Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 13)

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.


Lemur Dreamer by Courtney Dicmas

Most of the residents of 32 Pebbly Lane lead normal lives - but not Louis the Dreamer. All the residents of 32 Pebbly Lane lead mostly unextraordinary lives... except for Louis the Lemur. He walks in his sleep - and all manner of havoc ensues! But his friends get concerned when his sleepwalking takes him outside the house , so one night they decide to follow him and find out what is really happening, and to look after him. This lovely story celebrates friendship as the animals keep Louis safe - and give him a very special present.

Never Tickle a Tiger by Pamela Butchart

Izzy is a fidget - she just can't keep still! With the school trip coming up, her teacher is worried that Izzy's fidgeting might get her in trouble - and warns her that whatever she does, she must NEVER tickle a tiger. You can guess what happens, can't you? Of course, Izzy just can't resist and the woeful sequence of events which follows is wonderfully depicted in an action-packed centrefold. You won't guess who restores order though - and Izzy has certainly learnt a valuable lesson. A hilarious action-packed story full of fun and superb language which reads aloud brilliantly.

Whale in the Bath by Kylie Westaway

This wonderfully imaginative story is a real celebration of the power of a child's imagination. It's bathtime but Bruno says he can't get in the bath. Why not? Because there's a whale in there, of course. But Bruno's family don't believe him because he is always making up stories. there's a whale in the tub and Bruno can't get in! No one in his family believes him and Bruno keeps being sent back to the bathroom. Finally, the whale has a bright idea - but STILL Mum doesn't believe Bruno! Superb storytelling and lively illustrations combine perfectly to make a great read that children will love.

Demolition by Sally Sutton

Big machines are the source of endless fascination for young children and they will love to see the fabulous machines shown in this book. To the accompaniment of all the sounds - Thud! Creak! Wham as the bulldozer knocks down the building; Screech! Scrunch! Rip! as the shredder rips the trees apart, they will enjoy the lively detailed pictures. It's perfect to read aloud and children will revel in shouting out the noises - and perhaps you could go out and see if you can spot some of the machines after.

The Deep Dark Wood by Algy Craig Hall

Wait, little girl! It's not safe to go into the deep, dark wood... it's full of witches and trolls and giants... not to mention the big bad wolf. But when she meets the big bad wolf, she lets him help her on her way to her friend's house... and he gets a BIG surprise when he meets the friend... A hilarious twist on the much-loved fairytale sees the big bad wolf well and truly routed in an entertaining story with superb illustrations.

The Wonderous World of... (Your child's name) from Wonderous Ink

Just look at these two enjoying the little boy's very own special book - and his sister didn't want to be left out! Imagine your child's excitement when their very own book with them as the star drops through the letterbox, personally addressed to them. My young tester was so excited when he saw his name on the envelope and his eyes really lit up when he saw his name in the book. It's a lovely story which tells how he makes lots of friends and with his own special attributes, is able to help each one of them. The pictures are bright and vibrant and the production quality excellent. It has become compulsory bedtime reading and I shall have to get one for his sister!
The Wonderous World Of ... books are brought to you by Wonderous Ink, a husband and wife team with a real passion for bringing back the magic of books and engaging children aged 2 – 6 through learning and reading. It's so simple too - go to the Wonderous Ink website and put in your child's name and gender and you can see the full book immediately. The engaging stories cleverly use each initial of your child's name as an adjective to describe the child and how unique and special they are. The stories show the child helping those they meet along the way, learning something about themselves each step of the way... and there's a special key to continue the story online. They are beautifully illustrated too. A superb gift and one that your child will always treasure. The books cost just £19.99.

Animal Rescue! (Acetate Series) from PatrickGeorge

This is much more than a picture book - it is an extremely clever and thought-provoking book which conveys a vital message. Using the acetate format which PatrickGeorge have turned into such an art, each picture magically transforms to show us an animal in its natural habitat on one side and the same animal as mistreated by man on the other. There are no words - no words are needed; as you share this book with your child, you can both discuss what you see and how it makes you feel. It's wonderfully done and should make each and every one of us stop and think about the animals who share our planet. Publication date 12/02/15.

The Jolly Dodgers! Pirates Who Pretended by Neil Griffiths

Pirates are ferocious beings who roam the seas, striking terror into the hearts of all they meet, right? Not in the case of The Jolly Dodgers - they prefer pampering to plundering and bowling to blasting! Join a master storyteller in this rollicking tale of hen-pecked pirates who are sent to sea by their wives who want treasure for themselves. But out of sight, out of mind and our anything-but plucky pirates have a whale of a time - until their wives get wind of their antics and take things into their own hands... A hilarious tale which children will thoroughly enjoy - and they can find out about real pirates too.

Katie and the Dinosaurs by James Mayhew

This time, Katie is at the museum rather than in an art gallery, but the same magic is there as we share her awe and wonder at these magnificent beasts. Instead of walking into a picture, inquisitive Katie walks through a door which says 'Absolutely no admittance whatsoever' - and finds herself in a prehistoric adventure. Beautifully and vibrantly illustrated and captivatingly written, there is an amazing amount to be learnt in this fascinating book - and it's good to have a girl at the heart of a dinosaur story. It really encourages and stimulates the imagination and it's a great way to enthuse children for a visit to the Natural History Museum.
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily MacKenzie This is wonderful! Adults will revel in the humour just as much as childre - just look at the titles of Ralfy's favourite books! What do rabbits dream about? Carrots and lettuces perhaps? Not Ralfy Rabbit - he dreams about books. He loves books and just can't get enough, which sadly leads him into a life of crime. But when Arthur - who also loves his books - notices they are going missing, he sets out to find the thief... but nobody will believe him when he says it's a rabbit, until Ralfy burgles the wrong house... . Happily, Arthur has the perfect solution. This is a delightful story, perfect for all young bookworms.

Dangerous! by Tim Warnes

Mole loves labelling things but he has met his match this time - the labels just go on and on until suddenly, an enormous yawn and terrifying teeth... and mole runs for safety. He is not in danger though but he does seem to have found a new best friend. Trouble is, his new best friend gobbles up all his labels... and matters come to a head. A quirky and unusual story which is a great way to encourage children to develop language skills (although they will think they are just having fun!). It's full of surprises and is a lovely story of friendship. To add to the fun, this edition comes with 50+ colourful stickers.

Rita's Rhino by Tony Ross

Most children, when they want a pet, think of a hamster, a goldfish or a dog perheps, but not Rita. She things BIG! When her mum refuses to get her a pet, she takes matters into her own hands, goes to the zoo and returns with a ... rhinoceros in tow. But their flat is small and the rhinoceros is big; looking after him soon proves to be a problem. This is a hilarious story, beautifully told and illustrated. This would be a fun book to give to any child who is learning about the responsibility of a new pet!

Mr Wuffles! by David Wiesner

This wordless story is full of imagination and encourages children to put their own interpretation onto the pictures. Mr Wuffles doesn't like the toys people give him but he does have the perfect toy and he's ready to play. But it's not really a toy at all, but something much more interesting... The detailed illustrations and comic style are the perfect way to encourage children to use their imaginations

The Quayside Cat by Toby Forward

Jim,the young quayside cat. loves to hear the tales Old Tregarn has to tell about his days long ago as a ship's cat. THey are so exciting that Jim tires of his everyday life and determines to set off to sea. So the two cats have jumped aboard a ship, and so begins Jim’s daring adventure at sea... and when he comes home, he is the one with tales to tell... It's a delightfully told story which reads aloud wonderfully and the illustrations are simply superb. This is story telling for young children at its very best.

Black and White by Dahlov Ipcar

wo little dogs frolic and dream of adventures beyond their wildest imaginations, from jungles of the Congo with towering ebony elephants to the whitewashed, frigid arctic where the icy white polar bears roam. Dahlov Ipcar once again pairs her timeless illustrations with fresh original verse that celebrates the unity, wonder and beauty of the living, breathing natural world around us.

Scaredy Bear by Neil Griffiths

Baby Bear is safe and warm in his dark cave and loves the security he has there. But the time comes when he has to leave and explore the world outside. So off he sets... and meets lots of scary creatures on his journey - but are they really scary? As Baby Bear meets the animals and creatures who live araound him, adults have the opportunity to share their names and help their children learn about them. The illustrations convey the warmth of the story perfectly, as well as being full of fascinating details to discuss. A heart-warming story for sharing.

Here I Am by Patti Kim

A story without words - but a story packed with expressive pictures that both tell the story and encourage the viewer to put their own thoughts into the story. It's the story of a little boy who initially is overwhelmed by the new country he now calls home but the pictures tell how he gradually finds his place in this strange new world. He's helped by a red seed he finds tucked away and which he uses to remind him of home. Sensitive and touching, it's ideal for both children coming to a new country and those who try to make them feel at home.

