Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 6)

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.

Alphasaurs and Other Prehistoric Types by Sharon Werner and Sarah Forss

A clever book, this! Like the creatures so artfully rendered in the best-selling Alphabeasties, the dinosaurs in this stylish book are ingeniously engineered out of letters. A different typeface creates each animal. Factual information about each dinosaur appears in multiple entries and fonts, making for an eye-catching and witty way to look at the ABC-DINOs.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

This classic about a mischevious boy sent to bed with no supper and who has the most exciting adventure, has to be one of the most imaginative children's books ever. It never dates and bears re-reading time and again as there's always something fresh to discover. Take time out to discuss the pictures with your child, as they are full of fascinating details. The text is fairly minimal but every word counts. Make sure your child doesn't miss the very last page with its twist that refers back to the start of the story./td>

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

I have always loved Shirley Hughes' books, with her captivating illustrations of tousle-haired children. Her situations are so true to life and this is the story of Dave who is desolated by the loss of his favourite toy, Dogger. But then Dogger turns up at the school summer fair, and everything seems all right until - oh no - someone else buys him before Dave can get the money! It's a lovely reassuring story which has been delighting children for over 30 years and is a well deserved Kate Greenaway medal winner. A book to cherish and pass down the generations, with its timelass appeal and description of a common, but heart-rending, situation.

Eric! by Christopher Wormell

Eric is a little boy who sometimes gets things wrong, just as we all do. Eric learns that while you can't be good at everything, sometimes it takes a little time to find out what you are good at. When a huge monster stomps down the mountain to Eric's village, Eric gets his chance to shine when he finds that the monster also feels he is not good at anything... It's a lovely story to build confidence in children who doubt their own ability. Endearing illustrations convey the emotions wonderfully in this delightful story.

Mrs Pepperpot Minds the Baby by Alf Proysen

The problem with Mrs Pepperpot is that she shrinks - and that makes life quite a problem - especially as she doesn't know when she is going to shrink! So when she's asked to look after baby Roger from next door, how can she look after him when she's as little as a pepperpot. Baby Roger thinks she's a doll and jiggles and joggles her and throws her high in the air. Will Mrs Pepperpot be able to keep the baby out of mischief until his mother comes to get him. . . ? Hilda Offen's bright pictures capture the dilemma perfectly. It's such a fun story and a lovely way to encourage children's imaginations - talk to them about what would happen if they (or you) were to shrink - it'll lead to some great conversations!

Churchill's Tale of Tails by Anca Sandu

Churchill is a pig with a very special tail, bu one day it goes missing... All his friends rally round and he tries on an astonishing range of tails - a range that will have children giggling aloud. But in his excitement over the tails, Churchill forgets what really matters most to him - his friends. Can Churchill learn to value his friendships and solve the mystery of his missing tail? This is a charming story about friendship with a very likeable hero - despite his faults, you want things to turn out right for him. The illustrations are full of fun, humour and quirky detail, so make the most of them.

Scruffy Bear and the Lost Ball by Chris Wormell

What do you do when you see a ball? Kick it, of course - and that's just what Scruffy Bear did when a bright red ball came towards him. But, oh dear, its owners aren't very pleased when it lands up in a tree. But all is well, because plucky Scruffy Bear can climb trees... or can he? Perhaps not, when they are very high and are home to all manner of cross creatures. You will warm to this indomitable little bear, who refuses to give up and the book ends with him making lots of new friends.

Hop Aboard! Here We Go! by Richard Scarry 

Richard Scarry's books are packed with fascinating detail, which will enthrall young children for hours. There is so much for them to spot and talk about! Hop Aboard! Here We Go!features vehicles of all shapes and sizes - some familiar, some less so. By land, by sea and by air children will travel, finding out about many differing forms of transport, big and small, old and new, slow and fast. And, of course, all his well-loved characters are here for the ride. Each form of transport has its own text, so there's lots to discuss and learn, and things to think about. Sterling Children's Books ISBN 978 1 4027 7222 1

The Dinosaur Digger (Jack's Mega Machines) by Alison Ritchie

Jack is a very special mechanic. When he drives through his workshop's magic doors he has wonderfuladventures. There's a digger in the workshop today but when Jack takes it for a test drive he is transported into a land of dangerous dinosaurs. Will Jack be able to escape the terrible T-Rex in his dinosaur digger? This is an excellent series for young boys, with the added bonus of a removable vehicle featuring the 'star' of each book, making the series highly collectable. Playing with the vehicle alongside reading the story is a lovely way to encourage the imagination - and having a whole set will be even better! Dinosaurs and big machines in a colourful action-packed story - a perfect combination to encourage reading!

No-Bot The Robot With No Bottom by Sue Hendra

This is very funny and guarantees lots of giggles - from children and adults! Bernard the Robot loses his bottom on the park swing, and the story follows his efforts to find it - but every time, he is just a bit too late and someone else is using it. Children will love the multitude of hilarious uses to which Bernard's bottom is put -  from a nest, to part of a drum kit, and even a boat.. When Bernard and bottom are finally reunited, he vows never to lose it again but, oh dear.... Great fun.

The Princess and the Peas and Carrots by Harriet Ziefert

Many of us know a child (or even an adult!) who is obsessed with having things 'just so'. This is a lovely story about one such child. One day, she goes just that bit too far and is sent to her room in disgrace. But, just like a true fairytale, it all turns outt right in the end and as a reward, her father reads her the story of the Princess and the Pea - which you can read in a beautiful fold out section within the book. And yet, Rosebud still cannot get to sleep herself, until they discover a tiny marble in her bed, thus confirming that she too must be a real princess after all. I love the clever way the classic tale interweaves with a modern tale. Travis Foster's illustrations are wonderful and complement this delightful story very well.

Who's Looking At You by Stephanie Frattini

A ,lovely brightly coloured lift-the-flap book which will have great appeal for young children and will encourage an early love for books. Little ones always enjoy lifting the flaps and seeing a surprise underneath and it's amazing how long a book like this will capture their attention. It's a super way for children to learn about wildlife, as they guess what lies under the flap - and get some surprises! Each page features animal facts too. 

Man Gave Names to All the Animals by Bob Dylan illustrated by Jim Arnosky

This is a wonderful book to tie in with the song and a lovely concept to produce such a beautiful picture book to accompany, illustrate and enhance the song. And how lovely to introduce the lyrical music of Bob Dylan to a young audience. Man Gave Names to All the Animals first appeared on Bob Dylan's album Slow Train Coming in 1979 and now Jim Arnosky gives us a vibrant storybook packed with a zoo full of animals in bright colours, and the book includes a CD of Dylan's original recording. There's a surprise ending, when children can use their imaginations to name an animal for themselves.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella by Abie Longstaff

An unusual and enjoyable take on the traditional story. The Queen of Hearts is holding a ball to find the perfect girl for her perfect prince - and only one girl in the land isn't invited. But famous hairdresser Kittie Lacey is this Cinderella's Fairy Godmother in this lovely story. The delightful illustrations repay close attention - they are full of quirky touches of humour which will appeal to adults as well as children - there's something new every time you look!

Old Bear by Jane Hissey

Poor Old Bear has been banished to the attic - but the other toys are determined to bring him down, with entertaining results. A beautifully-illustrated classic picture book from popular author-illustrator Jane Hissey tells the familiar and much-loved story of how a  teddy bear is lost and finally found again by his loyal friends. Bramwell Brown and his friends Little Bear, Duck and Rabbit attempt to rescue Old Bear from the attic using a number of ingenious methods. This is a beautiful limited collector's edition iwhich ncludes scrapbook pages of bonus material. This really is a very special book for children to share and treasure - and definitely one to keep.

Do Cows Meow? by Selina Yoon

Do cows sing? Do cows coo? All I know is cows go MOO! Simple, rhythmic and lots of fun, this big, brightly illustrated board book will have kids happily imitating all kinds of animal talk. For each creature, there are a series of unlikely sounds suggested and then a giant mouth flap lifts up to reveal the right animal sound. Children will love to lift the flaps and make the sound. And, at the end, children can open two barnyard gates to see and say all the animal sounds again. A super way to engage children with books.

The Octonauts Explore the Great Big Ocean by Meomi

A brand new classic picture book in an exciting new format featuring the global sensations, The Octonauts by Meomi. With glow in the dark ink, a surprise page to fold out - and lots of exciting detail - this is the ultimate gift book for Octonauts-crazy children! The Octonauts are a crew of cute animals who love to explore the big blue ocean. From their underwater base, the Octopod, the eight intrepid friends are always ready for fun and excitement! The Octonauts are researching underwater habitats around the world, when Tunip the Vegimal starts to wonder where he comes from. So begins another underwater adventure full of fun and surprises as the Octonauts take Tunip and his Vegimal friends on an exciting trip around the world, on a quest for his true home.Not just a picture book - there are plenty of marine facts to be learnt. With wonderfully detailed illustrations, this is true to the feel of the original books.

Are You My Friend Today? by Gyo Fujikawa

This is a delightful celebration of friendship which would make a lovely gift from one child to another. Not only friendship is celebrated, but all the innocent pleasures of childhood are here from pet parades and imaginary zoos to backyard picnics, summer swims and running barefoot through the grass. The pictures are full of life and there is masses here for child and adult to discuss together - there are monsters, school, the zoo, the post and even a mystery. A wonderfully varied book for hours of fun.

The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring

I love the two little penguins hand in hand on the cover! The world is filled with shapes. A bird, a car, the stars in the sky - what shapes can you see? Children will love spotting familiar shapes on every page. With a warm story and bright illustrations, this is the perfect book to share with any child. The illustrations are bright and clear and will immediately appeal to small children.

Flying to Neverland With Peter Pan by Betty Comden

Peter Pan's appeal has endured for over a century, helped by fresh versions on stage and screen, as well as in print, which ensure every generation has fond memories of the story. One example is the highly acclaimed Broadway musical with its wonderful lyrics. As this story opens, peter Pan returns (with Tinkerbell) to the Darling's home, in search of his shadow and concludes with a magical flying adventure. This book combines the lyrics of 'I'm flying' and 'Never Never Land' with story and pictures to produce an enhanting book. The delicate watercolour illustrations hold just the right amount of magic and mystery and the soft colouring reflects my early memories of the book. A book to treasure.

The Princess and the Peas by Caryl Hart

Lily-Rose May is perfect - well, almost perfect. She won't eat her peas, whatever Dad does to persuade her.  So he calls the doctor, who diagnoses a severe case of Princess-itis which can only be cured by living at the palace. Then we have a story within the story... Life looks set to be good at the palace - but it's not as good as it seems, so maybe Lily-Rose May is better off at home. A beautifully told cautionary tale that will be welcomed by parents of fussy daughters! Sarah Warburton's lively pictures are really entertaining and full of detail.
This is one in an outstanding new initiative from Nosy Crow - Nosy Crow Stories Aloud. "Each book comes with a free audio reading using children’s voices, complete with sound effects and original music. Just scan the QR code with your smartphone or tablet and hear the story. Our innovative idea brings together digital listening and reading print books in a way that uses today’s technology, and that works for booksellers, for parents and for children. So, now families can listen to a story, wherever and whenever they want. No messing about with CDs and wires, just pick up the phone and hear the story. It couldn’t be simpler!"

