Book reviews - Raintree Books (page 2)

The range of books published by Raintree Publishers just has to be seen to be believed. Below are reviews for just some of the books published from 2011 to 2019 - generally, one example from a series is reviewed. To see the full range, please visit the Raintree site. The books are ideal for schools and for libraries, or for children who are particularly interested in a specific topic. They are all fully illustrated and contain fact boxes clearly laid out to make reading a pleasure. Every non-fiction book includes a contents page, glossary and index thereby helping pupils develop good study skills. This page also includes a small selection of Raintree fiction books ideal for classroom use. Some more Raintree fiction, including their imprint Curious Fox, can be found on our fiction pages. Most of the Raintree books I have reviewed are on this page, but please see our Olympics/sport page for more reviews.

 Raintree Books - Early Learning and Picture Books

Awesome! by Craig Shuttlewood

True friendship can be tested when one of friends becomes a super-achiever, leaving the other behind. Will that happen to Marvin the moose and Woody the beaver, who have been best friends forever? The rest of the forest animals revere Marvin now, calling on him to help and even building a statue in his honour. Woody feels left out - will Marvin put things right? Children will relate to the theme of this story, and it's a good one for when issues of friendship, jealousy, and forgiveness arise in the classroom, to show children we can all be awesome.

Gabi's Fabulous Functions (Code Play) by Caroline Karanja

Computer coding is all around us - even in the kitchen! Gabi and Adi discover that making a recipe is a lot like creating a function in a computer code. These scientifically minded junior programmers are always on the lookout for ways to work coding concepts into their day with Code Play! The combination of picture storybook with factual elements makes for an interesting read that shows just how computing is integrated with everyday life. The 'Think in Code' section at the end encourages children to think more deeply about the concepts.

Harrison Spader, Personal Space Invader (Little Boost) by Christianne Jones

This is an interesting look at a topic I've not previously seen in a book. People who get a bit too close - we've all met them, haven't we? Harrison P. Spader is one - he sits a little too close, shakes hands a little too long, hugs a little too much. Harrison P. Spader was a personal space invader who we see in a series of close situations, amusingly illustrated. When his Dad teaches him the Space Saver rhyme: "Arms out front, then out real wide. Now place your arms back by your sides", he learns others need their personal space. A good way to teach early learners about self awareness, tackling a much-needed topic for teachers, parents, and librarians in a light-hearted and practical way.

Henry Helps with the Washing by Beth Bracken

This is just one title in an extensive and excellent series which emphasises the importance of children helping with household chores even from a young age. Henry helps his mother with the laundry by sorting clothes, moving them from the washer to the dryer, and putting them away. Children love to help, and this series shows the value of such help.

A Loud Winter's Nap by Katy Hudson

Is Tortoise missing much by sleeping through the winter? He doesn't think so, but his friends disagree. Can they convince him to stay awake and experience the frosty fun of winter? Wherever he tries ti settle down for his winter sleep, his friends have other ideas and try to convince him to join in with all the fun. This delightful picture book will convince even the most sceptical that winter can be fun..

Kunkush: The True Story of a Refugee Cat by Mame Ventura

Readers will be entranced by the true story of a cat that becomes separated from his family when they flee Iraq and become refugees in Europe. Kankush arrived in Greece with his family, but then lost them in all the confusion. This is a very engaging story of a brave cat and the way people came to his rescue. A real tearjerker.

Do Not Take Your Dragon to Dinner by Julie Gassman

In the author's earlier book, we learnt that you shouldn't take your dragon to the library - but what about taking him out to dinner? "Flapping wings. Pointy spikes. Smelly breath that will ignite" - hardly the best dinner date! Rhyming text and diverse characters teach the importance of dinner manners in a lovely way.

Hair-pocalypse by Geoff Herbach

We've all had bad hair days but Aidan Allen's hair isn't just bad - it's MAD! And over the course of one crazy day, Aidan's hair takes its revenge. But can Aidan stop it before it ruins his life? A hilarious picture book which will have its readers in fits of giggles throughout.

The Kids' Colouring Book: No Adults Allowed! by Aruna Rangarajan

This colouring book is especially designed to appeal to children - hopefully, your adults won't want to steal this one! There are 90+ attractive designs, ranging from lighthouses, flowers and cakes, to video games, hornets and skulls. And throughout the book, adults are warned to keep clear, so there's no excuse for 'accidentally' picking the book up! It's a great selection of pictures and will appeal to teens as well as younger ones - a good stress-buster.

Henry Helps Make Cookies by Beth Bracken

What better for a rainy day than cooking up a tasty batch of cookies? Mum and Henry have fun together weighing, measuring, mixing, cooking... and eating. A fun way to explore the value of adults having fun times with their children.

Tattletale by Christianne C Jones

Miles McHale is a tattletale - nobody can do anything without Miles telling the whole world about it. And it's a BIG problem at school. But Miles isn't the only one who needs help, so Mrs Snitcher decides it's time to start the Tattle Battle. She carefully explains just when it is OK to tell but still Miles can't get it right... until finally the time comes when it IS right to tell. A perceptive story that will be perfect for sharing in the classroom, to make this important principle easy to understand. Delightfully illustrated by Elina Ellis.

 Dalmatian in a Digger by Rebecca Elliott

"Dugger Dugger Digger What's that noise?" introduces a wonderful book that cleverly combines some lovely animals with some impressively big and noisy machines. Meet a duck in a dump truck, a bear in a bulldozer and a camel in a crane, all the while accompanied by an enthusiastic dalmatian. Lively illustrations combine with the alliterative text to give a fun picture book.

A Pirate Alphabet: The ABCs of Piracy! by Anna Butzer

Take young pirate fans on an alphabet adventure and let them learn the pirate lingo. From adventure to zephyr, every letter is given a suitably piratical word, and illustrated in full colour, with plenty of details to pore over and enjoy. There are gangways and quartermasters, plunder and knots and lots more to extend vocabulary while learning the letters of the alphabet.


 Raintree Books - Key stage 1 (KS1)


You Can Work in Publishing (Bright Idea Books: You Can Work in the Arts) by Marne Ventura

KS1 children who enjoy reading or writing will enjoy this book which gives them an insight into how books are produced and how they can be part of that process when they grow up. The book introduces many of the different jobs there are within publishing and it shows the wide variety of skills needed, encouraging even young children to think about the future as well as raising their awareness of the world around them. The activity at the end is all about publishing a book and will make a great class activity.

Amazing Human Feats of Strength (Bright Idea Books: Superhuman Feats)​ by Debbie Vilardi

There are bound to be some talking points from this book, as children see some of the amazing feats of which people are capable. People all around the world compete to be considered the strongest. Read this book to discover the greatest feats of human accomplishment as they test their strength to their limits. There's a useful glossary and index, and the activity encourages children to do further research on one of the people featured in the book.

Feeling Good About Yourself (Young Explorer: Ali and Annie's Guides)​ by Jilly Hunt

This useful and empathetic book gives lots of information about how you can feel as good as you possibly can! Characters Ali and Annie will guide you through the issues and give you advice and 'top tips', while Charlie the dog shows that he understands how children might feel. This is a practical and upbuilding book that is easy to read with sensible ideas clearly expressed; children will be reassured and will also be encouraged to open up about their feelings.

How Did Robots Land on Mars? (Bright Idea Books: How Do They Do That?) by Clara MacCariad

Encourage children to wonder at, and to understand, the marvels of modern space discovery as they learn how engineers accomplish amazing feats of space exploration. After nine months and travelling millions of miles through space, roving robots gently landed on Mars and then drove across its surface. It's explained in simple text accompanied by colourful illustrations and clear layout. There's an activity to encourage understanding too.

Totally Amazing Facts About Dogs by Nikki Potts

I thought I knew plenty about dogs but I learnt a lot from this fascinating book. For example, dogs have a basic grasp of maths, dalmatians are born white and service dogs wee and poo on command! Jazzy presentation, super illustrations and photos and a multitude of fascinating facts make this a really good book and a great way to encourage reading, especially if your child is a dog lover. It's good to see a useful glossary and an index are included.

Oceans (Bodies of Water) by Erika L Shores

This first non-fiction book is a good way to introduce the topic of oceans, with three or four simply constructed sentences accompanying full page photographs that will excite children's interest. Lakes, Ponds and Rivers are the other titles in the series, making a comprehensive introduction for young children to the world of bodies of water.

Phases of the Moon (Cycles of Nature) by Catherine Ipcizade

Young readers will learn that the Moon circles the Earth and looks different to us every day, and the reasons for that. This simply worded book follows the cycle each month to teach about the Moon's changing phases. The excellent illustrations and photographs are well labelled for easy reference and there are lists of books and websites to encourage further research.

How Do Snakes Poo? (Bright Idea Books: Crazy Animal Facts) by Malta Cunningham

This is a title that's bound to appeal to children! They will, however, learn a lot more about snakes that just how they poo. The book uses poo as the central theme to introduce lots of other facts, including where snakes live, what they eat and some very unusual snakes. The top five reasons snakes are awesome might change children's minds about these creatures. Bright colours, clear photos and well spaced text make the book easy to read for young ones.

A Day in the Life of a Cheetah (A+ Books) by Lisa J Amstutz

From sunrise to sunset, follow a day in the life of one of these beautiful creatures, along with her cubs. Close-up photos fill around three quarters of the pages, making the book look stunning. These are accompanied by interesting facts about the cheetah's daily life - food, habitats, growth, dangers and prey. Comprehension questions allow teachers and parents to discuss the book and its contents.

Caring for Dogs by Tammy Gagne

Young readers will learn how to introduce, feed, walk, groom and protect their new puppy to keep him or her healthy, happy and safe., and part of the family. Full colour photos fill alternate pages, making the book appealing. Fact boxes include useful information as well as a smaller photo. One feature I really like is the fact that glossary words are featured on the appropriate page as well as in the actual glossary; this makes for smooth reading and good understanding. There are also comprehension questions and a succinct index, just right for the age group.

