Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 8)

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.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Squiglet Pig by Joyce Dunbar

Piglet Squid is always smiling but the rest of his friends at the bottom of the ocean are always so miserable so Piglet Squid sets out to show them there really is plenty to be happy about.  But danger lurks  - will our plucky fish survive? In a quirky twist, all is well and Piglet Squid find some very smiley friends. .When he returns to the deep, he finally makes the others smile. Stunning illustrations make this book quite delightful.  Twinkle, Twinkle, Squiglet Pig is inspired by a real animal, normally found more than 320 feet below the surface of the ocean. The unusual pattern of skin pigmentation in the specimen below means that he is always smiling.

The Very Noisy House by Julie Rhodes illus by Korky Paul

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

Red Car, Red Bus by Susan Steggall

The eye is immediately drawn to this book because of its unusual format - a long long book. Young children are introduced to colours as gradually the busy street scenes fill up - first the red bus, then the red car, then the yellow car......... and finally another red bus. As this happens, the reader is taken through a series of busy street scenes with plenty happening and lots of opportunity for discussion - just look at all the different things the people do through the book. Patterns, textures and shapes are used to good purpose - look at the changing clouds for instance. A fun book but one which offers plenty of learning opportunities.

A Royal Fairytale by Joanna Rivard and Adam Larkum

Lots of girls dream of marrying a handsome prince - and this is a fairytale come true - a little boy destined to be king and a girl dreaming of marrying a prince. We all know what happened, of course, but this whimsical look at the couple is a lovely story to share and enjoy amid the excitement leading up to the royal birth. The story is fun and the illustrations are joyful and entertaining. All-in-all, it's a lovely tribute to our Royal Family.

Stroppy Stan by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

To put it mildly, Stan wasn't happy when things went wrong - in fact, he got very, very stroppy. If his sister had more chocolate chips, if he lost at a game, if he had the wrong backpack, everyone needed to stand back! But his teacher knew just how to handle his stroppiness - and Stan goes home and passes it on to his sister and then starts to reason on his behaviour. An amusing story which helps children to reslove a common problem.

What is Part This, Part That? by Harriet Ziefert

An intriguing book which takes an unusual look at opposites. The rhyming text carries the reader through the book guessing what the different parts add up to - the answers are found in the big fold-up flaps. For example, 'What time of day is part wash and part play?'. It's an interesting approach which will encourage plenty of discussion and interaction and I can see great possibilities for developing the concept with your child.

It's a Firefly Night by Dianne Ochiltree

A magical story just right for bedtime reading. "One, two, three, four, five. My jar's like a light bulb that's just come alive." YOu can see from this that the rhythm is captivating and the story excellent to read aloud. It is the story of a girl's capture and release of ten fireflies. The illustrations are stunning - bold and colourful and echo the feel of the story perfectly. The book ends with some information about these beautiful creatures.

To Dad You're a Star by Josephine Collins

This is a lovely little book, ideal to give dad as a gift, to tell him just how much you love him - and then share the book together. From the padded blue heart on the cover, to the heart-shaped bookmark and the delicate drawings, it's beautifully presented. The text is a heartwarming celebration of all the very best things about dads.

Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail

If you have a toddler who is reluctant to go to bed, then this is just the book for you! It's time for bed but Fred the dog will do ANYTHING to avoid bedtime - even have a bath. But what's this? All that running around couldn't possibly have made Fred sleepy . . . could it? So Fred climbs a tree, jumps in a muddy puddle, hides in a watering can... and finally is so exhausted that he looks for his bed... A colourful romp with exciting illustrations and a very lovable character

Lollipop and Grandpa's Dinosaur Hunt by Penelope Harper

These books are a wonderful celebration of the very special relationship that can exist between grandfather and granddaughter. This time, the intrepid pair are off in search of dinosaurs with their wonderful blend of reality and imagination. The family are on holiday on the Jurassic Coast and there are dinosaurs everywhere - but not dinosaurs as we know them - there's the Digger-dosus, the Stair-go-saurus, the Try-see-the tops and the Pylon-a-saurus Rex. Brilliantly imaginative and wonderfully understanding of how children feel, all enhanced by the charming illustrations.

Hot Air by Sandrine Dumas Roy

An unusual look at global warming, as seen through the eyes of the animals who are finding things are not as they have always been. So they decide a global conference is needed to find the answer. The conclusion is that it's the gassy cows who are causing the problem - but finding a solution is harder because every creature will only look at things from their own viewpoint. It's a hilarious look at a global problem which makes the reader think about the way we try to tackle the problem. Thoughtful and unusual with intriguing and fascinating illustrations. It's an excellent way to stimulate discussion and the approach is such that it can be used across a range of age groups.

Shhh! Don't Wake the Royal Baby! by Martha Mumford

There's no peace at the Palace – the Royal Baby just won’t go to sleep - even a parachute jump with the queen only has a short-lived effect. The Palace is such a noisy place - there's the Changing of the Guard, corgi walkies, party planning and much more to wake the baby up. It turns out that there's just one thing the baby needs... All hilariously depicted in amusing text and fascinating pictures. A laugh-out-loud celebration of the new addition to the Royal Family, guaranteed to raise plenty of chuckles. A super souvenir for the royal birth which will hopefully find its place in the royal nursery.

Flying Like Flittermouse: A Bottlenose Bay Story by Jan Fearnley

The yellow teashop belonging to Etsuko hamster is a welcoming place,and Boz the Boatbuilder is there every day. And then one day along comes Flittermouse and Etsuko longs to fly just like him. But hamsters just aren't born to fly, despite trying all sorts of hilarious ways. But Boz is a good friend and determines to help Etsuko attain her dream. A charming story about friendship and never giving up on your dreams.

All the Families by Margaret Wise Brown

We all have families and this is a lovely celebration of families and the joy of being part of a family - whether animal or human. Elephants, bunnies and dogs - they all look after their babies, feed them and tenderly put them to sleep. A gentle and reassuring story which is ideal for bedtime to send your little one off to sleep feeling safe and snug. The colourful and detailed illustrations by Gabriel Alborozo, coupled with the questions in the text, give lots of opportunity for discussion.

My Friend, Fred (the Plant): Balloon Toons by Daniel Cleary

An unusual story about a catboy and his best friend,a sunflower named Fred. A doubting skateboarding cat-kid questions the friendship but when the three have fun together, his preconceptions are changed. The cartoon style and simple story are ideal for children just starting to read on their own.

