Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 12)

These are richly illustrated books and they are not just for young readers. Although we have given the ages 2 to 5 as a rough guide, many will appeal to older children. Some are thought-provoking titles from which all ages can gain pleasure. You're never too old for a picture book! Plenty here for all ages to share and enjoy.

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

Bing: Something For Daddy by Ted Dewan

Ted Dewar's Bing stories make their TV debut in 2014 and the books are being reissued to tie in with this. Looking at life from the viewpoint of both toddler and parent, this gives each a unique view of what the other sees and makes the books perfect to share and discuss. When things go wrong - and in this story, Bing gets just a tad over-enthusiastic with the glue when he's making a surprise for Daddy with startling results - children are reassured that it doesn't matter, it's just a Bing thing... Colourful pictures, clear and varied font and simple repetitive language will capture the attention of children from as young as 18 months and they will continue to enjoy Bing'd adventures for many years.

The Octonauts and The Growing Goldfish by Meomi

The Octonauts are cute animals and big TV stars who love to explore the big blue ocean. From their underwater base, the Octopod, the eight friends are always up for an adventure. In the South Pacific, Tthey meet Dunkie, a goldfish who can’t stop growing. Finding an ocean big enough for him seems to be an impossible task until they discover a prehistoric, deep sea world. But wait... is Dunkie really a goldfish? Full of colour and adventure, this is a lovely series for youngsters.

What If...? by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne has an unique way of looking at the world which really makes the reader think - there are many layers to his stories which make them equally enjoyable for children and adults, each of whom will see something different in them. Try taking your child back to the stories after a year or two, and they will perceive them quite differently. Joe is nervous about his first big party, and as Mum walks him along the darkening street to his friend's house, his imagination starts to run riot. As they search for the house, they search for the house, they look through the windows, wondering "What if...?" and making some very strange discoveries. There's lots to talk about in this reassuring story which helps children come to terms with anxieties about their first party - and mums to come to terms with leaving their child!

Max and the Won't Go to Bed Show by Mark Sperring

We've all been there - children who postpone the moment of going to bed in all manner of ways. Well, perhaps this book is the answer! Promise to read it to your child as a bedtime story and they go to bed happily - we hope! Max has all sorts of magical ways to delay the inevitable - eating VERY slowly, asking for 10 bedtime stories. But eventually, even Max the magician has to give in! It's great fun, beautifully complemented by the vibrant and hilarious illustrations.

The Scarecrows' Wedding by Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson's trademark flowing rhyme and captivating story again combines with Axel Scheffler's glorious illustrations to produce another superlative book. Two scarecrows, Betty O'Barley and Harry O'Hay, are planning their wedding and everything is nearly in place when Harry O'Hay goes off on a quest... and nearly gets back too late. Reginald Rake, the scoundrel, has designs on Betty O'Barley and almost ruins their special day. Tragedy is only averted by the quick thinking of Harry O'Hay. Unusually, though, for a book from this pairing, I must express a reservation about the introduction of smoking as a part of a story for young children.

Stanley the Builder by William Bee

Stanley is a very busy hamster - this time, he's building a house for his friend, Myrtle. He will need his digger and his bulldozer and his cement mixer! He will also need his friend, Charlie to help. But will they manage to build the whole house? Simple text is easy for children to follow and gives plenty of information to stimulate further discussion. The bright uncluttered pictures show exactly what is happening; I especially like the two page spreads at the start of each book, which show all the things Stanley will use. In Stanley's Cafe it's another busy day, with a birthday cake to make. These friendly characters are lovely for children to enjoy.

First Concept: Animal ABC by Camilla Bédoyère

These are lovely stylish books, a long way from the bright primary colours and simple pictures of many alphabet and counting books. Animal ABC takes us from aardvark to zebra via many unusual animals including grasshopper, lobster and woodpecker. Each letter is illustrated just like a single colour illuminated letter and the animals are depicted through delightful bright drawings, several to a page. First Concept: Animal 123 is equally delightful, with all sorts of creatures crammed into the pages, giving a superb visual effect. What a lovely way to learn letters and numbers!

Littleland Around the World by Marion Billet

It's unusual to see a geography book for young children and I love this colourful book which takes children on an exciting journey around the world with all sorts of things to spot in the detailed and lively pictures on every page. "The little ones are going on a big trip today. They've packed their bags and are ready to go. Have they got everything they'll need, do you think?" Along the bottom of each page are little pictures to spot in the big picture. A wonderful starting point to show children the rich variety of countries, animals and people which make up our world and a great way to stimulate discussion and learning; a superb book for the Early Years or Infant classroom.

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The crayons have gone on strike! When Duncan goes to do some drawing, he finds a series of letters from some very discontented crayons. The letters are hilarious and very clever - adults will appreciate them just as much as children. Luckily, Duncan comes up with a creative solution. I love Oliver Jeffers illustrations - they are just like children's drawings and young children will delight in seeing the world as if through their own drawings. And, hopefully, they will be inspired to draw some of their own illustrations. A stand-out book, clever, unusual and full of inspiration and imagination. Highly recommended.

Busiest People Ever by Richard Scarry

Take a trip to Busytown and find out just what people do all day. Busy is the perfect way to describe Richard Scarry's books - this is packed with detail about all sorts of people, all with his trademark detailed and lively illsutrations. If you want a book to prompt discussion and learning, then this is it! There's so much here to learn and talk about that just one page could be enjoyed for a long time. It's a great way to encourage children's natural inquisitiveness about the world around them.

Specs for Rex by Yasmeen Ismail

This sensitively told and positive story is a lovely way to help children who wear glasses - and to share with their friends too. Rex has new glasses and he does not want to wear them to school... so he tries to hide them, with hilarious results. Trouble is, they are very big and red and hard to hide! Finally, though, Rex finds that his glasses are really useful and he makes a new friend. The illustrations are a real highlight of this book - full of lively detail, they have you going back time and again to see what else there is to spot - as well as the hidden glasses, of course!

Dog Loves Fairy Tales by Louise Yates

Dog loves books, and Dog especially loves books with fairy tales in. When Dog opens a jar, he lets out an imp; an imp who thinks he is unlucky - but is he really? Dog must help his new friend by going deep into the Enchanted Forest, full of familiar characters, as they search for the witch to break the curse... Of course, the book has a fairy tale ending! Every school library should have Louise Yates' Dog Loves Books and Dog Loves Fairy Tales to encourage children to read and love books.

The Colour Thief by Gabriel Alborozo

Just imagine - a world without colour. What a sad place that would be. Zot lives in a world without colour and when he looks at Earth, sparkling with brilliant colour he thinks it must be a very happy place. He sets off to steal the colours and gradually gets all the colours packed away... even the orange of a little boy's balloon. But Zot is a kind creature and can't bear to see the boy unhappy, so he gives back all the colour. One kind deed leads to another in this touching and heartwarming story about kindness and sharing - and the difference a little thing can make.

The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown

"They fished and they fished, way down in the sea..." All sorts of wonderful fish came to the surface but the fish with the deep sea smile wasn't there. Finlly, the fish came along but with a flip of his tail... The text weaves through the wondrously bright illustrations and carries you along with it with the rhythm of the waves in this lovely story with a definite twist in the tail.

Away in My Aeroplane (Margaret Wise Brown Picturebooks) by Margaret Wise Brown

Another book from an excellent storyteller. See the birds way up high and the people way down below in this rhyming story full of excitement and imagination. Superb illustrations capture the child's wonder as he flies above the earth. I like the way these picture books from Parragon Books have cover flaps - they give a good feel to the book, as does the good quality shiny paper used; it all makes a difference!

Line Up, Please! by Tomoko Ohmura

Standing in line can be dull, but not when you mix tigers and frogs, sheep and skunks. But what could be worth waiting for...? Beautifully produced, this is an enticing book that will have children wondering; they will love the fold out flap. Enjoy animals big and small in this fun tale.

The Day No One Was Angry by Toon Tellegen

Twelve stunningly illustrated, poetic, and funny stories about grumpy animals from an internationally acclaimed Dutch writer and a hugely popular French illustrator. In 12 short chapters, we see different animals in various states of anger. Some try to understand their anger, some try to tame it, while others let their anger overwhelm them. These stories are funny and wry, but also offer a gently profound reflection of the nature of human emotions. Marc Boutavant's delicate, stunning full colour illustrations put the reader in the heart of the forest, surrounded by endearingly grumpy animals. This book is a beautifully produced hardback which would make the perfect gift for older children as well as adults.

Where Bear? by Sophy Henn

This debut picture book has instant child-appeal, with the brightly coloured pages, adorable animals and people and its touching story about a little boy who has a bear as a pet but when it grows - and grows - he knows it is time for the bear to find a new home. It's a simple story, but gentle and touching and leaves the reader with a warm glow. I look forward to more books from Sophy.

Enormouse by Angie Morgan

Enormouse has always wondered why he is so much bigger than the rest of his friends. And then he finds the answer in a book - he's not a mouse at all, he's a rat. Bravely he goes off to try and find his own kind but he finds out that life as a rat isn't very enjoyable. And his mice friends are missing him to, and as they all set off to find each other, Enormouse comes along just in time... This is a charming and reassuring story about friendship; about being true to yourself and finding out where you truly belong - even if you do look a bit different!

Following the Tractor by Susan Steggall

The busy red gtractor will charm children as it chugs through the pages helping the farmer out with all sorts of jobs. The book follows the seasons (and the illsutrations capture the changes), so it's perfect for the Early Years classroom and I think there could be some great display ideas there! The bright simplistic illustrations make use of all sorts of textures and techniques and are full of fascinating detail to spot. An excellent book which offers many stimulating opportunities for learning and discussion about life on the farm.

Storytime: The Snake Who Says Shhh... by Jodie Parachini

Seth slithers out of his hole and tries to say his first word, but all that comes out is 'Shhh'. The jungle animals think this is hilarious! But when it comes to deciding on a present for the young snake, the animals can't agree - and the noise gets louder and louder... but there's only one thing Seth wants and luckily, he knows just how to ask for it! This is a lovely story about making your wishes known, illustrated in bright colours and with some gorgeous animal characters. "QED's Storytime series is going from strength to strength and has recently had several titles read on CBeebies Bedtime Stories. These charming books combine colourful illustrations with heartwarming narrative, each with its own unique message for young children."

Lord of the Forest mini edition by Caroline Pitcher

It's hard to do justice to the brilliance of this book. The forest is an exciting place for little tiger - but who can 'The Lord of the Forest' be? Lyrical language brings the magnificence of the tiger to life - "He was was grass-shadowed and eye-dazzle bright; a stealthy cat alone in the night..." It really is superlative and evocative and an absolute joy to read aloud. Jackie Morris' illustrations are, quite simply, stunning. My only reservation about these little books is, gorgeous though they are, the format doesn't really do full justice to the outstanding quality of the illustrations.

Storytime: The Greedy Rainbow by Susan Chandler

One greedy little rainbow causes lots of trouble in the forest when he takes all the colours from the animals and plants - and grows bigger and bigger; and the rainforest becomes grey. All the animals very very sad and the rainbow felt sad too; so sad that he cried great big colourful tears... with very amusing results! A delightful story. As with all QED's Storytime books, there is a 'Next Steps' section, full of ideas for teachers and parents to use alongside the book.

Eat Your Greens, Goldilocks: A Story About Eating Healthily by Steve Smallman

I like the way that much of this story is the same as the original but changes when the THree Bears come home, to introduce a gentle air of suspense. Will they eat Goldilocks? No, because they only eat healthy food! It's great fun and attractively illustrated. This new series from QED, which very much follows the format of their successful Storytime series, takes much-loved fairytales and gives them a new moral, based on healthy living. Each book features 'Next Steps' which give plenty of stimulating discussion points.

Blow Your Nose, Big Bad Wolf: A Story About Spreading Germs Steve Smallman

Another humorous story which takes a gentle approach towards teaching key concepts around good health. Big Bad is really a very friendly - and well brought-up - wolf. When he sees that the little pigs have tissues, he very politely asks for one - but perhaps you can guess what happens when he refuses? There's a lovely twist in the end of the tale which is very cleverly written. I love it! This is a superb series, especially useful for the infant classroom. Each book combines an enjoyable retelling of a fairytale with a message about healthy living, put across in a friendly and accessible way that will really make the message sink in.

