Book reviews - Bloomsbury Education

We have brought together on this page books published by Bloomsbury Books, to help teachers become aware of these valuable classroom resources. Many will also be useful for parents (especially Home Educators) and other professional users, such as childminders. 

From the Bloomsbury website: "Our Educational publishing aims to aid teachers and parents. Our early years list, Featherstone, provides teaching professionals, carers and parents with resources to help prepare 0-7 year-olds for the world to come. Through our extensive fiction and non-fiction books, we cover every reading age with exciting and entertaining books children won't want to put down. The highly successful Music list features not only classics like Abracadabra Recorder, but new musical adaptations of well-loved and familiar tales from authors such as Terry Pratchett and Roald Dahl.  And our Teacher Resources, by Andrew Brodie, are essential for everyone embarking on a career in the classroom." 

Books for teachers FS


Andrew Brodie

Books for children

Reluctant and Struggling Readers

Featherstone Education - Early Years Foundation Stage

 Making Sense of Neuroscience in the Early Years by Sally Featherstone

Neurosciene is the study the brain and its cognitive function It's a highly complex subject to put into practice in early years education is a daunting prospect for most practitioners; in fact, many will avoid it. And that's where this comprehensible but accessible book comes in. Practitioners have had to come to terms with so many changes in recent years, combined with a mounting pressure for accountability in Closing the Gap between disadvantaged children and those more fortunate. This makes an understanding of neuroscience essential. This book is a comprehensive position statement for practitioners that highlights: where we are now; what we know; what we don't know; what research developments mean for practitioners and setting, and how this fits in with the government expectations within the EYFS framework. The information is detailed, but has been presented in a practical way, with plenty of examples of real situations, so everyone can gain an understanding..

A Practical Guide to Nature-Based Practice by Niki Buchan

There is a growing realisation that children benefit from being involved in wild spaces and it's really heartening to see the changes schools have made to give children outdoor experiences. To make these experiences worthwhile, children (and adults) need dynamic and complex outdoor environments and opportunities for risk and challenge - something sadly lacking in many children's lives. This inspiring book is packed with ideas and real-life scenarios which give practitioners the chance to give their pupils the opportunity to play with abandon, have first-hand experiences - and discover the real joy of being in the outside world. It also provides inspiration for bringing the outdoors in. The book provides a background to forest school and its relevance to Early Years settings; outlines the challenges and benefits of outdoor learning; explores the concept of nature-based practice; emphasises the importance of free play; includes case studies in which educators share their journeys into 'wild nature'. This book will help adults and children alike to reconnect with their local environment - a must-have for any early years setting. The enthusiasm with which the material is presented - and the enticing colour photos - will convince the most sceptical!

50 Fantastic Ideas for Exploring Food by Judit Horvath

Whether you teach in a playgroup, nursery or Reception class, and whether you have just a handful of pupils or 30+, this excellent series from Featherstone has something for you. And this book is bound to appeal to everyone, with the current high profile of healthy eating and baking. Children have a natural curiosity about everyday life and being involved in cooking and all of its preparation activities has a huge potential to stimulate young minds. By preparing simple meals together from scratch, children will naturally develop the love of good, healthy food, whilst it can also tackle the issue of fussy eaters, who are far more likely to try something they've prepared themselves. Cooking together also addresses a whole range of essential learning skills such as weighing, measuring and safety. The author is both qualified teacher and baker, giving her an excellent overall perspective. The book brings together a varied collection of activity ideas around cooking and baking from different cultures, with some added simple recipes too. A practical and accessible book.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Fearless Play by Judit Horvath

In today's world, we are hemmed in with so many restrictions that it can seem hard to encourage children to play freely and without fear, but it is an essential part of growing up. Fearless play develops children's confidence, extends their boundaries, helps them learn to assess risks and manage situations - and it's fun. This book is full of fun and colourful ideas for facilitating fearless play in early years settings, and Health and Safety aspects are given careful condiseration. The variety of activities means there's something for every child to enjoy, ranging from basket making to mud racing. Each idea is targeted to help children face new challenges and explore the world around them, as well as helping to establish motor skills, coordination, and body awareness; the ideas are wide-ranging and some can be found for every situation. As with all the books in the series, the succinct layout and clearly defined sections for what you need, what to do and moving forward, along with good photos, makes the book easy and enjoyable to use. A perfect resource for busy early years practitioners who want children in their care to play safely and fearlessly.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Exploring Food by Judit Horvath

Whether you teach in a playgroup, nursery or Reception class, and whether you have just a handful of pupils or 30+, this excellent series from Featherstone has something for you. And this book is bound to appeal to everyone, with the current high profile of healthy eating and baking. Children have a natural curiosity about everyday life and being involved in cooking and all of its preparation activities has a huge potential to stimulate young minds. By preparing simple meals together from scratch, children will naturally develop the love of good, healthy food, whilst it can also tackle the issue of fussy eaters, who are far more likely to try something they've prepared themselves. Cooking together also addresses a whole range of essential learning skills such as weighing, measuring and safety. The author is both qualified teacher and baker, giving her an excellent overall perspective. The book brings together a varied collection of activity ideas around cooking and baking from different cultures, with some added simple recipes too.


Differentiation (100 Ideas for Teachers) by Rachel Orr

Differentiation is an essential part of the curriculum, as in any class, children will be working at different levels; it is also necessary to cater for differentiation where there are mixed age classes. In this book, experienced teacher Rachel Orr provides practical guidance based on experience. The clearly laid out ideas are succinct but packed full of detail to make learning engaging, empowering, investigative, explorative, and open ended; matching the learning needs of each individual pupil without limiting them or your teaching. Effective differentiation requires a real depth of knowledge of each individual pupil's learning and understanding and armed with that, this book will really help teachers to easily organise and differentiate learning. It also provides useful tips on scaffolding, structuring learning, and how to build on positive outcomes to make further improvements, covering each aspect of teaching, from whole class activities to homework. Excellent value and comprehensive coverage in a relatively small book.

Bloomsbury CPD Library: Stretch and Challenge by Debbie Light

Schools have been wont to label the most able students in a class or year group as 'gifted and talented'. This is very subjective and varies year by year. It is a policy which can impact poorly on other learners in the class. The Stretch and Challenge model focuses on setting high expectations for all students, regardless of their ability, encouraging all children to meet universally high targets introduces flexibility between, otherwise rigid, ability groups, and gives children greater opportunities to exceed. Debbie Light begins by helping teachers to create a culture of high expectations in their classroom by setting challenging learning objectives, creating opportunities for students to develop independence and supporting students, as they become resilient learners. The second half of the book advises teachers how to create an inclusive learning environment where all children feel challenged by encouraging teacher questioning, designing tasks, grouping students and effectively using teaching assistants. Filled with honest, experienced and undeniably helpful advice, A must have guide for all teachers who want to collectively maximize their students' learning and achievement, accessible and motivating.

The Little Book of My Neighbourhood by Judith Harries

Children's first experience of a school trip is very often a walk around the locality of the school, so this Little Book, with its range of activities to enjoy in the vicinity of school and Early Years settings, will be warmly welcomed by teachers. The book starts with ideas for 'My space' - children's houses and the area within your setting. It moves on to walks around the area, at different times of year. Visitors can extend this learning, as can learning about other countries. Finally, visits to special places. Simple activities provide a wealth of learning opportunities to broaden knowledge and experience. All the activities link to specific aspects of the curriculum areas and early learning goals, and these links are clearly shown to help with planning. Topics include local space, walks, talks from community members, visits and games, stories and songs. We may think we know our local area well but this informative book is full of ideas of things to look out for and activities you may not have thought of.

Time to Discover Maths by Trudi Fitzhenry

The revision of the EYFS in September 2012 meant that mathematics became one of the Specific Areas of Learning; Early Years practitioners will need to observe, assess and record children's progress as well as plan future progress. This book seeks to provide valuable guidance for practitioners across the entire Early Years provision from the youngest babies up to the Reception year. Sometimes, the need to reach targets can crowd out innovative teaching and learning but this excellent book will ensure that exciting teaching does not get pushed aside in the pursuit of targets. The presentation is superb and will really encourage practitioners to develop their teaching using the ideas given; the excellent use of photography really encourages teachers to try the ideas. Planning and recording is facilitated bu the good use of colour throughout the book. The book includes suggestions for parents to try out at home, and a variety of ideas to inspire adult-led learning. A really appealing book which will really motivate teachers.

Reducing Educational Disadvantage: A Strategic Approach in the Early Years by Penny Tassoni

'Narrowing the gap' - something that is high on the Ofsted agenda, and something to which schools and Early Years settings need to give close attention so they can show the progress that has been made. We all know how vital the home environment is to young children, but sadly, not all children are given the stimulation they need. Research shows that on average, children who are entitled to free school meals start primary school with lower scores in reading and mathematics than their peers. Once they start school/nursery/childminder, there is the opportunity to narrow the gap. This unique book shows you how to provide a 'safety net' for children who are most at risk of underachievement. It discusses the different factors that impact positively upon children's learning and shows how these they link to good practice within the EYFS. From tips for creating a rich, and diverse play environment for them to enjoy, to suggestions on how to carefully guide activities and experiences, this book will help you to establish a strong, long term education programme. It's another excellently presented book, with plenty of photos to encourage you to try the ideas, as well as a clear layout to make reading a pleasure. You will be amazed at the impact you will have upon these children simply by making small changes to your practice and planning, and you might even increase your setting's chance of gaining an 'outstanding' Ofsted grade - and that is an outcome everyone desires because it shows that the children in your setting are receiving the very best education.

Getting it Right in Reception by Neil Farmer

Nobody can deny the importance of the Reception year in school - it sets the foundation for all future learning and a good year spent in Reception can have a huge impact of children's learning. And that is just what this book aims to ensure, by providing 'the skills, space and excitement that Reception children so desperately need'. Neil Farmer draws on extensive experience of working in and supporting schools and leaders up and down the country and abroad. The book offers suggestions and strategies that will assist teachers in gaining ownership of their classroom and a true understanding of their vital role as a facilitator, mediator and coach. It's a book to dip into and to take inspiration as and when needed, adapting the ideas, which are not prescriptive but allow freedom. The book covers the Inspection Framework, the basics, routines and environment, observation, assessment and planning, challenge and success and leading a team. It has much to offer both new and experienced practitioners; new teachers will gain confidence from using the ideas and experienced teachers will find fresh approaches.

Boys will be Brilliant by Linda Tallent and Gary Wilson

A positive statement and one which, with the help of this book, can definitely be achieved! The issue of boys' underachievement is common across the entire developed world and has presented teachers and early years practitioners with challenges as well as opportunities. Interestingly, only in Scandinavia do boys achieve at roughly the same rate as girls and there they don't start school formally until they are seven. The underachievement of boys continues to be high on the government agenda and this puts pressure on schools to push boys into reading and writing, perhaps before they are really ready. This can have a detrimental effect on them at the time and one that can be carried on, as they feel they have failed to achieve from an early age. This book address the issues that impact on achievement and provides strategies to encourage boys' learning, including providing a physical environment that is boy-friendly, and ensuring that boys are celebrated for what they do well. The book includes useful photocopiable resources. Another very attractive book that, despite including a huge amount of material, is easy to read, assimilate and act upon.

The Little Book of Healthy Eating (Little Books) by Amicia Boden

Schools have an important part to play in helping to conquer childhood obesity, and they have excellent opportunities to tackle this essential area. Recent reports show that more than one in five children are overweight or obese when they enter reception year. This has resulted in a growing emphasis on early years providers demonstrating their healthy eating environment - both in terms of food provision and food education. This Little Book is packed with easy to implement healthy eating ideas which can be used in the setting or put forward as suggestions to all parents. It provides advice and ideas for healthy eating activities, and is also linked to meeting the EYFS welfare requirement for healthy, balanced and nutritious food and drink. The national guidance on healthy eating in early years settings is highly detailed and technical; busy teachers, whilst appreciating the guidance, just don't have the time to read it all - so get a copy of this excellent book and make sure your setting is helping to encourage healthy eating habits as early as possible.

Coping with Crisis: Learning the lessons from accidents in the Early Years by Bernadina Laverty and Catherine Reay

This isn't a case of shutting the stable door... by learning the lessons from accidents, future harm can be avoided. There is a huge amount of legislation concerning food safety, health and safety legislation and the welfare requirements within the revised Early Years Foundation Stage 2014; ensure you have a good grasp of all you need to know by using this comprehensive guidance. It outlines the importance of complying with legal responsibilities and discussing the outcomes of failing to comply. Much of the emphasis of the book is on the process of inspection and being compliant with all the requirements, so knowledge and application of the material is essential. The book focuses on raising awareness and promoting a culture of safety to try and prevent accidents, incidents and food poisoning outbreaks in settings. It provides advice and guidance on how to improve quality, gradings, and food hygiene rating scores. This book is a must-have for all staff working within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and could be used for training, workshops and professional discussions. It contains a vast amount of information, but the presentation makes it easy to assimilate knowledge and to locate specific information. 'Reflection' and 'Key points' are excellent foundations for discussion and training.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Exploring Nature by Kate Bass and Jane Vella

Steiner and Montessori schools have long known the benefits of outdoor learning; now it's becoming an accepted part of the curriculum. You don't need huge open spaces or access to a forest school to explore nature; this practical, hands-on book shows how children can be helped to explore and enjoy nature through activities such as worm charming, an imaginary animal walk, making a herb garden and creating puddle pictures. Each activity includes colour photos to show the activity in action, a list of needed equipment, how to carry out the activity and how to continue the learning as well as practical tips, health and safety advice and the benefits to the children. It's all very clear and easy to follow, and the layout makes lesson planning really simple, with everything a busy teacher needs.

The Little Book of Team Games (Little Books With Big Ideas) by Simon MacDonald

This Little Book focuses on encouraging emphasis on 'togetherness': a move away from the individual and towards the collective; young children initially play on their own and many come into an early years with little experience of playing with others. Children in early years settings are faced with huge challenges regarding socialisation, sharing and growing in responsibility, and this book, with its straightforward and easy to implement ideas, provides excellent opportunities for them and their carers to address these issues through team play. It's number 97 in the series, which is a huge testament to the success of the approach of this excellent series, which is affordable for all settings.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Messy Play by Sally and Phill Featherstone

Messy play is at the heart of the early years curriculum and children, of course, simply love it. It's not just for fun, though - it supports creativity and imagination, gives children opportunities to experiment with tactile materials and, more often than not, encourages interaction with others. This book offers 50 ideas for using natural resources, simple household items and recycled resources for low cost inspiration, making the ideas affordable for all, from well resourced independent nurseries to childminders. Practitioners and teachers in the early years are always looking for new ideas for messy and hands-on play, and this book will give children many opportunities for exploration and investigation through sensory play and here they will find lots of inspiration. Try 'Let's face it' - a new look for dolls; 'Beautiful bouncy beads' - magic swelling water beads and 'Pour tall' - spectacular paint towers.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Take-Home Activities by Kate Bass

This is an excellent series, with one idea per page. It's consistently easy to use, with 'What you need' and 'What to do' clearly set out. The suggestions for 'Taking it forward' offer extension activities to develop the theme and 'What's in it for the children' show how the activity contributes to early learning. 'Top tips' and Health and Safety' boxes are used for additional information as appropriate. This title focuses on the fact that children learn best when their families are involved; as children spend the greater part of their lives at home. The book is full of activities that can be easily undertaken at home and which offer the opportunity for the whole family to be involved; there are even ideas for helping around the house! The step-by-step instructions are perfect for sending home to parents. This is a really good book, full of excellent and very practical suggestions.

The Little Book of Woodland Challenges (Little Books) by Rebecca Aburrow

Forest Schools are becoming increasingly popular; even if there is not a forest school or similar in place, children will still enjoy and benefit from the activities in this informative book. There are endless benefits to taking outdoor learning to a natural or woodland setting, not least of which is encouraging children to care for the natural world; the activities will all support this. Even if your setting does not have a woodland space, the book gives ideas for using the suggestions in other ways, so children can still benefit. The book provides a wide range of mathematical, scientific and creative based challenges suitable for all children, including those with SEN and EAL, and addresses all areas of learning in Development Matters and the EYFS. It is simple and easy to follow and there are many fresh ideas to stimulate planning.

Successful Leadership in the Early Years by June O'Sullivan

The government has a key focus on ensuring that children from all backgrounds have equal educational opportunities and that achievement of children from disadvantaged backgrounds is in line with general standards. This means there is pressure within the Early Years sector to create staff who can lead different types of childcare and family settings to a successful outcome. Many say that for this to happen we need people who can lead an effective team of capable, professional colleagues; June O'Sullivan, Chief Executive of LEYF, acknowledges the problems and provides ideas and suggestions to address the issues facing leaders so that they are supported to lead us into a future where we can all help make a big difference for a long time. The book makes excellent use of tables, bullet points and other devices to ensure clarity. Well researched, with plenty of practical examples, this is a highly readable book, written with a real insight into the issues facing Early Years practitioners in a variety of settings. It's a book which can have a real impact on the way settings are run, with relevance to leaders and to aspiring leaders.

A Sense of Wonder by Jan Hunt, Elizabeth Roy, Bess Sajfar, Sally Featherstone and Jenny Aitken

In the Early Years, children will learn science through a variety of topic-based approaches combined with hands-on experiments - often in the guise of play. This practical book offers a scientific framework for the early years that is divided into four key areas: biological science, physical science, earth science and environmental science. Topics covered include life, nature, environmental care, sustainability, and biodiversity - with links throughout to the EYFS. A Sense of Wonder is an easy-to-read guide for educators looking to implement play-based science learning and inspire children of all ages in the EYFS. Watching young children's wonder as they learn about their world in a practical way is a wonderful thing - the simple to use ideas in this well presented book will help practitioners get the very best from that enthusiasm, and channel it in a way that will provide a firm basis for future learning. Throughout the book, the huge amount of photographic material is a real stimulus to trying out the ideas.

