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Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 10)

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

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

Stick Man (Snow Dome Gift Edition) by Julia Donaldson

Stick Man is a much loved story telling of his courageous journey back to his family tree. Poor Stick Man - a dog thinks he is just an ordinary stick and this leads Stick Man on an extraordinary trail to return home to his family. This imaginative story already has a huge number of fans and this new edition with its snow globe (cleverly made without liquid to be absolutely safe) will gain even more fans - a perfect gift. Such a lovely character and, oh, what adventures he has - all, of course, wonderfully illustrated by the inimitable Axel Scheffler.

Sheep's Jazzy Jumper (Jump Up and Join In) by Carrie and David Grant

I have reviewed previous books in this series,and was delighted to see more have been added. Enjoyable stories combine with music, an audio CD featuring several songs, and instructions on making an instrument to produce books that will inspire children to enjoy music. Sheep loves to play his trumpet, but he just doesn’t have enough puff to sound jazzy like the super-cool Moos Brothers. Luckily Sheep’s gran is very jazzy indeed and has a plan up her sleeve.

Meerkat's Mohican (Jump Up and Join In) by Carrie and David Grant

Enjoy the story - listen to the songs - play your own music! Meerkat is desperate to join the school rock band but his music sounds more like Rock-A-Bye-Baby than ROCK AND ROLL! Will a cool new haircut help Meerkat get his groove back? The books also incorporate teaching ideas - these are not just excellent for the classroom but will also help parents who want to encourage a love of music at home. Superb books to encourage adults to share music with children - well thought-out and easy to use. "Carrie and David Grant are two of the best known pop vocal coaches in the UK. In 2007 they received the prestigious Gold Badge Award from The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters in recognition of their outstanding contribution to music."

A Mammoth in the Fridge by Michaël Escoffier

If you find a mammoth in your fridge, there are two questions you should ask: How did it get there? and How do you get it out? An original and very funny story about solving the problem with a very unexpected ending - often, the simplest answer is the best!!! Witty drawings and text combine to amuse the reader.

Monkey Business by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Oh no! Charlie Chatter's potty has disappeared! This is a hilarious story which visits all the animals' bathrooms on board the ark as they show Charlie just how wonderful it is to use the big toilet.  With their help, he realises that going from potty to toilet isn't so scary after all. But will he get there in time? A wonderful rhyming story which is perfect for toddlers who are just learning to use the big toilet and need a little reassurance. The colourful cast of animals, first met in Elephant Pants, are full of fun and there are bound to be plenty of giggles.

While He was Sleeping by Ayano Imai

Mr Bear thought he didn't need friends; he didn't realise he was lonely until a woodpecker came into his life. One day, a woodpecker nests in Mr Bear's hat... and another... and another and soon the hat grows and grows and is full of birds. When the day comes that all the birds fly away, Mr Bear is very sad, although he won't admit it. And then, one magical day, they all come back. An unusual and touching story about friendship.

Dot. by Randi Zuckerberg

Dot knows a lot. She knows how to tap ... to swipe . . . to tweet and to tag, but she's forgotten how to do things in the real world. But when Mum sends her outside to play, she discovers a whole world of fun - her online expertise, mingled with her resourceful imagination, proves Dot really does know lots and lots. This is a wonderful celebration of the joys of childhood away from technology and it holds a very real lesson for us all. Bright illustrations by Joe Berger convey the exhilaration of the story.

When It Snows by Richard Collingridge

When everything grinds to a halt because of the snow, a little boy and his teddy embark on an amazing journey in which they meet reindeer, elves and fairies and travel through forests and mountains. And then comes the clever bit - the part which shows how books can spread our imaginations to the limit - he has simply become immersed in a book. Soft focus illustrations beautifully complement the storyline and give a mystical feel. A magical and atmospheric story which shows the power of the imagination and the stimulating power of books.

Seasons by Alain Gree Alain

Alain Gree's simple and charming pictures are perfect for young children who can recognise and talk about all the elements in his illustrations. This book takes us through the seasons, starting with spring and for each season there is a double page picture of the same scene, showing how seasonal changes affect it - this scene is also shown in the poster which is on the reverse of the cover. This gives adults a perfect opportunity to discuss changes with their children and supports work done in school on the seasons. The clear easy to read text discusses the changes and encourages children to observe the world around them with simple questions. ISBN 978-1908985125; publication date October 13.

Walking with Dinosaurs: The Great Migration (Walking With Dinosaurs Film) by J.E Bright

It's time for the Pachyrhino herd to move from their summer home to the Winter Ground. Follow their story in this exciting book, complete with a sheet of stickers for some extra fun. The dramatic photographs make for an exciting read. The long-awaited 3D motion picture comes out this December, and is sure to thrill fans and bring about an upsurge of interest in linked books.

Yeti and the Bird by Nadia Shireen

Yeti lives alone in a wintery landscape; he has no friends as everyone is scared of him. That is, everyone except Bird, who gets lost on her way south, and lands on Yeti's head. Soon, the unlikely pair are the best of friends - but sadly, the time comes when Bird has to leave and unselfishly, Yeti helps her on her way. But Yeti is lonely no more as all the creatures know he is not scary at all. A touching and gentle story about the value of friendship. Stunning illustrations are full of delightful touches and I enjoyed the elements of humour such as Bird's suitcase.

