Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 15)

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.

Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester ClarkBlue Kangaroo

If you have a little one starting school, this is the perfect book for you to share together to alleviate any worries and give the opportunity to talk through what will happen. Lily and Blue Kangaroo have a very special friendship - they do everything together. And when Lily starts school, in the eighth title in this hugely popular series, the inseparable duo starting at a new school with surprising results. When Lily starts at a new school she asks Blue Kangaroo to come too. Lily thinks Blue Kangaroo is worried about going but, secretly, he can’t wait to explore and try new things – which is just as well, because the fun lasts even longer than he expected…

The Great Dragon Bake Off by Nicola O'Byrne

Waiting to hear: "On your marks, get set . . . BAKE!"? Well, while you are waiting, enjoy this hilarious tale, and marvel at all the superb creations. At the Ferocious Dragon Academy, dragons-in-training learn the arts of bone crunching and teeth sharpening. But one dragon enjoys far more peaceful pursuits. Meet Flamie Oliver who is a stupendously spectacular Star Baker! He loves baking so much that his studies at the Ferocious Dragon Academy are starting to suffer, and he's told he must capture and eat a princess. There's just one thing he can do... and he surprises everyone. Witty and full of fun - and a few slightly familiar names... Vividly illustrated, this is a highly enjoyable romp of a book.

Up, Up and Away by Tom McLaughlin

Orson, a creative boy, decides to embark on his most ambitious project yet - building a planet. And with a big bang, his planet is created. But the planet wasn't happy so Orson found out how to take care of it... and it grows and it grows and things get a bit tricky... Orson realised that there comes a time when we have to let go... and soon another idea is on the way! Another winner from a talented author/illustrator.

The Famishing Vanishing Mahoosive Mammoth by Hollie Hughes

The mahoosive mammoth is a hairy beast is so hungry that he is vanishing... but even after breakfast, some snacks and lunch his friend Bug is running out of ideas to help him. Even eating his way through a seaside town doesn't help, so what's to be done? Find out in this hilarious rhyming picture book about one hairy mammoth with a ridiculously large appetite, and one loyal friend with a clever plan. The rhymes trip off the tongue and are delightfully complemented by the brightly coloured pictures in this lovely celebration of friendship.

Be a Friend by Salina Yoon

This is an insightful story about an ordinary boy who expresses himself in an unusual way. Dennis communicates through mime, but he feels very lonely. But one day, Dennis meets a girl named Joy, and he begins to discover the power of friendship and how special it can be, as she shares in his games and 'sees' the things he 'sees'. Be A Friend subtly explores the world of children with autism and language barriers in an engaging and accessible way; it's sensitively told and touchingly illustrated in muted tones. The story is ideal to share with children with speech and language difficulties and with those who associate with them.

Brick By Brick 123 (Lego) from Weldon Owen Limited

This unique counting book shows children how to use their LEGO bricks to build every number from 1 to 20; alongside each number , children will also find the appropriate number of a range of objects, also all created from LEGO. With directions on how to make every number simply, using regular LEGO bricks, this book is a fun way to practise your numbers. The book also includes a range of other counting activities based around LEGO pictures, including number work and counting. Colourful and unusual, it's great to see another way of enjoying LEGO.

They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears and paws ...and everybody saw the cat. But in this clever picture book, we see all the different ways the animals perceive the cat, from the fearsome animal seen by the mouse and a bee's eye view, through all sorts of other views. In simple, rhythmic prose with ingeniously stylised pictures, readers travel with the cat as he prowls through his world. But is it really a story about the cat, or is it about the creatures who see it? This is a glorious celebration of observation, curiosity and imagination; a book to be enjoyed by all ages as everyone will see the book differently, just as the creatures perceive the cat in different ways.

The Fox and the Wild by Clive McFarland

Fred is a city fox but the city is a scary place and Fred is often scared. One day Fred sees a flock of birds flying away over the city roofs. "Where do they go?" he wonders. And so he sets off to find the wild. All the other city animals say that there is no such place, but Fred is determined and finally he finds his way to the country... and a new friend. Gloriously illustrated, with wonderful expressions on the animals' faces, this is a delightful story about following your heart and having the courage to make a fresh start.

Creaturmals Adventure Series Book 1: Making Friends by Leanne Hill

When Leon the possum falls asleep after one of Nanunci's stories, he finds himself in the world of Big Adventures. Leon is greeted by Ty, a Creaturmal with the body of a penguin and legs of a kangaroo! The pair become friends and head off to explore. What other fantastical Creaturmals will they meet along the way? And what will they find at the top of the big hill? Join them on their fun-filled adventure and find out. It's a very imaginative story with superb animal creatures that children will love; a special world to enjoy.

Albert the Alphabetical Elephant by Roger Hargreaves

Albert is here to introduce children to their letters - and they will love to see the way his trunk cleverly twists into every letter shape from a to z; it's so clever! Albert the Elephant as he romps through the alphabet, showing the little girl that letters can be fun. Entertaining text accompanies Hargreaves' trademark bold and clear illustrations which continue to delight young readers just as they always have done. Roger Hargreaves was the bestselling creator of the Mr Men series and Albert the Alphabetical Elephant was first published by Hodder Children's Books in 1980.

Prince George and the Royal Potty by Caryl Hart

Prince George was a happy child who thoroughly enjoyed his royal life - always accompanied by his loyal royal dog. But then he realises he wants more in his life - perhaps he could become a knight? But when the armour won't fit over his nappy and he can't work out how to use the potty he decides to become a soldier - with unfortunate consequences! Luckily, the king knows just how to help in this enjoyable rhyming story which takes a light-hearted look at the perils of potty training. With lively and amusing illustrations, this is a lovely story.

How to Surprise a Dad by Jean Reagan

There are many different ways to surprise a dad - and some of them are very surprising! Sometimes you can make the surprises, sometimes they are things to do and sometimes they are things to discover. Whatever they are, this book is full of tips to have fun with your dad and make him feel special. It's a book which really draws the reader in, making him or her feel involved and providing lots of inspiration. Glorious illustrations too. The same author-illustrator team brought us the bestselling How to Babysit a Grandad (we loved this one!) and How to Babysit a Grandma. It's the perfect way to celebrate fathers, and for fathers to share with their children - an ideal gift for a special occasion.

The Truth According to Arthur by Tim Hopgood

This enjoyable book takes a light-hearted but perceptive look at a common childhood dilemma - telling the truth. Arthur and The Truth are not the best of friends right now. Arthur has been a naughty boy - even though he was told not to, he rode on his big brother's bike ... and accidentally bumped it into Mum's car. Now what is he to do? When his friends asked him what happened, he tries bending and stretching the truth - but however imaginative he gets, nobody believes him. It looks as though there's only one thing to do... This entertaining story is a brilliant way to get a very important message across.

Miffy the Artist: Lift the Flap Book by Dick Bruna

The simple but readily identifiable figure of Miffy has been popular with children for very many years; she never dates and her appeal is instantaneous. Miffy has just visited the art gallery and is inspired by the shapes and colours she sees. Looking at the colors and shapes of the world around her, she discovers what fun it can be to make pictures of the things she sees - and children can lift the flaps to discover what she draws. By the end of the day, her bedroom walls are full of her wonderful artwork; why not encourage your little one to draw some pictures just like Miffy's? The bold use of colour and the generously sized flaps are perfect for young ones, who will thoroughly enjoy the book.

Now! by Tracey Corderoy and Tim Warnes

Just like almost every toddler, Archie just can't wait - when he wants something , he wants it NOW! This hilarious picture book, starring adorable little rhino Archie, with laugh-out-loud text from Tracey Corderoy and fun illustrations from Tim Warnes is the perfect story to share with impatient toddlers who want everything ...NOW! Archie is an adorable character who means well but who does accidentally get himself into a bit of trouble... soaking Dad and being too impatient with his art work. So however will he wait for his holiday? Luckily, he has very understanding parents - even when a last-minute hitch causes a big problem. A lovely story; one which will resonate with many parents.

Not Enough for Queen Fluff by Rachel Lyon

Queen Fluff is a very posh bunny - she lives in town and has a grand burrow, a stagecoach, servants and a crown. But the bunnies who live in her kingdom are poor - so what will happen when Queen Fluff condescends to visit them?realises what has happens, she sees the error of her ways, and there's a lovely conclusion to this lively story with a moral. The canny bunnies decide they really can't afford this regal visitor, so, as the hilarious rhyming text shows, they do all they can to deter her. When the queen When I see a new book published by Maverick, I just know it will be a great story with lovely illustrations and this certainly lived up to my expectations.

The Glump and the Peeble by Wendy Meddour

The lonely Glump lives all alone in his cave in the wood; as he watches the Peebles play, he wishes he could join them. In contrast, nearby there's a peeble who wishes she could be quiet and thoughtful. Sounds like a perfect match and when they meet, it turns out they can learn plenty from each other. Vibrant illustrations and excellently rhymed text combine to make a delightful story of friendship and differences.

Miles of Smiles by Karen Kaufman Orloff

This is such a happy book! Pick it up when you feel down and you'll feel better. When someone smiles, it passes on - Baby smiles at mum, mum keeps it for a while... and then passes it on to Mrs Glass... and so the smile goes on. As the smile begins its joyful journey, moving from a first-grade class to a soccer team, from Gran to a garbage man and then on to a puppy, it spreads happiness throughout the community, bringing everyone together and finally goes full circle. Wonderfully upbuilding and delightfully illustrated.

Monster Park! by Annie Bach

The lovely Monster from Monster Party is back for a colourful new adventure, having a fun time at the park - swinging and sliding, swirling and twirling and riding the whirly-whirl; luckily Dad is on hand when things go wrong and Monster is soon enjoying himself again... until it's time to go and Monster doesn't want to leave the fun. But it's all right because Monster can return another day. Catchy rhyming text accompanies colourful pictures full of fun. Published by Sterling, April 16, 978-1454915478978-1454915478.

Up the Creek (Life in the Wild) by Nicholas Oldland

The bear, the moose and the beaver were the best of friends, but like all friends, they often disagreed. And things got really bad the day they went canoeing together - it seemed that they couldn't agree on a single thing. So when the three friends veer into raging rapids and find themselves up the creek, how will they agree on a rescue plan? With a gorgeous cast of characters, this delightful highlights the importance of working together - and keeping friendships afloat! The animals are beautifully depicted in the attractive pictures.

George and the New Craze (George the Giraffe and Friends) by Alice Hemming

There's a new craze - collecting people cards - and George and his friends have embraced it with great enthusiasm. The penguins have the full collection, but George only has three - and he doesn't really know what to do with them; Seymour only has one but it's a special one and he doesn't want to share. George decides to share with his friends, and soon they have an almost complete collection... but what now? Gloriously illustrated by Kimberley Scott, you mustn't miss the wonderful expressions on the animals' faces... and look out for the little pink bird. A lovely story.

Harrison Loved His Umbrella (New York Review Children's Collection) by Karla Kuskin

Harrison loved his umbrella; not just in the rain, but in the snow, in the sun and even in the house. In fact, his umbrella is always open in his hand. All his friends admired him and one day, after the rain, they all decided to keep their umbrellas open. Their parents began to get quite worried, as they couldn't see who was under the umbrellas... what could they do? There's a surprising twist in the tail of this amusing and unusual story. It's another beautifully produced classic, with cloth and board binding that is a real delight.

The Mouse Who Reached the Sky by Petr Horacek

Little Mouse spots what she thinks is a marble hanging from a tree, but she can't reach it, so she turns to her friends for help. Mole thinks it is a balloon; Rabbit thinks it's a ball but, whatever it is, they can't reach it by themselves. Pull open the double size page to see how they tried - and then share in the lovely surprise they get at the end! The vibrant illustrations almost leap off the page; they are infused with colour and the details, especially the animals' faces, are totally engaging. A perfect picture book - amusing text, fabulous illustrations, friendship and fun.

The Tree by Neal Layton

The tall tree is home to a nest of birds, a family of owls, and rabbits in their burrow. But then a man and woman arrive and decide to cut it down so they can build a house. They are devastated when they see the consequences of their action. Can the tree be home to both the animals and the humans? Very simple text combines with expressive illustrations to tell a moving story about the importance of respecting animal habitats, and how we can help.

Pete's Magic Pants: The Lost Dinosaur by Paddy Kempshall

Bound to appeal to young children's sense of humour, this picture book (the first in a new series) features a young boy whose magic pants take him on some wonderful adventures. Pete finds a suitcase packed with these amazing magic pants, each pair of which will whisk him away on a magical adventure. In his first adventure, Pete's magic pants take him back to prehistoric times.He soon makes friends with a Dino Baby, but can he escape the T. rex? And will he find the Dino Dada in time? Bright and bold pictures are combined with a hilarious story to bring a book children will love - and there are stickers for extra fun, too. More books are promised - look at the pants on the first page and you might be able to work out where else Pete will go!