The Radically Awesome Adventures of the Animal Princess: Balloon Toons by Pranas T. Naujokaitis

Animal Princess first appeared in The Totally Awesome Epic Quest of the Brave Boy Knight. Now she has her own trio of fulsomely funny adventures (with a cameo by Brave Boy Knight) set in a magical funkadelic kingdom ruled by Queen Mom and King Dad. Though they sometimes force her to wear awful, frilly dresses, Animal Princess prefers magical pajamas, quests, and battling three-headed wizards. Pink? Not her thing! It's radically awesome, big, funny fun! Good to read aloud and share with children.

The Royal Nappy: A Royal Baby Book by Nicholas Allan

Just in time for the royal baby comes this hugely entertaining book from an author who knows exactly what appeals to children's (and adults'!) sense of humour. Royal nappies have been needed right through history and Nanny has always been prepared with a special nappy for every royal occasion - even on board a helicopter! All made at - where else - but the Royal Mint! But what would happen if the nappies ran out? All would be... but all is well as help is at hand. It's spot on and had me chuckling right the way through.

Excuses, Excuses! by Rebecca Rissman

A naughty little boy is having a bad day - but none of it is his fault, of course! He didn't break the vase, soak the cat or any of the other calamities which took place - or did he? Look carefully at the pictures and you will be able to see the evidence of what happened - this gives parents a good chance to discuss the pictures. The little boy realises what he has done wrong and promises to do better - an important message for every child.

No! by Tracey Corderoy

This is just the perfect book to share with my grandson who has, just like little Archie, just learnt the word 'no'. Archie was adorable... until the day he learnt a new word. And then it was 'no' to everything - mealtimes, bathtime, bedtime and everything at nursery. But then Archie realises that he was missing out and suddenly he has a new favourite word - can you guess what it is? A hilarious look at a common situation and perfect for sharing with any little one going through the same phase - as they nearly all do!

Little Albatross by Michael Morpurgo

The inspired pairing of Michaels Morpurgo and Foreman teamed up to bring us another wonderful picture book - their work is wonderfully complementary. As the last of the snow melts, Little Albatross is snug in the warmth of Mother Albatross' feathers. One day, when Mother and Father Albatross see he is big enough to be left for a while, they go fishing together. But danger lurks - for Little Albatross it's a big bird lurking; for his parents it's the fishermen with their nets and a fearsome shark. A touching story that has the reader on tenterhooks - and which carries an important message too.

Just Imagine by Pippa Goodhart illus by Nick Sharratt

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.

You Choose! by Pippa Goodhart illus by Nick Sharratt

Offer a child the chance to go where they like, with who they like and do what they like - a child's dream come true! And that's just what they can do with this inspired book, which is now celebrating 10 years since first publication.Each page poses a question - what would you wear? what would you eat? what job would you like? and offers children a huge range of pictures showing the options. It's a brilliant way to encourage children to use their imaginations and discuss what they would like to do and extend vocabulary at the same time. There are so many opportunities to extend this further; there are stickers to enjoy too. Use Nick Sharratt's quirky and colourful illustrations to stimulate story writing - how about making the book the basis of a creative writing project in the classroom?

Bang by Leo Timmers

A cumulative series of car crashes leads to a hilarious sequence of events in this almost wordless picture book. A series of quirky and colourful vehicles with some interesting cargoes crash into each other following a moment of inattention and fish, birds, vegetables and more land up in some strange places! The further the story goes, the more fun it gets and there is a stunning fold-out page at the end which shows the whole calamitous sequence and some very animated creatures having a very animated discussion. Engaging and colourful, children will love this and the visual approach means pre-schoolers can enjoy the story for themselves.

The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino

A poor lonely little crocodile is sad when his brothers and sisters are playing in the water and he can't join in. Perhaps a rubber ring will solve the problem? That doesn't really work out and our endearing little dragon gets very cold - and then he gives a huge sneeze... and breathes out fire. A charming debut picture book with a gentle and uplifting story and some beautifully depicted characters.

The Belly Book by Fran Manushkin

"Every daughter, every son, has their own - but only one - with a button in the middle. Can you guess this little riddle?" This unusual book with its rhyming text takes the reader on an exploration of the world of bellies - "round or flat, all deserve a happy pat!". Colourful and quirky, this is an unusual book about something we all have in common.

Lewie Lemon and the Camping Trip (The Froobles) by Lucy Coult

This collection of little books from Top That! is eminently collectable - just the right size for little hands and very enjoyable with the inclusion of the page of stickers. The Froobles are friendly fruit and vegetable characters who act out their stories against backgrounds created by playschool children. It's a great series to encourage children's imaginations as well as helping them understand important concepts about everyday life. The Froobles are going on a camping trip but grumpy Lewie Lemon doesn't like sharing. He soon finds out that things are no fun on his own and by the end of the story, he's not a bitter lemon any more!

Peek-a-boo Animals (Peek-a-boo Pop-up Books) by Kate Thompson

Say 'peek-a-boo' to the animals as the tortoise, kitten, puppy, rabbit and hamster pop up to say hello through the pages of this colourful book. Friendly animals with plenty of other creatures to spot too - and a question on each page to engage the child with the story. They will enjoy joining in with the repetitive text and making the animal sounds.

Princess Poppy: The Holiday (Princess Poppy Picture Books) by Janey Louise Jones

Princess Poppy is a lovely series for little girls to collect - there are picture books, activity books and story books for the older girl, so it's a great series to get into. In this story Poppy is on holiday with her family, but the twins are driving her mad and she's missing Honey. Things improve when she makes a new friend, but they get into trouble when they disobey instructions. Luckily, all turns out well and the girls have learnt an important lesson. There's a letter from Poppy to discover at the start of the book.

Russell, Grunt and Snort by Jason Chapman

Russell thinks there must be a better life, as he gazes longingly out to sea beyond the zappy fence. He has a cunning plan and he and his two friends set sail in a most unusual boat. But the big wide world holds much more danger than the pigs expect, and everyone seems suspiciously happy to see them... Some quick thinking is called for to save their bacon! Full of humour, this is a super story with plenty of amusing detail to enjoy in the pictures.

Eleanor's Eyebrows by Timothy Knapman

Just as you think that there could not possibly be any new subjects for a picture book, along comes this zany and imaginative book. Would you miss your eyebrows? Eleanor can't see the point of her eyebrows, so when they slide off her face one night, she really doesn't care. While the eyebrows set off on some exciting adventures, Eleanor realises that she does miss them after all. Great fun!