BOM! Went the Bear by Nicki Greenberg

This is a book full of rhythm, perfect for reading aloud - and even for acting out. BOM! went the bear on the big bass drum. Ting-ting-a-ting-ting-a Strum strum strum. Bear loves to play his big bass drum - but on his own.  It all looks so much fun though, and the other animals just can't resist, so he is joined by a host of colourful friendly animals, each with a different instrument.  But with so many animals determined to deliver a command performance, is there room for Bear to march to the beat of his own drum? A book full of fun and joy, with wonderfully depicted animals.

Ernest and Celestine by Gabrielle Vincent

Two much loved characters by Belgian author Gabrielle Vincent are brought back into print to coincide with the release of the film. Ernest, a big cuddly bear, and Celestine, a little mouse, lose Celestine's precious penguin, who goes everywhere with her, in the snow. But Ernest won't let his little friend be unhappy for long... It is a touching story of few words but with the story powerfully conveyed through the delightful pictures. There were 17 books altogether, last published in the UK in the 1980s - it would be great of the film sparks interest and more are reissued.

The Perfect Flower Girl by Tangred Chandab

Amani can't wait - she is going to be a flower girl, leading the bride and groom, stepping exactly, one, two, three... There's so much to do: cooking with Tayta, visiting the dressmaker, dancing at the party with all the bride’s friends. But when the wedding day comes, and all the guests are waiting, will Amani be the perfect flower girl? Join Amani and her little sister in this joyful celebration of a Lebanese Muslim wedding. I love the stylised drawings and the layout is really effective, making this an unusual and attractive book. It's an interesting look at a celebration which will be unfamiliar to many and a lovely way to learn about the customs of others.

Superworm by Julia Donaldson

The perfect pairing of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler bring us another wonderful story - they just cannot fail! Superworm is super-long. Superworm is super-strong. Watch him wiggle! See him squirm! Hip Hip Horay for SUPERWORM! And whenever the insect friends need a helping hand, Superworm is there. But who can help Superworm when he's in need of help? But who will come to Superworm's rescue, when he's captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard? Luckily, all of Superworm's insect friends have a cunning plan... As ever, it is a wonderful rhyming tale, perfect to read aloud. Make sure you look closely at the pictures - there are lots of things to look at!

One Starry Night by M Christina Butler

Little Hedgehog and his enchanting animal friends are out on an exciting adventure in the dark to see a shower of sparkly shooting stars. But soon they find themselves in a spot of bother when they all fall down a badger sett in the dark - but luckily, badger setts have more that one way in! Embellished with shiny silver stars for added appeal, the night time illustrations by Tina MacNaughton are lovely.

Elmer, Rose and Super El by David McKee

Elmer is back to delight young children with another colourful story. The pink elephant herd, along with Elmer's friend Rose, are celebrating Old's 100th birthday. But things take an unexpected turn for the worse when Old becomes stranded on a dangerous cliff top. Rose rushes to get Elmer for help, in the hope that he might know a certain Super El who can come to the rescue... Elmer never fails us - the stories are charming and a well-deserved favourite with little ones - every child should have an Elmer book!

Izzy and Ollie Adventure in an Ambulance by Joanne Keeling

Knowing how to respond to an emergency can save lives and the inspiration behind this storybook proves that even a child of two-and-a-half years of age can learn what to do. As a result of the real life event, Jo thought how good it would be if all young children could be educated about emergency situations. It is a simply told but very meaningful story that highlights the importance of children's awareness of simple facts such as their name and address. Adventure in an Ambulance is a 32-page storybook, charmingly illustrated and perfect for reading to young children to help them understand how to call an ambulance in an emergency. Ellie Bear comes to life through the story and reassures Ollie that he is doing everything right.

Little Bear's Trousers by Jane Hissey

Poor Little Bear has lost his trousers! He sets off in search of them and discovers that all the toys have seen them, but no one seems to know where they are now. All his friends, including Old Bear, Rabbit, Duck, Dog and Bramwell Brown, have seen them - and in fact, have found them extraordinarily useful. But Little Bear always gets there just a bit too late. A much-loved and captivating favourite, charmingly illustrated, with its delightful characters and gently humorous storyline which appeals to toddlers.

Old Bear Stories by Jane Hissey

A real treasure of a book - five classic tales about Old Bear and his friends Where have Little Bear's missing red trousers gone? Can the toys rescue Old Bear from the attic? Where has Little Bear hidden himself? Will Jolly Tall ever get to see winter snowf lakes? And just what is inside the mysterious box in the playroom? Wonderful stories to stimulate children's imagination, gently humorous with friendly reassuring animal friends who are always there for each other. Jane Hissey's warm detailed illustrations offer plenty of scope for discussion and extension of the stories.

Room on the Broom Soundbook by Julia Donaldson

Join the witch and her cat, a dog, a frog and a bird on a very noisy and bumpy broomstick ride, with a very unexpected ending. The bestselling story from Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, and illustrator Axel Scheffler is now an interactive gift book with 10 amazing, magical sound effects! Already a great favourite with children - and adults - the addition of the sounds gives another dimension of enjoyment. The text includes picture cues so children know which button to press and when. It's an excellent way to encourage children to read along with the story, and helps them to concentrate - and it's a delight to watch the face of a little one as he hears the story come alive. It is a wonderful lyrical read-aloud story, perfect for sharing.

Say Boo to the Animals! by Ian Whybrow

Children will love to join in with this story and shout BOO every time they meet a scary animal. Little bunny as he meets some of the scarier animals in the forest. The warty toad, the growly bear and the tiger look frightening at first, but he soon discovers there's no reason to be afraid. Catchy rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud, and as well as shouting BOO, children will enjoy making all the animal noises. Every page has one or more big furry animals for little fingers to explore as children enjoy the vibrant illustrations - a book which appeals on so many levels.

He Was There From the Day We Moved In (New York review Children's Collection) by Rhoda Levine

The more books I see in this series, the more I like it! They are  traditionally produced hardback books, with cloth spine and gently coloured covers - wonderful to collect. Naming dogs is just as important as naming people as Ogden and his big brother discover. When they arrived at their new home, a sheepdog was sitting patiently waiting. Waiting for what? Food - to come indoors - a cat? Eventually, with a lot of patience, they find out what the dog wants - but we leave them still trying to find the right name. A touching and thoughtful story, delightfully illustrated.

The Diggers are Coming! by Susan Steggall

It's time for some new houses to be built and children can follow the building right the way through in rhyme as the wreckers come along then the bulldoxers, then the diggers and lots more exciting big machines follow. Finally, the new families move in. Delightfully illustrated with torn-paper collage illustrations which make the book stand out from other picture books. There's lots to talk about and the book would make a lovely basis for a classroom topic as well as being an enjoyable book to share at home.

Hue Boy by Rita Phillips Mitchell

Hue Boy is small - smaller than all his friends, and he doesn't seem to grow at all, no matter what his mother gives him to eat, or how much he runs and jumps and plays. His mother takes him first to the doctor, and then to the Wise Man of the village. But nothing seems to help Hue Boy to grow. Then Hue Boy's father comes home from working overseas, and at last Hue starts to grow. With his dad back, he feels comfortable with himself, and his size doesn't worry him any more. A sensitively written story about an issue which does concern children, and which will help reassure them and give an opportunity for discussion.

Red Cat, Blue Cat by Jenni Desmond

Two very different cats star in this story of feline friendship. Two cats who seem to be rivals but who actually both have a similar ambition - to be like the other. A clever and understated exploration of rivalry and friendship, full of fun and joy. The delightful illustrations are full of detail and convey the emotions beautifully - and don't forget to look out for the mouse on every page! A delightfully told story which will appeal to adults as well as children.

The Princess and the Pig by Jonathan Emmett

There’s been a dreadful mix-up in the royal nursery. Priscilla the princess has switched places with Pigmella, the farmer’s new piglet, when the queen accidentally drops the princess. Is it the work of a witch, good or bad? But surely that sort of thing only happens in fairy stories? This is a fun-filled story, full of invention and a clever twist on fairy tales. It's great fun to spot the references through the book. Bright illustrations are full of detail and packed with humour.

Sir Charlie Stinkysocks and the Tale of Two Treasures by Kristina Stephenson

This is the fifth story in this hugely successful series. Sir Charlie Stinky Socks embarks on a truly terrifying quest to bring back not one but TWO bits of long, lost treasure...And so begins the next adventure - an adventure in which Sir Charlie Stinky Socks embarks on a truly terrifying quest to bring back long, lost treasure - but he is dogged by mysterious footsteps everywhere he goes. There are lots of puzzles and clues for children to follow through this exuberant adventure and they will love to lift the big flaps and descover what lies beneath. A great book for getting children involved.

Charley's First Night by Amy Hest

Of course a new puppy will sleep in the kitchen - how many times has that resolution been made, only to be broken? This charming and heartwarming tale will resonate with everyone who has brought home a new puppy.It is simply told, through the eyes of Henry, Charley's young owner. On Charley’s first night, Henry carries his new puppy in his old baby blanket all the way to his house and shows Charley every room so that Charley will know that he is home. Henry’s parents are very clear about where Charley will be sleeping - in the kitchen. But maybe that will change... This is a warm and tender story, perfectly echoed in Helen Oxenbury's delightful illustrations - you know from the cover alone that this is going to be a tender and charming story.

Guess How Much I Love You Here, There and Everywhere by Sam McBratney

Four delightful short stories as Little Nutbrown Hare begins to explore the world with the help and guidance of Big Nutbrown Hare. He climbs the Hiding Tree, escapes from the mists on Cloudy Mountain and ventures to the Far Field on his own. But after all his adventures Little Nutbrown Hare finds that Coming Home is best of all, because Big Nutbrown Hare is there. A beautifully produced hardback book to treasure as your child grows up reading the delightful and reassuring stories about friendship, family, home and love.

An Island Adventure - A Pop in the Slot Book (The Adventures of Abney and Teal) by Joel Stewart

Come visit the island in the park and meet Abney, Teal and their friends. What do they like doing? What adventures will they have today? Children can place the characters in the slots to make their own story using the colourful press-out characters included in the book. It's a brilliant way to encourage imagination and to help children to learn to tell their own stories as they enjoy getting to know these popular Tv ctaracters. The illustrations are bright and colourful and full of talking points. An unusual book which makes a refreshing change and encourages interaction.

Nature by Alain Gree

These deceptively simple books contain a wealth of information will be a joy for adults to share and discuss, offering huge potential for learning and exploration of a child's world. There is something to stimulate discussion on every page - where food comes from, spot the animals in the pictures, what can we find in the meadow? The pictures are uncluttered, on a white background and the whole feel is charming and traditional. This is a delightful series, with a charmingly retro feel, that will give fanilies pleasure for years to come. 978 1 90898 505 7. The books in the series for 0 - 2 year olds are reviewed at Book-reviews-babies-toddlers

Alphabet by Alain Gree

Each page in this lovely alphabet book features a rabge of objects beginning with the chosen letter. THis gives lots of opportunity for discussion, and for seeing how many more objects the child can think of.  Produced on heavy paper, this is a book which will have lots of use and should become a family favourite. The reverse side of the dust jacket can be used as a colourful wall poster. Also available in the series from Button Books (an imprint of GMC)  is Transport.