Hiding Heidi by Fiona Woodcock

Heidi has an amazing gift for hiding and children will have great fun spotting her in the stylish pictures. Whether it's at school, in the playground, or in the park. Heidi’s friends always let her win at hiding, as they know how much it means to her. But this is a book with a message - Heidi learns the importance of sharing and appreciating her friends' talents too. She comes to appreciate that the fun is in playing, not in being the best. It's nicely told and will make a good story to share with a class of young children, as it conveys the message gently but effectively.

My Grandparents Love Me by Claire Freedman

Affectionate, funny, and joyful, this is the perfect book for little ones and their grandparents to share as they read about the young zebra who is spending a happy day with his grandparents. My Grandparents Love Me brings together two huge stars of the picture book world, internationally successful illustrator Judi Abbot and award-winning author Claire Freedman. A warm and comforting book that celebrates the very special relationship children have with their grandparents - it's like being wrapped up in a great big loving hug.

Lulu Loves Flowers by Anna McQuinn

After reading a book of garden poems, Lulu is inspired to grow her own flowers. Being Lulu, she goes to the library to look at books first; I love the way Lulu uses books which are a key element of her life. Then she plants her seeds and patiently waits... Lulu is a lovely joyful character - she makes you want to go out and copy her; her happy family life and friendships are a key element in the books. Inspire your child to follow Lulu's example - read poems about flowers and then go out and buy some seeds and share the joy of growing plants as a family - just like Lulu and her family.

You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip

It's going to be the best party of all and the only rule for attending this party is... you MUST bring a hat. But the little boy could only find a hat attached to a monkey. Would that do? This glorious cumulative story sees the requirements for entry growing ever more stringent - and the list of party-goers ever longer. It builds to a superb and wholly unexpected ending which will delight young readers. Gloriously illustrated, with an immense amount of careful detail which mustn't be missed. Wonderful!

The Perfect Picnic by Ciara Flood

Today, Squirrel and Mole are great friends... but that doesn't necessarily mean they like the same things. They are off on a picnic and Squirrel wants it to be the most perfect picnic ever. But the meadow is too sunny, the bench is too busy, the hill is too windy, the beach is too sandy... and the reader can follow their journey on the map at the front; a great way to introduce maps. And when they do find the perfect place - calamity! Where's the picnic? This is a hilarious tale of two quite different, but very good, friends which has a lovely outcome. Charming.

First Day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd

If you have a young one due to start school, then share this book with them - it's bound to allay any fears. It's the first day at Bug School, a secret school hidden at the bottom of the garden. Learn creeping with the spiders, singing with the crickets, count spots with the ladybirds and hop, skip and jump in P.E. with the fleas! A rhythmic, bright celebration of school, starring some very cute bugs indeed. There is just so much to enjoy - the illustrations, which totally cover every page, are simply packed with lively detail and the bugs really are quite adorable. Share this with your pre-schooler and talk about what happens at school - if it's half as much fun as this, they will have a great time!
Ice Age Collision Course by Emily Stead The latest Ice Age film is due out in July 2016, so children will enjoy reading this book while they are awaiting its debut. The excitement increases with each new film, and we can look forward to familiar faces as well as some new ones. The Ice Age Collision Course book is perfect for Ice Age fans of all ages - learn more about all the favourite colourful from all of the Ice Age movies, including Manny, Sid, Scrat and Diego, and bring them to life with the amazing interactive augmented reality experience. Simply hold your interactive device over the icon to be amazed.

How to Babysit a Grandad by Jean Reagan

I love this book! Little ones so often have a very special relationship with their grandads, and this is a real celebration of that. Written in a how-to style which definitely puts the child in charge, the narrator gives important tips for 'babysitting' a grandad, including what to eat for snack, what to do on a walk and how to play with a grandad - all the ideas are hilarious but I'm not giving them away here - read the book to find out for yourself. The illustrations by Lee Wildish are equally hilarious and will appeal to child and grandad.It's a perfect present, either to a grandad or for grandad to take along next time he's called on to babysit.

Monster in the Hood by Steve Antony

Brave Sammy Squirrel, Henri Hedgehog, and Marvin Mouse have heard all about the Monster in the Hood, and seen all the other creatures run away from him. They won't be frightened, even though he's grumbly and rumbly, and very, very hungry. There's plenty of of suspense and children will love the way the tension builds with every single page turn, right up to the very last page. It's a lovely story, beautifully told and illustrated.

Just Like My Dad by David Melling

The little lion cub longs to grow up and be just like his dad... and in some ways, he is already like his dad (or so his mum says!). The gorgeous illustrations and entertaining text combine to bring us a wonderful story that is perfect for dads to share with their young ones. There's lots of fun and humour celebrating that very special bond.

Your Baby's First Word Will Be Dada by Jimmy Fallon

All dads want their baby's first word to be 'dada'; all mums want that first word to be 'mama'. This simple picture book shows us lots of animal dads all trying to get their little ones to say 'dada' - and all they get are animal noises until, with one big effort, there's a big surprise at the end of the book! The simple pictures would make great 'spot the difference' puzzles for children!

Looking for Lord Ganesh by Mahtab Narsimhan

Anika really misses her home Mumbai and is finding life in a new country hard. Remembering the advice her grandmother gave her, she prays to Lord Ganesh, the Hindu elephant god. But Lord Ganesh is slow to respond and Anika, being a thoroughly modern girl, takes to the internet to attract his attention. Anika has made a vow to be friends with Hadiya and when she really sticks to her vow, everything goes superbly for the two friends in this lovely tale of friendship and resolution. Beautifully illustrated, this is a great addition to the Lantana catalogue.

The Cantankerous Crow by Lennart Hellsing

The naughty crow can’t resist the farmer’s cherries – and one day he got caught. The farmer determines to make the crow work for him, but somehow everything the crow does causes even more trouble. So the farmer tries to sell the crow at the market, but who wants to buy a troublesome crow? Finally, the crow is restored to his family and everything works out just fine. Gloriously illustrated, this is a tale full of fun.

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Rapunzel, Rapunzel, Wash Your Hair! by Steve Smallman

I like the way these particular versions of topsy-turvy fairytales have a real purpose. The series sets out to remind children of a range of healthy habits, and does so in a light-hearted entertaining way. And who better to star in a story about hair hygiene than Rapunzel? Three princes try to rescue Rapunzel from her tower. However, Rapunzel never washes her hair so it's greasy and filthy – too slippery to climb. Just look at the creatures living in it! Luckily one of the princes is a hairdresser and knows just how to save Rapunzel and her unruly hair. There's an unexpected twist at the end of the story that is bound to raise a laugh.

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Don't Pick Your Nose, Pinocchio! by Steve Smallman

Once again, a cleverly chosen story for the theme. Children will love this hilarious story about bogies and it's perfect for class use in PSHE lessons to reinforce the message. When Pinocchio picks his nose he lies to Gepetto about doing so, with the inevitable consequence - his nose grows! Mr Cricket arrives to help distract Pinocchio and keep his fingers busy, and soon the two are having fun together. When Pinocchio accidentally pushes Mr Cricket up his nose, he learns a big lesson - and there's a good ending to the story. Well done and effective, with plenty of talking points in the illustrations and the notes at the end.

The Queen's Handbag by Steve Antony

A sneaky swan has snaffled the Queen's handbag, so she sets off in hot pursuit. She travels the length and breadth of her realm in all manner of vehicles until she finally catches up with that pesky swan... The book celebrates British landmarks - Stonehenge, Giant's Causeway, Edinburgh Castle and more iconic places are all visited on the Queen's journey. Superbly illustrated, with a muted palette that suits the story perfectly and shows the landmarks off very well - enjoy the pictures and set your child challenges to spot various things. Even the endpapers are full of humour, with lots and lots of different police officers (and the Queen is in there somewhere too!) - do look at them! Such a great series of books - I love them!

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson

Rabbit loves carrots and he likes to collect as many as possible. But there's a problem - he has so many carrots, there's no room in his house. So he tries to move in with friends, and unwittingly causes chaos. Rabbit is concerned for his friends, so he realises there is only one solution - after all, carrots are for sharing not for saving. With some lovely animal characters, this book takes an entertaining look at friendship and helping others out.

Hide Me, Kipper by Mick Inkpen

The wonderful Kipper is 25 years old and he still continues to delight children. A little squeaky mouse comes running across the page, running away from the cat, and hides himself inside the 'foldy bit' in the middle of the book. Kipper's not going to let the cat find the little mouse, so he finds all sorts of ingenious places to hide him...but finally, the cat catches the mouse. But why are they both laughing? You'll have to read this enchanting story to find out. The gentle humour which pervades the book, in both text and pictures, is perfectly pitched to appeal to children and to the adults sharing the book. A lovely story which can't fail to please.

There's a Bison Bouncing on the Bed! by Paul Bright and Chris Chatterton

Big, brown bison is bouncing on the bed, and it looks such fun that Aardvark, Beetle and Chipmunk join in too. Oh dear, it's just too much and the bed breaks, but - oh no - there's somebody else in the bed. It's a Grizzly Bear... time for the friends to mend the bed - and then for some more fun. A brilliant rhyming text and vibrant pictures make a great combination and a super story... but perhaps not the perfect bedtime read!

Introducing Teddy by Jessica Walton

Errol and his teddy, Thomas, are best friends; they do everything together. The, one day, Errol finds that Thomas the Teddy is sad and Thomas the Teddy finally tells Errol what Teddy has been afraid to say: 'In my heart, I've always known that I'm a girl teddy, not a boy teddy. I wish my name was Tilly.' And Errol says, 'I don't care if you're a girl teddy or a boy teddy! What matters is that you are my friend.' A sweet and gentle story about being true to yourself and being a good friend, Introducing Teddy can also help children understand gender identity. It's well written and a lovely story about remaining true to your friends, whatever happens.

Claude All at Sea by Alex T Smith

How wonderful - Claude in a picture book, so that younger children can get to know this lovely character. Claude is off on a rollicking seafaring adventure as he swooshes out of the house in the bathtub - and out to sea! He and Sir Bobblysock meet mermaids, dolphins, Captain Poopdeck, and an enormous, ferocious sea monster called Nigel who gobbles them all up. Can Claude save them? He has a very bright idea - if Nigel has hiccups, they will all fly out. And so they do! With wonderful humour and brilliant illustrations, this is a joy of a book.

What Could it be?: Exploring the Imaginative World of Shapes by Sally Fawcett

This is a great way to introduce very young children to shapes - a concept they will need to understand when they start school. The first spread in each pair introduces a basic geometric shape (square, circle, triangle, etc.) and then opens the door for creative thinking by posing the question, 'What else could it be?' The following spread provides the answer, with the focus shape transformed into many objects in a glorious artwork; let children come up with their own ideas too, and see where that takes them. These pages provide a further interactive element as children are encouraged to find specific objects and count the hidden shapes. The reader is guided through the pages by the character of a young boy, who allows many aspects of his world to be discovered via the detailed illustrations. The last page challenges kids to create their own illustrations inspired by a geometric shape. There is so much to enjoy in this book - each time you re-read it, you will discover a new dimension. Stimulating and imaginative, as well as beautifully illustrated, it's a superb way to get children thinking.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

This much-loved favourite really needs no introduction, but you might like to know how the book came about. Dr Seuss was challenged by his editor to write a book using 250 of the words children use the most; the result was The Cat in the Hat, which uses 236 words. When Sally and her brother are left alone, they think they're in for a dull day – until the Cat in the Hat steps in on the mat, bringing with him mayhem and madness! A great adventure which stirs the imagination and turns the mundane into magic.It's perfect for beginner readers, who find the limited range of words, coupled with the catchy text, is easy to read and therefore confidence-building. Dr Seuss is the world's best-selling children's author - and no wonder! Here's another fact for you - Dr Seuss drove a car with a GRINCH number plate.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss

Following his editor's challenge, above, Dr Seuss' next challenge was to write a book with only 50 words - and this is the result. It is the story of persistent Sam-I-am who pestering a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham; perseverance wins the day, teaching us all that we cannot know what we like until we have tried it! Just try reading it when your child refuses to try a new food. A great lesson for children to learn and one that they will easily be able to read for themselves, thanks to the simplicity of the text. Of course, the wonderful illustrations are an unmissable part of the enjoyment of the story. Here are five reasons to love Dr Seuss' books: they help develop reading skills and a love for books; they are perfect for reluctant or struggling readers; they are perfect read-alouds; they teach important life lessons; and they appeal to every age, so adults will enjoy sharing them with their children. What more could you want from a book?