Princess Penelope and the Runaway Kitten by Alison Murray

A stand-out cover gives this book immediate appeal - a shiny glittery wool trail marks out the title and leads the young reader into the book as it twists and turns through the pages. It's wonderfully tactile and I couldn't resist tracing it through the book - and nor could my young companion! Princess Penelope's naughty little kitten is all tangled up in wool and is running around Royaltown Palace with Penelope in hot pursuit. Oh dear - he does get up to mischief as he meets many friends along the way and causes havoc inside and out. Stylish illustrations add to the joy of this hilarious book. I love it!

Winter's Child by Angela McAllister

Tom wishes winter would never end and when he meets another boy who shares his love of snow and ice, it seems his dream has come true when winter goes on... and on... and on. But winter brings its problems - Tom's Nana is old and needs to keep warm. And the birds and animals need spring too... Tom learns that his new friend is Winter's Child and only when Winter's Child leaves, can spring come. A thoughtful moving story which makes us reflect on what we really want. It is beautifully echoed by Ghaham Baker-Smith's evocative icy blue illustrations.

ABC Animals from the American Museum of Natural History

A bright colourful board book which introduces 26 animals from armadillos to zebras. It introduces children to both the alphabet and some of the most interesting creatures displayed in the museum's galleries. It features extra-large upper case letters, fun facts and bright, eye-catching photos on every page, A good way to introduce pre-schoolers to a wide range of animals. 9781454903864, publisher Sterling Books, publication date November 2013.

A Deal's a Deal by Stephanie Blake

A story of friendship - but will the friendship survive the breaking of a very special car? Simon the Super Rabbit takes his cars to his friend Ferdinand's to play and after a bit of bargaining, they decide to do a trade - but has Ferdinand played a trick on his friend? Children will love the surprising - and very gross - ending.

Because I Love You by David Bedford

An 'aaaah' book with its lovely gold embossing throughout, even on the cover, and its heartwarming story of the love shared by Little Bear and Mummy Bear. At bedtime, Little Bear says "Mummy, I don't think I've had any love today." So Mummy Bear reminds him of all the lovely, golden, things they enjoyed together during the day and Little Bear goes to sleep, full of love. The illustrations really make the story, with their gentle colouring and the gorgeous gold highlighting which really makes this book stand out. A very special bedtime story book.

Star Girl by Karin Littlewood

Gracie has a very special star, but every morning, as dawn breaks, it vanishes from the sky. Gracie wants it with her all the time so she climbs up to the sky to fetch it down. But what a disappointment! Her shiny star is dull and grey and, whatever she tries, nothing will make it shine. There's only one answer... A gentle engaging story - you really want the star to shine for Gracie - with illustrations that subtly complement the story; I especially like the close-up drawings of Gracie that bring her to life.

You Make Me Smile by Layn Marlow

A happy title for a happy book! Today is a very special day as a little girl explores the wonders of the first snowfall of winter. Simple but telling text helps us share her wonder at the snow and the way it blankets the world. She builds a snowman and gives him a very special twig smile so they share a moment of happiness. An important message and one we can all learn from - just a simple thing but a smile can change the world. Illustrated by the author with gentle reflective pictures which evoke a chilly winter's day.

Foxy! by Jessica Souhami

Clever Foxy knows what we all do when we are told not to look at something - we look, of course! He has a very large sack with just one bee in it. He tells a woman with a nice tasty looking rooster not to look in the sack - but she does, of course and when the bee escapes Foxy takes the rooster in exchange. Then he repeats his trick and gains a big and a boy. But he meets someone even wilier than him...There are many traditional tales on this theme, and the author has chosen one from North America which she likes and I agree that it does make an excellent story in this simple yet dramatic retelling.

Monster Needs One More by Natalie Marshall

The monster child is never satisfied - he always wants just one more. From one breakfast cookie to two; from two balloons to three... and so on through the day until he gets 9 bedtime kisses and finally one big hug from his mom-monster is just enough and all he needs to end the day. A lovely and unusual counting book full of amusing illustrations. A great way to help with counting.

Octopus's Garden by Ringo Starr

Based on the lyrics of the world famous Beatles song (from Abbey Road for those of you old enough to remember!) this is a wondrously vibrant picture book, illustrated by Ben Cort. Five children join a playful Octopus on a wonderful underwater adventure - riding on the backs of turtles, playing pirates in a sunken city and sheltering from a storm in the octopus's cave. The enclosed CD includes an exclusive reading by Ringo Starr and a never-before-heard version of the song. The almost-psychedelic feel of the pictures perfectly reflects the Beatles songs of the era; the closer you look, the more intriguing detail you will spot.

I Want a Pet (Mini Edition) by Lauren Child

A little girl really wants a pet, but none of her suggestions meet with her family's approval. After all, lions have a habit of snacking between meals and boa constrictors are a little too friendly... Lauren Child's story of a small girl’s search for the perfect pet is sure to delight grown-ups and children alike. Bold backgrounds and an irresistible character have charmed readers for 15 years and will continue to do so.