Growing Up: Humans from Birth to Old Age (Raintree Perspectives: Growing Up) by Jen Green

This book takes a simple look at the progress of human life, from the beginnings as a foetus in the womb until old age. Take a journey through life, discovering all about stages in life such as childhood brain developments and puberty, while learning key scientific skills such as data comparison. With infographics, charts, timelines and much more, this book is a visual feast that is sure to fascinate. Excellent photos show people at all stages of life and can be used to stimulate conversation about children's own families. Lots of questions are answered, such as how twins are formed and how boys' voices break.

This is My Home (Young Explorer) by Angela Royston

This is a good book to encourage children to discover the various places people call home, and to stimulate interest and discussion. There are all manner of homes in the UK, from flats above shops and suburban semis, to narrowboats, inner-city flats and farms. Children will be fascinated to find out more and the book will make a good basis for project work. Real-life interviews with children from around the UK give the book a personal perspective. A good overview of many different homes, inside and out.

The History of Christmas by Helen Cox Cannons

Christmas traditions have many interesting origins and children will enjoy finding out about them in this well-illustrated book. This book answers all the questions that you want to know about Christmas and the traditions that we have in Britain: why we sing carols, why we send cards, why we eat turkey or goose, why we have crackers, why Father Christmas comes and so much more. Children will enjoy reading this and sharing their new-found Christmas knowledge with friends and family.

Trees of the British Isles (A+ Books: Let's Look At) by Lucy Beevor

Our native trees are an essential part of our landscape and so many of them are at risk now, so it's important they are brought to children's attention so they can enjoy and appreciate them - and the super colour photos in this book really do show trees in all their glory, including leaves and seeds so we can identify them. Linked to the KS1 science curriculum, this book takes a lively, attractive look at British trees. Using lots of familiar examples, along with some unfamiliar ones, it's an accessble look at the diverse flora of the UK. Lots of photographs and plenty of informative of text throughout make the book a fun and engaging read.

The Orchestra by Richard Spilsbury

Hopefully, KS1 children will get the opportunity to see an orchestra in action - and if they do, this colourful and informative book will enhance their enjoyment and appreciation. They may wonder What instruments make up an orchestra? What does the conductor do? How are orchestras different around the world? Discover all the answers, along with information about famous composers, in this engaging and easy-to-access book. The lively text is illustrated by lots of photographs, showing all the components of the orchestra and more.

How to Make Bubbles (Pebble Plus: Hands-On Science Fun) by Erika L Shores

Children love to play with bubbles - they have universal appeal. Now, they can learn the science behind bubbles and how to make their own. There are also interesting ideas for tools to use to blow bubbles - even giant ones. Comprehension questions extend the value of the book and encourage discussion. Illustrated with excellent large colour photos, this is a perfect introduction for young children to the science behind bubbles, clearly explained and with plenty of hands-on involvement.

Amazing Animal Architects (First Facts: Amazing Animal Architects) by Rebecca Rissman, Mari Schuh and Yvonne Pearson

Animals are indeed amazing architects - just think of a bird's nest or a beaver's dam. With this book, children learn about some unique animals and marvel at the structures they build. As well, they will discover where you can find them. And if they can't find them, the excellent colour photos are the next best thing as they really show the creations in all their glory. The text is succinct with a very useful mini-glossary on each page - much better for young children than having to turn to the back of the book. Maps show the spread of each animal and these are really useful.

Today Is a Hot Day (What Is the Weather Today?) by Martha E H Rustad

This is a very early non-fiction book, ideal for children in the early stages of reading. Simple text, with three or four sentences, is set on one side of the page facing colourful photos. The photos give plenty of clues to the words, helping beginner readers. Colourful and attractive, this is an introduction to the weather aspect of the science curriculum.

Hamsters (Our Pets: Little Pebble) by Lisa J Amstutz

This is one in a series that is perfect to introduce young children to the concept of pet ownership. Simple language accompanied by endearing colour photos show young children that tiny hamsters make fun pets. Some have a solid colour and others have three different colours; some have short tails and others have long tails. Young readers will learn basic facts about the appearance and behaviour of hamsters, and discover why these curious rodents make great pets. Comprehension questions give adults the opportunity to check understanding.

All about Grasslands (Habitats) by Christina Mia Gardeski

We all want children to enjoy reading and to love books, and introducing them to colourful, well-presented photographic books like this is the ideal way to achieve that. Much of the impact of this book is in the photos which cover a page and more, accompanied by clear and informative factual brief text. What plants and animals call grassy flatlands home? Find out what lives in grassland habitats. A perfect introduction.

Coasts (Young Explorer: Let's Explore Britain) by James Nixon

When introducing KS1 children to non-fiction books, it's important that they include contents, a glossary and an index, so children learn to use these important features - Raintree Books do that and this book is a good example. Learn about the British coast - how long is Britain's coastline? How are beaches formed? In this fascinating book, children can find out about the geography of British coasts and learn about life in rock pools, what an estuary is, who works in coastal areas and much more.

Let's Look at Peru (Let's Look at Countries; Pebble Plus) by Nikki Bruno Clapper

This series looks at a range of varied countries, many of which are not covered in other series for this age group, so that's a really good point.Through simple text and vibrant photographs, children will discover ancient cities of the Andes Mountains, hear the calls of birds in the Amazon rain forest and learn about the people, places, and traditions of this beautiful South American country.

Rivers of the United Kingdom (Young Explorer: Exploring Great Rivers) by Catherine Brereton

Rivers play a vital part in our landscape and history and this book is an excellent way to introduce KS1 children to some of our rivers. This book takes readers on a journey along some of the UK's most important rivers, including the Thames, Severn, Avon and others. Readers can find out about the plants and animals that live there, the towns and cities the river passes through, and why it is important for the local economy and environment. Clear simple text is well laid out in fact boxes, making the book easy to read and very enjoyable. The colour photos highlight significant features and show the variety of landscapes.

Spotlight on the World Cup (Young Explorer) by Chris Oxlade

This book will fascinate young football fans and it is a good way to encourage learning to read for those who prefer non-fiction, or for reluctant readers who would prefer to be outside playing. This book introduces young football fans to the World Cup. Packed with fascinating facts about the sport's most important tournament, the book is illustrated with stunning photos of football stars past and present in action, and also includes information about the host nation for the 2018 event, Russia. It shows how the teams and the host country are selected and looks back at notable goals scored.

Police Officers (Read and Learn: People Who Help Us) by Nancy Dickman

This early information book is perfect for young learners; as well as providing knowledge, it helps develop reading and information skills. Learn all about British Police Officers - how they help us, what they do, how they serve the community and much more. Schools will have regular visits from police officers who come in to talk to the children and this book will make good background reading. Useful safety hints make good discussion points. Children's reference skills will be encouraged through use of the index and glossary.

Discovering Places of Worship by Izzi Howell

This book introduces children to the six main religions of the world and the types of buildings where people worship. These are the main religions children will study in school, so it's the ideal introduction to RE. The simple text is accompanied by plenty of colour photos of exteriors and interiors, showing these buildings in all their magnificence. The photos are well labelled and there is a glossary to explain unfamiliar terms. The illustrations also include information boxes.

Continents: What You Need to Know (First Facts: Fact Files) by Jill Sherman

The book starts off by showing how the continents came into existence, then has a two page spread on each continent. Simple introductory text is complemented by colour photos and, in the case of South America only which seems a little odd, a map. Fact boxes and At a Glance features add factual information, and highlighted words are explained on the page rather than having to refer to a glossary - a useful feature, although there is also a glossary. Critical thinking questions at the end encourage children to think about what they have learnt. A good introduction.

Lion vs. Tiger (Read and Learn: Animal Rivals) by Isabel Thomas

Two magnificent creatures come head-to-head in this interesting book. If a lion and a tiger were to meet and fight, which one would win? Read this book to find out! Pitched perfectly for young children, this really will engage them and answer their questions. It's packed with facts which are complemented by excellent colour photos, all laid out in a clear and attractive way to make the book easy to read.

How to Be a Good Citizen: A Question and Answer Book About Citizenship (A+ Books: Character Matters) by Emily James

This simply explained book is an excellent starting point to help children understand the place they have in society, and their responsibilities. It's very important to be a good citizen. But what does that mean? Readers will learn through examples in a fun question-and-answer format that taking pride in what you do and trying to make the world a better place shows good citizenship. Through the book, questions are posed, encouraging children to think of the answers for themselves; the situations are familiar.

Hedy's Journey: The True Story of a Hungarian Girl Fleeing the Holocaust by Michelle Bisson

It is 1941. Hedy and her family are Jewish, and the Jew-hating Nazi Party is rising. Hedy's family is no longer safe in their home in Hungary. They decide to flee to America, but because of their circumstances, 16-year-old Hedy must make her way through Europe alone. Will luck be with her? Will she be brave? Join Hedy on her journey-where she encounters good fortune and misfortune, a kind helper and cruel soldiers, a reunion and a tragedy-and discover how Hedy is both lucky and brave.

A Sunflower's Life Cycle (Pebble Plus) by Mary R Dunn

Sunflowers are one of the easiest and most popular plants for children to grow - and the results are most impressive. Help children understand the science behind this plant with this simple and colourful book, with its excellent colour photos showing every stage of growth.

Great White Sharks (Pebble Plus)

Pebble Plus is an excellent series from Raintree which introduces children to non-fiction books. They include a glossary (although I would like to see the glossary words in bold), comprehension questions and an index. Simple text is accompanied by good photos. Great white sharks are huge, strong and speedy. Few marine animals can escape the great white's 300 sharp teeth and powerful jaws. Young readers will learn about the appearance, behaviour, life cycle and other key features of this amazing shark

Kings of the Skies (First Facts: Animal Rulers) by Rebecca Rissman

This very informative book explores the behaviours and environments of flying animals. Various flying creatures from all around the world are featured, including pelicans, owls, bats and moths - it's good to see children's attention drawn to this range of flying creatures.

Our Eyes Can See (Little Pebble: Our Amazing Senses) by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen

Little Pebble books are small format books with simple text which is ideal for children developing their reading skills. Well written and informative, with usefully labelled colour photos. Critical thinking questions help children reason on what they have learnt. Our eyes let us see. Simple, fun text teaches readers about the sense of vision and how the eyes let us see

Lorries (Little Pebble: Transport) by Mari Schuh

Children always enjoy spotting the various lorries on the road, and this colourful book will help them identify them. Tankers carry milk. Fire engines spray water to put out fires. Which ones are your favourite? Through delightfully simple text and bright, close-up photos, beginning readers will learn about lorry parts, types and uses.

