as they explore their friendly and familiar world and all it contains in this charming first look at letters. At home, at the park, in the library or at playgroup - there’s always a chance to practise your letters.
‘Fetch!’ and ‘Sit!’ and ‘Stay!’ I understand them all. Those are the words I know. But what is ‘Fred’? Fred the dog may not know his name yet or how to stay out of trouble, but one little boy will love him no matter what. A follow-up to ‘I Will Love You Anyway’, this touching rhyming story is full of friendship and tail wagging, and will touch a chord with all children who love pets.
Short Chapter Books
It’s 30 years since Princess Smartypants first marched into libraries and created a new sort of picture book heroine, high on confidence and self-esteem, so it is a great pleasure now to read about her in a more substantial adventure. Aimed at children whose reading confidence is growing, this is a romp of a read, with passing visits from Rapunzel, Cinderella and Snow White.
The Planktown Pirates are back! This time they want to show off their musical talents in a local talent competition. However, they don’t have much musical talent, and they don’t realise that they are up against their arch enemies the Gruseome Crew, who are bound to cause trouble! Race Ahead with Reading is the perfect introduction to reading chapters with brand new page turning reads in five short bite size chapters, to encourage children to take the driving seat with their reading.
Dug is the hero of new series of adventure books for young readers. In this story, “he races against a raging river to save his pet wolf, Woof and his family’s tent! You can top up your Bronze Age facts at the back of the book too!”
Picture Books for older readers
An inspiring and lyrical picture book about a little girl who sails her raft ‘across a sea of words’ to arrive at the house of a small boy. There she invites him to come away with her on an adventure where they can journey through ‘forests of fairy tales’, ‘across mountains of make-believe’ and ‘sleep in clouds of song’.
Angela is invited on holiday with her Aunt Cece and her horrid cousins. Angela tries to behave herself, but she knows that secrets lie in the walls of their crumbling French holiday home. Soon night-time footsteps, flickering candlelight and shadows in windows lead Angela to Julian. Who is he, why is he trapped in the house and what happened there over 100 years ago? Julien needs her help. Through saving him can Angela herself?
Anything in the world is possible - by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet nose and a slice of mad courage. Shylo has always been the runt of the litter, the weakest and quietest of all of his family, his siblings spend their days making fun of him for not being like the rest of them. But when Shylo stumbles across a band of ratzis and overhears their evil plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie, it’s up to this unlikely hero to travel to London and inform the Royal Rabbits of London about the diabolicial plot.
In this updated version of Enid Blyton’s series, Elizabeth Allen, our anti-heroine, goes to boarding school and makes up her mind to be the naughtiest pupil there’s ever been, so that she is sent home. Will Elizabeth become a rival for Horrid Henry fans? We shall see.
Young teen novels
The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air - just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace. Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings. To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death. But can he bear the truth - or will it destroy him? Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the Beginning Woods.
Liv Bloom’s life is complicated. Her father walked out on the family when she was young, her mother is in a recovery centre for alcoholics, and her older sister is struggling to step into Mum’s shoes. The only person she can turn to is her best friend Sarah, who gets out of scrapes at school and is a constant source of advice and companionship. One day Liv discovers a book of recipes written in her mum’s handwriting, which sets her off on a journey towards self-discovery and reconciliation - but a theft, a love rivalry and a school bully are just some of the many obstacles on the way.
Lirael is no longer a shy second assistant librarian. She is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, with dead creatures to battle and Free Magic entities to bind. She’s also a Remembrancer, and wielder of the Dark Mirror. When Lirael finds Nicholas Sayre lying unconscious after being attacked by a hideous Free Magic creature, she uses her powers to save him. But Nicholas is deeply tainted with Free magic and Lirael must seek help for him at her childhood home, the Clayr’s Glacier. But even as she returns to the Clayr, a messenger is trying to reach Lirael with a dire warning from her long-dead mother, Arielle, about the Witch with No Face. But who is the Witch, and what is she planning?
Jack has left his native Ireland and is making a new life as Professor of Neurology at a university in the American South. He has skills in hypnotism and mind control, honed over his lifetime, that he mostly keeps hidden. Thirteen-year-old Pip is plucked out of an orphanage by a farmer, hired as a farm-hand, and as carer for the farmer’s wife. But Pip is black. The farmer and his wife are white. And this is 1960s America, where race defines you and overshadows everything. As racial tensions reach boiling point, Jack and Pip’s lives become inextricably linked.
We think this one volume encyclopedia looks good and will be very useful for KS1 homework projects.
Even without the augmented reality which this book offers, it should grab the attention of children who relish gruesome-looking creatures. The full colour photos of Giant Japanese Spider Crabs, Great White Sharks, Giant Tube Worms, the Blackdevil Angler Fish are so realistic, I hardly dare turn the pages.
Our favourite title this month, How Super Cool Stuff Works is stunning to behold, because the cover looks like a silver laptop. The laptop format continues throughout the book with every page presented in landscape orientation. The new technologies and inventions it describes are pretty cool, like “the ElliptiGo which combines running and cycling” the Volocopter or the 3D pen. The publisher, DK, says it “lifts the lid on today’s most innovative ideas while also exploring the technology of tomorrow.”
An illustrated, comprehensive guide for children to choosing, maintaining and making the most of your bike with top tips and tricks from Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy.
This is the first recipe book to includes stories and we simply love it. The recipes and the stories have delicious twists to them so the Gingerbread Men mixture includes star anise and the eponymous hero doesn’t get eaten; instead of running away in fright, Goldilocks stays and helps the bears bake muffins filled with berries. It is inspired and heart-warming, a sheer joy.
The first children’s book from Bake Off sensation and nation’s sweetheart, Nadiya Hussain. A hybrid of storybook and cookbook, with all recipes and stories devised and written by Nadiya herself, it brings families into the kitchen to spend time sharing stories and cooking. Get messy making yummy bean patties, and while they are in the oven, curl up with the story of Jack and the Bean Pattiestalk, or read about Goldilocks and her Very Berry Muffins while you wait for your own to bake.