It's Time to Say Goodnight by Harriet Ziefert

Based loosely on the Comden & Green song "I Say Good Morning to the Sun," jaunty verse takes readers to different landscapes in which a small boy is saying so many "good morning"'s that by the time he is done, it's time to say "goodnight!" Children respond well to repetition and they will enjoy it as the boy revisits all the creatures and places again to say goodnight. All are rendered in Barroux's signature droll and endearing style.

How the Meteorite Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

The attractive silver embossing on the cover immediately drew me to this book. This unusual story presents science as a picture book with its account of how a meteorite came from outer space, across the eastern US, to the roof of a car in Peekskill, New York.. Hartland describes the space rock's path by showing how it connected to people including fans at a football game noticed it, the police attributed its crash to vandals, firefighters cooled it off. A lively and engrossing presentation with dramatic pictures and interestingly varied text styles.

Mouse House Tales by Susan Pearson

Two charming stories In the first story, Miss Mouse needs help finding and furnishing a new house. Her woodland friends come together to help, each contributing its own special gift to Mouse's new dwelling. In the second, something in Mouse's new house goes "bump" in the night. Her friends think it's a ghost! What, or who, could be it? This has a delightfully old-fashioned feel helped by the thick creamy pages. Unusually for a picture book, the story is split into chapters - a good way to introduce young children to this essential concept.

Little Owl's Orange Scarf by Tatyana Feeney

Little Owl's favourite things include loves doing sums, eating ice-cream, and riding his scooter. His favourite colours don't include orange so when Mummy knits an oragne scarf her surprise goes wrong. When he 'accidentally' loses his scarf, Mummy realises that perhaps Little Owl should be involved in the choice and creation of a replacement. A subtle hint as to the fate of the scarf will delight the observant child. The simplicity of the cover illustration is carried through the pictures and these are refreshingly different yet convey the story perfectly.

Puss Jekyll and Cat Hyde by Joyce Dunbar

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

Song of the Golden Hare by Jackie Morris

A magical story about very special creatures - and even more special because these are golden. The boy and his family search for leverets orphaned by the hunt and keep them safe but the special thing is that they hold the secret of the song of the golden hare. The boy and his sister must follow and watch and wait until the time comes for the old queen to leave and her child to reign in her place. But others are searching for the golden queen of the hares, a hunter with two hounds, one silver, one black. Can two children, on their own, keep the golden queen safe from the man and his hounds?

Superworm by Julia Donaldson

I can't get enough of Julia Donaldson's wonderfully witty rhyming stories - they are just brilliant! So many stories get a bit tedious with repetition but not hers - which is a good thing because children want to hear them over and over again. Superworm always comes to the rescue when his friends need him but who will come to his rescue, when he's captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard? Of course, his friends have a cunning plan which is cleverly executed and Superworm is safe. As ever, it's the pairing of author and illustrator which is perfect; Axel Scheffler are the ideal pairing. Look carefully and you'll spot some other favourite characters - a nice touch. Sheer joy!

How to Lose a Lemur by Frann Preston-Gannon

Did you know that once a lemur takes a fancy to you there is not much that can be done about it? A boy finds out one day when, whatever he does, he just can't shake the lemur off - on fact, he brings his friends along! But just as he thinks he has succeeded, he realises that he is lost - and it's then he is grateful for the lemurs' persistence. The lemurs guide the boy back through each element of the story - this is a lovely decice to use with children who love to recognise each step of a journey. A charming story about friendship with delightfully unusual illustrations.

Dumper Truck Dash! (Busy Wheels 2) by Peter Bently

Busy Wheels is a series of 4 books about vehicles which is ideal for pre-schoolers, most of whom are fascinated by vehicles. They will enjoy the animal characters who feature in the stories too. Beaver and Dumper Truck are busy moving heavy loads for the new town hall. But it starts to rain, and the town might flood can Dumper Truck help? An enjoyable story with lots of noises to help young ones engage with the book. There is a detailed spread describing the vehicle and this will help children to understand what makes up the machines and will help familiarise them with vehicle vocabulary and noises.

Three Little Dinosaurs by Charles Fuge

Three delightful little dinosaurs, Scratch, Lofty and Sniff, star in this imaginative story. The three friends love to play together but what they really want is to be able to fly. When they learn that they need to be high up to fly, they climb the volcano – but, oh dear, they just can’t take off. But then along comes someone who is really good at flying – and very kind as well – and the friends’ dreams come true. Three lovely friends find out that dreams can come true in this bright and entertaining picture book which will appeal to all young children and most of all to those who love dinosaurs

The Adventure of the Owl and the Pussycat (Picture Story Book) by Coral Rumble

This is not the original Edward Lear poem but is based on it. It is the story of two imaginative children who went to sea 'In a box on the living room floor'. Follow their adventures as they sail away for a year and a day and return to the safety of home. Quirky illustrations show the children's adventures.