 The Great House Hunt by Davide Cali and Marc Boutavant

A young couple looking for their first home - but not just any young couple. This is the Polka Dots, a pair of young ladybirds, and they are an estate agent's problem couple! Their estate agent, Mr Weevil, takes them on a tour of des res - a mouldy mushroom, a log, a rather crowded burrow, a floating home and more... but nothing suits our pair. This is definitely a picture book that adults will appreciate, with its witty interjections and its humorous look at the process of house hunting. It's a great big colourful book full of quirky detail in the text and illustrations and a delight to read - over and over again.

The Pelican Who Couldn't by Neil Griffiths 

I love Neil Griffiths' books - he is such a wonderful storyteller, so it was very exciting to get three new books all at once! This is an enchanting game of 'Can' 'Can't' played by two pelicans who try to outdo each other in the number of creatures they can eat.. but in the end, one of them gets just a bit too confident and bites off more than he can chew! Children will love the unexpected pop-ups. It's a ghood way to learn about some sea creatures and this will lead to further discussion. Peggy Collins' vivid illustrations tell the story excellently and combined with the repetitive language, will help young readers.

Esme's Egg by Neil Griffiths

Poor Esme! However hard she tried, she just couldn't outwit the farmer who was determined to take her eggs. She finds all sorts of ingenious hiding places but still he finds the egg. But Esme is one very determined chicken and we follow her on an exciting journey right to the supermarket shelf - and an unexpected ending. It's a lovely way for children to learn about life cycles and where our food comes from. At the end of the book is a section on 'The chicken and the egg' which is full of facts, making the book perfect to use in the classroom. Christine Grove brings even more fun to the story with her illustrations. A lovely story to share, with penty of opportunity for interaction.

The Best Present Ever by Neil Griffiths 

Every child would love to live in this kingdom - a kingdom where the king and queen are always giving out presents! Then one day the queen tells the king that she is going to give him the best present ever... and the king searches the world to find a suitable present for his queen. Finally he finds it - in the most unlikely guise. There's an important message conveyed in what may initially seem just an enjoyable story - good things can be found in unexpected places. Use this lovely story as a starting point for discussion about giving and being generous. Find resources to support Neil's books at

The Great Fairy Tale Disaster by David Conway

Fairy tales as you have never heard them before!  Once upon a time there lived an old Big Bad Wolf. He no longer has any huff and puff to blow down the Three Little Pigs' houses so he scampers off into the pages of the Fairy Tale book to find a new one. He tries one tale after another, but things never quite work to plan. Will he find a fairytale that suits him perfectly? You will find twists on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears in this mixed-up and very funny book. It's a great way to encourage children to be inventive with fairy tales. This entertaining and inventive book is a follow up to the bestselling The Great Nursery Rhyme Disaster.

 Lily Gets Lost by Jane Simmons

A gentle story about a very inquisitive little lamb who just has to find out where all the strange noises are coming from. As she does so, she makes lots of new friends and has plenty of fun - but then she decides she really wants Mamma - luckily, akindly pig is there to guide her. Beautiful paintings with vivid colours and some delightful animals make this book a delight.

Llama Llama Red Pyjama by Anna Dawdney

This award-winning tale about bedtime anxiety is part of a New York Times bestselling series which includes Llama Llama Mad at Mama. It's bedtime and Baby Llama starts to worry as soon as his Mama leaves the room. His whimpers turn to hollers and before long it's an all-out llama drama! This is a sheer joy to read aloud - it's one bedtime story that you won't mind reading over and over again...  It's wonderfully reassuring and just right for anxious toddlers. Find out more about Llama Llama at .

Rain or Shine by Diane and Christyan Fox

Meet Snip and Snap - two friends who look identical but who have very different tastes. They might look the same, but they like very different things. Today, they're off for a picnic - or are they? Snap is prepared for anything, but Snip just doesn't know what to wear! Toddlers will love to lift the flaps and find out what the weather has brought. There's a big fold out flap at the end to entrance little ones. A bright, colourful introduction to the weather.

The Totally Terrifying Three by Hiawyn Oram

An unlikely trio - a big fat cumbersome fire breathing dragon, a stumpy grumpy little wicked witch and a stubbly giant. All three think they are ever so terrifying and scare themselves to bits assuming they will have the same effect on the everyday folk. What do you think? Take a look at them - are you scared? It takes a down-to-earth toddler to show them that they are THAT scary after all.  A wonderfully imaginative story, packed with vibrant and colourful illustrations by David Melling..

Little Red Riding Hood by Lari Don

This is a witty and unusuall retelling of the old favourite, which really manages to bring a freshness to the story. When Little Red Riding Hood l meets a handsome grey wolf, she doesn't see the harm in stopping for a chat - but by the end of the story, she knows better!  The wolf is quite scary - but not too scary for young children, who will know that he gets his come uppance in the end. Célia Chauffrey's finely detailed paintings create an enticing world of quirky characters in an atmospheric forest. The book includes a CD narrated by Imelda Staunton.

Mouse Mischief by Margaret Greaves 

It's Lucy Mouse's wedding day in Nibbling Village and little siblings Libby, Amanda, and Pipkin try to keep out of the way. The problem is, these little mice cannot help causing mischief, even when they try to help. The intricate detail in the vivid watercolour illustrations by Jane Pinkney is fascinating - there is so much to talk about and enjoy together.This is a lovely hardback book that would make a super gift - one to treasure. It reminded me of the stories of Beatrix Potter and Alison Uttley, but the vibrant colours are a world away.

The Kite Princess by Juliet Clare Bell 

My immdiate impression was that this is a book full of movement, life and colour and that feeling was maintained through the book. The rhyming text is really catchy and a delight to read - 'There once was a princess called Cinamon Stitch. Her parents were stuffy and terribly rich.' Her parents bought Cinnamon lots of nice clothes and expected her to conduct herself very properly - but Cinnamon just wanted to have fun! So she hatches a cunning plan to escape..... I love the patchwork style illustrations and it is a story full of joy. The book includes a CD read by Imelda Staunton.

The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon

A contemporary Noah's Ark story, about animals setting off in a boat when the world about them is being destroyed.  The ice is melting so Polar Bear sets off in search of food. Along the way he meets many friends, all under threat from man's greed.  Finally, they make a surprising new friend. This is a really thought-provoking book and parents will find the opportunity opens up for many discussions with their children. The illustrations are stunning and intriguing. Frann was the winner of a Sendak Fellowship and spent a month living with the great Maurice Sendak himself at his home in Connecticut, USA. She worked on The Journey Home during her stay. This is a book which should become a classic.

Boris Saves the Show by Carrie Weston

It's an exciting time at school - Miss Cluck has told her class they will be performing in  an end-of-term show. After lots of rehearsals, when the day of the performance arrives, surely nothing can go wrong? But it does, when the VIP guests, Miss Webb and the pupils of Pond Side Nursery are stuck in the mud and can't get there Luckily, there is a role for poor old Boris, who has sadly failed in his other roles, and he is off to the rescue - complete with Superman cape! A charming story, delightfully illustrated.

 Pop Up Trucks by Roger Priddy

A pop-up book packed with mighty machines - a tractor, a van, a digger, a fire engine and a big rig all pop up off the page to delight young readers. Bright colourful backgrounds and a very catchy rhyming text, complete with noises to make, go together to make an eye-catching book. When you are out and about, see how many your toddler can spot, and as you read the book, take the opportunity ot discuss the pictures. Books like this provide an excellent opportunity to help toddlers learn about and observe the world around them.

Pop-Up Dinosaurs by Roger Priddy

A pop-up book to get your jaws into! four bright dinosaurs jump off the page to entrance young readers - the triceratops, the brachiosaurus, the pterosaur and the evoplacephalus are all shown against colourful settings. The pop ups are great fun, and there is plenty of movement to interest young children.The rhyming text is enjoyable to read aloud too. Most children, and especially boys, are fascinated by dinosaurs and this book is a lovely way to introduce them at an early age, and so start a childhood fascination.

Rosie's Magic Horse by Russell Hoban

This is, as you would expect from Russell Hoban  a wonderfully imaginative story which begins with, of all the unpromising things, a discarded lolly stick.  Rosie collects lolly sticks, and this is added to her collection - with startling results! Not for the new stick the feeling of the others -  “Without our ice-lollies we are nothing.”  He wants to BE something and maybe they can be something, too. As for Rosie, she dreams of helping her parents pay the bills. These two worlds come together at the stroke of midnight in a wonderful, magical adventure.  And Quentin Blake, as ever, manages to perfectly reflect the feel of the story in his lively illustrations, which beautifully capture the imaginative feel of this picture book.

 The Misadventures of Winnie the Witch by Laura Owen

A fabulous gift collection for all fans of Winnie the Witch - a well-produced hardback book to treasure. It includes eight adventures of the lovable witch and her cat Wilbur. Unwittingly, and with the best of intentions, there is mayhem wherever they go. Korky Paul's illustrations add to the fun. Included in this celebration pack is a colourful wall planner so children can record all their important events through the year.

Mum's Late by Elizabeth Hawkins and Pamela Venus

A wistful looking little boy is pictured on the front cover of this reassuring book about going home time. One by one, all the children are collected, by mums, dads, brothers and childmindres.. but where is Jerome's mum? Look carefully at the pictures of Jerome's mum, and you will see what may be the real reason for his feelings of insecurity - in each one, there is a young baby. It's a book which should provoke thought in parents about how children feel when we late, but at the same time it is reassuring for children. It would be a perfect book to share with childre3n just starting nursery - and even better, read it at home time when the parents are there!

The Last Snowball (Everything's Rosie) from Egmont Books

I love books in this small format - they are just right for little hands, and they are so reminiscent of some of the best series of books for this age group. I think these would make lovely going-home presents after a party. Rosie and her friends live in an idyllic world where everyone is happy, so the stories are bright and positive. When Big Bear wakes up from his deep winter sleep, he's sad to find that he's missed out on all the fun that snow can bring. Rosie and her friends do everything they can to do recreate winter fun, but sledging and snow angels don't work without snow. Will they find a way to cheer up Big Bear?

Snowy Tracks (Thomas and Friends) from Egmont Books

Oh dear! The Island of Sodor is covered with snow and the Fat Controller has told Gordon not to go up any steep hills... but Gordon thinks he knows best, with the inevitable result - he slipped and slid everywhere. And worse - he pushes poor Thomas right off the track. Will the engine learn his lesson? A delightful story in the well-loved tradition of Thomas books.

Mr Men Meet Father Christmas by Roger Hargreaves

These old favourites are still going strong, now written and illustrated by Adam Hargreaves but still keeping the charm of the originals. Little Miss Tiny wanted to visit Father Christmas, and her drealm comes true when Mr Daydream offers to take her.THey pass many strange lands on their way to the North Pole and finally meet up with Father Christmas. These little books are great value too, so children can build up a super collection.

At Our House by Isabel Minhos Martins and Madalena Matoso

This is a really novel approach to counting from Tate Publishing. One household - six heads, 120 nails, 1351 bones and 800,000 hairs! Vibrant and unusual illustrations and entertaining text takes the reader on an extraordinary journey of the number of body parts in our one household. Try it in your own house - intestines, freckles, nostrils, teeth and feet - a whole new world of things to count!  And then, when more family arrive, there are a whole lot more things to count. Inventive and unusual - and lots of number facts about the body at the end.