All About Forests (Little Pebble: Habitats) by Christina Mia Gardeski

Encourage children to take an interest in the world around them with this simply worded series which uses excellent colour photos to introduce the various habitats and their creatures. What can you find in a forest? From the treetops to the forest floor, a forest is full of life! Falling leaves, busy squirrels and other secrets of the forest will delight beginning readers. All Little Pebble books have an Accelerated Reader ATOS level of 1.0 or below.

Stretch It! (Read and Learn: Shaping Materials) by Tammy Enz

In KS1, children will start to learn about materials and their properties. Which materials can be stretched? What can we make with those materials? Real world examples and practical projects help young readers discover material properties. The practical examples and the photos will really help children to understand this topic.

Crack the Pirate Code (Pirates!) by Liam O'Donnell

A popular topic with children and with schools. Avast! The oceans are filled with pirates! But pirates have a code to follow. Read this title to learn about the code that guided pirates' lives, and the consequences if they disobeyed the code.

Sikhism (Young Explorer: Religions Around the World) by Anita Ganeri

It's important that children understand a range of religions from an early age, so they learn that we all have different beliefs which are important to us. The simple straightforward text of this book is an ideal introduction. It outlines what Sikhs believe, their Holy Book, how they worship, family times and festivals. The excellent colour photos really add to the value of the book, as does the useful glossary.

The History of Robots (Young Explorer: The History of Technology) by Chris Oxlade

Robots are increasingly becoming part of our world - many children will have seen drones - so this book is excellent to inform enquiring young minds. It's full of interesting facts such as the first industrial robot started work in 1959. Now robots are in factories, in homes, laboratories and in the sky. Robots explore other planets, ocean depths and carry out jobs that are dangerous for humans. From the first robots of the 1950s to drones and androids of the present day, this book charts the amazing history of robots. The colour photos really illustrate the versatility of these machines, and the clear layout of the book with useful information points highlighted makes the book accessible for children.

Football: Rules, Equipment and Key Playing Tips (First Facts: First Sports Facts) by Danielle S Hammelef

This could be a very good way to encourage reading in children who are not keen on books. Children often prefer non-fiction and if you give them a book on a subject that interests them, they they will start to enjoy reading. All the basics are here, including equipment, rules, training tips and positions. The text is perfectly pitched to engage children and they will enjoy the excellent colour photos. Hopefully, the book, along with the rest of the series, will encourage even more participation in sport!

Honeybees by Lisa J Amstutz

Our bee population is in decline, so it's really good to introduce these fascinating creatures to young children and explain their importance in our world. Honeybees buzz from flower to flower. Everything they do helps the hive. This colourful book will appeal to young children's fascination with nature with the very simple, fun to read text, and bright, close-up photos. All Little Pebble books have an Accelerated Reader ATOS level of 1.0 or below.

The Truth about Hamsters: What Hamsters Do When You're Not Looking (Pets Undercover!) by Mary Colson

Despite their huge popularity as pets, hamsters are nocturnal creatures and get up to most of their adventures when the rest of the household is not watching. So, if you've ever wondered what your hamster does when you're not around, Bonnie is here to tell you. as she has been left to wander the house and she's in the mood for fun. From burrowing to escaping, gnawing to stockpiling, you can find out just what wild things hamsters are up to when your family are all out. It's a great read for young ones who have - or dream of having - a hamster, with superb photos to show just what Bonnie enjoys.

How Coding Works (Our Digital Planet) by Ben Hubbard

This simple introduction helps KS1 children understand how computers work, and understand how we write programs to make computers do what we want. The book uses simple language and explanations throughout and makes good use of photographs and diagrams to explain the concepts. Children are introduced to computing terminology which is explained in the picture glossary.

I Stay Active (Little Pebble: Healthy Me) by Martha E. H. Rustad

Learning to stay active is really important and children are never too young to start learning about being healthy. Carefully levelled text, with short sentences and simple vocabulary, allows the youngest readers to read independently and learn all about staying active. With colourful photos to expand on the text, this is a good first non-fiction title.

Simple Bike Maintenance: Time for a Tune-Up! (Spokes) by Lisa J Amstutz

All bikes need maintenance from time to time to keep them in tip-top condition. From adjusting the seat to cleaning the chain, children will learn how to keep their bikes ready to go. Very simple text is accompanied by colourful photos illustrating the actions to take. Spokes is a great series for children who enjoy cycling, as it covers all aspects in an informative and approachable way, with a high ratio of illustrations. Introducing children to the proper care of their bicycles from a young age will establish good habits for a lifetime.

My First Guide to Fast Vehicles (My First Guides) by Nikki Potts

Young children are fascinated by fast vehicles, so it's good to encourage them to enjoy books with this look at a variety of vehicles including high speed trains, hydroplanes and dragsters, readers will learn about the fastest vehicles in the world. Fact boxes and full-colour images of vehicles in action will entice fast vehicle enthusiasts. Learning is enhanced by the inclusion of a glossary and comprehension questions.

Diwali (Little Pebble: Festivals in Different Cultures) by Lisa J. Amstutz

Little Pebbles is an attractive series for the youngest readers. The text is simple, with short sentences and appropriate vocabulary, explained in the glossary where necessary. Bright colour photos show people preparing for and celebrating Diwali, giving children a good start to understanding other beliefs.

School in Many Cultures (Life Around the World) by Heather Adamson

The Life Around the World series gives children an introduction to the way other children live around the world. The large format landscape presentation means the accompanying photos are well sized, with plenty of detail to spot and discuss. The text is very simple, and carefully chosen. I like the fact that each two-page spread includes a map so children can locate the continent and country being discussed - this is an excellent feature. This book gives a fascinating insight into how children around the world learn.

 Raintree Books - Key Stage 2 (KS2)

Sweet Treats with a Side Serving of Science (Sweet Eats with a Side of Science) by M M Eboch

Cooking is a great way to get hands-on experience of science, making the principles easier to understand and showing children the relevance of science to everyday life. Keen cooks and those who need a bit more encouragement and experience will enjoy this series, full of a variety of recipes for everyone to try. Science is woven in throughout to not only help readers understand more about biology, physics, and chemistry, but to also understand how the science directly relates to the recipes they are making. It's an excellent approach, with some very tasty treats as an end result. The recipes are clear and easy to foillow and the science behind them well explained.

Anne Frank: Get to Know the Girl Beyond Her Diary (Fact Finders: People You Should Know)​ by Kassandra Radomski

We all know the story - shortly after her 13th birthday, Anne Frank and her family were forced into hiding. It was World War II and the German Nazis were rounding up Jewish people and either killing them or sending them to work in concentration camps. Anne kept a moving diary throughout her incarceration and this has had a huge impact on everyone who has read it and we all want to know about the person behind the diary. This book answers many questions. What was the fate of Anne and her family? What became of her diary? Find the answers to these questions and more in this fascinating biography which is packed with photos.

Extraordinary Skyscrapers: The Science of How and Why They Were Built (Exceptional Engineering) by Sonya Newland

It seems that no sooner than one building claims to be the tallest in the world, than another even taller is built. Just why do we keep building these amazing buildings? Find out as this book takes its readers behind the scenes to investigate the design, construction and engineering processes that go into creating the world's most amazing skyscrapers. A better understanding and a greater appreciation of these incredible structures will be gained by reading this book and marvelling at the buildings shown in the excellent photos. By learning about the science behind skyscrapers, children will support their KS2 STEM learning.

Fossils (Fact Finders: Rocks) by Ava Sawyer

Fossils really help us find out about times long ago, and this book will help children understand their value to us, as well as encouraging them to marvel at the beauty, intricacy and preservation of these objects. Every continent contains fossils that tell us about the plants and animals that once existed on Earth. Fossils give us valuable information about what the planet was like in prehistoric times, and the pages of this book clearly explain how. Usefully, the glossary terms are explained on the appropriate page, as well as in the glossary - this helps readers keep the flow of what they are reading.

Immigration Today: Why do people move to the UK? (InfoSearch) by Nancy Dickmann

This is an important and topical subject that children and young people need to understand. Discover some of the many reasons why people choose to become immigrants, including families fleeing war-torn countries, to workers looking for job opportunities, the book explains the motivations, the challenges and the successes. The processes and problems involved in immigration and asylum are described, has well as what happens when people try to get to the UK illegally. Emigration is also covered. Straightforward text, lively photographs and engaging case studies ensure readers will get a full, clear picture of migration. The various reasons and arguments are clearly set out in this valuable book, which is positively written to enhance understanding and empathy.

Celtic Courier (Raintree Perspectives: Newspapers from History) by Andrew Langley

I love this concept, that of presenting history in an engaging newspaper format. Find out all about life in Celtic Britain through this colourful mix of news and features, including headline news, religious news, farming news, food and drink, fashion highlights, arts and entertainment, property, handy hints and even items for sale. It's an engaging way to present a topic which is part of the KS2 History Curriculum , and the presentation will appeal to a range of interests, and to children who may struggle with reading. I'm glad to see a useful glossary, extensive index and helpful list of further sources. There are lessons to be learnt for children here too, as they could be encouraged to create their own newspaper.

Animal Discoveries (Smithsonian Marvellous Discoveries) by Tamra B Orr

Nature is almost unbelievable at times, and the more weird and wonderful, the more children enjoy their discoveries. This book features such wonders as a worm that spits glue, a monkey whose nose fills with water, a rat with vampire teeth, and a frog you can see through! Just some of the amazing animals that have recently been discovered by scientists. This engaging series is certainly full of fascinating information, and it's excellently presented, with a high proportion of images to text.