Mine! (Picture Story Book) by Sarah Hammond

That all-too-familiar toddler cry of 'Mine' is the theme of this book. Kitty has set up her cafe just as she wants it and when Lea comes to play, she really doesn't want any interference - even though Lea has some good ideas. So Kitty closes the cafe - but when things get a bit dull, she relents and the friends play together and it's much more fun. This picture book encapsulates perfectly the dilemma toddlers have when learning to play together and share and the story is charmingly illustrated. Perfect to share, whether at home or in a nursery setting.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt (Jigsaw Books) by by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

A much-loved classic, this is a wonderful story which rightfully has its place amongst the very best of children's literature. The rhythm and language just trip off the tongue. The repetitive language and alliteration are ideal for joining in and getting louder and louder - Squelch squerch! Squelch squerch! SQUELCH SQUERCH! Of course, we are not scared - but we do race back to the safety of home as the story goes into reverse. The enjoyment of the story is enhanced by the 12 piece jigsaws which accompany every step of the outward journey - the original illustrations are used in this sturdy board book and the jigsaw fits back in very neatly. A superb book and excellent value for seven jigsaws - a lovely gift!

Moomin and the Little Ghost based on the stories by Tove Jansson

A brand new Moomin picture book which has all the charm of the originals. Poor Moomin is scared - he's on holiday with his family and every night he is being visited by a little ghost. His friends and family don't know what to do to help him. Then one night, Moomin's beloved friend - Snorkmaiden, goes missing and Moomin bravely sets off to find her. Brave little Moomin finds Snorkmaiden and puts his fears to rest in this touching story. The illustrations play a key role in this book - they are bright and bold and mainly full page.

Here Be Monsters by Jonathan Emmett

Captain Cut-Throat, doesn’t believe in monsters, so when he hears of an island strewn with gemstones, he's not put off by the map that shows monsters. When he and his dastardly crew set sail for a treasure island, they must first pass through THE MIST and as legend tells it, THERE BE MONSTERS IN THE MIST! But monsters don't exist, says the captain - so why are the crew disappearing? Gleefully, he thinks the treasure is all his - but he's in for a nasty surprise! Rollicking fun which is ideal to read aloud.

Spells-A-Popping! Granny's Shopping by Tracey Corderoy

Look out - Granny's back! Poor Pandora - she just wishes she could have a nice, quiet, ordinary granny... but trouble seems to gravitate to her ever-embarrassing granny. Even a trip to the supermarket is magical as biscuits dance and popcorn pops, runner beans race and monkeys spring from banana trees... But when Pandora spots a couple of robbers up to no good, an extra-ordinary magical Granny is exactly what's needed! Another hilarious story perfectly complemented by Joe Berger's lively illustrations.

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the tale of the Wizard's Whisper by Kristina Stephenson

Gallant Knight Sir Charlie returns for another amusing adventure. A wizard heads for the castle where, he has heard, lives a legendary knight who has helped dragons, monsters and kings. It's Sir Charlie Stinky Socks of course! But his quests get more and more dangerous and this is the most dangerous yet. Along with his cat Envelope and his good grey mare, he must venture along a treacherous track, through a spooky wooky wood and into a deep, dark cave where a mysterious black sack lies. Trouble lies in wait all along the way - will our brave hero save the day? Lively illustrations and four great big flaps add to the fun.

Help! We Need a Title! by Hervé Tullet

Ever wanted to write a book? Well, here's your chance as you meet a colourful cast of characters looking for inspiration to write their book. What’s inside! Hello! There’s lots of characters. And they're looking right at YOU. They seem to be a bit surprised… Hmmm, maybe they’re not quite ready? (The drawing’s a bit messy, too. It looks like this illustrator has some more work to do.) Let’s read on and see. Uh-oh – it seems the characters don’t actually know what to DO! Hang on … there’s not even a STORY because – guess what?! – this book isn’t FINISHED! But while you're here (and because you probably DO want a story, right?) they're going to try and find one for you. And they might just need the help of a certain author...A wonderfully clever and imaginative book that sets the imagination soaring. I would love to use it with a class of children to inspire their story writing.

The Apple by Dick Bruna

The Apple tells the story of a rosy red apple who yearns to see the world beyond his tree. With the help of a friendly rooster he finally gets a glimpse into the lives of others. Dick Bruna's stories show us that simple can be very satisfying, with their clean bright pictures and simple storylines which are perfect for young readers.

Pip and Posy: the Bedtime Frog by Axel Scheffler

Posy and Pip have lots of fun together before bedtime. Posy has packed very carefully, she thinks, but - oh no - she's left Froggy behind. Pip tries everything, then, like the very good friend he is, he offers his very own Piggy and all is well. A lovely reassuring story about friendship and caring for others, perfect to share with your little one at bedtime. I love the pictures - there is so much here to talk about and share with toddlers as you explore the familiar scenes together.

Three Little Owls by Emanuele Luzzati

The poem is adapted by John Yeoman and illustrated by Quentin Blake. Three irrepressible little owls take us on their journey round the world, from one Christmas Day to the next - fishing, dancing, snoozing, and NOT behaving. Blake's delightful drawings combine with this fantastical poetic treat to create a story that young and old will enjoy reading again and again. Perfect to read aloud.