Dustbin Dad by Peter Bently

I love reading books like this aloud, with their galloping rhyming text that captures children's attention right to the end. The Dad in this story is a human dustbin - he eats everything that is left on plates at mealtimes. But one day he accidentally eats the cat's (very expensive!) Puss-Pep-Up Powder and strange things happen. Luckily, things work out all right but the moral of the tale is 'eat everything on your plate!'.

Bear's Big Bottom by Steve Smallman

Poor Bear! He's a lovely friendly bear, but he does have a rather big bottom - and his big bottom causes chaos and gets him into big trouble at Squirrel's birthday bash. Can he ever make it up to his friends? Luckily, Bear's big bottom does come in very useful... A hilarious story, told in rhyme, which will appeal to children's sense of humour as anything to do with bottoms would. Emma Yarlett's colourful illustrations are full of humorous detail. Publication 1 July 2013.

Mr Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham

 It's lovely to see this old favourite reissued for a whole new audience, and there are many parents - and even a few grandparents - who will remember this book well. One day, Mr Gumpy decides to go out in his boat but EVERYBODY wants to go out with him. He lets them all go long but on condition they behave themselves - the children must not squabble, the rabbit must not chase about............they are all very good to start with but then they all forgot their promises. I will leave you to guess what happens then! The gently coloured illustrations are really appealing and it is good to see this classic brought to a new generation.

A Farmer's Life for Me by Jan Dobbins

' Step Inside a Story' is Barefoot Books' motto and this colourful book with its mixture of fact and fiction and song with accompanying audio visual CD really does draw children into the narrative and encourage them to join in. Catchy rhyming text and the repetition of '1, 2, 3, it's a farmer's life for me' add to this effect. Join the busy family and friends for a day on the farm, from milking the cows in the morning to closing the gate at night. Even more interaction with the questions which encourage observation and discussion. Laura Huliska-Beith's colourful busy illustrations are the icing on the cake in this super book.

Ruff!: And the Wonderfully Amazing Busy Day by Caroline Jayne Church

Riff is so lovable! Children will really warm to this lovely dog, who works away busily - but all alone. Not for long though, as he meets Hubble the mouse and Lottie the duck and they soon become firm friends - and they are all very busy and happy together. A delightful story about friendship - and we are promised that this is the first in a series.

My Dad! by Steve Smallman

A perfect Father's Day present, or at any time when a child wants to give dad a gift they can share. All dads are different, but they are all special as this charming book shows. Dads can do all sorts of things - they can build castles, read stories and cheer you up when you are down. Sean Julian's warm and friendly illustrations are the perfect complement to the text.

Mog the Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr

This was first published over 40 years ago and this is a special hardback edition to celebrate Judith Kerr's 90th birthday. A true children's picture book classic, the story never dates and has always retained its appeal. Poor Mog - it seems she is always in trouble and today has been a really bad day, and we hear 'Bother that cat' over and over again. But then she gets the chance to redeem herself and we see a delightfully quirky ending as the burglar enjoys a cup of tea with the family! A story that children will love to read again and again.

Little Beaver and the Big Front Tooth by Amy MacDonald

A story about a beaver is a refreshing change from the animals more commonly depicted in picture books - and especially when he is as lovable as Little Beaver. When he finds a wobbly big front tooth, Little Beaver worries that he may not be a beaver after all - so he sets off to meet lots of other animals to see if he might be one of them. But in the end, it's Wise Old Beaver who reassures Little Beaver that losing teeth is part of growing up. A lovely reassuring story to share with young ones who have their first wobbly tooth.

Phoebe and Digger by Tricia Springstubb

I've heard of older siblings being given a doll when a new baby arrives, but never a digger - but that's just what Phoebe gets! Mum's busy but finally it’s time to go to the park, and the best thing about the park is that it has real dirt. It's great fun until a big girl comes along and starts to play with Digger; Phoebe tries everything to get him back but Mum saves the day. A reassuring book about a very common situation, well told and delightfully illustrated.

Tom and Millie's Great Big Treasure Hunt by Guy Parker-Rees

A super book which will give your child hours of entertainment. Join Tom and Millie on a treasure hunt going from beach to playground to town... and everywhere there is lots of action and things to search for. Numbers, shapes and colours are all there for Tom and Millie to find - and the reader too. Lively illustrations and friendly characters make this a book children will keep returning to.

64 Zoo Lane: Georgina the Giraffe by An Vrombaut

Perfect for preschool children, 64 Zoo Lane had the highest viewing figures on CBeebies in 2011 and the 4th series is out now. Lucy lives next door to the zoo, so she has some very strange neighbours. Every night, she climbs down the long neck of Georgina the Giraffe and listens to an animal tell her a story. Tonight it's Georgina's turn. She is very talented and wants everyone to know. But things don't quite go according to plan... Have fun with 64 Zoo Lane at

Zed the Zebra (64 Zoo Lane) by An Vrombaut

Tonight, Lucy's trip down Georgina's neck has her enjoying a story from Zed the Zebra. Zed is proud of his go-faster stripes and of being the faster runner in all Africa... but the other animals want to stop him boasting. This series is based on the BAFTA award winning CBeebies series and young fans of the series will love to read the books and sing along with the 64ZooLane song.

The Toucan Brothers by Tor Freeman

This is one of those stories that just trips off the tongue, making it a delight to read aloud - "When your loo's got the blues and your shower runs dry"... call on the Toucan Brothers; they have all the answers! But then a new plumber, Flash Rover, comes on the scene, with disastrous (but absolutely hilarious) consequences and the Toucan Brothers are in demand again. The illustrations are inspired and the residents of Tapton are wonderfully depicted. This is a gem of a picture book and I guarantee it will have you laughing aloud.

One Night, Far From Here by Julia Wauters

This book uses transparent acetate sheets to create a beguiling book which will entice children as they turns the pages to reveal more each time. From the cool of the night to the heat of the day, the animals of the African savannah, the Russian taiga, the Amazon rainforest, the depths of the ocean and the forest are revealed to the reader... and there's a surprise on the last page. A lovely way for children to learn about animals, with stunning and unusual illustrations. A book to cherish, with beautifully phrased story telling.

Max the Champion by Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick

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

Dominic Grows Sweetcorn by Mandy Ross

When Dominic visits Grandpa, Grandpa shows Dominic how to grow sweetcorn, just like he did in Jamaica. And Grandpa uses the opportunity to tell Dominic all about his life in Jamaica, and what happened when they came to Britain. When the sweetcorn is ready to harvest, Grandpa and Dominic swap it for apples from the next-door neighbour, just like Grandpa used to in the Caribbean. The vibrant bold illustrations by Alison Bartlett capture the image of Jamaica and its colours

Zoo Hullaballoo! A Ladybird Big Noisy Book by Jaclyn Crupi

Young children love these sound books and here they have the chance to hear the sounds made by seven zoo animals as they join Zookeeper Annabel (and hear her buggy) as she spends her day at the zoo. As well as the sounds, additional labels highlight interesting features or animals to talk about together - and there's a ladybird to spot on every page. It's lots of fun and educational too, as children learn the sounds and about the animals. There are tabs at the tops of the pages too, to help young fingers turn the pages of this sturdy and durable board book, which will give hours of fun.