Upside Down Babies by Jeanne Willis

This is a mother and baby book with a real difference - when the world tipped upside down, all the babies ended up with the wrong mothers. The results are hilarious! The parrot wonders why her baby piglet won't fly; the otter can't get the baby tortoise to swim. The bright bold illustrations by Adrian Reynolds are a sheer delight - the mystified expressions on the animals' faces are just wonderful. Luckily, by the end, all is restored to normal... well almost, anyway! A story to read over and over again with great glee.

Catch That Plane! by Sally Sutton

'Rushing to the airport what do I see? Plane at the gate a-ready and a-steady. I hope it's going to wait. We're late as late can be.' The rhyming text echoes the haste of the family to catch their plane and races the reader through the book. Wonderful use of vocabulary makes this a joy to read aloud - but make sure you share Sylvie Currin Korankova's superb drawings which capture the excitement of flying off on holiday. Perfect for a first time flyer, there's also a page about what to expect at the airport.

Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

The illustrations by James Dean are some of the most colourful and vibrant I have seen in a long time - they leap off the page at you! Their child-like style is bound to appeal to children. Pete the Cat is a great role model for young children - whatever happens, he always stays positive. When he gradualy loses his four groovy buttons, can he keep singing without them? along with Pete as he sees the bright side and keeps on rockin’. There's a free song so readers can enjoy singing along with ths cheery happy character.

Cat and Dog by Michael Foreman

Anxious to get food for her kittens, Cat finds herself driven off in the fish van, leaving the kittens alone. Along comes a scruffy dog, also looking for food - but luckily, he takes pity on them and they all curl up together. But when Cat returns from the seaside, she makes friends with the dog and together, they decide that they would all ike to visit the seaside... Michael Foreman's delicate watercolour illustrations are perfect for the tender nature of this touching story of an unlikely friendship and appreciation of our beautiful world.

Where is Rusty? by Sieb Posthuma

Rusty the dog is off to the department store with his family - and just like any other youngster, he is told to stay close. But Rusty gets enticed away and then has to flee from the watchdogs. Look out for Rusty, who crops up in all sorts of strange places during his adventures. Happily, all ends well in this charming and reassuring story book, perfect to share with any child who may be inclined to wander off alone.

The Dinosaur That Pooped The Past by Tom Fletcher

Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing; when we have had a couple of superb books in a series, it can be hard to keep up the standard - happily the creators of this series have maintained their high standard and brought us another hilarious story. When they accidently go back through history on a time-travelling swing, Danny and Dinosaur meet some new dino friends. But this time there are some rather BIG rumblings - and there's ony one thing that will get them away in time - guess what? Wondrously inventive and fast-paced, this is another gem.

How to Train a Train by Jason Carter Eaton

Most people with pets have a dog, or a cat, a hamster or gerbil maybe and there is plenty of advice on caring for them. But what if your likes are more mechanical? If you owned a train, how would you look after it? Here's the answer! This unusual bookhas everything you need to know about finding and keeping your very own pet train. It's very and very silly and will appeal to adults reading it aloud with its quirky take on caring for a pet. Highly enjoyable and very different.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

There seems to be an upsurge in unusual takes on fairy tales and this one is great fun with some totally unexpected twists. Like all the best fairy tales, it starts off 'Once upon a time'... there were three hungry dinosaurs: Papa Dinosaur, Mama Dinosaur and ... a Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway. One day, they decide to tidy the house, make some chocolate pudding and then go out - could there be an ulterior motvie? Surely not... but we hope Goldilocks will heed the moral of the tale in future.

You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Könnecke

It's Bert's big day and he has been preparing for this for a long time. He is ready... but before he takes the plunge, he might need a bit of encouragement from his friends. With few words but telling illustrations, this is the tale of a little bird trying to do what all birds do - and it's a good thing he has his friends to encourage him. Simple and quite delightful.

The Very Best Sheepdog by Pinny Grylls

Great things are expected of Ben the sheepdog - after all, his parents are both prizewinners. But poor Ben just can't get it right, however hard he tries. One day, he makes friends with a lamb and that just makes things worse... until a great storm frightens all the sheep. The farmer sends Ben out to find them, with great success, all thanks to his friendship with Bo. This is an utterly charming story about friendship and about a lovable sheepdog whose plight will tear at your heartstrings - it just had to have a happy ending! Delicate illustrations by Rosie Wellesley are the perfect complement to this touching and thoughtful story.

Best Friends by Mara Bergman

Dexter, Daisy and Lily (and their young owners) are causing chaos as they chase balls in the park, regardless of picnics and children playing - until they land up in the stream. Disaster? Not at all - the happy pets and the children become the best of friends. A super celebration of the fun of playing outside and the bonds between dog and child. The catchy rhyming text races you through the book and it is superb to read aloud.

Mine! by Jerome Keane

Horse and Fox are bored - nothing had happened for ages. But then a 'thing' drops down in front of them - who will have it? Finally, they decide to share - but too late, as it's rightful owner retrieves it. Luckily, along comes another plaything and this time they know just what to do... Simple text and bright stylised illustrations make this an excellent book to - guess what! - share with your child and convey this all-important message in a fun and effective way.

Ten Little Princesses by Mike Brownlow

"Ten little princesses going to the ball..." is the start of this clever rhyming story. On their adventurous journey to the ball, the little princesses meet all manner of fairytale characters set to waylay them... will they arrive safely? Children will love to spot the references, in text and picture, to well-loved fairytales and the pictures are packed with lots to spot and enjoy. There's a lovely modern twist in the tale of this infectious story - it's a real delight.

Little Puppy Lost by Holly Webb

Aaaaah! What a cute puppy on the cover of this book! Holly Webb is well-known for her stories for slightly older readers and now she has turned her attention to picture books. The adorable puppy Harry is off on his first walk with his owner, Evie. When a red ball bounces past, he can't resist chasing it - and then he realises he's lost. Luckily, he makes a new friend and together they brave the other creatures they meet and find Harry's home. a super way to introduce younger readers to this popular author and her talent for creating very special animal characters. Through the summer of 2014, Little Tiger Press are running their Reading Rocks! campaign which aims to raise interest in picture books - find out more on the Reading Rocks website.

Train! by Judi Abbot

Little Elephant loves trains so one day his parents take him on a train journey. Then he finds that his friends, everything gets muddled up and they all learn to share and play together. A lively story with colourful illustrations to catch children's attention. The catchy text is great to read aloud but make sure you share the pictures.

Mr Tweed's Good Deeds by Jim Stoten

A colourful counting book which engages children as they try to find hidden objects on each beautifully illustrated page. Mr. Tweed sets out on his afternoon stroll, but soon finds some friends in need of his help. Can you come to his aid and help him find what they are looking for? Hidden in pages of vibrant colour and highly detailed illustrations lie a variety of different objects waiting to be discovered! Stoten’s wonderfully whimsical designs will enchant young readers into this fun and quirky world where counting is made easy.

I Heart Holidays (Martha and the Bunny Brothers) by Clara Vulliamy

The totally adorable Martha with her Bunny Brothers are off for their holidays. These lively stories are full of fun and friendship and are perfect for sharing and reading aloud. They’re off to the seaside… but how do you have fun when you have two Bunny Brothers to please? Luckily, Martha is the perfect big sister and (almost) always does what her little brothers want. Happily, she gets to do what she wants at the end of a lovely day. A lovely feel-good story about a close-knit family which leaves you feeling really happy.

There's a Lion in My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson

The things you get by collecting tokens from cereal boxes are usually quite boring - but not in this case! When Dan and his brother decide to collect 100 coupons so that they can have their very own lion, they assume the task will be easy enough - once they have eaten all those cornflakes! Trouble is, everyone else had the same idea and the cereal company ran out of lions... will the alternatives be as good? A hilarious story with a twist in the tail.

The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris

The first thing that struck me about this book was the stunning illustration on the cover and the rest of the book lived up to this promise. It is the tale of a bear-child stolen away from his mother and looked after by a hunter and his wife. When he is seven, he gets lost following a trail and is found by the bears. His hunter-father follows and vows to kill those who stole his child. I won't spoil the story - you must read the ending for yourself. But remember, the world we have is a wondrous place and we must take care of it to the best of our ability. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story, this time in a small format hardback, which draws us into the life of the bear-child and the dilemma he faces.

Peppa Pig: The Big Tale of Little Peppa

Young children will love this gentle story which in which Peppa Pig finds out what she was like as a baby; they will very much enjoy re-meeting old friends and this is a great way to engage their attention. Peppa Pig doesn't believe she was once a little baby. But when Suzy Sheep arrives with a picture from the olden days, Peppa wonders what she was like before she grew big and clever! She soon finds out that little Peppa laughed, cried and played with her best friend Suzy, but her favourite thing to do was... jump in muddy puddles! A lovely book to share with your child and recall special memories.

Bocchi and Pocchi and the Bird by Noriko Matsubara

Socks as you have never seen them before! In this enchanting story, Bocchi and Pocchi, the two socks, meet an injured bird who can't fly back to her nest. Helped by a friendly spider, together with Grandma mouse, the two socks eventually manage to help the bird to their home and a place in their cosy sock drawer. The illustrations are a delight - bright and simple and full of fun. And there's a surprise for them the next morning! I love the inclusion of instrucions for knitting a child's very own Bocchi and Pocchi socks. An unusual and engaging story.

Batmouse (Storytime) by Steve Smallman

The Storytime series from QED is a wonderful way to introduce young children to the joy of sharing stories. When Pip the mouse sees a bat flying over his home, he decides he wants to be able to fly too. But it's not that simple... flying is hard, sleeping upside down is hard and as for the diet... When Pip makes friends with a real bat he decides he'd rather be a mouse after all - but he'd still love to fly. Or maybe there's a better idea... A charming story full of imagination.

The Star of the Zoo (Storytime) by Virginie Zurcher

Little Star has tumbled from the sky and finds herself in the zoo. How can she get back? One by one, the animals try to help her, but none of them are tall enough to reach the sky. Finally Ant comes forward. Together with all of her friends and family, Ant makes a tower tall enough to get Little Star home. A lovely story about the importance of working together and helping each other. The discussion points for parents and teachers offer stimulating ideas to gain even more from the stories.

What I Think About When I Think About ... Swimming by Eleanor Levenson

This perceptive and unusual picture book is the story of a small and thoughtful fish. While he circles around the confines of his bowl, he thinks about falling in love, getting old and climate change... and one even more important thing. A fishy take on life with gloriously unusual illustrations.

Rory and the Monstersitter by Rosie Reeve

Rory loves cooking - but his recipes are unusual, to say the least. He's always inventing new recipes like blue pancakes, cheese bats and hairy cakes... When when his mum and dad go out to dinner, Rory and his siblings decide it's time for a feast... but you'll never guess what the main ingredient is! A fun-filled story with lots of humour in both text and illustrations.

The Life of a Car by Susan Steggall

Follow the lifecycle of a car from the production line, to being sold, driven, filled, cleaned, crashed and then recycled to make... another car. Along the way, young readers will encounter many other brightly coloured vehicles including tow-trucks, transporters and lifting machines - these big vehicles never fail to engage the attention. The simple bright illustrations are ideal for young readers and this is an ideal introduction to the story of cars. Children who have read Susan's On the Road will delight in spotting its little red mini driving through the book!

My New Home by Marta Altes

This reassuring picture book is ideal to share with any young children facing the unknown of moving house. Little racoon has just moved house and soon discovers that wherever you go adventures soon follow. Written from a young child's viewpoint this book gets right inot the heart of a small child's concerns and answers them in a positive and reassuring way. It also highlights the true meaning of friendship and supportive families.

I Totally Don't Want to Play! (Hugo & Bella) by Ann Bonwill

I love the way Ann Bonwill picks up the toddler voice so cleverly in her books and her characters can be recognised by anyone who has anything to do with toddlers. Hugo the hippo likes his routine - he does everything with Bella. So he is very put out when Bella finds a new friend, Cressida the crocodile, especially when everything at the playground seems specially made for two. But then they find something they can all enjoy together and all is well. A delightfully told tale about one of the biggest challenges that small children may face, told with real empathy and understanding and perfect to read aloud and share when the tricky situation arises.

That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile by Sean Taylor

This wonderfully imaginative story is all about the fun to be had in the unlikely event of a hippopotamus making a visit? They love splashy baths, crunchy salads, silly toys... all these things make them happy and they will want to come round again – maybe not on his own next time! Great fun with super colourful pictures to enhance the story.

