Tiger Tales

I have been contemplating a blog post about “Tiger tales” for quite some time, as I kept discovering more and more books which feature these majestic creatures.  The realization that this is the Chinese “Year of the Tiger” spurred me on to actually put together this group of books.  One of the main problems is that I keep finding even more, really exciting sounding books that I have now got on my ‘to be read’ list.  I have added these to the end of the blog post, so that you can all have a go at reading some of them.

 

Pavilion, 9781843654018

“Big Cat” by Emma Lazell is a very funny look at what happens when Grandma loses her spectacles.  She finds a very large cat and decides to look after it, but what everyone else can see is that this is no ordinary Cat.  Eventually some visitors, who are out searching for their son, find the glasses and everything becomes very clear!!  There is a real sense of playfulness with this story and I detect a certain ‘homage’ to  The Tiger who came to Tea.  Definitely one to keep and keep re-reading.

Little Tiger, 9781788810418

“Squish, Squash, Squeeze” by Tracey Corderoy and Jane Chapman tells the story of Mouse, who thinks he has found the perfect new home, but Bear, Crocodile, and Tiger say there is no room for them all.  When the floor collapses under them they are scared, but perhaps a burrowing Mole has provided the solution to all of their problems?  Another superbly funny picture book from Tracey Corderoy.

Scholastic, 9781407185712

“Collecting Cats” by Lorna Scobie.  When the narrator of the story decides they want to collect cats they go about it in a very unusual way.  Firstly they get a load of cheese, this attracts mice and eventually the cats arrive to catch the mice.  However, you can have too much of a good thing and eventually they decide that collecting cheese is a better idea.  This is a fantastically silly and funny story, full of very kind of cat, so everyone is probably going to see their own version.

HarperCollins, 9780007215997

“The Tiger who came to Tea” by Judith Kerr is a modern classic, which is now celebrating  54 years since its original publication in 1968.  I probably came across it when I started working in a library in the early 1970s, so it has been part of my professional life for a very long time.  We never seem to tire of this somewhat unwelcome visitor, but are always thankful when he decides to leave.  Despite the setting, this seems to avoid many of the criticisms that could be made about gender roles in particular.  I still love it as a story.

Nosy Crow, 9781788002523

“This Zoo is not for You” by Ross Collins. When platypus turns up at the zoo, the animals assume that he is there for an interview to join the zoo.  Each of them finds a reason why he would not fit in, based on their own preferences.  However, after he has left, they discover a letter, inviting them to a party on his Platybus!! After apologies all round, everyone enjoys the fun.  A brilliant book about not making assumptions, or judging by appearances.

Bloomsbury, 9781408892183

“Ravi’s Roar” by Tom Percival is another delightful book by this author and it focuses on the feelings that the youngest member of a family can feel.  Ravi feels left out of things by his siblings and he always seems to be last, because of his size.  One day it all becomes too much and Ravi is so angry, he turns in to a tiger, but what will happen when he calms down?  This is a brilliant look at coping with anger and is a welcome addition to the other books by Tom Percival, which deal with emotional well-being.

Nosy Crow, 9781788005678

“Tiger, Tiger burning bright” by Fiona Waters and Britta Teckentrup is an amazing poetry collection for the younger reader, although it requires a table or very strong arms when reading it.  It really is one of those collections that every primary school should have and will act as a wonderful focus for children and their imaginations.

HarperCollins, 9780007119691

Tiger in the Snow by Nick Butterworth is an absolute classic, featuring a tabby kitten, called Tiger and the adventure he has when he discovers snow for the first time.  With all of his friends either too cold or too busy to come and play, can Tiger find a companion to share his fun?

Macmillan,9781509855155

“I am a Tiger” by Karl Newsom and Ross Collins is an absolutely hysterical story of a mouse who insists that he is actually a tiger.  He manages to persuade several other animals that they are not who they think they are.  However, when a real tiger appears on the scene, can the mouse persuade him that he is actually a MOUSE!!  This is an real delight and a must have in every early years setting

Bloomsbury, 9781408839041

“Never tickle a tiger” by Pamela Butchart, illustrated by Marc Boutevant.  Izzy is a girl who can’t keep still. She is always wriggling and jiggling and generally causing havoc.  Can Izzy behave herself on a school visit to the Zoo and what will happen if she can’t?  A colourful and very energetic story about a young girl who cannot seem to keep out of trouble.  Izzy is one of those children who has to try everything and only learns from her mistakes.  On this occasion she creates total mayhem as she disregards the order “never tickle a tiger” and we have an amazing 4 page spread explaining just how big a disaster she has caused.  You would think that she has finally learnt her lesson, but I wouldn’t be sure about that.  This is a definite morality tale, much in the style of Hilaire Belloc, but with a thoroughly modern heroine.  A really fun book for younger readers.