Little Grey Rabbit: Water Rat's Picnic by Alison Uttley

These classic stories have lost none of their appeal over the years; in fact, they make a refreshing change from some of today's books, with their gentle feel. Water Rat has invited his friends to join him on his boat, the Saucy Nancy. He has planned a picturesque journey down the river and, afterwards, a sumptuous feast beneath the trees, with egg and cress sandwiches, marigold sponge and watermint jellies. But when some cackling ducks cause a commotion on the river, and Hare decides to man the boat, it looks like Water Rat's picnic mightn't be so perfect after all... The glory of the illustrations by Margaret Tempest lies in their detail - they are miniature delights which repay close attention. These books would make lovely gifts, especially if you gradually build up a child's collection.

Peas in a Pod by Tania McCartney

Quintuplets Pippa, Pia, Poppy, Polly and Peg did everything the same when they were babies. Mum and Dad would love to keep them the same, but the girls have different ideas - very different. As the girls develop their own very distinctive personalities, who is going to win? It's a simple storyline - and one that will resonate with all families of multiples. The illustrations are a delight, with the similarities and differences beautifully shown.

Petunia Paris's Parrot by Katie Haworth

When a little girl already has a swimming pool, a city of toys, a thousand dresses, a personal library and even a bicycle with its very own chauffeur, what could she ask for when it's her fifth birthday? She decides to ask for a parrot because she has heard parrots are great conversationalists... but this parrot will only say 'squarkk'. Finally, Petunia asks the parrot what it wants - and the answer is very surprising! This hilarious story has a lovely twist at the end; a really enjoyable story with a gently told message, cleverly illustrated by Jo Williamson.

Wolfish Stew by Suzi Moore

Little Grey knows that he must look out for the wolf called Blue who wants to put Grey into his wolfish stew. So, to keep from being caught Grey sticks to the path, he stays on the trail, and he always looks out for the big bushy tail. The trouble is, Grey is so busy looking out for the bushy tail that he misses some rather important clues... can your child spot the danger? But the tables are marvellously turned in this hilarious story. Erica Salcedo's illustrations match the tempo of the story to perfection. Thoroughly enjoyable.

What Do Grown-ups Do All Day? (Wide Eyed) by Virginie Morgand

With over one hundred jobs and fifteen busy scenes, including places where lots of people work such as hospitals, shops and schools, and places where only a few people work such as concert halls, newsrooms and gyms, this book gives children a fascinating insight into what grown-ups do all day. Explore fifteen diverse work places such as a farm, hospital, and school, then turn the page to find out what each person’s job entails. Packed with detailed scenes showing where people work and plenty of information about the jobs, this is a fascinating look at the grown up world which will be brilliant for simulating discussion. The illustrations are just as informative, and will add to the discussion prompts. Part picture book, part information book, this enthralling book would be perfect in the Early Years/KS1 classroom as an introduction to learning about people who help us and the jobs people do.

Boris Babysits: Cased Board Book with Puppet by Sam Lloyd

Monster Mummy is going out, so Boris has been left in charge of Monster Baby. The trouble is, Boris doesn't really know how to look after a baby. He lets Monster Baby jump much too high on the trampoline plonks Monster Baby in the dog basket, forgets to feed him and falls fast asleep when he should be putting Baby to bed. Boris needs a helping hand - do you know how to look after a baby so all is well before Mummy comes home? Of course you do! There's a lot of looking after to do! The book comes complete with a cute, furry baby monster on ribbon to play with and attach with a velcro dot to each page as you share and enjoy the hilarious story.

Knock! Knock! by Kaori Takahashi

This is a clever concept that takes a little effort to read, but that effort will be amply repaid as you see children enjoy the novel approach. "Where's my bear?" asks a little girl as soon as she comes home from school. But...he s missing! Where could he be? So she sets off to find him, knocking on the door of each apartment in her building. As she climbs higher and higher, the pages of the book unfold and she meets all kinds of people, makes a lot of new friends, and sees some strange sights but what about her bear? Will she find him? A child s quest turns into a wonderful adventure that literally unfolds, step by step, into a building full of life. Cleverly done.

Dinosaur Roar! by Paul and Henrietta Stickland

Who can resist the catchy rhyming text that gallops through this book? Dinosaurs of all shapes and sixes are here to help children learn about opposites as they meet the most colourful range of dinosaurs ever. It's perfect to read aloud - but only if you share the vibrant pictures at the same time. The simple text just trips off the tongue - 'Dinosaur roar, dinosaur squeak, dinosaur fierce, dinosaur meek...' An exuberant book that will have pre-schoolers clamouring for you to read over and over again. And to make it even better, this new edition comes with a superb big full colour poster, perfect for your child's bedroom wall. The book is endorsed by the Natural History Museum, so as well as being great fun, children will be learning too.

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss

A classic from the much-loved Dr. Seuss, this is an account of the journey that lies ahead of each one of us as we grow up. From fun times and triumphs to lurches and slumps, Dr Seuss takes an entertaining look at the adventures that life may have in store for us. It celebrates all that life has to offer and shows that down-times cam be turned into positives. Not just a picture book for children, this special hardback slip-cased edition would make a lovely gift to mark any of life's milestones, with its encouragement to grab opportunities and to make the very best of all life has to offer

Bossy Jonathan Fossy (The Ever So Series) by Julie Fulton

Maverick Arts have re-issued the first four books in the superb Ever So series, with new titles and new covers to bring them right up-to-date - and they look great! And to go along with them, we have the fifth story Bossy Jonathan Fossy. As ever, the wonderful rhyming text flows across the pages and is perfect for reading aloud - but whatever you do, make sure that you share the illustrations with your child, as they are full of fun and offer lots of opportunities for discussion to enhance the fun of the book. Jonathan Fossy is indeed very bossy - he tells everyone what to do... but it gets too much for everyone and PC Moran hatches a plan. Poor Jonathan soon finds he doesn't like being bossed around and realises the error of his ways in this gently told moral tale; like all the books in the series, it puts the point across gently but effectively. You can buy all five of the wonderful Ever So series in an excellently priced pack from Amazon - The Ever So Series 5 Books Bundle Julie Fulton Collection (Vain Dorothy-Jane,Nosy Tabitha Posy,Greedy Mrs Maccready,Bossy Jonathan Fossy,Loud Daniel O'Dowd). Too good to miss!

Nosy Tabitha Posy (The Ever So Series) by Julie Fulton

I love to share rhyming stories with children and as soon as I saw the cover of this I knew it would appeal to me. The rhymes flow wonderfully through the book and will entrance young readers who love the rhythm - and it's super to read aloud. Tabitha's neighbours are tired of her nosiness but it's when she goes to the zoo that she really gets herself into trouble... trouble with a hungry tiger. The vibrant illustrations are full of things to spot and talk about - just look at all the books on the bookshelf! A cautionary tale that could have come from the pen of the great Hilaire Belloc!

Vain Dorothy-Jane (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, superbly illustrated with lovely touches of humour.

Loud Daniel O'Dowd (The Ever So Series) by Julie Fulton

If you want a series of wonderful books which are perfect - and great fun - to read aloud, then you need Julie Fulton's brilliant Ever So series; the rhyming text just trips off the tongue. Everyone wants to get out of the way when Daniel O'Dowd comes on the scene - he is so VERY loud. But one day, on a class visit to Professor McWhizzit's house, the professor sends Daniel into space to save the world. The trouble is, Daniel is a typical boy and he doesn't listen to the instructions about getting back again... will he come down to earth? Children love to hear rhymes and rhyming text is a superb way to encourage them to enjoy language. A super book to read aloud and share. I love the illustrations too - take time out to look and them and enjoy them with your child; there's so much to chat about.

Greedy Mrs MacCready (The Ever So Series)by Julie Fulton

Adults will enjoy reading this rhyming story aloud and children will enjoy listening to it! Children will love to go 'YUK' as they hear about all the things greedy Mrs MacCready eats - especially the cherries with worms wriggling out of them and bacon and ham with jam! She gets so fat that nothing will fit her and a paper publishes a plea for anything she could wear - a hot air balloon might fit the bill perhaps, or a marquee.. but then disaster befalls. Stunning bright illustrations by Jona Jung make this really eye-catching and fun - make sure you take time to appreciate all the amusing details in the pictures. Great fun.

The Queen's Handbag by Steve Antony

A sneaky swan has snaffled the Queen's handbag, so she sets off in hot pursuit. She travels the length and breadth of her realm in all manner of vehicles until she finally catches up with that pesky swan... The book celebrates British landmarks - Stonehenge, Giant's Causeway, Edinburgh Castle and more iconic places are all visited on the Queen's journey. Superbly illustrated, with a muted palette that suits the story perfectly and shows the landmarks off very well - enjoy the pictures and set your child challenges to spot various things. Even the endpapers are full of humour, with lots and lots of different police officers (and the Queen is in there somewhere too!) - do look at them!

The World-Famous Cheese Shop Break-in by Sean Taylor

Yum - a cheese shop - just what rats like. Daddypops decides they will carry out a break-in... First he tells his children to just walk through the door and get the cheese; then he makes a catapult and fires them into the shop... but when those don't work, he decides they will dig a tunnel to the Cheese Shop. That is full of mishap and when they finally reach the end of the tunnel, they find they are in the wrong place altogether... and then Daddypops has ANOTHER great idea... Both story and illustrations are packed with light-hearted fun in this hilarious story.

Squish Squash Squeeze! by Tracey Corderoy

Mouse seems to have found the perfect house... apart from a few cobwebs! But it seems that one or two others got there first...It's a good thing our little mouse is big and brave, because there's a scary bear, a scary crocodile and a scary tiger - but little Mouse soon sorts them out. Will there ever be room in the little house though? In a surprise ending and with a lovely big fold-out spread, we soon find the answer. Superbly illustrated by Jane Chapman, this is a lovely story.

Amazing Daddy by Rachel Bright

I love Rachel Bright's illustrations - they are so very child-friendly and with wonderfully expressive characters. This is a wonderful celebration of a father's love and it's perfect to share, at bedtime or just any time you want a warm and reassuring cuddle. Daddy Panda and Little Panda share some very special moments together, whether it's cooking breakfast, talking on the phone or any of the hundreds of other things daddies do. Warmth, humour and love abound in this tale of all that is best about fathers. The perfect gift to share with the amazing daddy in your life.

Dear Bunny by Katie Cotton

The little girl's best friend is her bunny and this book takes the form of a letter to him, describing all the favourite things they do together and the way the bunny is always at her side. He blows on her porridge to cool it down they play in the park and he looks after her at the zoo. With its celebration of simple pleasures, all depicted in delightful pictures, this book shows us how to appreciate the little things in life and leaves the reader with a nice warm feeling. I love the cover of this book, with its gold embossing and beautiful colours; perfect for this gentle tale.

Prehistoric Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

'Actual Size' is an excellent series of books; it's hard for children to appreciate the real size of things but now they can, and that helps to increase their awe and wonder for the natural world. Imagine what would it have been like to come face to face with a two-metre-tall terror bird? Or stare into the mouth of the largest meat eater ever to walk the earth? Can you imagine a millipede that is nearly two metres long, or a dinosaur that is smaller than a chicken? In this actual size look at the prehistoric world, which includes two dramatic pull-out pages, you'll meet all these awe-inspiring creatures, and many others too! Too big for the page? No problem - there are double page fold-outs. The illustrations are set against white backgrounds which really makes them stand out and gives maximum impact. The book concludes with plenty of information about all the species shown.

The Magical Garden of Claude Monet (Anholt's Artists) by Laurence Anholt

How do you get children to appreciate great art and artists? One way is to help them to get to know the artist and Laurence Anholt's wonderful series 'Famous artists and the children who knew them' achieves that to perfection. Julie follows her dog when he disappears into a mysterious garden, and finds herself in a dream-like world where the roses grow like splashes of paint and a Japanese bridge bows over a silent pool. In the garden she meets an old man - the famous artist Claude Monet, who shows her around his garden, which is stunningly depicted in the superb illustrations which include reproductions of Monet's paintings and a wonderful fold-out of the lily pond. There is also a biographical note on Monet. A super book.

Leonardo and the Flying Boy (Anholt's Artists) by Laurence Anholt

The subject matter of this book means that there is more than just art, making it a great introduction to one who was a famous inventor as well as artist, sculptor and musician. Zoro is Leonardo da Vinci's apprentice, working in Leonardo's workshop, mixing colours, cleaning paintbrushes and practising his drawings. But what is inside the secret locked room, where Leonardo spends hours hammering and sawing? When Leonardo brings a mischievous boy named Salai to work for him, Salai can't resist taking a look... and more than just a look. A really enjoyable story which provides an interesting introduction to the great genius of the Italian Renaissance, including reproductions of Leonardo's own work.