The Prince and the Potty by Nicholas Allan

Nicholas Allan's books are just brilliant with their irreverent and yet never disrespectful look at royalty. The prince is growing up now, so it's time to introduce the potty. But it's no ordinary potty for such a special person... it's time to visit the Royal Potty Workshop. There are singing potties, potties pulled by corgis, and even super-duper flying Royal Robo-Potties! and finds... well, I'm not giving the story away! But the prince takes matters into his own handsRevel in the glorious humour of the illustrations too. Glorious!

Why? by Tracey Corderoy

Familiar to every parent of a toddler - the incessant "Why? Why? Why?". Of course, we love it - it's all part of growing up and shows a real ineterst in what is going on around them - but sometimes, we'd like a break, so bring out this entertaining picture book andsee how Archie's parents cope. Archie is a rhino with lots of questions. He wants to know everything - but his way of finding out is somewhat messy! This lovely book takes an affectionate and humorous look at one of the key traits of toddlerhood. Tim Warnes' super illustrations are full of comic detail, so share them with your child.

Harry and the Monster by Sue Mongredien

Does your little one have bad dreams? Many children have fears of monsters and this comical book is just the way to dispel them. Harry is frigttened to go to sleep in case the monster comes. So mum and dad come up with some amusing way to scare him off - but nothing quite works until finally, dad comes up with the idea of a cross mummy. There's a lovely ending to this reassuring story which is perfect for bedtime - but don't forget to check under the bed!

Katie's Picture Show by James Mayhew

James Mayhew has done so much to make art accessible for young children with his superb Katie stories. This is a re-illustrated version of his first story, roduced to celebrate the 25th anniversary of publication. Join Katie as she visits the gallery for the first time with Grandma and discovers the excitement of art as she steps right inside the story of five famous paintings. It's a wonderful way to engage children with art - if you're planning a visit to an art gallery, look out the Katie books so your child can spot the real thing (the books tell you where the paintings are). A brilliant combination of education and great storytelling.

Abigail by Catherine Rayner

Counting is Abigail's favourite thing. But some things are hard to count - Zebra's stripes and Cheetah's spots just won't keep still. Happily, a solution is found and Abigail finds herself teaching all her friends to count - but once it gets dark, will they have to stop counting? The illustrations capture the animals and the atmosphere wonderfully in this perfect bedtime read which has a stunning fold-out night sky ending.

Wanda and the Alien Go Camping (Wanda 4) by Sue Hendra

I love this pair! They are such great friends and have wonderful adventures together. Wanda wants to take the Alien camping but it's raining, so the Alien takes Wanda to his planet. Wanda wants somewhere quiet or somewhere with wildlife but the Alien can't find the perfect place - until they find the ideal place, whatever the weather. Simple bright pictures and two friendly characters make this an appealing series for young ones.

Mighty Mo by Alison Brown

At the Golden Dodo Zoo, Mo the raccoon is bored - but sadly, he is a bit too over-enthusiastic. But when Big Ron the robber starts causing trouble, it's up to Mo to save the day - and he becomes a hero. Bright colourful illustrations will grab the young reader's attention as they enjoy this story about a very special raccoon and his friends.

Milly and the Mermaids by Maudie Smith

Milly loves mermaids and she is quite sure that, if she wishes hard enough, her dream will come true when she visits the seaside. She tries all sorts of ways to encourage the mermaids but sadly to no avail. Even the glittery shell Dad finds is a disappointment - or is it? She takes it home and has a magical dream... I love the little touches of humour that are woven throughout the book. Two wonderful worlds are brought to life by Antonia Woodward's richly coloured and detailed illustrations - the gentle colours of the beach contrast with the vibrant glittery underwater world. Look closely and you will spot all sorts of clever little touches in the pictures. A gorgeous book, stunningly illustrated.

Dinosaur Beach by Frann Preston-Gannon

This beautifully illustrated picture book is full of typical happenings of any family day by the sea - packing the car, carrying everything to the beach, swimming.... but all with a hilarious twist as the dinosaurs cause mayhem! It gently teaches children as it goes - and counting fun is there to enjoy. The simple text contrasts perfectly with the chaos depicted in the pictures - share these with your child and discuss what you see; you'll be surprised just how much there is!

Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure by Eva Katzler

I love Florentine and Pig! If you've missed their previous adventures, go and seek them out! The books have a unique combination of food, crafts and superb stories. This time, there's a monster on the loose (or is there?) and the friends are off to find it - suitably equipped, of course; well, monster hunting is hungry work! It's a celebration of the simple things that all children enjoy and it's full of child-friendly recipes and crafts with an adventure thrown in. It's a great way to encourage inaginative play and families could really act out the story. Jess Mikhail's lovely illustrations add the perfect finishing touch to this highly recommended book.

My Dad & Me by Tania Cox

A happy celebration of all the lovely times dads and children share together - an idea; gift book for any dad. Catchy rhyming text and bright illustrations show the joy of father and child sharing all sorts of things - and best of all, a hug.

A Cat's Day by Rebecca Rissman

Children will enjoy this lively flip book - on one side, readers follow Lucy the Cat on her wild day through town. Then they can enjoy Lucy's owner's perspective of the same day by flipping the book over and reading from the back! It's great fun to see how the two accounts differ and gives huge opportunities for discussion.

I Don't Want to Go to School! by Stephanie Blake

Stephanie Blake's trademark simple drawings set against bright backgrounds are perfect for young children, who need uncluttered design to grab their attention. Simon the little rabbit doesn't want to go to school - just like many young children, he is anxious about what will happen. It's perfect to share with children who are apprehensive, and its positive ending will be reassuring. The book reflects the anxieties children feel and they will be encouraged to share those feelings as they enjoy the story.

Marshmallows for Martians (George 2) by Adam Guillain

George wants to know what sweets Martians like to eat, so off he sets in his homemade rocket with a map of the stars to guide him. Of course, he takes all sorts of sweets too! trouble is, before he finds the Martians, he meets lots of musicians and they eat most of his sweets. The poor Martians are fed up with all the noise - but luckily George has the perfect answer! A brilliantly imaginative story, tol through catchy ryhming text and jewel bright pictures. Children will love this!

How Hippo Says Hello! An Adventure in Eight Languages) by Abigail Samoun

Bonjour, konnichiwa, hola, hello, al salaamu alaykum, ni hao! Friendly Hippo takes a trip around the world to seven different countries, and everywhere he goes, he cheerily greets people in their native language (there's a useful pronunciation guide for each word). There's a map at the end of the book so children can follow Hippo on his journeyKids will have fun trying out these simple foreign words, from 'namaste' (India) to 'privyet' (Russia). Published by Sterling, April 2014, ISBN 9781454908203.

Miffy and the New Baby by Dick Bruna

Miffy is thrilled - she's going to have a new baby brother or sister. She's quite surprised to see the new baby is so small! Dick Bruna's simple illustrations are as charming as ever and perfect for little ones in their simplicity, which never dates. Award-winning UK poet, Tony Mitton, has worked closely with Dick Bruna's Dutch publisher to create new translations for that are true to the books' original voice, and yet have a contemporary feel to the language that makes them appealing to the modern young audience. None of the traditional feel has been lost and it's so good to see that Simon and Schuster are reissuing a whole range of Miffy books.

My Amazing Dad by Ross Collins

Like many dads, Snip's dad is away during the day - and Snip doesn't know what he does all day. So off he goes with Max the monkey to find the answer. Snip soon discovers that his friends' dads can do all sorts of special things be amused by all the clever and fun things animal dads do. How do the animals learn to do all these clever things? Snip gets a surprise when his mum takes him to see - and he finds out his dad is really clever! A delightful story about friendship and fathers, ideal for dads to share with their little ones.

The Cake by Dorothée de Monfreid

Tiger wants to bake a cake. He wants to bale a chocolate cake but all his friends have different ideas - banana, carrot, bone, fish; what is it to be? It seems that nothing will satisfy everyone - but finally Tiger gets his way in this colourful ctory.

Fiddlesticks! by Sean Taylor

Who needs enemies with friends like this?! Mouse has just built himself a lovely house... there's just one problem. So he asks Bear to help him fix the crooked window and this sets into train a calamitous - and hlarious - sequence of events as all his friends try to help out. But as we all know friends are very special and in the end Mouse has a very special new house. The softly coloured stylish illustrations are gorgeous and the ideal complement to this gentle story of friendship.

Supertato by Sue Hendra

Sue Hendra has brought us some wonderful picture book characters - Barry the Fish with Fingers is my favourite - and here's a new character to add to the collection. Supertato is always there for you when the chips are down. He's the superhero with eyes everywhere - and he's about to meet his arch nemesis. Has he met his match in Pea? Puns abound in this silly giggly story which children will adore.

The Great Moon Confusion by Richard Byrne

Aldrin the raccoon thinks he knows everything - but when Rabbit is puzzled, Aldrin doesn't know the answer - but he doesn't want to admit his ignorance. He decides the issue needs a 'proper investigation' and he comes up with some very fanciful ideas over the next few days as, gradually, the moon gets smaller and smaller. He blames two bears called Hubble and Lovell but it turns out that they know a lot more about the moon than Aldrin.An entertaining story that will help children take their first steps towards understanding why the moon grows and shrinks.

Stop Sticking, Stan! by Nicola Killen

Stan has a problem - a problem many children might like to have! He has too many stickers! It's a storyline that will resonate with many parents as they despair when finding stickers in unlikely places yet again! It strats quite simply - Stan gets a sticker for tidying his room... but he wants more and at the end of the month, he gets a whole pack of stickers. The trouble is, he has run out of space so guess what? This is a hilarious look at what happens when stickers get out of control and the illustrations are such fun! Trouble is, Stan has the collecting bug as the amusing end to the story shows! A fun read.

Big and Small by Elizabeth Bennett

A joyous celebration of a very special friendship - Big the bear and Small the mouse are an unlikely couple but they are the best of friends, always there to help each other. This lovely rhyming story is about a special day out for Big and Small - but Small keeps needing help. After a fun-packed day out, when it's bedtime, Big needs help in a very special way - and Small is there to oblige, of course. A lovely heart-warming story with superb illustrations by Jane Chapman. Ideal bedtime reading.

Hocus Pocus Diplodocus: The World's First Ever Magician by Steve Howson

Hocus Pocus is no ordinary dinosaur - he is the world's first-ever magician! Fame spreads, even in the prehistoric world, and soon dinosaurs are coming from all over the swamp to see his magic. But things don't always go quite to plan in this hilarious story... and now we know why there are no dinosaurs any more! Kate Daubney's lively illustrations are full of glorious colour and the dinosaurs have the most delightfully expressive faces.

Cantankerous King Colin by Phil Allcock

What a superb character! King Colin can do just what he likes... because he's king. Every toddler will revel in this story of an adult who does all the things children are told not to - he doesn't wash his hands, he wears dirty clothes, he has a tantrum... but then he meets his nemesis! It's Great Queen Connie and King Colin has to do as he's told - because she's his mum! A hilarious story which children will adore - when they're naughty, share this to defuse the situation!

Happy Birthday, Royal Baby! by Martha Mumford

The Royal Baby is a year old - yes, really! And it's time for a celebration at the palace. The whole palace is a hive of activity, from the kitchen to the garden with everyone trying to make sure things are just perfect for the occasion. But when the great day comes, everyone is having a wonderful time, except for the most important guest... Luckily, there is someone with plenty of wisdom on hand, who knows just what babies want... It's very clever, with humour that adults will appreciate as much as children - whoever would have thought the Queen would parachute down? Superbly illustrated by Ada Grey with wonderful detail and humour. Superb.

Sir Scallywag and the Deadly Dragon Poo by Giles Andreae

Mention the word 'poo' to young children and you've got a guaranteed audience immediately! Baron Greedyguts wants King Colin's sweet machine - and bombarding the palace with poo is the way to get it! All the King's knights are fat and lazy - so Sir Scallywag and his trusty steed Doofus must come to the rescue. And the knights become super-fit by the end of this hilarious rhyming tale of chivalry - and the not-so-chivalrous. The illustrations by the talented Korky Paul are packed with detail (and show some wondrous inventions) and are full of opportunities to discuss and elaborate on the story - a great way to get children expressing their thoughts.