Welbeck, 9781783125661

“Interview with a Tiger and other Clawed Beasts too” by Andy Seed and Nick East.  What a fascinating and very funny book this is, particularly if you want information but without the boring bits. The author gives us a series of ‘interviews’ with a range of animals and we get a wonderfully relaxed set of answers about them and their lifestyles.

Orion, 9781510107045

“Tiger Heart” by Penny Chrimes.   Fly is a young girl, abandoned at birth and then taken to work for a chimney sweep, climbing up and down the chimneys all day.  One day she makes a bid for freedom and quite literally finds herself trapped in a cage with a rather large tiger.  The strangest thing is that this creature begins to talk to her and she can understand him, but most oddly of all the tiger insists on calling her ‘princess’ and says that she comes from the same land as himself.  They escape from the house they are in but find themselves hunted by the man responsible for bringing the tiger and other animals to this country.  This is a story about friendship, knowing yourself and trying to understand the world around you.  It is a lesson in not letting physical possessions become the most important thing in life, but in knowing that people are what make the world a better place to live in

Lion, 9781782643173

“The Tigers in the Tower” by Julia Golding is a fascinating story of animals at the Tower of London in the 19th Century.  there is a full review of this book on this blog, written in September 2020.

Usborne, 9781474903042

“The troublesome |Tiger” by Tamsyn Murray is part of her series for young readers, featuring Zoe, who lives at Tanglewood Animal Park.   This book is about Tindu, a new addition to the park, but one that is not settling in to their new home.  Can Zoe help and make their new tiger feel at home.  This is a great series for those who love animals and is an excellent precursor to reading Gill Lewis and similar writers.

 

 

These are some other books that I have come across and hope to read, or re-read in the near future.  Do give some of them a try.

“Mr Tiger goes Wild” by Peter Brown

Two Hoots, 978-1509848232

 

“Cinnamon” by Neil Gaiman and Divya Srinivasan

Bloomsbury, 978-1408879221

 

 

“Mr Tiger, Betsy and the Blue Moon” by Sally Gardner

Zephyr, 978-1786697189

 

 

“The Time traveller and the Tiger” by Tania Unsworth

Zephyr, 978-1788541718

 

The Dancing Tiger” by Malachy Doyle

Simon and Schuster Children’s, 978-0689873102

 

“The magic Bed”  by John Burningham

Red Fox, 978-0099439691

 

“Love is…” by Sarah Maycock

Big Picture Press, 978-1787418745

 

 

 

“Tiger in trouble” by Jess Butterworth

Orion, 978-1510107984

 

“There’s a Tiger in the garden” by Lizzy Stewart

Lincoln Children’s Books,  978-1847808073

 

So, from me and my tiger friends, enjoy these books and have a wonderful “Year of the Tiger”

 

Christmas Glitters

This is turning out to be a bumper year for titles about Christmas and the winter season. Not only have we got a collection of additions to already popular titles, but we also have a huge range of new characters to bring us Christmas Cheer.

Picture Books

“Little Santa” by Jon Agee  is a delightful take on how Santa became the focus of Christmas that he has become.  It is about doing what is right for you, rather than just following everyone else; a great addition to the Christmas collection.

Little Bear and the Silver Star by Jane Hissey is a look at her famous collection of toys as they start to decorate the tree for Christmas.  When the star for the top cannot be found, Little Bear gets worried.  A midnight visit to the attic eventually finds the hidden glittery star, but then he loses it in the snow outside.  However, with a bit of Christmas magic, the tree eventually has its crowning glory!

The Christmas Pine by Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandoy  is a magical look at what happens to a small Norwegian pine tree as it grows into a tall and strong tree.  It is brought to another country and city (London), where it is the centre of celebrations and helps people remember the true meaning of the festivities.  This is the story of the Trafalgar Square tree that is gifted by the Norwegian people, in thanks for the help they received in WW2.