The Little Book of Numbers (Little Books) by Carole Skinner

This is an excellent series of succinct books which give a good overview of their topics. These little books are all crammed with ideas, and this one is no exception. Ideal for all Early Years practitioners, but especially valuable for those who may, sadly, have negative views of maths, this book contains a wide range of ideas, all clearly explained and simple to carry out. The topics are covered in two page spreads, with an outline of the focus, equipment needed, how to carry out the activity, what to talk about and extension ideas. This hands-on Little Book provides a breadth and depth of content that will enthuse both adults and children to explore fun and exciting everyday situations and number problems together.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Outside All Year Round by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

This series is another tried-and-tested format which early years practitioners know they can rely on for inspiration. Over recent years, the emphasis on using outside space to the maximum has really come to the fore, and this book will help practitioners embrace the concept. Children respond well to outdoor learning and by encouraging this from early in their education, we can build in them a love for the outdoors and a desire to spend more time free from the constraints of indoor living. Children are naturally inquisitive and see potential in things adults dismiss - this engaging book makes full use of that and encourages the use of found objects to extend learning. "What about the weather?", you may well ask. In 50 Fantastic Ideas for Outdoor All Year Round Alistair has created 50 ideas that will get children and practitioners outside and learning come rain, snow, wind or sunshine! All of the activities have got their own central skill that can then be adapted to fit the interests of the children or each setting's own particular outdoor environment. So, whether your setting's outdoor space is a back garden, a small yard or large playground there will be activities that can be used and that will inspire young learners.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Celebrations and Festivals by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

The format of these books is extremely appealing, and really encourages teachers to dip in and pick up ideas. Each theme is presented on a single page, with a list of required materials, how to carry out the activity, how to carry it forward, and the outcomes for the children.Information is clearly presented in delineated boxes and accompanied by colour photos showing the activity in action; it's all perfect for busy practitioners. As part of their learning, children will learn about a variety of celebrations and festivals. These occasions are also important markers for children in the passing of time and repeated experience and they need to learn about and understand the ways others celebrate. This book includes Christmas, Diwali, Easter, Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Halloween, Bonfire Night and more. The list of celebrations and festivals that are covered is comprehensive but by no means exhaustive; many of them can be adapted to use the principles in celebrating other momentous dates.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Seasons by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

The wealth of material contained in these books means that they really do represent excellent value, well worth buying for any Early Years setting.There are always new ideas, as well as trusted favourites. Among my favourites from this book are beach dough, cinnamon snowflakes, clouds in a jar and wool wrap wigwam. The suggestions cover a wide range of learning, ensuring young children are covering the curriculum in a varied and engaging manner. Many skills are developed through the activities; some activities are for outdoors. Learning about the seasons provides an excellent opportunity for cross-curricular work.

The Little Book of Shape and Space (Little Books) by Carole Skinner and Judith Dancer

Shape and space are all around us and this practical guide builds on children's natural enthusiasm and curiosity about the world in which they live. The book includes a range of exploratory ideas, covering both 2D and 3D shapes. Each topic includes the learning covered, additional resources needed, what to do and say to facilitate learning and a selection of extension activities. The ideas are easy to use in any Early Years situation, with a few children or with a whole reception class. Both indoor and outdoor play are included and the activities will really help develop children's appreciation for, and understanding of, the world around us. "The best selling Little Books series uses a practical and simple approach to provide anyone working with children with fresh and inspirational ways to build a strong foundation for later education." Bloomsbury's Little Books Club is a great way to get the most out of the Little Books experience. As a member you get five new Little Books per year sent to you free of charge, plus many other benefits. Find out more here.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Mark Making by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Mark making is, of course, the precursor to writing and we all, practitioners and parents, should encourage children's enthusiasm for mark making - but it does, of course, need to be channeled in the right direction! Children use many objects for their early experiments in mark making, including hands, fingers, feet etc as well as various found objects that they come across in day-to-day life. These are all vital for that early development and the inspiring ideas in this book teach adults how to work with children, enabling them to become really confident and secure mark makers. Alistair Bryce-Clegg puts a strong emphasis on learning being fun and this book, which uses a whole host of ideas for different mark making utensils, as well as exploring numerous substances and surfaces that children can mark make on. Some of the ideas will support children to create their own 'masterpieces' while others will encourage them to make make with other children in a group. The ideas are illustrated in full colour with excellent photographs illustrating the ideas in action. What you need and what to do sections give clear and explicit instructions. It's a book full of inspiration.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Early Writing Prompts by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

It's the presentation of this series that really stands out for me - the use of excellent colour photos will really inspire teachers to try out the ideas. Children are often reluctant to start writing, but it's essential to get this off to a positive start. The ideas are easy to use, and the resources needed will be readily available. Try Alien Spaceship Crash, popcorn writing and scavenger hunt stories - just some of the inspiring ideas that are bound to appeal to children. These are books you can pick up and be quite certain that you will find ideas to inspire your teaching. Got a class to teach at short notice? If you have some of these books to hand (perfect for a staffroom library), you will never be short of ideas.

Maths is all Around You by Marianne Knaus and Sally Featherstone

Our everyday lives are full of mathematics in one form or another and yet many people are still daunted by the thought of maths. One of the best ways to overcome this is to encourage children to use maths in everyday settings from the earliest age possible. Although educators and parents attempt to provide positive maths experiences, there is still a high level of anxiety about the teaching and learning of mathematics. This book aims to dispel this through a range of practical teaching ideas which can be used in Early Years settings and which make maths an integral part of learning. This practical approach gives confidence and familiarity to teacher and pupil. Introductory chapters are followed by chapters on pattern, number, measuring, geometry, probability and ICT, giving a comprehensive coverage of the curriculum and cross-linking to other subjects. Each chapter has extremely useful sections at the end, including a list of questions to ask, language to use and ways to experience the concepts. Clear, encouraging and well-focused, this is easy to use and guarantees an excellent foundation.

I Love Forest School by Martin Pace

The importance of outdoor activities and giving children experience of the natural world cannot be denied; although the practice has been adopted through the years on a small scale, it is only now really becoming significant - and not before time! There are many different approaches educators can take to working with children in outdoor environments and different locations where the same principles can be applied, for example beach school. The important thing is using the opportunities provided by outside space on a regular basis and that is what the book covers. My own grandchildren attend a nursery on a farm and I can see many of the principles being used there. A key part of the experience is being child-led; of course, safety must be paramount and the book discusses safety and risk-taking.The case studies and quotes from children show the huge value of the learning experiences and the sheer joy experienced by children - just look at the photos for evidence.Illustrated throughout with plenty of photos, this is an inspiring book full of practical advice for those already running forest schools and inspiration for those yet to embark on the exciting process.

Continuous Provision: The Skills by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

This book works from the premise that, in every area of continuous provision (eg sand, water, role play, small world etc) there are 'pure' skills that children can only learn in that area and there are 'facilitative' skills that children can learn through that area. The author looks at the types of provision and identifies a range of 'pure' and 'facilitative' skills. When using the provision, he shows how the provision itself should be leveled 'top', 'middle' and 'emergent' rather than looking at the skills of the children themselves. To help the teacher, the book gives examples of how to break those skills down into top, middle, emergent e.g. in 'Paint' he identifies skills that children need to learn when using paint like texturising, application, printing etc. He then takes each of those skills individually and show how a skill like printing could be broken down into three broad stages. This detailed, step-by-step approach helps the practitioner to see exactly what level of skills are offered by each provision, so that they can map teaching to the required level. With clear descriptions and plenty of photos of children learning, the book clearly explains what could be a complex concept.

Inspiring Play Spaces by Susie Rosback and others

Suitable for any Early Years setting and written to meet the requirements of the EYFS, this book demonstrates a whole range of ways in which different spaces can be instigated and set up in response to children's interests. It is perfect for practitioners looking for new ways to present equipment and new ideas to create beautiful play spaces, which can be executed or set up in a variety of ways at little or no cost. It can seem daunting for practitioners to fulfil all the EYFS requirements, especially in a small nursery or as a childminder, but this book makes allowances for that and doesn't expect unlimited resources. It refers extensively to the Early Learning Goals, so practitioners can incorporate these into their planning and ensure they have the evidence to hand that they are compliant. It is well illustrated with plenty of photos which show just what can be done - and how much children enjoy the provision. Inspiring to read, it is practical and full of ideas.

The Little Book of Measures (Little Books) by Carole Skinner and Judith Stevens

Two more new books in this excellent series bring yet more fresh ideas to the Early Years classroom. Many children will be familiar with the everyday objects that are used in this book, as they may well have experienced them informally at home. It puts measuring into a practical context with a clear emphasis on the use of non-standard measures as well as standard measures. The activities are simple to do and make good use of items that are readily to hand - including the children themselves! Giant strides and handprints, for example. Other equipment, such trundle wheels, metre rules, sand timers, stop watches, balances and scales are also used. The inexpensive nature of these means they are suitable for practitioners working on a tight budget, including childminders. Another practical guide.

The Little Book of Music and Movement (Little Books) by Judith Harries

Full of ideas and activities for early years settings, this book builds on children's instinctive responses to music. The musical sources are varied including many teachers may not have thought of using; they include classical, pop, jazz, world and traditional. To save busy teachers' time , they are easily available via or other internet sources. This book gives practitioners information, resources and confidence to use lots of music to enrich the learning environment. Not only movement but other ideas for expressive arts activities such as art, music and drama are included in Whatever next sections and links to other curriculum areas which include EYFS connections.  The presentation is clear and succinct, with just the right amount of information to structure lessons and stimulate further development.

Time to Move by Trudi Fitzhenry and Karen Murphy

Physical development can be taken fro granted and with the pressures on Early Years teachers, it could be sidelined. This interesting book shows how vital every aspect of physical development is for future educational advancement; without good coordination, core stability and gross motor skills the fine motor skills needed for tool handling and writing may not fully develop. The book is excellently presented, with a huge number of colour photos which show all the stages from birth up to the age of five - it's good to see even babies are included, giving a comprehensive and consistent approach to the topic. The practical easy to follow suggestions are linked to the ages and stages of the Early Years Outcomes so practitioners can see exactly what should be achieved and how to support it. Each section is colour coded and links the Early Years Outcomes to the planning cycle and Characteristics of Effective Learning, making lesson planning and recording simple. It contains a wide range of additional activities and an assessment grid to support practitioners current tracking systems and help demonstrate progress over a specific period of time. A very interesting approach and good to see this important aspect highlighted.

The Little Book of Print-making (Little Books) by Lynne Garner

Print making is a classic Early Years activity but - dare I say it - sometimes practitioners can get stuck in a rut and used old favourites over and again. Now, with the excellent ideas in this book, they can refresh their teaching and produce some great results. Whether working indoors or out, this book is packed ideas for creating printings and rubbings. The activities use objects that are low-cost and easy to obtain, making it a valuable resource for any setting including childminders. The clearly explained activities cover a range of Early Learning Goals and each includes a range of activities and discussions to extend learning value.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Found Materials (50 Fantastic Things) by Sally and Phill Featherstone

The world around us is full of things which are free or inexpensive and these fit perfectly with today's emphasis on recycling. Infant teachers have always made good use of the free resource which abound and this book is full of inventive ideas to extend that. Children love making things and essential key skills such as creativity, imagination, motor skills and many more are developed in a fun and stimulating way. The resources suggested are all easily available, and the ideas are bound to stimulate more projects. The innovative ideas include a Panda Parade from cans or plastic bottles, jumping puppets with cardboard tubes and skeletons from leaves and twigs. The book is full of practical suggestions stemming from the authors' long experience.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Rain, Wind and Snow (50 Fantastic Things) by Sally and Phill Featherstone

With this excellent series to hand, no Early Years teacher need ever be stuck for inspiration. The books are practical for use in any Early Years setting, from childminder to large nursery school, with their clear instructions and easily obtained resources. Bad weather is no longer a problem! Make the most of it with 50 ideas for simple activities to do in the rain, wind or snow (and in fog, frost, mist and sunshine!. A great way to help with planning, as your plans won't have to be changed because of the weather conditions. Each activity is accompanied by photos which clearly show what is happening and the page layout is crisp and clear - no searching around for that vital piece of information. A perfect aid to planning and also easy and quick for ad hoc lessons to make the most of weather conditions.

The Little Book of Drama and Performance (Little Books) by Clêr Lewis and Rebecca Aburrow

The thought of putting on any form of drama performance in the Early Years can seem very daunting but this practical book is full of easy to implement ideas and plenty of fresh thinking. So many skills are developed that the results are well worth the effort - and think of the pleasure parents get from seeing their little ones perform. The innovative ideas in this book help develop speaking and listening skills, boost self-confidence and self-esteem and develop language skills. It's not just for putting on a performance - the book is full of simple ideas which can be integrated into everyday activities - mime, facial expression and gesture, clapping and rhythms, statues and tableaux, creation and use of props and dressing up. Another succinct and practical aid for Early Years teachers.

Learning to Learn by Sally Featherstone

We all know that children are born with a huge capacity for learning - what we need to do, as parents and teachers, is harness that capacity and use it to the best advantage. This book will help you do just that! Written for parents and practitioners, this well-explained book helps us understand what works for the growing brain, and what doesn't! The time we spend with our children is key, not buying specialist DVDs, choosing expensive toys or embarking on rigorous early learning programmes. This book introduces you to some of the things that affect children s learning, explains these in readable terms, and gives you simple ways of making sure that children get the best start in their lifelong learning journey. It's a comprehensive guide which takes us from before birth up to 7 years, with case studies and interludes on child development explaining and expanding on the content. It's a really positive book, written by an experienced professional but in a way that is accessible to all, with plenty of useful tips and advice.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Imaginative Thinking (50 Fantastic Things) by Marianne Sargent

Setting children's learning on the right path from the Early Years is vital; young children have amazingly vivid imaginations, so capitalise on that and develop these skills as early as possible - it will pay huge dividends later on. This book encourages the setting up of open-ended learning opportunities that allow children to use their imaginations to take the activity forward. This needs confidence of the part of the practitioner and that is exactly what the inspiring ideas in this book offer. It's full of ideas, and each is thoroughly explained so that everything needed to plan a lesson is covered. The presentation of this series is exceptionally good - each topic is covered on a one or two page spread, profusely illustrated and with a list of resources, what to do, question ideas and how to move forward. I particularly like the fact that this book includes two story suggestions for each activity - a perfect way to develop and extend the activity.

50 Fantastic Ideas to Captivate Boys (50 Fantastic Things) by Sally Featherstone

Boys learn differently - we all know that and the important thing is that practitioners ensure that they are teaching to accommodate all. This book offers you fifty ideas for things that make the most of the ways boys learn, capturing their interest and helping them to learn. Making a home for spiders, an endless roadway, a dinosaur story box and battling cars are just some of the ideas - of course, girls will enjoy them too. Many offer opportunities for early writing - boys can be slower to develop fine motor skills so this is a useful feature. Role play is often biased to girls - the idea for having a barbecue favours the male cook, just as it does in the adult world! The 50 ideas are inspiring for teachers and help them focus on what interests boys. A superb series for Early Years which covers all the requirements of the curriculum.

Early Years Display: Hundreds of ideas for displays which actively involve children by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Displays are an essential and integral part of every classroom and good displays are really important in the Early Years classroom, to make the room attractive to children and to enhance their learning visually. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be gifted in this way so the practical suggestions in this book will be very welcome. It makes the reader think, not just about what to display, but why, ensuring that displays are really meaningful and relevant. Importantly, it shows how to involve children in creating and enjoying displays so they become an integral part of learning. An experienced practitioner, the author has teamed his ideas with plenty of photos and practical projects to undertake. Usefully, the book also addresses the needs of settings where everything must be packed away and even home settings.

Creative Role Play in the Early Years: Creative Role Play in the Early Years by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Role play is an essential part of the Early Years curriculum and this book is here to help planning, stimulating and organising role play both inside and out. Learning why role play is important will encourage all practitioners to use and hopefully expand this area. The book includes activities suitable for a range of role play situations and how to ensure the setting provides plenty of opportunities for children to develop their own role play as well as adult-led. Often, role play can be seen as an indoor activity but I like the opportunities the book gives for outdoor activities. The extensive use of photos stimulates ideas and this comprehensive guide will be valued in all settings.

The Little Book of Maths Problem-solving (Little Books With Big Ideas 88) by Judith Dancer

There are plenty of opportunities for maths problem solving in everyday life and the easy-to-follow activities and opportunities in this book will open practitioner's eyes to them. The fun, multisensory ideas will trigger children's curiosity and enthusiasm as well as aiding their mathematical development. Clear instructions, how to carry out the activity plus extension activities are all included. The two latest titles in this good value and comprehensive series will be welcomed by all Early Years practitioners, no matter what their setting. The resources needed are readily to hand and the ideas can be adapted to suit large and small numbers.

The Little Book of Free and Found (Little Book With Big Ideas 87) by Julie Mountain

This book has a wealth of ideas to encourage teachers, along with the children, to source unique, free resources to enrich the curriculum. Not only will teachers benefit, but children's eyes will be opened to the possibilities in the world around them to add to their own play value. There is guidance on choosing resources, risk assessing their use, and then encouraging children's creative use of the objects in their free and found collection. The focus is on outdoor play so it's ideal for the warmer months. Bloomsbury publish 5 books a year in this series. Members of the Little Books Club receive the books at a generous discount - see the Bloomsbury website for details.

The Little Book of Rhythm and Raps (Little Books With Big Ideas 86) by Judith Harries

Featherstone continue to produce interesting titles in this valuable series. This title focuses on introducing beat and rhythm through a fun mix of games and activities for teachers to use throughout school. Activities include beat games and inventing rhythms, while the performance raps are based on traditional tales and nursery rhymes as well as original topics. These will fit in well with themed lesson planning and the innovative ideas for using familiar material will be warmly welcomed.  The performance raps based on EYFS topics will be useful in providing evidence that these areas of learning are being covered. As with all the series, the layout is clear and the ideas easy to implement with plenty of ideas for extension activities. An excellent foundation for planning and teaching.

EAL in the Early Years (Practitioners' Guides) by Anita Soni

Many LAs are currently addressing the underachievement of children learning English as an additional language, especially in the early years - this book has been written especially to support those teaching EAL in the Early Years. It provides practical suggestions and guidance on supporting young children learning English as an additional language and lays emphasis on ways to foster help between home and school - an essential part of the learning process. Practical ideas are given for all ages and for all areas of learning, making the coverage comprehensive. It concludes with a tool for self-reflection and evaluation. Full of practical advise, this is an excellent way to help with an issue which is faced by an increasing number of teachers - it's vital to help young children so their education can progress.

Press it, Switch it, Turn it, Move it!: Using ICT in the Early Years by Terry Gould

Even very young children seem totally at home with technology so Early Years teachers have a good foundation on which to build using the many practical suggestions in this book. ICT is a fast-moving world and the 2012 curriculum saw many changes which are covered in this book. Both resources needed and how to teach with them are covered, making what can seem a complex subject manageable with confidence for all. The case studies, ideas and the practical elements of the book are based on sound research, and Terry Gould's experience of working with young children, so practitioners can use the book with confidence. the book shows how ICT can be brought into all areas of the curriculum and not seen as a stand-alone subject - it is too much an integral part of our world for that. Illustrated throughout with colour photos showing the concepts in action, this is a straightforward and confidence boosting book for all Early Years practitioners.