Tamara Small and the Monsters' Ball by Giles Paley-Phillips

Windy nights can be eerie and at times we all hear strange noises - and Tamara lies awake in bed, and hears strange noises. 'Then, suddenly the window bursts open with a crash! A hairy arm comes in the room and grabs her in a flash.' But as we go on to find out in the snappy rhyming text, it's only the monsters from her neighbourhood inviting her to their ball. Tamara has a wonderful time with her new friends until it time to go back to bed. This is a lovely reassuring story, especially good at bedtime if your child is afraid of finding monsters under the bed, as it portrays them as lovable friendly creatures.

The Pirate Who Said Please (Marvellous Manners) by Timothy Knapman

Helping young children to understand good and bad behaviour through the meduim of a story can be so much more effective than just talking about it. And if there are instances of bad behaviour in class, sharing a story with the whole group saves 'pointing the finger'. Pirate Jim is extremely well behaved with adults, but he's not so nice to his pirate crew - so he finds himself marooned on a desert island until he learns to say please. It's a fun story, with vibrant illustrations - plenty to talk about.

Princesses Love to Share (Marvellous Manners) by Timothy Knapman

Polly has lots of lovely toys, but she hates to share - and when she does, things go wrong. But she soon learns the importance of friendship and sharing, in this entertaining story, which will strike a chord with many parents! "Sometimes it's hard to know how to be well behaved - and why! Join little children with big imaginations as they learn that saying please, making friends, sharing and being kind are both easy and fun." I love the fact that the characters in this series are so well chosen to be popular with young children - pirates, princesses, ballerinas and cowboys  The Friendliest Ballerina (Marvellous Manners) and Cowboys Can be Kind (Marvellous Manners) are in the same series and each book features a series of useful and practical talking points at the end.

Diamond the Magic Unicorn (Princess Evie's Ponies) by Sarah KilBride

Little girls will be delighted to see another book in this charming series - and especially to be able to add to their collection of pop-up ponies (there's a new one in each book). Princess Evie's ponies aren't like any other ponies - her ponies are magic ponies and, whenever Princess Evie rides them, she is whisked away on a magical adventure in a faraway land ...In this seventh book in the series, Princess Evie and Sparkles, the kitten, find themselves in a magical world of cloud sprites and unicorns! Evie is invited to take part in the Unicorn Games, will Diamond be good enough to win a prize? Pink and sparkly and perfect for little girls.

Hugless Douglas and the Big Sleep by David Melling

In a relatively short time since the publication of the first story, Hugless Douglas has foud his way into children's hearts.Hugless Douglas is very excited about Rabbit's sleepover, but takes it on himself to invite some others along and things get a bit crowded.... He is such a lovely character! Luckily, it all works out in the end and the friends drop off to sleep happily. Lots of talking points at the end of the book - what would you pack for a sleepover? A lovely book to share when preparing for the big adventure of a child's first sleepover.

Belle and Boo and the Goodnight Kiss by Mandy Sutcliffe

Back for a second adventure, the charming Belle and Boo, her bunny friend. It's bedtime for Belle and Boo. A reassuring and gentle story has the reader sharing the calming bedtime routine - 'Time for a bath, time for milk and cookies, time for a story.' But then Boo decides it's time to play - we've all been there; calm children, ready for sleep, then...  The stories are a delightful depiction of the innocence and simplicity of childhood and this is, of course, the perfect bedtime story. Softly coloured illustrations complete the feel.

Miki and the Wishing Star by Stephen Mackey

A wintertime story starring a CBeebies favourite. . It's the three friends' birthday and they all make a special wish, but Penguin's wish has unexpected consequences... he grows HUGE. He is able to help others, but then he's introuble when he starts to shrink and he needs the help of his friends. THe vibrant illustrations are full of life and colour, and fascinating characters. Children love to see their TV favourites in print - it's a great way to encourage reading.

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson

A string of paper dolls go on an imaginative adventure through the house and out into the garden. They soon escape the clutches of the toy dinosaur and the snapping jaws of the oven-glove crocodile, but then they face a very real danger.. . It is a touching story of memory, of continuity, of passing things down through the generations and is timeless in its appeal. Rebecca Cobb's charming drawings complement the story excellently. Once you have enjoyed this story, I do hope you and your child will make your very own string of paper dolls!

Monkey's Clever Tale (Traditional Tales With a Twist) by Andrew Fusek Peters

Another veautifully produced book from Child's Play with glossy bright illustrations to capture the attention.  When Ameerah Monkey wants to cross the river, she hatches a plot to trick crocodile into helping her. But it's a very frightening crossing and Ameerah finds herself getting closer and closer to those dreadful big teeth..... And will Crocodile ever get his pot of Monkey Tail Soup? I was guessing right until the end, so I am sure young readers will be too! Vibrant ilustrations are full of life and colour - and I love Crocodile's dreams of wealth - you can't help feeling sorry for him!

Hudson Hates School by Ella Hudson

Many children dread spelling test day but Hudson fears it more than most. He is good at lots of things, but he hates spelling - and especially the way the other children laugh at him when they swap tests to mark the answers (maybe there is a message there for teachers). It's only when Hudson has to do some very special tests that we learn why he is so bad at spelling. It's a thoughtful and insightful book that shows how frustrated dyslexic children feel when their problem has not yet been identified. It conveys an extremely important message about the way the situation is handled and ends on a very positive note, which emphasises Hudson's strengths. It's an excellent book to share with all children, to enhance their understanding.

The Herd Boy by Niki Daly

Picture books can be fun or they can be thought-provoking and give an insight into another world; this book definitely falls into the latter category. Malusi, an African herd boy from the Transkei region of South Africa, watches over his flock all day. Then on the way home he has an amazing meeting - with Nelson Mandela, who asks the boy what his dream is. He replies that he wants to be President, just like Mandela who was also a herd boy. An inspiring and aspirational book. The book includes an endnote about the link with Nelson Mandela and a glossary of African words, making it an excellent way to learn more about the country. The atmosphere of the region is beautifully evoked in the pictures with their primitive but movement-filled style.

Puss Jekyll and Cat Hyde by Joyce Dunbar

Puss Jekyll - the cuddly pet cat contrasts with Cat Hyde - the merciless hunting creature. Page by page this delightful book explores the two very distinct personalities of the enchanting pet. Just who is she really - is she the dainty daytime cat or the ferocious nighttime beast? The contrasts are vividly evoked in both the words and the pictures - the cosy domestic cat and the prowling creature of the night. The language is expressive and the use of adjectives superb - there are ideas here for children to emulate in their creative writing. The mystery of the cat is brought to the fore in this unusual book.

Richard Scarry's Best Counting Book Ever

Richard Scarry's books continue to delight and enthrall children. They are packed with detail which invites children to return over and over again. The colourful pages and delightfully expressive animal faces fascinate children, who find something new everytime they revisit the book. Here, they can count in ones up to 20, and in tens up to a hundred - and then do some simple sums! The text means there is lots to talk about on each page, amking it the perfect book to sit down and share - "A little engine is going to join up to the train cars. Do you think it can pull them all away?"

Watch Your Tongue, Cecily Beasley by Lane Fredrickson

A cautionary tale that shows what might happen to little children who are rude... like Cecily Beasley, for example. She slurps her food, refuses to share and sticks her tongue out at everyone. Ever wanted to see a rude child get his come-uppance? Then you will love this book! Not only does that frequent threat come true - you might get stuck like that - when she sticks out her tongue, but a bird makes a nest on it, with hilarious consequences.

Hello Oscar! (Zoe and Beans) by Mick and Chloe Inkpen

Bubbly Zoe and her faithful dog Beans are back for a fifth adventure. Lots of animals are suddenly appearing in the garden, every time Zoe goes away - she has found a guinea pig, a tortoise, and a chameleon, and even a parrot! What's going on? And why is the parrot calling her Oscar?The mystery is solved when a little body comes wriggling through the fence... Another charming story.

A Patch of Black by Rachel Rooney

Stories that lull children to sleep with gentle language and softly coloured pictures are always welcomed by parents. What can you do with a patch of black, a moon and a silver star? From a magical wish-granting cloak to a hammock rocked by jungle animal friends, there's nothing that a patch of night-time sky can't become with a bit of imagination, and certainly no need to be afraid of the dark. Full of imagination, this is a story that will send children to sleep with a smile on the face.

Catherine's Story by Genevieve Moore

Despite the fact that she can't talk and can only walk in her special shoes,  Catherine is very special. What she can do, and do very well, is listen - perhaps something that many of us don't do as well as we should. The story is full of love, of a family who feel special, and the relationship between Frances and Catherine is beautifully portrayed, both in the text and in the beautiful and sensitive illustrations. A warm and positive message about ability rather than about disability, which deserves a place in every school, in library or classroom. Please note - the Amazon link is misleading; the book is not by Jacqueline Wilson, but does have a foreword by her.

The Captain Pugwash Comic Book Collection by John Ryan

Three classic stories about the much loved bumbling pirate told in comic book format. Enjoy The Secret of the San Fiasco;  The Battle of Bunkum Bay and The Quest of the Golden Handshake. All the old favourites are here - the cowardly captain, the greedy crew, Pugwash's deadly enemy Cut-throat Jake and the only clever one of the whole lot, Cabin Boy Tom. As ever, there's great fun to be had and the comic strip format always appeals to children, even the more reluctant readers.

Where's the Meerkat? Journey Through Time illustrated by Paul Moran

Very few people seem able to resist meerkats, so this book is guaranteed popularity. This time the meerkat family is travelling through time! Meet the family at the beginning and they see if you canyou spot them at the court of King Henry, in Ancient Greece, in the Wild West, in Ancient Egpypt and many more exciting places?   Look out for the crafty hawk, and the greedy ground squirrel too. And if you get really frustrated, you will be glad to know that the answers can be found at the end - but enjoy the fun and don't give up too quickly! Great fun for all the family, with a phenomenal amount of detail.

The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy

"The man from the land of Fandango is coming to pay you a call!
With his tricolour jacket and polka-dot tie
And his hat with a tassel and all."
A wonderfully rollicking tale which sweeps the reader into and through the book with its fantastic iu]llustrations and swirling text. It's an imaginative and fantastic tale, and the clever rhyming text make it wonderful to read aloud.

I am Cat by Jackie Morris

As the cat sleeps, so it dreams. Wonderful dreams of being a tiger, a cheetah  a lion, a jaguar, a lynx, a puma, a snow leopard, a Scottish wild cat, an Asian fishing cat, and the rare Amur leopard. And after all that, he wakes, to tell his dreams to the child who is stroking him. This unique book is a wonderful depiction of the cat family in all its guises, with stunning illustrations of all the cats. At the end of the book is a double page spread giving factual information and a drawing for each of the cats, making this book an excellent introduction to the cat family. An unusual concept, brilliantly executed.

Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon

This is the story of an unlikely friendship that remains strong despite separation. Penguin is sad when Grandpa reminds him that pinecones can't live - they need to be in the warm forest far away. So Penguin returns Pinecone to his proper home, but always dreams of being reunited with his little friend. When they do meet again, Penguin is amazed at the change in his friend.... The simple and minimal text is good to share but would also allow for reading by independent readers. It's an enchanting and quite emotional story, delightfully illustrated.

The Snow Womble by Elisabeth Beresford

It's winter on Wimbledon Common and the snow has arrived. The young Wombles are very excited and they can't wait to start sledging, making snow Wombles and generally having fun in the snow. Then Great Uncle Bulgaria aka the Snow Womble decides to play a snowy trick on the small Wombles. The irresistible Wombles are as appealing as ever, and it's brilliant to see them introduced to younger readers who have a treat in store  -and who will hopefully be encouraged to read the rest of the books as soon as they are old enough. There are even some stickers to make the book even more fun.

Pirates Love Underpants by Claire Freedman 

Pirates and underpants - an irresistable combination for young children! After all, even pirates need underpants! Join the Pants Pirates on a special treasure hunt. Grab your cutlass and sail on the Pirate Ship Black Bloomer past angry crocs, sharks in fancy pants and through gurgling swamps on a quest to find....the Pants of Gold! This new addition to the hugely successful Underpants series will delight all fans of the series - and hopefully introduce some more to the hilarity of the books.

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

 Wilfred is a boy with rules who lives a very orderly life - and expects others to do the same. It's a good thing then that he has a pet who abides by rules, such as not making noise while Wilfred educates him on his record collection. But Wilfred's pet has difficulty following Rule 7 - Going whichever way Wilfred wants to go. The moose is just a bit too independent and doesn't quite acknowledge that he belongs to anyone. It's a humorous quirky book about friendship and expectations, with striking and memorable illustrations


The Great Granny Gang by Judith Kerr

It's wonderful to see a new book from this much-loved author - and to see that her writing is as captivating as ever.
Here comes the fearless granny gang,
The youngest eighty-two.
They leap down from their granny van,
And there’s nothing they can’t do!
It's a wonderful celebration of all that makes grannies great - and would make an excellent gift for grannies to share with their grandchildren. The rhythmic text is perfect to read aloud and children will laugh aloud as they learn that there's much more to grannies than meets the eye!

The Zebra Who Was Sad (When I Was...) by Rachel Elliot

Sharing books with children who are struggling to come to terms with their emotions is an excellent way to help and open up lines of communication. The stories in this series cover four important feelings (happiness, sadness, fear, and anger) in a gentle way, ideal for young readers and their parents. Zebra is sad when his friend Giraffe moves away, but he finds the importance of friendship when all his jungle friends try to cheer him up.  The pictures are delightful and a real feature of the book. As children read about Zebra, they will see they are not alone in their feelings and they will be comforted and reassured.

The Elephant Who Was Scared (When I Was...) by Rachel Elliot

Little Elephant is lost, and he meets a lost leopard cub. Together, and with some help from friendly animals, they find their way home in a reassuring story. At the back of each book is a valuable page on 'Next Steps' and 'Dealing with Fear' which give parents and teachers some excellent ideas for developing the themes. The books would be good to read in the classroom too, and would be excellent to have on hand to read when particular situations arise. The others in this excellent series are The Hippo Who Was Happy (When I Was...) and The Tiger Who Was Angry (When I Was...)

Tractor Saves the Day (Busy Wheels) by Mandy Archer

The Busy Wheels series is perfect for pre-schoolers and will have an especial appeal to boys, which is great as so many picture books seem to be for girls. The central character of each is a vehicle - here it is Tractor who has his part to play when, having finished ploughing, a tree needs to be moved. THere are lots oif animals in the stories too.Children will enjoy the picture of a tractor and enjoy naming the parts, as well as seeing other farm vehicles. The illustrations are bright and bold - ideal for this age group - and children will enjoy making the noises too. There's lots to talk about and share. Look out for Racing Car is Roaring (Busy Wheels), Fire Engine is Flashing (Busy Wheels) and Digger to the Rescue (Busy Wheels) as well.

Emma Dodd presents Cinderelephant

The whole kingdom is invited to a ball so Prince Trunky can choose his bride but The Warty Sisters are determined that Cinderelephant will stay at home. But of course, Cinderelephant will, with the help of her Furry Godmouse, will go to the ball. Of course you know how the story ends.... This is a wonderful twist on the traditional story, that will have children giggling away as they anticipate what will happen.

Whizz Pop, Granny Stop! by Tracey Corderoy

The very unusual Granny from Hubble Bubble Granny Trouble returns... and she's still just as unusual! But sometimes, just sometimes, her granddaughter wishes her Granny was a bit more ...normal. But there's no doubt that Granny is fun as she brings her own special magic to bear on everyday activities. But perhaps a birthday party would be better without magic - except at the end, when the magic comes in very handy! Another delightful story, full of fun, with Joe Berger's delightful illustrations.

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? by Julie Middleton

Not listening to our children. We've all been guilty of it, haven't we? Dad takes Dave to the museum to look at dinosaurs, and Dad is convinced that he knows everything is to know about these great creatures. But Dave knows something Dad doesn't know... A simple story, but one packed with surprises. Clever illustrations offer plenty for children to spot and chuckle over. Children will enjoy the repetition, the anticipation and most of all, Dad having to admit Dave knew best!

Again! by Emily Gravett

Another irresistible story by Emily Gravett – the perfect book for young book-lovers everywhere, and an ideal bedtime story  Cedric has brushed his teeth and had his bath, so it's time for his favourite story to be read again… and again… and again! But Mum finds it all too tiring. The hilarious consequences of a fire-breathing dragon can be seen in what happens to the book..... Clever and unusual, children will find it hilarious, and they will enjoy spotting the clever details in the illustrations. I love the way Emily manages to tell a meaningful story in such an apparently simple way.

It's Time for Bed by Adele Geras

This is just what a perfect bedtime story should be, with its recounting of a happy day and the gradual winding down to bedtime. All the animals want lullabies and as Mother sings, we follow the daytime activities of both woodland animals and toys. At last it's Little Hare's own bedtime with his special "Goodnight, sleep tight." The gentle pastel illustrations by Sophy Williams evoke the feeling of the bookm beautifully. It's a gentle and reassuring story which will soothe a child to sleep.

 Mr Whistler by Margaret Mahy

Mr Whistler loves to sing and dance - but there's work to be done, so it's off to the station. But when he goes to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket and has to dance his way out of his clothes to find it! That has a very unexpected - but welcome - result in this hilarious story. But even when all seems well, there's another humorous twist. A lovely story.

I Am So Strong by Mario Ramos 

The illustrations are quite repetitive but this is clever, as the reader can follow the wolf marching through the woods. The quality is outstanding - the shiny paper with a slightly rough texture is really effective. The arrogant wolf asks everyone he meets, including Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and the Seven Dwarves "Tell me, who is the strongest of all? He gets his comeuppance in a most unexpected and satisfactory way when he meets a baby dragon with a very BIG mother!

Bobbo Goes to School by Shirley Hughes

When Lily throws Bobbo onto the top of the school bus, she has no idea what an adventure he has in store. This drama-packed book is a race to reunite Lily and lost Bobbo, as well as learning all about school...Shirley Hughes' instantly recognisable artwork is as appealing and timeless as ever; her style may look old-fashioned but it is charming and ageless, and packed with child-appeal. She has a wonderful talent for understanding what matters to children and writing about it in a way that will really grab young ones' attention.

Brave Little Owl by Penny Little

You need to see this book to appreciate the wonderful eye-catching silvery moon that graces the cover. Little Owl is teased by her brothers when she can't fly. She just wants to make her Grandma's birthday perfect by showing her how brave she is, and with some help from her friends and some special words from Grandpa she faces her fears and Grandma gets the best birthday present ever. The story helps children who are worried about trying something new, and shows, in a delightful way, the value of persevering. Sean Julian's illustrations are charming, especially his depictions of the animals.

Toys in Space by Mini Grey

One summer night the toys were left in the garden. The Wonderdoll starts to tell a story and the toys realise that, not a star but a spaceship is approaching and they are all off onto a magical adventure. They find that toys have been collected from gardens all over the earth, in Hoctopise's search for his Cuddles, but they insist he returns them all - and then they return home too, after a wonderful party. An unusual and very funny story with a happy ending.

Winnie's Dinosaur Day by Valerie Thomas

The end-papers were the first thing to catch my eye with this book. They are in the style of chalk drawings on a blackboard and are really eye-catching and a wonderful reflection of the story. Winnie wants to take part in the competition to draw a Triceratops, but she just isn't sure what the skeleton might have looked like. She decides to to magic herself and her cat Wilbur back to the time of the dinosaurs! Once they find one, Winnie can't quite draw him, so she jumps on his back - and finds herself back in the present, winning the prize! Another magical adventure, beautifully illustrated by Korky Paul.

Ready, Steady, Ghost! by Elizabeth Baguley and Marion Lindsay

It's hard to be a successful ghost when you are scared of creepy forests and spooky castles. Bertie looks for a nice little house to haunt instead, but wait those aren't little windows, they are eyes belonging to a big, gobble-me wolf - and he's just the first of a serious of scary encounters. But this story has a lovely warm ending, shown in the clever use of colour. I like the fact that the illustrations start off predominantly in shades of blue, with splashes of bright orange and then are shades of orange - this is really effective and sets the book apart. A perfect bedtime read with a delightful hero who shows we can overcome our fears and fit in.

Baby Jake - Farm Adventure from Egmont Books

Baby Jake is a woderful CBeebies character, who really appeals to even very young children. In these books, he has made a perfect transition from the screen without losing any of his charm and appeal.  The sturdy pages and rounded corners of these picture books make them suitable for children of 1+, which is great as Baby Jake is loved by babies and toddlers. Join Baby Jake and Nibbles as they have fun wriggling and bouncing on the farm in this colourful story - and children will love to sing along.

Baby Jake - Space Adventure from Egmont Books

Baby Jake and his (large!) family live in a windmill and the TV stories show a lovely warm, close family. Baby Jake goes off on lots of adventures, knowing he always has the security of his home - reassuring for the little ones who follow his adventures. It's Captain Spacey's turn this time as he, Baby Jake and the Hamsternauts set off into space. Eye-catching pictures with lots of colour, and text which winds across the pages make all these books very appealing and a great accompaniment to the TV shows.

Baby Jake - Snowy Adventure from Egmont Books

Pengy Quin feels very much at home in this story as he and Baby Jake play lots of slippy slidey games - and slide all the way home! THere are lots of little details in the pictures, which give parents a super opportunity to talk and encourage discussion. The shiny characters on the covers against a matt background really make them stand out and appeal to children.

Baby Jake - Tropical Adventure from Egmont Books

Baby Jake certainly gets around! This time our friendly bouncy baby is exploring the jungle with Sidney the Monkey - and then Pengy Quin joins the fun. There are lots of actions to do and sounds to make for parent and child to copy, meaning there is plenty of fun to be had. Baby Jake enjoys sliding down the tree and swinging on the vine... all the way home!

