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New children's books for October 2017

Written by · Published Sep 28, 2017

Katinka's Tail, Malala's Magic Pencil, Illegal: one boy's epic journey of hope and survival

Board books

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

In the British wildlife strand of this popular series, there are lots of nice feely patches to touch while searching for the otter.

Wow! It’s night-time, by Tim Hopgood

From the author of Wow! said the owl:

“The curious little owl is back, and this time she’s ready to discover the wonders of night-time, from the big, bright moon to the bats in the sky and the foxes deep in the forest.

“But where are all the other owls? When the wind blows the leaves from her tree, you’ll soon see. A perfect preschool introduction to the nocturnal world with something to count on every page - all the way from one to ten.”

Picture books

When I Grow Up, by Tim Minchin & Steve Anthony

“Inspired by Tim Minchin’s hit song When I Grow Up from Matilda: The Musical, this book takes a humorous yet moving look at adult life from a child’s perspective.”

Hack and Whack, by Francesca Simon & Frances McKay

“Hack and Whack - two angelic looking Viking toddler twins - are on the attack. As they go marauding around their village, upsetting the apple carts, little do they know there is a force far more powerful than they: their mum.”

Imagine, by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Amnesty International & Jean Julien

“Join one little pigeon on her mission to spread the word of peace around the world. Set to the lyrics the iconic song Imagine, this book brings John Lennon’s enduring message of peace and tolerance to a new generation.”

The Mystery of the Missing Cake, by Claudia Boldt

“When Harold is invited to a fancy dress birthday party, he and his friends must come up with some fantastic outfits. The party is going realy well but when the birthday boy’s cake is stolen during a game in the dark, everyone is a prime suspect in the mystery of the missing cake.”

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon, by Richard Adams & Alex T. Smith

From the late author of Watership Down:

“Whatever you’ve lost, Egg Box Dragon will find it. He’s retrieved missing footballs, glasses and watches aplenty. He’s so expert at cracking mysteries that the Queen herself requests his services. Will Egg Box Dragon find the missing diamond from the Queen’s crown?”

Katinka’s Tail, by Judith Kerr

“Come on a wondrous journey with Katinka, a perfectly ordinary pussycat with a not-quite-so-ordinary tail! This is a delightful story from the creator of the iconic The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat.”

Something’s Fishy, by Jean Gourounas

“This ice fishing mystery features a grumpy penguin, a troupe of curious onlookers, and a surprise ending! An ice fishing penguin grows increasingly aggravated as his line fails to attract fish, but his activity attracts a cast of curiously chatty polar characters.

“Hilariously expressive animals and their repetitive questions dramatically accumulate until finally, in the climactic finale, the penguin hears something under the water, and everyone silences for the big reveal.”

Beginner reads

Malala’s Magic Pencil, by Malala Yousafzai & Kerascoët

“As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil that she could use to redraw reality. She would use it to give gifts to her family, to erase the smell from the rubbish dump near her house, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. As she grew older, Malala wished for bigger and bigger things. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.

“This beautifully illustrated picture book tells Malala’s story, in her own words, for a younger audience and shows them the worldview that allowed her to hold on to hope and to make her voice heard even in the most difficult of times.”

Witchfairy, by Brigette Minne & Carll Cneut

“Rosemary is bored of being a fairy. She’d much rather be a witch. Much to the disapproval of her mother, she takes off to spend time with the witches in the dark wood. Rosemary thoroughly enjoys her new life as a witch but eventually decides to take the best of both worlds and becomes a witchfairy.”

Short chapter books

My Little Pony: the movie storybook

This ties in with this month’s film release, heralding the biggest revival yet of the 1980s franchise:

“Join Twilight Sparkle and all her friends in their biggest adventure yet as they meet new characters and explore amazing new places. With your pony friends, reading is magic!”

Rainbow Magic: The Candy Lane Fairies series, by Daisy Meadows

There are also a couple of new Magic Animal Friends books this month: Isla Waddlewing Breaks the Ice and Animal Magic Friends Story Treasury.

Picture books for older readers

Illegal: a graphic novel telling one boy’s epic journey to Europe, by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin & Giovanni Rigano

“This is a powerful and timely story about one boy’s epic journey across Africa to Europe, a graphic novel for all children with glorious colour artwork throughout.

“Ebo: alone. His sister left months ago. Now his brother has disappeared too, and Ebo knows it can only be to make the hazardous journey to Europe. Ebo’s epic journey takes him across the Sahara Desert to the dangerous streets of Tripoli, and finally out to the merciless sea. But with every step he holds on to his hope for a new life, and a reunion with his sister.”

Hortense and the Shadow, by Natalia & Lauren O’Hara

“Through the dark and wolfish woods, through the white and silent snow, lived a small girl called Hortense. Though kind and brave, she was sad as an owl because of one thing. Hortense hated her shadow.”