The Little Book of Dens (Little Books With Big Ideas) by Lynne Garner

Children love to make dens and they are an excellent way to stimulate the imagination, develop role play and encourage children to work and play together. This latest title in the excellent the Little Books series contains 24 ideas for budget friendly themed dens. Included within each themed idea are suggestions for making and decorating your den, dressing-up and props, games and activities, links to the EYFS early learning goals and links to useful books, websites - all you need!

50 Fantastic Ideas for Science Outdoors (50 Fantastic Things) by Kirstine Beeley

Two more titles in this practical and good value series which ensures Early Years practitioners are never short of inspiration. There is an increasing emphasis on outdoor learning all year round rather than just in summer and this is an excellent thing especially as many children spend so much time indoors at home. Good quality resources like these books packed with ideas will encourage this and give teachers greater confidence in taking their classes outdoors.  This book offers lots of practical ways to incorporate early science skills and knowledge within other areas of learning. The step-by-step guides are easy to follow,  and facilitate lesson planning and recording. The ideas do not rely on expensive resources but use what is to hand as well as providing ideas for refreshing outdoor areas. The book is an excellent way to encourage an early appreciation of science, especially the natural world.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Maths Outdoors (50 Fantastic Things) by Kirstine Beeley

The outdoor environment offers fantastic opportunities for developing maths skills and here are 50 ideas to ensure teachers make the best of those opportunities. Children find the environment exciting, so this book enables teachers to build on that excitement and instill a love for learning. Designed to be used as a dip in dip out collection of easy to use ideas the author shows how exciting outdoor learning can be developed on even the very smallest of budgets. As with all areas of early learning the author acknowledges the way that maths is integrated within play based exploration and linked to many other areas of learning. Offering ways to develop your existing provision as well as building new resources you will enjoy exploring all areas of early maths including number, pattern,shape and measuring. Full of colour photos, each activity lists the resources, tells what to do, how to build on the learning and how children benefit. I've said it before, but this really is a super series and so comprehensive.

The Little Book of Storybuilding by Clare Lewis and Victoria Millward

This is number 83 in an extensive series from Featherstone which covers a huge variety of aspects of early years teaching in a succinct and informative manner. The books are excellent value and provide a wealth of ideas. "Storybuilding is a cooperative story making technique - with a group of children the practitioner builds an original story e.g. using a range of objects to prompt the people, places and storyline. It is an ideal activity to develop speaking, listening and understanding skills in a fun and imaginative way. It is all about formulating and communicating ideas and as a supportive group task strengthens personal social and emotional development." Young children have vivid imaginations and generally are happy to express themselves, so encourage this from an early age and they will find creative writing comes more easily in the future. For each topic, the book explains how to gather together the stimulating materials needed and then how to work with the children. There are all sorts of themes including journeys, space and under the sea and these can, of course, tie in with the class curriculum.

50 Fantastic ideas for Involving Parents by Marianne Sargent

This is an excellent series which should form part of teacher's resources in pre-school settings. I like the very specific nature of the books, which enable practitioners to focus in on exactly the issue they need; they are also an excellent resource for trainee teachers. On the whole, at this early stage of their child's school life, parents are really keen to get involved, so this is the ideal time to get them interested and hopefully set a pattern that will ensure they are involved throughout their child's time at school. The EYFS Framework requires practitioners to forge positive relationships with parents and carers and to actively engage them in their children's early learning experiences. The suggestions in this book aim to aid practitioners in their endeavors to make parents feel welcome, included and supported. There are ideas to support every level of involvement from the induction period to supporting learning at home. This is such an important time for parents, so the suggestions in this book really are invaluable.

50 Fantastic ideas for Sharing and Playing by Sally Featherstone

Sharing - something that doesn't always come easily to children, especially when they are starting school. Sharing is an essential skill for children to learn and this simple text has activity ideas for both indoors and outdoors, helping children to share their talk and thoughts as well as their belongings. The best way to help children learn this essential skill is through play, where they can see real benefits in sharing and increasing their enjoyment. The child-focused activities in this book are based on familiar activities but they have been given an extra twist by making them collaborative, by giving a new focus or by homing in on current areas of interest. Here are just a few examples - a fitness trail, waterworks and puppet play. Each activity is clearly outlined with a list of resources to ensure teachers are well prepared and there are plenty of ideas for extension activities.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Teaching Phonics by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Once again, a book packed with innovative ideas that both teacher and child will enjoy. As well as being useful in larger settings, there are plenty of ideas here for childminders or others with just a handful of children. A good understanding of phonics is essential if children are to become successful writers and readers. This can often make the teaching of phonics difficult and even uninteresting, so this book of stimulating ideas will be very welcome. It contains a no nonsense ideas bank that are simple and effective when carried out, and which use readily available resources so that any Early Years setting can put into practise these suggestions for teaching and learning phonics. The ideas will really engage children - and most of the time, they will think they are just having fun whereas in reality they are learning a vital skill.

50 Fantastic ideas for Promoting Independence by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Children have a natural desire to be independent and as adults, our role is to foster that desire within a safe setting. We can help out children to develop a sense of independence by encouraging them to make simple choices within their everyday life. The degree of independence that children can achieve is often determined by their age and level of skill, but also their self confidence. The more opportunities children have to be independent, the more their self confidence will grow and the more success they will enjoy. The ideas here are all designed with that in mind and many of them will develop children's imaginations at the same time, such as milk race table and chairs. Many of the ideas will also be useful in the home setting, such as tidying up your own mess! Every book in the series follows the same format - What you need; What to do; Taking it forward; Top tips; Health and Safety and What's in it for the children are all included. Every activity is clearly explained in bulleted lists, you are told exactly what is needed and there are colour photos throughout showing the ideas in action. The layout is excellent, the paper is good quality and all-in-all these really are superb books.

50 Fantastic ideas for Exploring Emotions by Sally Featherstone

Young children are very up and down emotionally and the practical ideas in this book will enable adults to help young children understand and respond appropriately to their feelings. Common situations are covered - understanding anger, caring for others and expressing feelings - and there are activities to help with all these. As ever, they are well thought out and easily implemented, enabling teachers to make a quick response and implement the activities when needed. This book includes fifty short starter sessions with interesting ideas for follow up, each one focused on a different aspect of emotional development.

Getting the Little Blighters to Eat: Change your children from fussy eaters into foodies by Claire Potter

Perhaps it is the parents that are at fault? This interesting book certainly raises some useful points about the way we react to our children's views on food. It's easy to think that children are naturally just fussy eaters and the right thing to do isn't always as obvious or as instinctive as you might think. Common habits like using pudding as a reward or nagging children to eat their vegetables can encourage fussy eating. It's not a recipe book - it's a set of rules to be used as appropriate with your child to encourage them to rethink food. An interesting approach which will make parents stop and think and if applied successfully could see an end to many unhappy mealtimes. And that must be a good thing, as mealtimes are such important family occasions and they should be enjoyable.

Continuous Provision in the Early Years (Practitioners' Guides) by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Alistair Clegg is a highly experienced practitioner and here he shares his extensive experience in school, his knowledge of Continuous Provision and the high level impact and engagement that it can bring. He explains what Continuous Provision is, how to link it to assessment and provides numerous case studies and illustrations of how this works in practice. This book will help practitioners plan their provision (indoors and out) so that it provides carefully structured learning opportunities. This is a highly readable and very enjoyable book, which clearly explains what is meant by Continuous Provision and how it can be integrated in all areas of Early Years provision.

Getting Ready to Write by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

This book shows how children's readiness to write develops through different stages - many of these take place long before children pick up a pencil. The book starts by describing shoulder, elbow and wrist pivots which are fundamental to writing, and how these can he developed.  It then talks about grip, the use of malleable materials and letter formation.  The book is full of innovative and inspiring ideas such as Dough Gym and writing like a Jedi! The ideas are clearly explained and there are many colour photos showing the techniques in action. "Alistair is convinced that once practitioners understand the developmental stages of becoming a mark maker (from palm gripping to shoulder pivot) and are given the tried and tested activities to use, they will see a significant difference in progress." An attractive and well thought out book which will really help Early Years practitioners.

50 fantastic ideas for Creativity Outdoors (50 Fantastic Things) by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Just in time for the summer term (and hopefully good weather) come these two books from Featherstone which are full of innovative ideas to carry out outdoors. Creativity certainly does not have to be restricted to the classroom - this book shows just how many different avenues can be explored outdoors, and just what a wide range of skills creativity embraces. Puddle painting, balloon marbles, tinfoil rivers, flying tubes - just a few of the activities that need a minimum of equipment but plenty of imagination. Simple instructions, plenty of photos and 'What's in it for the children' boxes make these ideal for the busy teacher.

50 Fantastic Ideas for Physical Activities Outdoors (50 Fantastic Things) by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

We all know how important physical activity is for children, and here are 50 super ideas to incorporate some into every day, weather permitting. Painting with mops, swingball tights, sneaky bear, catch an alien - just a few ideas to whet your appetite for this book, which is packed with simple but engrossing activities. Now so many schools have covered areas outdoors, there is a great deal more opportunity for teachers to get their classes working outdoors, so these ideas will be very welcome. Both books will be a great addition to any staffroom and will stimulate discussion and the generation of even more ideas.

Little Book of Multi-Sensory Stories (Little Books With Big Ideas) by Amy Arnold

The Little Books series is a wonderful and affordable resource for Early Years teachers, whether in schools or at playgroup, pre-school or nursery.  The book brings to life popular stories through a wide range of multi-sensory activities with links to the new EYFS Learning and Development areas - a great help to teachers who are still trying to get to grips with all the new curriculum involves. The wide range of ideas have many different teaching elements explained and illustrated. Traditional and classic stories are an essential part of our children's heritage and they offer a huge range of learning opportunities which are explored in this colourful and useful book.

50 Fantastic Things to do with a Water Tray by Kirstine Beeley and Alistair Bryce-Clegg

The 50 Fantastic Things series is packed with inspiring activities which are based on staples of Early Years provision. These staples are brought right up to date with fresh ideas for using these resources. . Each activity features easy to follow step-by-step instructions plus additional ideas on how to extend the activity inside and outdoors.  The series is written by experienced Early Years practitioners. The presentation is bright, colourful and very inviting. This book extends the use of the water tray with lots of new ideas which complement rather than replace the traditional uses. Try ice play, water beads and even edible jelly worms! Each activity builds on aspects of water play or shows how water behaves.

50 Fantastic Things to do with Squidgy Stuff by Kirstine Beeley and Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Touch is essential to young children's development and they like nothing better than playing with squidgy things. As well as having fun, they are developing fine motor skills. Popcorn, baked beans, jelly cubes and porridge are just some of the everyday items used in these activities, which have all been tested with children to ensure that they do engage the children fully. The learning possibilities are clearly identified and practitioners can see at a glance what the children will get out of the activity. This makes the books perfect for use in lesson planning. The ideas are inexpensive but offer plenty of fun as well as learning opportunities. Childminders will find this book a great asset.

50 Fantastic Things to do with a Sand Tray by Kirstine Beeley and Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Extend the use of the sand tray in the classroom with these imaginative ideas, many using sand but others with a range of easily obtained items. It's a great way to extend the use of a familiar resource and hopefully the ideas will generate even more fresh teaching ideas. As with all in the series, each activity is clearly described over one or two pages. Each has a section on 'What you need', 'What do do', 'Taking it forward' and 'What's in it for the children'. The clear layout means it is possible for busy teachers to scan the book quickly for inspiration and to check easily that they have all the resources to hand.

50 Fantastic Things to do with Paint by Kirstine Beeley and Alistair Bryce-Clegg

The fresh ideas which the authors have come up with for this series are super - it really is a series which should be in every Early Years setting, ready to be picked up when inspiration fails. Painting gives children a wonderful opportunity to show their imagination and creative skills, and ideas such as fizzy paint, painting with a wet fish and tyre painting will provide many hours of educational and developmental fun.  Where appropriate, Health and Safety warnings are given (and these are excellent to incorporate into lesson planning and pre-activity discussion) and there are also 'Handy hints'. Colour photos illustrate the activity in practice.

The Little Book of Opposites by Judith Harries

This is a fantastic series, which manages to pack a huge number of ideas into a small and excellent value book. The range is huge - take a look at all the books on the Featherstone site. If you want to build up your collection of these inspiring books, then why not join the Little Books Club? The activities about opposites involve all the early learning goals - opposites are a great way to introduce many simple concepts to children. Learning about things which are opposite challenges and encourages problem-solving, creativity and imagination. Opposites are explored through stories, games, role-play, investigations and explorations and include looking at very simple to more complex opposites.There are two pages for each pair of opposites, with clearly described activities.

The Little Book of Maps and Plans by Marion Taylor and Melanie Roan

An interesting theme that can be adapted to the early years environment by including maps and plans in play and schema with links to transport and making connections. The book also provides a perfect opportunity to use mark making on a large scale. Activities include: Outdoor action track map, a map from a track, mapping small world play, a pirate treasure map and lots more! The ideas go far beyond simply map making - for example the activity on making a map of a theme park is continued with lots of imaginative ideas, all of which would work equally well with a few children as with a large class.

The Little Book of Gross Motor Skills by Ruth Smith

Gross and fine motor skills are a prerequisite for writing and may other essential skills.  Learning how to write can be really hard unless these skills have already been developed, so this book will be invaluable. With the expansion of technology, the demands of busy lives and the increase in stranger danger, children's upbringing is very different today. Children are not experiencing the daily activities that help to develop core stability, balance and physical strength. As a teacher within the EYFS, Ruth noticed the increasing number of children entering her setting with physical developmental delay and has written this book to provide practitioners with some simple but effective activities to help develop gross motor skills.

The Revised EYFS in Practice by Ann Langston and Dr Jonathan Doherty

With the new EYFS in its infancy, this practical professional development title will take practitioners through the new policies and provide vital information and practical advice on how to implement it effectively. With their wealth of experience in the Early Years, Ann Langston and Dr Jonathan Doherty have all the expertise to make this an authoritative book that will be useful to anyone involved in Early Years education. This book is an excellent read for all those concerned with Early Years education, and provides essential information on the current structure.

Autumn (Creative Planning in the EYFS) by Lucy Peet

This series of books helps practitioners working with 3-5 year olds integrate the newly proposed 7 areas of learning and 17 aspects which form the basis of the new EYFS into their planning and day to day activity. The activities are appropriate for any Early Years setting, including schools, pre-schools, childminders and nurseries. Through the topic-based approach children will be involved in playing and exploring, active learning and creating and thinking critically. Each book contains six weeks of highly detailed planning with an activity for each specific area of learning. Autumn is a popular topic and the activities here can be used as stand-alone or as a compete programme of learning. The concepts are clearly explained, with links to how they fit with the EYFS. Ideas for display and to involve parents are useful features.

Spring (Creative Planning in the EYFS) by Lucy Peet

This is a comprehensive outline to cover all aspects of learning about spring in any Early Years setting - the ideas are equally useful for a childminder with 2 or 3 children, or a class of 30. There are lots of original ideas, all well explained and with clear lists of resources. A unique feature of the series is the differentiation - activities are pitched at expected, emerging and exceeding levels so the practitioner can meet the needs of all the children in his or her setting. An interesting feature that draws together all the work covered lies in the final week which offers the opportunity for parents and carers to see and join in with the range of work done.

Castles and Dragons (Creative Planning in the EYFS) by Lucy Peet

These are exciting topics for young children and the clear planning will save busy practitioners many hours of work, whilst ensuring that all key areas of the curriculum are covered. The book is full of innovative ideas - ideas that will make children think and enjoy their learning. The series is attractively presented with plenty of photos showing the ideas in action. Lucy Peet is very experienced - she is Deputy Head and SENCo in a large and successful infant school and has taught children aged 3 - 7 for 19 years. This experience is well demonstrated in this series of books, which are practical and full of activities to engage children.

Get Them Learning (Get Them Talking) by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

Young children are intrigued by the world around them. Early Years practitioners must capitalise on this desire to learn and experience everything.  It is talk that helps children to make sense of those experiences by asking questions and talking about their thoughts and it also enables them to learn how to make sense of the role that they play within in it. "After all, talk is just the thoughts that you have in your head coming out of your mouth. If you haven't got many thoughts in your head then you won't have much to talk about. Alternatively, if you don't have very much experience of language and talk, you will not be able to express your thoughts. Our role as practitioners is to create a wealth of learning opportunities and experiences that will fill children's heads with thoughts and questions and then support them in acquiring the language to be able to communicate those thoughts to make sense of their world and be understood."

Get Them Writing (Get Them Talking) by Alistair Bryce-Clegg

The author sets out to show how writing, apart from the physical movement of the body, can be taught to children from a very young age through talk. The book starts by talking about establishing the correct environment to encourage talking and writing, and goes on to discuss talking for handwriting, grammar, spelling and language. It is packed with detail, photographs and diagrams to illustrate the concepts being discussed - a thought provoking book which will lead to plenty of discussion in Early Years settings.


Books for parents and teachers

How to Survive in Teaching: Without imploding, exploding or walking away by Dr Emma Kell

We all know that teaching can be highly stressful; teachers need to make sure they care for their own needs as well as those of the children in their care, and this compassionate and understanding book empowers them to do just that, without feelings of guilt. THis thought-provoking book is written by an experienced teacher and leader; it examines workplace stress and anxiety, conflict and 'toxic politics', and the other factors which lead teachers to ultimately decide to walk away. It is excellent for stimulating discussion which in itself will help to alleviate stress and anxiety. The book outlines practical ways to survive the increasing pressure teachers are under, with a realistic, unflinching and ultimately very positive perspective on the challenges and rewards of teaching. It includes successful models and strategies where a combination of support and challenge, accountability, and a sense of being valued have encouraged teachers to enter and remain in the profession. It gives a real sense of support to teachers, reassuring them they are not alone and that the challenges can be successfully overcome.

Let's Talk About the Birds and the Bees by Molly Potter

This new picture book comes from an experienced author, well experienced in tackling tricky topics. All young children to have questions about their bodies and where they came from, and we need to answer those questions honestly - but it's not always easy. They need to understand the subtleties of puberty, sex, reproduction and relationships, and to be comfortable with their bodies. This book really helps adults to initiate conversations and to respond to questions with the help of its clear, easy to understand language. The labelled diagrams are a really important part of the book - they use child-friendly language but always the correct terminology to start children off the right way. Subjects include birth, puberty, relationships,  consent and much more. There's plenty of helpful advice for parents and carers, making it easy for them to approach the subject with confidence, , Let's Talk About the Birds and Bees is the perfect book for explaining the facts of life to small children.