Woooo! by Gerry Turley

It's time for the owlets to learn to fly. Waaaa, whoa, whoosh they're off through the woods. Look out - there's hidden danger all around and little owl is stuck. He flies again and then he falls. A quick fpal of the wings and he's off to safety... Wonderful to read aloud with a multitude of sounds to say and to be copied. The stylish illustrations with their gentle colouring are a real treat - and repay close attention to detail.

The Farmer's Away! Baa! Neigh! by Anne Vittur Kennedy

The farmer's away so the animals decide to have some fun - and children will have great fun reading this book! They get up to all sorts of fun - boating, a picnic, a fairground ride, a dance and more and then they all race for home as the farmer returns. The delight of this book is all the animal sounds - no neeed for words - and what a wonderful book to share and read aloud. The vivacious pictures are simply wonderful - full of life and peopled by some lovely creatures dressed in all their finery. It's really unusualI love it! and highly recommended.

Two Giants by Michael Foreman

Written and illustrated by Michael Foreman, this is the story of two giants who are the best of friends and who live in a part of the world where everything is perfect. But one day they quarrel and the land becomes dull and cold. They get more and more angry with each other until eventually they come face to face - or should that be feet to feet? They notice something strange about their socks and they laugh and laugh and become friends again and their world turns bright. A wonderful story told with warmth and humour about the power that friendship has to transform the world around us and the importance of staying friends. The pages are bright and uncluttered, allowing the story to take centre stage.

The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing by Bob Hartman

Peppered with puns, this is a rather different story about Little Sheep who was bored with her peaceful life. She decides it would be more exciting to be a wolf... so off she goes to Wolf School, dressed in her new knitted wolf suit. Things seem to be going well until she faces a dilemma over the food - especially when Little Wolf invites her over for dinner. She gets a shock when she sees what the Wolf family are having for dinner... perhaps it's time to stop being a wolf. Delightfully and humorously illustrated this is an unusual story which keeps the reader guessing right to the end - and there's a twist at the end to enjoy.

Hogs Hate Hugs! by Tiziana Bendall-Brunello

Hugs are important - we all, young and old, need hugs and this story is a lovely way to share that thought with young children, preferably whilst having a cuddle! Little Hog is a cute and cuddly hog and everyone wants to hug him - but he thinks he is too grown up for hugs. He makes a poster telling everyone: "Hogs Hate Hugs!" and storms off - but finds the forest gets a bit scary, especially when a monster is after him. Or is it a monster? Perhaps Litte Hog does want hugs after all... Beautuifully illustrated this is a perfect bedtime story, warm and reassuring.

Bubble and Squeak by James Mayhew

People travel for miles to watch Bubble, the graceful elephant, perform her daring act, The Pyramid of Peril. Despite the popularity of her act, poor Bubble has no special friend of her own - until a lonely little mouse comes on the scene. The little mouse watches Bubble with admiration, but is too shy to approach her, until one day, the little mouse has an opportunity to save her friend... An unusual story, which is a lovely tale of friendship, illustrated in a charming retro style which makes the book stand out from others.

Memorial by Gary Crew

2014 is, of course, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and here is a book to make us remember and reflect. Internationally acclaimed author, Gary Crew, and multi-award-winning illustrator Shaun Tan have created a powerful picture book to help us all remember. When the soldiers return in 1918, a memorial tree is planted... 'Lest we forget'. But generations later, what do those who pause in the shadows of the tree's immense branches remember? A message we should never forget. Memorial serves as a reminder of the lessons to be gained from the past and examine the significance of conservation, respect and remembrance.

Sports Day by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen

This is SO funny! Everything that can happen at a traditional sports day all rolled into one hilarious book that will amuse adults as much as children. The true spirit of Sports Day is here - the egg and spoon race, the wheelbarrow race, the beam bag race... Perfect to share with your child in the run-up to their first Sports Day. The illustrations capture the spirit perfectly and the book is a delight.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Snow White (Fairytale Hairdresser 4) by Abie Longstaff

This is a clever series - each time you re-read it with your child (or with a class) they will pick up something fresh; a reference to yet another fairytale. Snow White has fled from the palace and the wicked queen is on her trail. With the help of seven musical dwarves, a magic mirror and a dashing doctor prince, can Kittie Lacey, the Fairytale Hairdresser, save the day? The clever and witty writing is set off excellently by the illustrations which bring a contemporary feel to the old favourites -again, children will love to see how many they can spot. The glittery cover guarantees that this book will be instantly picked out - and I am quite sure it will be enjoyed.

The Best Book in the World by Rilla Alexander

This is a joyous celebration of reading, showing that reading can ne enjoyed anywhere - and everywhere. "From a crowded commute to a sledge in the snow, be carried away by stories. If you found the best book in the world, would you stop reading? Could you stop reading? If you had homework to do, or dinner to get through, could you put the book down?" This is for bookworms everywhere - and to encourage those who aren't!

Max the Champion by Sean Stockdale

Max dreams of competing in world class sporting events as he races downstairs and dives into his cereal then speeds off to school - he never misses a chance to dream about sport. When he and his class win the school football match he imagines they have won the World Cup. But far more than just dreaming, this is a book which celebrates everyone's inclusion into sport, whatever their disability. It's a book which should make us stop and think about inclusion, as well as being a fun story about a very imaginative little boy. Colourful illustrations by Ros Asquith capture the spirit of the book.

Excuse Me, Is This India? Anushka Ravishankar

A bright and vibrant book that captures the spirit of the country wonderfully. I especially like the little pictures that decorate the edges of the pages - taken from the larger picture, they cleverly encourage the reader to look more closely at the detail. They are actually from exquisite quilts made from Indian textiles. As the young storyteller dfifts off to sleep, we follow the child's imagination through an unexpected trip to India...or is it India? The answer to this question is coded in riddling poetry, as the confused traveller navigates her fantastical but all-too-real dream world. Brilliant nonsense verse captures the surreal cacophony of places, people and creatures that make up India. Inventive and imaginative, this is a super book which works on many different levels to engage the reader.

The Lazy Friend by Ronan Badel

This wordless picture books will encourage children's imaginations and story-telling skills as they enjoy the pictures and put their own interpretation on what they see. A tree is blown down in a storm - the very tree that a sloth is hanging on to, relaxing as sloths do. After a while, along comes a truck and takes away the tree with the sloth still attached - and oblivious. His friends see what is happening and determine to bring him home again. Just look at the expressions on the sloth's face! And I love the final picture!

Tiger on a Tree by Anushka Ravishankar

This is the tale of a wild tiger cub who wanders into an Indian village, and the reactions he encounters from the stunned village inhabitants. The art, verse and typography run and bounce off the page, drawing both the curious child and the quizzical adult into the lively world of the book. A simple story in rhyme enhanced by simple yet expressive pictures that encourage young children to use their imaginations.

Elephants Never Forget! by Anushka Ravishankar

The illustrations in black, white and blue merge with the text and flow around it so the two become inseparable so although the rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud, the book must be seen as a whole to appreciate it fully. The words are written in a way that reflects their sounds - a huge ROAR, a loud BELLOW. This is the story of an elephant who is separated from his herd during a storm ,and tries to find animals to fit in with. As he goes he learns about loyalty and finding true happiness. The rhyme and predictable text make these stories perfect for young readers.

Catch That Crocodile! by Anushka Ravishankar

One morning, Falguni the fruitseller finds a crocodile in a ditch. "Catch that crocodile!" shout the terrified townspeople. But who will do it? Indeed, can anyone do it? Meena has the answer - and it shows that simple ideas are often the best. All these books are beautifully produced with cover flaps, good quality thick shiny paper. I am amazed that such simple illustrations can depict the atmosphere so well and transport us to a different world.

One Two Tree! by Anushka Ravishankar

A deceptively simple counting book which is fascinating in that it introduces us to a number of animals - and then we see the strange consequences when they decide to move into the trees. It's a fun read which will entertain, educate and amuse as children explore the pictures in detail. The language is poetic and expressive and combines well with the tribal style pictures and simple use of colour.

Bob and Rob by Sue Pickford

Bob is a dog and he's really really good; the trouble is, his owner is Rob, who is really, really bad. But Bob is loyal and helps his owner with robberies, just like the other burglar's dogs. When Rob finds his haul is just children's toys he is disgusted, but Bob feels sorry for the children and returns the toys - and there's a very happy ending for Bob who finds a new family; the ending for Rob is not so happy... It's a hilarious story, told with a nice touch of humour and brightly illustrated.

And the Cars Go... by William Bee

A book which is a sheer delight to read aloud as all the different vehicle noises make a rhythm which races you through the book. The policeman is off on patrol 'Vroom vroom vroom' and he meets all sorts of vehicles during his busy exciting day. Children will love to join in with the sounds and I can see this being a book which will be requested over and over again. The unusual illustrations with their bold striking colours are full of quirky details both children and adults will enjoy - look closely and you will find all sorts of fun. I love the gulls hitching a ride with the groovy surfers! Unusual and engaging - a super book.

Me and My Daddy by various authors

Looking for a present for a very special daddy? Then look no further! This lovely collection, which comes complete with a "Best Dad in the World" card and lots of stickers is perfect for dads and children to share - each story is ideal for snuggling up and reading together to strengthen that very special bond. The books come in a box with a carry handle and are all illustrated with lovely pictures. The books are Before We Go To Bed - Sue Mongredien, My Daddy and Me - Tina Macnaughton, Oops-a-Daisy! - Claire Freedman and The Vsery Happy Hippo - Jonathan Shipton and each celebrates the love between child and father (grandfather in one case). A lovely collection and one to treasure.

Sorry Dad! by Maxine Lee

I loved Pi-Rat and so was delighted to see another super book by the same author. The cheeky cat isn't having a very good day - somehow he keeps getting into trouble as everything goes wrong and finally he ends on the naughty step. Can he find the right way to say 'sorry'? Well, he does try but it might not have been the very best way... but it's the thought that counts! A highly netertaining story with bright vivid illustrations to enjoy.

Daddy is my Hero by Dawn Richards

This tribute to dads everywhere is the ideal story for father and child to share at bedtime - and make plans for an exciting time the next day! A child plays dressing up with Dad, and together they go on some amazing adventures. As if by magic, Dad becomes a cowboy and a knight, fights pirates and flies a spaceship, all in the course of one special day together. The ryhming text speeds the reader through the book and on to the next excitement in this touching story about a very special relationship, which would make a lovely gift for a father.

The Mouse Who Ate the Moon by Peter Horacek

Eyecatching right from the cover with its cut-out moon - and throughout the book, clever die-cut holes encourage the reader to peep through and link one page to the next. Little Mouse loves to look at the moon - but when a little piece drops off, she can't resist a nibble... and another... and another until it's half gone! Poor Little MOuse thinks she has eaten the moon, but her firemds reassure her and sure enough, next night... THe illustrations are outstanding - vivid and warm with a wonderful colour palette. Brilliant!

Goodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown

This is a treasure trove of previously unpublished songs and lullabies (dating back many years but still fresh), accompanied by a CD so you will soon become familiar with these lovely and unusual songs. Each song is on a double page spread and is illustrated with artwork by a different artist and the varying styles set the songs off excellently. The performances on the CD are of high quality and I am pretty sure this book with the CD will become a firm bedtime favourite in many homes.

Made by Raffi by Craig Pomran

Raffi's a quiet boy who doesn’t really fit in at school, and he wonders why. One day, his teacher teaches him how to knit - with surprising and gently humorous results, even thoigh he is teased. And then Raffi has a wonderfu idea for the school play and that changes the way everyone perceives him. It's an excellent story, perceptive and thoughtful, about being confident with yourself, about not being swayed by others and doing what you think is right and handling opposition; family love is shown as vital too. It's good to be different!

Rex by Simon James

About a 100 million years ago there lived a terrifying tyrannosaurus - all the other dinosaurs were terrified of him. One night, while he is sleeping, an egg cracks open and out pops a teeny, tiny baby dinosaur who immediately thinks that the tyrannosaurus is his dad. Rex - for that is the name he is given - trots everywhere behind his 'dad' trying to learn to be as fierce and brave. But one day, he sets out on his own... A gentle and touching tale.