Worried Arthur: The Big Match Ladybird Picture Books by Joan Stimson

Arthur is a penguin and Arthur is a worrier. When he is picked to play the football final match at school, Arthur is both worried and excited. What if he doesn't get enough practice? What if he scores an own goal? But Dad is there to help - even if he does seem to have gone a bit overboard dressing for the match! It's a reassuring story which shows how problems can be sorted out with a bit of help from family.

Primrose by Alex T. Smith

It can be rather boring being a princess - Princess Primrose is not allowed to climb trees, dig up muddy vegetables or even splash in the fountain. The royal household is rather prim and proper- at least until Primrose's Grandmama comes to stay. She thinks life should be fun - and this book is full of fun and giggles right to the end, as Grandmama hops off on her pogo stick.

The Disgusting Sandwich by Gareth Edwards

All the animals want the sandwich the boy dropped into the sandpit and they are all determined to get it. The hungry badger wants it, but he's just not quick enough... a squirrel,  a fox, a band of slugs are all after it ..that sandwich goes on a very messy and very amusing journey. And if the badger does get it, will it be too disgusting to eat? There's a surprising twist at the end of the story.

And the Cars Go... by William Bee

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

Don't Get Angry, Annie (You Choose!) by Lisa Regan

Another in the series of books which presents children with different scenarios based on common situations and encourages them to choose which they think is the right thing to do. Like so many children, Annie gets angry when things don't go her way when playing with friends, drawing, wanting a cookie and other situations are experienced and then three possible ways of handling the situation are given, and this gives adults and children plenty to discuss and consider while the child decides which is the right action to take. It's a child-friendly approach which will work well both in the classroom, especially at story time, and at home

Shall We Share a Story Tonight? by Amber Stewart

This beautifully presented book would make a perfect gift. From the peep-hole in the softly padded front cover, through the glossy pages to the beautifully decorated endpapers, it is sheer delight. The collection of four stand-alone picture books with their original charming illustrations includes Just Like Tonight by Amber Stewart; What Small Rabbit Heard by Sheryl Webster; Christopher Nibble by Charlotte Middleton; and Whoosh Around the Mulberry Bush by Jan Ormerod. These reassuring animal stories are perfect for sharing at the end of the day, to send your little one off to sleep, feeling safe and secure.

Wait Your Turn, Tilly (You Choose!) by Lisa Regan

One in a series of books which presents children with different scenarios based on common situations and encourages children to choose which they think is the right thing to do. Like so many children, Tilly is impatient and sometimes she just can't wait! She wants the toy someone else has; she wants her party bag NOW, she wants to tell mum and dad what she has been doing... These and other situations are experienced and then three possible ways of handling the situation are given, and this gives adults and children plenty to discuss and consider while the child decides which is the right action to take. It's a child-friendly approach which will work well both in the classroom and at home.

Samuel Scaredosaurus (Dinosaurs Have Feelings, Too) by Brian Moses

A light-hearted series of books which nonetheless explores important issues for young children. Brian Moses uses friendly dinosaurs to convey his message. In this story, we meet Samuel Scaredosaurus who is scared of lots of things - the dark, being bullied,getting lost... His parents reassure him - they too used to be scared of things and they come up with some very practical ideas to help Samuel face up to his fears. An enjoyable story and a good way to convey the reassuring message. Includes notes for parents and teachers on how to share this book to help children learn about their emotions.

Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam by Tracey Corderoy

A new book from Tracey Corderoy is always a treat! Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam just can't make crime pay, so one day they come up with a cunning plan. They invite all their neighbours to a party, so they can rob their empty houses. When their plans are foiled again, but it seems there is something our canine pals can do extremely well... The flowing rhyming text is beautifully complemented by Steven Lenton's gorgeous illustrations (spot the spider on every page!), with a lovely range of friendly dogs. A very funny story with a moral, which is a delight to read aloud.

Lion's Speedy Sauce (Jump Up and Join in) by Carrie and David Grant

This is a super series (six books are planned) which encourages children to enjoy music. The authors will be well known to CBeebies viewers for Carrie and David's Popshop, and they now bring their passion for music into book form. Lion is sleepy and his bongos have lost their beat - so the whole band slows down... It's a good thing there's a spicy lunch on hand to wake him up! A CD is included with seven tracks and ideas for parents and teachers on using them - a great help for those of us not musically gifted! There are even instructions for making bongos. All-in-all, a super book.

And the Train Goes... by William Bee

A book which is a joy to read aloud as the train goes "Clickerty click, clickerty clack' and the rhythm races you through the book. Join the wide variety of passengers - the school party, the chickens, the soldiers... for a fun-packed journey. Children will love to join in with the sounds and I can see this being a book which will be requested over and over again. The unusual illustrations with their bold striking colours are full of quirky details both children and adults will enjoy - look at the name of the engine! And I love the businessmen's breakfast! Unusual and engaging - a super book.

My Dad Thinks He's Funny by Katrina Germein

If you love corny old jokes, then you'll love this book - and we know that children do love old jokes. Whatever happens, Dad always comes up with a joke - "Whenever I say 'I'm hungry' Dad says 'Hello Hungry, pleased to meet you.'" A super collection of old favourites, interwoven into an amusing story. It's the illustrations by Tom Jellett that make the book really clever - quirky drawings that enhance the joke and also show a closeness between father and son. Guaranteed laughs.

Weasels by Elys Dolan

It's not just children who will enjoy this - there's plenty to amuse adults too, and perhaps older siblings who will enjoy sharing this with younger ones. What do weasels do all day? They plot world domination, of course! But there are a few technical hitches to overcome on the way and this hilarious book shows, in intricate detail through wonderful drawings (even the end papers merit close attention!), just how they set about mending their machine. But, in an unexpected ending, they have overlooked something very obvious.... Packed with detail, you will find something new every time you reread this unusual story.

Alex and the Watermelon Boat by Chris McKimmie

The floods are coming, but Alex's only concern is his toy rabbit, whoi jumped out of the window as the floods started. 'Don't go outside, Alex' says Mum, but Alex sets off in his watermelon boat into a strange and frightening world, where the aftermath of the flood is vividly brought to life by the drawings. The text swirls around the pictures, drawing the eye this way and that, evoking the swirling of the flood waters. Unusual and engrossing.