The Dyslexia Assessment by Gavin Reid and Jennie Guise

This is an extremely practical book that can be used through all phases of education. It emphasises that assessment for dyslexia is an on-going process, and offers a wealth of practical hands-on activities and strategies to facilitate this.It includes details of formal and informal assessment and practical and useful discussion on how the dyslexia assessment can interface the different subject areas of the curriculum. The straightforward approach makes the book easy to use even for non-specialists, and helps to inform their judgment, thereby raising confidence in all teachers. The assessment focuses on the whole child, with social and emotional as well as motivational factors highlighted throughout; this all-round view of the child is very valuable. This is a useful resource to inform and empower teachers, and to clarify any of the ambiguities and uncertainties that exist around the dyslexia assessment.

How to be an Outstanding Primary Teaching Assistant by Emma Davie

Teaching assistants play an essential role in our classrooms, and this accessible book will go a long way to helping them develop the skills they need. Teaching Assistants are taking on increasing responsibility often working with small groups of vulnerable children in order to raise their academic achievement, develop their social, emotional development and encourage a better understanding of the world around them. This requires TAs to have certain skills and strategies in their toolbox that will allow them to support children throughout their school career, whatever their ability or need. This easy- to-use book includes creative advice to how to best assist both the teacher within the classroom and the children they teach. A large proportion of the book focuses on those with special educational needs, English as an additional language, or behavioural difficulties, and these are often the groups TAs will support. Practical Ideas and Tips are highlighted in boxes, and these provide a useful quick reference guide. An excellent book which covers all the basics TAs need, and which will give them a good grounding to start a successful career as a TA.

How to be an Outstanding Primary School Teacher by David Dunn

Student, NQT or experienced teacher - all will find this practical and down-to-earth book valuable. It is the second edition of a best-selling book, updated to reflect changes in teaching initiatives and educational policy, including valuable new content on using technology in the primary classroom. It's not all about Ofsted - the activities and techniques will move satisfactory and good lessons into the outstanding category - not just when being observed, but all the time. Busy teachers will really appreciate the starters and plenaries and useful websites, and the author's own website offers resources to save you even more time. The book is easy to read, and the chapters focused and succinct, making it easy to find relevant details. Topics include assessment, technology, starters and community engagement - wide-ranging and all highly relevant.

A Creative Approach to Teaching Science by Nicky Waller

Science is such an exciting subject to teach children and this book, which is full of novel and innovative ideas, makes it even more so. At the same time, it ensures that teachers meet the objectives for primary physics, chemistry and biology. Each idea has been tried and tested, used in the classroom with children of the relevant age range, and all are deep rooted in practical enquiry with clear links to the statutory requirements for primary science. It takes the statutory requirements, outlines teaching ideas and ensures the requirements of 'working scientifically' are met. The ideas focus on encouraging children to think for themselves and reason on scientific concepts. This book is a must-have for teachers looking to inspire their pupils, and making sure they have fun along the way. Even non-specialists will find it easy to follow, as the methods are clearly set out and well-explained. An excellent book to instill a love for science.

Practical Behaviour Management for Primary School Teachers by Tracey Lawrence

Sadly, this is an issue that many teachers face, but with this practical guide, behaviour will not be an issue to fear. It offers step-by-step guidance on different strategies that you can implement, and looks at the underlying reasons for behavioural problems, helping teachers to a better understanding. The book will top up your teaching toolkit by covering a range of topics around managing behaviour, from low-level issues to more extreme cases. Tackling behaviour issues early is key, and the book will help identification. On a practical level, there are case studies, discusses the responsibilities of the teacher, how to set meaningful targets, plus lots of tips on how to get the best out of available support and intervention strategies. Not only that, you also get real classroom anecdotes and exercises to use in lessons right away so you feel fully prepared to support all children with confidence - and know that, whatever you face, others have successfully dealt with the problems. By applying the practical principles in this book, teachers can ensure their pupils, both the disruptive and the others, can get the best education possible - and that's what we all aspire to.

Developing Self-Confidence in Young Writers by Steve Bowkett

Writing - so often a focus on school development plans. Faced with a blank page, children's minds can go equally blank. Children's imaginations are vivid but they often lack confidence in putting ideas down in writing. There are so many things they have to get right and these exacerbate these difficulties. While spelling, punctuation and grammar are ultimately very important for clarity of communication, children can often become overwhelmed as they try to get everything right at the first attempt; this book helps teachers ensure that children do not feel inhibited by these demands. It offers dozens of practical suggestions for helping children to feel more confident as they strive to master the complex skills that make up the craft of writing. It outlines a two-step approach; giving children a raft of techniques for generating and organising ideas of their own, coupled with ways of thinking about themselves and their progress in writing designed to boost self-esteem. A valuable addition to the staffroom library; a book that will be used at all stages of primary education.

Mindfulness in the Classroom (100 Ideas for Teachers) by Tammie Prince

Mindfulness is a really 'in' thing in all walks of life, and it certainly has its place in the classroom. A real benefit lies in the way it develops life-long skills that support current and future mental health and well-being. But ow do teachers fit yet another topic into an already over-burdened curriculum? This book provides teachers with quick, easy and simple ideas to support the development of mindfulness as an integrated part of the school day without compromising the every day demands of the curriculum and the classroom. The practical and easy to apply ideas can be used in conjunction with each other in everyday practice, developing positive mental health skills for all children, including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Even those completely new to the concept will find the practical ideas easy to implement, leading to improved behaviour and learning.

Engaging Learners (100 Ideas for Teachers) by Jon Tait

We all know how bust teachers are, and they don't want to be trawling through vast amounts of information to support their teaching - and that's where this excellent series comes into its own. Simply presented and succinct, every title is packed with ideas that are easy to implement and which work really effectively to improve teaching. This is a recipe style books that teachers can dip in and out of when looking for inspiration. It contains effective techniques and activities to apply to every area of classroom teaching, from livening up displays to using technology effectively, and even includes advice on greeting students and providing motivational feedback. Bonus ideas, teaching tips and taking it further boxes ensure teachers can keep up the good work and continually improve. Put these ideas into practice to get your class engaged and ready to learn.

Mark. Plan. Teach by Ross Morrison McGill

Written for both primary and secondary teachers, this book's author is the most followed educator on Twitter in the UK, and founder of one of the UK's most popular education websites - testament to the appeal of his work. There are three things that every teacher must do: mark work, plan lessons and teach students well. The feedback that pupils receive in the form of marking is an essential part of their learning, as is all feedback and this is at the heart of this book which addresses teacher workload in a practical way, ensuring they can have the maximum beneficial impact in the classroom. Mark. Plan. Teach. shows how each stage of the teaching process informs the next, building a cyclical framework that underpins everything that teachers do. All the tried and tested ideas can be implemented by all primary and secondary teachers at any stage of their career and will genuinely improve practice. Mark. Plan. Teach. will enable all teachers to maximise the impact of their teaching and, in doing so, save time, reduce workload and take back control of the classroom.

100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding History Lessons (100 Ideas for Teachers) by Emily Thomas

This series of succinct books is ideal to help busy teachers with their lesson planning, offering quick and easy ways to engage students, convey complex knowledge, and build history-specific thinking skills. The activities in this book aim to embrace what is mind-boggling, bizarre and extraordinary about history and tap into students' innate curiosity and wonder, while still catering to the twin pressures of exam results and observation. This approach will be welcomed by teachers as it will really engage their students with the subject. Each topic is covered in just one or two pages, and most include bonus ideas, taking it further and teaching tips. The extensive list of web resources is a real bonus, and many links will be useful to pass on to pupils.

Bloomsbury CPD Library: Mentoring and Coaching by Marcella McCarthy

In the current financial climate, with cuts all around facing education, developing skills within schools and their wider networks is a positive way forward with benefits for all. Mentoring is an area where this approach really works, offering schools the opportunity to develop and motivate their own staff. But where to start? Internally equipping staff with the skills to coach others is am excellent way to work and motivate, while the transferability of these skills will further mentors professional development and help teachers realise their career ambitions. Marcella McCarthy, an experienced school leader, explains different theories of coaching and mentoring, examines research demonstrating their advantages in various situations, and guides teachers step-by-step through practical methods of coaching and mentoring that they could easily implement in their own school. There are example scenarios for teachers to tackle that will prepare them for a multitude of real-life situations - these are good to use for training. The self-evaluation included in the book helps ensure that mentors track their development and improve their approach as a mentor, ensuring other staff continue to receive the best possible guidance they can. A very practical guide which will empower teachers and further their professional development.

100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Outstanding Geography Lessons (100 Ideas for Teachers) by David Rogers

You may wonder how such a succinct volume can really offer so much - but that's where this series is so good. Perfect for busy teachers, the ideas are compactly presented but full of inspiration with plenty to build on to deliver outstanding lessons. This book gives teachers quick and easy ways to engage students right from the start of the lesson (an essential!), convey complex knowledge, and build solid foundations for student's understanding and learning in geography. The wide coverage of the book gives teachers a wide range of choices, from 'doorstop geography' in around the school and local area, to 'migration and controversy' covering hot-topic global issues, each section and idea in this book provides effective, fun and memorable strategies for creating an outstanding learning experience for your students.

How to Be a Snappy Speller Teacher's Edition by Simon Cheshire

This photocopiable book is full of worksheets that teachers can use with KS2 children to reinforce spelling (and punctuation) skills. It's not a clone of the companion book How to Be a Snappy Speller, but includes completely different yet complementary ideas. The tips on learning are very practical and the format means there is plenty of practice for each spelling topic. This book will be a real boon for busy teachers, who will be very conscious of the curriculum requirements for spelling and punctuation; a valuable time-saver and excellent value for photocopiable resources. A great way to master spelling quickly.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Raising Boys' Achievement by Gary Wilson

Look at most schools' School development Plans and you will see that raising boys' achievement is high on the agenda. The fact that it will often appear year after year, albeit in different forms, shows it is an issue that needs an on-going whole-school approach and the 100 ideas here offer that. The first step is to understand what is going on inside boys' heads and to engage with their experiences and their way of looking at the world around them; the book offers ways to build on this knowledge to get the best out of boys. The 100 Ideas approach brings books that are full of practical lesson plans, activities and strategies, plus suggestions of how to take these ideas further. The layout makes the book perfect to dip into, with succinct headings that sum up the page. Teaching Tips and Taking It Further boxes are practical, with ideas that can easily be implemented. This book is ideal for all primary teachers who want to motivate boys in the classroom and close the achievement gap.

Lesson Planning for Primary School Teachers (Outstanding Teaching) by Stephen Lockyer

Whatever their specialism may be, primary school teachers are generally required to teach right across the curriculum. Good lesson planning is not just something to do when Ofsted is looming - it is a critical tool to ensure that you deliver the best possible lessons for your pupils. This book provides a breakdown of lesson planning strategies, plus a range of practical and original ideas to use with your class. The book is reflective of everyday classroom situations and all the suggestions are easily manageable. It is divided into four parts: north - your curriculum base; east - teaching types; south - planning for character and west - planning classroom activities, so teachers can choose the area most relevant to them. It's a very practical book, easy to use and packed with ideas that will help in creating effective lesson plans.

Mental Health Matters: A Practical Guide to Identifying and Understanding Mental Health Issues in Primary Schools by Paula Nagel

It's a sad fact that mental health issues are on the increase in primary schools. It's a topic which really needs to be brought out into the open, so teachers can identify early signs and have strategies to cope. Teachers have a 'Duty of Care' to support the mental health of children in their schools. Current statistics show a significant rise in mental health difficulties in children and young people, and new legislation urges schools to consider whether continuing disruptive behaviour might be the result of an unmet need. Currently, although we hope this will change, this is not an area universally addressed in teacher training programmes so this book will be a real asset to all primary schools. Real-life case studies are used, and these help teachers to identify issues in their own schools and the practical guidance given will help them respond effectively. Early interventions are the key to success and this book will certainly help with that..

Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics: Teaching Primary Computing by Martin Burrett

For non-specialists, no matter how much they use computers in everyday life, teaching Computing can be daunting as the requirements of the new curriculum take them into unfamiliar realms, with its emphasis on coding and how computers work. Children (and parents too) often see computers as mainly being for playing games, of this new approach. But the learning gained from the 'games' played on computers in the primary classroom is paramount - it is fundamental to what children need to know. The teaching ideas in this book use mostly free tools, which operate across the many platforms that primary schools use; this is a practical point which will be much appreciated. Based on the National Curriculum and set out in year groups, each chapter offers practitioners an essential summary of all the information and vocabulary they need to successfully implement the activity in the classroom. Each is split into three parts - using and understanding computers, being e-savvy, and coding. The book is written in user-friendly language that is accessible to all, and it will be a real asset to all primary teachers.

A Creative Approach to Teaching Spelling: The what, why and how of teaching spelling, starting with phonics by Kate Robinson

Spelling - absolutely essential but not always very enjoyable either to teach or to be taught. The spelling targets of the new curriculum are quite challenging and teachers of current KS2 pupils face challenges in firmly embedding spelling before SATS. Help is at hand with this new book which helps teachers address the spelling targets as well as supporting and enhancing the increasing popularity of phonic-based spelling programmes. The historic overview is interesting, as is the summary of current thinking and outlines of new approaches to the teaching of spelling. The games and activities will really be valued by teachers as they make remembering spelling, especially those tricky words, much easier; they will help to develop and embed children's phonological awareness, phonic knowledge and auditory memory. It's a very approachable book, ideal to dip into for inspiration and excellent for subject leaders to read and pass knowledge on to other staff.

100 ideas for secondary teachers: Tutor Time by Molly Potter

Tutor time can be a really useful part of the school day, but it needs to be planned, just like any lesson. Of course, teachers must also be prepared for the unforeseen, but a good basic structure, which can be achieved with the help of this book, will be very valuable. Busy teachers, who probably feel they already spend enough time planning, will find the ideas in this book take little preparation yet are interesting and useful for all concerned. Activities include community builders, PSHE related topics, creative thinking activities and a variety of active learning techniques to engage your students in discussions. Initially, the book outlines principles and then gives tips and advice on how to fulfill pastoral care responsibilities for pupils in a form group. The discussion and activity ideas are easy to follow, just one page each, clearly laid out and well explained. An excellent staffroom library resource.

Supporting EAL Learners (100 Ideas for Early Years Practitioners) by Marianne Sargent

Increasingly, schools are coping with growing numbers of pupils for whom English is not the first language; for Early Years practitioners, already dealing with children still learning to speak fluently even when English is their first language, this is an added pressure. Despite this, teacher training does not offer much help and there is no formal teaching specialism qualification in EAL. This succinct book offers guidance on how to welcome and provide for children and their families (conversing with parents can be at least as challenging as with children), whilst taking into consideration their unique identities and culture. Straightforward activity ideas link to all areas of the curriculum; these are clearly explained and laid out. The ideas support language acquisition in a range of ways, suiting all forms of learner. There is also guidance on observation, assessment and planning that is specific to meeting the needs of EAL learners; this will be very helpful in compiling reports and keeping track of progress.

Inclusion for Primary School Teachers (Outstanding Teaching) by Nancy Gedge

The SEND Code of Practice came into effect in September 2014, and it contains much that teachers need to put into practice in their schools; although SEN teachers will already be very familiar with the requirements, it's important that all teachers have a good grasp of what inclusion really means. This user-friendly introduction to the main areas of inclusion provides just what primary teachers need. Teachers need to see how principles translate into practice and this book does just that, with practical strategies and ideas for the primary classroom. Topics include what an inclusive class looks like and the responsibilities of the teacher. Jargon - the bugbear of all who struggle to keep up with it - is explained for all those hard to understand terms. Teachers old and new will see the importance of their role in educating a child with SEND to give them the skills they will need for an independent life. Real classroom anecdotes from the primary classroom help reduce the feeling of isolation teachers can get, and they make the book highly readable too. An excellent introduction that will give reassurance and confidence.

A-Z of Learning Outside the Classroom by Dr Russell Grigg

In recent years, there has been increasing emphasis on learning outside the classroom - you only have to look at the canopies which have sprung up around virtually every school for evidence. It's important for teachers to link what happens outside with classroom work, and sometimes this can be an obstacle. There are so many environments outside the classroom that can benefit children, and sadly, parents today often has less time to enjoy these activities with their children, putting the onus onto schools. This book provides a convincing and readable promotion of regular outdoor learning. It draws on relevant research to reinforce that working in real environments benefits children's all-round development cognitively, emotionally, physically and spiritually. The book would be really valuable to convince sceptics in the staffroom, and also as a basis for training. The value of outside activities is illustrated through a wide range of engaging activities, from how to make a scarecrow, to interpreting a painting in a gallery, from getting the best from a library visit, to how best to attack a medieval castle. The excellent presentation and use of colour makes the book very readable and appealing; all aspects are considered including Health and Safety, curriculum links and preparation and follow-up. An excellent book.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Supporting Children with Dyslexia by Gavin Reid and Shannon Green

Lessons are so packed with things that must be done, and teachers are so busy, that it can seem impossible to fit in anything more. That's where this series really comes into its own - with focussed activities that are easy to accommodate. This is the second edition and it takes into account recent research and best practice on dyslexia. There is a brand new section on differentiation in the classroom. It also covers: emotional literacy peer support periods of transition in the child's school life developing phonic skills; and exam preparation. There are ideas here for everyone in primary schools - TAs, teachers, SENCOs and subject leaders. Each idea includes bonus ideas, teaching tips and taking it further. Practical and informative.

Bloomsbury CPD Library: Middle Leadership by Paul K. Ainsworth

As the support offered by local authorities continues to decrease, schools are increasingly being expected to deliver their own training, or to contribute to local cluster or network training. And that's where the Bloomsbury CPD Library comes into play. Divided into two unique sections, Teach Yourself and Train Others, this book is perfect for individual teachers, middle leaders, and those looking to introduce whole-school or inter-school CPD training programmes. The book is designed to support both existing and aspiring middle leaders; the emphasis on the importance of middle leaders and planning for succession is getting a lot of attenton at present and this book offers schools the opportunity to show they are taking note of its importance. Taking an easy-to-follow, chronological approach the book takes you through the five stages of your middle leadership career, from interview preparation to those first steps in role. With a focus on long-term development and progression of practice you are also provided with evaluation strategies and questionnaires, plus a full set of training plans to help train other aspiring middle leaders and run your own CPD sessions. Clear, practical and easy to use; an excellent book.