A Cat Is Chasing Me Through This Book! (Tom and Jerry) by Benjamin Bird

This Tom and Jerry interactive picture book has the two racing through the pages - with Tom in hot pursuit of Jerry, of course. With each turn of the page, Tom gets closer to catching little Jerry. The mouse is fast, but Tom always comes out on top. I have to confess to have never been a Tom and Jerry fan but I am sure I am in a minority and children will thoroughly enjoy seeing the popular cartoon characters brought to life in print.

Pedro has a Bump! (Get Well Friends) by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan

It is a beautiful Polar morning when Pedro the Penguin goes for his early morning swim and decides to do his best dive ever. All of his friends gather beside the diving board to see how wonderful Pedro's dive is going to be.....but it would have been an idea to break the ice first! Before long, Pedro is being carried on a stretcher to see Nurse Nibbles. A lovely story, packed with adorable characters and full of vivid colour to catch little ones' attention. As well as enjoying the story, children can enjoy using the 50+ stickers to embellish the book - and help poor Pedro get better!

Too Shy for Show and Tell (Little Boost) by Beth Bracken

Sam is a quiet little boy and his classmates don't know much about him... but they do know that he doesn't talk much. When Show and Tell day is due, he's really worried even though he has something special to bring along. But he overcomes his fears and tells everyone about his very special thing. A well-told story which addresses a common fear and which is perfect for every reception classroom.

Personalised books from Identity Direct

With Identity Direct, your child is the star of their very own story, personalised to include their name, date of birth, brothers, sisters and friends. My grandchildren were thrilled with their books which even come with the name of the giver on the title pagem meaning they are lovely to give as a gift from a relative. Each page has a full colour illustration, with the text clearly placed on white or light background colour. The child's name is on almost every page and they definitely play a starring role in the story. In Snow White, the child helped save Snow White's life; in Planes, the child trained alongside Dusty and helped him.You can choose from a wide range of books, guaranteeing there is something to suit every child. They include Disney Frozen, Spiderman, Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer and many more – see the range in full here. These are ideal gifts and will become treasured possessions. A wonderful way to engage children with books and reading.
 snow white  reading

My Secret Scrapbook Diary- The Ugly Duckling (Fairy Tale Diaries) by Kees Moerbeek

I love to see these traditional tales given new life and they are a great way to encourage children to reflect on these enduring stories - and perhaps to encourage them to give them their own twist too. The story is told from the perspective of the Ugly Duckling himself and we see his adventures through entertaining text and lots of pop-ups which bring the book to life. Children always love exploring these! Multi-media illustrations and handwritten text complete the illusion of a real scrapbook diary. Beautifully produced, this is thoroughly enjoyable.

My Secret Scrapbook Diary- Puss in Boots (Fairy Tale Diaries) by Kees Moerbeek

Puss in Boots tells us his story with the aid of plenty of illustrative material and lots of pop-ups to engage children's attention. Secret Scrapbook Diaries use a lively diary format to tell the stories, with plenty of illustrative material 'clipped' or 'stuck' to the pages, just like a real scrapbook - again, these are ideas that children could copy to make up their own variants of stories. These are really well designed books with some stunning pop-ups - the castle is the exceptional one in this book. Hand written text adds to the feel of the books, which are produced on super shiny thick paper. Lovely books!

Tad-cu's Bobble Hat by Malachy Doyle

Tad-cu is the boy's much-loved grandfather and they love to walk the hills together. One day, Tad-cu's special bobble hat is lost and after that, winter sets in in the Welsh hills and Tad-cu becomes ill and eventually, the house falls silent. The boy determines to find the hat and when he does, it re-kindles comfort and very special memories. This is a delicately told and touching story, stunningly illustrated, that conveys the warmth and joy between two generations, and sensitively handles the universal themes of love, loss and renewal with gentleness.

Sparky! by Jenny Offill

A little girl wants a pet - any pet. Her mother says she can have any pet she likes - as long as it doesn't have to be walked or bathed or fed. So the little girl gets a sloth, but he can really only do one thing - he's very good at playing dead. Try as she might, the little girl just can't teach him any tricks which leads to a great disappointment. But she's always one to look on the positive side as this heart-warming and gentle story shows.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

You might think, as I did on starting to read this unusual book, that a book with no pictures seems boring and serious.'s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say... BLORK. Or BLUURF and include things like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and MY HEAD IS MADE OF BLUEBERRY PIZZA! When you know that the adult has to read aloud to the child, you will realise how clever and engaging this is and the noises will have children in fits of laughter and begging for more.

This Little Piggy Went Dancing by Margaret Wild

"This little piggy went dancing, This little piggy stayed home, This little piggy had porridge, This little piggy had none, and this little piggy went hop, hop, hop, all the way home." ..  and that;s just the start. This entertaining take on the well known rhyme has the little piggies doing some very different things - lots and lots of them. It's great fun and offers lots for adult and child to share and talk about as the friendly little piggies enjoy all manner of familiar activities.

Esther's Rainbow by Kim Kane

Rainbows are wonderful things to young children and this book explores the excitement Esther feels when she spots a rainbow peeping out from under her chair... but, just as rainbows do, it vanished. Esther looks for colours in everything she sees, finding a different rainbow colour each day of the week and this is reflected charmingly in the lively and detailed illustrations - but will she find her rainbow again? Then comes a day of rain... a magical day and a magical story.

Keep Out! (Lift the Flap) by Sally Grindley

Right from the beginning, the young rader is drawn into the narrative - "The sign says 'Keep Out'. I think we ought to go back, don't you?" Can you get through the book without coming face-to-face with a scary bear and what will you do if you see one? What is hiding beneath all the flaps... and just who made the footprints that cross every page? It's a story that will keep the young reader guessing throughout and then they will meet some well known bears. Help - it's time to escape! Wonderfully vibrant illustrations set the text off perfectly and do even more to draw the reader into this wonderful story.

Where is Pim? (Gecko Press Titles) by Lena Landström

Told in the simplest of language, this is the tale of a toddler whose toy has disappeared - and how he and his dog search everywhere until they find it. But look at the enchanting pictures very carefully and you will know just who took Pim. It's simple but very clever!

The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear

 This beautiful hardback gift edition of Edward Lear's much-loved poem really is a book to treasure. Charlotte Voake's delicate and beautiful watercolour illustrations are a perfect match for the humour of the words and are wonderful pieces of art in their own right; the animals' faces are beautifully expressive. The foreword is by world-renowned children's author Julia Donaldson and it reflects her love for Lear's works.

The Further Adventures of the Owl and the Pussy-cat Book and CD by Julia Donaldson

What happened to the Owl and the Pussycat when their wedding was over? Their magical adventures are taken to new places with this wonderful sequel by the highly talented Julia Donaldson; she has replicated Lear's style to perfection. When their beautiful golden ring is stolen, the Owl and the Pussy-cat must travel far from the safety of the Bong-tree glade as their search for the thief leads them across the Sea, to the Chankly Bore and beyond.. Again, the book is beautifully illustrated by Charlotte Voake, with soft colours and a wonderful attention to detail. This edition includes an audio CD featuring two readings of the story by the author, as well as a performance of the story set to music, performed by Julia and Malcolm Donaldson.

Cock-a-doodle-doo! Farm (Lift the Flap Noisy Books) from DK

Just watch the look of amazement on your child's face when they open a flap and, as if by magic, they hear lambs, pigs, cows, tractor and chicks. Throughout the book, there is so much to engage children - more flaps, questions to answer and things to spot and all the time, they are trying to find the cockerel. The rhyming text flows through the book, showing children what to spot on the farm and the book is illustrated throughout with stunning photography showing life on the farm. A lovely book.

Sir Charlie Stinky Socks The Pirate's Curse by Kristina Stephenson

Shiver my timbers! Brave bold knight Sir Charlie is afloat in this latest adventure. A message in a bottle said someone needed help so off goes our intrepid hero and his pals. But, who needs their help, and what fearsome sea dangers and frightful pirates might they encounter on their voyage? It's a dangerous journey, full of fun and excitement. Big flap out pages give the opportunity for some stunning artwork to add to the already superb illustrations. A hilarious story with equal appeal to boys and girls, well written and full of fun.

My Busy Day (Busy Times) by Clare Hibbert

This is one in a series from Tulip Books which aims to help young ones uderstand the concept of time and how activities fit into the day, through the medium of storytelling. The story follows a young girl day, from the moment she wakes up right through to bedtime. The clever touch comes in the extra inserts on the page which tell us what other people (eg farmer, teacher) are doing at the same time - an excellent way to help children put their day into context. Times of the day, times of the year and the passing of time are all explored. There is lots to discuss on every page and there are well-labelled pictures - there's a clock on each page too. At the end of the book is a very useful and extensive section of notes for adults.