The Dream of the Thylacine by Margaret Wild

The Dream of the Thylacine is a lament for a lost species as well as a celebration of the Australian landscape. It is a book which makes the reader stop and ponder on the damage we are doing to the natural world. The moving images of the last known thylacine in a concrete cage will haunt the reader, with its emotive text printed on the planks of the cage.  Ron Brooks' sweeping colour paintings of the animal in its natural environment are beautiful and evocative. 

Go JoJo, Go!: A Little Penguin on a Big Swim by Tessa Bickford

This is a beautifully photographed book about penguins on the Australian World Heritage Macquarie Island. Jojo, the fuzzy little baby penguin, is desperate to go down and swim in the sea, but she must wait until she grows a shiny penguin coat, and is strong enough to swim across the biggest rock pool. As Jojo grows, we meet the other creatures who inhabit this beautiful island. At last, Jojo is ready for the sea, but danger lurks... or does it? A lovely story which teaches so much about this very special island.

Ten Scared Fish by Ros Moriarty

A counting book with a difference. Meet the turtles, the snakes and the fish as we follow the journey of the river to the sea - with a scary surprise at the end for the poor fish! The fun text helps with counting and also introduces prepositions - in and by. The Aboriginal illustrations give the book an unusual charm and the text is given in Yanyuwa, a language spoken in Borraloola, Northern Territory. 

Kangaroos Hop by Ros Moriarty

This brightly coloured book with its stylised Aboriginal illustrations depicts Australian animals in their own landscape. In this cumulative story, the kangaroos hop, the butterflies fly, the echidnas shuffle, the butterflies dance... but they must be careful at the end! The repetition in the text makes it good for reading aloud and children will love to join in. The book features a page of text in Yanyuwa, an Aboriginal language.

Elephant's Birthday Bells (Jump Up and Join in) by Carrie Grant

This is one of the first in a new series from the creators of hit CBeebies series Pop Shop. This is a super way to involve young children with music by building on their enjoyment of this lively series. Elephant is just too loud for the family band, so she gets some very special bells.  It's a lovely story on its own, but there's much more. Each book in the series includes a CD with seven tracks and there are ideas for joining in so children can enjoy the music. This title includes instructions for making jingle jangle bells too. A super book which will be an asset to an infant classroom and just as much fun at home.

Look Back! by Trish Cooke

Listen to the story as a grandmother shares with her grandson stories of her Caribbean childhood. Is the mysterious Ti Bolom real or a figment of Grannie's active imagination? The story interweaves the rainforest secrets with present-day curiosity and still the reader is left guessing. If you want to believe... Atmospheric illustrations by Caroline Binch capture both the rainforest with all its rich variety and the modern-day world. A thoughtful and very special story about the power of the imagination, with a loving family relationship at its heart.

Snail Trail: In Search of a Modern Masterpiece by Jo Saxton

Much more than 'just' a picture book, this is a colourful and inspiring introduction to modern art for children. A simple and engaging story is told by the snail as he takes you on a shiny trail in search of a very special picture. Differing artistic concepts are explained in a very simple way through catchy rhyming text - and for those wanting to identify the artists, you can at the end. Unusual and an excellent basis for lots of classroom work.

Ferdinand Fox's Big Sleep by Karen Inglis

This is the first of a promised six delightful rhyming stories for 3-6 year-olds about Ferdinand, an urban fox. As the afternoon passes, marked by the church clock, Ferdinand dreams about cake and ice cream, lamb and coleslaw. Even when Peter Maceever spots Ferdinand Fox sleeping in his garden and tiptoes out to take a photo, still he dreams on until at 5 o'clock he has gone! Share this delightfully illustrated book with your child and use the opportunity to learn about telling the time. I look forward to seeing more stories about this friendly character.

Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar (Zoe & Beans) by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Another enjoyable outing for two of the most adorable friends in children's fiction. Here, Zoe and Beans meet Oscar, the new next-door neighbour and make a new friend, when Zoe finds lots of strange animals in her garden. The simplicity of the stories and the pictures draws young children to these books, and they want to hear them over and over again. There's plenty of scope here for children's imaginations to build on the story

Tim, Ted and the Pirates by Ian Whybrow

It's story time at school, when all of a sudden the classroom fills with water and Tim and Ted find themselves taking part in a swashbuckling nautical adventure. Can they rescue stolen treasure from the pirates before Tim's mum comes to collect him at home time? It's just the sort of story to encourage and extend children's imaginations. The stunning illustrations by Russell Ayto really attracted me to this book - they are packed with intriguing detail and full of imagination. Bold use of colour makes them stand out.

It Wasn't Me (The Hueys) by Oliver Jeffers

A fight has broken out amongst The Hueys. “It was not me! It was him!” But no one can remember what they’re fighting about. If only they could find an interesting distraction... You'll be surprised by the fun ending! Simple, child-like drawings and a scenario familiar to many a child guarantee that children will enjoy this simple story

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

Martha is the perfect big sister to her little brothers and this is a delightful series about sibling love. Martha is excited because her favourite babysitter, Grace-next-door, is coming to look after them. But first, she needs to get her bunny brothers to go to sleep – and that’s not easy, but Martha knows just how to get them to do what she wants! The Bedtime Bunnies Song is a great hit! The lively and detailed illustrations depict a happy, secure and loving family life and this is just perfect to read at bedtime.

Mabel and Me - Best of Friends (Mabel & Me) by Mark Sperring

'Me' tells the story - and Me is a captivating and highly self-opinionated mouse. It's a hilarious story about mistaken identity and being best friends. The people they meet make some very pointed obdervations, but Me can't see that they could possibly refer to him! Wonderful for reading aloud, with rhythmic text that flows across the pages. Bright backgrounds to the quirky and amusing illustrations help the reader get to know this unlikely couple. 

A Tale of Two Socks: Bocchi and Pocchi (Bocchi & Pocchi) by Noriko Matsubara

Bocchi and Pocchi are no ordinary pair of socks - they are the best of friends until one sad night Pocchi disappears. Where can he be? Bocchi is very sad and tries to think where his friend could be - and then a friendly mouse comes to the rescue. A simple and unusual story.