STEAM Jobs for Thrill Seekers (Edge Books: STEAM Jobs) by Sam Rhodes

This is an enlightening book - there are jobs here I've never heard of!Young people who aspire to excitement in their lives will be amazed by the range of jobs available - there are more jobs for those who love an adrenaline rush than you probably ever realised. How about becoming a herpetologist, a hurricane hunter or a smoke jumper? All these jobs need applicants who have STEM and STEAM skills, so the book is a great inspiration to boys and girls, encouraging them to study these subjects. Each job explains what subjects are needed. Glossary words are explained at the bottom of the relevant page, as well as being in the glossary; there's a good index too. Lots of colour photos show children what to expect.

Animation and Presentation from Scratch (Code It Yourself) by Rachel Ziter

No, not 'from the beginning' but using the coding language Scratch, often used in schools. Children will learn the basics of coding using Scratch by focusing on simple coding techniques and language to produce results in which they can take a real pride. This visual, hands-on guide will teach junior coders how to recreate stories, make their stories, create presentations and construct unique quizzes, making the use of Scratch really meaningful as well as fun. Step by step explanations are easy to follow and the book makes excellent use of showing images that will appear on screen, helping young coders to visualise each step.

Egyptian Myths (Fact Finders: Mythology Around the World) by Eric Braun

In KS2, children will study Ancient Egypt, and one of their favourite topics is often the myths, which really bring the people and culture to life for them. Through engagingly retold stories, plus dramatic photos and illustrations, children will discover the gods and goddesses behind the myths and the powers they used to control and change the world. There's Ra, the sun god who created the world, and Osiris, the god of the dead and ruler of the underworld, Khnum, who myth claims created humans,plus many more. Sidebars, facts and infographics help uncover how these myths influenced the culture and daily life of Ancient Egypt, and the book is clearly laid out helped by these features.

Hadrian's Wall (Raintree Perspectives) by Dawn Finch

Hadrian's Wall is an intriguing place for children, and especially so as they are aware so much of it still stands. This leads to many questions which are answered by this book. Who was Emperor Hadrian? Why did he build a massive wall across northern England? Why were the Romans in Britain and how did they get there? This book tells you all you need to know about Hadrian's Wall - why and how it was built, who lived there and much more. Find out what life was like for the soldiers living there, and also for the native Britons, in the diary-style sections, which really give an insight into people's lives.

Saving British Wildlife: Success Stories (Raintree Perspectives) by Claire Throp

Programmes such as Springwatch go a long way to supporting wildlife and raising interest - and this book builds on that. Some species of animals, such as that the white-tailed eagle and the large blue butterfly, died out in Britain in the 20th century. But efforts by experts to reintroduce them from other countries have been successful. This book looks at the work being done to save British wildlife, focusing on the success stories that now see certain species thriving. We also touch on species whose numbers are starting to go down, such as hedgehogs, starlings, puffins and small tortoiseshell butterflies. Find out in our "Tips" section how you can help to look after the wildlife either in your own garden our when you are out in the countryside. This is an excellent book for making children aware of the animal life in our own country, helping them to appreciate it and take their own steps to preserve it.

25 Women Who Fought Back (Daring Women) by Jill Sherman

Discover 25 inspirational women who challenged the status quo and fought for what they believed in. From all corners of the world, these women show us that barriers are meant to be broken and obstacles can be overcome. Learn about some of the fierce women who persevered in the face of adversity to fight for what they thought was right. Subjects include many less familiar names, such as Pauli Murray, Betty Friedan, Bell Hooks and Barbara Walters. Interestingly, there is a chapter devoted to current women to watch.

The Celts, Picts, Scoti and Romans (Raintree Perspectives: Settlers and Invaders of Britain) by Ben Hubbard

Many different peoples have settled in Britain, and each has left an impact on our country. Children will learn what the Celts, Picts, Scots and Romans left for us. Who were they? Why did they invade Britain and why did they decide to settle here? Find out about these peoples, what they brought with them and how their lifestyles and beliefs have influenced our culture today. The book gives a good picture of their lives, with excellent photos and reconstructions to bring the subject to life.

The European Union (Raintree Perspectives) by Jilly Hunt

Brexit or no, children still need to know about the EU. This book about the European Union describes what the EU is and what it does, its history, EU laws, EU parliament, the single market and currency, and more. Written in a simple and clear way language suitable for young readers, the book also features "Top Trumps"-style boxes of all the countries in the EU and some topical issues that have arisen within the EU, such as the 2009 debt crisis involving Greece and other countries, and the topical issue of "Brexit".

Smile!: All About Teeth (Raintree Perspectives) by Ben Hubbard

We must all take care of our teeth, and the more we know about them, the better able we are to care for them properly. Learn all about the different types of teeth in humans, what their functions are, and how and why we have two sets of teeth. Discover the role that dentists and oral hygienists play in looking after your teeth, find out about braces and what they do, which foods are best and worst for your teeth and much more. Informative and a practical guide.

Democracy in the UK (InfoSearch) by Nancy Dickmann

Democracy affects us all and it is important that children start to understand it from primary age. The book answers such questions as: How does democracy fit in with British values? How can I take part in democracy? What is the local council? What happens in the Houses of Parliament? Readers will learn how democracy works in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and how it relates to every one of us. Find out how the different groups of elected bodies work together and how voting is organised. The book takes an in-depth look at case studies from recent history, including the Brexit referendum. it could be a dry subject but the writing is lively and engaging, with the material really being made relevant to children. Plenty of photos make the subject come alive.

Survival: Facts or Fibs by Kristin J Russo

Separate fact from fiction in this interesting book, perfect to encourage less enthusiastic readers. They will learn to survive in inhospitable places which include woods, deserts and oceans, and how to avoid danger from weather, animals and fire. Each spread takes a well-known piece of information, examines the evidence and draws a conclusion. With plenty of illustrations and lots to learn, this is a fascinating book.

Roman Sites (Raintree Perspectives: Historic Places of the United Kingdom) by John Malam

We are very fortunate that there are so many Roman sites accessible in our country, and visiting them is a great way to bring history alive for children. This book helps us discover which Roman places or remains still exist in the UK today. It also shows exactly what they tell us about how the Romans lived. This very useful book takes a tour around of some of these places, giving a fascinating glimpse of how Romans built their houses and communities as well as why they are significant. It gives a good outline history of Romans in this country, and features a range of sites including Watling Street, Hadrian's Wall, Bath and Bignor Roman Villa, all with fascinating insights into the lives lived there.

The Fight Against War and Terrorism (Beyond the Headlines) by Jilly Hunt

Headlines can be sensational - they are designed that way to capture the attention. We need to make sure we encourage young people to explore beyond the headlines, to find out what is really happening in the world. This book on the topics of war and terrorism shows how these issues are treated in the news and how to separate truth from spin. It's an important skill for children to acquire, and this book is an excellent look at the topic, which really encourages children to think and investigate for themselves. The book has a positive spin, covering areas of hope and positive change as well as areas of concern.

Curious Pearl Explains States of Matter: 4D An Augmented Reality Science Experience by Eric Braun

With augmented reality access to videos, readers will have an enhanced learning experience, this is an excellent way to explain science. When Curious Pearl tries to show her younger brother how to make ice lollies, he doesn't understand how juice could turn into a frozen lolly. As a lover of science, Pearl knows this is her chance to teach her brother all about the states of matter. Readers just need to download the app, and they can also access additional resources online.

Create and Keep: Projects to Hang on To (Dabble Lab: Creative Crafts) by Mari Bolte

Creative activities are great but it can be a problem to know what to do with the completed objects - but not with the ideas in this book. There is lots of inspiration here; alongside the instructions for finished projects there are open-ended ideas that children kids can use to make each craft completely personalised. fully With a focus on making projects that kids will want to create and keep, each activity uses easy-to-find supplies, and will be a great home or school resource. The ideas are really unusual, including ways to use out-grown toys.

Mars Rover: How a Self-Portrait Captured the Power of Curiosity (Captured Science History) by Danielle Smith-Lera

A fascinating book about an object we hear about but perhaps don't know enough about. Weighing as much as a small car, a rover named Curiosity rolls quietly around Mars. Scientific instruments pack its body and cluster at the end of a mechanical arm. An arrangement of lenses and instruments tops its mast, like a face. To the many NASA workers involved in Curiosity's mission on Mars, the rover is not simply a robot, but an astronaut bravely exploring an alien place. Curiosity's instruments collect data and its cameras take images of the Mars landscape, including self-portraits, in vivid colour and detail. As it roams and explores, Curiosity will help find the answers to such age-old questions as has there ever been life on Mars? Could there be one day?

Sock Puppet Theatre Presents Little Red Riding Hood: A Make & Play Production (Dabble Lab: Sock Puppet Theatre) by Christopher L Harbo

This is an interesting concept - a book that contains everything needed to bring a fairytale to life on stage. Children can learn how to make simple, adorable puppets, key props and the perfect stage for bringing this classic fairy tale to life. But that's not all! As an added bonus, this book also includes a fun starter script, helpful acting and performance tips and clever suggestions for making your play truly unique. With Sock Puppet Theatre, you hold in your hands everything needed to get your puppeteer career started on the right foot! A super idea and one that will be equally good at home as in school.

Computer Programming: Learn It, Try It! (Dabble Lab: Science Brain Builders) by Brad Edelman

Often it's the younger members of the family who know and understand more about computers. Do you have a love for computers? Are you the person your parents go to when they can't work something out on their devices? Then computer programming might just be the career path for you! Learn the basics from a real-life expert and get some hands-on experience. The world of computer programming is at your fingertips. A practical book that is easy to follow and which will increase knowledge and understanding.

Insects (A+ Books: Animal Kingdom) by Janet Riehecky

Children will learn about bees, ants, butterflies and more in this colourful, photo-filled animal science book. It's perfect to encourage children to take an interest in the world of insects and to get out and about to see what they can spot. Not only will readers discover basic topics such as habitat, anatomy and diet, but they'll also find fun topics such as record-breaking insects and how insects help people. It's well written for the target audience, and the presentation of information in a series of fact boxes breaks up the text and makes it very accessible and enjoyable to read.

Humans and the Hydrosphere: Protecting Earth's Water Sources (Fact Finders: Humans and Our Planet) by Ava Sawyer

The hydrosphere encompasses all water on Earth from glaciers and ice to rivers and oceans. We all use water all the time, but we do need to think about where our water comes from, and whether we can economise on water - and children need to be aware too. This title asks the question, how much do you use? Readers will learn how humans use water, how humans positively and negatively affect water and how to protect the water supply. Important topics.