Fancy Nancy: Saturday Night Sleepover by Jane O'Connor

It's JoJo's first sleep over, and she's a bit anxious - but never mind, big sister Nancy has done it all before. But when nighttime arrives, it seems that it’s Nancy who might not be as prepared as she thought... Perfect for siblings to share, to show the love they have for one another and how they can look out for each other. The illustrations are gloriously OTT, with glitz and glamour all the way - perfect for girly girls.

Lottie Potter Wants an Otter by Jeanne Willis

Wonderful! The superb rhyming text simply grabs hold of you and races you through the book. When Lottie Potter goes to Trotter’s Otter shop to buy an otter, she (and we) are utterly amazed by the number of different otters there are. There are spotty otters, potty otters, snotty otters, swotty otters and tangled-in-a-knotty otters – to name but a few! But with all those to choose from, the otter she chooses turns out to be a grotty otter. So Lottie tries to take the otter back, and has a rethink about the pet she wants - with surprising results! A hilarious story, superbly illustrated by Leonie Lord - one to read aloud again and again... and again.

Kings of the Castle by Victoria Turnbull

This is a beautiful story about friendship, and how working to a common purpose transcends barriers. George didn't want to spend the night moonbathing - there are too many other things to do. But then the strangest creature he has ever seen comes out of the sea. But will they be able to communicate? It seems not, until just a few lines in the sand set them off on a wonderful game together and soon they realise that there are some things you don't need language for. The delicate illustrations evoke nighttime and moonlight superbly and there's a bit fold-out which is simply gorgeous.

Australia to Z by Armin Greder

From A for aborigine to Z for zoo, via L for lamington and V for vegemite, the author brings us a snapshot of what it means to be Australian. Some of the things will be familiar to British readers but others, like stubbies and ute, will soon become familiar from the fascinating drawings which are so very expressive.

Mr Moon Wakes Up (Child's Play library) by Jemima Sharpe

It seems that Mr Moon always sleeps - he naps during hide-and-seek, passes out on puzzles and dozes during adventure stories. But then, in a wonderfully imaginative twist, Mr Moon wakes up and takes the reader on a magical adventure through the garden. Did it really happen or was it all a beautiful dream? The gently coloured illustrations make the book perfect for peaceful bedtime reading.

Terry Perkins and his Upside Down Frown by Felix Massie

Terry Perkins is just a normal boy - until he opens his mouth. When he does, nobody can understand the words he says because everything comes out upside down. A trip to the doctor turns Terry's life upside down - literally – but the trouble is, his frown looks set to stay... Is there anyone who can help him to see things from a different point of view? This hilarious, warm-hearted read-aloud story of friendship and courage celebrates the importance of being comfortable in your own shoes – even when they are up in the air! Young children who find that their words don't always come out as they expected will relish this story and it will comfort and reassure them. The simple but telling illustrations are perfect for the story.
   

The Bumblebear by Nadia Shireen

Cheeky Norman absolutely LOVES honey and he can never get enough of it. So he hatches a cunning plot to trick the bees and steal their honey; dressed in his best bee onesie, he joins Bee School. All the bees soon make friends with him, except for Amelia who just knows something isn't right. Eventually, he gets found out and is thrown out. But then, the Bee School is attacked by a big bear and it's time for Norman to come to the rescue. A really enjoyable story which offers plenty to enjoy, spot and discuss; a story that will repay reading many times.

Augustus and His Smile by Catherine Rayner

Augustus is a sad tiger - he has lost his smile. So he does a HUGE tigery stretch and sets off to find it. As he travels all around the world, depicted in beautiful pictures, Augustus soon realises that his smile will be there whenever he is happy. He just needs to open his eyes to the beauty of the natural world around him - and the beauty is right in front of us with these superb illustrations. This is a special 10th anniversary gift edition, with a lovely golden cover, of a much-loved book which was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Award and won the 2006 Booktrust Early Years Award. A story to treasure and one that has a really important message for us all - look at the beauty around us and be happy.

The Princess and the Castle by Caroline Binch

When Genevieve was very young, her dad was lost at sea, and ever since, she has been frightened of the sea - even though there is a magical castle just across the water which she would love to visit. But then, mum finds a new friend and as Genevieve gets close to him and learns to trust him , she finally decides that perhaps she can brave the sea after all, in order to reach her castle. The illustrations are just superb - each one is a miniature work of art, expressive and full of emotion. The subject matter, of loss and of rebuilding a family unit, is skilfully told and the books has an overwhelmingly positive message. "Otter-Barry Books is an exciting new children’s imprint aiming to make a difference, push boundaries and publish books that children will love, and which will be welcomed by booksellers, libraries and schools worldwide." The six books reviewed here are the first to come from this exciting new publisher and I am looking forward to the next batch of releases.

Immi by Karin Littlewood

Immi, a little Eskimo girl, is lonely - when she fishes, she always wants just one more fish, in case someone comes to supper... but they never do. Then, one day she fishes a brightly coloured bird... and each day, another colourful object. Soon the animals are flocking around her, sharing their tales, until it's time for her to leave. As she drops a gift into the sea, we are transported across the world where we meet a little boy, dropping colourful gifts into the sea. A truly magical tale that brought a tear to my eye; how much a small kindness means and how little we know about the way a small gesture can bring happiness to one we have never met. Delicate illustrations accompany the story to perfection. "At Otter-Barry Books you will find the best picture books and picture information books, with fantastic art, by some of the top authors and illustrators working today, addressing big themes such as identity, family, cross-cultural issues, world history, natural history and looking after our Earth …. Our poetry list will feature some of the best contemporary poets; including famous names, award-winners and new voices. We look forward to introducing you to our brilliant writers and illustrators and the talented team working for Otter-Barry Books - and to sharing a list of books that we hope you love as much as we do."

The Seal Children by Jackie Morris

This is a lovely hardback gift edition telling the story of a fisherman who falls in love with a selkie - half-woman, half-seal - who bore him two children before eventually returning to her own people. When a stranger comes to the village, telling of a land far away, the children remember their mother's stories of the cities of gold and pearls beneath the waves and set off in search of their mother. Poignant and touched with sadness, this is a magical story superbly illustrated with atmospheric watercolour paintings that capture the essence of the story - see some of them here.

I Will Not Wear Pink by Joyce Dunbar

Plunkett has been invited to a party by Priscilla - but he must wear pink. Never, he says. Riotous rhyming text sees Plunkett in all sorts of pink... and finally he discovers that there is one shade of pink that is just perfect. Happily, Priscilla agrees with Plunkett and the two pigs fly happily away... all in pink! Just be yourself, and all will be perfect, is the theme of this entertaining story.

Kangaroo Kisses by Nandana Dev Sen

If you have a child who always procrastinates when it comes to bedtime, you will love to share this story with your child. "Elephant must floss, to make his teeth gloss! Then I'll brush furry bear. Please brush your own hair!" One very mischievous little girl thinks of all manner of things that might delay bedtime and as she does so, she meets a whole menagerie of superbly depicted creatures. It's full of fun and captures perfectly a child's reluctance to stop having fun and simply go to sleep. What a wonderful collection of beautiful, heart-warming and thought-provoking picture books - thank you, Otter-Barry Books.
   

Fairytale Frankie and the Tricky Witch by Greg Gormley

Children will find the clever way this book is written will draw them in right from the start as they join in a hide-and-seek adventure full of favourite fairytale characters from princesses to unicorns to knights. Fairytale Frankie is a fearless tomboy who wakes up one morning to find a princess hiding under her bed and a frog in the cornflakes... and as the day goes on, she meets all manner of fairytale creatures, who all need help to hide. It's superbly imaginative and wonderfully illustrated with joy and verve. The story whisks the reader through the pages to a very satisfying conclusion.

Storytime: Monty the Hero by Steve Smallman

Another lovely story in QED's excellent Storytime series. Monty the mole's favourite bedtime story is about a hero, a monster and a magic wand; he wants to be a hero too so he sneaks out at night in search of adventure. Along with Herbert the hedgehog, he sets off in search of magic. When Herbert tumbles down a hole, it's Monty's chance to be a hero and help his friend. The heroes continue on their adventure and find what they think is a magic wand – a dandelion. They shake it but all the magic seems to disappear – or does it? Will Monty's wish come true? As always, the pictures are exceptional and the storytelling engaging - this is a series to be recommended. Part of the QED Storytime series, this beautifully illustrated book introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories, and includes supporting notes for parents and teachers. Storytime has recently featured on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories.

Dare to Care: Pet Dragon by Mark Robertson

This hilarious account of how to care for your pet dragon (should you have such a thing) will have adults and children alike in fits of giggles. The scene is set by the lovely cover illustration which shows the proud owner busily cleaning up the dragon's mouth - and it just gets better and better. This essential guide includes clear, concise information on everything from choosing an egg to feeding, grooming and training your dragon, plus spreads on taking your dragon to the vet and teaching it to fly! M. P. Robertson's illustrations are not to be missed either - they continue the humour to perfection. It's superbly done and who would have imagined that so much humour could be found in a guide to caring for your pet!

Marmaduke the Very Popular Dragon by Rachel Valentine

Marmaduke and Meg have been best friends forever. Marmaduke and Meg are different from everyone else in the kingdom; everyone else does just what is expected of them, but not so our two friends. But then the other see what fun Marmaduke and Meg have and soon Marmaduke has so many friends that poor Meg is feeling very left out. The Marmaduke realises someone is missing and soon he and Meg are best friends again - and he makes sure he always has time for her. A sweet story about being friends and thinking about each other - and with lovely glittery spreads to enjoy.

Tiny Cops and Robbers by Joel Stewart

Look out - there are tiny robbers are on the loose, looking for anything they can find ... and Mum and Dad have no idea what is going on right beneath their noses. But hot on the trail are the tiny cops, all ready for action. This time though, the tiny robbers are after something really big ... what could it be? Luckily, the intrepid tiny cops are ready to come to the rescue when Teddy looks like becoming the next victim. This mischevious story and its action-packed pictures are full of detail and there's lots of humour to share and enjoy.

Steven Seagull Action Hero by Elys Dolan

Steven Seagull used to be a cop but he was fire for being a renegade... but now he's needed to save Beach City. This isn't your typical picture book - it's full of cross-over jokes which will appeal to children and adults too, making it a perfect book to share. The artwork is full of details to enjoy - there are sharks playing volleyball, a goldfish driving a speedboat, crabs building sandcastles ... and lots more too - I'll leave you to find out for yourself! Great fun.

Rain by Sam Usher

It's raining and although Sam wants to go out, Grandpa says they must stay in until the rain stops. So Sam drinks hot chocolate and reads his books and dreams of wonderful adventures; Grandpa, meantime seems to have a very important letter to write. Gorgeous rain-washed pictures showing Sam's imaginary adventures are interwoven with pictures of Sam and Grandpa busily waiting for the rain to stop. Then at last that very important letter has to be posted... but has the rain stopped? As they finally go outside, Sam and Grandpa have a magical adventure. A wonderful celebration of the sheer joy and exuberance of childhood.

Maisy Goes to London by Lucy Cousins

This is an ideal way to introduce children to the wonders of the city of London. Maisy and her friends are having a thrilling day visiting the big city. They see Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace and many more iconic places; they travel by bus, by tube, by boat and find out that it's very noisy in the city! This child's eye view picks up all the excitement of a young child visiting London for the first time, and the pictures of the sights give adults lots of opportunities to discuss the sights. Visit her amazing website - www.maisyfun.com - for activities, newsletters, games and more.

Skip to the Loo, My Darling! A Potty Book by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Bunny wants his potty. What will bunny do? Why, skip to the loo, of course! And he's not the only one; all manner of creatures are waiting to use the potty. With catchy rhyming text, the party starts off in this exuberant celebration of answering the call of nature! Everyone is invited to celebrate - from an only lonely dodo to a wibbly woo, Lord and Lady Huff Puff and a ballerina elephant in a tutu, too! Poo! Poo! Poo! The party is in full swing, but in a twist at the end that children will, love, the text asks who is missing - simply look at see. Great fun and a perfect way to allay any potty fears.

Squirrel Me Timbers by Louise Pigott

Sammy the squirrel has always dreamed of sailing the seas as a pirate. So when he finds a treasure map, he can't believe his luck. Of course, being a squirrel, his idea of treasure is nuts, lots and lots of nuts. This vibrantly illustrated rhyming story is perfect for all little ones who dream of a life on the ocean wave; there are twists and turns all the way and a twist at the end to delight readers. The clever use of fonts makes the story race along, keeping interest high and providing lots of fun.