There, There by Sam McBratney

See the name of the author, and you know this is going to be a brilliant, warm and reassuring book. "There, there" - how often have we said those comforting words to a child? In this story, Little Hansie Bear loves to pretend, but walking like a duck can be hazardous, especially when he falls into a deep-down ditch and has to be helped out by his dad. And poor Hansie has more minor accidents that day - but Dad is always there. Dad knows just how to look after Hansie - but then Hansie's turn comes when dad steps on a thorn. Charmingly illustrated by Ivan Bates, it's a perfect story to snuggle up and share.

The Book of Dreams by Shirin Adl

An eye-catching cover is a great start to this book, which is naturally perfect for bedtime. An imaginative story, with illustrations that perfectly reflect the words and which are packed with absorbing detail for children to pore over and eA colourful and imaginative journey through the night, with lots of different kinds of dreams, funny, fantastic, wish-fulfilling, exciting. The book includes bad dreams as well as pleasant dreams, but ends on a positive note, looking forward to bedtime and the next night’s dreams. A reassuring story, especially for young children who worry about sleep and dreaming.

Plunge into the Pirate Pool by Caryl Hart

It's a cold, rainy day - not much fun walking to the swimming pool!  But when Albie dives in, he's in for a big surprise - this is no ordinary pool, it's a pirate pool! Join Albie as he goes on a underwater treasure hunt, meets scary underwater creatures and makes some pirate friends - swimming has never been so much fun! Wonderfully imaginative, the swimming pool will never seem quite the same again! 

Lucy Ladybird by Sharon King-Chai

Lucy isn't like the other ladybirds - she has no spots. Her friends all have spots, and they generously offer to share theirs and as the seasons unfold, Lucy gets more and more colourful. And when she meets all the ladybirds again, they all realise she is very special and it's great to be different.  A gorgeous visual treat that takes you through the seasons, while reinforcing a positive message to little readers about giving, sharing and accepting. A beautifully coloured gatefold shows a wonderful array of colourful creatures. Lots of activities to enjoy at 

The Girl with a Brave Heart by Rita Jahanforuz

Barefoot Books are committed to multi-cultural publishing and the latest addition to their lists has been highly acclaimed in Israel. Shiraz is a Cinderella character, who is treated like a servant by her cruel stepmother and stepsister. When the wind blows Shiraz's ball of wool into a nearby garden she has to summon up all her courage to collect it. The old lady gives Shiraz some strange instructions, but Shiraz does what she thinks best; when her stepsister tries to follow in her footsteps, it all goes wrong. This perceptive and thought-provoking story shows us how courage and following our heart can have positive results

Dino-Baby by Mark Sperring

Expecting a new baby, or have a new young sibling in the family? Then this amusing story is just the book to share with your older child (especially if she is a dinosaur fan!). Life changes so much for the older sibling, as shown through the entertaining pictures and text in this enjoyable rhyming story. Mummy Dino shares all the things that shouldn't be done - and the reasons why not - so that big brother or sister learns to love the new arrival and have fun together.

Big! by Tim Hopgood

Children can't wait to grow up, it seems and this charming book celebrates growing up. The little boy ponders how big he is and compares himself with other creatures - compared with an ant, he is big... but compared with an elephant he is tiny! He looks at all the things around him, and measures the fact that he is growing compared with what he was like. It's a simple and enjoyable story that tales a perceptive look into the way young children think and it will stimulate further>

Rocket Racers (My First Picture Book) by Steve Webb

The vivid illustrations are the first thing that struck me with this book and they will attract children and make them want to read the book, or share it with an adult. From the first page, this bok races you into the story - "Space rocket, race racket, race to the moon, rocket racers to your places, ready, steady, ZOOM!". The rhythm is brilliant! And the pace doesn't slow down until the three lovable dinosaurs reach the finish line. But who will make it there first? I love the pace and vibrancy of this book and I know children will respond well to it too.

Lion and Mouse by Catalina Echeverri

Lion and Mouse are friends - but of course Lion is bigger, stronger and more handsome! Despite this, there comes a time when he needs help from his weaker, smaller quieter friend, who he does take for granted until one day, Mouse is not there. But Lion is scared of one thing, and in this charming story of friendship, Mouse comes to the rescue. I love the vibrant and unusual illustrations and this is a very enjoyable story.

My Busy Being Bella Day by Rebecca Patterson

The tale of a toddler's very busy life, as she is off to nursery for the day. But she would rather be at home with her little brother Bob - or would she? The book focuses on a dilemma common to many older siblings - they love school, but they just wonder if the younger child is having more fun at home with mummy. The charming pictures show the reader what Bella thinks Bob is doing - but the reality is quite different. Bella has a lovely time at nursery and gets a special surprise when she gets home. Perfect for sharing with a toddler off to nursery, leaving a sibling behind.

Croc and Bird by Alexis Deacon

Two eggs side by side on the sand - siblings surely? But there's a surprise in store when they hatch - one is a bird and the other is... a crocodile. The unlikely cuople learn to fend for themselves, using their instincts , which leads to some very amusing scenarios - ever seen a crocodile on a nest? But one day, they find themselves with other crocodiles and birds. Is this where they belong? It's a really touching story about friendship, brotherhood and being true to yourself, with a perfect ending. The softly coloured pictures convey all the emotion and complement the feel of the book excellently. A wonderful heart-warming story.

Sometimes I'm a Monster (My First Picture Book) by Gillian Shields

This is a great series of picture books for toddlers, with its bright colours, sturdy card pages and rounded corners. "Sometimes I'm an angel, helpful, sweet and kind. But sometimes I'm a MONSTER with mischief on my mind!" That sums up most toddlers, really! We meet four friends who are sometimes little monsters and sometimes little angels, brought to life by Georgie Birkett's lively drawings. It's a great way to discuss good and bad behaviour with young children, with lots of opportunity for follow-up discussion.

Tug Of War by John Burningham

Some author/illustrators for young children should never be allowed to go out of print, and John Burningham is one of them! Hare, Hippopotamus and Elephant live together, but not happily, for Hippopotamus and Elephant are forever teasing poor Hare. One day, Hare decides to teach them a lesson, and so the great tug of war begins ... This African fable is simply and effectively recounted as we find out that hare really is more clever than the big animals. Seen from the perspective of the animals, the vibrant and atmospheric illustrations enhance the story.

Daddy is My Hero by Dawn Richards

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

What is a Crocodile's Favourite Thing? by Ben Hawkes

A quirky and unusual story which can be enjoyed by even a young child as the story is told as much in pictures as though the text. Is a crocodile's favourite thing doing ballet while dressed as a princess? Or maybe it's eating a dirty pants sandwich? Or what about riding a car made out of a sausage? It's full of silliness which will captivate children who will giggle their way through the story - and there's a very funny ending. This imaginative story is a great way to encourage children to be imaginative themselves - what other favourite things can they come up with?