Toys Galore by Peter Stein

Captivating rhyme flows through the pages of this richly illustrated book - a childhood dream of toys, toys and more toys. Perhaps not quite the toys you would find in the toyshop but near enough to spark children's imagination and give them lots of ideas for playing with their own toys. "Jump toys! Ride toys! Slip-and-slide toys! Up-and-down and side-to-side toys!" Everyone's favourite toy is here in Bob Staake's stylish pictures - and the best toy of all is at the end - your imagination!

Meeting Cezanne by Michael Morpurgo

A little gem of a book, square format with beautiful delicate illustrations by Francois Place. It's the story of a young Parisian boy and a summer he spent in Provence in the 1960s. Yannick learns that he is to stay with his aunt Mathilde and her family in the South of France, a place he has always wanted to visit for its association with Cezanne. But one evening things go badly wrong. Can Yannick put things right? And who is the man in the chateau? A gentle touching story.

Doug the Bug That Went Boing by Sue Hendra

The bright red and purple glittery cover makes this book stand out from the start - a good way to encourage children to pick it out of the book box! Doug and Trevor are best friends who love playing in the garden but one day Doug gets dug up and finds himself very high up. Luckily, a little fly comes along and is able to help - but there are some surprising adventures along the way and some surprising happenings...even then, it doesn't look as though Doug will find his way back to Trevor, until he has a good idea! It's silly but it's very, very funny! Take a look at Sue's website for fun activities and games.

Best Lowly Worm Book Ever by Richard Scarry

Wonderful! A completely new Richard Scarry book - the first for mroe than 20 years. Drawn and written by Richard Scarry and completed by his son, Huck Scarry, this beautiful book is packed with charm, humour and delightful pictures. Many of his well-loved characters are here - enjoy a day in the life of Lowly Worm, Lowly on the farm, a day at school, cars and trucks, planes and trains, numbers and a fun where’s Lowly section - there's even a good manners section! A lovely hardback book that will make a perfect gift - share this with your child and you will find endless opportunities for discussion. It's wonderfully imaginative, lively and full of variety.

Spider Sandwiches by Claire Freedman

You are invited to tea with Max... but you may not be feeling very hungry when you see what's on offer! There's slug milkshake, beetle biscuits, space ants and lice rice... and when he runs out of ideas, there's the Monsters' Cookbook for inspiration. There's one thing that's his favourite and that's spider sandwiches, webs and all. But there is one thing monsters won't eat... you'll have to read the book to find out! Eye-catching illustrations by Sue Hendra show the food in all its glory - and there's a sparkly spider's web embellishing the cover.

Can You Dance to the Boogaloo? by Alice V Lickens

Encourage the inner musician in your child with this get-up-and-boogie picture book which is bound to get your toes tapping. The colourful creatures pick up instruments and their numbers increase through the vividly drawn pages until the group find themselves on the rooftops silhouetted against the night sky. It's a great read-aloud with its expressive and catchy language and as I read it through, I found myself getting faster and faster as the pace of the book caught me. Children can also learn the names and sounds of the instruments seen through the pages and join in, in their own way, with the hullabaloo. Great fun.

Miss Dorothy-Jane Was Ever So Vain (The Ever So Series) by Julie Fulton

I love picture books with a strong rhyming text - and so do children. They are a delight to read aloud and children get caught up by the rhythm. Dorothy-Jane thinks her good looks and stylish clothes make her popular. So she decides to enter Hamilton Shady's Best Lady Competition for a chance to greet the Queen. Once she's all dressed up, her journey is fraught with problems but luckily all is well - until she spies a little black dog who needs rescuing... will her vanity get the better of her? A lovely story.

The Black and White Club by Alice Hemming

The penguins of the Heavenly Hippo Wildlife Park have set up a club but only the black and white animals are invited. Poor George the Giraffe is feeling very left out so he takes matters into his own hands with delightful consequences. Lots of lovely animals feature in this book and there's lots to talk about in the illustrations, which are by Kimberley Scott.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Sleeping Beauty by Abie Longstaff

A wicked fairy has cast a spell which has sent Princess Rose into a deep sleep - as you've guessed, this is a new version of the Sleeping Beauty story. With the help of some fairy godmothers and a dashing, garden-designing prince, Kittie Lacey, the fairytale hairdresser, must break the spell. It's very clever, peppered throughout with references to fairy tales - how many can you spot? The lovely glittery cover gives this book instant appeal. A witty story that adults will love to share with their children.

Very Little Red Riding Hood by Teresa Heapy

Very Little Red Riding Hood is very little.But she's very determined and she likes everything to be done just as she wants - just like many toddlers! She's off to Grandmama's for a sleepover with some cakes, Red Teddy, her blanket and she's got her tea set. A case of mistaken identity could have lead to trouble but all turns out well. A clever version of the old favourite, enchantingly told in toddler-speak.