Masha and the Firebird: A Russian Tale (Tales from Around the World) by Margaret Bateson-Hill

Masha's mother sells eggs at market and Masha loves to paint their smooth shells. When Masha meets the magical Firebird, guardian of the eggs of the four elements, the Firebird asks Masha to paint its eggs so that they blend with the elements, hiding them from the vicious witch, Baba Yaga. At first, the plan works well, but Baba Yaga finally gets her hands on the last egg, and Masha sets off on an amazing journey to find it. This lyrical retelling features the Firebird's magical poem in English and Russian, There are also suggestions to inspire children to paint their own eggs - this wuld work well in the classroom alongside reading the story and perhaps producing artwork based on the stunning illustrations.

Lao Lao of Dragon Mountain: A Chinese Tale (Stories from Around the World) by Margaret Bateson-Hill

Another beautifully produced hardback from Alanna Books, introducing us to tales from around the world. Weaving together many themes from traditional Chinese folktales (told inn English and Chinese), this story is about an old peasant woman and her beautiful paper cuts which bring joy to everyone. But then the greedy emperor hears of her skill... This book too gives the opportunity for creative activities to enhance the story, with instructions and templates on how to make traditional Chinese paper cuts. Beautifully told and illustrated.

The Adventures of Mr Toad by Tom Moorhouse

The perfcet way to introduce the very youngest readers to the joys of The Wind in the Willows, this beautiful book combines lively text and stunning illustrations by David Roberts. Both text and pictures capture the spirit of the book perfectly, with deft touches of humour throughout. The story has all the elements of a perfect picture book - great characters, humour, lots of adventure, and a heartwarming message about the true value of friendship. And hopefully, this introduction will generate a lifelong love for Ratty, Mole and all their friends.

This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne

Bella was taking her dog for a stroll through a book but halfway across, he disappears... and then her friend Ben disappears too... and even the rescuers disappear. As they do so, enjoy watching the emotions that flit across Bella's face as she can't believe what is happening. But then Bella marches toward the middle of the book . . . only to disappear herself! Who can help? Why, you, the reader, of course! A quirky, imaginative and unusual story with a twist in the tail (almost!).

The Dinner that Cooked Itself by J. C. Hsyu

An honest and hardworking man by the name of Tuan lived in Ancient China. Tuan was lonely and despite the matchmaker’s best efforts he could not find a girl who suited his birth sign or his humble background. Yet, Tuan continued to work hard at his job and in his own little vegetable field. One evening, Tuan discovered the biggest snail he had ever seen and taking pity on the creature returned home with it. The following night when Tuan came home he was surprised to find the most splendid meal laid out on his table, but the cook was nowhere to be seen! Night after night his dinner was made, each supper bigger and tastier than the last. Desperate to uncover the mystery, Tuan devised a plan to reveal the source of these magical dinners . . .

Those Magnificent Sheep In Their Flying Machine by Peter Bently

An ordinary day on the hillside turns into an exciting round-the-world adventure when the sheep spy something unusual overhead... and on the ground. So off they go in the bright yellow aeroplane. A rollicking rhyming text zooms you to all sorts of unlikely places - and some unlikely adventures - before the sheep decide they have had enough excitement. The rhythm and rhyme make this wonderful book a joy to read aloud and the humour is brilliant. Clever and catchy, this is what picture books are all about.

Beetle and Bug and the Grissel Hunt by Hiawyn Oram

Beetle and Bug have never seen a Green-Spotted Grissel - and nor has anyone else! They board their magic rug and fly off fearlessly in search of it. Through sea and sky, they find all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures - but will they find the incredible Green-Spotted Grissel lurks? Well, you'll have to read the story to find out. Vibrant pictures and catchy rhyming text make this a great read-aloud book. It's unusual and quirky and very entertaining.

Elmer in the Snow by David McKee

Elmer has been delighting children - and their parents - for many years now and it's lovely to see this new title which makes the very most of Elmer's bright colours as we see him against the snow. Clever Elmer has a very good way to show his friends that cold is all relative... when his friends start complaining about the cold he decides to show them what cold weather is really like. They set off for a walk up a mountain, getting colder and colder all the way - until a snowball fight warms them up. But when they get back down, they realise that their home is not really that cold at all. A fun-packed story which shows the playful elephant at his very best - full of warmth and friendship.

A Library Book for Bear (Bear and Mouse) by Bonny Becker

Can anyone ever have too many books? Mouse thinks not but Bear doesn't agree when Mouse tries to persuade him to go to the library. Reluctantly, Bear reluctantly agrees to go to the library but he has very fixed ideas about what he wants to read - and a very LOUD voice to express himself! How will Mouse ever find the perfect book for Bear? This book is full of fun and unexpected twists right up to the end when Bear changes his mind... I love the illustrations - just look at the expressive picture of a disappointed mouse - and then the happy faces at the end as they set off home with a fascinating collection of books. A lovely way to encourage children to go to the library and discover all the wonders that lie in wait.

Cat and Dog by Michael Foreman

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

Who's In The Tree That Shouldn't Be by Craig Shuttlewood

Little ones love the excitement of lifting a flap and discovering a surprise underneath. The surprises in this book are very clever as the animal pictured underneath is totally unexpected - who would expect an elephant in the sky or a peacock under the sea? There is a quirky rhyming text and lots of sub-comments to keep interest alive. This unusual book offers lots of opportunities to talk about animals and their homes, stimulated by the beautiful illustrations and charming images. At the end, children are asked to recognise all the creatures. The book is made in good quality card so will withstand all the enthusiastic handling is is bound to receive. A lovely fun book which will be much enjoyed.

Bing Ducks (Bing)

Bing and his friends Sula and Pando, along with their carers, are popular CBeebies characters who share the same experiences that all young children do. Today, they're off to feed the ducks. Bing needs to learn that he must be as still and as quiet as a statue if the ducks are to come to him. With simple text and vivid pictures plus lots of stickers to add to the pages, this is a great series for parents and children to share and discuss. In Bing Smoothie (Bing) Bing and Flop make a smoothie - but Bing finds he can't unmake it!

The Railway Land Dogs' Club: Ivy's Lost Ball by Julian Warrender

The story is set on the Railway Land, a magical nature reserve by the River Ouse in Lewes and is inspired by the characters that the author and her dog Ivy meet on their daily walks. Ivy has lost her ball and asks all her friends if they have seen it. The watercolour illustrations capture the beauty of the area and give lots of opportunities for adults and children to talk about nature. The map which is on the inside cover is an inspired idea - children can learn how to follow a map as well as see where the story is taking place. A delightful story and Ivy is quite adorable!

The Last Chocolate Chip Cookie by Jamie Rix

As all children know - but sometimes forget - being polite is really important. When there's just one chocolate chip cookie left and Jack is about to eat it, his mum reminds him he must offer it to othres first. So Jack does just that in this hilarious story - but nobody wants it until in a fabulous and unexpected twist (with a twist of danger!), someone very special wants it. A hilarious picture book about manners, sharing and the hazards of storing food in your pockets!

Seen and Not Heard by Katie May Green

An atmospheric picture book set in a big old house, up creaky stairs, in a silent little nursery full of dolls and teddy bears, you'll find the children of Shiverhawk Hall... but they are children in pictures on the wall - seen and not heard... That is, until night-time comes and they come down from their frames and have great fun. The clever illustrations with their subtle use of colour are the perfect complement to this unusual story.

Before After by Anne-Margot Ramstein and Matthias Arégui

A picture book in the sense that it is full of pictures but far more than a picture book... Clever and engrossing, the pictures take you through a series of before and after pictures. Some are quite obvious, others take a bit more thinking about. It's a great way to stimulate discussion - What is going to happen in the bare field? What's the link between a squid and a bottle of ink? How about using the pictures as the basis of a creative writing topic in class? Absolutely fascinating.

Storytime: When I Grow Up... by Gill McClean

Who will be able to resist the adorable little puppy Fergus who sets off to decide what should he be when he grows up. His friends all have different ideas and it all seems very puzzling to a little dog. Who will help him decide what to be? A charming and irresistible story with superb illustrations and a very satisfying conclusion. QED Storytime books are beautifully illustrated stories which introduce young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories. Discussion points for parents and teachers are included in each book and these provide an excellent opportunity to extend the pleasure of these books.

Bizzy Bear's Big Building Book by Benji Davies

Bizzy Bear books are wonderful for little ones, with lots to push and pull, twist and turn. Now we have the pleasure of a bumper book to enjoy with Bizzy Bear and his friends busy building - but what are they building? he has a special DIY project planned and he needs children to help him measure and hammer, saw and paint. There are lots of surprises hidden under the flaps too in this exciting novelty book packed with bright illustrations and things to spot, do amd discuss.