Marsh Pony by Fran Evans

The delicate soft watercolours which illustrate this book evoke the theme beautifully. It is the story of a sensitive young boy who carves driftwood models, but who is teased by bullies at school. Cal escapes to the marsh, to find solace amongst the ponies. One day, he is there with his friend Celtie, when the two bullies are in danger from the rising tide - only Cal and Celtie can save them. A touching story which has a lovely ending. The detailed pictures are full of charm and enhance the story wonderfully.

Bubble and Squeak by James Mayhew

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

Dinosaur Farm by Frann Preston-Gannon

It's a busy life on the Dinosaur Farm - the pterodactyl eggs need collecting; the triceratops must to be let out to graze and the diplodocus need a good wash down. Poor Jack finds it a struggle to cope with these great creatures and he's relieved when he finally finds it's time to go home and go to bed - but it looks as though he forgot to shut the gate... There is lots to look at on every page, in the deeply coloured illustrations, so plenty of chances for discussion and finding out more about these creatures.

Confetti the Magic Wedding Pony (Princess Evie's Ponies) by Sarah KilBride

Princess Evie's ponies are magic - they take her off on magical adventures in lands far away. This is the eighth book in the series and Princess Evie and Sparkles, the kitten, help their friend Princess Bella create a beautiful wedding for her sister, with Confetti pulling the wedding carriage. But Bella's pet dragon, who is putting on the firework display, is missing. Can he be found? The book includes another press out pony for girls to add to their collection.

Ping and Pong are Best Friends (mostly) (Ping & Pong) by Tim Hopgood

Anything Ping can do, Pong can do better. Penguins Ping and Pong love to do new things - ice-skating, fishing, painting, they try them all and Pong is always better. But there is one thing Ping does well -  he can be a best friend, as children learn in this lovely story about friendship. Bright and comical illustrations are very appealing and will capture children's attention.

Jack's Amazing Shadow by Tom Percival

Children are fascinated by their shadow and this is a story about Jack and his shadow, who are the very best of friends. But like many best friends, they fall out when Jack gets the blame for something his friend (the shadow) did. This imaginative story shows what a shadow gets up to when its owner isn't looking, and its a lovely tale of friendship. The illustrations are quirky and unusual and the book gives plenty of opportunities for discussion.
encourages children to join

I Love My Daddy (I Love My...Picture Books) by David Bedford

A simple but very reassuring story, ideal for dads to share with their child at bedtime. Little Squirrel is having fun playing, but then he keep getting stuck and is worried that it might happen again. Daddy Squirrel reassures him and they have a wonderful game together. A lovely book to build confidence in a timid child and the illustrations are charming.

Bunny Loves to Write by Peter Bently

Buster loves to read, but he's not so sure about writing his own stories - but then things happen and he is sure he can write about them. Buster's teacher has asked them all to write a story and Buster cleverly interweaves the things that happen to his friends in the park into the beginning of a story - and then all the friends help finish it. I love the way the book is presented, with colourful illustrations and Buster's notebook telling the story. I think this would be wonderful to share with young children just starting to make up their own stories to encourage and inspire them.

I Love You When ... by Annie Baker

A reassuring story, told largely through the medium of charming pictures, which promises that parents will love their child... whatever and whenever. Rain, sun, illness, giggle, wiggle and wriggle - Big Bunny always Little Bunny whatever. A warm comforting story to snuggle up and share with your little one - enjoy the detail in the pictures and make the most of the opportunity to talk and share.

Monster, Be Good! by Natalie Marshall

I was immediately drawn in by the vibrant illustrations which are full of action and movement as we meet the monsters. This is a book which puts the child in charge as they have the opportunity to mend the bad behaviour of a band of naughty monsters. 'If a monster is noisy, whisper in its ear "be quiet"... and as children learn to tame the monsters, so they will think about their own behaviour. A perfect book for adult and child to share - and the ending makes it ideal for bedtime.

Backstage Cat by Harriet Ziefert

Simon is a backstage cat - he goes to the theatre with his leading lady every night - but he never gets to go on stage. That all changes when he finally gets onstage - and all the stagehands try to get him down. It seems all is well when his leading lady entices him down, but Simon is determined to get into the spotlight!  It's a fascinating insight into the world of backstage, which will entertain and educate young children as they learn about this exciting world familiar only from the other side.

We Have Lift-Off! by Sean Taylor

The animals have had enough so they decide to escape from Farmer Tanner's polluted and mucky farm, and his ill treatment of them. They build a space rocket and in turn the animals set off for test flights - but the rocket keeps returning to earth, as the poor animals aren't quite as clever as they think. Then Farmer Tanner discovers the rocket. Is this the end of their cunning plan? You'll have to read this insightful story to find out. It's fun and lively with a wonderful cast of animals all shown well through the action-packed illustrations. "Created in consultation with literacy specialist, Prue Goodwin, this edition contains the complete story, re-designed to help support children who are gaining confidence in reading."

Oh No! by PatrickGeorge

These transparent page books from PatrickGeorge never cease to amaze me with their ingenuity and to my mind this is the best yet. Young and old alike will have great fun looking at the picture and predicting what catastrophe will be depicted when the acetate sheet is flipped over. The little boy is up the ladder... the cat is looking at the owl... The drawings are simple so they in no way detract from the cleverness of the illusion, but there are clever little twists to be spotted. Some are quite subtle, so there is fresh delight on every reading. The imagination shown in these pictures is simply wonderful.  

No More Kisses for Bernard! by Niki Daly

Like many little boys, Bernard does not like kisses. But his aunts love to smother him with kisses. "No more kisses!" says Bernard - and he resorts to extreme measures! So Aunt Tallulah comes up with a great idea, which keeps everyone happy - if somewhat messy! But when it comes to bedtime, will the ban on kisses be lifted? A down-to-earth story that will delight little boys and shows that kisses aren't all bad.

The Magic Bojabi Tree by Dianne Hofmeyr

Only the King of the Jungle - Lion - knows the true name of the tree which produces delisious fruits - and Python won't share the fruit until someone gives him the correct name. So the animals set off on a trek to find Lion, but they keep forgetting the name. Finally, and despite ridicule from the other animals, Tortoise sets off and is clever enough to remember the name. The African landscapes and creatures are vividly depicted by Piet Grobler in this animal folktale from Gabon. The repetition and clever use of words make it a super story to read aloud.