It was so quiet I could hear a pin drop by Andy Goodman

Simple but clever and thought-provoking illustrations are accompanied by an equally simple but compelling text as we see how sounds transform. From quiet kites fluttering to elephants stampeding, the text grows to match the increase in sounds. It is simple yet fascinating - a lovely way to encourage toddlers to listen to the sounds around them and to learn to talk about them.

We're in the Wrong Book! by Richard Byrne

Ben and Bella love the pages of their book and happily jump from page to page. But then Bella's dog pushes them into the wrong book altogether. They find themselves in a counting book, a comic book, a history book, a puzzle book, a fairytale ebook, a craft book, a sticker book, a spot-the-difference book, and finally a scary book - and then they eventually find themselves back in their own book. It's an unusual story which introduces children to all sorts of books they may not have thought about - how about setting up a treasure hunt in a library to see if children can find examples of all these books for themselves?

The Royal Baby's Big Red Bus Tour of London by Martha Mumford

This is the fourth in a laugh-aloud series which celebrates our Royal family, with spot-on drawings by Ada Grey. The Royal Family are sunning themselves in the Palace Gardens when up rolls the Big Red Bus, ready to take the Royal Family on a tour of London. The Royal Family stop off at the Natural History Museum, London Zoo, the London Eye and the British Museum. Then it's time for a break for the bus driver, so they hop on board a water taxi to Greenwich, before returning for a spot of shopping! But when it comes to bedtime - oh dear, the Prince's dinosaur has gone missing, so his mother hops on board a scooter and whizzes off in search of it. The gentle humour is so well done, and the book gives a lovely snapshot of some of the iconic sights of our capital city.

Ah-Choo! by Lana Wayne Koehler and Gloria G Adams

The boy is hunting for his new best friend, but every time he brings an animal home, his sister goes "Ah-choo". He works his way through an alphabetical menagerie of animals, including an antelope, bobolink birds, cats and dogs, to wolves and zebras but every creature just makes his sister go "Ah-choo"! Will he ever be able to have the perfect pet? Finally, he finds the perfect answer. Lively illustrations show all the animals the boy brings home - and the inevitable consequence! Published by Sterling, March 2016, ISBN 978-1454914150.

Teeny Tiny Toady by Jill Esbaum

When a giant hand scoops up her mama and puts her in a pail, a terrified tiny toad named Teeny hops faster than she ever did in her life, to find her brothers and get them to help. But they struggle to get Mama out - with disastrous consequences. So little Teeny is left alone to find a solution, which she does, and very cleverly too. A charming story about determination and thinking around the problem, written with gentle warmth. Published by Sterling, March 2016, ISBN 978-1454914549.

The Very Cold, Freezing, No-Numbers Day by Ashley Sorenson

Oh dear! It's such a cold day that all the numbers have frozen - and unless they warm up, time stops. Children must trace, blow on, and count the numbers to unfreeze them, and as they enjoy this interactive book, they will learn colours, seasons, patterns, and numbers. The colours of the pictures gradually change from chilly blues to vibrant reds and oranges, giving the book a very real impact. It's unusual and clever - a refreshing change.

A Rainbow in My Pocket by Ali Seidabadi

There are so many questions and thoughts that chase through your mind! Why is the sky blue? Why do the ants queue in such a straight line? Why are some words kind and some words harsh? A series of thoughts run higgledy-piggledy through a child's mind, capturing the way children flit from one thing to another. Delicate illustrations and captivating text work well together to make the reader think.

Will and Nill by Farhad Hasanzadeh

Will and Nill are cats; Nill is very lazy and just lies dreaming of food, while Will takes his mind off food by playing a game with his friend the sparrow. The, he comes across treasure - a half eaten fish, and tucks in until it is all gone. The he settles back to sleep - but Nill can't sleep because, as we all know, hungry cats can't sleep. It's a simple story, but one that gets you thinking, and the stylish illustrations are a delight.

Goodnight Tiger by Timothy Knapman

It was the middle of the night, but Emily couldn't sleep because the animals were making so much noise. Where could the noise be coming from? Finally, she discovers it is the animals on her wallpaper... but they are simply not tired. Perhaps a bath will help? Or a cup of hot chocolate? Or turning the lights out? She tries everything and finally decides to read them a bedtime story - and that's the answer! I really love this book; it's different, refreshing and great fun. Laura Hughes' illustrations of the animals are gorgeous and here we have a story that's bound to become a bedtime favourite.

Teddy Took the Train by Nicki Greenberg

Dot loves Teddy, and Teddy loves Dot, so Dot is upset when Teddy goes missing on the train. But Teddy is a resourceful bear and he has been planning his train journey that will take him to a special picnic. And then things so a bit wrong on the journey home, and Teddy finds himself in the big city - but still he isn't scared but manages to find his way safely home to Dot. A delightful picture book about courage and resilience - and the safety of getting home to loved ones.

Remarkably Rexy by Craig Smith

Everybody loves Rex. He is the most dazzling cat on Serengeti Street... and he knows it! The schoolkids who pass by are always impressed by his moves, so he lies in wait, ready to show off ... and then, an interloper threatens to take all the attention away. Luckily, Towser, the HUGE ferocious dog is there to help Rexy out... but in his hurry to get noticed, Rexy falls into a rather smelly puddle... It's funny and it's clever; Rexy has some very human foibles.

There's a Tiger in the Garden by Lizzy Stewart

Nora's too old to play Grandma’s silly games - fancy saying there are dragonflies as big as birds and plants that swallow you whole. But even when Nora meets a grumpy polar bear, she is still convinced there couldn't be a tiger in the garden... just a minute, though - what's that? Imagination is a powerful thing, so when Grandma says she’s seen a tiger in the garden, maybe she could be right. Nora cleverly turns the tables at the end of the book, too. Observant children will spot all sorts of things in the garden, all wonderfully depicted in pictures that are full of texture and movement.

Hiccups! by Holly Sterling

Oscar has got hiccups... but Oscar is a dog so it's hard to find a cure. Jumping around, drinking through a straw, and even a wizard's wand don't work. Then Ruby has a bright idea and gives Oscar a very BIG shock and the hiccups vanish... but it seems that hiccups are catching! It's great fun, plenty of silliness and some wonderful illustrations which perfectly encapsulate the joy of the book and the lovely relationship between the girl and her dog.

Hugless Douglas and the Great Cake Bake by David Melling

Hugless Douglas has built up a huge army of fans - and no wonder. He is wonderfully appealing and his adventures are irresistible. The sheep are baking cakes with Douglas' favourite ingredient - honey - and he can't wait to try them. But there's a bit of a rush when they're cooked and poor Douglas misses out. He's just going to have to try something without honey - and he finds the carrot is surprisingly tasty., so tries the berries and nuts too. But there's nothing better than a hug. It's a lovely story and a great one to share with a fussy eater. There are instructions for decorating sheep cakes too.

Goodnight Spaceman by Michelle Robinson

Inspired by ESA astronaut Tim Peake and his sons, and featuring an introduction from Tim, this is the perfect bedtime read for budding astronauts and space-mad children. It's bedtime for two little boys and they want to leave the curtains open so they can see the starlight. When they've said goodnight to all their space toys, they are whisked away on a thrilling adventure deep into space. It's full of excitement and will stimulate children to ask lots of questions about space. The lively vibrant illustrations capture all the excitement and wonder to perfection.

Super Stan by Matt Robertson

Poor Jack - whatever he does, his little brother Stan just has to go one better. Even Jack's special day out at the zoo is spoilt by Stan. Everyone thinks Super Stan is wonderful but no one notices his big brother, Jack. But sometimes, even a superhero needs a little help. And when a superhero is in trouble, only a very special big brother can save the day. A delightful story about sibling rivalry and sibling love.

ABZZz...: A Bedtime Alphabet by Isabel Minhós Martins

In this perfect bedtime story, even the cover with its great big yawn will make you sleepy. The first page tells us this book never fails... and asks how many letters before you drop off? Some children fight sleep with all their might. And we can see why – it is so exciting to be awake! But nobody can live without sleep, so this bedtime book could help sleepless toddlers everywhere. Some people begin to yawn by the letter ‘B’; others go out like a light at ‘P’. Almost all arrive at the ‘S’ page already snoring. It's full of practical ideas, couched in an appealing way so children will have sleepy ideas in their heads. Innovative and unusual, this is well worth a try.

Donkey-Donkey by Roger Duvoisin

The New York Review Children's Collection brings us a selection of collectable books all beautifully cloth bound and with colourful cover pictures. Donkey-donkey has a problem - he thinks his long ears look ridiculous. If only he could have short sensible ears like his friend Pat the horse, he would be content. So he tries all sorts of ideas, copying his farmyard friends, but they all go very wrong. Then, a little girl passing by remarks on the beauty of the pretty little donkey’s ears and he learns to be happy with what he has got. The illustrations are wonderful, full of expression and delicate touches that make them a delight.

Weekends with Dad (Life's Challenges) by Melissa Higgins

This empathetic book gives a real insight into the way a child feels when his world is thrown into turmoil by the separation of his parents. It explains the feelings of confusion and how a child finds it hard to express himself. It's reassuring as it shows the parents working together to do the best they can for their children, and it also shows the support that can be found at school and from other children in the same situation. It's an excellent way to encourage children to express their feelings, and to facilitate this.

Bee and Me by Alison Jay

I love Alison Jay's illustrative style and have always felt that her pictures hardly need words - and now we have a wordless picture book. The topic is a vital one - the importance of bees to our world and the message is sensitively yet powerfully conveyed as we share in the story of a little girl caring for a bee who flew into her room one day. She comes to learn about the importance of the bee and together, they fly off over the city sprinkling flower seeds that have a beautiful effect. The superb illustrations are full of things to talk about the the faces are wonderfully expressive. At the end of the book is a list of easily grown plants that bees love, so talk to your child about the important message in the book, then make sure you plant some seeds - a windowbox or balcony is fine; as the book shows, it's towns and cities that need flowers. A beautiful book.

I Have An Orange Juicy Drink by Andrew Sanders

A little boy has an orange juicy drink which he loves so much that he has to fight off aliens and dinosaurs and elephants who try to take it from him - and he has superbly imaginative ways of stopping them! But he loves his little brother more and so gives it to him - all because he asked nicely. Gloriously silly, full of fun and bound to make children laugh. The simple illustrative style conveys the message to perfection.

Pattern-tastic Treasure hunt: Spot the Odd One Out With Nature by Nan Na Hvass

Just look at the picture of this book alongside to get a feel for how unusual and appealing it is. Learn to spot different patterns with this nature-inspired treasure hunt, which contains 80 first words to see and say. Turn the tabs of the chunky board book to discover a world of stripes, spots, speckles, spikes, waves and spirals, then try to spot the odd one out - children will find it easy to turn to their favourite pattern with the big tabs. This attractive book is visual learning made fun - and it's full of information about the animal world too.

Technicolour Treasure Hunt: Learn to count with nature Nan Na Hvass

This time, it's colour and counting to the fore as children are introduced to all manner of plants and animals - red, yellow, pink, green, orange, purple and blue. Learn to count from one to ten with this nature-inspired treasure hunt, which contains 80 first words to see and say. Turn the tabs of the chunky board book to discover all the colours of the rainbow. There is so much here for adult and child to enjoy and explore together - perfect to stimulate discussion.

Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

What a treat - four little-known Dr Seuss stories originally published in magazines in the 1950s. The stories include old friends and new faces and fans will recognise the key elements that makes Dr Seuss' stories so special and distinctive. Now collected together, the book includes the title story and Marco Comes Late; How Officer Pat Saved the Whole Town; and The Hoobub and the Grinch. With freshly-coloured artwork which fills many of the pages, and with characters from Horton the elephant to a Grinch, this really is a book to read again and again and to treasure forever. A super discovery for fans young and old.

We're Going on an Egg Hunt by Laura Hughes

'We're going on an egg hunt. We're going to find them all. We're REALLY excited. Hooray for Easter Day!' You will recognise the rhyme pattern as soon as you pick this book up - it, of course, based on the traditional 'We're going on a lion hunt' - and for many the book that will come to mind will be the wonderful 'We're Going on a Bear Hunt'. The search that the friendly Easter Bunnies are on is quite different though and this has lots and lots of flaps for children to explore in search of their eggs. There are some surprises on the way, so children will have to look out! There are 10 eggs to find altogether and each is numbered so it's a good early counting book. The illustrations are lovely and spring-like, with lots to spot and discuss; the book will make a lovely alternative gift for Easter.