DNA, Genes, and Chromosomes (Fact Finders: Genetics) by Mason Anders

This is a complex subject to explain to children, and this book really makes it easy to understand through the combination of clear text, diagrams, photos and fact boxes. Did you know that most of our body cells contain about 2 metres (6 feet) of DNA? Learn how DNA and genes determine each unique trait of plants and animals by taking a close look at the make-up and structure of DNA.

Respect and Tolerance (Raintree Perspectives: Exploring British Values) by Catherine Chambers

British Values have really been brought to the forefront in school recently, and teachers will find this series an invaluable resource. In our multi-cultural society, respect and tolerance of those with different faiths and beliefs is increasingly important and is something that must be started in childhood. This book helps readers to think about how other people's beliefs are different from their own and to respect those differences, so that they can understand and appreciate the views of other people.

Start Your Crafting Business (Snap Books: Build Your Business) by Mary Meinking

With online opportunities to sell craft products as well as a plethora of craft fairs, now is a great time to start a crafting business, and this encouraging book is the ideal stimulus to get going. Children and young people who love crafting and DIY are shown how to make a profitable business from them. Learn the ins and outs to starting a crafting business. With helpful tips and practical advice, becoming a young entrepreneur has never been easier!

Gross Facts about the Middle Ages (Gross History) by Myra Vonne

This is just the sort of book to appeal to children - medieval life really was gross in many aspects and kids will revel in this. From leftover trenchers of greasy bread and stinky chamber pots to barber surgeons and the black plague, life could be really miserable for people during medieval times. Get ready to explore the nasty side of life in the Middle Ages. The colour drawings which show medieval life at its most gross are really vivid - and quite horrifying at times; not for the faint-hearted!

Weapons of World War II (Blazers: Weapons of War) by Matt Doeden

A truly international war, participants from countries from all over the globe fought in World War II. Check out this book to find out more about the weapons used in World War II. The book gives an outline of the war, then discusses guns and grenades; bigger weapons; and deadly vehicles. The contemporary photography shows the weapons in action, and the readability of the book is enhanced through good use of fact boxes and labelling of the pictures.

Tunnelling to Freedom: The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III (Graphic Non Fiction: Great Escapes of World War II) by Nel Yomtov

This dramatic book helps readers to experience the incredible story of the brave men who tunnelled to escape a German prisoner-of-war camp. It's told with vivid comic-strop style narration and reads like the most exciting fiction although it is factual; as such it will appeal to reluctant readers and those who prefer non-fiction. Readers will learn about the exciting planners, task leaders and key players of the escape from Stalag Luft I

Birds (A+ Books: Animal Kingdom) by Pamela Dell

Take to the skies with songbirds and raptors and waddle with some flightless birds, too! The book takes a scientific approach, arranging information into topics such as anatomy, migration and life cycle; this approach fits the science curriculum to perfection. The exceptional full-colour photos and concise, factual text are just right for young readers. The layout is clear and appealing and there is a good mix of familiar and less familiar birds to capture children's attention.

Origami Crafting (First Facts: Origami Crafting) by Harbo Christopher

The somewhat lengthy sub-title of the book is 'Fun Folds with Augmented Reality for Amazing Greetings Cards, Ornaments, Decorations and More!' but that does sum it up well. What I really like about this book is the way it makes use of the created origami with a range of projects which include  origami animals, flowers and more into locker magnets, table decorations, greeting cards and hanging baubles. With excellent photo-illustrated instructions which take you through step-by-step with accompanying text, as well as augmented reality access to video tutorials, you'll never get stuck on a step. Just grab some paper and start crafting!

Totally Amazing Facts About Outrageous Inventions (Mind Benders) by Cari Meister

If you have an inquisitive child who is always asking "Why? - or even a whole classful of them - then this is the book you need. With over 100 facts about anything and everything from toothbrushes, aeroplanes, windmills, satellites, flush toilets Check out how little water they use now compared with years ago!) to animation, ice cream, crayons and even a dimple maker are served up in photo-packed design that are sure to engage reluctant readers. The highly visual approach is excellent and the book will have kids engrossed.

Incredible Robots in Space by Louise Spilsbury

Children will marvel at the wonder of space probes and other kinds of robots used in space. Space probes have explored the planet Mars, flown to the asteroid belt and even travelled to the outer planets of our solar system, sending pictures and information back to Earth, furthering our knowledge to an unbelievable extent. With the help of colour photographs and real examples, readers will learn about space technology, robot astronauts, and how important robots have become to space exploration. Lavishly illustrated and packed with information, children will really be helped to understand how these fantastic machines enhance man's knowledge.

Forces (Flowchart Science) by Mary Colson

Forces affect everything around us, and so they make a fascinating study for children as the effects are easily seen. This book explores the science of forces such as friction and gravity in a fascinating and fun way that ensures children really understand how forces work, to tie in with KS2 science. The high educational value content includes innovative flowcharts, colourful photographs and fact boxes that bring the concepts to life in a clear way. Readers will find out how the moon affects tides on Earth, how magnetic forces act on matter throughout the universe and many more amazing facts about forces in this informative book. With its practical index and glossary, this is a good reference book for KS2.

Behind-The-Scenes Music Careers (Savvy: Behind the Glamour) by Mary Boone

Young people may well think a music career is all glamour, but this practical and down-to-earth book takes a good look at the reality of the situation. As the book show, there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes. Behind every superstar are hundreds of people working to keep an industry running. In this book, readers can now learn about unique and exciting careers that they may never have considered - behind the glamour. It's an excellent way to redress the balance and encourage young people to make up a career in music, albeit may not be the one they have envisaged.

Hoping for Peace in Afghanistan (Peace Pen Pals) by Nick Hunter

Imagine how effective it would be if two children from both sides of a conflict could write to each other. Well, now we can imagine that situation in this hard-hitting but heart-warming book which tells of war and conflict in Afghanistan over the past ten years through the eyes of two fictional children who are corresponding by letter, as penpals. One child, Kelly, is living in the United States; Fatimah is living in war-torn Afghanistan. You can discover the lives of ordinary people in a war-torn country and how conflict affects their daily lives. It is really effective and helps us all to gain a real insight into the way everyday lives are affected by war. The letters are perceptive and revealing and accompanied by plenty of visual material and factual information to give an excellent perspective.

What is a Parliamentary Government? (Understanding Political Systems) by Karen Kenney

Today's children must grow up understanding various types of government, if they are to play an informed role in society. It can seem a dry subject, but this book tackles toe topic very well as it looks at different aspects of Parliamentary Governments, explaining what they are, how they have come about and giving examples of such political systems in the world today. Children are encouraged to make their own decisions based on the information given in this thought-provoking book.

The Super-Intelligent, High-tech Robot Book from The Science Museum

This book is specially written to accompany the new blockbuster Science Museum Robots exhibition which opened in February 2017. Being authored by the Science Museum means it is written in a child-friendly way without compromising on any of the scientific value. The exhibition explores the 500-year story of humanoid robots and the book looks at the history of animatronics, computing and robots from their beginnings to the present day, and contains quizzes and instructions for experiments to do at home - these are excellent to increase children's understanding. It is illustrated with plenty of black-and-white photos and line art to help children visualise the robots. It's bound to make children want to visit!.

Understanding Our Skeleton (Brains, Body, Bones!) by Lucy Beevor

Bones are the framework of our bodies, but they are much more than that. Perfect to support the KS2 science curriculum, this book looks at the functions of bones: what they are made of, how they connect to muscles, and how joints work. Excellent diagrams with good clear labels really do explain the topic well, and the 'See for yourself' sections suggest very simple activities that will help children gain a better understanding of the skeleton and its functions

Busting Boredom in the Great Outdoors (Edge Books: Boredom Busters) by Tyler Omoth

Full of inspiring and unusual ideas for making the most of outdoor space, this book is ideal to support the ever-increasing outdoor activity enjoyed in schools. The ideas are wide-ranging, with something for every environment. They include how to make pavement chalk paint, go on a photo safari, build giant garden games, make bird snacks and much more. With clear instructions and helpful photos, Busting Boredom in the Great Outdoors has never been more fun. A great way to inspire outdoor activities.

The Dog Encyclopaedia for Kids by Tammy Gagne

This book covers a wide variety of dogs (over 150), including some quite unusual ones - have you heard of an Eurasier, a Schipperke or a Komondor? It's a great book for adults as well as children watching Crufts. It is comprehensive and well illustrated, with fun facts and famous dogs for an added level of interest. There's plenty of detail on each breed, including appearance, personality and training - ideal to give an overview if you are choosing a breed.

Secrets of World War II (Edge Books: Top Secret Files) by Sean McCollum

Edge Books take a reader-friendly approach which will encourage even reluctant readers into reading. During World War II, millions upon millions of people died, including huge numbers of innocent civilians. Both sides pursued secret plans, tactics, and weapons to destroy each other resulting in horrors on a scale never before seen. This informative book reveals little-known stories of the people, weapons, and battles that have had a long-lasting effect on the whole world. The book introduces many unfamiliar words - these are highlighted and explained on the relevant page as well as in the glossary - this is a good approach as it encourages children to learn new words without breaking the flow of reading. Set out in three chapters rather than the ubiquitous two-page spreads, this highly illustrated book provides a fascinating look at lesser-known aspects of the War.

The Anglo-Saxon Times (Raintree Perspectives: Newspapers from History) by Andrew Langley

I like this approach to presenting history - it captures children's attention and provides interesting ideas for the development of topic work. Just like any newspaper, this is packed with news and features, including headline news, religious news, farming news, food and drink, fashion highlights, arts and entertainment, property, handy hints and even items for sale. Children will find plenty to interest them and the excellent presentation is bound to grab their attention. A very informative book that gives an excellent picture of daily life in Anglo-Saxon England.