The Farm by Alain Grée

Where does food come from? We all know that children today often don't know where food comes from - here's a book to help explain it to them. The family are off to visit their auntie on a farm and here they learn about where much of our food comes from, including milk, bread and fruit. Simply explained, yet packed with information, the book traces the origin of common foods through colourful pictures and clear engaging text. There are questions to discuss, a matching challenge at the end and a colourful poster too. Alain Gree's illustrations are charming - clear and simple but with all the detail needed. Published by Button Books in May 2014, ISBN 9781908985187'

The Short Giraffe by Neil Flory

Little Geri tries really hard to be as tall as the other giraffes so that he doesn't spoil the photo. They try all sorts of ideas to raise him up - and then the tiny ctaerpillare has a brilliant idea - he looks at the problem from a totally different viewpoint. but is everyone looking at things from the wrong perspective? It's a charming book with its delicately coloured giraffes and very clever illustrations. Being different is not a problem!

Duck and the Darklings by Glenda Millard

This is an unusual and heart-warming story. Peterboy searches for something wonderful to make the light shine again in his Grandpapa's eyes. But he finds a wounded duck, and Grandpapa mends her from top to tail; quack, waddle and wing. In return she cosies his toes. But ducks live for the feel of wind in their wings, and the day comes when Peterboy must make a fine and fitting fare-thee-well for Idaduck. The children wear their candle-hats to light her way; Grandpapa plays oompapas on his curly brass tootle, and the Darklings' farewell goes all night, until the sun rises on the most wonderful day.

Tip the Triceratops: Dinosauritis by Jeannette Rowe

This is a super series for all young children who are fascinated by dinosaurs - and that's most of them! Tip's a Triceratops. He is built like a bulldozer with three horns on his head. The pictures are bright and bold with simple facts presented in a way that is easy for young children to understand - it's great to see fact books for this age group. Each book includes fun facts, jokes and games and the bold use of colour makes these books stand out. Try Bruce the Brachiosaurus: Dinosauritis and the rest of the series - they're great to collect.

Max the Brave by Ed Vere

People think Max is sweet... but Max doesn't want to be 'sweet'. He is fearless and brave and wants to chase mice - at least, he would if he knew what a mouse looked like! So bravely, he sets out to find out and meets many creatures on the way until finally... he decides that perhaps chasing mice isn't all it's cracked up to me! A picture book which really stands out with its bright coloured pages and simple stylish pictures which nonetheless are full of expression. Gentle touches of humour enliven text and pictures making this a very special book.

The Otter Who Loved to Hold Hands (Storytime) by Heidi and Daniel Howarth

Storytime is a series of lovely picture books from QED. They are designed to introduce young children to the pleasure of sharing stories and with their enjoyable storylines and beautiful artwork, all the books in the series are a great way to instill a love of books and reading. Otto's family snuggle up together holding hands at night - but the problem comes in the morning when Otto doesn't want to let go! Poor Otto is scared to be alone but it makes life hard for his parents! But one day Otto is given a beautiful pearl and sees another otter inside it. When he takes it, he realises that he has let go and is still sfae. A reassuring story perfect to instill confidence in shy children and help them overcome fears.

Little Bear and the Butterflies (Storytime) by Susan Quinn

A lovely imaginative story with a special ending... Little Bear asks Mummy Bear about her favourite childhood game - it was chasing butterflies in Bluebell Meadow. When Little Bear is napping, a butterfly lands on her nose and she is off on a very special adventure with lots of friends and fun. A gentle story about the power of dreaming, with wonderful illustrations that are a sheer delight. Each book in the series contains useful discussion points to stimulate parents and teachers to make the best use of these charming stories. They are perfect bedtime reading.

Once Tashi Met a Dragon by Barbara Fienberg

The stunning cover of this book with its sparkly golden dragon fulfilled its promise with its beautiful illustrations, delicate yet full of life. The dragon brings the rains, but one year, they didn't come. So brave Tashi rides on a tiger to the top of the mountain to find out why. When Tashi reaches the dragon's golden palace, he finds a lonely young dragon who can't wake his mother up. Tashi persuades the dragon to sing a special song... There's a special website to enjoy at all about this brave young boy who is the star of many books..

The Very Noisy House by Julie Rhodes illus by Korky Paul

Unusual from the start with its sideways pages and clever use of varying fonts, this is a book which really attracts the attention.The rickety old house can be very noisy. The old lady's walking stick sets off a train of nosiy events - the dog barks, the cat meows, the baby cries and even the little birds nesting in the roof start squawking... and each one makes the one below even more noisy. Finally, all is quiet, until... Perfect to share with young children who will relish the opportunity to join in with all the noises.

Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs - the Tyrannosaurus Rex (Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs 1) by E. T. Harper

This is the start of a perfect series for budding dinosaur fans. Dylan has an amazing treehouse - and in it is Grandpa's Magic Dinosaur Journal and Wings, the toy pterodactyl who flies Dylan off on his amazing adventures. This time, they need to find out how many teeth a T. Rex has. Could be tricky! Vividly illustrated, this is a super story with plenty of excitement. And when they have read it, children will love the fold-out T. Rex at the back of the book - this could be the start of their own adventures!

Milly and the Mermaids by Maudie Smith

On a visit to the seaside, Milly is desperate to meet a mermaid. She's sure that if she just wishes hard enough, her dream will come true. The underwater world of Maudie Smith's lovely tale is brought to life by Antonia Woodward's sumptuous artwork in this lyrical mermaid tale of fun and friendship, perfect for young readers. Publication date 3 July 2014.

Never Ask a Dinosaur to Dinner by Gareth Edwards

Hilarious! A truly daft story that will have your youngster settling down to sleep with a smile on their lips - and you reading this story over and over again! It makes dinner, bathtime and bedtime times to really enjoy (and we all know they can seem a bit of a chore at times). Imagine a dinosaur eating your dinner... a shark sharing your toothbrush... or a bison as a blanket. The repetition will appeal to children and their imaginations will soon be adding more 'don'ts'. The amusing illustrations are equally silly yet the whole is a reassuring and comforting bedtime read.

The Little Hen and the Great War by Jennifer Beck

A tender and gentle story for younger children which carries a vital message of hope. Amid the horrors of war, a young soldier finds a hen, skinny, scruffy, and starving. He tucks her into his jacket and takes her with him. The other soldiers laugh when they see him looking after her and sharing his meagre rations of food, but when the hen thrives and begins to lay eggs for them, they realise that perhaps survival and hope are possible after all. A beautiful story of unexpected friendship in the midst of fighting and devastation. The delicate illustrations do show the reality of life in the trenches, but the overwhelming message is that of comradeship. A book to share with children, so you can discuss and explain - but an important one and a message they shuld learn - there is always hope.

Found by Salina Yoon

This is a touching and tender story, perfect for bedtime reading with its tale of friendship. One day, Bear found a lost stuffed toy bunny in the forest and he begins to worry. The bunny must feel lonely and want to be returned safely to its owner and home. But as Bear diligently searches for the bunny's owner, posting notices high and low, he begins to grow attached to his new friend. What will happen when the bunny's owner finally comes forward? As I got towards the end of the story, I found myself wondering if there could be a happy ending for Bear - happily, there was and it was an ending that gives us all something to think about. The book uses few words - they are sparse but very effective, as are the simple yet informative illustrations.

Little Lou and the Woolly Mammoth by Paula Bowles

Like any inquisitive toddler, when Little Lou finds a wriggly, squiggly piece of wool amongst a pile of toys, she pulls it. But - what's this? The wool tugs back - there's something at the other end! And as Little Lou follows the wool, she realises that it's attached to... a great big hairy mammoth. But as the wool gets caught, he starts to get smaller... and smaller... and smaller. Finally, he's just right for what they both want - a friend to cuddle. I love the way the wool weaves and tangles its way through the book, drawing the reader along with it, through the gentle illustrations.

Stanley's Garage by William Bee

These hardback picture boks with their simple illustrations and text are the ideal follow-on to board books. The illustrations are quite simple yet very bright and appealing with some charming animal characters. In Stanley's Garage, he helps out his customers by fixing their cars, filling them with petrol and going out to rescue them. Don't miss the colourful pictures that are found just before the title page - they are full of tools to identify and talk about and then spot through the books. In Stanley the Farmer children can learn about the way wheat grows, from sowing to harvest. Look out for others in this lovely series.

Ant and Bee and Kind Dog by Angela Banner

It's fantastic to see that Egmont are re-releasing more of these wonderful books. So many parents and grandparents will have fond memories of them and will delight in sharing them with today's children. Kind Dog is determined to find out where the strange smell is coming from. But when he sets off with Ant and Bee, he can’t find the source of the smell anywhere! As we progress through the book, objects are introduced in alphabetical order and each time the word is repeated, it is shown in read. This is a lovely way to develop early reading skills and children soon learn to spot and call out the words. To me, these are really satisfying little books to hold, to read and to enjoy - and to collect.

I Can Do It! by Tracey Corderoy

Next time you are waiting for your toddler to carry out a task you could do in a fraction of the time or - dare I say it - are tempted to do it for them, take the time out to share and enjoy this charming story with your little one. Baby Bear is a lovely character who has already starred in two books and here he is again to delight young readers. He has tried really hard today and succeeded in doing up his rucksack... but now he wants to do everything for himself. Soon he learns that is is fine to accept help sometimes... Children will enjoy tracing their fingers ober the fluffy textures which draw them into the bright happy pictures as they enjoy this delightful - and true to life - story.

Triangle Ted and the Grand TV Dance Competition: Triangke Ted Books Number 1 by Alex Barr

This is the first in a new series of small format picture books written for children aged 6 to 10; personally I would put a slightly younger age range on the books. Each story is about a character with a geometrically shaped head, which causes problems. The stories tell how the characters overcome their problems. Ted wants to be an acrobat, but he can't balance on his head; he wants to be a sailor but his head is the wrong shape; so he decides to be a dancer - but can he find his perfect match? Humorous illustrations and catchy rhyming text make a fun read - and help children learn their shapes.

Jessica Vesica in the Land of the Wedge Women: Triangle Ted Books Number 2 by Alex Barr

Jessica Vesica is captured by Captain Crescent and sold into slavery in the Land of the Wedge Women. Poor Jessica finds her head being used to crush nuts so she knows she must find a way out and luckily along comes Patriarch Parallelogram to save the day. Also in this fun new series - Penny Pentagon and the Hat Hunt , Rectangle Rex and His Pompous Pride: Triangle Ted Books Number 4 and Lucy Lune and the Baby.

Nightbear by Rebecca Patterson

Nightbear tells his own story as he hopes to find his 'forever home'. From the factory to a home where he's not wanted, and then to the charity shop where he waits and waits...c Finally, someone buys him and takes him home. But there are already lots of bears there, all with very important jobs. Can Nightbear find a role? A delightful and heart-warming story about a very special teddy bear who finds a very special job.

Big, Bad Owl by Steve Smallman

A hilarious story from a masterful writer of comic picture books. There's nothing Scowl likes better than a great big GRUMP - he doesn't want to be cheered up. Whatever happens, it's not right for Scowl, and he won't be cheered up by any of his friends. But one day, he meets someone even grumpier... Children will love the lively and quirky illustrations in this story about learning to cope with moods and emotions. And adults will appreciate the humour too, making it fun to read aloud.

Nuts in Space by Elys Dolan

This book had me giggling as soon as I looked at the inside of the front cover with its hilarious illustration - and the fun continues throughout the book. The furry animals have found the Lost Nuts of Legend and they are on their way home with them. But everything goes wrong - they have no food, the Star Nav is broken and the neighbours are definitely to be avoided. Will they get the Nuts home safely? This is a book to relish over and over again - the story is told through a series of hilarious speech bubbles coupled with detailed illustrations that are crammed with humorous touches which will appeal to adult and child equally. Highly recommended.

Pip and Posy: Look and Say by Axel Scheffler

Pip and Posy are some of my grandchildren's favourite storybook characters - they love all the books so I can't wait to share this I-spy book with them. Pip and Posy are out and about in this lively book - join them in the park, at the shops, playing in the snow, and having fun at home. All the things toddlers enjoy are here with a strip running along the bottom of each page with pictures and names of things to spot. It's the perfect book to share as you snuggle up with your little one and enjoy these two friends and their familiar world.

Picnic by John Burningham

John Burningham's picture books are classics, with their simple texts and pictures which allow children's imaginations free rein as they picture themselves as part of the story. Boy and girl are off for a picnic and they invite friends to join them along the way - but not everyone is friendly! The reader is encouraged to participate in the story by spotting lost objects hidden in the pictures. It's a lovely story to share especially as a bedtime story as it ends with all the friends safely tucked up in bed.