“The Mice before Christmas” by Anne L Watson and Wendy Edelson is based on the classic story by Clement Clark Moore, however this is about how the mice prepare and spend Christmas.  It is a bright and vibrant story of family and friendship and the joy of the festive season.  There are echoes of the Brambly Hedge stories and you can see this especially in the highly detailed and energetic illustrations.  This is definitely one that should be a classic read.

“Santa’s Stolen Sleigh” (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam by Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton  sees our two heroes, Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam back in action.  When Santa’s elves become ill, a polar bear called Flo offers to help with toy making, but then she steals Santa’s sleigh, so she can have a ride.  Luckily things turnout well in the end and Flo is very remorseful.

“Grace and the Christmas Angel” by Lucinda Riley, Harry Whittaker and Jane Ray is a beautiful and timeless story of Christmas, family and the sense of community that is found in fishing villages around the world.  When Grace’s father does not get home for her Christmas concert she worries about his boat, out in a tempestuous sea.  Luckily she has a guardian angel, called Hope, who answers the call and guides the vessels back to port. The illustrations are yet another triumph form the magical Jane Ray and they really add to the joy in te book.

“The Twelve Green Days of Christmas” by Barry Timms and Sian Roberts is another version of the 12 Days of Christmas, however this time it has Santa as the main character and looks at what he sees when he is flying with his reindeer.  The theme is about caring for our planet and being more green about the way we behave.  It is a great and humorous story but with a strong eco message.

“Croc O’Clock” by Huw Lewis Jones and Ben Sanders  is a decidedly modern take on the concept of the 12 days of Christmas, but mixed with the Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Feeding time at the zoo is exciting as Croc gets increasingly larger meals, until he finally is ready to burst, but of course he doesn’t and his keepers put him on  vegetarian diet for a while.

“The Toys’ Christmas” by Claire Clement and Genevieve Godbout is about a young boy called Noah and his toy elephant called FanFan.  when the latter can’t be found on Christmas Eve, Noah is worried and finding it hard to go to sleep.  But FanFan is on his annual secret mission, together with lots of other toys; they meet up with Santa and let him know what their child would like for Christmas.  This means that everyone gets a present that they wanted and of course on Christmas morning Noah finds his faithful friend is safely home. 

 

Middle Grade Stories

“The Christmas Pig” by J K Rowling and Jim Field.  This is a delightful Christmas story from one of the world’s best known children’s authors.  When Jack’s favourite toy Dur Pig (DP) is thrown out of a car window, he is distraught and even a replacement pig does not help.  This is a totally magical story of lost toys and the love that a child has for a favourite toy.  It is also a story about families, as Jack’s dad has gone and his mum is just beginning a new relationship; however, the daughter of the new friend is not happy and she is the one who threw DP out of the car.  The twin elements of the story are all about accepting change and understanding that there can be new loves, even though you never forget the old.

“Diary of a Christmas Elf” by Ben Miller  tells the story of a young Elf called Tog, who really wants to become one of the toy-makers for Father Christmas.  When things start going wrong and toys are being stolen, can Tog do anything to help solve the mystery, with the help of Santa’s daughter Holly?  This is a great read for the 7-9 age group and will definitely bring on the Christmas spirit.

Clara Claus saves Christmas by Bonnie Bridgman and Louise Forshaw .  When Santa is taken ill just before Christmas, it is up to his children, but especially his daughter Clara, to try and save the day, by making sure all the presents are delivered.  This is a delightful and very funny story for the young confident reader

“How Winston came home for Christmas” by Alex T Smith is the gorgeous follow up to the star |Christmas book from last year.  Once again we have the story told in 24 chapters, so that you can read one for every day of Advent.  This time, Winston is on the hunt for a missing mouse and has lots of adventures on the way.  The book is full of recipes, craft ideas and that magical something that we all want from a Christmas story.  A totally glorious read.

The Christmas Carrolls by Mel Taylor-Bessent and Selom Sunu  shows us a family who take their love of Christmas to the extreme.  They celebrate it throughout the year and can’t understand those who just celebrate in December.   When they move house and Holly starts at a new school, they find they are definitely meeting a lot of “Bah Humbug” feelings, so can they change people’s minds?  A brilliant look at what ‘being different’ can mean and how we can stay true to ourselves, whilst understanding the different views of others.