Pinkabella and the Fairy Goldmother by Gillian Rogerson

Pinkabella loves pink more than anything in the world - and she has a very pink bedroom.... until her godmother comes to stay! But things go a bit wrong when Pinkabella uses her godmother's magic wand and things go rather too pink. Luckily, Pinkabella and Auntie Alura come to an agreement in the end and everyone is happy in this entertaining story.

Spot a Lot Animal Escape by Steve Smallman

There's trouble at the zoo! The animals have run away and the zookeepers need some help finding them but the trouble is, they are all camouflaged. The lively action-packed pages present plenty of challenges for children to explore as they try to find the elusive creatures and count them along the way - it's a great way to get them involved. With so much to spot, it's great for observational skills and offers hours of fun.

The Sleepy Train by Mark Marshall

It's off on an exciting train journey in this colourful rhyming story book. From the Arctic to the jungle, through the tunnel ... and off to the Land of Nod. This vibrantly illustrated book races the story throughout until its peaceful ending in bed.

Bears Don't Read! by Emma Chichester Clark

Read this wonderful story with any child who thinks reading is not for them - and change their minds! A magical story of friendship to power the imagination and encourage children (and bears!) towards a lifelong love of reading. When George the bear finds a book, he knows that he has found the thing he most wants to do - read. But "That's just silly!" said his sister. "Bears don't read!" Poor George soon discovers that it's not easy to be a bear at school but luckily he finds someone to help. It all goes to show what you can achieve with a bit of determination.

Give Us a Smile, Cinderella! by Steve Smallman

Cinderella's stepsisters make her do all the work - and they just sit around eating sweets and cakes, with the inevitable results! But Cinderella always cleans her teeth. As we know, the sisters are invited to a ball and Cinderella's fairy godmother makes sure she gets there too. There's a twist at the end though - the slipper fits all three! Can your child guess how the Prince tells them apart? This quirky and amusing take on the old story is one in a new series from QED with takes fairy tales and gives them a twist on health, hygiene and nutrition. A great read.

Troll Two...Three...Four (Picture Story Book) by Steve Smallman

Boogaloo is a sad and lonely troll who crosses the line no troll should cross - and his friends follow him in this hilarious rhyming story. The humans were frightened and ran away - all except for one little boy who sets off to play with Boogaloo. From that act of friendship, the humans and trolls (and even the goats!) learnt to be friends in this fun story about acceptance and friendship.

Sloth Slept on by Frann Preston-Gannon

We all know what sloths do - they sleep - so when the hildren find a sloth in the garden, he won't wake up to tell them what he is. So they set out to find out - the older children dream up all manner of fantastic ideas while the younger steadfastly reseaches and comes up with the answer. Look out for the clues through the book for children to spot. The quirky ending will take them by surprise! A beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking book.

The Bully and the Shrimp by Catherine Allison

The tricky subject of bullying is sensitively handled in this story of Noah Shrimpton and class bully Connor Redman. Noah has an unusual way of coping, through his imagination. He makes friends and gains the confidence to stand up to Connor in a story that will be valued by all children, parents and teachers dealing with bullying; it is a picture book but created in a way that makes it suitable for primary age children. Realistic and credible, this empowering and well written book shows that bullies can be won over.

Keep Running, Gingerbread Man by Steve Smallman

The classic tale of the Gingerbread Man is given a clever and amusing twist in this story from the QED Fairytakes Gone Wrong series. When nobody can catch up with the Gingerbread Man, the fox decides they all need to get more healthy - so he starts up an aerobics class! With its bright illustrations and amusing retelling, this is a fun way to convey the important message that exercise is essential to well-being.

The Wonder by Faye Hanson

You only have to look at the cover of this book to know it's going to be sonmething special. The boy's head is always full of wonder and the world around him is ttransformed by his imagination. But not everyone appreciates daydreamers... The gentle sepia of the pictures at the start of the story (with the odd flash of brightness) are suddenly transformed into vivid colour as the boy realises that it's through his art lesson that he can bring the wonder out of his head for the whole world to enjoy. The wonderfully surreal illustrations show there are no limits to the imagination - and the opportunities to share it with others. It's clever and stunningly illustrated.

Storytime: What's the Time, Wilfred Wolf by Jessica Barrah

Wolf can't tell the time - but he's never really needed to, until he is invited to a party. So he asks his friends for help, but nothing quite works out for him in this amusing story. He doesn't give up though, and his friends are always there to help and finally, they find the answer - and all enjoy the party together. A charming story about friendship and being there for each other.
The Fish with the Deep Sea Smile by Margaret Wise Brown "They fished and they fished, way down in the sea..." All sorts of wonderful fish came to the surface but the fish with the deep sea smile wasn't there. Finlly, the fish came along but with a flip of his tail... The text weaves through the wondrously bright illustrations and carries you along with it with the rhythm of the waves in this lovely story with a definite twist in the tail.

We're Going on a Bear Hunt: Sound Book by Michael Rosen

This much loved story lends itself perfectly to the sound book format. Children will love to hear the swishy swashy, splash splosh, squelch squerch... as the family sets off in search of the bear, through the long grass, through the river, through the mud... It's easy for children to follow along and press the buttons at the right time and feel involved with the story. The good quality sounds add greatly to what is already a superlative story, with its patterned language, repetition of sounds and sense of anticipation. Helen Oxenbury's illustrations are superb and the juxtaposition of colour with black and white is very effective. A lovely book to give as a gift.

Do You Speak English, Moon? by Francesca Simon

 The moon is a friendly approachable thing to many young children and here we join a young boy as, when he is getting ready for bed, he looks up at the moon and wonders whether it can speak English as it shines all over the world. He tells the moon about his day and asks the moon all sorts of questions - it's not lonely falling asleep when you share your day's adventures with the moon. Ben Cort's delicate and detailed illustrations show a lovely friendly moon shining down as the imaginative little boy shares all his favourite things. A super bedtime story, gentle and reassuring, enhanced in this edition by a CD read by Lenny Henry..

London Calls by Gabby Dawnay

Join a Pearly Queen and her grand-daughter in a tour of London, taking in the Gherkin, the Shard and the London Eye, not to mention a whole host of other characters who make London the rich and diverse city that it is today. The catchy rhyming text winds its way through pictures of all the iconic sights and races the reader through the book. A fascinating section at the end rounds off the book and fleshes out the information in an engaging way. A lovely souvenir of a day out in London - perfect to share afterwards and recapture memories of the visit.

The Colour Thief: A family's story of depression by Andrew Fusek Peters

A child's happy life with his father gradually turns grey as his father is overwhelmed by depression. Could it be the boy's fault? Of course, we know it's not but we are helped to see this from the child's viewpoint. The delicate illustrations turn from colour to grey - and back again with a positive and upbuilding ending. Sensitive and touching, this book takes a perceptive look at an illness which is often concealed from young children; by tackling the subject in this gentle way, they can be helped to understand the devastation it causes - and children can often be the ones who can help lift depression with their positive attitude to the world. An important book and one that parents, carers and teachers will find invaluable.

Alfie in the Garden by Debi Gliori

This highly imaginative book finds Alfie Rabbit helping in the garden. The real world turns into an imaginary one as the double page spread opens up and Alfie is in the jungle - is he a lion? An elephant? Or is he a little tired bird flying home to have a nap with mummy? Wonderful delicately coloured illustrations are full of detail - are we in the garden or are we in the jungle? A real celebration of children's imaginations.

A Dog Day by Emily Rand

Just like a child waiting for his parents to stop doing boring things and come and play, the dog has to wait for his owner. The dog tells us the story of a very boring shopping trip when all he wants to do is get into the park and play... illustrated throughout in black and white, the book encourages you to imagine the colours for yourself as you enjot=y the dog's take on a shopping trip. A lovely debut book.

No Such Thing by Ella Bailey

In this special Halloween story mysterious things happen around the little girl - but who is to blame? Could it be...??? Flying Eye books have a distinctive nostalgic feel with cloth covers and retro-style illustrations often with a limited colour palette. This has its own appeal and sets the books apart from others on the market.

Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes by Sophie Tilley

Best friends Amelie and Nanette are excited getting ready for the school Christmas party - there are cakes to bake and paper chains to make too. But Amelie waits at the school gate on the dat of the party - and finds that poor Nanette is ill. There's a happy Christmas-spirit ending though, when Nanette has a special visitor and the friends rwalise that friendship is the most important thing. A delicately illustrated book with a perfect Christmas feel.

The Boy who lost his Bumble (Child's Play Library) by Trudi Esberger

The little boy loves his garden and he loves his bees but sadly, as the weather changes, they disappear. The little boy is sad and the delicate illustrations reflect his feelings. He tries hard to get them back - and I love the touch of humour in the illustrations. Slowly, though, as the seasons change, the bees return... A delicate and thoughtful story which shows the vital part that bees play in our world and hw they can affect us.