Troll Swap by Leigh Hodgkinson

On the whole trolls are messy creatures and Timothy Limpet, who is very neat and tidy feels out of place in the troll family.Tabitha Lumpit's mummy and daddy are very neat and tidy but she is very messy. So it looks as though swapping families could be just the answer. But is it? Things don't work out quite as expected and everyone finds things get... well, just a bit boring. Its just goes to show that we mustn't judge on appearances and home is definitely the best place! Unusual and eye-catching illustrations complete a lovely story.

The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith

This is a hilarious picture book, which comes with a CD of the song. Children love cumulative songs and the repetition which allows them to join in with enthusiasm. The language of this is brilliant for children as in the end we have a donkey who is spunky, hanky-panky, cranky, stinky,-dinky, lanky, honky-tonky, winky, wonky! Encourage children to listen to the song and try to predict a new word for each clue given - and maybe even make up some of their own! And let's not forget the illustrations, which are equally hilarious. Definitely one to be read and sung over and over again.

Friends by Michael Foreman

We've all seen them, haven't we? Goldfish swimming endlessly round and round their tank - and we want to see them set free. In this story of an unlikely friendship, that's just what Cat wants for his friend Bubble the goldfish. One day, Cat has an idea to set Bubble free and the two friends set off on an unlikely adventure. It's a wonderfully heart-warming story of friendship that really tugs at the heart-strings, and the ilustrations have a huge part to play in this.

Prince Charmless by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

Nothing is good enough for Prince Charmless, and it never has been, right from the day he was born, however hard his servants try to please him. Finally, the royal servants could take no more, so they packed their bags and left, leaving our charmless prince to fend for himself. The results are surprising and the prince has the best day of his life! Great fun!

Sidney, Stella and the Moon by Emma Yarlett

A pair of twins who have trouble sharing star in this book. Sidney and Stella love to do everything together… but they haven't learnt the hard lesson of sharing. One night, Sidney's bouncy ball goes flying out of the window duting a quarrel - straight into the moon which smashed into a million pieces.  Just imagine the headlines - and enjoy the huge two page spread! The two have to work together - yes, and share - to solve the problem. Highly imaginative and beautifully illustrated - a new author to look out for.

Little Ronnie and Magic the Horse (Picture Flats) by Pete Shaw

Another imaginative picture book from TopThat which shows us just how vivid a young child's imagination can be. Ronnie is given a rocking horse for his birthday and as he leaps on its back, he is swept off into a fantasy world, where he has become a knight who is the kingdom's only hope of defeating the dragon. But when Ronnie finds the dragon, he's not scary at all... The rhyming text is catchy and enjoyable, super to read aloud.

The Jumblies (Picture Flats) by Edward Lear

Enjoy this completely fresh approach to the much-loved rhyme as it is brought to life by Sam McPhillips unusual and colourful illustrations. The words are, of course, timeless and have captivated generations of children. Here they are combined with busy pictures which tell the story as well as adding plenty of other interesting things to discuss

Peter's Pebbles (Picture Flats) by Cherie Zamazing

This is one of four delightful picture books I received from TopThat, and they were all a real pleasure to read and review. Peter collects pebbles and paints them to look like all sorts of different creatures. One day, he dropped his fish pebble into the fish bowl - and it came to life! This opened up all sorts of wonderful possibilities as all his pebbles came alive, and finally found a dream home. This really is a book which captures and extends the imagination. Take your child out, find some pebbles and perhaps, like Peter, they will find one that looks just like a special creature!

The Little Raindrop (Picture Flats) by Joanna Gray

This is a lovely way to introduce young children to the wonderful way in which the water cycle works. They can follow the track of a little raindrop as it falls from the sky one stormy day and embarks on the long journey that will find him back in the cloud again. Along the way, he meets all manner of creatures and these all give opportunities for discussion and learning. The poetic language and the softly coloured watercolour illustrations make this book a delight, whether to read aloud and share with your child, or for a child learning to read alone.

The Dark by Lemony Snicket

This is a completely different type of book from the author of the well-known 'A series of Unfortunate events'. 'The Dark' takes a striking and unusual approach to a common childhood fear  Laszlo is afraid of the dark; the dark which lives in his house but normally doesn't visit him - until one scary night... Perhaps not a bedtime story, but definitely one to share with any child who is afreaid of the dark; it is thoughtful and perceptive and very reassuring; a good way to encourage a child to discuss fear of the dark.

Books Always Everywhere by Jane Blatt

This is a wonderful celebration of the joy of books and every library should have a copy! Books can be anything to the imaginative mind of a toddler - a house, a chair, a hat ...  but best of all, a book is a magical way into another world - a world of the imagination where nothing is too fanciful. Follow a group of inquisitive toddlers as they explore the world of books and discover there are books for every occasion. The illustrations are wonderful - packed with things to look at and talk about. An inspirational book.

Littleland by Marion Billet

Books that encourage young children to spot familiar things on the page are a super way to encourage speech. Littleland is a friendly world where there are lots of things to do, places to go and people to visit. Busy and stylish pictures are packed with intricate detail and there are questions to discuss on every page, and plenty of things to spot. It's a familiar world for little ones - all their favourite places and things are here to be recognised. Packed with cute drawings, this delightful book offers endless opportunities for discussion and learning.

Too Small for My Big Bed by Amber Stewart

One of those milestones that are so pivotal in children's lives - the move to a big bed. Sometimes it is an easy transition, but pre-empt any problems by sharing this reassuring book with your child well before the big day comes. Piper is brave and fearless - by day, anyway. But at night he still wants the reassurance of Mummy close by. Sensitively, Mummy shows Piper that he is big enough and brave enough to do things on his own - including sleeping in his own bed all night.  

When Tom Met Tallulah by Rosie Reeve

Tom the kitten is very shy when he first arrives at Tallulah's house, but Tallulah knows just how to make him feel at home - she even understands 'cat' and she knows exactly what Tom wants from a simple 'purr' or 'miaow'. All is going well, until Tom decides that, as Tallulah is so good at 'cat', he should learn 'human'. But then things go very wrong for poor Tallulah in a most unexpected twist - but you'll have to read the story to find out! It's a super story, very unusual.

The Wind in the Wallows by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross

With this talented duo working in harmony, how could a picture book be any less than superb? It's an idyllic summer afternoon when suddenly the silence is broken.  Bang! Pop! Poop! Parp! Who could it be? One by one, all the animals deny any knowledge but the culprit is finally located. A hilarious story which will appeal enormously to young children's sense of humour - and to the child in us all. The rhyming text is perfect to read aloud, but make sure children get the chance to revel in the detailed and comical illustrations.

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