“The Christmasaurus and the Naughty List” by Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries  is the third adventure featuring this totally unique dinosaur and his friends.  When Santa does his annual weigh-in of the Naughty and Nice lists, he discovers that there are far too many children on the naughty list.  If not enough children receive presents then Christmas cannot take place, and that would be a disaster!  The Christmasaurus decides to intervene and get children moved from naughty to nice.

“The Santa List” by Kieran Crowley is another story about the naughty list.  |this time, the siblings, Aisling and Joe have been playing tricks on their new babysitter and she has sent a letter to Santa, putting them on the naughty list.  Can the children redeem themselves and get on the nice list; that is, if they can recover the list, which they have managed to lose!  A brilliant read for the festive season.

“A Mouse called Miika” by Matt Haig and Chris Mould is the latest story set in the world that Matt Haig created around “A Boy called Christmas”.  This time the hero is the small mouse, Miika,  who faces moral dilemmas when he wants to be friends with the only other mouse at the North Pole, but they are not as honest as he is, so eventually decisions have to be made.  With the release of the film version of “A Boy called Christmas“, this new story set in the same world is bound to be a hit.

“The Night train” by Matilda Woods and Penny Neville-Lee.  This is a magical story that follows a group of characters as they board the night train, which will take them to a place where their dreams can come true.  However, they have to reach their destination by midnight, otherwise they will not dream;  unfortunately on this night there is an obstruction on the track and everyone has to work together to make things right.  It is a great story for younger readers, with lots of bright and atmospheric illustrations that bring the story alive.

“Winter Story” by Jill Barklem invites us to join the mice of Brambly Hedge as they celebrate the coming of snow and the excitement of preparing for a ‘Snow Ball’.  The preparations are magical; from carving out a huge ballroom in the snow, to everyone baking and cooking a huge feast for everyone to share.  this gives a warm and cosy feel to the reader.

“Wishyouwas” by Alexandra Page.   It is the lead up to Christmas 1952 and Penny Black has been sent to stay with her Uncle Frank, who runs a small post office in central London.  Penny’s mother is a pilot for the Royal Mail and flies post to Europe and back; but Penny is hoping that she will be back home in time to celebrate Christmas.  What Penny does not expect, is to discover what she initially thinks is a rat, but turns out to be something very special indeed.  This small creature speaks English and says his name is ‘Wishyouwas’; he is a ‘Sorter’ and this group of creatures have made it their purpose to try and retrieve lost post and make sure it finds its rightful recipient.  However, the Sorters are under threat from the Royal Mail Rat Catcher and Penny finds herself trying to save them and prove how useful they would be to the service.  This is a wonderful story about friendship, family and also being open to new ideas and accepting others who are very different.  Alexandra Page has created a new Christmas classic and I know it will be a firm favourite for children and adults alike.

“A Night at the Frost fair” by Emma Carroll and Sam Usher  is a wonderfully evocative time slip adventure in which the young Maya finds herself transported back to the Frost Fair of 1788, where she meets a young boy called Eddie.  She thinks he is being kidnapped, but finds that he has run away from home, because he is being treated as an invalid and not allowed any freedom.  How Maya helps him and also makes changes to lives in the present day, makes for a perfect Christmas tale.

“The very Merry Murder Club”, edited by Robin Stevens and Serena Patel is a collection of murder and mystery stories, written by some of our most talented writers for Middle Grade readers.   The stories range from dead bodies to stolen treasures and each of them gives the reader opportunities to use their “little grey cells”.  This has kept me happily engrossed over several days waiting to collect someone in my car.

 

The Big Christmas Collection from Little Tiger

I don’t think that I have written about a collection of books by one publisher before, but I have been asked to look at this collection by the supplier Books2door and as it is a group of stories about Christmas (my favourite time of the year, despite the weather), I agreed.  The publisher is also one that I am very fond of; Little Tiger was founded in 1987 and ran as an independent publisher until 2019, when it was bought by  Penguin Random House, but it still maintains its ethos and individualism.  There are ten picture books in this collection and they are a mix of traditional stories and modern tales.  Interestingly there are only two titles that actually have human characters, with the other eight featuring a wide, but familiar range of animals.

“When Granny saved Christmas” by Julia Hubery and Caroline Pedler is the story of  two small mice, named Bubble and Squeak, who are visiting their Granny for Christmas. But how will Father Christmas know where to deliver any presents and even more worrying, how will he get in the house?  Granny doesn’t have a chimney, but she comes up with an exciting alternative that they can all enjoy.