My Name is Bob by James Bowen

If you have shared and enjoyed A Street Cat Named Bob and The World According to Bob, then you and your children will enjoy this picture book which tells the story of Bob's early days - and if this is your first meeting with Bob, you will want to seek out the other books. Stunning illustrations show Bob looking for someone to love him, and your heart will go out to him. Tender and emotional, I would share this bok with a child rather than giving it to them to read alone.

My Daddy's Going Away by Christopher MacGregor

 Written by Lieutenant Colonel Christopher MacGregor, this book is based on his own experiences of going away from home. on active service The personal experience makes this a comforting and reassuring story to help explain why parents sometimes have to go away. It shows ways to help children cope and can be used to promote discussion with children. It is published in support of Combat Stress and addresses an important issue, the significance of which should never be overlooked. The touches of humour add to an enjoyable read.

The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony

Wonderfully witty, this is the story of a very windy day - a wind that has the audacity to sweep the Queen's hat right off her head, out of her reach and that of all the Queen's men. Follow them on a windswept journey through all the iconic landmarks of London until it finally comes to rest in a very special place... It's cleverly done, with simple text and busy illustrations which are full of fun - just look who's driving the underground train! Deserves to be come a classic

Too Many Tickles! by Thomas Taylor

A fun-packed book which is a joyous celebration of a happy family life. There are tickles everywhere in this house from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. Young children will be bursting with laughter and raring to join in with the tickles in this funny, playful book with it's wonderful use of descriptive language. The illustrations by Penny Dann are equally full of life,joy and fun with lots for children to spot and talk about.

Animal Music by Julia Donaldson

Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt - one of the best-ever author/illustrator teams ever. All the animals have come together for a joyous celebration of music. "Turtles toot, hippos hoot" - the infectious rhymes flow through this brightly coloured book. Encourage children to join in and give you their very own show.

Eric, the Boy Who Lost His Gravity by Jenni Desmond

An intriguing title - and an unusual story which will appeal to older readers of picture books. All seems well as the children play together but then... everything goes wrong and Eric flies up into the air. It's fun to start with but then Eric finds himself far from home and finds he misses his sister after all. The children's emotions are interestingly depicted in sharp jagged lines - you can just imagine this is the way children themselves would express their emotions. An interesting exploration of the rivalry between siblings.

Bear and Hare Go Fishing by Emily Gravett

Two lovely new picture book characters star in this first book in a series about friendship. Bear and Hare are off on a fishing trip, with nets and rods at the ready. Bear loves fishing! but Hare is more interested in food. But after a long wait, the two adventurers catch more than they expect in this tale of fun, friendship and fishy goings-on. This simple but engaging story is perfect for sharing and the cut-out on the cover adds to the appeal. It's beautifully produced too, on thick creamy paper - a joy to handle.

The Tip-tap Dancing Cat by Joanna Boyle

This is the book for anyone who wonders what their cat gets up to when they're not around! Oscar has a secret...he loves to dance and he's a very good dancer. Cat can do all sorts of dances - he can dance the salsa and the samba, the Charleston and jive. A lively picture book to encourage readers to dance.

The Funny Fingers by Nikalas Catlow

The Funny Fingers family find fun in everything; their neighbours, the Terrible Toes, hate to hear the fun coming from the Funny Fingers' house and decide to put a stop to it - but whatever they try, the Funny Fingers find a huge joke. And even when Errol the Foot Monter turns up, it's fun to escape from him. It's a wonderfully happy book with vivid illustrations which bring the story alive. It's great fun to play along with the actions, encouraging children to respond to the story. Try reading it aloud to a grumpy child to cheer him or her up!

Barbapapa's Ark by Annette Tison

Barbapapa is adorable! He is a friendly creature who can change into any shape he wants and who likes nothing better that solving problems for his family. When the Barbapapa's find the animals are sick, they care for them and bring them back to health - they they find the animals need protection from hunters and the Barbapapa Refuge is the place for them. The solution is not so easy but finally, things work out. Delightful illustrations brings these lovely creatures to life for us. These are charming stories with a strong focus on family values and friendship - messages which are conveyed thoughtfully and positively.

I'll Take You To Mrs Cole! by Nigel Gray

Whenever the little boy is naughty, his mother threatens to take him to Mrs Cole. With his vivid imagination, he imagines all sorts of scary scenarios. And then, one day when he is fed up with his working mum leaving him with household chores to do, he decides to go and find out what Mrs Cole is really like - and gets quite a surprise! This is a book which will make an excellent classroom resource with its sensitive and thoughtful story about not judging on appearances. Michael Foreman's detailed illustrations are equally full of stimulating ideas to promote discussion.

Fred by Posy Simmonds

Fred was the family cat and, sadly, he has just died. But this is far from being a sad book - the children hear a lot of noise in the garden and when they go to investigate, they find that Fred (far from being the lazy cat they thought him) has a double life. He was a singer! All his friends have gathered to celebrate his life, and the children join in. This is a book which crosses the age ranges (although from the cover you would think it just a picture book). Told in distinctive cartoon style, it's a touching and perceptive story.

I Want a Boyfriend (A Little Princess Story) by Tony Ross

The Little Princess has been around for many years, but her appeal never wanes - she is always as fresh and lovable as ever, despite being VERY demanding. Now she has decided she wants a boyfriend so, as ever with our demanding young heroine, she must have her way! The kingdom is searched (in some very unexpected places!) for the perfect partner and finally Donald is proclaimed as the Royal Boyfriend. But is the Little Princess in for a disappointment? Are boyfriends as good as she expected? As comical as ever, this is great fun./td>

When Angus Met Alvin by Sue Pickford

Meet Angus is a gentle alien who loves growing things and Alvin, a brash alien from another planet. But gentle Angus shows his mettle when he decides to teach his visitor some manners after Alvin ruins his lovingly-tended garden. His trick has surprising consequences, hilariously depicted in fun-packed illustrations. When Alvin starts to be helpful, the trick gradually reverses.... perhaps they can be friends after all. A humorous story about friends and working things out together, with a surprise at the end.

A Song for Jamela by Niki Daly

This is the fifth book in Niki Daly's series about vivacious African girl Jamela - stories which show us that children all experience the same things, no matter where in the world they live. It's the long holidays and Jamela is bored. All she can think about is the Afro-Idols TV final - and she's amazed when Afro-Idols celebrity, Miss Bambi Chaka Chaka, turns up in the hair salon where Jamela is working. When things go wrong, can Jamela save the day? The author vividly recreates the African setting with its bright busy people in his detailed pictures.

First Words and Pictures: with Chimp and Zee by Laurence Anholt

Friendly chimps Chimp and Zee are here to help children with ealry learning concepts in this fun-packed book. Colours, counting, food, animals, vehicles and everyday activities are all here for children to spot and to talk about. What immediately struck me was the explosion of colour that is such a feature of the book - vivid backgrounds are eye-catching and appealing and set of the humorous illustrations perfectly. A super book to share with young children to stimulate their learning.
The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris The first thing that struck me about this book was the stunning illustration on the cover and the rest of the book lived up to this promise. It is the tale of a bear-child stolen away from his mother and looked after by a hunter and his wife. When he is seven, he gets lost following a trail and is found by the bears. His hunter-father follows and vows to kill those who stole his child. I won't spoil the story - you must read the ending for yourself. But remember, the world we have is a wondrous place and we must take care of it to the best of our ability. This is a beautifully written and illustrated story which draws us into the life of the bear-child and the dilemma he faces.

Off to the Park! from Child's Play, illus by Stephen Cheetham

I have seen so many mentions of this that I was really keen to see if it lived up to expectations - it exceeded them! An interactive tactile book which turns an everyday trip to the park into a multi-sensory adventure. Every child will love it, but it is particularly aimed at blind and partially sighted children who will be able to follow the adult reading of the story by tracing their way through the rough path, onto the bumpy access to the pedestrian crossing and on to adventures in the park - they can even practise tying shoelaces before setting off. The page numbers are both embossed and in Braille and children can follow the rough path right through the book.Brilliantly thought out, this book has so much to offer - its exuberant use of language is a particular delight.

Littleland: All Day Long by Marion Billet

Marion Billet's books are so stylish and cleverly appeal to both little ones and adults - for adults, there is plenty to enjoy and little ones will find something new with every visit. This story promotes discussion with its busy pages and questions to discuss as they enjoy the events of an action-packed day. Full of familiar scenes for toddlers to enjoy, there are things to spot on every page. The opportunities for discussion are almost endless - what did you have for breakfast? What noises do the farm animals make? Lovely!

Tilly's at Home Holiday (Child's Play Library) by Gillian Hibbs

How brilliant to see a book which covers this tricky topic - everyone else going off on an exciting holiday when you are just staying at home.... And that's just the situation Tilly is facing; all her friends are off on holiday and she just doesn't believe her mum can make a stay at home holiday anything special. How wroong can you be? The book show just how much enjoyment can be found close to home and Tilly's mum has a gift of making it thrilling. Share the vibrant detailed pictures with your children as you enjoy the story. I would love to see this book in any setting which has young children so everyone can share and find out what fun being at home can be - and many parents will find inspitation from Tilly's mum's bright ideas. After all, there's always the rest of the holidays to fill in even when you have been away...

The Acrobat (Child's Play Library) by Gabriel Alborozo

Just a few words accompany the lively and appealing pictures - even a non-reader could follow the story, so well do the pictures tell it. Overlooked in favour of other acts, the acrobat leaves the circus and seeks out new and appreciative audiences. Sadly, however hard he tries, the passers-by are just too busy to take any notice of him. And then - he decides to feed the birds, with amazing results.... I love the way the story unfolds, the unexpected ending and the very clever way it is pictured. A gentle and amusing story which has the reader really wanting the acrobat to get noticed.

The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton

As the day begins, Peep hears a beautiful song - but where is it coming from? He looks for the source of the sound and finds... the Dawn Chorus. He's invited along for an audition but i just doesn't work out for him. But as he starts to sing alone that evening, he hears another beautifu song... A delightfully whimsical tale which stands out for the charming illustrations and excellent production . . . And once you have shared this lovely book with your little one, take the time to go outside in the garden or to the park and just ... listen.

My Little Box of Springtime Stories from Little Tiger Press

If you are travelling around during the Easter holidays, this is the perfect box of stories for your young child to take along. Charmingly packaged in a springtime box with a bright glittery flap and a carry handle, there are five spring story books in the box. They are: Fred and the Little Egg and Rosie's Special Surprise by Julia Rawlinson, Babbity's Big Bad Mood by M Christina Butler, A Duck So Small by A H Benjamin and Dora's Chicks byJulie Sykes. They are attractive books with lovely shiny covers and colourful illustrations. A super collection with all the best bits of spring - chicks, eggs, ducks, rabbits - what more can a child ask? Perfect as a gift.

The Prince's Breakfast by Joanne Oppenheim

Barefoot Books manage to bring a multi-cutlural element to their books in a way that is completely natural; so often this can feel contrived but not here. Once again, we are taken on a journey of expolration of different cultures as the King and Queen, desperate to find a breakfast the Prince will eat, take him on an exciting tour of different countries in search of the perfect food... with a result that will be familiar to many parents!!! The bright illustrations really capture the spirit of the various conutries and the pay text has just enough repetition to capture childrens attention. There is an accompanying CD read by Hugh Bonneville. Perfect for fussy eaters everywhere.

Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon by Chris McKimmie

A thoughtful, honest and perceptive story about a child's love for her pet dogs with a positive ending when new loves enter her life. The scratchy moon is keeping the girl awake and she reflects on her loneliness through words and pictures - Chris' grandchildren had an input into the book which really shows the story from a child's perspective. Quirky and unusual, this is told and illustrated from the child's viewpoint and it is really poignant.

Grandma (Child's Play Library) by Jessica Shepherd

Sadly, this touching story reflects an experience which is becoming common for young children. This story is told in Oscar’s own words, about his much-loved Grandma; they have lots of fun together until the sad time when, unable to look after herself, she has to go into a care home. Gently, we learn about the changes in her life and how Oscar comes to terms with them and how much he can help Grandma. The factual page about dementia helps children express their feelings and find new ways to enjoy the changing relationship. Children will be encouraged to talk about the issue when they read this book and it's good to see it brought out into the open like this in such a positive and practical way.