The Magic Bojabi Tree by Dianne Hofmeyr

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

Rattle and Rap (Busy Wheels) by Susan Steggall

This is an ideal picture book for young ones with its repetitive allitearative text and bold action-packed pictures. Follow the train as it rumbles and rolls, whistles and whines to the end of the line with its busy passengers. The collage-style artwork is fascinating - there is so much here to look at and talk about as the train passes through the countryside. A superb book to be shared and loved together.

Monsters Love Underpants by Claire Freedman

What do all the monsters have in common? They love underpants, that's what! Whether they come from outr space or from the steamy swamps they are all adorned in colourful underpants, big or small, wobbly or gooey. But how can they be scary wearing underpants? Be careful - are they after yours? Rollicking fun with a humour that young children will adore, with bright zany pictures to enjoy.

The Witch with an Itch by Helen Baugh

The littlest witch is fresh out of witch school and anxious to try out her new skills... and the innocent woodland creatures are the targets for her spells. But they are quite safe because each time she tries a bad spell, the witch gets an itch that sends her spells off in all sorts of unexpected directions... A hilarious rhyming story tht will generate plenty of giggles. Lively and fun. Discover the solution to the mystery of Little Witch's itch in this hilarious, witty rhyming read

How the Library (Not the Prince) Saved Rapunzel by Wendy Meddour

A modern-day Rapunzel sits dreaming on the sixteenth floor of an inner city block. She's bored and nothing interests her - not the milkman, the postman, the baker , or her aunt – or even the prince. But Rapunzel needs what we all need - motivation! So when she gets a letter saying she's got a job at the library, it's all change! A real joy to read aloud with its flowing catchy rhyme and superb use of words, all accompanied by dranatic pictures.

Something About a Bear by Jackie Morris

Jackie Morris' stunning watercolour paintings have already adorned some superb books about wild creatures and this one is equally beautiful - every painting would make a wonderful framed picture. Eight bears from around the world are shown in their wild habitats: Black Bear, Polar Bear, Sloth Bear, Spectacle Bear, Sunbear, Panda, Moonbear and Brown Bear... and at the end, is the most special bear of all. Lyrical text accompanies the pictures and aach bear also has a fact file. Wonderful!

What a Wonderful World Hardback & CD by Bob Thiele

Reading the words in print, rather than simply hearing them, made me think much more about what the song says to us about the wonders of our world and the importance of love. This vibrantly illustrated picture book is based on Louis Armstrong's well-loved song and is the account of a young boy on a wondrous journey through our beautiful world. The book comes with an accompanying CD which includes the much-loved recording of the song by Louis Armstrong and an exclusive reading by Sophie Aldred.

You Make Me Smile by Layn Marlow

A touching and gentle story which celebrates the power of a smile inwords and pictures. It's the first snowfall of winter and the little girl is filled with a sense of awe and wonder. She builds a snowman and gives him a twig smile so they can share happiness. Simple yet very effective, this is a delightful and heartwarming story to share with children on a chilly winter day.

Gelert: A Man's Best Friend by Cerys Matthews

I always find this story so sad I can hardly bear to read it. This is a delicately told account of Prince Llywelyn and Gelert, his faithful dog. But, suddenly, all changes in a fateful instant... This traditional tale of love and loss is vividly and economically told by Cerys Matthews and sessitively illustrated by Fran Evans.

Yuck Said the Yak by Alex English

Maverick Books are bringing out some wonderful picture books which really engage children, both through the excellent story telling and through the wonderfully matched illustrations. Alfie does not seem surprised when a Yak appears at his house on a bicycle but when the Yak refuses to eat any of the treats Alfie offers, he does get very puzzled. Luckily, the problem sorts itself out in the end, much to Alfie's surprise. Simply told in just over a hundred words, this is a good story to use with a group of children, using a humorous approach to to encourage them to look at things from a different point of view.

A Day at the Police Station by Richard Scarry

I love Richard Scarry's books - they are packed with detail and provide a great stimulus for discussion and learning - and there's something new to spot on every re-reading. As young readers enjoy a day at the police station with Sergeant Murphy and his daughter Bridget, they will enjoy finding out what a police officer does all day - it's full of variety! The books have been entertaining and delighting children for many years yet the humorous illustrations continue their timeless appeal.

I Wish I'd Been Born a Unicorn by Rachel Lyon

Mucky lived up to his name and nobody wanted to be friends with the grubby brown horse. So he decides he would like to be a unicorn, and with a little help from his friends, his dream comes true... until the rain comes! Then, Mucky finds out what really matters - his friends. A charming story, with expressively illustrated characters to capture the imagination - and an important message about being true to yourself.

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon

How lovely to see a picture book celebrating Autumn! It's a wonderful season for children and this book echoes the fun to be found. Penguin, Bootsy and their friends are off in search of autumn and Penguin's little brother, Pumpkin, wants to join in. Pumpkin is too little, so instead, the friends bring him back a very special autumn surprise. The illustrations are highly appealing with ther lovely characters and this gentle story is perfect to mark the changing season.

Pete the Cat and the New Guy by Kimberly Dean

Singalong with Pete the Cat in his new adventure about friends and fun. There’s a New Guy in town and Pete the Cat can’t wait to meet him. He’s very different and wants to join in but can’t find a way to join in with Pete and his friends. But Pete has the answer in this livelystory about friendship and the fact we all have something special we can do.

My Little Star by Mark Sperring

A lovely, cosy, reassuring bedtime story, perfect to send children off to sleep feeling safe, secure and loved. As nighttime falls and the moon starts to shine, parents and children across the world snuggle up together. So cuddle close, because it's time for a bedtime story. Gentle and peaceful, with exquisite pictures of animal parents and young snuggling up together.

Snow Day by Richard Curtis

How many children are glued to the updates when school might be closed for the day? This tender and moving story is about just one of those days - and the only two people who actually go in to school. Danny finds the strictest teacher in the school is there - and Danny is not what you would call a model student. But there is an amazing turn-around and the day turns into something really special for both of them; something that will last. This is beautifully told and the expressive illustrations By Rebecca Cobb are the perfect complement. Perhaps it will encourage childrn to make a bit more effort to get to school on a snow day!!!

A Scarf and a Half by Amanda Brandon

Granny Mutton loves to knit - but she really doesn't know when to stop! Little Lionel is not at all impressed with his present - he wanted something to make him laugh. Luckily Lionel’s friends are blessed with plenty of imagination and they find lots of fun things they can enjoy with a scarf and a half! The brightly coloured scarf makes a lovely focus for the bright and amusing illustrations in this charming story about inventiveb=ness and friendship.

Numbers by Paul Thurlby

This is, quite simply, outstanding. So clever - each number forms part of the picture in a way that will intrigue the reader. I am tempted to take the pages out of the book and use them as posters - inspired by the signed poster which came with my review copy. The book is printed on heavy paper which adds a wonderful look and feel to the nostalgic style of the illustrations - a book to charm adult and child alike and definitely not one to be relegated to the children's bookcase!

The Owl and the Pussy-cat by Edward Lear

This beautiful hardback gift edition of Edward Lear's much-loved poem really is a book to treasure. Charlotte Voake's delicate and beautiful illustrations are a perfect match for the words and wonderful pieces of art in their own right. The foreword is by world-renowned children's author Julia Donaldson and it reflects her love for Lear's works.

Bibble and the Bubbles by Alice Hemming

A magical story about a little boy, Bobby, who wonders where all the bubbles go and Bibble, many millions of miles away, who wonders where all the bubbles are coming from. But when the bubbles stop coming, Bibble is puzzled and decides to set off in search of their origin. An imaginative geltle story about friendship, letting go and the power of the imagination, delicately illustrated by Sara Sanchez.

Bob and Flo and the Missing Bucket (Bob & Flo) by Rebecca Ashdown

Get a toddler's view of life at nursery through this engaging story. Flo the penguin has a rather unusual packed lunch - a bucket full of fish! Bob, though, has other plans for the bucket in this inventive story with its quirky humour in text and pictures. When Flo finally locates her bucket, it plays an even more important role - it brings together two new friends. A charming story, delightfully illustrated.

The Dance Teacher by Simon Milne

A beautifully illustrated, timeless story about ballet and the special relationship between a young girl and her teacher. One day a little girl peers around the door of Miss Sylvie's dance studio. 'I want to be a ballerina,' she says. Isabelle loves to dance. She practises her five positions over and over again. But does she have what it takes to achieve her dream, and one day become a prima ballerina? Celebrating the joy of dance and the role inspirational teachers can play in our lives, The Dance Teacher will enchant readers young and old.