I'm Feeling ... Shy by Lisa Regan

Each book in the 'I'm Feeling' series looks at different scenarios provoked by a different set of feelings, and provides information to help children handle each in a positive way. Extensive research was carried out with children and experts, and the text was built around their responses. It's a really constructive series which would make an excellent basis for classroom discussion as well as for use in the home. I'm Feeling... Shy shows how a variety of situations can make a child feel shy - for example, being praised. Children are shown, in a sensitive and straightforward manner, how to manage these situations.

I'm Feeling ... Scared by Lisa Regan

As parents and grandparents, we don't always realise (or remember!) the things that cause children anxiety, so this is a valuable series for adults as it helps them to see things from a child's perspective - and maybe even to pre-empt some potentially difficult situations. The dark, going to the dentist, a sleepover, performing in a school play - these are just some of the situations this book will help a child handle.

I'm Feeling ... Angry by Lisa Regan

Children's emotions are so changeable - they veer from one extreme to another so quickly and much of this is due to being unaware of how to handle situations. In this boo, children are told that it is OK to feel hurt or angry, and how to share those feelings with adults. It takes many common situations and shows children how to handle them - for example, counting to ten and then explaining. Much can be gained from discussing the pictures too, and this is an excellent way to help children explain how they feel.

I'm Feeling ... Jealous by Lisa Regan

Children get jealous over many things and this book helps them to understand how to deal with common situations (many family-based) such as a sibling having a friend to play, a new baby, older ones doing things the younger is not allowed to, friendship and more. The illustrations really add to the book and children will enjoy discussing the situations depicted. Each book in the series includes notes for parents and carers, written by Early Years expert Sally Featherstone.

The Spider and the Fly illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Beware - if you are anything like me, you may have the first words of this verse"'Will you walk into my parlour,' said the Spider to the Fly..."  going round and round in your head for hours after! And the stunning black and white illustrations will also linger in your mind. They are full of atmosphere and packed with intriguing detail. Do you know how this age-old tale ends? The warning, about not being deceived by flattery, is just as pertinent as ever. A lovely book to read aloud, with its flowing rhyme.

Katie and the Starry Night by James Mayhew

The stars in Vincent van Gogh's painting are so beautiful that Katie can't resist reaching in and taking one. The paintings really come alive - literally! As Katie reaches into the painting, she lifts out the chair so she can reach the stars. But what will she do when all the other stars come tumbling out of the painting, too? Will Katie be able to catch the stars before the gallery guard notices they've floated away? The olive pickers come to the rescue to help her. Features five Van Gogh masterpieces: The Starry Night; Noon; Vincent's Chair; Fishing Boats on the Beach; The Olive Grove. Reading about Katie is a wonderful way to bring art to life for children and to help them understand and appreciate great paintings.

Anna Hibiscus' Song by Atinuke

Anna Hibiscus is so full of happiness that she feels like she might float away. So she just has to share her happiness with her family - mother, father, grandfather, grandmother, aunties and well, everyone really. Anna is a larger than life character, brimful of optimism and this is a lovely story of families, full of colour and joy. There's so much happiness that the only way to express it is to sing. Bright colours evoke the feel of Africa.

Just Imagine by Pippa Goodhart

Let your child's imagination soar with this inspirational book! Imagine being as big as a house or as tiny as a flea. Imagine being too big for school or small enough to fall down the plughole. Imagine travelling through time... being an underground.... As your child reads the book, she can change the story every time so the book will never grow stale. The illustrations by Nick Sharratt are full of intricate detail which offers another level for the imagination to explore. An exciting concept with boundless applications. Try using it as an inspiration for creative writing - it would work brilliantly in the classroom for this. Totally fascinating.

Blue by Michael Rosen

This is a wonderful book to share with brothers, where the younger strives to catch up with the older, but can't quite make it. Jake can run very fast, jump very high, dance and even draw elephants. Poor Raffi wishes he was good at something too… but then one wriggly, jiggly, joggly night he has a magical adventure. A flying cat called Blue appears to take him on an adventure through the night sky and as they fly, so Blue lights up the world beneath them - and then even the stars. They fly off together into the darkness and as they fly, Blue points at shop signs and street lamps and they light up. They fly higher and higher, spreading light, until they even light up the stars! Raffi feels more confident the next day and can help his brother feel confident in the darkening streets as the lights come on. Beautiful illustrations in multiple shades of blue are illuminated by bright patches of colourful lights - quite magical. A warm and touching story./td>

What's the Time, Mr Wolf? by Debi Gliori

What's the time, Mr Wolf? It's nursery rhyme time! Mr Wolf is woken up by four and twenty blackbirds; he meets the three little pigs (and thinks it's time for bacon sandwiches!!) and at nine o'clock along comes the post girl in her little red hood - and so we go on through a day filled with much-loved characters until the day finishes with a surprise party. The whole is related in catchy text which is a joy to read aloud. Children will love spotting the characters and I can see lots of story times getting side-tracked into the telling of yet other stories. The illustrations are an utter delight - they are absolutely packed with thoughtful detail - make sure you spend lots of time with your child enjoying them - and having a good giggle!

Mole's Harvest Moon by Judi Abbot

A perfect tale for the autumn, reflecting its rich bounty. Mole has invited all his friends round for an autumn feast and Bear, Mouse and Rabbit are foraging for ingredients. But night falls quickly in autumn and they realise they are being followed through the Whispering Woods - luckily, the friends have a very cunning plan. However, when they reach safety, they find thingts were not what they seemed. The illustrations are stunning, very unusual in style and real works of art, full of detail to enjoy. A charming story about things not always being as bad as they seem and how friendship is always vital.

Cinderella's Bum by Nicholas Allan

Another irreverent title from the author of The Queen's Knickers. Endlessly inventive, Nicholas Allan knows just what appeals to young children. Little sister reassures big sister, who is horrified when she can't fit into her swimsuit. She shows her just how useful big bums have been in an entertaining jaunt through history and fairy tales featuring many famous bottoms - there's Queen Victoria and Houdini, Cinderella and Snow White. But after all that, there wasn't a problem anyway! Clever, quirky and beautifully illustrated, children will love this.

The Magical Life of Mr Renny by Leo Timmers

Mr Renny was a very good painter and everything he painted looked quite real, but nobody would buy them.Based on the story of King Midas, this is the inventive story of an artist whose pictures are made to come to life by a rather strange man. Just like King Midas, Mr Renny decides he has found a way to get everything he wants - but he gets too greedy and finds life really isn't satisfying - all he wants to do is paint. I have rarely seen such vivid crisp colours used in a children's book and they are absolutey crammed with intricate and fascinating detail, really eye-catching. Use the opportunity to intgroduce the story of King Midas and also the paintings of Magritte, to whom the illustrations owe much.

Butterfly Butterfly by Peter Horacek

The stunning cover sets high expectations and the book lives up to expectations. Subtitled 'A pop up book of colour' this is a colourful exploration discovering the multitude of creatures who live in a garden.
Clever peepholes allow the reader to follow the story by peeping through and guessing what is coming next. As Lucy searches for a butterfly she meets a plethora of brightly coloured insects pink earthworm, a brown spider, a green ladybird  and many more creatures. At the end is a vibrabt pop up surprise. Bright cheerful illustrations adorn the story, which is a great way to encourage children to look closely at the tiny creatures which abound all around.

Starting School by Clara Vulliamy

Reading stories about first experiences is always reassuring for children - and one of the most important of these first experiences is starting school, so a new title on this topic is always welcome. It's an exciting morning on Sugar Lump Lane. The ten Tinies are getting ready for a BIG adventure - their first day at school! But the Tiny twins aren't so sure . . . they'd rather stay at home. Share this with your child well before starting school to give plenty of time to discuss and reassure. This is both an enjoyable story with its charming mouse characters and a good introduction to some of the things to expect at school.

A Bed of Your Own by Mij Kelly

Join Suzy Sue as she settles down to sleep in this ideal bedtime story. But wait a minute - her bed isn't very comfortable, in fact she is very squashed. Share Suzy's surprise as one animal after another pops it's head up in this delightful story - just right to read aloud with its flowing text with plenty of repetition for children to share in. And they will be encouraged to drop off to sleep as she tells them how - 'Feel how it makes you all d r o w s y and d o z y....'

Wibble Wobble My Loose Tooth by Miriam Moss

Another of those first experiences which all children are going to have, but which can often be confusing when they don't know what to expect. They will be reassured by reading about  William - all wants in the whole wide world is a wobbly tooth. When he gets one, he just can't stop jiggling and wiggling it! But then William's tooth falls out at school. How will he keep it safe until hometime? So many children worry about this! If your child has a wobbly tooth, or if she just wants one, then you need to get this book!

SAcritch Scratch We Have Nits by Miriam Moss

A touchy topic but one that virtually every parent is going to have to face, so prepare your child by reading this book. Great to have in the classroom too - share it with children when 'that' letter is going home! One day a tiny insect, no bigger than a freckle, climbs into Miss Calypso's classroom. Nobody notices until... Polly scritches, Joshua scratches, and soon the whole classroom is scritching and scratching. This is a fun way of dealing with the issue and stops us taking it too seriously. Bright and funny illustrations will have children laughing aloud. And the problem never quite goes away..........

Hickory Dickory Dog by Alison Murray

It's time for playschool, but Zac and Rufus don't want to be separated. So, when Zac goes to playschool, his pup goes too! Zac's little dog wants to join in with EVERYTHING - painting time, lunchtime, even garden time . . . resulting in one very messy pup at home time! This engaging story, with its warm, retro art style, is an entertaining introduction to playschool.

Catch Us if You Can-Can by Alex T Smith

The dastardly duo from Egg return in this delightfully silly tale. The naughty Foxy DuBois is back with another dastardly scheme which sees her trying to steal a golden egg that's the prize in a dance competition. This time though, she's not acting alone... she ropes in her old rival Alphonso, a giant alligator to be her partner in crime, but the terrible twosome soon find themselves dancing with danger...
 Lovely use of language makes this a super book to read aloud.

Belle and Boo and the Birthday Surprise by Mandy Sutcliffe

When I say this is an old-fashioned story, I mean it in the very best way!  Today is an extra-special day - a birthday and Belle and Boo know just how to get ready for birthdays. - they make a card, bake a cake and blow up balloons. But whose birthday could it be? And what is the special surprise that Belle has planned? The illustrations are quite delightful and the cream paper sets them off wonderfully and gives a lovely feel to the book. It's lovely to see how Belle cares for Boo - this is delightful!


Pushka by Stephen Mackey

Little clown Pushka's sound asleep on the circus train. Little does he know that he is about to topple out... amongst the enchanted trees. Scared, Pushka runs away through the night until he spies the most beautiful dancing girl and thinks he is safe. But she lures him into the arms of a hungry giant. Will Pushka ever make it back to the circus? Atmospheric and vivid pictures brinjg the story alive and the dark backgrounds set the characters off well.


Princess Pearl and the Underwater Kingdom by Emma Thomson

Does your child love Felicity Wishes? Then she will love Princess Pearl, from the same author. Pearl is an ordinary girl with an extraordinary secret. She can turn into a real sea princess and have magical undersea adventures. When Pearl spots something gleaming in the sea, she finds herself in a magical underwater world surrounded by new friends and traeted just like... yes, a princess. Full of pop ups and clever tabs to pull, this will delight young girls.