Woolly and Tig: Night Night, Woolly (Woolly & Tig) by Brian Jameson

When Tig wakes up in the night, everything in her room looks different and she can see hairy night monsters everywhere! Can Woolly show Tig that although things can sometimes look scary at night, if you look again, it's easy to see what's really there? Tig's parents find the perfect solution to her fears and all is well. I like the way the book is illustrated with photos - this will reassure children that this is a real solution. This is an excellent way to encourage children to talk about their concerns and to share their feelings - things that don't seem at all scary to adults can hold real fear for our little ones.

My Daddy's Going Away by Christopher MacGregor

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

Ten Twinkly Stars (Moulded Counting Books) by Russell Julian

A cleverly designed and unusual counting book that will have children wondering where the stars go as they go through each page and count down from 10 to 1. A lovely bedtime story which introduces the concept of counting down - as night falls the tactile raised stars vanish one by one as the animals settle for the night. Join the lions, the owls, the penguins and many more adorable families as they settle down for the night, and enjoy the catchy rhyming text with your little one.

Dear Snowman by Kathryn White

Little Rabbit and Snowman are friends but as winter ends, Snowman disappears and poor Little Rabbit is upset until mummy explains that snowmen go on holiday. Soon a postcard arrives for Little Rabbit - and it's the first of many as Snowman travels the world, never forgetting his little friend. And, best of all, children can share the excitement as there are six lovely postcards for them to complete (and stickers to add to them), and follow Snowman as he travels around the world. Why not get an atlas out and help your child track Snowman's journey? A lovely concept which offers all sorts of opportunities for discussion and learning as well as great fun.

Enormouse by Angie Morgan

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

One World Together by Catherine and Laurence Anholt

This is a lovely way for young children to find out about how other children live around the world; how many of the things they do are the same and how some are different. It's a great opportunity to introduce your child to geography - use the big pop out at the end along with your atlas to show where the children live. The story of a little boy who wants a friend is delightfully told as he goes to the USA, Brazil, China, Russia, Kenya, the Netherlands, Sweden, Japan and Morocco and finds out about how children live. The illustrations give another chance to find out more about the country - and each child greets the little boy in his or her own language. A lovely celebration of friendship.

Pongo by Jesse Hodgson

As a new publisher, Flying Eye has already made its mark by producing some excellent books which stand out from the mass due to their high quality production and excellent stories. This is Jesse Hodgson's first book and it's a stunning debut with a lovingly depicted hero in the gorgeous Pongo. On his search for the sun he encounters different aspects of jungle life - and makes a few embarrassing mistakes along the way which will entertain the young reader. Share this book with your child to enjoy the subtleties of the pictures and to talk about the beautiful world of the rainforest.

The Man from the Land of Fandango by Margaret Mahy

A wonderful romp of a book which races you through with its exuberant text which swirls around the lively pictures. The man from the land of Fandango jumps out of a painting and bounces through the story so everyone joins in with the fun - the wonderfully alliterative text introduces the reader to a range of happy animals who adorn the pages of this book. The poem is full of Mahy's signature wordplay and it is a sheer joy to read aloud.

Dragon Loves Penguin by Debi Gliori

The first thing that struck me when I saw this book was the unlikely friendship it describes; the second thing was the lovely cover picture of the dragon cradling the egg with the baby penguin. The dragon needs an egg, and the egg needs a mummy, so the pairing makes perfect sense... but when the egg hatches she is different from the other babies - but she gets the best gifts of all - love and time. And when danger threatens, she can warn the others. And the story has a marvellously heartwarming ending with a twist in the tail to make you laugh. A very special story.

Troll and the Oliver by Adam Stower

Every day, Troll tries to eat the Oliver but the Oliver is too fast, too sneaky, or just too plain clever to be caught. But when things get quiet, and Oliver thinks it's safe when suddenly and unexpectedly, Troll is back and CHOMP! But Olivers don't taste very nice so the Oliver is safe. And the unexpected ending is CAKE! And there's even a recipe to try out. Troll is wonderfully depicted with the most amazingly expressive eyebrows you have ever seen! And Oliver has a very cheeky little face! I like the cut out on the cover and this will intrigue children. Enormous fun.

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

A little girl's book with a delightful traditional feel, with its delicately coloured drawings and heavy creamy paper. Amelie and Nanette are best friends and they love to do everything together. So when Nanette had new shoes and Amelie a new dress, they decide to have a party. Things are going well until Amelie's very naughty dog Filou decides to join the party - with terrible consequences! But friends and mothers are always there for each other so this charming story ends happily.

When I Grow Up... (Acetate Series) by PatrickGeorge

This series is so clever - flip the clear acetate sheet and you get a completely different picture that blends with the previous one. Young children love to dream and this title encourages them to think about what they might be when they grow up - a shopkeeper, a pilot or an artist are some options. It's full of imagination and yet very simple so young children get the full benefit. Often, just one little detail changes, so the little girl's beret becomes the artist's brush for example. Simple yet amazingly effective. There's plenty to talk about - and maybe the dressing up box can come into play to encourage children to role-play.