Stone Circles (Raintree Perspectives: Prehistoric Britain) by Dawn Finch

Now the curriculum includes Prehistoric Britain, teachers will be pleased to be able to build up their collection of books on the topics, and this will be an excellent addition, as well as being of more general interest as well. This book answers many of the intriguing questions about these mysterious places - who built these stone circles and why are they there? How did ancient people build these circles using such giant stone blocks? The clear and simple text is easy to understand, and highlights the most famous stone circles in the United Kingdom, such as Stonehenge, the Ring of Brodgar, Calanais and Avebury. Good use of photos enhances the magic, majesty and mystery of these constructions, encouraging a real interest in the subject.

Dazzling Dragonflies (Bugs Are Beautiful!) by Catherine Ipcizade

Many of us will have marvelled at the beauty of dragonflies as we have watched them swoop over water - but we may not realise just how many different ones there are. Young readers will learn about 12 different species of dragonflies, each with unusual and unexpected colours and patterns. Learn about their life cycles, habitats, and body parts with maps and photographs, many of them close-ups which show these beautiful creatures in detail. The glossary and comprehension questions are useful additions to the book.

Show Me: Dogs by Megan Cooley Peterson

From whiskers and withers to muzzles and puzzles, there is much to learn about our favourite pets. Children will enjoy this fact-filled book - more than 100 facts and definitions are included. How dogs evolved, some popular breeds (including designer dogs), how dogs grow, how to care for them, dog senses and much more are included in this colourful book, which has lots of photos of dogs for readers to enjoy. It's attractively laid out, with good use of a range of fonts and varied fact and photo boxes.

Take Your Pick of Disgusting Foods by G G Lake

Caution - not for the squeamish! If you have a fussy eater in your family, showing them some of the quite revolting foods in this book may well make them tuck into their own meals with gusto! Think of some of the grossest foods ever - bird's nest soup or goose blood soup, a witchetty grub or a mopane worm, cow's blood or Kopi Luwak coffee - and decide between the two. Plenty of fun facts and some very gruesome illustrations will grab children's attention.

Recreational Drones by Matt Chandler

Helicopters and airplanes aren' t the only aircraft in the skies any more - thousands of recreational drones are launched every day and the chances are you and your children have spotted some - and seen the photos they take. Whether owners make their own drones or buy them, recreational drone use shows no signs of slowing down. Young readers will learn all about these UAVs and the rules those flying them need to follow. It's a fascinating look at a hobby that is becoming increasingly popular.

Building Bridges (Young Explorer: Young Engineers) by Tammy Enz

This book uses engaging non-fiction text and hands-on projects to help young readers explore real-life bridge engineering projects. The practical ideas clearly demonstrate the varied ways in which bridges are built and show children what makes each type strong. The book explains the science behind how these structures and includes lots of colour photos of the various types of bridges.

Investigating Floods (Edge Books: Investigating Natural Disasters) by Elizabeth Elkins

Flooding is becoming increasingly common so it's important that children understand the causes. They can result in hazardous sinkholes, major mudslides and uprooted trees, as well as devastation to property and danger to lives. The heavy rains during a flood can cause a devastating amount of damage in a short time. Get an up-close look at how these disasters form and learn about some of history's worst floods. The book is packed with information and includes a glossary, sources of further information, comprehension questions and an index.

Bring on the Bling!: Bracelets, Anklets, and Rings for All Occasions (Savvy: Accessorize Yourself!) by Debbie Kachidurian

This is a super book for all creative girls who take an interest in fashion and who like to make their own fashion statements. This how-to book is jammed with DIY accessories to brighten your closet! Wave goodbye to dull fashion with the best-looking bracelets, rings, and anklets as you accessorize yourself. They are all illustrated in full colour and there are some super ideas there - girls will be proud to wear them and friends will love them as gifts.

Suzanne Collins: Author of the Hunger Games Trilogy (Snap Books: Famous Female Authors) by Melissa Ferguson

Inspire children as they read about a popular author. Readers will learn about the life and works of Suzanne Collins. Her life leading up to her success as the best-selling author of the Hunger Games trilogy is discussed. Readers will also learn about the author's writing process and what inspires her to write, as well as learning more about what goes into publishing a book. What's next for this author and other interesting details are also included. Enjoyable and informative, with plenty of photos to add to the information value.

Foxhounds, Greyhounds and Other Hound Dogs (Edge Books: Dog Files) by Tammy Gagne

Readers will learn unusual and quirky facts about all sorts of hounds. Beagles have a special sound, they make it when hunting. Dachshunds love to dig and be outside. Packed with superb photographs and fun facts, this book provides an in-depth look at the world of hounds. Children will have their own favourite breeds, so schools will do well to get the whole series to ensure everyone is happy!

No Peanuts, No Problem!: Easy and Delicious Nut-Free Recipes for Kids With Allergies (Allergy Aware Cookbooks) by Katrina Jorgensen

An allergy to peanuts can be one of the most worrying, as the effects of eating peanuts on an allergic person are so sudden and life-threatening. For that reason, many schools ask that no peanut-based products are taken into schools, so that makes this book especially useful for everyone. The book has a range of recipes, savoury and sweet and they include tips for those who have other allergies. Look out for the rest in the series - Beat the Wheat, Enjoy without Soy, No Egg on Your Face and This is not Cheesy. Great titles!

High-Tech Highways and Super Skyways: The Next 100 Years of Transportation (Graphic Library: Our World: The Next 100 Years) by Nikole Brooks Bethea

We are all used to graphic novels and retellings of classic stories and myths, but it is a much less common format for non-fiction. So it's great to see this series, which offers those who enjoy non-fiction the appeal of a graphic novel. From self-driving cars to magnetic trains, the future of transportation is full of exciting possibilities. Hit the fast lane to see what the next 100 years of transportation may have in store for the human race. It's an intriguing look into the future.

Fight for Survival: The Story of the Holocaust (Tangled History) by Jessica Freeburg

This immersive, exciting narrative nonfiction format book follows a selection of people, including children, who experienced the events of the Holocaust. The personal accounts really bring the horror home to us - it's absolutely vital that, harrowing though it may be, today's younger generation understand the horrors and can work toward a world free from atrocities. Useful background material includes a timeline, glossary, comprehension questions, further reading and a bibliography.


 Raintree Books - Key Stage 3 (KS3)


Draw Your Own Animal Zendoodles (Savvy) by Abby Huff

The therapeutic qualities of colouring are now well-known, and this book will be ideal for KS3/4 pupils who want a break from the tensions and stresses of school work - just a short break and they will return to work refreshed! Go wild with zendoodling! Following easy step-by-step instructions, learn how to take simple lines and shapes and transform them into intricate cuddly cats, feisty foxes, darling dolphins and more. The great thing about this book lies in the additional material - extra tips, tricks and craft ideas which will really inspire creativity. The book is well produced too, with plenty of colour and good quality shiny paper.

Cyber Spies and Secret Agents of Modern Times by Allison Lassieur

Take an exciting and informative journey into the lives and daring deeds of spies of modern day using photos, original sources, maps, timelines, and little known facts. Full of fascinating details, this is a great way to encourage reading - especially for James Bond fans!

 Raintree Books - Fiction


Lex Luthor: An Origin Story (DC Super-Villains) by Ivan Cohen

Lex Luthor is a super-villain, Superman's archenemy. How did this come about? Young readers will enjoy discovering the story behind this villain's journey from businessman to madman, including the source of his Kryptonite-fueled battlesuit. It's ideal for reluctant readers as well as early readers, with lots of action and lively illustrations accompanying the easy-to-follow text.The clear crisp font with plenty of white space makes the book accessible.

Squishy Taylor in Zero Gravity by Ailsa Wild

Questions, questions, questions! How long would it take to ride your bike to a space station? What are those sparks coming from the apartment building across the street? How come you can't hug over the internet? Why is there a renegade astronaut on the roof? Squishy Taylor is a super-imaginative girl who sees questions everywhere and along with her friends, is determined to find answers. She's a great character!

Camp Hero Double Trouble (Ellie Ultra) by Gina Bellisario

The motto at Camp Hero is "Where Super Friendships are Made!", so Ellie's disappointed when her cabinmates, superhero twins Mona and Leona, aren't friendly. It seems that Ellie needs some of her parents' clever inventions to help. But when she tries, one, it works almost too well! Ellie decides she needs to know why the girls don't want to be friends. A super story with useful questions at the end to prompt readers to share their thoughts and feelings. Look out for Ellie's other adventures.

Being a Punch Line Is No Joke (The Funny Girl) by D L Green

Often, it's the younger generation who embarrass others by what they publish online, but not in Shelby Bloom's case. Her mum has posted an embarrassing video of Shelby. As we know, once it's out there, anything can happen, and unkind girl Brooke sends the video to everyone. Shelby is out for revenge but can't quite bring herself to do it. Then she has a good idea, one that will have everyone confessing their greatest embarrassments. A contemporary story about a girl who wins friends by being funny.

Clover Fields Fiasco (Three Horses) by Cari Meister

Horse stories are always popular and young readers will enjoy this lively series. Princess, Seb and Snowy have dreams to follow and they are off on an adventure to the clover fields - with disastrous results! An easy and enjoyable read with lovely colour illustrations to engage the reader

Sleeping Beauty: An Interactive Fairy Tale Adventure (You Choose: Fractured Fairy Tales) by Jessica Gunderson

This is far from being a conventional Sleeping Beauty story, and so children will be excited to see a new take on their old favourite. Wake up, Sleeping Beauty. Maleficent is on her way and she's bringing aliens! The choice is up to the reader as they choose their own way through three twisted versions of the classic fairy tale. With 42 choices and 21 possible endings, this story can be read over and over again, with something new every time. Contemporary illustrations add to the appeal.

Beauty and the Beast: An Interactive Fairy Tale Adventure (You Choose: Fractured Fairy Tales) by Matt Doeden

It's a well-known story... or is it? What happens when Beauty is a real beast? Or when the prince is an android? With 38 choices and 16 endings, the story can go any way the reader chooses, giving lots of exciting options. This style of story really encourages children's imaginative thinking - instead of just skimming through a book, they are really encouraged to think about where they would like the story to go. It's a great idea to encourage children to write their own stories in a similar format.