Leading from the Edge: A School Leader's Guide to Recognising and Overcoming Stress by James Hilton

This is a very timely book which should be part of every school's staffroom library. We are all aware of the ever-increasing number of teachers who suffer from stress and this book will be invaluable in aiding early identification, as well as offering a range of practical strategies. It will also open senior staff to discussing the problem; something that does not always happen. This is a unique, honest, provocative and humorous analysis of the challenges of leading a 21st century school. It is practical and non-judgemental every step of the way, with scenarios and strategies guaranteed to inspire, reassure and help leaders overcome the pressures on them. In addition to helping school leaders recognise and manage stress in themselves, the book covers how to help and support members of staff to manage stress levels and the pressures of their job. The pressures on today's teachers are huge. The author writes from personal experience, thus giving an accurate and revealing insight into the experience of stress. An excellent book, full of positive and encouraging ideas.

Marking and Feedback (Bloomsbury CPD Library) by Sarah Findlater

Marking and Feedback is a key area that every primary and secondary teacher must excel in - Ofsted will look at this and will expect a high standard. This book is a full guide to marking and feedback and will help teachers assess what level they are currently at and highlight the areas they need to improve, helping to ensure they reach the high standards required. It provides an introduction to the main marking and feedback approaches and theory as well as practical ideas to use in the classroom straight away; this will be useful for schools when formulating policy, to ensure they choose a system that suits their school and that it is then applied consistently. There is also a strong focus on long-term development and progression of practice with evaluation strategies and questionnaires. The book is split into two sections: Train yourself and Train others, so it can be used by individual teachers to improve their own practice as well as by those looking for CPD training plans - either for a one off session, or a whole school programme. It is a comprehensive book, which examines the subject in detail. This is the first title in the Bloomsbury CPD Library, a new series of books that provides primary and secondary teachers with affordable, comprehensive and accessible do-it-yourself continuing professional development.

Teaching Primary Spanish: Everything A Non-specialist Needs To Know To Teach Primary Spanish (Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics) by Amanda Barton

Planning to teach a language with which you are unfamiliar can be a daunting prospect even for experienced teachers. Teaching languages requires a blend of skills and this book brings them all together in a clear and logical sequence so teachers can approach the subject with confidence. The book is closely tied in to the new curriculum, with extracts from the curriculum itself and lesson plans and teaching ideas for every area; teachers will therefore feel comfortable that they are teaching to the level required. Non--specialists will be equipped to deliver engaging and well-informed lessons, that account for the changes in the National Curriculum. The lessons are clearly set out with clear indications of what the teacher will need to know to deliver the lesson effectively. This is a very practical and easy to apply programme for teaching Spanish either in your own classroom, or to implement across the school in the role of a coordinator.

100 Ideas for Secondary Teachers: Revision by John Mitchell

Revision strategies need to be easy to use and easy to explain - students don't want even more to learn! Each easy to implement idea in this book has been tried and tested and has minimal preparation time for teachers. Each idea is set out on a full page and extension ideas are included. There are sections on whole-school issues; collaborative revision; revision in lessons; revision and the memory; active revision; revision games; technology and revision. The book can be used to help prepare students for any level of examinations from Year 7 level, therefore encouraging students to consistently review and reinforce their learning throughout their secondary school life. This consistent approach means that revision is built into a scheme of learning and becomes an everyday process rather than one that is just used in the run up towards examinations. There is a vast amount of information between the covers of this slim volume - it's highly impressive and well worth having a copy. An excellent book with many novel ideas.

Teaching Primary French: Everything A Non-specialist Needs To Know To Teach Primary French (Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics) by Amanda Barton

This companion volume to Teaching Primary Spanish, reviewed above, contains all the same excellent features. Linked to the new curriculum for key stages 1 and 2, it includes extracts from the curriculum itself as well as lesson plans and teaching ideas for every area. Each chapter addresses a specific topic and includes helpful summary vocabulary lists, cross-curricular links and three complete lesson plans. This book will equip non-specialists to confidently deliver engaging and well-informed lessons, that account for the changes in the National Curriculum. This is a very practical and easy to apply programme for teaching French either in your own classroom, or to implement across the school in the role of a co-ordinator.

Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics: Teaching Primary History by Matthew Howorth

Teachers have had to adapt their history teaching dramatically to fit in with the new curriculum. This practical book will equip non-specialists to confidently deliver engaging and well-informed lessons. Whether you use it as an individual, or whether your school opts to use the book as a basis for history teaching across KS1 and KS2, you will find an easy to apply programme. The book is split into KS1 and Lower and Upper KS2; within that, there are sections on each major topic, further sub-divided into smaller parts. To look at just one chapter - Changes in Living Memory is the first KS1 topic area; that then looks at schools, homes, seaside holidays and moon landings. For each sub-section, there is a 30 second overview, followed by basic information teachers will need, then three lesson outlines. Finally, there are further activities, research and cross-curricular links. To aid teachers in determining outcomes, a box outlines progression. The format is excellent and really does offer all teachers need to start out with effective lesson planning and delivery. Curriculum Basics is a brand series for primary teachers; it provides a full guide to teaching a primary curriculum area, especially for non-specialists. The content is closely tied to the new curriculum, with extracts from the curriculum itself and lesson plans and teaching ideas for every area.

Bloomsbury Curriculum Basics: Teaching Primary Science by Peter Riley

Science can be a daunting subject for a non-specialist, but this practical book guides the primary teacher along every step of the way. Aligned to the 2014 curriculum, the book follows the same basic principles as Teaching Primary History. The work is divided by key stage and then by year. In Year 5, for example, there is a section on forces; the curriculum is explained and teachers learn what they need to know. A useful section on vocabulary is included and the progression shows where the topic fits into the wider science curriculum; this is useful as science does build strongly on previous learning, with topics re-introduced and expanded. Lesson plans follow - in this case gravity and air resistance, friction and water resistance and machines. The plans are clearly set out with equipment needed, activities and a plenary session. Whether you are an experienced teacher, but not a science specialist, a new or trainee teacher, or a subject co-ordinator, you will find this book invaluable - it's approachable and accessible and teeming with useful facts and information.

A Creative Approach to Teaching Calculation by Josh Lury

The key to the success of this book is not just learning how to calculate, but learning how and why calculation methods work - this will give students an intuitive ability to handle numbers that will stand them in good stead for all aspects of maths and in everyday life. Calculations form the basis of mathematical understanding but many people struggle with the step-by-step procedures of calculation methods. This new approach, which takes into account the requirements of the 2014 curriculum, helps teachers motivate their learners by the use of pattern, practical hands-on and real-world activities. These activities, which are simple to implement (many simply require pencil and paper) will arouse curiosity and develop innate mathematical ability. The material is addressed to teachers of primary school children and offers clear and concise explanations of the power of different calculation methods and images. The comprehensive contents list facilitates easy use and gives an excellent overview. This engaging approach is clearly explained and will help all teachers adopt a new approach which will fit easily with existing practice.

Teacher Toolkit: Helping You Survive Your First Five Years by Ross Morrison McGill

We all know about the high drop-out rate in the early years of teaching - now we have a practical book which will help teachers through what can be a stressful time. Packed with countless anecdotes, from disastrous observations to marking in the broom cupboard, TE@CHER TOOLKIT is a compendium of teaching strategies and advice, which aims to motivate, comfort, amuse and above all reduce the workload of a new teacher; it reassures them that, whatever they are experiencing, it has happened before and been successfully overcome. Packed with useful features, including humorous illustrations, photocopiable templates, a new-look 5 minute plan, QR codes to useful videos and even a detachable bookmark, the light-hearted approach reveals a world of wisdom. As anyone who has followed him on Twitter (@TeacherToolkit) knows, Ross is not afraid to share the highs and lows of his own successes and failures. He strives to share great teaching practice, to save you time and to ensure you are the best teacher you can be, whatever the new policy or framework. His eagerly-awaited new book continues in this vein and is a must-read for all new teachers. School leaders - think seriously about having a copy of this valuable book in your staffroom, so new teachers can pick it up and browse through the excellent thoughts contained therein; it's one of those books you can just dip into and always come out with a nugget of valuable advice or an entertaining thought. Well worth a read for all teachers.

40 lessons to get children thinking: Philosophical thought adventures across the curriculum by Peter Worley

This is a truly cross-curricular resource which is an excellent way to get children thinking about their learning. Peter Worley is the founder of the Philosophy Foundation and he has brought together a collection of tried-and-tested practical lesson and activity plans to use in the primary classroom. Using these will stimulate your pupils to think philosophically and creatively around different curriculum areas. The sessions - called thought adventures - use through experiments, stories and poems to get children discussing and understanding topics more deeply. The Education Endowment Foundation advocates that weekly philosophy sessions can really help improve students' literacy and numeracy skills - this book will help you to do just that whatever your level of experience when it comes to using philosophy teaching strategies - it may seem a daunting prospect but the book really does guide you step-by-step. Everything you need to 'do' and 'say' is clearly explained, along with the equipment you need plus instructions on how to set up each session. Brilliant for busy teachers, who want to try something new but perhaps who are too time-poor to spend vast amounts of time, this is a pick up and go resource All the sessions are tried and tested by Peter and his colleagues at the Philosophy Foundation who work with in primary schools with teachers to implement these sessions on a regular basis. It's a different approach and one that will lead to plenty of interest and comment in the staffroom - share the book with colleagues and discuss your experiences.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Computing by Steve Bunce

Busy teachers don't have time to plough through verbose books, so the succinct presentation of this series will be welcome. Computing has replaced ICT in schools, so teachers will really appreciate the ideas in this book which will give them plenty of ideas for teaching the new curriculum, even for those who are less familiar with the subject. All areas of the new curriculum are introduced, and easy to implement and engaging activities are provided. Algorithms, programming, data management, e-safety and more are covered in this slim volume which provides a surprising amount of detail and information. Developing computational thinking, which includes problem solving, is at the heart of the curriculum and is also a focus of the book and information on esafety and digital literacy is also provided. An excellent introduction for new and existing teachers, with simple ideas explained in a straightforward fashion.

100 Ideas for Primary Teachers: Transition to Secondary School by Molly Potter

The transition to secondary school is a huge step for 11 year olds, and teachers are very aware of this, with transition programmes in place. Often, this is the responsibility of just one or two teachers, but the straightforward ideas in this effective book can be used by all teachers. What struck me about the book is the insight it gives into the worries children will face; it enables teachers to support their pupils through this difficult time with understanding and empathy. The book contains a comprehensive collection of quick-to-implement activities and teaching strategies, based on the author's extensive experience. The author suggests the type of information that can be gathered from secondary schools to help familiarise pupils with the next stage of their education, as well as activities that will help address their main anxieties, such as fear of bullying and getting lost. The ideas will help children to feel more positive about the move, and there is also advice on how to support parents and carers through the transition process and helps to ensure children's learning gets off to a good start in their new environment. It puts forward a positive and practical view which will be invaluable in all primary schools; also for transition teachers in secondaries, to help them understand the process and the feelings of the pupils..

The Ultimate Guide to Using ICT Across the Curriculum (For Primary Teachers) by Jon Audai

Web, widgets, whiteboards and beyond- it's all here! The new Computing curriculum has meant a move away from teaching ICT back to the fundamentals of computing, necessitating a complete rethink of teaching. This is the definitive guide to embedding ICT in all subjects across the primary school, making it an integral part of all lessons,. from using digital cameras and Beebots to Twitter and mobile apps. The straightforward approach takes the mystery and fear away from technology, enabling teachers to use it to the best advantage - and be one step ahead of their pupils! There are step by step instructions on effective use of a variety of technologies effectively plus the essential area of e-safety. Planning and budgeting and using technology to support children with special educational needs are covered. Easy to read, highly motivating and full of fresh ideas, teachers will be enabled to deliver excellent lessons aided by the ideas in the book. Whether you are an experienced user of technology in the classroom, an ICT coordinator or a complete novice, this practical and easily understood book has something for you - it really does work well at all levels, giving confidence to the novice and inspiration to the experienced. n

A Creative Approach to Teaching Grammar by Peter Burrows

Each book in this series sets out a whole school approach to teaching of grammar and punctuation which is fully matched to the new curriculum; as such, they are excellent Staff Room resources, so every teacher can share the ideas so the good practice is shared throughout the school. The book uses three simple steps to motivate and engage children - explicit teaching and modelling; over forty practical games and activities; and application and improvement within editing and proof reading. The theory behind the book is well-proven using not just recent research but also many years of classroom practice and a number of case studies. At the start of the book, some of the recent changes in education are discussed in a practical way which gives good reason for the approach adopted. The practical ideas which show how it is possible to have a significant impact on vocabulary, sentence structure and children's writing in general. Full of straightforward ideas which will help children engage with their own learning, this is a practical book which offers many original ideas to encourage progression

A Creative Approach to Teaching Writing by Steve Bowkett

Fluent writing is not just something children need in school - it is a lifelong skill which is essential in many aspects of life. This clear and enthusiastic book offers a range of practical ideas to help children develop their writing skills. I especially like the way the book draws on attitudes experienced writers apply to their craft. The activities explore different working methods - such as how authors tap into and develop their creativity and how they deal with 'writer's block' - and are supported by strategies for thinking that will develop children's literacy and the way they use language to express their opinions in all subject areas. The book is full of ideas to encourage writing skills, from short story starters to longer creative writing ideas - this variety means it will be easy to fit the ideas into a busy teaching schedule; they are also flexible enough to adapt to day-to-day needs

A Creative Approach to Teaching Rhythm and Rhyme by Andy Croft

With the same whole-school approach as the previous two books, this practical addition to the series encourages teachers to build on and develop children's natural affinity with rhyme and rhythm. The ideas are based on Andy Croft's experience of working with children in over 400 UK schools. They are well-tried methods and will provide teachers with ideas, games, examples and models that they can use in the classroom to encourage their children to become writers and readers through the practice of rhyme and rhythm. Children respond well to rhyme and this book builds on that. Andy Croft believes rhyme has special rules which won't let you reach for the first word that comes into your head. Your words have to fit the pattern. You don't have to write anything down, but you do have to become a writer. And once you have become a writer, you might become a reader... This confident belief in the power of rhyme and rhythm comes across powerfully in this inspiring book which will encourage teachers to take a fresh look at their teaching

Words Get Knotted by Pippa Sweeney

Subtitled 'Helping you and your child unravel dyslexia', this thoughtfully written book gives us an excellent insight into the way children with dyslexia feel and think.  It is a picture book for an adult to share with a young child and the use of the visual metaphor (wool and knitting being compared to words and writing) minimizes the need for words and adds to its appeal. The theme is used consistently through the illustrations and some elements of text. The message is overwhelmingly positive - the book talks about the talents children with dyslexia have. There are 10 very useful tips for parents to end the book.

Andrew Brodie

Let's do Arithmetic by Andrew Brodie

As with all Andrew Brodie books, this is matched to the demands of the National Curriculum. The series is perfect to support children preparing for the new arithmetic tests at Key Stages 1 and 2, and there is one book available for each year group. Make use of this to ensure your child is doing work appropriate to their ability. The book contains 40 short tests, one per page and they become progressively more challenging throughout to ensure progress can be made. There is a recording chart for checking progress and full answers to aid your assessment, this book is the perfect way to test understanding of basic arithmetic concepts and prepare for the timed National Tests that your child will be encountering in school.

Arithmetic Tests for ages 6-7: Preparation for KS1 SATs by Andrew Brodie

These Andrew Brodie books are specifically for teachers; the content is photocopiable. The books have been designed to match the style and contents of the Arithmetic Tests elements of the new format (2016 onwards) National Tests. This title is one of the new Arithmetic Tests series, and is written to prepare Year 2 children for the tests. It provides all the practice pupils need to build their confidence and boost their ability in the key skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. The book contains forty-eight tests (10 questions in each) with matching answer pages, enabling teachers to provide short regular practice of non-contextual number questions. The question pages are set out with squared paper so children can work directly onto the page. The answer pages provide clear answers and show the correct layout for column addition and column subtraction. The short format of the question papers is ideal to use on a regular basis; the questions cover number and place value; addition and subtraction; multiplication and division; and fractions.

Arithmetic Tests for ages 10-11: Preparation for KS2 SATs by Andrew Brodie

Pupils in Year 6 will get plenty of revision practice for the new SATS tests with this book, giving them confidence for the test. The book contains forty-eight tests with matching answer pages, enabling teachers to provide short regular practice of non-contextual number questions. The answer pages provide clear answers and show the correct layout for column addition, column subtraction and column multiplication as well as short division and long division. A CD-ROM is included for easy printing of the question papers, or for use on a whiteboard. The four rules of number (including long and short multiplication and division), place value and fractions are included. An excellent way to give pupils plenty of experience, especially when used, as advised, as timed tests.

Let's do Comprehension 5-6

Our single most requested topic is comprehension, so this set of books will be very popular giving, as they do, a complete coverage of all aspects of the topic right through key stages 1 and 2. Each book in the series is carefully matched to the demands of the National Curriculum. The year-by-year format gives parents a guide as to what is expected at each age but, as always, you must be guided by your own child; try them on the book for their correct age but if it's too hard or too easy, then move back or forward in the series, always making sure you have covered the ground thoroughly. This book features simple exercises based on topics that will interest children for example, a picnic and a train journey. The variety of approaches used ensures children are familiar with text as well as other means of conveying information eg pictorially. Following on from this is Let's do Comprehension 6-7.Much longer texts are used and, as with every book in the series, there is plenty of room on each page for children to write in their answers. There's a good balance of text types including non-fiction, stories fables and poetry. The layout is clear and uncluttered, with pastel colours and entertaining pictures to make work enjoyable. Children will appreciate the colourful reward stickers too. Answers are included.

Let's do Comprehension 7-8

Moving onto KS2, this is another book of structured comprehension practice which ensures children cover every aspect of the topic. Useful notes for parents introduce each book, and parents are shown how to make best use of the features. This book includes information texts, fiction, playscripts, rhymes and more - the varied coverage ensures children are familiar with a range of textual types and so they will face test and exam situations with confidence. Continue the good work with Let's do Comprehension 8-9 . The passages are relevant to children's interest and experience, covering a good range of topics and appealingly illustrated Alice the Alligator is here to add a touch of humour! Andrew Brodie Basics is a well-tested format that is very successful; the books offer excellent value too. "Lets Do Comprehension is a brand new series of six titles in the popular Lets Do range. Each book contains a rich variety of stimulating reading passages, accompanied by questions of varying difficulty. Designed to be used at home, each book includes tips and clues from Alice the Alligator as well as extra challenges in Brodie's Brain Boosters. There is a clear answer section for reference by parents and children, together with bright, colourful reward stickers."