This debut picture book has been described as ‘a haunting and original fairytale in the spirit of Neil Gaiman.’

Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx, by Joe Todd-Stanton

“Many years have passed since the tale of Arthur and the Golden Rope’ and Arthur is now a world-famous adventurer. If only his daughter Marcy shared his enthusiasm for exploration.

“Determined to bring out Marcy’s adventurous side, Arthur sets off to Egypt to bring back the lengendary ‘Book of Thoth.’ When Arthur doesn’t return, Marcy must follow in his footsteps. Can she overcome her fears and rescue her father from the clutches of the great Sphinx?”

Junior novels

The Creakers, by Tom Fletcher

“What silently waits in the shadows at night? What’s under your bed, keeping just out of sight? Do you ever hear strange, creaking noises at night? Ever wonder what makes those noises? Lucy Dungston always did. Until, one morning, Lucy discovers that all the grown-ups have disappeared - as if into thin air.

“Chaos descends as the children in Lucy’s town run riot. It’s mayhem. It’s madness. To most kids, it’s amazing! But Lucy wants to find out the truth. Lucy lost her dad not long ago, and she’s determined not to lose her mum too. She’s going to get her back - and nothing is going to stop her - except maybe the Creakers.”

Tom Fletcher is one of the UK’s best-selling authors and this is bound to be another hit.

Epic Adventure (kind of), by Liz Pichon

The 13th title in the wildly popular Tom Gates series.

The Land of Neverendings, by Kate Saunders

From the author of the Costa award-winning Five Children on the Western Front:

“When Emily’s sister, Holly, dies, she is surprised by how much she misses Holly’s toy bear. Bluey was a constant companion for Holly, always beside her in her wheelchair, and Emily used to make up stories about him and his escapades in the magical world of Smockeroon.

“But then very strange things start to happen. Emily dreams of talking toys visiting her bedroom, telling her that they have come from Smockeroon, and have a message for her from Bluey. Is it possible that the land of Emily’s imagination really exists? And does this mean there can always be a ‘happily ever after’? Do things really have to end after all?”

This has been described as ‘moving, raw and funny in all the right ways.’

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, by Laura Ellen Anderson

First in a gothic and wickedly funny new series from the illustrator of Witch Wars and creator of the Evil Emperor Penguin:

“Welcome to the world of Nocturnia, where darkness reigns supreme, glitter is terrifying, and unicorns are the stuff of nightmares! Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti (DON’T CALL HER BEAST!) and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents’ annual Barbaric Ball. And when the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy, Amelia and her friends must escape the party to plan a daring rescue! In their race against time, they begin to realise things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem.”

Maudlin Towers: curse of the werewolf boy, by Chris Priestley

The first book in a funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed new series for readers who ‘like their mysteries with a bit of bite’ from the author of Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror:

“‘We shall be detectives, Sponge!’ exclaimed Mildew. ‘We shall solve the Mystery of the School Spoon!’

“Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom-laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!

“But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?”

Witch for a Week, by Kate Umansky

New title from the author of the Pongwiffy series:

“When clever, unflappable Elsie offers to house-sit the mysterious home of local witch Magenta Sharp, she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Left with a talking raven and a scruffy dog for company, and a book of instruction called ‘Everything You Need to Know’, what could possibly go wrong?

“With an assortment of weird and wonderful neighbours banging at the door and a box of volatile magical ingredients that must be used immediately, Elsie is forced to get experimental with magic!”

Secret of the Stones, by Tony Bradman & Martin Remphry

This is a Barrington Stoke title, so it is optimised for readers with Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome.

“Maglos and his High Priest father control the access to the sacred site of Stonehenge where the worlds of the living and the dead meet twice a year. But times are hard, and when Maglos’s father dies in suspicious circumstances, his uncle makes Maglos his slave. Soon after, two strangers arrive from distant lands. They teach Maglos the secrets of a new, strong metal which will soon be all important - the secret of the stones.”

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead, by Rick Riordan

Third in a series starring Percy Jackson’s girlfriend’s cousin and based around Norse Mythology:

“Loki the trickster god is free from his chains. Now he’s readying Naglfar, the Ship of the Dead, armed with a host of giants and zombies, to sail against the Norse gods and begin the final battle of Ragnarok. It’s up to Magnus Chase and his friends to stop Loki’s plans, but to do so they will have to sail across the oceans of Midgard, Jotunheim and Niflheim in a desperate race to reach Naglfar before it’s ready to sail on Midsummer’s Day.

“Along the way, they will face angry sea gods, hostile giants, and an evil fire-breathing dragon who happens to be a former acquaintance. But Magnus’s biggest challenge will be facing his own inner demons. To defeat Loki, Magnus will need to use words, not force. This will require finding a magical elixir so deadly that it will either make Magnus Chase powerful enough to out-talk the silver-tongued Loki, or destroy Magnus utterly.”