A Fashion Fairy Tale (Princess Pearl) by Emma Thompson

Pink, pretty and magical  - a dream series for many young girls! It is Princess Fashion Week and Pearl is in the Underwater Kingdom just in time for Fashion Week. But Princess Selen, the famous supermodel, is having a tantrum because she doesn't like her dress. Can Pearl persuade her that the show must go on?

Lion's Busy Day (Pop Up Stories) by Emily Hawkins

It's a hot day and Lion decides to have a rest but there's just no peace - everyone needs his help. The monkeys need to get to the waterhole, the giraffe is stuck in the mud, the meercats can't cross the river and still more animals need his help. And even his own family won't let him sleep! Bright illustrations by Hannah Wood and enchanting pop ups on every page guarantee this is a story to capture children's attention.

Bob and the Moontree Mystery by Simon Bartram

Welcome back Bob, the Man on the Moon! Bob spots a strange seed glowing near Crater 1973, he doesn't realise when he goes back to earth for the night that it will grow into the first ever Moontree by the time he returns. Just what are the golden podberries - Bob knows they are important. Earth tourists  come to try to get a piece of Moontree, but Bob knows he must protect them). Finally, we discover the secret of the Moontree - the seeds are actually eggs, each one containing a baby alien! Take a look at for more fun!

I Have the Right To Be a Child by Alain Serres

A book which will encourage children to think about their rights and an excellent way to stimulate discussion and the consideration of those who are less well off. The text is simple but the vibrant illustrations tell much of the story and give plenty of prompts for consideration and discussion. The rights in the book are based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the book is a great resource for teaching children about children's rights and encourages discussion about how life is different in other countries. It's a thought provoking book, beautifully and simply presented.

Lollipop and Grandpa and the Wobbly Tooth by Penelope Harper

I love this series for its evocation of the wonderful relationship that can exist between grandfather and grandchild. If you are a grandparent, get a copy and share it with your grandchild. When Lollipop finds her first wobbly tooth, mischevious Grandpa is full of good ideas to help get it out... a tug-o'war, a woodpacker and an elephant. What is Grandpa thinking of? Great fun and Cate James' illustrations depict the relationship beautifully.

Naughty Kitty! by Adam Stower

Finally Lily (who we met in Silly Doggy!) gets her wish to have a pet - but it's not the dog she wanted, it's an adorable kitten. But surely one little kitten can't cause quite so much havoc.......... Children will love to point out the much bigger (but still feline) culprit lurking in the background. Lily is an enchanting heroine and the pictures are packed with amusing details for children to spot and enjoy. Quite a simple concept, but, oh, what fun!

The Really, Really, Really Big Dinosaur by Richard Bryne

Little dinosaur Finlay sits on a grassy mound counting out jelly beans to share with his friend when along comes an arrogant big dinosaur who demands the jelly beans. The big dinosaur doesn't believe Finlay has a big friendtries to prove that he is the best at everything but the tables are cleverly turned as the real identity of the grass mound is revealed. It's only then that the big dinosaur learns that in order to make friends it's a good idea not to show off and it's a good idea to be prepared to share. It's a lovely story and children will enjoy the clever twist.

Crunchy Croc by Sam Lloyd

These interactive puppet books are a great way to get young ones engrossed in a book and the puppet is a super aid to story telling - the book will work just as well one-to-one as read out to a group.. The big snappy teeth of the crocodile keep a child entranced as the puppet follows through each page of the story. Coco is a crocodile who always eats the wrong things - the reader can swivel her round and help her pick good things to chomp as she visits the fruit stall, cafe and vegetable shop in Jungle Town.  Doing a classroom project on crocs? Make this the centre of your display!

Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

The trees in Grandpa's garden tell the story in this unusual book, which really caught my eye and stood out as something different. Grandpa Green wasn't always a gardener - he used to live on a farm; he was also a soldier, a husband and an artist. We follow his grandson through a garden where memories are handed down through the shapes of topiary trees and imagination recreates things forgotten. It's a mesmerising book which depicts a magical way of sharing memories. Unusual, memorable and striking, with soft and subtle illustrations, this is a book which will stick in the memory long after reading it.

Showtime for Billie and Coco by Tor Freeman

There's no business like show business!  Fancy Feathers Talent School is the place to be - it's the most exciting school in town, with an amazing range of talented pupils. There's Coco, the singing crocodile; Billie the dancing pig; the fox clowns and many more - and they are all due to perform tonight. An amusing story, with wonderful busy pictures packed with detail to encourage children to spot and discuss 

Rastamouse and Da Bag-a Bling by Michael De Souza and Genevieve Webster

Rastamouse is the star of a hugely popular CBeebies series, so the reissue of these books gives children a great chance to enjoy the books. Rastamouse is on the move, Scratchy and Zoomer too. There's a bling-lovin' teef needs catching. It's a job for the easy crew! Red-hot reggae, happenin' hip-hop, big bags of bling and mysterious missing mice - all in a day's work for Rastamouse and the crew. Young children will love the bright colours and catchy text 

Foxy by Emma Dodd

It's the first day of school tomorrow  and Emily's worried that she doesn't have all the things she needs - sound familiar? But help is at hand in the form of Foxy, the fox with a magical tail who looks set fair to become a picture book classic.  Foxy can produce almost anything from his amazing tail - when things go right, that is! The 'mistakes' are hilarious and luckily things do go right in the end. A delightful story of friendship and trust, told through entertaining text and vibrant pictures children will love.

Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark

One of the best ways to reassure children about new experiences is to encourage them to share those experiences with favourite storybook characters. Lily and Blue Kangaroo - a friendship forever! The eighth title in this hugely popular series featuring Lily and her loveable soft toy sees the inseparable duo starting at a new school with surprising results. When Lily starts at a new school she asks Blue Kangaroo to come too. Lily thinks Blue Kangaroo is worried about going but, secretly, he can’t wait to explore and try new things – which is just as well, because the fun lasts even longer than he expected.

How Dinosaurs Really Work by Alan Snow

A new book in this fascinating series. This is the book you need if you have questions about dinosaurs - and if you want to know exactly how they work. The cut-away diagrams will intrigue and delight children as they see dinosaurs depicted as machines with all the workings exposed.  Packed with facts, jokes and information-filled drawings, this is the perfect book for any young dinosaur enthusiast. It's a novel approach but one which has already had huge success - this title will be just as popular, I am sure.

Jack's Mega Machines - The Rocket Racing Car by Alison Ritchie and Mike Byrne 

An exciting adventure, just right to inspire young boys to enjoy picture books. They will love the vivid action-packed illustrations and the fast-moving story. Jack's Rally Road Workshop is magic - every time he drives through its doors, he has an adventure. This time, he is off into outer space - can he beat the aliens in an intergalactic race? Jack makes lots of new friends along the way in this exciting story. And there's a bright card rocket inside for the reader to make and play with in his own stories. More books in this great series coming soon - look out for them!

How To Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens

One very small girl and one very large lion - so where can she hide him? Bit Iris has to hidethe lion as strangely,  mums and dads can be a bit funny about having a lion in the house. Iris finds all sorts of ingenious places to hide her friend - but nowhere quite worked. When Mum finds him, the lion finds a really clever place to hide, and is able to help the townspeople. A delightful story about friendship, illustrated with charming pictures of a very friendly lion who will be loved by children.

The Gardening Pirates by Ruth Morgan and Chris Glynn

Pirates. Gardening. The two hardly seem to go together, do they? But put them together and you get a hilariously silly tale. Times are hard on the bad ship Ych-a-Fi, times are hard and rations need to be supplemented. A mysterious seed they find when looking for buried treasure.could be the answer for the dastardly crew, thanks to cabin girl Gwen's initiative. Captain Cranc gets his come-uppance and the crew enjoy the fruits of their labours. A great story, with more text and substance than many picture books - fun to read aloud.

Squirrel's Autumn Search (Animal Seasons) by Anita Loughrey

I love the concept of this series - one story for each season, as the reader discovers the beginnings of new life with Rabbit, enjoys the summer sunshine with Mouse, searches in the leaves for hidden nuts with Squirrel and flies through a frozen wonderland with Owl. The reader is drawn into the story of squirrel as he plays in the leaves and stores food for the winter. It would be great to follow the series through with your child or in the classroom, to put the seasons into context.and to explain what to look for through the year. The others are Spring with Rabbit (Animal Seasons), Summer with Mouse (Animal Seasons) and Winter with Owl (Animal Seasons).

Never Lie on a Lion by Alan James Brown

Never lie on a lion. Never enter the lair of a grizzly bear. I love the catchy rhyming text of this colourful book which introduces lots of fantastic animals and  shows that all sorts of strange things can happen. Children get covered in mud, outrun by horses and kept on their toes by cows as they find the consequences of getting involved with the animals. Animals always appeal to children and the stunning illustrations are quite wonderful. Buying this book helps support the worldwide work of London Zoo,

Goodnight Digger by Michelle Robinson

It's bedtime and it's time to say goodnight to all the toys. It's a familiar ritual and as parents well know, it can be quite a lengthy one! So encourage your child to tidy up quickly so they can enjoy this story. Your child's imagination will be really encouraged as you share all the adventures they toys have, which are all vividly brought to life by Nick East's colourful illustrations. It's brilliant to know that this is the first in a new series. It's the perfect book to encourage little ones (and dare I say, especially boys) to go to bed, looking forward to seeing all their favourite toys again in the morning.

The Last Tiger by Rebecca Elliott

I love Rebecca Elliott's books. They carry a strong message which is always put over in an enjoyable and memorable way which leaves a lasting impression on the reader - child and adult alike. As in Zoo Girl, The Last Tiger warns of what the future might hold if we neglect our duty of care to our environment. In a world that has been destroyed by human carelessness, a little boy discovers the last tiger. But where did he come from? Through their adventure together they rediscover a natural way of living, and lead the world to a sustainable future. It's a positive message and one we would do well to heed.

Picasso's Trousers by Nicholas Allan

Picasso dared to be different and children will love to find out about his work through this entertaining book. Whenever Picasso does something different, people say, "No! No! No! Picasso!" But Picasso doesn't listen. Instead, he says . . . "Yes!".Soon he becomes the greatest painter in the world - but still strives to be different. Young readers will love to see Picasso in his studio and will enjoy the quirky surprise at the end of the book. Children will hopefully be inspired by Picasso's creations to produce imaginative work of their own. They will be amazed by his imagination and will love to read along with the catchy repetitive text in the story. The book concludes with facts about the artist.

I Don't Want to Go to Bed by Julie Sykes

When Little Tiger didn't want to go to bed, Mummy Tiger decided to let him stay up. He was thrilled and ran off into the jungle to play with his friends. But then they all went to sleep and he discovered the jungle was a dark and scary place. It's a lovely approach to a perennial problem and the perfect bedtime read, with a reassuring end. Bright stylish illustrations bring the story alive.

 The Pirate House by Rebecca Patterson

The cover shows just how unusual this book about pirates is, as we see the washing fluttering on the line. Is Sam just a boy with a huge imagination or are there really6 pirates living in the street? All the evidence says there really are pirates - and the children daren't look at that washing! And what will happen when the front door opens - will a tidal wave come out? You'll have to read the book to see... The pictures are full of detail, with lots to talk about and extend children's imaginations.