Elephant's Pyjamas by Michelle Robinson

Elephant has been invited to a pyjama party and he's really looking forward to it... but he has no pyjamas. He looks everywhere and tries all sorts of ideas but nothing seems to fit, so sadly, he has to say he can't go. But all his friends get together through Zoogle (it's a very contemporary story!) and come to his rescue in a very inventive way. It's very original, very funny and very heart-warming. A lovely story.

Supertato Veggies Assemble by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet have already brought us some wonderfully zany characters and The Evil Pea is another. The Evil Pea is on the loose in the supermarket and there's anarchy in the aisles - there are bags of evil peas now and there's meltdown in the freezers. Can our supermarket superhero Supertato divert disaster or is he going to need backup? It's Superveggies to the rescue. It's bright and bold, it's pacy and full of action, it's dynamic and exciting and children will love it.

Some Birds by Matt Spink

This wonderful celebration of freedom has colourful birds swooping and soaring, tweeting and twitching, fluttering and flapping through the pages. The stylish illustrations are unusual and very effective and the heavy creamy pages give a real feeling of luxury. "Some birds are big, some birds are small, and some birds are just incredibly tall. Some birds are caged, but most birds are FREE. A much better life, I m sure you'll agree!" I do indeed! The book celebrates the great variety of bird life, both in habits and in appearance and is a brilliant way to encourage children to look out for those differences.

Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie

Stanley is a crafty cat, but not in a sneaky way - he loves knitting. He can knit anything and everything, especially for his friends - balaclavas for bunnies, neckwarmers for giraffes, trunk tubes for elephants and much more besides. So when he sees an ad for the Woolly Wonders competition, he just has to enter. But he gets rather carried away when he runs out of wool, much to his friends' dismay. But it all turns out well in the end, when Stanley has a wonderful surprise for them all. This is a delightful story about friendship, unusual and charming with plenty of touches of humour and superb illustrations.

Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits! by Tim Warnes

This is the sequel to the wonderful Dangerous! and it's just as good... perhaps even better. Mole and his friend the Lumpy Bumpy thing love to label things... everything. Now they have found a top hat with the label "Warning: Do Not Touch!" Out of the hat hops a bunny... and another... and another! Of course, they all need labelling! But will they ever stop? Luckily, they find the answer and the magic top hat swallows them all up again. All is back to normal - but don't touch the magic wand! Oh, no! This hilarious story is jam-packed with labels to help improve your child's vocabulary and is brilliantly illustrated. Another sure-fire winner from a very talented author/illustrator.

The Ugly Duckling by Mara Alperin

Mother Duck is proudly showing off her four beautiful ducklings when the fifth egg cracks and out come two funny feet, two wobbly wings and a bumpy beak... this is no ordinary duckling. But Mother Duck still loves him, even when he can't do any of the things the other ducklings do. All through the summer, he is laughed at and finally his family fly off without him. He spends all winter huddled up and then a swan comes along and asks him to come and play. When he looks at his reflection he sees a beautiful swan. Beautifully illustrated by Sue Eastland this is a charming story about inner beauty, abut the fact that appearances don't matter, and about friendship. Simply and effectively told.

Does A Kangaroo Have a Mother Too? by Eric Carle

Children will instantly recognise Eric Carle's distinctive and much-loved collage style illustrations and will love to see another book by this favourite author. They will meet lots of animal babies and their loving mothers as the playful question and answer text invites children and adults to read aloud together. Repetition of key phrases helps preschoolers take the first step towards reading readiness. The gamelike format makes it easy to discover more about the world of nature and to learn the common names of some familiar – and not-so-familiar – animals. At the back of the book there is a special page listing the correct, but sometimes surprising names of animal babies, their parents and groups. A lovely way to learn about animal families.

This Is Not A Bedtime Story by Will Mabbitt and Fred Blunt

Sophie wants just one more bedtime story - but she doesn't want a story about pink kittens and birthday parties, she wants rocket-launching helicopters and a giant robot dinosaur! As Dad tries to read the story, Sophie keeps butting in with her version of the story. It's wonderfully imaginative and very cleverly done; it will have little girls and little boys everywhere in fits of giggles - and perhaps a bit too excited for bedtime! Although poor Dad is quite exhausted by the end of it all! It's a story that will resonate with many parents who are asked for 'just one more story' and who find their child putting their own spin on things. Great fun and superbly illustrated.

Tiger in a Tutu by Fabi Santiago

Come to Paris along with Max, a dancing tiger with a dream. Max longs to pirouette and plié, to leap and spin. But tigers aren't allowed to dance so he gazes longingly through the windows of the ballet school. Will his dream ever come true? As he dances through the streets of Paris (and make sure you don't miss the sights in the charming illustrations), he makes a new friend and together with Celeste, his dreams come true in this heart-warming story about following your dreams and pursuing your talent, no matter what, and about friendship Little dancers will love to see Max triumph and get his moment in the spotlight. A lovely story.

When I First Met You, Blue Kangaroo! (Blue Kangaroo 9) by Emma Chichester Clark

Lovable Blue Kangaroo is Lily's very best soft toy, and the stories will resonate with every child who has his or her own favourite cuddly toy. This is the ninth story in the hugely successful series which has become a children's favourite and it tells of the time Lily first met Blue Kangaroo. When Lily's new baby brother arrives, she tries to help but soon discovers that it’s not easy learning new things and helping to look after someone so small. But then Grandma brings her a very special surprise; someone who also needs to be cared for – Blue Kangaroo. It's a warm and tender story about adapting to a new sibling and making a very special new friend who is always there for Lily.

Where Are You, Blue Kangaroo? by Emma Chichester Clark

Lily loves Blue Kangaroo very much, but in all the excitement of Lily's busy life,she often loses him. Sometimes Blue Kangaroo wonders if he’ll ever see her again. Lily always seems to find him, but what if one day she doesn’t? One day, it seems that sad day has come, as Blue Kangaroo decides to take matters into his own hands (or should that be paws?), but then Lily gets a surprise. After that scare, she takes extra care never to lose Blue Kangaroo again. Lily is a lovely character to whom every child can relate - she doesn't always get things right but she is warm-hearted and caring. They are lovely stories, perfectly pitched to appeal to toddlers and bound to be asked for over and over again.

Happy Birthday, Blue Kangaroo! by Emma Chichester Clark

It’s nearly Lily's birthday and she has decided that she wants everything to be pink - but what about Blue Kangaroo? Surely she hasn't forgotten him? As the very pink party progresses, poor Blue Kangaroo gets sadder and sadder, until he decides it's time for desperate measures! But his idea doesn't work and Lily finds him alone in her bedroom. When she realises how sad Blue Kangaroo feels, our warm-hearted heroine sets out to make everything right again. This is another lovely story, appealingly written and, like all the others, beautifully illustrated in a way that makes the characters real and lovable. A real gem of a series.

Smile/Cry: Happy or Sad, Wailing or Glad - How Do You Feel Today? by Tania McCartney

There are so many picture books on the market today that it can be hard to make a book stand out, but this flip over book succeeds admirably. Childhood is a time of strong emotions and this beginners' book of feelings follows three lovable animal characters as they react to a variety of events from everyday life. Young ones will respond to the whimsical illustrations and the friendly animals, while older readers will learn more about their emotions - how it's possible to cry with happiness or smile with trepidation. Smile reads from front to back, while Cry reads from back to front, with the narratives meeting in the middle. It's extremely well written and designed and offers lots of opportunity for parents and teachers to discuss emotions with children in a non-confrontational way, explaining that is fine to express feelings.

Cool Cat versus Top Dog: Who will win in the ultimate pet quest? by Mike Yamada

Children will love this fast-moving brightly illustrated picture book with its competitive edge. It's time for Pet Quest, the annual midnight race around the block. The rivalry between Cool Cat and Top Dog (last year's winner), is reaching fever pitch, and to make matters worse, the two challengers live in the same household. Their competitiveness looks set to cost them the race – can they find a way to work together before all is lost? The stand-out illustrations are a brilliant feature of the book - they are full of life and fun.

The Very Grumpy Day by Stella J. Jones

There's a big bad mood spreading through the wood! Firstly Bear upsets Mole, who then snaps at Hedgehog, who's prickly with Fox, who then starts an argument in the squirrel family.... Soon Bear's bad mood has made everyone grumpy. Luckily, little Mouse does an act of kindness which soon has happy repercussions throughout the woodland friends. It's a sweet story about friendship and forgiveness which will bring a smile to the face of any grumpy child. The lovely illustrations by Alison Edgson help us get to know all the animals and their woodland home.

Can I Build Another Me? by Shinsuke Yoshitake

 
The little boy is tired of doing things he doesn't want to so he decides to make a clone of himself. This imaginative book follows the child’s hilarious, wildly inventive train of thought in a wonderful way as he starts to ponder what makes him HIM. Is it the scar on his knee or his sticky palms? Is it his love of acorns or the way he winks? The more he thinks about it, the more complicated it becomes... It's a clever book that opens up all sorts of avenues of discussion; very well done.

Let's Play by Herve Tullet

Herve Tullet's books are a brilliant way to encourage children to use their imaginations. In this book, patterns and colours adorn every page, with instructions for children to follow; as they enjoy the ideas, they will be drawn into the book with every turn of the page. Follow the journey of a very special yellow dot as it demands that we follow it on a ride of colour, motion, shape and imagination that we know and love so well from Press Here and Mix It Up. It's a beautifully produced book, as befits its subject - the glossy pages and rounded corners make it a pleasure to hold. Unusual and ingenious - a book that will mean something different to each and every reader.

Are You Sitting Comfortably? by Leigh Hodgkinson

All the little boy needs is a comfortable place to sit quietly ... just for a bit. It mustn't be noisy, it mustn't be smelly, it mustn't be far... it seems that perfection is hard to achieve, even though the little boy's friends have plenty of ideas. It turns out that a book is best anywhere... a book is best when you share. A joyous celebration of books and of the power of reading, gorgeously illustrated.

Chicken Nugget by Michelle Robinson

Chicken Nugget is the smallest in the family, and being the smallest can be quite a pain. When Nugget's long-lost-cousin Franz turns up, all isn't quite as it seems. There's definitely something fishy about this chicken with his big bushy tail and scary-looking teeth. When Franz starts to cook dinner, it's Nugget's chance to save the day, because sometimes the bravest hero of all is just a little chicken. Children will revel in the way the anticipation builds up through the story and the brilliant illustrations - because they will, just like Chicken Nugget, know just what is going to happen. It's superb.

The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard and Other Dramatic Tales by Gregory Rogers

A game of football, in modern-day London takes a wholly unexpected turn when a boy bursts through the curtain of a deserted theatre and onto the world's most famous stage? Midsummer magic - and a thrilling chase through the streets of Shakespeare's London. And that's just the start of it. Join the Boy and the Bear in three dramatic and captivating adventures: The Boy the Bear the Baron the Bard, Midsummer Knight, The Hero of Little Street. Who needs words when the pictures tell the story so graphically? It's a wonderful exploration into the world of Shakespeare's London with masses of historical detail to revel in; it's a book to take your time over so you enjoy all the intricacies of the plot and the pictures.

I Went to the Supermarket by Paul Howard

The title is a real giveaway - you just know that the story is going to be a cumulative one - but until you read it, you won't know what a glorious accumulation. A competitive brother and sister vie with one another to see who can come up with the most unusual shopping list. As their words come to life, through text and illustrations, they get more and more carried away . . . until the game comes to a surprising and rather messy end! Children will love this laugh-out-loud, test-your-memory story, with witches, dragons, aliens, flamingos and much, much more! The illustrations are glorious and the use of fonts makes the text look lively - it's a perfect joining-in story.

Oscar the Guardian Cat by Chiara Segre

Oscar is a very special cat - he is a Guardian Cat in a care home; all day long he helps out the people who live there as well as the doctors and nurses. Oscar knows there are sometimes very special times when he is needed; when Mewt comes calling he knows what to do. Based on a true story, this is a beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking picture book that will help children and their parents as they talk together about death and the cycle of life. Gentle and perceptive, it may well bring a tear to your eye.

Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett

Be careful - whatever you do, don't let Nibbles the Book Monster out... oh dear, too late! Nibbles likes to - you've guessed it - nibble. And his favourite nibble is a book. Turn the pages of this wonderful book and you will find lots of mini books - favourite fairytales that you may think you will know... until you realise that naughty Nibbles got there first and the tales have changed somewhat. It's wonderfully done, and even at the end of the book, Nibbles still has a surprise in store. It's a book children will love to return to over and over again, peeing through the holes to see what's next, and enjoying its clever twist on old favourites and its very lovable monster, despite his appetite for books.