“Waiting for Santa” by Steve Metzger and Alison Edgson  shows us the power of believing and of friendship.  Little bear is convinced that Santa will bring presents at Christmas, but badger is very sceptical as they have never had presents before.  Despite this the friends all decorate a tree, with a star on top and snuggle up to wait for Santa, but will they get the surprise they wanted?  Well it is Christmas and dreams can come true.

“One Snowy Night” by M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton has been a firm Christmas favourite since it was published over a decade ago.  When little hedgehog is woken from his winter sleep he is too cold to go back to sleep, but then out of the sky falls a parcel and it is addressed to him!  Inside is a red woolly hat, but as it doesn’t fit, he decides to give it to his friend.  The hat is passed to several animals before it finally finds its true home and everyone can snuggle down and keep warm.

“The Night before Christmas” by Clement C Moore and Mark Marshall.  This is a re-telling of the now classic story of Christmas eve and is probably how most young children have learnt the names of Santa’s reindeer.  As always, this story leaves a nice warm glow.

“The magical Snowman” by Catherine Walters and Alison Edgson tells the story of young rabbit, who has spent the morning building a very special snowman.  When he is asked to pick some berries for tea, he sets off and enjoys it so much, he doesn’t see the now start to fall and the visibility disappear.  Magically he is rescued by the snowman and gets home safely.

“A Christmas Wish” by Julia Hubery and Sophy Williams is the story of Gemma and her little brother Ty.  When Ty accidentally breaks her favourite tree decoration, Gemma is very upset  and angry.  But then she remembers all the nice things about her brother and when she finds that he has left some glue and a note saying ‘I’m sorry’ outside her door, she realises that the ornament can be mended and she wants to make up with her brother.

“The magic of Christmas” by Claire Freedman and Gail Yerrill  is about the wonder and joy of experiencing your first Christmas celebration.  Little Mouse has never had a Christmas, so he asks his large family what it means to them.  Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins and other relatives all share their favourite things.  This can vary from making snowmen, sledging, and snowball fights, to Christmas dinner, presents and keeping warm around a fire.  All of the things that we imagine a magical Christmas to be, but mainly it is about sharing with family and friends.

“Big Bear, Little Bear” by David Bedford and Jane Chapman is the delightful story of a polar bear and her cub.  The latter wants to grow up as big and strong as his mother and to be able to do all the things she does, but she explains that when he is big, she won’t be able to give him a ride on her shoulders.  So he decides that growing up is a long term aim, as he loves sharing adventures with his mother.

“A long way from home” by Elizabeth Baguley and Jane Chapman  tells the story of a young rabbit called Moz, who is being squashed by his siblings in the burrow.  He decides to go outside and  meets his friend Albatross, who offers to take him for a flight.  Unfortunately Moz falls off and ends up in the snow and then inside a huge ice hall.  At first it is exciting, but then he gets scared and misses his family, so he manages to escape from the ice.  Luckily Albatross finds him and he is soon back in the warmth of the burrow and the cuddles of the family.

“When will it Snow?” by Kathryn White and Alison Edgson  features another young bear who is longing to see snow.  However his mother tells him that bears hibernate when the snow arrives, so he will not be able to seethe winter.  So little bear asks his friends, mole and squirrel, what snow is like and they explain about the way it falls, goes slushy and how you can make snow angels.  They also confirm that they will be out playing in the winter weather and bear is worried that they will forget about his during the winter and that he will lose his friends.  But as we all know, true friends do not forget about you over a short period of time and all is well in the end.

All of these stories have been published over the last couple of decades, but I think this shows the enduring love and fascination that we have with winter and specifically Christmas. There  are themes around friendship and family, but the stories often also address some of the fears that young children have about whether Father Christmas needs a chimney any more.  this collection is one of several from this publisher and they have always provided a solid basis for school collections about this time of year; they also work brilliantly with individual families as they build their own winter traditions.  Reading these stories has really helped start my preparations for the festive season, although decorations will have to wait until December!