Bella's Bad Hair Day by Stephen Michael King

An unusual story from a celebrated picture-book creator, Bella's Bad Hair Day will delight children and anyone who loves a whimsical, outlandish story. Bella has woken up to find that things are not as they should be. But her mother is busy painting, and her father is playing his baby grand piano. Doesn't anyone realise it's going to be a horrible, horrific, horrendous hair day? The hairdresser wants to cut it all off, except for one little curl. What is Bella to do? If only she had a hat that could hide all her messed, mashed and muddled hair. If only life was peaceful..

A Guide to Sisters by Paula Metcalf

Sisters - sometimes you wish they weren't there but really, they are lovely to have and this witty book is a celebration of that. A feel-good book which takes a warm, caring and funny look at the world of sisters, big or little. The charming illustrations capture all the wonder of having a big or a little sister, making this a perfect book to share. This is another picture book in the words and pictures series from Quarto - each one is an excellent story great for reading aloud, complemented by wonderful illustrations.

The Dinosaur That Pooped A Planet by Tom Fletcher

 This story is out of this world! When Danny and Dinosaur set off for space but Danny forgets Dino's lunch box, disaster looms when the very hungry dinosaur eats everything in sight, including their means of getting home - the rocket! Poor Danny is in tears - will they have to stay in space for ever? But the clever dino has an answer - poop! A hilarious story that combines all sorts of elements children love - space, dinosaurs and, of course, poop! Very, very clever with its witty rhyming text and superbly complementary illustrations. This mini hardback edition makes a lovely present.

Ruby and the Naughty Cats by Jane Hissey

Ruby, Blue, and Blanket are trying to play nicely together but the Naughty Cats spoil all their games. Perhaps there is an answer - how about having a party and letting the Naughty Cats join in? The lovable animal characters are totally irresistible and this is a delightful story about friendship from a highly acclaimed author. The catchy rhyming text swirls through the gorgeous illustrations with their expressive and detailed characters.

Chu's First Day at School by Neil Gaiman

This is the second book about lovable Chu, the little panda with a big sneeze. Just like most children, he is apprehensive about his first day at school - will he fit in with the others? One by one, the animals tell the class about the amazing things they can do - and then it's Chu's turn and he makes his mark in his own very special way. Warm and reassuring, this is perfect for young ones starting school. The gorgeous illustrations are packed with fun details to share and discuss.

Dragon Jelly by Claire Freedman

In gloriously yucky style, Max is having a monster party. They play all sorts of games then cool down in a fruit bat drool paddling pool! Then it's tea-time, with termite tarts, ear-wig rolls and eyeball birthday cake. But the REAL treat is the red-hot dragon jelly! Vibrant and fun-packed, perfectly geared to a child's sense of humour..

Doughnuts for a Dragon by Adam and Charlotte Guillain

George is a young explorer who longs to be a dragon-searching hero from olden times. Luckily, he has a time machine so off he sets with with his scooter, some cakes and some doughnuts. As this humorous tale unfolds through its rhyming text, you'll find George is very glad he took lots of cakes... and finally, he finds his dragon. Full of imagination, packed with fun and with a surprise on every page.

Magical Snow Garden by Tracey Corderoy

Wellington the penguin has a dream, a dream of building a garden - but Wellington lives in a world of snow, where things don't grow. He is, however, a very enterprising and imaginative penguin and he finds a way to make his very own special garden - and he is not deterred, even when disaster strikes. This is a delightful story about determination, about overcoming the odds and about friendship - positive and uplifting, a real feel good story, beautifully illustrated.

I Want to be a Witch by Ian Cunliffe

There are lots of good things about being a witch - but there are many that don't sound so good, like bats and spiders, having yucky green hair or cooking up smelly spells. So one little girl decides to make up her own witchy rules... and there's a surprising twist in the tail of this humorous story. Great fun!

One Special Sleepover by M. Christina Butler

It's Little Hedgehog's first sleepover and, just like all children, he is very excited as he waits for his friends to arrive. He has a very special surprise for them - a special cosy red blanket. But when a gust of wind whisks it away, there's only one thing to do - make a new blanket together. This is a very special blanket, full of memories of happy times. A delightful story, with the added bonus of tactile snuggly pieces of blanket to feel while enjoying a perfect bedtime story.

Cinderella's Not So Ugly Sisters by Gillian Shields

Cinderella - but not the story you know... this is the real story (or is it?). Winifred and Prudence are kind and sweet, not like their horrible step-sister, Cinder-Ella. She even orders a spell to make her sisters really ugly. There's still a ball though... but the fairytale ending is far from the expected one. This re-telling is great fun and very enjoyable.

Jolly Snowmen by Annette Rusling

This lovely tactile book is just perfect for little fingers to explore. Five cheerful 3D snowmen stand out through the cutouts in the front cover... and gradually, one by one they slip and slide away magically until there's only one left. So off he goes to find his friends and enjoy... Perfect to snuggle up and share on a cold wintry day - after building a snowman, perhaps?

Polly Parrot Picks a Pirate by Peter Bently

Polly the parrot is bored. So she leaves her tree and flies off to Buccaneer Bay on her quest to start a seafaring life. But Polly is very picky and she must choose just the right pirate - but none is perfect. Finally, she flies off to where two pirates are engaged ina fearsome battle - and gets a very big surprise. Lively rhyming text and engrossing pictures by Penny Dann make for a super read which children will thoroughly enjoy.

Snow by Walter de la Mare

Inside, as the day draws to a close, we join the happy family as they prepare for Christmas - decorating the tree, hanging stockings by the fire, putting out a plate of mince pies... but outside, all is still and quiet as the world turns white... except for one busy bright person, who goes about his business regardless of the weather. A beautiful evocation of the wonder of snow - and of the thrills for children as they explore this special world. Caroline Rabei has illustrated this perfectly, with splashes of red adorning the pages.

It's an Orange Aardvark! by Michael Hall

Opening this book, I got a real surprise! Vivid illustrations and lots of little die cut holes which really enticed me in and which will build up anticipation for young readers. Clever use of words make this a superb read-aloud and children will love to join in. What are the ants doing? Making a hole - and what will they see? A clever cumulative story which tales a refreshing look at colour; a super book, very imaginative and unusual.

The Cat, The Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf and Grandma's Wardrobe by Christyan Fox

Is this the longest picture book title ever? It certainly makes you stop and think - and the story won't disappoint. Can you guess what it's all about? Cat's trying to read a classic children’s fairy tale to Dog... but Dog asks question after question...does that sound familiar? It's great fun and wonderfully illustrated with cartoon characters. Cat and Dog are set to become great favourites.

Dinosaur Poo by Christyan Fox

Dinosuars and poo - what a wonderful combination to capture children;s interest! Pacy verse, colourful illustrations and die-cut flaps tell the story of dinosaurs hunting for the largest poo. The queue of dinosaurs searching gets longer, the poos get larger, and so do the flaps. Wonderful! This book plus the two above are published by words and pictures, a new imprint for young children, "encapsulating: Imagination, because opening a book should also open a child's own imagination to possibilities; Innovation, because children should be encouraged to create, not imitate; Inspiration, because books should make children want more - more books, more information, more of life itself." The stories are excellent, stimulating children to put their own thoughts and imagination into the stories

Storytime: The Lion Who Lost His Roar But Learnt To Draw by Paula Knight

Lionel loves to roar but everyone else find him just too noisy. But one day, poor Lionel loses his voice - but finds a hidden talent. Meet lots of colourful jungle friends and find out the noises they make as Lionel explores his new talent with them. The lively text is full of adjectives to help children enjoy new words - see if you can encourage them to use even more by describing the vibrant pictures. A good way to show children that we all have undiscovered talents. "QED's popular Storytime series are charming books that combine colourful illustrations with heartwarming narrative, each with its own unique message for young children. The series is ever expanding and now comprises 36 titles."

Storytime: What's in Your Pocket by Ruth Symons

The theme of this story is the arrival of a new sibling and it's a lovely way to introduce the topic to a young child. Josh loves snuggling up to his mum at night in her pouch but soon he must sleep on the grass like the older kangaroos. One day, Josh’s mum has a surprise in her pocket - Josh can't guess, however hard he tries; will he love it as much as his mother says he will? Gentle and sensitive, this is a delightful story. I love this series - each story is very different and each manages to convey a meaningful message in a way that children will relate to.

Happy Birthday, Hugless Douglas by David Melling

Douglas is very excited about his birthday surprise - and who could fail to share in this endearing bear's anticipation. But his over-excited twin cousins are not quite the birthday surprise he wanted! Things all seem to be going wrong when, happily, it all turns out fine. Full of fun and humour, the story encapsulates the ups and downs so common to birthday parties and willcapture children's attention. The delightful pictures express the story wonderfully.