Frogkisser!, by Garth Nix

“Garth Nix is on hilarious form as he spins his very own fairy tale, featuring Princess Anya, who, with her loyal dog, must embark on a terribly important (capital Q) Quest to acquire the ingredients for a reversal lip balm, the vital item needed to change a frog back to a prince - oh, and save her kingdom from her villainous step(step)father.”

Dork Diaries: Crush Catastrophe, by Rachel Renee Russell

The twelfth book in the series starring Nikki, Brandon, Chloe and Zoey.

The Princess and the Suffragette: a sequel to A Little Princess

“It is 1913, nine years after the end of A Little Princess saw Sara Crewe escape Miss Minchin’s orphanage. Lottie, the smallest girl from the original story, learns about the Suffragette movement from Sara, who returns to visit from time to time. Soon Lottie finds herself sneaking out of the orphanage to attend a demonstration, in defiance of her cold, distant father. A father who has a secret to hide about her own missing mother…

“A story about lost mothers turning up in unexpected situations, the power of friendship and female empowerment.”

Midnight Peacock, by Katherine Woodfine

The thrilling conclusion to the Sinclair’s Mysteries quadrilogy, set in an Edwardian department store:

“The festive season has come to Sinclair’s, and Sophie and Lil are spending the holidays at snowy Winter Hall. But it turns out that this is no ordinary house party. As sinister secrets come to light, our intrepid heroines find themselves faced with a more baffling mystery than ever before! With the help of their friends, can they uncover the truth in time to foil a truly diabolical plot? Or will Mr Sinclair’s New Year’s Eve Midnight Peacock Ball spell disaster for the dauntless young detectives?”

Junior non-fiction

Minecraft Mobestiary: an official Minecraft book from Mojang

“Written by a naturalist who has made it his life’s work to study Minecraft’s mobs, and illustrated with field sketches, this book is the definitive guide to every mob in the game. You’ll find little-known facts about passive, neutral, hostile, utility and boss mobs, as well as more general information about their location, behaviour, threat level and drops.”

Harry Potter: a journey through the history of magic, by the British Library

“An irresistible romp through the history of magic, from alchemy to unicorns, ancient witchcraft to Harry’s Hogwarts - packed with unseen sketches and manuscript pages from J.K. Rowling, magical illustrations from Jim Kay and weird, wonderful and inspiring artefacts that have been magically released from the archives at the British Library.

“This spellbinding book takes readers on a journey through the Hogwarts curriculum, including Herbology, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Astronomy, Divination and more. Discover the truth behind making the Philosopher’s Stone, create your very own potion and uncover the secret of invisible ink. Learn all about the history of mandrake roots and dragons, discover what witches really used their brooms for, pore over incredible images of actual mermaids and read about real-life potions, astronomers and alchemists.”

This ties in with the British Library’s Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition. Look out for a travelling exhibition touring some of our libraries between October 2017 and February 2018.

Build It! 25 creative STEM projects for budding engineers, by Catherine Alliston

“The perfect hands-on introduction to key STEM topics,’Build It! examines the science behind construction, from how zip wires move, to how marble runs work. Each project is tested and approved by children and, using easy-to-find objects and tools, they can all be constructed at home. A difficulty rating is included for each project and there are challenges for those who are feeling competitive.”

Curiosity: the story of a Mars Rover, by Markus Motum

“This is a fascinating book about the search for life on Mars told from the unique perspective of ‘Curiosity’, the Mars rover sent to the red planet by NASA. Markus Motum’s stylish illustrations and diagrams help tell the story of how and why this robot travelled 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet where no human has been before.”

The Ways of the Wolf, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls & Jonathan Woodward

“Majestic and fierce, proud and strong, the wolf has always been a source of fascination - and fear. It remains one of the most misunderstood of all creatures, frequently cast as our mortal enemy. The truth is that wolves and humans are more closely connected than we dare to admit.

“With beautifully lyrical language, Smriti Prasadam-Halls explores the lightning speed, echoing howl and family life of these mysterious animals, revealing astonishing facts and overturning misconceptions as she does so.”

Star Wars Coding Projects, by Jon Woodcock

Star Wars Coding Projects is a step-by-step visual guide to coding fun projects in Scratch and shows you everything you need to know to create cool computer projects, animations, and games. Create your own sprites and use them in your projects. Build your own characters, navigate a spaceship through an asteroid belt, and go on a jetpack adventure. Learn essential coding skills, share your projects with friends, and challenge them to beat your scores.

“Each project consists of simple, numbered steps that are fully illustrated and easy to follow, with inspiration on creating your own Star Wars sprites.”

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.