The Great Googly Moogly (Child's Play Library) by Courtney Dicmas

I was immediately attracted by the cover with its bright simplicity - and the appeal continued inside. Stella is determined to do what nobody else has managed - catch The Great Googly Moogly – a giant and terrifying fish of legend. Off she goes every day, come rain or shine... will she succeed? And what will she do if she does? A strong character but very likeable - and a message for us all about taking care of the world around us.

Old Macdonald Had a Zoo (Lift the Flap) by Curtis Jobling

"Old MacDonald, has won the lottery so when he sees that the zoo is up for sale, what more natural than that he should buy iWith wellington boots, a jaunty flat cap and a spanking new muck-thrower topping his shopping list, lottery winner Old MacDonald has one million pounds burning a hole in his dungarees. He just needs to find the right things to spend it on... Find out what happens when Old MacDonald wins the lottery, sells his farm and buys a zoo. And what a zoo it is…with plenty of fun antics to discover by lifting all the flaps."

The Not-So-Perfect Penguin (Storytime) by Steve Smallman

Try as he might, Percy just can't be sensible like the rest of the penguins. Percy means well and he just wants to have fun but sometimes others suffer, unintentianally, as the result. But when Percy leaves, things just aren't the same without him - the penguins all miss him so off through the snow they waddle to find him. A lovely story about friendship, being true to yourself and getting on together. The illustrations are truly delightful. The book concludes with some practical suggestions about sharing it with your child.

Winnie's Pirate Adventure (Winnie the Witch) by Valerie Thomas

Witches and pirates - an almost irresistible combination! Winnie, however, is no longer a witch but a pirate and Wilbur the cat is a parrot; yes, it's a fancy dress party! When they arrive at the party in their fancy dress, Winnie and Wilbur discover a whole crew of children, ready for action. It's time to set off to find the treasure. But, as is alweays the eay with pirate stories, there arde plenty of swashbuckling adventures to enjoy on the way. As always, Winne=ie provides the young reader with a magical adventure to remember.

The Princess and the Presents by Caryl Hart

Princess Ruby really is an obnoxious child but luckily, as in all the best moral tales, she realises where she has gone wrong and is a reformed character by the end of this entertaining story.  The whole kingdom is preparing for Princess Ruby's birthday while she just gives an endless series of commands. The king tries to do his best, but it seems that Ruby has got just too many presents as the whole palace crumbles under the weight... and Ruby realises that just one thing is really important.... An amusing moral tale told in catchy rhyme and illustrated with great verve.

Itch Scritch Scratch (Red Squirrel Picture Books) by Eleanor Updale

Uh Oh The kids have got nits and the mummies are going mad with the nit-combs and some very strange remedies- but these nits don't care! With a rhyming text that trips off the tongue, this fun picture book has an easy-read font and is ideal for supporting parents and carers with dyslexia so they can share the joy of reading with their children; children will find the books easy to read themselves too due to the special features. You may not have heard of Red Squirrel Books before but you will have heard of Barrington Stoke and this new imprint comes under their umbrella. Find out more here.

All I Said Was by Michael Morpurgo

What better theme for a book designed to 'grow a love of reading' than a story which is a celebration of the wonderful power books have to take us wherever our imagination chooses. This story about a boy who becomes a bird has wonderful illustrations by Ross Collins that draw the reader into the heart of the story. Just as Barrington Stoke do with all their books, top authors feature so that everyone can enjoy the very best storytelling. This is a truly excellent innovative approach which addresses the issues of adults who want to share books with their children but struggle to do so.

Pig and Small by Alex Latimer

Oh dear, poor Pig has got a squeaky nose! Perhaps he has got some nasty disease - but then he spts a tiny, friendly bug on the end of his nose. The two try very hard to play together but it's hard when you are such differemt sizes. But with a little bit of thought, they find plenty they can enjoy together, and learn which games just won't work for them. It's a charming tale of friendship and overcoming differences, with a nice twist at the end.

Muddypaws' New Friends by Steve Smallman

Ah, just look at the gorgeous cute ouppies on the cover! Normally, Muddypaws has to stay at home when Ben goes to school but one day, they are off to school together - puppy school. Muddypaws makes two new friends and the lesson is great fun, even if they can't quite get the hang of the commands. It's a delightful story about friendship - between dogs and between a dog and his young owner. Simon Mendez' illustrations are simply lovely and convey a lovely warm feeling which is perfect for the theme of the book.

Hold That Thought, Milton! by Linda Ravin Lodding

Milton has lots of questions but, as so often happens, the adults are too busy to answer them just then as they have a wedding to prepare for, so they tell Milton to 'hold that thought'. But when his pet frog goes missing Milton just can't hold his thoughts in any more - with quite amazing consequences! A hilarious cautionary tale to which all parents should pay heed in case of disaster!

I Love You, Alfie Cub by Angela McAllister

Little fox cub called Alfie has new twin sisters. Alfie wants them to grow quickly so he can play with them but they are not growing very fast and they are taking up all mum's time; Alfie thinks she doesn't love him any more so off goes Alfie in search of some more love. It takes a wise frog to give him the answer in this lovely story about siblings. The thoughtful and reassuring story with its charming illustrations is ideal to sgare with older siblings to encourage them to voice their thoughts and concerns. Children always warm to friendly animals so they are a great way to encourage them to open up about their feelings.

Flood (Capstone Young Readers) by Alvaro F Villa

This stunningly illustrated book will resonate with many people in the UK at the moment. It follows the course of a flood and the desperate attempts of a family to keep their home safe. They have to leave their home and we see the devastating consequences of the flood. This wordless book ends on a really positive note though which will lift the spirits.

Little Answer by Tim Hopgood

"Little Answer was lost. He was the answer to something but he didn't know what." So when snail tries to help him, they get everyone to ask a question - but Little Answer keeps answering 'sausages' and that just isn't the right answer. But finally, he does answer a question correctly... Perfect for parents to share with children who are always asking questions.

100 Bears by Magali Bardos

Lots of bears - but not  onlybears. This unusual counting book has all sorts of unexpected things to count. The young reader is enticed to follow a group of adventurous bears through all sorts of adventures, all cleverly interwoven. There are plenty of challenges on the way as children enjoy the story and practise their counting skills. It's clever and witty and grown-ups will appreciate the subtlety of it. THe physical book is something special with a return to good old-fashioned values.

Barbapapa's New House by Annette Tison

Barbapapa is a gentle friendly creature who can change his shape in to anything he wants, as can all his equally lovable family. This the story of how the Barbapapa family create a new home for themselves - and then another, even more perfect. But when that too is threatened, they come up with a gentle solution that harms nobody. They are lovely creatures, full of fun and life and love for each other.

Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland

Who can resist the catchy rhyming text that gallops through this book? Dinosaurs of all shapes and sixes are here to help children learn about opposites as they meet the most colourful range of dinosaurs ever. It's perfect to read aloud - but only if you share the vibrant pictures at the same time. The simple text just trips off the tongue - 'Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak, dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek...' An exuberant book that will have pre-schoolers clamouring for you to read over and over again Also available in paperback - Dinosaur Roar! PB. Watch out for the launch of the groundbreaking, interactive Dinosaur Roar! website whuch will feature stunning CGI dinosaurs and the latest dinosaur facts and research from the world's leading experts at the Natural History Museum.

Don't Call Me Sweet by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Whatever you do, don't call this little monster 'sweet'. He may look cute, but just look at his scary teeth, yellow eyes, sharp claws and horns. That's why he tells everyone he meets to cll him scary. He is not scared of ANYTHING... until he meets the ogre and then he changes his tune. Angie Rozelaar's infectiously amusing illustrations are perfect and you can't help but love this (sweet) little monster.

How Tom Beat Captain Najork and His Hired Sportsmen (Captain Najork 1) by Russell Hoban

Some picture book pairings are inspired and Quentin Blake/Russell Hoban definitely fall into that category. Tom likes to fool around - so much that his maiden aunt, Miss Fidget Wonkham-Strong, threatens to send for Captain Najork and his hired sportsmen to teach Tom a lesson. But even that doesn't stop Tom's foolery (did you notice that too?) so along comes Captain Najork. He challenges Tom to womble, muck and speedball but Tom turns the tables in this endlessly imaginative quirky story with its amazing use of vocabulary.

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Four friends out for a walk decide they must have the beautiful bird perched high in a tree. They have a plan... Throuble is, their plans don't quite work and each time they land up in a tangled heap as the bird flies off. But look more closely and you will see that the littlest one doesn't join in - he has a much better idea. Even then, things don't quite go according to plan in this almost wordless picture book which relies heavily on the clever picture to relate the story.

I'm the Happiest (Storytime) by Anna Shuttlewood

Racoon opens his arms wide on the cover of this book to welcome you in. The animals are all highly competitive - "I'm the spikiest... the tallest... the fastest... the happiest!" Each thinks he is the best and only the Racoon is happy for them all. But differences are important so can the animals learn to celebrate their differences and live together happily? The charming illustrations provide plenty of talking points and the book concludes with an excellent 'next steps' page which is full of ideas to help adults gain the most benefit from the book. Very useful in the Early Years classroom.

Squirrel's Busy Day (Storytime) by Lucy Barnard

Squirrel's busily collecting acorns and hasn't got time to play with his friends. So when he needs help, will his friends be too busy? This beautifully illustrated book teaches children the true meaning of friendship and the importance of never being too busy for our friends. QED's storytime books are written to introduce young children to the joys of reading and each one carries an important message which parents and teachers can reinforce by using the useful 'next steps' page.

Aunt Amelia by Rebecca Cobb

Among the plethora of picture book authors, Rebecca Cobb stands out for her perception and understanding of young children and what appeals to them. Aunt Amelia has come to stay and the children aren't happy... Mum and Dad have left a list of instructions and we see just how Aunt Amelia interprets them as we follow the lively illustrations which tell the story of the list. Even children who can't read can join in the fun of the story as they enjoy the illustrations... and they will all love the element of naughtiness in the story. Will the chidren want Aunt Amelia to stay again? You bet!

Princesses Are Not Just Pretty by Kate Lum

Three very different princesses - Allie, Mellie and Libby but with one thing in common; each thinks she is the prettiest.They need to settle the argument and a beauty contest is the only way of course! But things don't go quite to plan ba=ecause other things were more important... This hilarious story shows how the princesses came to realise that there is more to life than just being pretty. A refreshing change from the archetypal princess story.

Sparkly Shoes and Picnic Parties (Amelie & Nanette) by Sophie Tilley

The author of the popular Princess Evie's Ponies brings us a charming series about fun and friendship, just right for little girls. Amelie and Nanette are best friends and they love to do everything together. So when Nanette had new shoes and Amelie a new dress, they decide to have a party. Things are going well until Amelie's very naughty dog Filou decides to join the party - with terrible consequences! But friends and mothers are always there for each other so this charming story ends happily. The book has a delightful traditional feel, with its delicately coloured drawings and heavy creamy paper. There's a special treat too - notelets and envelopes so girls can write to their own special friends.

Tell Us a Story, Papa Chagall by Laurence Anholt

In this captivating account, Chagall's life story is told to his grandchildren through his paintings. From his childhood and marriage, through Nazi persecuaion, to life in America and eventual recognition, this is an interesting account which helps us understand the painter and his work. This is the tenth in this exceptional series which introduces children to great art through stories of real children who knew the artist. The enjoyable narrative and friendly approach makes art and artists really accessible and is a great way to enthuse children.

Zeraffa Giraffa by Dianne Hofmeyr

Imagine the wonder of the people in France in 1826 - we are well accustomed to films and photos of exotic creatures but in the world of that time, a giraffe must have been an amazing sight. Zeraffa was sent as a gift by the Ottoman Viceroy of Egypt to King Charles X of France in 1826. We read of her amazing journey in the care of young Atir, down the Nile, across the sea and through the French countryside to Paris. The King builds her a special house in the Jardin des Plantes where Atir whispers stories to Zeraffa of a hot land far away, and the feel of Africa comes to Paris. The stunning illustrations by Jane Ray are full of the most amazing and atmospheric detail and capture the feel of each stage of the journey. A wonderful book.

Boom Baby Boom Boom by Margaret Mahy

Baby's not hungry - but the animals are! Mama tells Baby that she’s made a lovely lunch for her and all the animals are listening at the window. While Mama bangs on her drums, oblivious to what is going on, the animals creep in and eat up all baby's lunch. Baby gets a banana for pudding and, this time, he eats it all up. The drum rhythm of boom-biddy-boom-biddy-yum-yum-yum which flows through the book makes a great read-aloud-and-join-in story.