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.

Frances Dean Who Loved to Dance and Dance by Birgitta Sif

Frances Dean loves to dance... but only when there is nobody around to watch her. When she's alone, she feels the wind and hears singing birds and she is inspired to dance. Will she ever be able to dance when others are around? One day, she is inspired by a little girl and her life changes. Gentle and sensitive, this story will resonate with anyone, young or old, who feels shy in public. The illustrations are a real delight, quirky and unusual and very expressive. A lovely story.

Bruno and Titch by Sheena Dempsey

All Titch the guinea pig wants is a home, but as he is the only guinea pig in the pet shop he's getting worried. But then Bruno comes into the pet shop and that's IT! There’s just one problem with Titch's new home - Bruno loves to play and invent wild games and make big messes but Titch just wants a quiet life. Can their friendship work? When Bruno seems to change Titch gets worried but there's no need... an unusual and original tale of friendship with delightful illustrations which are full of gentle humour.

The New Small Person by Lauren Child

A new book from Lauren Child is always an eagerly anticipated treat and this one doesn't disappoint. It tells of the arrival of a new sibling and perfectly captures the emotions a young child feels when someone comes along and seems to take all the attention. Elmore Green has had everything he wants until a new small person arrives on the scene... and he doesn't want someone following him all the time. But then he finds all sorts of reasons why two are better than one in this charming and insightful story about siblings, love and acceptance.

Clarice Bean, That's Me by Lauren Child

"This book is about me, Clarice Bean. It's a very funny book and all of the pages have pictures, mostly of me. There are some annoying bits when my little brother barges in on pages 8 and 9, so you might want to miss them out..." All Clarice Bean wants is a bit of peace and quiet. But that can be hard to find in a house where your little brother is being utterly annoying, your big brother is in the dark tunnel of adolescence and your granddad's pouring soup on his cornflakes. Highly original and hugely successful, Clarice Bean is a feisty little girl who is full of adventure. Lively pictures are full of fun and complement the story excellently; the use of a variety of type faces makes the book really stand out and engages the attention.

Mad About Mega Beasts! by Giles Andreae

Have you ever seen a squid that weighs more than a car? Or a dinosaur that's as big as eighteen elephants? Discover these magnificent mega beasts and more in this bouncy rhyming romp from a bestselling, award-winning picture book team. From the cuddly St Bernard to the ferocious Siberian tiger, this bright rhyming picture book is packed with incredible creatures to delight animal fans everywhere. The pictures are stunning - brilliantly bright and vibrant.

Blown Away (Penguin Blue) by Rob Biddulph

It’s a windy day, and Penguin Blue has a brand new kite – but where’s he going on this maiden flight? We all know the perils of kites and this lovely rhyming story finds Penguin Blue and his friends going on a glorious adventure ... but they really want to get home. The illustrations are crammed with detial and some wonderfully depicted animals. This is Rob Biddulph's first book and it's a wonderful debut - I very much look forward to seeing what comes next.

Twinkle by Katharine Holabird

The author of the hugely popular Angelina Ballerina books turns her attention to fairies and friendship in this entirely girly new series. It's Twinkle's first day at The Fairy School of Magic and Music, and she can't wait to make spells like all the big fairies. But Twinkle keeps forgetting the magic words and her spells go from bad to worse! Sarah Warburton's enchantingly intricate pictures are pretty in pink, with sparkles on the cover and final pages. This looks like the start of another success story!

A Recipe for Bedtime by Peter Bently

Little ones love their bedtime stories and it's a habit that we should all get into - so having a library of specifically bedtime reads is great. This lovely 'recipe' takes us through the familiar bedtime routine in a novel way and with a delicate touch of humour 'If required, add milk again.' It finishes with a bedtime lullaby. Delicate illustrations echo the restful theme of this bedtime book.

Mr Chicken Lands on London by Leigh Hobbs

Mr Chicken is off to London and he wants to see all of it! Mr Chicken lands in London, checks in at the Savoy and then he's off to see the sights - and to visit a very special person. This is full of humour in both text and pictures - all the sights are here but with Mr Chicken's own special comical take on them. And just look at the expressions on the faces! It's truly wonderful, such fun and so entertaining.

Crikey and Cat by Chris McKimmie

When there are no stars in the sky sometimes all you need is a ladder, a friend, a dog, a cat and a hardware store open all night. An unusual story celebrating creativity and friendship, which is told largely through the medium of pictures, encouraging the reader to use his imagination.

Willy's Stories by Anthony Browne

Once a week, Willy walks through an ordinary-looking set of doors and straight into an adventure. Where will those doors take him today: to a mysterious desert island with footprints in the sand; down a deep, dark rabbit hole full of curious objects; or perhaps on board a pirate ship, face to face with Captain Hook? Wherever he ends up, Willy's journeys begin when he walks through those inviting doors.

Princess Mirror-Belle and the Dragon Pox by Julia Donaldson

Princess Mirror-Belle is aleady a much-loved fiction favourite and now we have the pleasure of reading about her in the popular picture book format illustrated by Julia Monks. Ellen gets a big shock when her double appears out of the bathroom mirror, but Mirror-Belle is a double with a difference! She is a princess, and a mischievous one at that. She is sure that Ellen's chicken pox is actually dragon pox - and she is full of ideas about how to make the spots disappear. It's wonderful fun! Girls will immediately be attracted by the stunning glittery cover and the glittery theme continues through all the wonderfully detailed collage-style pictures which are just full of fun and life.

Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is just so clever! I loved this book when I shared it with my own children and on re-reading, it has not lost an iota of its appeal. Adults will love the subtle humour in the pictures and text and children will come to appreciate the book more and more on each re-reading. This classic story of a gentle chimp who is tired of being bullied is reissued to celebrate Willy the Wimp's 30th birthday. The hilarious story subtly conveys an important message about looking beyond appearances and standing up to bullies.

Bubble Trouble by Tom Percival

A delightful story about friendship and working together, perfect for those toddlers who always bring an element of competition into their play. Rueben and Felix are best friends and their best game is blowing bubbles, the bigger the better. But when Rueben challenges Felix to a bubble-blowing competition, things go wrong as they work against each other, not together. Aftr a while, though, they decide to work together and all goes well until... The special part of this book lies in the lift the flap bubbles which reveal all sorts of fun underneath. Great fun!

The Cherry Thief (Child's Play Library) by Renata Galindo

The very special thing about Chef Armand's cakes are the delicious red cherries that adorn each one. But one day they start to disappear, so he sets out to catch the thief. The result is really unexpected and quite delightful. What will Chef Armand do? Much of the story is told through the medium of the gentle but lively pictures, giving the reader scope to use the imagination. I love the unusual nature of this story, which makes it stand out from others.

Wibbly Pig and the Tooky by Mick Inkpen

Wibbly Pig is a huge favourite and rightly so, as toddlers can readily identify with him and his adventures. Most children bring back a toy animal from the zoo, but not Big Pig's sister - she's put Tooky in her backpack: Tooky the toucan. So it's time to take him back to the zoo... but things don't quite turn out as Wibbly Pig expected... THis really is a lovely story, charmingly illustrated and with a lovely touch of humour.

Foxy and Egg by Alex T Smith

Foxy Dubois is very hospitable and welcomes Egg into her home... but beware, Egg! Look at the pictures on the walls of Foxy's grand house! Foxy has a devious plan to fatten Egg and make him fit... but she's in for a hilarious surprise when her breakfast turns into something dangerously unexpected... This entertaining story is enlivened by detailed pictures which contain lots of clues for children to spot along the way. You have to laugh!

Welcome to the Family by Mary Hoffman

This perceptive book celebrates the family in all its different forms, through just one aspect of family life - the welcoming of a new baby. It explores all the different ways a baby or child can become part of a family - natural birth, adoption, fostering, same sex families and more. Each double page focuses on one theme and tackles it in child-centred language with a touch of humour. Children today are likely to have friends with many different family backgrounds so this book is excelelnt for showing that happy loving families take all forms

Bing: Make Music by Ted Dewan

The Bing stories are colourful books that encourage interaction between adult and toddler. Plenty of repetition in the text and words that are great to read aloud will engage the child's attention as they join Bing Bunny and Flop making music and face - and overcome - everyday challenges of life. Find out how to make music and the noises that everyday objects make in this stimulating and enjoyable story with lovely characters.

The Five of Us by Quentin Blake

Once again, the amazing talent of Quentin Blake brings us an array of lively characters. Five amazing friends, all with their own special talent, set off for a day in the countryside. When disaster strikes the five prove the truth of the old adage - the whole is greater than the sum of its parts - when they combine their talents to get out of trouble. It reminds us of the benefits of focussing on what we do well in addition to being a charming tale of friendship.