The Three Ninja Pigs by David Bedford and Becka Moor

Once upon a time there were... three little ninja piglets. They are trouble with a capital 'T' as you will soon find out in this hilarious romp through some favourite fairy tales. Everywhere they go, be it to Granny's house, Uncle's building yard, Cindy's shop... the big bad wolf is there first. But never fear - our energetic and old little pig friends soon see him off! There's a hilarious ending to what is one of the loveliest takes in traditional fairy tales that I have read for a long time. Children will love the story and the vivacious illustrations.

My Family Is a Zoo by K. A. Gerrard

Join a whole family on a very special journey... but it's not just the people who join in along the way. Everyone in this family comes with their own animal. There's Dad and his elephant, Grandma with her bunny, big brother with his dinosaur and many more. And why is this big family travelling? Open out the big flap at the end for a surprise! This gorgeous picture book features vibrant illustrations from the talented Emma Dodd. The warm and funny rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud and children will love the unexpected ending.

And Then... (Child's Play library) by Alborozo

Expecting a new baby in the family, or has a new sibling just appeared on the scene? The story perfectly portrays how hard it is to be an older sister when everybody is admiring your newly born younger brother – especially when it's your birthday. What follows is a wonderfully imaginative story that really flows through the pictures as the text swoops and loops along the pages. This quirky, exuberant picture book reminds us of the power of the imagination, and shows us the importance of telling stories to help us order and deal with our experiences.

Little Home Bird (Child's Play Library) by Jo Empson

Little Bird is happy in his home, so when he is told he must fly off to a new home, he wants to take everything with him. Sadly, along the way, he must jettison his treasured belongings - but they all go to good homes! But when he eventually gets to his new home, he finds that it is just as good as the old one. I love the illustrations which are delicate and thoughtful, showing the beauties of the world Little Bird lives in. Perfect for all children who love home, and especially for those who may have more than one home.

Cat's Colours (Child's Play library) by Airlie Anderson

It was a grey day outside so Cat decides to collect some colours. As she explores the outside world, she finds colours in nature; each picture is grey in general but has patches of colour which really makes the pictures eye-catching. This delightful, deceptively simple story about making the most of the world around us, and giving something back in return, has a very unexpected, and very lovely, surprise at the end.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

What a treat - a brand-new, never previously published book from Dr Seuss. Ever had trouble making up your mind? A brother and sister visit a pet shop to pick a pet, but can’t decide which one to go for. Sometimes making a choice can seem impossible to a child, and What Pet…? explores how it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it! The cliffhanger ending will also fire children’s imaginations and provoke discussion about their own choices. It's a great way to encourage children to think about their own choices and it's an unexpected way to end a book, which shows that books don't always have to tell us what happens, but that it can be fun to decide on your own ending. A Publisher’s Note at the end discusses the thrilling recent discovery of this new manuscript and illustrations, exploring Dr Seuss’ creative process and the inspiration of his own life in his work.

Where, Oh Where, is Rosie's Chick? by Pat Hutchins

Quite simply - wonderful! After 47 years, Pat Hutchins has penned a sequel to Rosie's Walk, a picture book that captured children's attention and hearts. The same wonderful sense of anticipation is here as we join Rosie in her search for her baby chick. She looks under the hen house... she looks behind the wheelbarrow. But look carefully - very, very carefully - because someone is following Rosie. Can your child spot who it is? The richly detailed illustrations and the minimal use of text work together exceptionally well and we have a sequel that is every bit as good as the original.

I'll Wait, Mr Panda by Steve Antony

Simplicity is sheer perfection when it comes to creating a picture book and Steve Antony has achieved this superbly in this highly amusing tale. Mr Panda is cooking - but what is he cooking? One by one, the animals come along to see what he is cooking, but there is only one who is prepared to wait and see what is being cooked. And "Wow! That was worth the wait' says the little penguin. It's a gentle morality tale, wonderfully told and superbly illustrated; the perfect wait to encourage patience in children.

Mog and the Baby and Other Stories by Judith Kerr

Three favourite Mog stories are brought together in this lovely (and excellent value) collection - Mog and the Baby, Mog on Fox Night and Mog’s Bad Thing. The stories are gentle and homely (in the very best sense) and children will readily identify with Mog and her family. The illustrations are delightful too, conveying all the warmth of the stories to perfection. Since she first appeared in 1970, in Mog the Forgetful Cat, Mog has captured the hearts of generations of children and her appeal never wanes. Parents (and grandparents) will love to share her adventures with their own children and this bumper edition is perfect for that.

Pass It On by Sophy Henn

This story is full of joy - share it with your child and you will both feel better for it. A positive and uplifting picture book that shows how much happiness can be gained from the simplest things around us - and by passing it on with a smile or a chuckle. Picture book star Sophy Henn is a World Book Day illustrator and was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for Where Bear? I love Sophy's bold and stylish artwork with its clean and simple lines which are so suited to children. Keep this one to hand to cheer everyone up on a gloomy day.

Everybody Feels... Angry by Moira Butterfield

Picture books about feelings are an excellent way to encourage children to understand and to open up about their own feelings. Doing this by discussing the feelings of a character in a book is so much easier for them and encourages them to open up by putting themselves in another's place. The book explains, in words and pictures, just what feeling angry is like, and shows situations which can make children angry. Written with great empathy, children will really appreciate the approach, which will help them to understand and hence to cope with their emotions. Pages at the end of the book sum up the story and will work well to stimulate discussion.

Everybody Feels... Sad by Moira Butterfield

Each title in this series features two stories. Each is told from a child’s viewpoint and is set against a common scenario or situation with which children can readily identify. Chloe and Omar tell their stories in child-friendly language, with lively illustrations which complement the text. Story words at the end of the book explain words from the story and are a good tool to give children to encourage them to express how they feel and learn to control their emotions. The series is really well thought out, with appropriate stories plus plenty of additional material to help teachers and parents he words they need to express their feelings.

Dragon Dancer by Joyce Chng

On the eve of Chinese New Year, lanterns are hung in the shopping malls of Singapore. It's time for Yao to wake the ancient sky dragon, Shen Long, from his year-long sleep, to fight the bad of the old year and usher in the good. It's a beautiful story of a Chinese festival, showing its significance for Chinese communities everywhere. The illustrations are simply stunning, with wonderfully vibrant colours and truly dramatic impact. It's an excellent book for the multi-cultural classroom, giving children a real insight into a different culture, helping understanding.

Hare and Tortoise by Alison Murray

This much loved fable from Aesop is given a fresh new feel with this picture book. It brings a lively slant to the story as the author introduces us to the two protagonists and gives us a new look at the Hare and the Tortoise. The fable has been made all the more enchanting with Alison Murray's sense of fun, mischief and stylish charm. It's brilliantly told and manages to bring us a totally new twist to the story whilst keeping true to the original. Very cleverly done and I'd love to see Alison's take on more Aesop's fables.

15 Things Not to Do with a Baby by Margaret McAllister

Have you got a new baby in your family and looking for a bit of advice? Well, here it is! Don’t lend your baby to a kangaroo, plant your baby in the garden, or take it to school with you – and definitely don’t send your baby to play with an elephant! On the other hand, do cuddle your baby, read to your baby, sing to your baby and give your baby lots and lots of love. The illustrations capture the humour to perfection. This would make a superb gift for a family with an older child and a new sibling, as the whole family can share and enjoy it together.

Phoenix Song by Tutu Dutta

Eight year old Arohan is desperate for a guitar so he is really disappointed to receive a bamboo flute for his birthday. But the xiao is a magical flute, steeped in the myths and legends of China, the xiao has its own special magic, as Arohan is soon to discover. When his brothers go missing on the slopes of the hill behind their home in Malaysia, Arohan must ensure they return safe and sound. But does he have what it takes to placate the guardian of the bamboo grove and summon the mythical phoenix? A stirring story of the courage of one boy, and of strong family bonds. Lantana Publishing produce a super range of multi-cultural picture books, ideal for providing diversity in the classroom.

Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor

Late one night, Anyaugo sees a shadow passing her bedroom window. When she goes to investigate, she finds a giant chicken causing havoc in the kitchen - and the special food prepared for the New Yam Festival could be at risk. Anyaugo needs the help of the Wood Wit lives in the wooden walls of her house. But things are not what they seem in this topsy turvy story. World Fantasy Award-winning author Nnedi Okorafor provides us with a hugely entertaining look at the fascinating masquerade culture of West Africa, told from the perspective of a plucky young Nigerian girl who finds the courage to protect the traditions she loves. The vibrant illustrations are packed with fun and capture the colourful culture of Nigeria.

The Orange House by Nahid Kazemi

All around the Orange House, new houses are being built. The new houses all talk about each other, but the Orange House doesn't want to join in. The Turquoise, the first new house to be built, remembers that all the houses were once like the Orange House, with gardens, ponds, fish and birds. Sadly, the Orange House remembers those times and the new houses share her sadness. So when the time comes for the Orange House to be pulled down, they join together and protect her. It's a very thoughtful story, with a strong environmental message touchingly conveyed. Delicate, child-like illustrations give the book real child-appeal.

Intergalactic Ed and the Space Pirates by Ella Denton

All is peaceful and calm in outer space, until a band of space pirates steals the moon! When anything happens in outer space, Ed, with is Turbo Torch and Sputnik, Space Cat Extraordinaire, set off on an intergalactic adventure. There are pirates in space and they have stolen the moon! Ed tries to persuade them the moon really isn't worth stealing, by telling them some facts about the moon, but to no avail. It looks as though Ed will they end up walking the Space Plank... The story is great fun, lively and engaging.

The Jackal Who Thought He Was a Peacock by Rumi

Rūmī was a 13th-century Persian poet, jurist, Islamic scholar, theologian, and Sufi mystic; his poetry is especially popular in the US. This story is one of his fables about accepting one's own identity, and not wanting to change. The jackal is unhappy about his appearance and wants to become a colourful peacock, so he decides to paint himself as a peacock, but this doesn't work out and the jackal finds he was much better off as he was. Beautifully drawn illustrations with soft delicate colouring are a sheer delight.

Bob and Flo: Hide and Seek by Rebecca Ashdown

Perfect for encouraging children's imaginative play, this lovely story is all about friends at nursery school. When Bob arrives, almost hidden under his umbrella, the friends decide to play hide and seek... but just like toddlers everywhere, Bob hasn't quite got the hang of the game... So Flo and Sam find something else to do in the meantime. A lovely story about sharing and imagination, which perfectly reflects the way toddlers behave and think. Perfect to share and read aloud.

Littleland All Year Round by Marion Billet

This busy and colourful book takes little ones through a year, enjoying all sorts of seasonal activities, including finding Easter eggs, enjoying the seaside and playing in the snow. These are all familiar scenarios for young ones, and provide grown-ups with lots of opportunities to stimulate conversation; there are also questions on every page to encourage observation and conversation. I love the fact that children will spot something new each time they re-read the book. There is so much on each page - at the bottom of each page there are pictures to spot but once these have been found, adults can challenge their child to find all sorts of other things. The stylish illustrations are a real trademark of Marion Billet and their detail is simply perfect for young children.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Beauty and the Beast by Abie Longstaff

Kittie Lacey is the best hairdresser in all the land and she has wonderful fairytale adventures too. It's soon to be Prince Charming and Princess Cinderella's Ball, but Kittie faces a real challenge - can she make Beast lovable? Of course, this IS a fairytale, so you can be sure of a happy ending but it's quite different to the traditional tale. This is a lovely series, peopled on every page with a wondrous range of fairytale characters for children to spot, and with some very contemporary twists on the outcomes.

A Beginner's Guide to Bearspotting by Michelle Robinson

Next time you are planning on going out bearspotting, make sure you take this essential guide with you - after all, bearspotting can be a dangerous business! There are a few things you need to know, like how to identify black bears, brown bears... and blue bears? I hope you are taking this seriously, because what will keep you safe from a black bear is definitely not a good idea with a brown bear... With a hilarious and very unexpected ending, this book is a true delight from start to finish with wonderful illustrations and laugh-aloud text.

Professor McQuark and the Oojamaflip by Lou Treleaven

I love to review Maverick picture books - they are always excellent stories, beautifully illustrated and almost invariably have a strong rhyme which makes them perfect to read aloud. Professor McQuark is always inventing strange things, but one day she has such a wacky idea that she couldn't even think of a name for it - so she decides it will have to be an ‘Oojamaflip’. So off she sets to the town's science fair - but the OOjamaflip won't fit through the door! When the judging is nearly over, the judges see lots of excitement outside - but just what does the Oojamaflip DO? A hilarious story, ingeniously illustrated by Julia Patton with great detail. Text and pictures work together perfectly in this pacy story.