 

Down to the Sea again

Over the last few years we have seen a rise in the number of books that talk about the environment.  It is good to see that a lot of them have been aimed at the youngest age ranges, as we need to make sure that the need to change is embedded in all young people, as well as adults.  Perhaps the main worry that this look at titles has raised is that Michael Foreman was talking about the problem so many years ago; it seems that the pace of change is still far too slow, however programmes such as “Blue Planet” have definitely raised awareness at government levels as well as with general populations.  Here are a few titles that I hope will be useful for younger readers.

QED ‎Publishing, 9780711250055

The Deep Blue” by Charlotte Guillain and Lou Baker Smith.  Mankind has always been fascinated by the sea and the creatures that inhabit it.  Since the coming of modern media, such as film, television and now digital resources we have become more aware of the environment and the effect we are having on the oceans and its inhabitants. From Jacques Cousteau to Sir David Attenborough, we have been introduced to the wonders that lie below the surface and a thirst for knowledge has been developed by many children and adults.  We have also become more aware of what can happen to mankind if we don’t care for our oceans, ice caps and animals.  This is a fascinating look at the world of water and those animals who depend on it.

Big Picture Press,‎ 9781787417755

“There are Fish everywhere” by Katie Haworth and Britta Teckentrup is a gorgeous, stunningly coloured look at the world of fish.  Starting with what they are and then the history of their development from pre-historic times, the reader gets to understand the part that they play in the eco-structure that we live in.  The author looks at all parts of the world and also covers the relationship between mankind and the aquatic world.  Definitely one to browse and enjoy as well as looking up the facts.

Andersen Press, 9781849393041

“One World” by Michael Foreman is now over 30 years old, but it was re-published last year to celebrate the anniversary.  This is full of stunning artwork by Michael Foreman and the use of watercolours provides a very individual feel to the pictures.  It is such a tragedy that we still have the same concerns about the environment, after all these years, but given the movements being led by young people at the moment, it is appropriate that this book comes to the forefront for a new generation.  Whilst this book works as a picture book for reading to young audiences, it also works at another level in pointing out the dangers we face from pollution, plastics, climate change and industry.  This is yet another book that should be in all primary schools.

Pavilion, 9781843654513

“The Blue Giant” by Katie Cottle.  This is a delightful allegorical story about cleaning up our oceans and landscapes.  It is told as a picture book story, featuring Meera and her mum.  When they go to the beach, they are surprised by a giant wave that speaks to them and asks them for help in cleaning up the sea.  They start to help, but realize that it is a huge task.  However, gradually they get their friends involved and the more people help, the more rubbish they can clear.  This gives a strong message about us all doing our part and would be great as part of work about environmental issues.

Little Tiger, 9781912756148

“Goodnight Ocean” by Becky Davies and Carmen Saldana is a beautiful flap book for the youngest readers.  It looks at a wide range of animals and environments related to the Ocean.  the book was long-listed for the  SLA Information Book Award in 2020 and works at both a story telling and an information level.  It is a fantastic introduction to the watery world around us.

Scholastic, 9781407195100

“Somebody swallowed Stanley” by Sarah Roberts and Hannah Peck brings home to us the dangers that sea creatures face from plastic bags that are thrown away.  Stanley is a striped bag and looks remarkably like a jelly fish, so sea creatures think that he will make a good meal.  Unfortunately he can get stuck in their throat and prevent breathing, or get tangled up in parts of their body.  This story really brings it home to us how dangerous plastic can be in the environment and is a must read title.

Andersen Press, 978-1783449149

“Clem and Crab” by  Fiona Lumbers is about a young girl called Clem who has a day out at the beach with her sister.  She finds a crab and takes it home as a pet.  Of course, this turns out to be a bad idea and she has to take it back to its own habitat.  She also discovers the dangers that it faces from pollution and rubbish and sets out to improve the beach and in doing so she gets lots of others involved in the process.  This works beautifully as a picture book, but also acts as a starting point in discussions about the environment.

 

Spring has sprung

One of the joys of spring is finding out what tempting examples of picture books are heading our way.  this year has been no exception and there are loads of fantastic picture books for all ages.  These are just a few of the ones that have taken my eye in the last few months and I hope to be able to bring another selection to you in the near future.

2016-04-14 14.49.25-1

Andersen Press, 9781783442027

“Lucinda Belinda Melinda McCool” by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross is very much a cautionary tale in the style of Hilaire Belloc or Stanley Holloway’s ‘Albert and the Lion’ and from one of my favourite writing and illustration teams.  Lucinda Belinda is a truly irritating character, who sees it as her duty to beautify those around her and to comment on what people look like.  However when she meets a monster she discovers someone who will not be changed and she learns a very hard lesson.  This is not a story for really young readers, but KS2 will love it.