Seb and Hamish by Jude Daly

When Seb goes to visit Mrs Kenny with Mama, he is scared by Hamish the dog. Hamish is safely shut away and Seb starts playing... and forgets about Hamish. Until he searches under the door and finds two bright eyes. When Mama goes to look for Seb, giess what she finds? A charming story about overcoming fear, sensitively written with great understanding and perfect for sharing.

Ahmed and the Feather Girl by Jane Ray

Jane Ray's distinctive illustrative style brings a wonderful expressive detail to the story of Ahmed and his egg - an egg which hatches into a little girl, Aurelia, with soft feathers that grow into wings. Ahmed knows he must free Aurelia from the cage in which cruel Madame Saleem has imprisoned her. The consequence is that Ahmed is even more cruelly treated - until a feather from Aurelia brings hope. A magical story with a real message of hope and escape. This beautifully illustrated book is touching and thoughtful.

Eddie's Kitchen: and How to Make Good Things to Eat by Sarah Garland

This delightful story features warm-hearted family life, with mum and children cooking together... or at least, mum is trying to cook but there are so many interruptions... Luckily, Eddie and Lily are on hand to help out and finally, Grandad's birthday tea is all ready. It's a lovely way to encourage families to enjoy cooking together and there are several simple but healthy recipes included at the end to encourage this.

The Wonderful Egg Dahlov Ipcar

Back in a very different world, a world apparently inhabited only by dinosaurs, there was a wonderful egg. Whose could it be? The book takes the reader on a journey of discovery meeting 15 dinosaurs - so was it a dinosaur egg? A charming way to learn about dinosaurs through a timeless narrative. Flying Eye books are very distinctive with their old-fashioned values and traditional feel. Although I enjoy this difference, I wonder whether today's children, used to shiny and appealing presentation, will appreciate them in the same way.

I Like Animals by Dahlov Ipcar

Another reissued story to charm young readers - children have always liked animals and the lively illsutrations show them in a different light with all sorts of different creatures depicted. The mainly monotone illustrations rely on shape and form to convey their message and are refreshing in their simplicity.

Really and Truly: A story about dementia by Emile Rivard

Sadly, many children's lives are affected by dementia and it's for children to understand, when they see a loved one who cannot remember and who acts unusually, so tackling this situation through the means of a story is a good way to help understanding. The story explores the relationship between Charlie and his grandfather who has developed Alzheimer's and dementia. Now Grandpa can no longer tell his stories, Charlie has the idea of telling them back to him - and occasionally there is a smile. This book doesn't give you lots of background information about Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia or offer any hope that Grandpa will get better but it gives a child whose grandparent suffers from dementia a way into discussing the changes that are taking place and how they might deal with these. It's good to see this sensitive topic handled thoughtfully and helpfully, in a way that will open the channels of communication.

Me and My Mummy from Little Tiger Press

Any dads looking for a perfect Mother's Day present from young ones to mum need look no further! This super pack (which comes in a cute box with cut-out window and a handle) contains four picture books all of which celebrate the special relationship between mums and their little ones. There is also a sheet of special stickers and a 'Best Mum in the World' card. The books are: The Most Precious Thing by Gill Lewis; Little Bear's Special Wish by Gillian Lobel; My Mummy and Me by Tina Macnaughton; and Big Bear, Little Bear by David Bedford. These books are all beautifully illustrated and are perfect for sharing and cuddling up together.

I Want My Mummy! by Tracey Corderoy

The first time a child spends time away from mum can be a scary experience and Arthur is no exception when he is told he is going to Granny's house for the day. It's the first time he has spent a whole day away from Mummy. Granny has lots of ways of amusing Arthur but the trouble is, the doorbell keeps ringing... finally, it's Mummy and they have a joyful reunion. Told with real empathy, this is a lovely book to discuss with your child with its reassuring message that addresses the concerns common to children. Arthur is a lovable and friendly little character and children will love him. Alison Edgson's warm and friendly illustrations are perfect.

Toot Goes to Dinosaurland by Catherine and Laurence Anholt

The satnav in Toot's car is very special - he just presses the button and off he goes in his little car for am adventure. He chooses to go to Dinosaurland. Here he meets dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes ... luckily he doesn't find a really big one - or does he? Oops! It's time to press another button... An enjoyable story that will have especial appeal for boys. Maybe they can't have a magic satnav but this book will stimulate the imagination. I like the fact that, not only is this book a hardback, but it has a comfortable padded cover which makes it a real pleasure to hold.

Hermelin: The Detective Mouse by Mini Grey

Offley Street is a street a-buzz with activity - it's also a street where lots of things go missing. And that's where Hermelin comes in. A little detective work, a few typed notes and everything is restored to its rightful owner - he even rescues the baby. Everyone is very grateful and they arrange a party for the mystery detective - but when they find out he is a mouse, it all goes horribly wrong for Hermelin. Luckily, help is on hand. The pictures are full of detail and repay very close attention. This is an utterly delightful book, packed with quirky text and illustrations and really unusual. I love it and I hope others do too.

Hugo the Hare's Rainy Day by Jez Alborough

Hugo the Hare hates getting wet so he makes sure his umbrella is with him. But he's a friendly little hare and doesn't like to see Billy the Goat getting wet - but have you ever tried to share an umbrella? Billy has a clever idea and all is well until the friends spy Nat the Cat and then... disaster! Or is it... A fun story of friendship, sharing and having fun, all told in catchy rhyming text with lots of sounds to encourage children to join in. There's a song to enjoy at the end too.

Billy the Goat's Big Breakfast by Jez Alborough

And another thoroughly enjoyable book with Nat the Cat who we met in the previous story. Nat's invited his friends to breakfast but Billy the Goat turns up rather too early and he just can't wait to start eating - with hilarious and embarrassing consequences. He can't keep it from Nat so he has to confess - but all is well as the resourceful cat puts things right. I love the way the story flows with the catchy verse and children will enjoy singing along with the song at the end.

Woolly and Tig: I Love Mummy by Brian Jameson

A colourful celebration of all the things mummies do to make their children feel loved. But sometimes, mummies have other things to do so wise Woolly shows Tig just how she can help mummy when she is busy. The colour photos make a refreshing change for a picture bok and children will respond well to these as well as enjoying the fun a little girl has with her toy spider. Featuring an exclusive downloadable Woolly song recorded just for Mummy, plus a page of bright reward stickers, this is the perfect story for sharing and reading together. and for helping children understand that sometimes other people, much as they love them, need time for other things

Woolly and Tig: Woolly at Nursery by Brian Jameson

Woolly and Tig love nursery but when a little boy accidentally bumps into Tig, her tummy feels funny and she wants to go home. This is a familiar scenario with young children - everything can seem fine until something goes wrong. Luckily, Woolly is on hand to help Tig share her worry with the teacher. Each book in the series features suggestions for adults about ways of using the story to help their child talk about new experiences. They are well thought out nad provide a good opportunity to discuss concerns. These books are so well produced with excellent photographs shown off to their very best by the high quality glossy paper.

Mummy's Little Sunflowers by Angela McAllister

Scurry is excited - he has a special sunflower seed he is going to grow just for Mummy... but, oh dear, Scamp has eaten it. Poor Scurry - and poor Scamp too. Scamp tries to help his big brother find a sunflower so they can collect the seeds. Trouble is, sunflowers are VERY tall so they need some help from a friendly cow. And the two brothers are very impatient... but they come up with the perfect answer and Mummy is thrilled. A gentle and touching story about siblings working together and having fun together even when things seem to go wrong. Alison Edgson's bold bright illustrations are always a delight.

Snowy by Berlie Doherty

Rachel lives somewhere very special - on a narrowboat. And the most special thing about the narrowboat is the horse, Snowy, who pulls the boat along. But when it's time to take pets into school, Rachel can't take Snowy. She is very upset and the other children tease her - until her teacher and her parents arrange a wonderful surprise for all the children. The impressionistic illustrations are a real treat, bringing life and atmosphere to a gentle and perceptive story.

The All-Together Painting (Old Bear) by Jane Hissey

 What a treat! A reissue of this classic and wonderful Jane Hissey book. Old Bear has done a painting and all the other toys want to join in ... but things don't work out quite as they expect and they are a bit disappointed. But resourceful Old Bear has the perfect answer and the paintings are turned into a masterpiece! All the characters are superb and the illustrations help us get to know them even better. A warm, gentle and reassuring story about friendship.

Little Bear Lost (Old Bear) by Jane Hissey

The toys are playing hide and seek - after a couple of amusing false starts! But the game is neatly over and Little Bear is nowhere to be seen - where can he be? Happily, he is found and all is well. The charming illustrations are pure delight, with the same gentle feel as the story. I love Old Bear - he is such an appealing and yet practical character. Nothing fazes him - he can help his friends out whatever happens. The gentle humour and strong overtones of friendship make these stories enduring classics, to be read and enjoyed over and over again.

Something Different by Jill Lewis

It's Star Gazing Night and the Little Somethings are at the Star Gazing Stones. They see a diamond star, a sapphire star - and mark them off on their cards. Except for Bob, that is... Then something comes towards then and they huddle together in fear... except for Bob, that is. In fact, when they look closer at Something Different, he isn't THAT different after all. And when he wants to get home, Bob has the answer. There's a fun bingo card at the end so children can do their own spotting. A fun way to help children understand that we are all different and to help them accept that. The Little Somethings are bright and engaging - meet them all at the end of the book.

Captain Beastlie's Pirate Party by Lucy Coats

Captain Beastlie is dirty but his ship is spotless. He's counting down the days until his birthday - but his crew have quite a surprise in store for him! Children will revel in the detailed illustrations that show just how revolting Captain Beastlie is - they are packed with gruesome detail. A rollicking story and a quite gloriously disgusting book that children (especially boys) will adore!

Dinosaur Rescue! by Penny Dale

The dinosaurs' truck is stuck at the level crossing and the dinosaur train is coming down the line... It's tome to call dinosaur rescue - the ambulance, fire service and police, even the helicopter. Will they get there on time? I love the way the whole story races along echoing the urgency of the mission. All the dinosaurs join together for a very satisfying ending. I particularly enjoyed the pictures - they completely fill the pages and to me had a gently nostalgic feel whilst being lively and full of action.

My Mummy is Magic by Dawn Richards

A perfect Mother's Day gift - or a gift for any time of year, this is a delightful celebration of all the things mothers do day after day and is an excellent way to remind children (and dads!) of just what mothers do. Mothers do all sorts of magic things and are always there to make their children feel better, to care for them, cook for them, read them stories and much more. A lovely story to snuggle up with and share.+

Do Dare Duck by Joyce Dunbar

I love the cover illustration - it immediately drew me to the book and the glorious depictions of animals continued through the story. What does the duck dare do? Meet some gorgeous creatures along with Duck and find out what they do in the wonderful language that flows through the book. We find out just what the duck does... and all the other creatures too. Lovely!

Miffy at the Zoo by Dick Bruna

Dick Bruna's simple iconic images have wowed generations of children and their appeal never wanes. Perfect for young eyes, the bright colours and simple images are easy for children to relate to. Share Miffy's wonder as she visits the zoo with dad and meets all the animals. The gentle story lines encourage the imagination and stimulate children to express themselves. The rhyming text is ideal to read aloud and the chunky feel of these lovely hardbacks makes them lovely to collect and pass on through the generations. So simple but sheer joy. "Award-winning UK poet, Tony Mitton, has worked closely with Dick Bruna's Dutch publisher to create new translations for the classic Miffy stories that are true to the books' original voice, and yet have a contemporary feel to the language that makes them appealing to the modern young audience. The translations beautifully convey the warmth and friendliness of the original Dutch whilst maintaining a style that is inimitably Miffy."

Miffy's Play Date by Dick Bruna

Miffy's invited her friend Grunty on a play date. Just like children everywhere, they learn to take turns, share and cooperate with each other. Bright simple illustrations are eye-catching and offer opportunity for discussion. There are over 30 stickers to decorate the illustrations in this charming sticker storybook - a fun way to encourage fine motor skills. This is a sticker book, yes, but if done with care it will also be treasured as a lasting story book with a personal touch. It is one of a series of activity books produced by Simon and Schuster which are totally true to the original concept and which enhance its interest.



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