Let's do Comprehension 9-10

By the time children reach this stage, if they have worked through the series, they will have a really thorough grounding in comprehension; make sure there are no weak areas by continuing to work through the books with your child, making sure you review their answers; encourage your child to write full sentences whenever possible. The information passages are interesting and relevant - encourage your child to investigate further when a topic captures their interest. The Brain Boosters are especially noteworthy - these are extra activities that are designed to encourage children to think, using the skills, knowledge and experience they already have; encourage them to use varied and interesting vocabulary to answer these. An example from this title is 'Do some research to find out exactly what a Canadian open canoe looks like. How is it different to a kayak?'. The final book in this excellent series is Let's do Comprehension 10-11. Give your child a structured base of understanding that will stand them in good stead in future years by working systematically through this practical, good value series.

Spelling for Literacy: For Ages 5 - 6

Each book in this practical series contains 40 sets of words, with each set covering three pages. Sheet A is an overview sheet, for class display or homework; Sheet B is a practice sheet, for children to familiarise themselves with using the words in context and Sheet C is a Learn, write, check sheet to reinforce the learning process. Each set overs a specific topic, for example some of the topics in this book are short vowel sounds,vowel digraphs and syllables - several pages are devoted to each topic as appropriate, ensuring really comprehensive coverage. Busy teachers will appreciate the practicality of the photocopiable learning resources, especially when they are looking for spelling sheets to send home; all the resources are on the CD which is included. There is space for answers on every page and the layout is customised to the age of the child, helping them to keep their handwriting at the appropriate size.

Spelling for Literacy for ages 6-7

Following exactly the same format as the previous book, teachers using this book can be sure that their pupils will have a comprehensive coverage of all the spelling rules needed during KS1. With varied presentation within each topic area, including plenty of pictures plus encouragement to draw their own pictures, children will respond well to the format. The pages include line drawings - creative children will probably enjoy colouring these in! The overview sheet is perfect to display in the classroom to reinforce learning. There are 40 sets of sheets in all and the book includes numbers and months as well as sounds such as the j sound and the s sound. Double letters, le, and words ending ey are just a few of the others included.

Spelling for Literacy for ages 7-8

This comprehensive series which guides teachers through all the spellings needed in KS1 and KS2 is perfect for busy teachers and a perfect staffroom resource to have available for all staff. 'This revised edition of the best-selling Spelling for Literacy series consists of six books designed to reflect fully the demands of the latest National Curriculum. The books cover all the statutory requirements, which specify sounds and spelling patterns, as well as the non-statutory guidance including all curricular word lists together with many others! Preserving the popular format of the original series, each book contains forty sets of words, with each set arranged across three pages: an overview display page, for pinning to the wall or showing on screen; a practice page, to include using the words in context, and a Learn, write, check page to reinforce the learning process. By using these books, teachers will cover every word and every spelling pattern required for the 2014 curriculum.'

Spelling for Literacy for ages 8-9

This is the second edition of this excellent resource and it is fully up-to-date for the 2014 curriculum. The activities have become more complex although the basic pattern of three sheets per section has been kept. Each spelling type, eg ou and au, starts with a sheet displaying a selection of words. Following that is the spelling activity sheet. It includes useful tips and then an activity. These are varied and include passages to complete, using the words in sentences, finding the correct word to match the meaning and filling the gap; all these ensure that pupils really understand the word and its usage and go beyond simple spelling. Spelling is then reinforced by learn, write and check. 'Andrew Brodie was a head teacher for twelve years after many successful years in the primary classroom. He began writing his best selling educational books in 1992 and since then has established himself as a name that teachers have come to trust. He is still very much involved in education and continues to teach on a regular basis.' This is why his books are so practical and address exactly what teachers and their pupils need; his books are highly successful and popular and quite rightly so.

Spelling for Literacy for ages 9-10

Children will now have a good grounding and the excellent work can be continued with this book. Topics covered include the ending able, making plurals for words ending f or fe, letter strings ight, ie and ei, unstressed vowels and the suffix tion. The activity sheets have a variety of learning methods including crosswords, word derivations and pairing words; these differing approaches ensure that pupils have a real understanding of how to use the words as well as knowing how to spell them. Clear layout and a child-friendly font make the sheets accessible for all learners.

Spelling for Literacy for ages 10-11

Teachers can ensure their pupils are thoroughly prepared for any tests and exams, as well as giving them a really solid grounding in spelling by ensuring they use this final book through Year 6. It's an excellent series which gives a really thorough grounding and which is perfect for busy teachers as all the resources can be reproduced quickly and easily, clearly set out pages ready to use in class or for homework. It's a series which offers great value, ease of use and comprehensive, curriculum based material.

Let's do Times Tables 5-6 (Andrew Brodie Basics)

Times tables aren't boring with this colourful set of books which, with a book for each year group in KS1 and KS2, offers a cohesive approach to the learning of times tables. Andrew Brodie is one of the most trusted education authors; he can be relied on to produce relevant books, matched to the National Curriculum. There are 35 practice pages and 7 progress tests in each book, giving a total of over 300 questions. The presentation is perfectly age-appropriate, with good use of visuals to reinforce learning. The book starts with the two times table, moves on to five times, and finally ten times. Usefully, the book ends with two pages on money, related to the tables learnt. Following on from this is Let's do Times Tables 6-7, which starts by revising the previously learnt tables with a range of different forms of learning including money and a hundred square. After a comprehensive section on the 2, 5 and 10 times tables which will really embed learning, the book goes on to cover the three times table. Each book includes over 100 reward stickers to encourage children.

 Let's do Times Tables 7-8 (Andrew Brodie Basics)

Practical advice for parents is found at the beginning of each book; throughout each of the books, useful tips and extra advice from Olly the wise old owl will help children's understanding as well as providing a little light relief to amuse children. Again, the book starts with revision, with plenty of money questions which help children to see a practical application of tables. Again, good use of visuals make the book attractive and easy to follow. The four times table is next, then eight times. The question pages provide a good mix of questions, some focusing on a single table but with plenty of mixed examples too. The variety of presentation and learning methods is especially useful. For Year 4, there is Let's do Times Tables 8-9. Again, plenty of reinforcement of previous learning, plus all the remaining tables, up to 12 times, makes for a very valuable learning aid for an essential topic.

Let's do Times Tables 9-10 (Andrew Brodie Basics)

Encourage children to keep up with their tables with the final two books in this excellent series. The more practice children have, the more readily they will recall their tables under exam situations - or when going about everyday life. Many of the activities focus on speeding up recall, and this will stand children in good stead. Further challenges, requiring children to apply problem-solving skills, are featured in Brodie's Brain Boosters. Children will learn other facts too - a hendecagon is an eleven sided shape. To conclude the series, there is Let's do Times Tables 10-11which again puts the emphasis on speeding up recall of tables; the varied question styles will ensure that whatever type of tables question children are given, they will answer fast and with confidence; this is a key feature of the series. If children work through these books, they will have an excellent grasp of the tables from 2 to 12. The repetition and reinforcement will prove invaluable; a highly recommended series.

Let's do Handwriting 5-6 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

The new National Curriculum emphasises the importance of composition but also transcription i.e. spelling and 'fluent, legible and, eventually, speedy handwriting. This new series of six books from a renowned writer of educational books gives all the help that children need to write fluently and legibly. At KS1, children learn lower case letters and move on to upper case and that progression is followed here. Children copy, trace, then draw the letters for themselves. There are also fun activities such as fitting letters into an outline shape. Attractive presentation with pastel colours makes the books attractive without making writing difficult.

Let's do Handwriting 6-7 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

This book reinforces the work done in the previous book and then moves on to joining up letters. Numbers are covered in the books too. As with each book in the series, there are 35 activity pages and seven progress checks. The progress checks allow the adult to see whether the child has assimilated all the necessary skills at that stage so extra practice can be done if required. Images of completed progress check pages make it clear exactly how the finished page should look - helpful to both child and adult. Through guided practice in letter structure and the correct formation of joins, the children are encouraged to develop a clear, attractive style to use with fluency and speed in their everyday writing.

Let's do Handwriting 7-8 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

The activities are lively and engaging for children - as well as straightforward letter practice, this book (and others) includes amusing rhymes to copy. As with every title in the Andrew Brodie Basics range, parents can ensure that their children's efforts are well rewarded; the colourful stickers (over 100) which are included in each book are a great way to encourage children - excellent, well done, fantastic, super... . Martha the Meerkat is here with tips on key points and 'Andrew Brodie says...' adds additional points to improve handwriting.

Let's do Handwriting 8-9 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

Building on the good work of the previous books, this includes more letter practice and places a particular emphasis on keeping writing smaller, with plenty of chances to practise this skill - one that seems to elude many children! Increasingly, the books include more longer passages to copy, giving children the chance to show off their new-found skills and produce work in which they can take a pride. There are shapes to copy, to further develop accurate skills.

Let's do Handwriting 9-10 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

I like the fact that these books don't just jump in with new things at the start of each book, but give the opportunity to reinforce skills already learnt before moving on. The attractive presentation is encouraging for children and touches of humour lighten what could otherwise be seen as tedious work. To help the children along, Marjorie the Meercat gives lots of useful tips. Although the books are clearly aimed at specific age groups, be guided by your child - if they need a bit more practice, don't feel you have to push them on before basics are grasped; on the other hand, the progressive nature of the books means you can move forward as appropriate.

Let's do Handwriting 10-11 (Andrew Brodie Basics) by Andrew Brodie

As well as developing handwriting skills, the books encourage other skills including story writing, vocabulary and spelling skills. The clear progression given by using the whole series gives parents and teachers full confidence that they have given children all the experience they need to ensure that their handwriting is neat and easy to read - an essential skill even in this electronic age. An excellent series which is enjoyable to do and will produce great results.

Let's do Spelling for Ages 5-6 by Andrew Brodie

Matched to the demands of the National Curriculum and part of the successful Andrew Brodie Basics series, the Let's Do Spelling workbooks provide all the practice children need to build their confidence and boost their ability to spell words correctly. Ideal for parents keen to support their children at home with additional spelling practice or for tutors working with children in preparation for school tests and entrance exams. With 35 practice tests and 7 progress tests, each book includes over 400 words to learn accompanied by useful spelling tips and extra advice from Comma the cat. Further challenges, stretching children's ability to apply spelling rules, take the form of Brodie's Brain Boosters. Each book includes over 100 full colour reward stickers!

Let's do Spelling for Ages 6-7 by Andrew Brodie

As with all the Andrew Brodie series, the progression is hugely valuable. Children may well be working at a level above or below that expected for their year. That's not a problem - all children vary and have more ability in some subjects. By using a progressive series right through, you can see exactly where your child needs to work so you can ensure they are sufficiently stretched and don't lose confidence or interest. The stickers are a great way to motivate children! Andrew Brodie is hugely experienced and all his books give excellent support to children - and to the parents and teachers teaching them. They are excellent value too.

Let's do Spelling for Ages 7-8 by Andrew Brodie

Each book starts with notes for parents. When children come home from school with their weekly spellings, it can seem a bit of a chore but it is a vital part of their learning. The practical tips given offer parents ideas to make spelling more interesting and a part of everyday life rather than a once a week list. For example, it suggests putting the words into sentences and putting up posters of useful words around the house. Brodie's Brain Boosters are quick extra activities to encourage children to think about words - try these in the car or walking along.

Let's do Spelling for Ages 8-9 by Andrew Brodie

The layout of the books is clear and attractive, making them a pleasure to use. Comma the Cat is there on every page with a list of words for the progress tests; he also gives useful tips on spelling and he adds a nice friendly touch. The Progress Tests are complete sentences with a word from the preceding section to fill in - these are a good way to assess learning and to return and re-try again if necessary. The books make good use of colour without being too garish or distracting; the spaces for children to write onto are always white. The answers are at the back of each book

Let's do Spelling for Ages 9-10 by Andrew Brodie

Each book covers a wide range of topics - it is far from being just a list of words to learn. As an example, this book includes prefix practice, look, write and check, alphabetical order, sorting by word endings, root words and much more. Each fits a strand of the National Curriculum as well as the official phonics programme so parents can be sure they are matching the teaching done at school.

Let's do Spelling for Ages 10-11 by Andrew Brodie

Year 6 is an important year for all pupils. Support the work they are doing at school without overwhelming them by doing just one page a day - it will only take a few minutes and will really pay dividends. With over 400 words, increasing in difficulty through the book, there is plenty of opportunity for individual or in context spelling. Children are given extra challenges by the Brain Boosters and these can give parents ideas to expand on themselves. All in all, this is an excellent series which will support spelling right through the primary years in a structured and enjoyable way.

Let's do Mental Maths for ages 5-6 by Andrew Brodie

Mental maths is a popular topic for our users and I know that this new Andrew Brodie series is going to be warmly welcomed. It really is an area where the more children try out questions, the more confident they become in dealing with all the differing question formats. The real value lies in using the books as a series, so children ensure all areas are covered and the adult can move on in confidence that the earlier level is properly understood. The layout of each test is fun for young children, with plenty of little illustrations and coloured backgrounds. Each test has 20 questions and they increase in complexity through the book. There are also progress tests interspersed along the way to check progress. Parents will be glad to know answers are included! The next step is Let's do Mental Maths for ages 6-7. Just like the previous book, this also includes tips from Digit the Dog and Brodie's Brain Boosters, which are mathematical problems which encourage children to think things through.

Let's do Mental Maths for ages 7-8 by Andrew Brodie

The books in this series all start with useful guidelines for parents, which explain what is in the book, how they can help their children and point out the extra features of Digit the Dog (useful tips) and Brain Boosters (word problems for an extra challenge). Child-friendly layout makes the pages appealing and the 20 questions are just right for a practice session; progress tests check on understanding and accumulated knowledge. This book is followed by Let's do Mental Maths for ages 8-9 "Each book in this exciting new series contains more than 800 mental maths questions specially devised to boost children's confidence by providing plenty of practice of all the key aspects of the national curriculum. The structure of each test follows the same pattern but the questions get progressively more difficult as children work their way through the book. Tips provided by 'Digit' the dog and word puzzles in the form of 'Andrew Brodie Brain Booster' boxes provide extra elements to support children's learning and challenge them further. Fun stickers featuring Digit the dog for every page make sure children are rewarded for their efforts!"

Let's do Mental Maths for ages 9-10 by Andrew Brodie

Each book in the series follows the same structure for the questions, so children will be familiar with this; the questions get progressively harder throughout the book. Digit the dog is on hand again with his snippets of interestingly presented information, which will amuse children while they learn - "I eat a bowl of dog food at 5pm. That's 17.00 on the 24 hour clock." Brodie's Brain Boosters are word problems for children to answer and these develop thinking skills. The final book in the series is Let's do Mental Maths for ages 10-11 and once children reach that, having worked through this excellent series, they will have a really firm foundation of mental maths which will stand them in good stead, both for tests and exams and in everyday life.

Improving Problem Solving Skills for ages 5-7 by Andrew Brodie

This is the first in a five book series which provides repeated, differentiated practice of solving word problems involving addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, covering key stages 1 and 2. Each book in the series follows the same format and includes a CD-ROM (ideal for whiteboard use), differentiated worksheets at three ability levels (which can be photocopied), structured age-appropriate activities and a range of topical concepts. Answers to all the activity sheets can be found on the CD-ROM. Each activity features Teacher's Notes and these are invaluable in making the best use of the resource.

Improving Problem Solving Skills for Ages 7-8 by Andrew Brodie

The great thing about these series by Andrew Brodie is that there are books available for each academic year - they don't get you started thinking 'what a great series' and leave you without follow-up! Teachers and schools can start with the series with the certainty that the teaching style can be continued, and that there are earlier and later books in the series to accommodate differing needs. As with the whole series, the book has 15 key activities which are explained by an introductory concept page. The activities are carefully chosen to be relevant and interesting to children, for example 'How much change' includes real life examples and another activity focuses on collecting cards  - a popular pastime!

Improving Problem Solving Skills for ages 8-9 by Andrew Brodie

Each activity in the series includes three differentiated sheets - rather than making the level obvious to children, these are coded by using cat, dog and rabbit images. National Curriculum Levels for each book are shown at the beginning - for example, in this book Cat sheets are for pupils working towards Level 3; Dog sheets for those at Level 3 and Rabbit for those progressing to Level 4. The differentiated approach allows for both differentiation and progression; learning can be reinforced by tackling all three sheets, or one could be used for revision.


Improving Problem Solving Skills for Ages 9-10 by Andrew Brodie

Each book encourages the teacher to talk to the children about the problems. Many of the problems presented are quite 'wordy' and this can be a challenge for some children. Discussion will give them confidence to tackle the tasks and also the opportunity to raise any questions. Familiarity with mathematical terms will stand the pupil in good stead when taking tests and exams. Included in this book is work on comparison, decimals, number sequences, time and percentages - and that's just some! Each book is equally wide-ranging in its scope.


Improving Problem Solving Skills for ages 10-11 Andrew Brodie

Every book in the series features extremely helpful Teacher's Notes. These give suggestions on tackling the problems and how to explain them to pupils. Ideas for discussion are included and questions posed for the teacher which will help him or her measure the children's understanding and progress. All in all, this is an excellent series for the primary school.


Mental Maths Tests for ages 5-6 from Andrew Brodie

Designed to be used in the classroom, this is an excellent resource for busy teachers. It will help teachers prepare their children for tests, as the format and timing of the tests are modelled on the National Curriculum tests. There are instructions, a question sheet and a pupil answer paper for each test. The book contains 10 photocopiable mental maths tests along with an audio CD which contains all the eight tests timed in exactly the same way as the real test. Answers are included, as are pupil record sheets and some practice pages.

More Mental Maths Tests for ages 6-7 from Andrew Brodie

Following on from the hugely successful Mental Maths Tests for Ages 6-7: Timed Mental Maths Practice for Year 2 , here are 10 more tests for teachers to use to prepare their pupils for the tests at the end of Year 2. The book includes a CD-ROM which contains all ten tests timed to the exact specifications of the actual test with set times for pupils to answer the questions. It's a great aid for teachers as getting the timings spot on can be tricky. Books are available for KS2 as well, including More Mental Maths Tests for Ages 9-10: Timed Mental Maths Practice for Year 5 and More Mental Maths Tests for Ages 7-8: Timed Mental Maths Practice for Year 3 by Andrew Brodie (2010)

Brilliant Ideas for Times Tables Practice 5-7 by Molly Potter

Absolutely essential but sadly often perceived as a boring chore, tables  are a constant headache for teachers and parents. To overcome this, Molly Potter has come up with a range of puzzles, activities and games designed to make learning times tables much more fun. This book focuses on the 2, 5, 10 and 3 times tables. There are a range of fun activities for each, plus a poster to colour and take home to put on the wall for constant reinforcement. The variety is super and the activities are all very engaging - hardly like work at all!