Brian and the Vikings by Brian Judge

Brian is the smallest boy in the village. But he's also the smartest. When the Viking invaders arrive, it's up to Brian to save the day with the help of his friends and his cleverest invention yet. The first adventure of Brian Boru, the boy who would grow up to become High King of Ireland - with an ending that leaves the reader wondering what is coming next... Lively and amusing, with detailed illustrations by Mark Wickham that repay close scrutiny.

Betty Goes Bananas by Steve Antony

Betty spots a banana and really really wants it - but she can't open it so she gets very very cross. Luckily, Mr Toucan is on hand to help out - but Betty wanted to peel the banana herself...and things gets worse n this amusing story of a little monkey for whom things just never seem to go right.

Princess Poppy: Let's Dance! by Janey Louise Jones

The charming little envelope at the start of the book gives Princess Poppy the chance to introduce herself - and a new dance move. It's time for the Honeypot Hill Talent Contest! Poppy and Honey are so excited, but among the many acts, how will Poppy stand out? Can Grandpa and a new banjo-playing boy help Poppy to wow the judges and dance her way to a win? Featuring a brand new family, the Blooms, amazing acts and dazzling dance routines, this delightful Princess Poppy story is perfect for tiny dancers everywhere and will once again delight her fans.

The Witch with an Itch by Helen Baugh

The littlest witch is fresh out of witch school and anxious to try out her new skills... and the innocent woodland creatures are the targets for her spells. But they are quite safe because each time she tries a bad spell, the witch gets an itch that sends her spells off in all sorts of unexpected directions... A hilarious rhyming story tht will generate plenty of giggles. Lively and fun. Discover the solution to the mystery of Little Witch's itch in this hilarious, witty rhyming read

Puddle Pug by Kim Norman

Percy the Pug loves puddles - any puddles. But he's quite fussy about his puddles because they are never quite perfect -, until he finds the perfect puddle. The trouble is,  Mama Pig says  chases Percy away.  But Pery persists in this delightful tale and finally gains acceptance. It's a lovely story with rhythmic language that makes it perfect to read aloud. Perfectly illustrated by Keika Yamaguchi with a deft touch that is most appealing.

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Safari

Children will have such fun with this book! Each page is split into two - turn both parts together and you have a book full of lovely friendly animals all with a catchy rhyme to tell you about themselves. Once those have all been enjoyed, flip the page parts separately and meet all manner of weird and wonderful creatures - there's the lialo, the wartodile, the zebon and many more - their names appear down the sides of the pages, in case you don't recognise them! Axel Scheffler's inimitable style brings us some fabulous creatures and children will find the combinations hilarious. It's great fun!

The Beauty Contest at the Zoo by Kevin Price

A catchy rhyming story about the animals at the zoo and what they get up to before opening time. Maisie decides they'll have a beauty contest. But how will each animal persuade her that they should win? And which one will she choose? Vicky Fieldhouse's comical illustrations are lively and full of fun. Great to read aloud, with lots of animal voices to captivate your audience. Each sale of this book supports the work of the World Land Trust, which strives to maintain safe habitats for animals in the wild.

The Little Train by Graham Greene

The little train decides he's bored with travelling between Little Snoreing and Much Snorieng, and decides to go on an adventure. He chugs and puffs his way through villages, past castles and over bridges, thinking he might reach the sea. But it gets dark and the little train gets scared so decides to return home... but there's only a little coal left in his boiler. Luckily, he makes a new friend who helps him out. First published in 1946 with Ardizzone's illustrations commissioned 28 years later, this new edition brings the classic little train back to life for a whole new generation in this gentle evocation of times past.

The Little Steamroller by Graham Greene

Every day the Little Steamroller works at London Airport clearing the runways for the aeroplanes and every day the people on the gate make fun of him. But the little steamroller had his moent fo glory when he defeated the Black Hand Gang - the infamous smuggling ring. Graham Greene's warm writing draws the reader into the story in an engaging way. These are real classics and parents and grandparents who remember them will delight to share them with children.

Use Your Imagination by Nicola O'Byrne

Rabbit's bored; until he makes a new friend - but perhaps he should be careful about who he makes friends with! "Why not write a story?" suggests Wolf. And Wolf has plenty of ideas to encourage Rabbit to use his imagination to create a fairy tale... but will there be a fairy tale ending? Savvy children might see the way the story is heading and the anticipation will add that extra frisson of excitement to this tale of a very cunning rabbit. What a good job Wolf taught Rabbit to use his imagination! Amusing and quirky, this is a superbly imaginative book with a special treat at the end.

Lucky by David Mackintosh

When Mum announces that we’re having a surprise at dinner tonight, my brother Leo and I can’t help but wonder…What could it BE? Mum says we’ll have to wait and see, but Leo and I have some ideas of our own… some very unlikely! A happy celebration of family life, in a story all about the benefits of brothers, and what it really means to be lucky… 

Playbook Castle by Corina Fletcher

Is it a book? Is it a playmat? It's both, cleverly packaged into a box which houses a book with pop-up paper engineering plus an envelope full of play pieces - knights, damsels and strange creatures. It's thoroughly enjoyable as a story about knights and their exciting adventures; and then, children's imaginations can be let on the loose as they fold out the colourful playmat with its pop-ups and make up their won stories with the stand-up pieces included. It's perfectly portable too so ideal for visiting and holidays. Very clever!

Ten Terrible Dinosaurs (Dinosaur Roar) by Paul Stickland

Paul Strickland's wonderful bright dinosaurs are back, this time all ready to help children count. Catchy rhymes - 'Ten terrible dinosaurs standing in a line, soon began to mess about, until there were ... nine!' count down as the naughty dinosaurs gradually disappear - until there's a big surprise at the end. It's a lovely way to introduce children to counting and the pictures repay close attention as children enjoy what the dinosaurs get up to.

Daisy Saves the Day by Shirley Hughes

It's wonderful to see a new book from the brilliant Shirley Hughes and her nostalgic style is perfect for a book with a historical background. Daisy Dobbs is working as a scullery maid in a grand house and she works as hard as she can to try and please her kindly employers. But her greatest day comes when disaster strikes, and only Daisy can save the day. The evocative scenes of London during the coronation of George V are excellently done and give a real sense of occasion. Yet again, Shirley Hughes has brought us a gem of a book..

Fun and Games at the Zoo by Kevin Price

This delicately illustrated picture book lets children join Maisie and Bertie as they play with the animals in the zoo - the cheetah, the chimpanzees and many more favourites. The pictures are full of humour and end with a bedtime picture. Cleverly interwoven with the text and pictures, you will find this is also a counting book - at the end of each page, children are asked to count and spot the chipmunks going from 1 to 10. The book supports the World Land Trust which protects engandered habitats.

Pirates Aren't Scared of the Dark! by Maudie Powell-Tuck

Freddie's little sister Poppy always wants to join in with his games - but Freddie thinks pirates and fairies don't mix and won't let Poppy sleep in his pirate tent. But when Freddie's torch goes out, and there's a rustle rustle rustle in the dark, he doesn't feel quite so brave after all... and he's secretly glad to see Poppy - and Mum. Alison Edgson's wonderfully bright illustrations adorn this delightful story about siblings who do love to play together and have great fun doing so. Pirates and fairies can have fun together!

On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah

To best friends Birt and Etho cardboard boxes are the source of endless imaginative games and they are happy playing together at being astronauts... or pirates... or kings. But then a new boy, Shu, comes along with his own box and wants to join in. But Birt isn't sure that he wants Shu to join them so he goes off in a sulk... but then, Etho and Shu come to his house with the most marvellous contraption ever. This story really homes in on a common problem for young children - their uncertainty makes it hard for them to accept new people in a friendship group but this perceptive story shows what a good thing it can be, as well as celebrating children's wonderful imagination and creativity.

No Time for Bed by Annette Rusling

There's just too much to do - Alfie Bear can't possibly go to bed! This wonderfully imaginative story follows Alfie on his many adventures - the high seas to conquer, jungles to cross and that's just the start... . 'but he STILL doesn't have time for bed.' Your young one, however, will be glad to get into bed when this lovely book is there to be enjoyed with its  fantastic finale  of with light-up twinkly starts and a bedtime lullaby tune. It's a very special treat that will delight children.  I love Alison Edgson's illustrations - bright and vibrant, they are the perfect reflection of a child's view of the world.

You Are (Not) Small by Chris Weyant

It's all relative, as the two fuzzy friends argue over who is small and who is big. Two fuzzy creatures can't agree on who is small and who is big, until a couple of surprise guests show up, settling it once and for all! Simple text combines with bold illustrations as more creatures join in the debate - but then along comes someone who puts an end to the argument - and the creatures trot off happily together. Simple and very effective.

Bing: Something For Daddy by Ted Dewan

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

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