Bit-Bot and the Blob (Bit Bot the Robot) by Jo Litchfield

An unusual and ingenious story which will repay many re-readings, as there will be something new to spot and enjoy every time. When George visits his eccentric uncle, William J. Widget, he finds his uncle has a very special friend waiting for him - Bit-Bot the robot. When the friends want to watch a scary film, they find it is a bit too scary... what is the mysterious big green blob that is after them? Children may well guess at the answer - and will be pleased with themselves when they get it right! The wonderfully detailed pictures feature models made by the author and these will intrigue and amuse the reader/

Fairies of Blossom Bakery: Plum and the Winter Ball (Cupcake Fairies) by Mandy Archer

This is the third in a pretty series guaranteed to appeal to little girls, with its tmemes of friendship and baking. Plum and the fairies of Blossom Bakery are looking forward to Princess Crystal's Winter Ball but who will be crowned the Snow Belle? Plum has been working hard to get better at skating but on the day of the ball it's all going horribly wrong. Will her fairy friends be able to bring some festive cheer? There's a recipe forPlum's Upside Down Pudding to enjoy at the end.

Ding Dong Gorilla by Michelle Robinson

Oh dear, there's a gorilla on the doorstep! But it's OK - he's a friendly gorilla who just wants to join in. I love the way the tension builds - after each calamity, we learn 'that STILL isn't the BAD news'. Just how much worse can things get? The end of this mischievous story will leave you wondering - after all the fun, was the gorilla real? It's a lovely story, full of fun and amusing illustrations that guarantee popularity

Tilly and Friends: The Best Day Ever by Polly Dunbar

"Meet Tilly and her five friends – Pru, Hector, Doodle, Tiptoe and Tumpty – who all live together in a little yellow house. These beautiful books take you into the world of Tilly and her friends as they enjoy new experiences and explore the world around them." Today, Tilly and her friends are having a play day at home and have great fun with all sorts of activities. Tilly and her friends want to make sure they'll always remember it and they decide to make a scrapbook. But how can they squeeze so many big memories into one small book? In Tilly and Friends: Listen to Me! Pru loses her voice and the friends search everywhere but they won't listen to Hector, who knows the answer - luckily, they do in the end. These are lovely characters, brought to life by the delightful cartoon drawings, and the stories give a real feeling of how important and supportive friends can be.

Tilly and Friends: Star Party by Polly Dunbar

Tilly and her friends are camping out in the garden when Tiptoe spots a lone blue star twinkling in the sky. Tiptoe twinkles back at him – but the star won’t come down, and even Pru’s high heels don’t make Tiptoe tall enough to go up. It looks as though the blue star is going to be stuck without a playmate – until Tilly checks in her Space book and discovers that the little blue star might already have some friends of his own... In Tilly and Friends: Let's Get Wheeling! , Tilly has outgrown her tricycle but setting off on her new bike is a bit of a challenge. Luckily, her friends are on hand to help her and she soon gains her confidence. Children will readily identify with Tilly as she faces up to some of the many new experiences young children face, and sharing these books with your child gives an excellent opportunity for discussion and reassurance.

Wibbly Pig Picks a Pet by Mick Inkpen

Wibbly Pig is so adorable! Who would have thought a pig could be quite so lovable? If you could have any pet at all, what would you choose? In this story, Wibbly Pig and his friend Scruffy Pig are worried that Big Pig's sister's friend will choose a really boring pet - they think anything but a rabbit would be best. Perhaps an elephant, a bear or even a dinosaur would be much more exciting? But when the new pet arrives, they are won over - and it has one very special ability!!! Simple stories but full of fun and cleverly illustrated. A safe, happy and reassuring world.

Wibbly Pig and the Tooky by Mick Inkpen

Big Pig's sister should have bought a cuddly toy at the zoo but instead she's put Tooky in her backpack - Tooky is a real toucan and when he proves a bit much to cope with, the friends must work out how to get him back to the zoo. But then there's another problem, as Big Pig's sister finds another 'friend'... Gentle, fun stories with an adorable cast of characters.

What If...? by Anthony Browne

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

I Would Tuck You In by Sarah Asper-Smith

Part picture book, part fact book, this delightfully illustrated picture book features a variety of animals with their babies and shows just how much the adults love their babies. The book expresses the love parent creatures have for their children and the pictures further enhance this. Includes an age-appropriate fact about each animal or its habitat. Unusual and delightful. Publication date April 2013, ISBN 9781571618444.

Herman's Letter by Tom Percival

What do you do when your best friend in the whole wide world has to move a long way away? Promise to write to each other lots, yes, good old fashioned letters. But it’s easier said than done – especially when your best friend seems to be having much more fun than you are . . . Children will love opening the flap up letters from Henry to Herman. When Herman the bear finally decides to write back, he is a bit too late (the post office has closed for the winter) so he embarks on an epic journey to deliver a very special letter and to ensure that his friendship with Henry the raccoon really is going to last. A lovely story with enchanting illustrations.