"This series aims to make times tables learning fun by including a wide variety of methods tackling the same sums. By giving so many methods for learning the same tables, it also enables teachers to cover them little and often as is deemed best practice."

Brilliant Ideas for Times Tables Practice 7-9 by Molly Potter

Children's learning can progress smoothly through Key Stage 2 as they are taught from these books. . The book starts with revision of 2, 5 and 10; then 3 is reinforced with a range of new activities; following that we have 4 and 6, then a mixture of activities based on the tables learnt so far. Again, all the activities are fun to do, so children can reinforce learning by regular focussed short bursts of activity without finding tables boring. There are plenty of colouring opportunities too. Each book in the series contains a CD of the activities which can be used in school by the purchasing institution

Brilliant Ideas for Times Tables Practice 9-11 by Molly Potter

The third book in the series gives teachers opportunity to assess the pupil's level with a range of reinforcement activities, before moving on to introduce the 7, 8, 9 and then 11 and 12 times tables - often, these last two are missed out but they are still useful! The activities are increasingly challenging (although still with the element of fun which will encourage children to persevere) and children will have a real sense of satisfaction as they work through them - great for building confidence. The introduction to each book gives ideas on using the activities and further ideas to develop and encourage children's learning. It is a carefully graded series of books which will take children right through primary school and ensure they come out with that all-important solid foundation of learning in times tables. 

More books from Bloomsbury - non fiction

How to be a Snappy Speller by Simon Cheshire

This lively book is packed with ideas and activities to help with those tricky spellings. Learning spellings by rote only goes so far, but children need to know the principles behind spelling so they can tackle unfamiliar words with confidence, as well as learning familiar ones. This book helps them do just that. The book explains why correct spelling is important, gives 10 top tips, then takes the reader through various activities, each designed to help with a particular concept. It also includes punctuation - correct punctuation is just as important as correct spelling; and ends with plenty more practice pages. An excellent book which really helps children think about spelling and which offers lots of opportunity to reinforce learning with practical activities.

How to Be a Snappy Speller Teacher's Edition by Simon Cheshire

This photocopiable book is full of worksheets that teachers can use with KS2 children to reinforce spelling (and punctuation) skills. It's not a clone of the previous book, but includes completely different ideas. The tips on learning are very practical and the format means there is plenty of practice for each spelling topic. This book will be a real boon for busy teachers, who will be very conscious of the curriculum requirements for spelling and punctuation; a valuable time-saver and excellent value for photocopiable resources. A great way to master spelling quickly.

How to Write a Story Teacher's Edition by Simon Cheshire

Creative writing can be a stumbling block for many children. This Teacher's Edition supports the excellent How to Write a Story for children which is packed with inspirational ideas and useful tips; story starters, plot changers, wow words and much much more are set out in a fun way that grabs the attention. This book builds on that, giving teachers a superb range of activities (all photocopiable) that they can use to help children develop their creative writing. The photocopiable sheets all have space for pupils to start writing their own ideas, so they will be an excellent aid in the classroom. Plot, characters, settings, grammar, punctuation and dialogue - even a word bank - are all included. A great aid to teachers.

Hard Nuts of History: Myths and Legends by Tracey Turner

The books in the Hard Nuts of History series really repay looking inside. They are produced to a very high standard, on glossy paper with coloured borders and packed with colour illustrations. They represent excellent value for money and children will love them - it's a brilliant series to collect; with new ones on the market all the time, they make ideal stocking fillers and small presents. The men and women we learn about when we look at myths and legends were all amazing - but who was the most amazing of them all? Many ruthless men and women are described in this book and rated on the hardometer for you to make your own decision. And what about Hard Nuts of History: Kings and Queens? When we study history, we learn about many wicked monarchs - but who was hardest of them all? Each book includes a useful glossary and an extensive and very well compiled index, which work together to make these really useful reference books. They are perfect for home and for school libraries and in the classroom.

Hard Nuts of History Ultimate Quiz and Game Book by Tracey Turner

Now we come to two books which take a different, but equally fascinating approach to history. The facts are all carefully chosen to give both an authentic piece of history and to appeal to young readers. Quizzes are always fun and this book encourages children to look at suggested answers and decide which they think is true. There are plenty more fun games too, including a Roman Monsters Snakes and Ladders. Hard Nuts of History: Play the Game. Cut out the colourful game cards and prepare to find out whether ruthless and revenge hungry Boudica can take on the sly and cunning Cleopatra? Or whether Spartacus's gladiator survival skills are a match for Napoleon's tough battle moves? A great way to play off great warriors against each other. The memorable way in which they are presented makes facts easy to remember - what a super way to learn history.

Hard Nuts of History: Wars and Battles by Tracey Turner

Read all about the toughest leaders and the biggest battles of all time. From ruthless Roman leaders to brave and courageous soldiers, you will discover amazing war facts from throughout history. Then, armed with the facts, you can decide who was the toughest warrior of them all. Packed with fascinating facts, this series of books takes a fresh new approach to history which children will love - and what they enjoy, they remember. The topics are ideal to capture children's attention, too. Jamie Kenman is the illustrator of all these books and the comical style of the illustrations is perfect to appeal to young readers, who will thoroughly enjoy the touches of humour injected into what could be seen as a boring subject. More interested in discovery and exploration - then Hard Nuts of History: Travellers and Explorers is the book for you.

My First Book of Zoo Animals by Mike Unwin

All sorts of wonderful creatures are here from amazing apes to fearsome lions. I like the way this book is written - the child is directly involved as the book takes the reader around the zoo, highlighting fascinating facts and asking the child questions as if there really are at the zoo - the answers are, of course, in the pictures which really make children think about what they are seeing. There are plenty of fun facts and the detailed illustrations add to the value of the content.

A Beginner's Guide to the Periodic Table by Gill Arbuthnott

A complex topic, well handled, in a way that makes it understandable to all ages. What could be a very dry and boring subject is really brought alive with the combination of astounding facts and amusing vibrant illustrations. Each element has been neatly linked with the next, fully explaining their starring role in the world and clearing away any confusion or apprehension that might surround the elements. By linking each of the elements to a story, wacky science analogy or fascinating fact, we have a unique first reference to the periodic table. Far from being daunting, this book makes it fun - and what better way to learn?

RSPB Bird Encyclopedia by Mike Unwin

This easy to read but information packed encyclopaedia is an excellent way to stimulate an interest in bird life. From tropical parrots and toucans to sea birds and eagles, find out all about birds with this informative first guide and reference book. Rather than being a list of birds, it is laid out by habitat and lifestyle. There's a detailed glossary and an extensive index to help find your way around the book. Packed with brilliant photography, fun facts and top bird tips, this is a colourful and engaging book.

How are you feeling today? by Molly Potter

As a young child, life can be very frustrating and so much of this is down to being unable to handle emotions. This book is packed with interactive ideas to help children cope with a range of common feelings including angry, scared, sad, shy, jealous and grumpy. Your child can just look at the children on the first pages and choose the one showing the emotion they feel - then turn to it for plenty of practical suggestions to help defuse the situation. The parent notes at the back of the book provide more ideas and other strategies to try out together and practice the all important skill of dealing with feelings. The book is an excellent way to help children understand and manage their feelings whilst reassuring them that it is quite normal to feel that way. Keep this book handy for all those tricky moments!

Hard Nuts of History: Warriors by Tracey Turner

Opening these books you will get a pleasant surprise - so many books like this, fascinating though the content is, are in boring black and white. This series is an exception - glossy paper shows off the excellent full colour illustrations giving a super visual appeal. Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, the Duke of Wellington, Attila the Hun - is one of these the hardest nut in history or is it one of the other stars of this book? Well written with just enough information for young readers to enjoy and get a flavour of the varied characters who have played such a key part in history.

Hard Nuts of History: Ancient Egypt by Tracey Turner

Ancient Egypt was home to a varied and fascinating group of people and here's the chance for children to get to know them better and find out all sorts of quirky facts. History is far from boring with books like this to enjoy, so before your child studies the Ancient Egyptians, get a copy of this book! Entertaining illustrations add interest and the background information including a timeline, quiz and facts about the River Nile make this a great introduction, Includes Hardometers and a Hard Nut rating for some extra fun.

First Book of Dogs by Isabel Thomas

This is an excellent series of first information books from Bloomsbury. Each species has its own page and the detailed labelling of the colour pictures merits special mention. A brief description is given of each breed, featuring their key characteristics and there are also fact boxes giving extra detail. There are 35 breeds of dog featured, each with a lovely colour photo - or two. An ideal introduction to the varied world of dogs.

First Book of Cats by Isabel Thomas

35 different cats - children may be surprised to know there are so many! Each is illustrated in full colour, with detailed labelling of the images and plenty of interesting snippets of information. The clear uncluttered layout is ideal for early readers. The compact size makes the books ideal for taking out and about. Each book has a tick-box spotter's guide at the end so children can record their sightings.

First Book of Baby Animals by Isabel Thomas

Definitely one with an aaaah factor! There are 35 adorable baby animals featured in lovely photos - who can resist them? A handy feature is the small picture which is found alongside the title on every page - this means you can flick through the book and immediately spot the species you are searching for.

First Book of Horses and Ponies by Isabel Thomas

35 horses from the mighty Clydesdale to the tiny Shetland pony. The books are arranged alphabetically so children can use their knowledge of the alphabet to search; reference skills are also enhanced by the list of useful words and 'Find out more' page. High quality early reference books are an excellent way to encourage children to enjoy books and finding out for themselves and this ever-growing series caters for many interests.

My First Book of Baby Animals by Mike Unwin

When I saw the title, I thought 'another book of cute baby animals' - but this book is far more than that. On one side of the page is a picture of animals - or just part of one - plus a question to get children thinking. Turn over and they find the answer plus plenty of interesting facts. Perfect for KS1 children this is a good book to stimulate interest in the natural world and to help children learn more about the 20 animals included. Attractively laid out, the text is clear and accessible and the pictures, which include the habitat, are very attractive.

First Animal Encyclopedia by Anita Ganeri

The perfect book to introduce young children to the amazing world of animals. Pre-readers will enjoy the lovely photos and sharing the book with an adult and once children can read for themselves, the clear layout and differentiated text sizes and styles offer good opportunities to develop reading skills. From the biggest to the smallest, children will learn about animals and be amazed by the Awesome! fact boxes. The comprehensive glossary and index will help develop reference skills.

First Animal Encyclopedia Seas and Oceans by Anna Claybourne

Another book which focuses on encouraging children to question and explore the world around them. The perfect pairing to the book above, this concentrates on the living creatures to be found in our oceans. It makes excellent use of colourful photographs which explain and expand on the topics. As well as the creatures, children will learn about a variety of habitats including mangrove forests, coastlines and the major oceans.

Animal Atlas by Anna Claybourne

Travel the world and discover the rich variety of animal life. Detailed text gives plenty of information and there are lots of creatures included. An additional value of this book is that it capitalises on children's interest in animals and uses this to help them discover the geography of the world. Often, children know lots about the animals but not where they come from, so this atlas helps them put the animals into context. It is split by continent and there is geographical information which gives useful background; the colourful backgrounds to the pictures show the area.

Hard Nuts of History: Ancient Rome by Tracey Turner

Make ancient history fun for young readers by introducing them to this fact-filled series about the toughest people of ancient times. In a civilisation full of bold brave people, who was the toughest nut of all? The text is in manageable chunks and the book is jam-packed with hilarious full-colour illustrations throughout. It's a light-hearted and fun presentation which will encourage children to take a fresh look at history and which adds to KS2 history studies. There's a Roman Empire game to enjoy plus a useful timeline.

Hard Nuts of History: Ancient Greece by Tracey Turner

Give your child a new perspective on their KS2 history by introducing this light-hearted yet factual book. Children can enjoy the Hardometer rating and see if they agree with the results. Unlike many of the books of this type, this series is packed with full colour illustrations and produced on high quality glossy paper - these features make the books very attractive and stand out from the competition.

First Book of Diggers and Dumpers (First Book) by Isabel Thomas

Young children are fascinated by big machines so encourage their interest with this colourful book and then get out and about and see what you can spot together - children will be thrilled to see the real thing. Children will learn about 30 different types of diggers and dumpers - bulldozers, tipper trucks, rock breakers and many more - in this beautifully illustrated and annotated first guide.

First Book of Bikes and Motorbikes by Isabel Thomas

30 different bikes and motorbikes illustrated in full colour with clear labelling and just enough text to interest children just starting to read and enjoy information books. This is a very good first series for children, especially those interested in all forms of transport. The clear layout, well labelled illustrations and simple but informative text combine to make an appealing early reference book.

First Book of Ships and Boats by Isabel Thomas

From the workaday cargo boats to glamorous cruise liners, children can learn about 30 types of ships and boats - steam boats, speed boats, barges and many more - in this beautifully illustrated and annotated first guide. Develop your child's observation skills by using the 'Spotter's Guide' which can be found in each book and which features every vehicle in the book, with a link to the page it can be found on.

First Book of Emergency Vehicles by Isabel Thomas

Complete your child's collection of first transport books with this book about all sorts of emergency vehicles. These are exciting for children to spot so see how many they can tick off in the Spotter's Guide. These are attractive books, just the right size for children, and well produced with glossy paper, very clear crisp illustrations and good text labelling - great to collect.

Alan Turing (Real Lives) by Jim Eldridge

I very much like this series. It gives just enough information to satisfy the young reader (and as an adult, I find the books inform me too!). The narrative form makes history accessible and the range of people covered is interesting as well as relevant to KS3 history. Much of the work Alan Turing did remained secret for many years and it is only now that all his remarkable achievements are fully coming to light. During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Britain's codebreaking centre, where he was responsible for breaking German naval codes, including the supposedly unbreakable Enigma code, and helping the Atlantic convoys avoid German U-boat attacks. This work probably shortened World War II by up to four years, saving millions of lives. He created one of the first designs for a stored-program computer and is widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. A remarkable man and excellent to see him the subject of a biography for children.

Noor Inayat Khan (Real Lives) by Gaby Halberstam

Noor Khan was an amazingly talented, courageous and versatile woman - pacifist, an Indian Muslim, a poet and children's author. In the Second World War she joined the Special Operations Executive and was sent to Nazi-occupied France as a wireless operator. When her network was broken and her colleagues captured by the Nazis, she refused to abandon what had become the most important and dangerous post in France, as the last link between London and Paris. She was executed in Dachau in 1944 after being betrayed to the Nazis, and was posthumously awarded the George Cross and Croix de Guerre. Well written and engrossing, this is an excellent read and even reluctant readers will be encouraged to read by the quality of the narrative.

First Book of Cars by Isabel Thomas

This series is an excellent introduction for children to popular topics - there's just enough information to keep them well informed and stimulated to go on and find out more. and everything in between! Find all about 30 different types of vehicle  - from racing cars to campervans  - in this clearly laid out guide. All the books in this series make a real feature of the annotations on the illustrations - this is an excellent device to help children learn and to raise their interest level.

First Book of Aircraft by Isabel Thomas

From hot air balloons to jumbo jets and everything in between! All sorts of different types of aircraft are introduced to children in this simple yet informative guide. There are sea planes, jet planes, gliders, helicopters and space planes and much more. The spotter's guide at the back is the perfect way for children to keep a permanent record of what they have seen, and also to encourage observational skills.

First Book of Tractors and Trucks by Isabel Thomas

Tractors and trucks - these big vehicles fascinate children and they can learn all; about them in this well laid out and attractively illustrated book. The vehicles are well described and the annotations are clear and simple. There are also useful fact boxes about each vehicle to enhance learning and enjoyment.

First Book of Trains by Isabel Thomas

From trams to rollercoasters and everything in between! Find out all about 30 types of train - steam trains, monorails, cable cars, electric trains in this colourful first guide. The books in this series would be excellent support for project work, and they cover topics which interest most children. The books are colourful and appealing and super to collect as a complete set.

World's Worst Jobs by Tracey Turner

If you think your life could be improved at times, just be grateful you don't have to do some of the terrible jobs described in this book! Fancy spending your days cleaning sewers with no protective clothing, letting mosquitoes turn you into a human pincushion for medical research, or popping up a chimney with a brush for a spot of cleaning? This is a fascinating exploration through history, not chronological but by type of job - dangerous, disgusting, poisonous, gory and horrible - and how to avoid them! Amusingly presented, children will be fascinated - and be prepared to hear all about it!

One Day by Suma Din

I love the unusual approach of this book, which allows children to see what other children all around the world are doing at the same time - so while children in the UK are getting up, children in the US are fast asleep, children in China are at school, and children in South Africa are going home. A lovely way to explain time zones and a superb classroom resource, which would make a great display theme. The book follows fifteen different children from around the world through a 24 hour period so children learn about culture and lifestyle in a colourful and unusual format - a super book.

The National Archives: Plague Unclassified: Secrets of the Great Plague Revealed by Nick Hunter

If you are not familiar with the wonderful resource that is The National Archives, I do recommend that you take a look at the fascinating and illuminating material they hold, which is well illustrated by this enthralling book. Focusing on the last British outbreak, the Great Plague of London in 1665, Plague Unclassified takes readers on a journey back in time to uncover the story behind the disease. From what life was like living in London during the 1665 plague outbreak, to where plague came from and how it was spread. Based on documentary material and original pictures, the book shows just how source material can be put to excellent use to understand the past. It's packed with images from the National Archives and I found it a fascinating read - brilliant to support classroom work.

ZSL Big Swamp Beasts by Michael Cox

This colourful book is packed with information about all sorts of amazing creatures who inhabit the murky and mysterious world of the swamps. Each creature has a whole chapter to itself, so the information is not constrained by the ubiquitous two page format.From crocodiles and snakes to birds, frogs and bugs - some weird and wonderful creatures inhabit the swamps and this book with its compelling layout is packed with fascinating and memorable information.  There is superb photography plus informative illustrations. The sort of book that it's perfect to find in a zoo or wildlife park gift shop. The fact that the book is produced with the backing of London Zoo shows it is an authoritative work.