2016-05-08 16.04.54

Walker, 9781406362473

“Albert’s Tree” by Jenni Desmond is a gentle and humorous story of a bear and his adventures after he wakes from his long winter’s sleep.  It is also about not being scared of the unknown and making friends when you can.  It is beautifully illustrated and a great read for the early years.

2016-05-08 16.05.56

Otter-Barry, 9781910959473

“The Seal Children” by Jackie Morris.  this is a truly beautiful piece of art, something that you always find with Jackie Morris’s books.  It is a story about a small fishing village in Wales and about a Selkie (seal woman) who marries a local fisherman.  There is a melody to the words that link it to the movement of the waves on the shore and you have a real sense of the environment and the characters.

2016-02-01 14.54.21

Andersen Press, 9781783443840

“The adventures of Beekle, the Unimaginary Friend” by  Dan Santat is a magical tale of an imaginary friend called Beekle who goes on an adventure to try and find his one true friend.  The illustrations are beautifully drawn and keep you really engaged with the story.  this is all about friendship and the importance that it has in our lives.

2016-04-21 11.02.56

Frances Lincoln, 9781847807601

“The world famous Cheese Shop break-in” by Sean Taylor and Hannah Shaw.  This is the second book that I have seen recently that featured lots and lots of cheese.  On this occasion the rats are trying to break in to a cheese shop but find that there are lots of problems getting in their way.  The twist at the end will have everyone smiling.

2016-05-08 16.05.36

Otter-Barry, 9781910959527

“I will not wear Pink” by Joyce and Polly Dunbar  is an extravaganza of thoughts about the colour pink, but given that the main characters are pigs it is also about being happy with the skin you are in. The language and illustrations are exuberant and full of rhyme.   This is one of the first titles from the new Otter-Barry imprint and with Janetta Otter-Barry in the driving seat we are in for some wonderful titles.   Really great for story times I am sure.

 

2016-02-25 18.06.11

Andersen Press, 9781783443383

“Life is Magic” by Meg McLaren is a truly wonderful story of a magician, his assistant Houdini and the rest of the group (all of whom are rabbits).  When disaster happens and Monsieur Lapin (the magician) is turned into a rabbit it is up to Houdini (also a rabbit) to save the day. You really need to suspend you disbelief with this book but the illustrations and story are fantastic and will really appeal to young children.

2016-04-14 14.49.36

Andersen Press, 9781783443390

“All aboard for the Bobo Road” by Stephen Davies and Christopher Corr.  this is a truly exuberant story of life in West Africa.  It is full of colour and movement as well as being a window into the life that people are leading.   The journey itself is set in Burkino Faso and you could use the book to introduce children to work about this part of Africa. On top of all this the book is also a counting story as we see the luggage added and then removed from the bus as it travels along.

2016-02-01 14.54.48

Andersen Press, 9781783443635

“Where my feet go” by Birgitta Sif is a look at a day in the life of a small creature, but seen from the perspective of where his feet take him.  It is a gentle and joyful story that is great for reading to the youngest children.

2016-06-18 11.03.29

Little Tiger Press, 9781848690394

“The first Slodge”by Jeanne Willis and Jenni Desmond takes us back to the beginning of the world and how we all had to learn together and understand that the world is for caring and sharing.  This is a very simple story with a very profound message.  A really great read.

2016-01-15 13.36.31

Bloomsbury, 9781408854976

“The Cloudspotter” by Tom McLaughlin is the story of Franklin, a young lonely boy with a love of cloudspotting.  then a scruffy dog starts following him around and even wants to join in with Franklin’s adventures.  The charming ending when the two characters realise the importance of the friendship they have begun to share will appeal to everyone.

2016-06-10 14.46.19

Little Tiger Press, 9781848691933

“Nibbles, the book  Monster” by Emma Yarlett.  When Nibbles the book monster escapes from his cage he creates havoc everywhere. He keeps eating into other books like Goldilocks and Little red Riding Hood and proceeds to change the stories.  The physical book is wonderful with flaps, cut-outs and books within books.  A fantastic read for children and adults alike.

Happy reading to everyone!