Hugh Shampoo by Karen George

When your parents are hairdressers, you'd think you would have a lovely head of well-tended hair. Not if you are Hugh Shampoo! Hugh Shampoo won't go near scissors, brushes, or shower attachments. He simply hates having his hair washed or combed or tampered with in any way - just like many little boys (and girls). But then, when his parents decide to enter the 'scissor showdown' contest, things are about to change for Hugh . . . and his messy head of hair. It's great fun and very much a reflection of the reluctance so many children have to have their hair washed. It's a vibrant and fast-moving story that reads aloud brilliantly.

 Open Very Carefully by Nicola O'Byrne with words by Nick Bromley

A book which draws the child in right from the start. It's the story of The Ugly Duckling but - wait a minute - who's the owner of that tail swishing through the corner of the page? Be careful, turn the page very carefully... it's a crocodile. Do you dare go on reading? And how do you stop a crocodile eating words? This is a wonderful story, full of humour and very unexpected happenings - and just look what happens at the end! Children will love it and adults will appreciate the cleverness in the words and in the pictures. Scan the QR code to hear the story read aloud.

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Farm

A talented illustrator brings us some wonderful animals and some very strange creatures as we flip the split pages to make all manner of creatures - dozens and dozens of them. Each animal comes with has two catchy verses describing it and these flip as you merge the animals together, making the etx funny too. What sets this book apart from other mix-up books is the fact you get the name of your mixed-up creature along with the picture - so we have a cirrel, a doat and a picken amongst other strange creatures. It's great fun and the strong card pages will withstand any amount of use so there's hours of imaginative fun here. Who's your favourite?

A Patch of Black by Rachel Rooney

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

The Ghost Library by David Melling

Bo is quietly reading a bedtime story when whoosh - she finds herself in the ghost library - but a strange library as it is completely empty. It's peopled by ghosts who love stories and borrow them. After Bo reads them a story, she encourages them all to tell stories and the ghost library is full of stories. Quirky and unusual with plenty of surprises to enjoy in the illustrations. There's even a glow in the dark cover for bedtime reading.

Pigeon Pie, Oh My! by Debbie Singleton

Farmer Budd is very busy and one day he leaves his cornfield unprotected and the greedy goat gets in and eats the scarecrow, leaving the crop unprotected from five passing pigeons. Luckily, clever Tiny Chick is on hand to save the day and she and her friends subtly persuade the pigeons that they're about to be baked into a pie. But the danger is not over and Mrs Budd's cherry pie is also in danger... I love the illustrations which capture brilliant expressions on the animals' faces. Clever! This did rather remind me of the theme of another farmyard story...

Beauty and the Beast by Ursula Jones

Enter a world of enchantment with this magical retelling of Beauty and the Beast. Award-winning author Ursula Jones tells the story with elegance and humour, capturing all the magic and excitement of this timeless fairy tale. Illustrated with exquisite style by Sarah Gibb, this is a beautiful book to pore over and cherish. The illustrations really are a work of art and I love the way striking silhouettes are used.

100 People by Masayuki Sebe

This follows the successful Dinosaurs Galore and 100 Things and provides another detail-packed book to pore over and enjoy. You'll find something new every time you look, there is so much here. Each page has 100 people and the challenge is to find the 10 pictured at the top of the page. You may think it looks easy but some of them are quite challenging! And if that's not enough to keep you busy, the characters have a whole lot more questions waiting for you! Hours of fun with stories being told and jokes being passed on.

Mr. Tickle and the Scary Halloween by Adam Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves' much loved characters are kept going by Adam Hargreaves and they are faithful to the original format. Ever since Little Miss Scary moved to town, Halloween had become really scary but Mr. Tickle has a plan to make this year different – a ticklishly, tricky plan! Look out little Miss Scary, there’s someone behind you and all your plans will go astray. This is a special edition with a glow in the dark cover.

Spells-A-Popping! Granny's Shopping! by Tracey Corderoy

The magical Granny returns for another adventure - who else could make a trip to the supermarket quite so exciting? Poor Pandora would actually quite like a normal life, but no chance of that with Granny around! Even the animals from the packets come alive! But then Pandora spots a couple of robbers and Granny has just the answer - a chocolate bear?  Then, just as things get back to normal and Pandora is enjoying her (ordinary) tea, there are some visitirs... Always the unexpected to keep children guessing right to the end and great fun, as ever.

A Letter for Bear by David Lucas

You have to feel sorry for poor Bear - he spends his life delivering letters to other people but doesn't get any himself. So he decides to give a party and writes lots of letters inviting everyone - but it seems that nobody is going to turn up. But just as he gives up, there's noise outside... and a lovely happy ending when Bear gets lots of letters. Delicate and unusual illustrations embellish the story and give it a special feel.

ABC London by James Dunn

An unusual alphabet book which takes an interesting range of topics to cover the alphabet - places, people and things. A is for Art, B is for Brick Lane, C is for Changing of the Guard... This is a fascinating look at the mix of things which go to make up our great capital city. I'd enjoy using this as a classroom resource as it would make a fabulous wall display with an alphabet theme. The collage pictures by Kate Slater show the vibrancy and variety of the city - unexpected inclusions include Elephant and Castle, fashion and Portobello Road - and make sure you take time out to see the link between the pages - very clever. The glossary at the end gives additional information about each subject. A super book.

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