Dance Team Diva (Academy of Dance) by Margaret Guvevich

Raintree produce a range of fiction which is highly appealing to children and young people and there's a bumper selection for Autumn 2018 reviewed here. Grace doesn't enjoy middle school, where everyone seems far too obsessed with who's wearing what and how much it costs. But at Ms Marianne's Academy of Dance, Grace's tap dance skills take centre stage. Unfortunately, when a mean girl from school joins the dance team, Grace's safe haven is no longer so secure...

Destruction Zone (Zone Books: School Bus of Horrors) by Michael Dahl

What seems like a straightforward school trip takes on a whole new dimension as the bus encounters diversion after diversion. The bus seems to be driving in circles, as if the streets have become a giant maze. Will the students ever reach their final destination? A creepy and addictive story that will have readers in suspense. Discussion points add to the value of the book.

The Monster in the Mirror: A Tale of Terror (Phobia) by Anthony Wagholtz

When Anders looks in a mirror, he is filled with fear. He sees things in these reflections - things he can't explain but knows to be evil. And no one will believe him! So Anders decides to face his fear all by himself, before the monstrous images take on a sinister life of their own. The rather spooky black and white illustrations set the scene to perfection and will appeal to today's readers. A perfect story for those who enjoy a frisson of fear.

Cheetah Unleashed (DC Super Heroes: Wonder Woman the Amazing Amazon) by Brandon T Snider

Cheetah has escaped from prison and is using a stolen map to track down Pandora's Box. While the villain thinks the box has the power to make her human again, the Amazing Amazon knows better. Can Wonder Woman stop Cheetah before she opens the legendary artefact? Or will the world be cast into complete chaos? These fiction books from Raintree are attractive to young people with their succinct format, shiny paper and top quality graphics - perfect to encourage reluctant readers.

Dream Monsters (Sci-Finity: Mind Drifter) by Gina Kammer

Aman's laid-back and carefree attitude hides deeper feelings and Syah Walker's experience as the peer counsellor at Emdaria North Secondary School reveals this. Aman suffers from a serious anxiety disorder and an underlying fear of failure. A fascinating exploration of the human mind, full of insight and somewhat scary too.

Bigfoot Island (Spine Shivers: Spine Shivers) by J A Darke

Pine Island is a remote getaway for campers and hikers. So when Darius and his group sets off into the woods, but they soon experience eerie sounds and strange sightings, they feel all alone... and their terrifying journey is only just beginning. Spine Shivers is a series of stories that will be much enjoyed by young people; these are rather more meaty that most of the books reviewed here, so are a good follow-on.

OMG, Zombie! (My Undead Life) by Emma T Graves

After suffering through school's mystery lunch, twelve-year-old Tulah Jones does NOT feel right. She's craving meat, cold as a corpse and feeling stiff and awkward...Tulah tries to ignore the creepy changes and instead focus on her upcoming musical audition, but her nerves about the tryout and her weird affliction are getting to her. Will Tulah continue to bury her problems, or does she have the guts to face them head on? A good mix of text and graphics will encourage readers. High interest coupled with easy reading makes this an excellent book to encourage reading.



Attack of the Zombie Mermaids (Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates) by Michael Anthony Steele

Captain Banana Beard thinks that finding Neptune's Trident will bring him great fortune. But the treasure carries a curse! What will the Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates do when they come face to face with zombie mermaids? This pirate adventure features a glossary, discussion questions and writing prompts, making it a good classroom resource. Colourful and exciting.


Jumpa: The Origin of Wonder Woman's Kanga (DC Super-Pets: DC Super-Pets Origin Stories) by Steve Korte

Even Wonder Woman needs a loyal steed. But how did Kanga become her high-hopping pet? Discover the origin of this superpowered Super-Pet in the this action-packed, POW!-WHAM!-BOOM! chapter book for early readers. It's bound to appeal to young readers with its full page illustrations and attractive layout which makes good use of different text styles, which make a feature of dialogue and sounds.

 End of Days: Doomsday Myths Around the World (Graphic Library: Universal Myths) by Blake Hoena

Virtually every culture has its own version of doomsday myths and this book is an interesting way to see the similarities and differences between them. The book brings together gathers seven diverse apocalypse stories in engaging graphic novel format. There are legends from various mythologies and traditions, including Norse, Native American, Egyptian, Chinese, and more. Extra information provides insight into the culture and primary sources from which these myths originated, and this will be valuable to teachers.

The Riddler's Battleship Blitz (DC Super Heroes: Batman & Robin Adventures) by J E Bright

Reluctant readers can find long books daunting; this colourful title is short enough, with just five chapters to make it accessible and that, along with the bright illustrations, will really encourage reading. When the Riddler escapes from Arkham Asylum, the Dynamic Duo discover he has a museum in his sights. But the Riddler's riddles reveal he doesn't just steal from the museum, he actually makes off with the whole thing! With the help of World War II-era decoding machines, the Riddler takes command of the Gotham City Military Museum - a fully functional battleship! Now it's up to Batman and Robin to spoil his plans before he blows Wayne Manor, and the rest of Gotham City, out of the water.

Mabel Opal Pear and the Rules for Spying by Amanda Hosch

There's excitement and action a-plenty in this fast-paced story about a young spy, Mabel. Mabel's parents are spies, and spying is what she has been taught to do; when her parents leave town without warning, she isn't worried. They're spies, after all. But when her obnoxious Uncle Frank and Aunt Stella show up, demanding to be let into the family's private museum, things begin to look fishy. And where are her parents? Mabel is a resourceful character - indeed, she has written her own spy handbook, so she should be able to cope... A lively and fast-moving story with a great heroine whi will appeal to girls and boys alike.

The Ugly Dino Hatchling: A Graphic Novel (Far Out Fables) by Stephanie Peters

There once was an ugly duckling ... who was actually a baby dinosaur! A dino egg tumbled through a time vortex into a duck nest, but it's clear the hatchling Rex doesn't fit in with his duckling family. So the lost dino leaves the nest on a quest to find his place among the barnyard animals. Will Rex ever find where he truly belongs? In this ebook Far Out Fables adventure, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Ugly Duckling" receives a playful, modern twist. Experience a classic fable like never before in this full-colour graphic novel retelling.

Fishing Frankie (Adventures at Tabby Towers) by Shelley Swanson Sateren

Frankie the Bengal cat has run away from Tabby Towers, and the hunt for him is on. After a wild search, the hotel hosts discover that sometimes even cats need time to relax and go fishing!

The Dig (Sci-Finity: Bug Team Alpha) by Laurie S Sutton

It's a normal day for archaeologists on a faraway planet until they find a certain artifact. Soon members of the archaeological team start to change. They are mutating into ancient aliens of this planet. Bug Team Alpha is deployed to stop this infection. Each book includes a character list, mission report, discussion questions, writing prompts, and glossary, making them excellent classroom resources.

Sounds Like Trouble (The Ingenious Inventors of Iverness Street) by Stacia Deutsch

When Michael Wilson keeps hearing an unusual sound at night, he calls on his friends Liv and Leo to help him to work out what's causing it. The three young neighbours, known as the Mysterious Makers of Shaker Street, build a tool to amplify the sound, and they soon discover that an empty neighbouring house is actually occupied. Will the Mysterious Makers put an end to the troubling noise once and for all? Readers can become makers themselves by following included instructions to re-create the tools the Shaker Street kids use to solve the mystery, while a glossary, discussion questions and writing prompts make this a great addition for libraries and classrooms.

Jeff Allen vs the Time Suck Vampire (Devils' Pass: Devils' Pass) by Justina Ireland

Jeff Allen needs a new phone. But for a new phone, Jeff needs money and therefore a job. When he starts working at the new mobile phone shop for Mr Vlad, he thinks he's got it made. Soon, he notices things aren't quite right. The new phones come preloaded with a game, and everyone in town including his friends seem obsessed. But not normal-obsessed; they're Devil's Pass obsessed, which, in his town, often leads to very bad things. Jeff has to find what's causing the obsession and break the spell before the town and his friends succumb to the mortal danger in front of them.

Moby Dick (Graphic Revolve: Classic Graphic Fiction) by Herman Melville

The graphic novel format is a good way to introduce children to classic works. The icy waters of the northern seas hide a creature that is already a legend among all seafarers: the fearsome white leviathan, the chimera of all whalers, Moby Dick. The young Ishmael, along with his faithful friend Queequeg, will board the Pequod, to satisfy their craving for adventure. But soon, Ishmael will discover that his work goes beyond whaling, and that the whole crew is at the mercy of the mysterious Captain Ahab's thirst for revenge

The Runaway Robot (Superhero Harry) by Rachel Ruiz

For Harry's latest invention, he's building a super robot. He even programs the robot to do some of his household chores! But when Harry brings his robot to school, things don't go exactly as planned. The robot seems to have a mind of his own! Can Harry regain control of his invention before it causes chaos all over Parker Elementary? This early chapter book, ideal for beginner readers, includes a glossary, discussion questions, writing prompts, and bios.

Gracie LaRoo Sets Sail by Marsha Qualey

Gracie LaRoo and the Water Sprites are going on a cruise! The director is Gracie's friend, and he has asked Gracie and her team to perform. But everything starts falling apart. No one is coming to their shows, except pesky piglets who like throwing things at them. Gracie fears she's let her team and her friend down, until she comes up with the perfect solution and saves the day!

Amazo and the Planetary Reboot (DC Super Heroes: Justice League) by Brandon T Snider

Amazo arrives on Earth with a plan to solve all its problems by wiping out its entire population! All that stands in his way is Superman, Green Lantern, Plastic Man and the rest of the Justice League. Can the world's greatest team of superheroes shut down the superpower duplicating android before it's too late? Or will Amazo flip the switch on a total planetary reboot?

Danger on Deck! (DC Super Heroes: The Dark Knight) by Scott Sonneborn

A charity cruise filled with Gotham's wealthiest citizens has been boarded by not one but two groups of hijackers! Poison Ivy and Mr Freeze fight for the right to ransom the passengers with countless citizens caught in the crossfire. Outnumbered and out of his element, Batman will have to find a way to play one group of crooks against the other, or they'll all go down with the ship. An exciting and fast-moving short novel.