Harriet Tubman (Real Lives) by Deborah Chancellor

The amazing story of a remarkable woman who worked tirelessly for human rights. Not as well known as she should be, hopefully this book for young readers will help redress the balance a little. Harriet Tubman. Here achievements are outstanding - born a slave, she helped 70 more slaves to escape. She worked as a nurse in the Civil War and led an armed assault in that war, again to rescue slaves. Then she fought for votes for women - a remarkable character portrayed in an easy to read narrative style.

Are Trees Alive? by Debbie Miller

"Are trees alive?" asked the little girl. And that is the start of the conversation that inspired this unusual book which compares trees with children and finds they are alike in so many ways. We learn how trees live and grow, and how they get their food. The wonderful variety of trees all round the world is explored, from baobab trees of Africa, the banyan trees of India to the bristlecone pines of California. Beautifully illustrated, this is a fascinating book that will make us all appreciate trees more.

Survival at 40oC Above by Debbie S Miller

Even the most harsh of landscapes is home to an amazing array of creatures.  Meet the unique creatures who inhabit the Simpson Desert in Australia. We follow some fascinating creatures through the scorching heat of the day into the chill of the night - a superglue frog and a lizard who drinks though his feet . are just two of the amazing creatures who have adapted to life in this harsh environment. The illustrations are stunning and convey the atmosphere in a superb way as they take us from day to night.

The RSPB Children's Guide to Nature Watching by Mark Boyd

An excellent introduction to the wonders to be seen all around us, written in approachable and child-friendly language.  Illustrated throughout and with many full-colour photographs, it is an attractive and easy-to-follow guide. It tells you where to go and when, what equipment to take with you, tips on attracting wildlife to your garden, how to take field notes and much more. The book falls into two fairly equal halves - the first is a guide to habitats. The second is a guide to many common species of British birds, animals and plants, using clear illustrations and describing key identification points, such as behaviour, voice and habitat. A super way to encourage a love for the natural world.



Keeping the Little Blighters Busy by Claire Potter

As you can guess from the title, this is not another book full of ideas we have all seen before. Here you will find 50 ideas, many of which I am almost certain will be new to you. Make a hamster playground, create hidden works of art, have ice cubes in the bath, learn about other countries through clocks........ these are just a few of the novel ideas that caught my eye. Practical and down-to-earth, you don't need to spend a fortune or go far afield to have a huge amount of fun. And it doesn't end with the book, because it will inspire adults and children to think outside the box and use their imaginations.Unexpectedly, it's a very funny read too. Don't worry about keeping the children amused any more!


A Parent's Survival Guide to Music Lessons by Elizabeth Lawrence

Confused about the right instrument for your child? Don't know how to go about finding a teacher? Parents have many questions when considering music lessons for their child and more so, perhaps, if they did not learn an instrument themselves. Whether or not that is the case, this excellent book will guide you through all the things you need to know. Music is so important and a wonderful way for children to escape from the stresses of academic work, so do encourage them. The book is written in a friendly approachable style and the instrument factfiles are especially useful as they discuss each instrument from the viewpoint of learners, not just a technical description. Practice, exams, instrument care and performing are all covered and there are plenty of photos to help choices. An excellent practical guide and ideal for music teachers to show to parents.


Hard Nuts of History: Who's Who in Hard Nut History by Tracey Turner

If a child says to you that they find history boring, then give them a copy of this fascinating book and I am sure you will bring about a change of heart! Find out about the most ruthless, brave, fearless and intrepid men and women of all time. Each character has a two-page spread full of facts and including cartoon-style illustrations and their Hard Nut rating - find out who is the hardest nut! There are also quizzes to challenge the reader, and a timeline to put the characters into their historical context. It's a fun way to learn about some of the most fascinating historical characters.

The RSPB Bumper Book of Wildlife Stories by Pat Kelleher

This is the ideal way to engage young readers with the beautiful world of nature around us - it would make a super gift for a school holiday or a UK based family holiday. There are short stories about lots of different creatures - a moorhen, a little fawn, a cricket and an eagle are just some. Through each story, children learn about nature and each story is beautifully illustrated. Far more than just stories, it has colouring, puzzles and lots of dot to dots. All illustrated in full colour, it is an enticing book which will help children respect the world around them.

Fashion Notebook: My Notebook of Trends by Julia Stanton

A fascinating book for girls who love fashion and who want to get their look 'just right'. It guides girls through observing, collecting, assembling fashion ideas so that they can create their own unique style. There are lots of ideas about fashion, but all in a way that won't date.  A scrapbook format with spiral binding which means all their ideas can be kept in one place - photos, fabric swatches, magazine articles - all can be included. And then the book is all ready to be carried along on the next shopping trip. Original and practical.

Penguin (Wild Things!) by Lisa Regan

Just imagine! There's a penguin (or a tiger, monkey or elephant) ringing your doorbell.  How would you look after it? Where would it sleep? What would it eat and how would you play with it? Presented in a really delightful way, this series of books shows the young reader just what it would be like having these creatures living in your own home - penguins are smelly and have odd eating habits; tigers eat rather a lot and aren't fussy about whether their food is fresh; monkeys enjoy sunbathing and will bite anything they see ; we all know elephants are very big but they are also very LOUD.  There is a glossary and further factsheet at the end of every book.This is a super way for children to learn about wild animals and how they live, presented in a really entertaining and amusing way. Children will agree that these creatures don't make great pets!


 More books from Bloomsbury - fiction and picture books

Dick Whittington by Clare Gifford

This retelling of the classic story has more detail than many, so it makes a really satisfying read with plenty of depth. This charming book tells the legendary story of Dick's poor beginnings and his rise to wealth thanks to a very clever cat. The illustrations are super and really help the reader to visualise life in medieval London.  It also includes the true story of Richard Whittington, a merchant philanthropist, who was Lord Mayor of London three times in the 15th century. . This book is sold in aid of the Lord Mayor's Appeal.

Max's First Day: Dealing With Feelings by Nicola Call and Sally Featherstone

Helping young children to come to terms with their feelings through simple stories is a tried-and-trusted method. Dealing with Feelings is a series of very short books, heavily dependent on the use of illustrations to convey the message, which is ideal for this age group. Max is worried about his first day at school, but soon makes lots of friends; Natasha can do lots of things TJ can't - but they find something to enjoy together; Sunita is a very best friend, who can be very different but always loyal; big brother can do things better than little brother but they still have lots of fun together. Each book includes specific guidance on how to use the book to help children cope with their feelings.



Books to help reading


Wildfire (Wired Up) by Sean Callery

Sol wants to be one of the gang but he never fits in. So when he ends up in a group with them for the summer expedition, he's really worried. But that's the least of his problems when things take a dangerous turn. Can Sol convince anyone to listen to him or will the expedition end in disaster? Full of tension, this is a book that will grip even reluctant readers, who will really appreciate the fast pace and well-written characters. "Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, Wildfire is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (9+). Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties."

The Bet (Wired Up) by David Grant

The school trip sounds great fun but no one can afford it. So Ed, Zac, Becca and Kat decide to try and work for the money. Soon, it is boys versus girls in a bet to see who can raise the most and that's when the trouble starts. Things turn nasty as the boys and girls do each other down in an effort to win. How will things turn out? With simple text but an engaging story peopled with believable characters, this is a good read which will encourage children to enjoy books. The Bet is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (9+).

The Host (Wired Up) by Beth Chambers

Things always turn out wrong for Nic - but it makes for very entertaining reading! But Nic is tired of the others laughing at him all the time, so when the boys visit the local haunted house he accepts a dare to go inside. The trouble is, the boys don't realise that this party has a host, and he isn't very friendly... Atmospheric illustrations add to the feel of the book, which will encourage readers to keep turning the pages to see what is going to go wrong next. The Host is aimed at readers aged 11+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (9+). Like all the books in the series, this includes a very useful section at the end which tests readers' understanding - this is a real asset for classroom use.

Sea Wolf (Wired Connect) by Kathryn White

A thrilling story which is told in succinct chapters that really keep the tension building - and the reader reading. Maya's little brother Ethan is always telling stories about the Sea Wolf, the monster in the sea around Black Rock. Maya doesn't believe Ethan's lies but she does believe the sea is dangerous so, when Ethan tries to prove he can kayak to Black Rock, she knows she has to try to save him. Will either of them make it back from the dark and deadly sea? Sea Wolf is aimed at readers aged 9+ and has a manageable length (64 pages) and reading age (7+). Like all these Bloomsbury books, it is printed on dyslexia-friendly cream paper which is glare-free and does not allow words to show through from the other side, which can confuse readers.

Zero to Hero (Wired) by Seb Goffe

Will is football mad. He practises every day, he's got great skills and ball control - but he's the smallest, slowest boy in the class. Can he show the coach that skill can beat size?

Big Shot (Wired Connect) by Sean Callery

Danny's been having a tough time at school. But now his best friend Ash has made it even worse by telling everyone about his ballroom dancing classes. Will Danny and Ash manage to show everyone how good they really, are at sports? Or will their risky behaviour get them into big trouble? Wired Connect is a series of titles for struggling readers aged 9-11, published in association with Catch Up, the reading recovery charity.


Drawing a Veil (Wired) by Lari Don

Ellie and Amina are best friends. But when Amina decides to start wearing the hijab, it attracts the attention of the bullies. Now Ellie's loyalties are being tested. Has Amina changed? Does it matter if best friends have different beliefs? Is she ready to stand up for Amina? A thought-provoking story about friendship, religion and modern life.

Dead Wood (Wired) by Andy Croft

Holly's family move to the old house so her dad can do his job: bulldozing the ancient trees to make way for a housing estate. But there's something haunting the old house. Something old, and angry, that doesn't want the trees cut down. Something alive... Highly readable, exciting books that take the struggle out of reading, the Wired and Wired Up series encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories at a manageable length and reading level.

Pitch Dark (Wired) by Robert Dodds

David's finding it tough fitting in at his new school. All he wants to do is be the goalie on the school team like he was before. But Nick, the current school goalie, has killed off any hope of that. Walking home through the town's abandoned football stadium one night, David meets a stranger who will change his life forever. But will David's dream of finding a team to kick about with turn into a living nightmare?

Petrify (Wired Up) by Beth Chambers

Everyone knows that you don't go into Ma Jessop's woods. Everyone but new boy Josh. He's not scared by spooky stories about a wild old witch who drinks human blood. To prove his point to Ella and her friends, Josh goes into the quarry at the heart of the woods and steals a souvenir. But suddenly, terrible things start to happen. Can Ella and Josh find a way to appease Ma Jessop before anyone gets really hurt? Or is the horror only just beginning...

Jenny Greenteeth (Wired Up Connect) by Julia Jarman

Nadia becomes increasingly obsessed with the local legend of Jenny Greenteeth, the monster who lurks in the pond and steals children. But is it all her imagination or is there a truth behind the stories? Nadia must find out one terrifying night, when her little brother goes missing...

Hot-shot Harry (Wired Up Connect) by Rob Childs

Harry is the star of Gateway Fives, a mixed five-a-side soccer team. They've made it through to the County tournament, but Harry's ego starts to cause problems within the team - and then their goalie is injured. When Harry has to choose between the team and his own image, will he do the right thing?

Dark Water (Wired Up) by Cindy Jefferies

Sarah is a superb synchronised swimmer with a good chance of getting on the Olympic team. However, she’s shy, and never talks about her swimming at school for fear of mockery. Her fledgling relationship with Tom is almost destroyed when she thinks he’s exposed her to the ridicule of the class, who have no idea how demanding synchronised swimming is. But when a classmate finds himself in danger, only Sarah will be able to help...

Man About the House (Wired Up) by C. A. Plaisted

Jeza lives with his mum and teenage sister. His dad is preoccupied with his new girlfriend and toddler daughter. Jeza feels frustrated at the lack of boy's stuff in his life - he needs dad time too. But can he get Dad to listen, and how can he explain that he needs a dad in his life without hurting his mum? A powerfully emotional story, tackling a real social problem with sensitivity and humour.

Breaking the Rules (Wired Up) by Maxine Linnell

Mo hates her new school and her new town. She has no friends and home life is awful. So when a nice guy friends her on Facebook, she's happy to accept. His messages keep her going while life just gets worse. Then he invites her to meet him. And Mo decides to take a risk... A powerful tale of teenage unhappiness, reckless behaviour and real friendship, for today's cyber-literate teens.

Shadow Snatcher (Wired Connect) by Lou Kuenzler

Aiden and his little sister Eva are home alone on Halloween. When a stranger dressed up as Death rings the doorbell, Aiden's not fooled. He knows it's only Uncle Tony, and lets him straight in. But it's not Uncle Tony at all... Death has come for Eva, and he's not going to leave without her, unless Aiden can win in a bet to save Eva's life. But how can Aiden and Eva cheat Death?

Rainbow Boots Wired Connect) by Chris Powling

Denzil is the only kid in the school without a pair of Rainbow Boots. So he pretends he's waiting for a special handmade pair. As the lies pile up, what will Denzil do when he can't pretend any more? School comedy.

Attack of the Killer Frogs (Wired Connect) by Peter Clover

A family's holiday cottage seems like paradise. But something funny has leaked out of the nearby genetic research lab. When Ellie tells her parents about being attacked by a gigantic fanged frog they think she's making it up, but soon the family's cottage is under siege - by frogs! Sci-fi horror/adventure for struggling readers aged 9+ with a reading age of 7.

The Wolf Cupboard (Wired Up Connect) by Susan Gates

Leon is supposed to be looking after his little brother Danny when he starts big school. But some kids tell Danny that there's a wolf in the cupboard and now he won't go back to school. So Leon persuades Danny that wolves are great - and soon he has the opposite problem as Danny is desperate to find the wolf. Can Leon sort out his crazy brother without getting in trouble with Mum? School/family comedy.

The Dinner of Smells (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Humaira Rashid

When a poor man stands enjoying the smells from a restaurant, its greedy owner charges him for the privilege! Can Nasruddin, the wise man, save him from jail? Lively retelling of a Muslim folk tale with gorgeous illustrations by Jamie Lenman, featuring the famous character Nasruddin. For below average readers at KS1.

The Guru and the King (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Bali Rai

Guru Hargobind and 52 princes have been unjustly imprisoned by the cruel King. The King says he will release the Guru, but the Guru refuses to leave without the princes. The King tells him he can take as many princes as can hold onto his clothes. Can the Guru find a way to rescue all 52 princes? Lively retelling of the well-known Sikh tale, suitable for average ability readers at KS1.

The Golem (White Wolves: Stories from World Religions) by Gaby Halberstam

The Jewish people of Prague are under threat. So the Rabbi creates a golem - a giant clay man - to defend them. But the creature rampages out of control and the Rabbi must put a stop to it. Thrilling, evocative retelling of the classic Jewish myth for above average readers at KS1 with powerful illustrations by Laura Clark.

Half As Big (White Wolves: World Folk Tales) by Lily Hyde

Medio Pollito is tired of being a big fish in a small pond. At least, that's what he thinks he is. In fact, he's the smallest chicken in a big yard, but his opinion of himself is big enough for two. So he decides to go to the city and see the king. His mother gives him two words of advice: be polite and helpful to everyone and keep away from the cook in the king's kitchen. Unfortunately, Medio Pollito doesn't listen to her...Half as Big is a retelling of a Mexican folk tale.

Don't Forget, Lara! (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Julia Green

Lara is in a muddle - her cat is having kittens soon, and she can't stop thinking about it. And there's so much to remember, too. Every day, she forgets to take the right thing to school and she daydreams in class, which makes her teacher cross. But what can she do to make things better?

Stop, Thief! (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Meg Harper

Jed is embarrassed by his family. They all love tap-dancing! And when a picture of his dancing dad appears in the paper, the bullies at school tease him. But when the corner shop gets robbed, Jed's dad is quick to follow on his trail. Jed pedals after them on his bike, and soon the whole town joins in the chase, through the park, around the pond and down the hill, but there's only one man who's going to catch the villain!

Jack and the Jungle (White Wolves: Familiar Settings) by Malachy Doyle

When Jack moves into a new house, it seems like there's nothing to do. But when he loses his football over the garden wall, he meets Abbie, his mysterious next-door neighbour, who gives him a glimpse of the exciting world on the other side and the wild creatures that live there, including snakes and wolves and tigers and giants!

The Ugly Little Swan (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by James Riordan

The newly born swan is not like the others - he's small and brown and ugly. His brothers and sisters won't play with him, the bigger swans bully him and even his mum and dad chase him away. Sad and lonely, he sets out into the big wide world. A year passes and he begins to think he will never find a friend. But then he sees some beautiful birds and something inside him changes...The Ugly Little Swan is a fairy tale with a twist.

Sleeping Nasty (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by Tony Bradman

Prince Oscar's parents have run out of money. So now he has to find a princess and marry her. But all the princesses in the land are already taken, or they don't want to talk to him. Then Oscar discovers an enchanted castle, home to a gorgeous princess, and he thinks that his search may be over. Unfortunately, when the spell is broken, the princess is not what he bargained for. Sleeping Nasty is a fairy tale with a twist.

The Princess and the He (White Wolves: Fairy Tales) by Karen Wallace

Princess Jules is beautiful, intelligent and rich. What more could she want? The perfect prince, of course. And Princess Jules won't settle for just any prince, so finding the right one is not that easy. Then a scruffy young man appears at the castle door in the middle of the night - surely he is not the answer? Luckily Queen Glitter has a special way of finding out who he really is...The Princess and the He is a fairy tale with a twist.

Bug-Eyed Monsters (Black Cats) by Jean Ure

"Mr Snitcher is an alien! Pass it on..." Nobody knew where the rumour came from. Most of the boys think it's a joke. But the more Joe and Andy think about it, the weirder Mr Snitcher starts to look. Is he really an alien? And how about the rest of the teachers? Laugh-out-loud school story with a sci-fi twist.

The Gorgle (Black Cats) by Emma Fischel

Finn doesn't want to move to the spooky old house in the first place. Soon the strange goings-on and mysterious noises are driving him crazy - and he's driving his family crazy about it. Then he sees the creature that's been hibernating in the wardrobe... It's a Gorgle. A bit like a moth, a bit like a hornet, and a lot like a ten-foot-tall monster from your worst nightmare. It's awake. It's hungry. And Finn is the only one who can stop it!

The Opal Quest: DragonChild Book 2 by Gill Vickery

When the DragonQueen's Jewels of Power were stolen by the six sister-witches, the dragons were banished from the land of Tulay. They took with them a human child as hostage. Tia has been raised by the dragons and considers them her family. But when she learns that her mother is one of the sister witches, she must prove herself to be a true DragonChild by retrieving the jewels, with the aid of her DragonBrother. In this second exciting adventure, Tia goes after the jewel that gives its possessor the power to shift shape.


The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

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