Matilda's Cat by Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett has a wonderful way of capturing expressions and that gives real character to her creations. We have all see this, haven't we? A child determined to get their pet to join in their favourite games and then wondering why they don't seem too keen. This is captured beautifully here as Matilda encourages her cat to climb trees, play with wool, draw, ride a bike . . . As Matilda gets more and more determined, we see the poor cat get more and more disinterested. This is a charming look at the relationship between a little girl and her cat.

Little Fin the Singing Fish by Daren King

One day, Little Fin finds some musical instruments have sunk to the bottom of the ocean. She really wants to play one, but all her friends are better so she doesn't get a chance. While all the other creatures are having fun, Little Fin goes off sadly and sings to herself - and the others doscover she has the best instrument of all! There's a different sound button for little ones to enjoy on every page, to help them interact with the story. Coupled with the bold bright illustrations, this is a book which will really capture young ones' attention.

Who's For Dinner by Claire Freedman

Can the farm animals outwit the wily City Fox? They come up with a cunning plan to confuse the gullible fox and children will love to laugh aloud as they spot what is going on and try to put the fox on the right track. Enjoy the endpapers, which show the drawings on which the story is based - can your child spot the drawing in the finished pictures? The illustrations are packed with detail, with little cameos too; there's lots there for discussion with young ones.

Eddie's Toolbox by Sarah Garland

Sarah Garland has a wonderful ability to depict family life as it really is. When a new family moves in next door, Eddie is disappointed as there is no friend for him - but he soon finds out that Tom has lots for him to do, and he has a wonderful time learning to make things, including a boat and a bird table. It's a lovely depiction of friendship, family life and working together. At the end of the book there are several pages of practical DIY advice. This is a lovely picture book for boys especially and shows how much fun can be had from making things together, and how adult and child can work in harmony.

What a Mess! by Adria Meserve

It's a wet, miserable day and everyone is fed up - don't you just know the feeling? But Bear has lots of good ideas ... but they don't quite work out as intended as Bear is really rather too big and clumsy! When Bear sulks off to bed, Mouse decides to go out in the rain to put things right. A lovely story of friendship, with bright detailed pictures which children will enjoy.

The Sleepy Way Home to Bed by Claire Freedman

A perfect bedtime story and the ideal way to wind down with a young child after a busy day. It's nearly bedtime but Little Hare isn't tired at all - does that sound familiar? So Mummy Hare says "Let's walk the sleepy way home to bed." On the way, they share a story with Horse, berries with Rabbit and a lullaby with Owl. Perhaps this delightful book will encourage your to make up your very own 'sleepy way' with your child.

Funny Farm by Jack Tickle

There are bound to be lots of oohs and aahs as the brightly coloured farm animals leap out of the page in this cleverly engineered book. They are woken up in the morning by Rooster, and then we find Pig, Donkey, Sheep, Cow and Dog, all having great fun on the farm. Bright colours and big bold pop outs will entrance children. Bright and engaging.

It's Mine by Tracey Corderoy

The friends Lulu and Baby Bear are having a great time together in their den - until Lulu wants to play with Baby Bear's new tiger toy... and Baby Bear does not want to share! Sound familiar? So to distract the friends, Mum takes them to the park... but they are still sulking - until Baby Bear has a really good idea. All through the story, children will love to follow the soft touch, brightly coloured Rory the tiger - a lovely way to get them involved with the story. Sharing the story with your child is a great way to encourage children to play together, to share and to develop imaginative play. Perhaps your children would like to build a tiger den?

 The Monster Machine by Nicola L Robinson

A wonderfully imaginative story about an amazing monster-making machine. Boys especially will revel in the story - what goes into making a monster? Why, there are slugs, bogeys, toenail clippings and many more horrid things! A whole range of intriguing monsters are created, but one sad day, they find they are no longer part of this world..... The wonderfully intricate illustrations (writer and illustrator are the same person, and this is her debut picture book) make this a book to keep returning to, as there will be something new spotted every time. There's plenty more monstrous fun to be had at

Where's Larry? by Philip Barrett

Comparisons are, I think, inevitable, but this is far more than just a 'spot the character' book. Larry the Leprechaun is travelling around Ireland and the reader is taken to many famous places and can join in with some well-known celebrations - along with hundreds of other people and, somewhere carefilly hidden, is Larry. Packed with life and vigour, the lively pictures are fascinating in their detail and the challenge of spotting Larry means you really look at the details. Then, more challenges at the end of the book as there is a list of things to spot on each page - great fun and hours of entertainment. 

How To Find a Fruit Bat by Michelle Robinson

Have you got a child who doesn't like fruit? Then they need a fruit bat to help them out! The only problem is finding one.... Join in an exciting adventure over sea and land to find the elusive fruit bat. But having found the bat, there is just one slight problem - and that's when fruit comes in very handy!Change children's whole outlook on fruit with this very funny book. The artwork is fascinating and contains some clever quirks and plenty of things to discuss.

 Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Roberton

More than absolutely anything, Henry wanted a dog, So he puts an advert in the paper to find the perfect pet. A lonely duck reads it and has the bright idea of disguising himself as a dog to apply for the job......... but his disguise isn't very good. He is no good catching balls and his floppy ears and tail fall off. Henry is disappointed for a moment, until he thinks of all the amazing things this duck CAN do, and realises he has found his perfect pet after all. It's a lovely heartwarming and imaginative tale of friendship and adaptability - sometimes, we can find perfection where we don't expect it.

The Perfect Present by Fiona Roberton

The two wonderful friends, Henry and Spot, return in another delightful story. Now Henry has the perfect pet, it's time for a perfect present. Spot thinks he has found it and is very excited, waiting for Henry to open it. But then along come Henry's grandparents, with their perfect present. Poor Spot thinks he isn't wanted any more, so sets off to go home - this was so sad, it brought a tear to my eye, but in the best tradition of picture books, all is well..... This really is a lovely story and shows the value of true friendship. The pictures are full of emotion and atmosphere - very clever.

Yucky Mucky Manners by Sam Lloyd

Animals are all beautifully mannered - right? No - very, very wrong! They do all sorts of disgusting things that no nicely brought up child would dream of doing... or would they? Children will relish this story about the animals in the jungle who have all sorts of bad habits - talking with their mouths full, speaking while others are talking, sneezing and burping.... This vividly coloured book with its simple but hilarious illustrations will be a great hit with children - look out for the detailed little animals. The perfect book to share with young children as a gentle reminder of the importance of good manners.

My Granny is a Pirate by Val McDermid

When a family secret about Granny is revealed, we discover all about her fiercesome pirate reputation and her swashbuckling ways - from making other rogueish pirates walk the plank to singing sea shanties to her dog, Jolly Roger. The rollicking rhyming text moves the story on in a way guaranteed to keep young readers interested. Look again at your granny...could she be a pirate too? A must-have book with funny and lively illustrations, ideal for all pirate fans.

Guinea Pig Party by Holly Surplice

The first thing that struck me with this book was the lovely padded cover - and then the cute guinea pigs who adorn it. Join the 10 little guinea pigs as they enjoy a party - and count down as, one by one, they fall by the wayside as things, in a gently humorous fashion, start to go wrong. The little guinea pigs are charming, with the most expressive faces, and the pictures are full of action and fun.

When Dad Was Away by Liz Weir and Karin Littlewood

A difficult and emotive subject, handled with sensitivity and empathy. Understandably, Milly is angry and confused when Mum tells her Dad is in prison. Mum takes Milly and her brother Sam to visit Dad in prison. There are many positives in this book -  a special package arrives for Milly and then at Christmas the family go to a party at the prison. Finally, there's an even better surprise for Milly and Sam… The sense of family, and the bond that family has, is a strength of the book and shows how important family is in times of trouble. An excellent book for all anyone affected by this sad but all too common situation, which helps a greater understanding.

 Who Loves Baby? by Julia Hubery and Sean Julian (illus)

It's often a hard time for the older sibling when a new baby brother or sister arrives on the scene, and everyone seems to go all gooey over the new arrival. Big brother wonders why, when baby is icky and sicky and pongy and pooey. But then he finds the new baby is quite nice after all.... A gently reassuring story which is perfect to share when a new baby arrives - cuddle up together, just like in the story!

Have You Ever Ever Ever? by Colin McNaughton

Two fantastic talents (the illustrator is Emma Chichester Clark) come together to create a wonderful celebration of much-loved nursery rhymes in catchy verse. Join the fun with Mother Goose as all your favourite nursery rhyme characters come to life. Read it aloud and children will delight in chorusing the refrain - No, I've never ever ever. The important message is in the ending - get along to the library to enter a magical world of stories - the little boy who has looked somewhat disinterested through the story is thrilled at what he discovers

New Shoes (The Buttons Family) by Vivian French

The Buttons Family - three delightful children who enjoy the new experiences common to all young children. This time, it's a visit to the shoe shop. Charlie's shoes are too tight but he doesn't want new ones. But when the lady at the shoe shop tells Charlie to listen to his toes, he hears them saying "ouch!" and feels sorry for them. But will they help Charlie choose his new shoes?

The Skeleton Pirate by David Lucas

Pirates are enduringly popular with children of all ages, so here's a chance for young ones to enjoy a rollicking swashbuckling adventure with that terror of the seas, the Skeleton Pirate - he who claims  “I’ll never be beaten!” But it's just not true, as his enemies bind him and toss him overboard. It looks as though all will be well when the mermaid rescuse him - until along comes a great big hungry whale. To escape, the Skeleton Pirate learns that there are better ways of behaving than fighting - a valuable message for us all! 




Growing Frogs by Vivian French

Yes, this is very much a picture book as the little girl and her mum find and look after frogspawn, watching it turn into tadpoles and ultimately into frogs - but it is also an excellent first look at lifecycles. The factual part of the book gives information on fertilisation, collecting and keeping frogspawn, the development and care of the tadpoles and how they grow into fully formed frogs. Perfect for the infant classroom! An excellent way to introduce young children to the world around us.

Keith the Cat With the Magic Hat by Sue Hendra

Keith is feeling a bit embarrassed when an ice cream lands on his head, so he claims it is a magic hat. It seems to be going well until one day, Keith loses his magic hat but then discovers that magic is still possible. I love the illustrations and the pastel coloured cats are charming. A charming story that leaves you feeling happy.

The Yoga Ogre by Peter Bently and Simon Rickerty

Ogden is a very nice ogre but one with a rather large appetite for pies - some with some very strange fillings! When he decides he has put on a bit too much weight and his jim-jams are too tight, he tries various forms of exercise - with hilarious consequences. After one particularly disastrous episode, the townspeople suggest yoga. So Ogden tries it out - but that's no better. Jogging, perhaps? A hilarious story with bright bold illustrations.

It's Not Fairy by Ros Asquith

A book which challenges pre-conceived ideas, encourages children to think, and encourages conversation - a great deal for one picture book to achieve! Billy and Mary don't believe in the It's Not Fairy - until she turns up at their house! And it's not just the children she wants to bake into a Fairy cake, Mum and Dad come in for their share of blame too. It's time for a family action plan. Can they convince the It's Not Fairy that they're all going to BE FAIR from now on…? You can make some 'It's not fairy' cakes at the end!

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