Cyborg Superman (DC Super Heroes: The Man of Steel) by J. E. Bright and Tim Levins

A solar flare suddenly erupts near astronaut Hank Henshaw's space shuttle, killing him. But that wasn't the end for Henshaw - he survived, and in the process developed the ability to fuse his consciousness with machines. Hank blames Superman for his tragic fate, and is dead set on unleashing all the powers of technology in his bid to break the Man of Steel.

Tooth Fairy Trouble by Marty Kelley

When Molly Mac loses her first tooth, talk of the Tooth Fairy makes her head spin! What does the Tooth Fairy do with all of those teeth anyway? Molly and her best friend, Kayley, decide to investigate. When Molly figures out what happens to her lost tooth, will she approve?

Edinburgh Castle: A Chilling Interactive Adventure (You Choose: Haunted Places) by Matt Doeden

See Edinburgh Castle in a whole new light as you choose the way the story goes. It's up to you to choose your path you take through this haunted castle - but will you be brave enough? Choose your own stories are an excellent way to encourage young people to engage with reading - try the book as a class reader then encourage pupils to discuss their different outcomes.

How to Stage a Catastrophe by Rebecca Donnelly

ACT 1: The Juicebox Theatre is about ready for the recycling bin. ACT 2: Sidney and Folly consider a crime. [You have to read it to see if we commit a crime - that's called suspense]. ACT 3: Sidney and Folly save the Juicebox Children's Theatre! [It's not giving anything away to tell you that. We just don't want you to worry]. Sidney Camazzola plans to be the director of the Juicebox Theater when he grows up. But the theater is in danger of closing, and he and his friends know they need a plan to save it - and fast. Hilarious and heartwarming, the mission to save a failing community theater unites a riotous cast of characters in this offbeat middle-grade novel.


Killer Croc of Doom (DC Super Heroes: The Dark Knight) by Laurie S Sutton

Batman, aka the Dark Knight, won't be scared by Killer Croc. But when he finds hundreds of mutated half-human, half-crocodile zombies, the Dark Knight must act quickly - he has 24 hours to find a cure, or he will become one of Killer Croc's reptilian zombies. Excellent colour illustrations enhance the appeal of the book, which is perfect for encouraging reluctant readers, especially boys.

The Man of Gold (DC Super Heroes: The Man of Steel) by Paul Weissburg

Again and again, Booster Gold conveniently beats Superman to the punch in stopping the villains and saving the day, making the Man of Steel wonder if this new hero is all glitter and no gold ... Colour illustrations and a glossary add to the interest of the story.

Football Surprise (Sport Stories) by Emma Carlson Berne

Alex and her family have recently moved, which means she has to start a new school and join a new football team. When Alex learns that she must play a new position on the team, she is frustrated. But Alex needs to learn to accept change and welcome it. The book includes some very useful material at the end including a glossary, fun facts, comprehension questions and writing prompts; these all make it ideal for classroom use.

Zombies and Meatballs (Monster Heroes) by Blake Hoena

Zombies aren't known for their brain power but Brian is different. He is a smart, book-loving zombie. When a zombie horde gathers, Brian knows nobody is safe. Can Brian stop the dangerous zombie horde? Better yet, can he stop them by using meatballs? As you can tell, this book is far from ordinary and young readers, just starting to read chapter books, will enjoy it. The book includes thought-provoking questions at the end, ideal for classroom use.

Hansel and Gretel Stories Around the World: 4 Beloved Tales (Multicultural Fairy Tales) by Cari Meister

If you think there's just one fairy tale with two children sent into the woods?, you will be surprised - and pleased - by this book which shows that cultures all around the world have their own Hansel and Gretel stories. Visit Germany, Russia, Italy, and Japan, and find out who follows a line of ashes instead of breadcrumbs, and who escapes the witch using a handkerchief that turns into a river. It's a great way to learn about different variants of the same tale. Discussion questions and writing prompts are included.

Maggie's Magic Chocolate Moon (The Dessert Diaries) by Laura Dower

Sixth-grader Maggie's parents died in a car accident last year, and she and her younger sister aren't getting along. The sisters live with their grandmother and starting a new school. Nothing is going right for Maggie until she meets a local baker with a magical touch who helps bring back Maggie's smile. It's a positive and enjoyable story - perfect for baking fans!

An Extra-Ordinary Girl (Ellie Ultra) by Gina Bellisario

Ellie is super excited for first day at Winkopolis Elementary School. After spending her whole life being homeschooled by super genius inventor parents, she can't wait to hang out with normal kids and learn normal things. But Ellie soon learns that her super powers make her stand out in a not so super way. Can she save the world and fit in with her new friends? Or is blending in the one thing this superhero isn't so super at doing? An attractive book for young readers with lovely full page colour illustrations - a fun, lively story.

Sleeping Beauty, Magic Master: A Graphic Novel (Far out Fairy Tales) by Stephanie True Peters

This graphic novel gives the favourite fairy tale a very unusual spin, which will appeal to today's readers. In a faraway land, a princess named Aurora lives in a castle ...honing her enchantments amid a slumbering kingdom! When the princess was just a baby, a wicked fairy cursed the realm with unending sleep. But a kind fairy had her own spell to cast - she saved the newborn and granted the girl the gift of magic! Now, Aurora is the only one who can awaken her subjects by concocting a potion made up of the world's rarest ingredients. Faced with strange places and fantastical creatures, can Aurora succeed in her epic quest, or will the kingdom - and she - be doomed to doze forever? Visual questions at the end are an excellent springboard for discussion and will help to see whether readers have really followed the plot.

Thor and Loki (Norse Myths: Norse Myths: A Viking Graphic Novel) by Carl Bowen

Loki, the god of mischief, is Thor's troublesome adopted brother. Their father Odin (ruler of the Viking gods), orders the quarrelsome siblings to tame the violent Giants once and for all, thus teaching them to work together. This doesn't have the desired outcome, as Loki and Thor find themselves in conflict with each other as well as with the giants. And in the land of Utgard, a mysterious place made from magic and illusion, Thor must trust his magic-wielding and misbehaving brother in order to get out alive. Likewise, Loki must count on his brother's unmatched strength if he, too, hopes to survive their encounters with the Giants. Can they trust each other? Dramatic illustrations accompany a story largely told through speech, but with explanatory text too. It's a good way to encourage reluctant readers.

The Wind in the Willows by Stephanie True Peters

The story needs no introduction! These full-color graphic novels include discussion and writing prompts developed by a Common Core expert, an expanded introduction, and bolded glossary words. They're sure to hook even the most reluctant of readers. Book Band Level Blue.

Brain Invaders (Igor's Lab of Fear) by Michael Dahl

Diego and Martin decide to skip school in favour of a day on the beach for sun, fun and fishing. When clouds begin to dot the sky, the two boys worry they won't be able to work on their tans... but then things start to get weird. When purple lightning strikes, they worry about getting rained on. And when tendrils emerge from a weird boater's mouth, they worry about their lives... A short but exciting novel, perfect for reluctant readers with its high interest level and ample illustrations.

Dino-Mike and the Lunar Showdown by Franco Aureliani

Having been defeated in Australia and Antarctica, Mr. Bones hides out somewhere he's sure he won't be found. Surely he will be safe on the moon? Not even there is he safe,, as Mike and Shannon take to space to face off against their arch-nemesis in a lunar showdown of dino-sized proportions! But when they finally track him down, they realize Mr. Bones isn't at all what he seems to be... Short chapters, well spaced text and cream pages make this ideal for newly confident readers, who will enjoy the lively story which includes plenty of illustrations to keep interest high.

The Not-So-Evil Wizard (Thud and Blunder) by Sean Tulien

With exciting books like this on offer, there's no excuse for children to say they find reading boring! The people of Village Town are turning into sheep! Their pigs are flying through the air! Their cows are singing - badly! And a talking rooster with a toothy grin insists that an Evil Wizard is behind the magical madness! Can Thud and Blunder trust the toothy rooster, or will he lead the two young knights to their cock-a-doodle-doom? Nothing is what it seems in this fantasy adventure series of early chapter books. Colour illustrations are a feature of this book - so often, books just have black-and-while illustrations. The discussion questions, writing prompts and glossaries, help to engage readers' critical thinking skills, and make the books an excellent classroom resource.

The Tower of London: A Chilling Interactive Adventure (You Choose) by Blake Hoena

I am a big fan of this style of books, which allows the reader to make choices throughout the book, letting them make the story their own. It's a great way to encourage reading and to develop the imagination - and means the book can be read over and over again, with a different outcome each time. This chilling interactive adventure has 39 choices and 10 different endings. The narrative non-fiction style will appeal to those who prefer to read factual books, but who crave excitement and tension.

Cool Crosby (Adventures at Hound Hotel) by Shelley Swanson Sateren

Alfie Wolfe finds his twin sister Alfreeda really annoying, and he just can't stand it any more! It's time for Crosby, a very cool, laid-back German shepherd (with his own pesky puppy in tow) to check into the Hound Hotel and teach Alfie a lesson in patience. Will Alfie learn to keep his cool? An enjoyable story for any dog lovers.

Anxious Adam Braves the Test (Worry Warriors) by Marne Ventura

Adam is dyslexic, so academic tests are difficult for him. He calls on his three best friends - the Worry Warriors - to help him calm his fears while giving him tools to prepare to pass the test. We are familiar for books for young children which address first experiences and worrying situations, but they are less common for older children. Yet they too, face issues and problems to it's great to see this reassuring series.

Apollo 11 Moon Landing: An Interactive Space Exploration Adventure (You Choose: Space) by Thomas K Adamson

Another excellent non-fiction narrative account which involves children closely with the narrative, giving them the opportunity to put their own slant on the story - with 48 choices and 9 endings, there is plenty of choice. Just imagine - you are an American in the 1960s. The United States and Soviet Union have been in a space race since the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957. Since then, the two superpowers have been fighting over which country will control the universe. President Kennedy begins a new space program, with a goal of landing a man on the moon before the end of the 1960s. You want to be a part of it. Can you help beat the Russians and help the United States land a man on the moon? A great way to engage children with books.


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


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