Strictly No Crocs by Heather Pindar

It’s Zebra’s birthday but it's strictly No Crocs. But Chomper, Snapper and Cruncher are determined to go so they can eat everyone up... But they didn’t realise that they would actually end up enjoying themselves a little bit too much and completely forgot what they went for. Still, there's always next time... The superb illustrations by Susan Batori are full of fun and with some lovely animal creatures to enjoy; the text weaves in and out of the pictures, giving the book a dynamic feel. It's a perfect read-aloud with plenty of sounds for children to join in with.

Giraffe on a Bicycle by Julia Woolf

Monkey has found a bicycle and luckily, giraffe knows how to ride it... or does he? Once he has mastered it, giraffe and monkey set off for a ride - and in this superb cumulative story, they are joined by a stripy tiger, three lemurs and several more animals so things start getting a little crowded. And when the inevitable happens, the resourceful animals know just how to fix it... Vibrant and lively, the author-illustrator is a promising new talent. The story is full of fun and the colourful illustrations are detailed and amusing.

Hopping Hot (Hedgehugs) by Lucy Tapper

I love Horace and Hattie, the Hedgehugs - they are so cute and adorable. They are great friends who love to do everything together and in this book, they are enjoying hopping together. When they find it's too hot, they explore the natural world around them to see if they can learn from their animal friends, including woodlice, frogs and worms. Eventually, they fall across the perfect solution... It's a lovely story and offers plenty of opportunities for adults to talk to children about the natural world. The illustrations are glorious - simple yet full of lively detail. A lovely book.

Blue and Bertie by Kristyna Litten

Bertie and his giraffe friends are creatures of habit - everyday they eat the same breakfast, have a drink together and snooze together. But one day, Bertie oversleeps and finds himself all on his own, for the first time ever. His routine is completely changed when he meets a new friend who is quite like him but not completely so, and they have a lovely time together. But what will happen when Bertie meets up with his herd again? This charmingly illustrated book is an excellent way to stimulate discussion about friendship and being different.

Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs - The Triceratops (Dylans Amazing Dinosaurs 4) by E.T Harper

Dylan's toy pterodactyl, Wings, comes to life as soon as Dylan opens Grandpa Fossil's magic Dinosaur Journal. Together, they fly off on dinosaur discovery missions to the Land of Living Dinosaurs - this time, they are meeting the fearsome triceratops. It's a dangerous time but luckily, Wings is always on hand to help. Children will love the vivid action-packed illustrations and they will learn plenty of dinosaur facts as they enjoy the story. And there's a fold-out dinosaur model to make too - that is a great way to encourage children to use their imaginations as they read the book, and then perhaps to make up their own stories too.

Beep Beep Beep Time for Sleep! by Claire Freedman

It's been a busy day, working on the motorway, digging holes, moving earth, laying tarmac... and there's a surprise double page spread showing all the action. But now the sun is setting and it's time to stop work. Follow the journey of the big machines as they settle down for the night in this bright and busy journey through to bedtime from bestselling author Claire Freedman, with vibrant illustrations by Richard Smythe.

Please Mr Panda by Steve Antony

Steve Antony has a wonderful sense of humour (which he showed us in The Queen's Hat) and it really hits the mark for children - and adults. The illustrations are superb - who would have thought the back view of a panda could be so very expressive? Panda has a trayful of brightly coloured doughnuts which he offers to the animals one by one - but then he changes his mind. Why, you may ask? Well, you'll have to read the book to find out, but I'll give you a clue - when Lemur comes along and says 'Please Mr Panda' he gets them all. A lovely story.

The King Cat by Marta Altés

Cat has always been king in his house - so why have his owners brought someone else into his house? Try as he does, it seems that cat can never get on with dog and it seems as though cat might have got his way... but then he feels lonely. Finally, the two sort out their differences and cat learns that change can be good as he accepts the newcomer. I absolutely adore the illustrations - cat and dog have such marvellous expressions, perfectly capturing the feel of the story. The text weaves through the pictures giving equal emphasis to both and making this book perfect to cuddle up with and share - especially if there is a new addition in your household.

I Love You Already! by Jory John

Bear and Duck are friends, but just like all friends, they don't always want to do the same thing. Bear is really looking forward to spending a nice quiet day at home; Duck, on the other hand, wants to go for a walk. Eventually, though, Bear gives in and off they go for a walk but things don't tun out as Duck hoped. Duck really wants to be Bear's best friend, but perhaps he isn't going about it quite the right way... In this amusing story, we see the issue from the viewpoint of both parties - it's an insightful and perceptive look at friendship with a comic twist that makes the story great fun.

Giant Jelly Jaws and The Pirates by Helen Baugh

Children will respond swell to this rip-roaring story of adventure on the high seas. Life on the ocean wave isn't quite what Jake, the new cabin boy, had expected and it doesn't seem that he is cut out for a life at sea with this fearsome band of pirates. But when another band of pirates attack Jake's ship, he gets his chance to save the day, using brain not brawn. If only he could make(with a little help from some fizzy drink) a gigantic burp just like the noise the legendary sea monster, Giant Jelly Jaws makes , he might be able to frighten the enemy away... Full of humour and with bright action-packed illustrations, this will be a winner with all young pirate fans.

Quick Quack Quentin by Kes Gray

"Quentin was a duck with a very quick quack. 'QUCK!' said Quentin. 'What's wrong with me?'" The doctor says it's simple - Quentin's quack has lost its A. Do any of the other animals have one to spare? Quentin sets off in search of the missing vowel and he's offered some other vowels but they just don't work. But APES don't want to be PES. SNAKES don't want to be SNKES. PANDAS don't want to be PNDAS or even PANDS. What is poor Quentin to do? Finally, he finds the solution in this hilarious exploration of the alphabet.

Little One by Jo Weaver

This atmospheric and gentle book, which is illustrated throughout in black and white, follows Big Bear and her cub, Little One through the seasons. Little One is encouraged to investigate her new world, meeting new friends and discovering all that the world has to offer... and then it's time to find safety back in the den as winter approaches. It's a superb evocation of the love and care a mother has for her child and the delicate pencil drawings depict this to perfection.

What is a Child? by Beatrice Alemagna

A child is small, but a child can still have big ideas. Every child is unique and children are very different to adults in so many ways., and this book is a celebration of difference. The best-selling author of A Lion in Paris comes this beautifully illustrated celebration of what makes every child unique. Through bold and sensitively observed portraits and a thought-provoking text, Beatrice Alemagna inspires children, and adults reading with them, to consider their own identity. It's a book that will stimulate discussion, perfect for sharing in the classroom and celebrating diversity.

The Class by Eleanor Levenson

Twenty-six children make up the class, each with their own personality, interests and dreams. Meet them as the reader works their way through the alphabet, meeting lots of different children along the way. At the same time, children will learn about the school day, as the two separate themes are cleverly woven together to make an engaging book. It's perfect for children starting school, as well as those learning to read and write, as they will enjoy finding out about other children. With lively illustrations and catchy rhyming text, this book has lots of potential for use in the classroom as well as being an enjoyable read for the home.

Where's Hoppity? (Bing)

Bing is an endearing character who faces many of the same experiences that toddlers do. The warm and reassuring style of the books helps children to understand and cope with situations that may upset them - after all, it's just a Bing thing! In this story, Bing is having a happy time playing in the park until - oh dear - he steps in some dog poo. He is distracted by this and forgets to pick Hoppity up - but Amma has a good idea and soon Bing and Hoppity are reunited. The colourful pictures will delight toddlers - they are full of lively action with lots to spot and talk about. There are stickers for children to add to the story too.

Dressing Up (Bing)

Bing and Coco are playing at dressing up - but they both want to wear the only crown. All is going well and the friends are having lots of fun until they both decide they want the one and only crown. Arguing over it - SNAP... it breaks. Can Flop find a way to save the day? A familiar scenario and a happy solution make for a lovely story and the brightly coloured illustrations are ideal to attract children. They will love adding their own touches to the story with the colourful and easy to use stickers which are included - a good way to engage children with the story. A lovely book for all Bing fans - and for those who have trouble sharing.

Nicholas and the Wild Ones by Niki Daly

The first day at school can be quite challenging enough but being faced with a bunch of "wild ones" is quite enough to make any child decide they are not going back. And that's what Nicholas tells his mum after encountering big Charlie, mean Jake, Wedgie Reggie and their girl leader, Cindy Crocker. Nicholas is no push-over though - he does just the right thing, first by telling his mum and his teacher and then by putting his artistic talent and inventiveness to good use. This really is an excellent picture book to help young children deal with the problem of bullies - it has a positive message and an ideal outcome. Brilliant for sharing in the classroom, ideally before bullying has had the chance to get a hold. There's plenty of humour and a deft light touch which makes this a stand-out book.

Ralf by Jean Jullien

Ralf may be a little dog, but he takes up a lot of space! Poor Ralf is always getting under his family's feet, and this makes him sad, because he doesn't mean to. But when a fire threatens to burn the house down, Ralf stretches himself to the limit (literally!) to save his family. It's all somewhat surreal after a matter-of-fact beginning but what really matters is that the family finally appreciate their unusual and by now very long dog. The simple bright illustrations and minimal text combine to tell the story to perfection.

Little Why by Jonny Lambert

Little Why just can't stay in line. All the other animals seem, somehow, better than him. Why can't he have long legs and spiky horns? Or snippy-snappy teeth like crocodile? But that's nearly his undoing as finally Little Why finds out why it's safest to stay in line. Little Why is a wonderful character, full of inquisitiveness and he's beautifully portrayed in stylish illustrations. There are two special messages in this book - stay close to your parents for safety; and, whatever we look like, we are very special to those who love us.

Chicken Dance by Tammi Sauer

Marge and Lola are chickens on a mission: to win tickets for the Elvis Poultry Show! But their toughest competition, a pack of menacing ducks, sneers that all a chicken can do is bawl, flap, and shake. Can our two feisty chicks show those quackers how to rock 'n roll the barnyard? It seems that the ducks might be the winners - but then a very special guest arrives on the scene and things change! It's a superb romp of a story full of wit and exuberance. The text is minimal but who needs lots of text with such superb illustrations? Great fun. Published by Sterling, January 2016, 9781454914778.

Let's Join In by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes never fails to please - her characters are so full of fun and life and the illustrations are sheer joy; the perfect depiction of childhood. This charming collection of four classic stories is perfect for sharing at the end of a busy day. Chatting with friends or talking on the phone, hiding in the house or the garden, bouncing on the sofa or on Grandpa's knee, giving a present or a kiss: there are so many things you can join in with during the day! Share the pictures with your little one and encourage them to spot what is happening and talk about what they can see. At the start of each story is a whole page called 'Let's join in!' which shows the adorable toddlers enjoying all sorts of activities - perfect for copying. Brilliant!

Terrible Tim by Rosalind Haworth

Tim doesn't mean to be terrible... it's just that he just likes to draw ...and roar ...dash ...and splash ... chomp ...and stomp, often with unexpected and unwanted consequences. Active toddlers will relish this exuberant story - and fraught parents will sympathise with Tim's mum. But at the end of a hectic day, Tim also loves to cuddle and snuggle, so all is well. A fun story, perfect for bedtime reading after a busy day.

Is There a Dog in This Book? by Viviane Schwarz

This inventive interactive book is such fun! Tiny, Moonpie and Andre can something strange ... but what can it be? Wait, hang on a second, is it a DOG? Is there a dog in this book?! Oh no! The cats are scared of dogs! Dogs are snappy and yappy, smelly and noisy and ... they hate cats. So, they all try and hide from him - behind the couch, under the piano, in the wardrobe... Will the little doggy ever find them and what will happen if he does? Children will love to lift the unusually shaped flaps to see what is revealed and they will love the simple but stylish illustrations which are full of expressiveness. Great fun.

What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss

What a treat - a brand-new, never previously published book from Dr Seuss - and in a lovely slipcased special Collector’s edition, too. Ever had trouble making up your mind? A brother and sister visit a pet shop to pick a pet, but can’t decide which one to go for. Sometimes making a choice can seem impossible to a child, and What Pet…? explores how it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it! The cliffhanger ending will also fire children’s imaginations and provoke discussion about their own choices. It's a great way to encourage children to think about their own choices and it's an unexpected way to end a book, which shows that books don't always have to tell us what happens, but that it can be fun to decide on your own ending. A Publisher’s Note at the end discusses the thrilling recent discovery of this new manuscript and illustrations, exploring Dr Seuss’ creative process and the inspiration of his own life in his work.

Kiss It Better by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

We all know that a kiss will make it better, if you fall or if you're sad - and this adorable picture book reminds us all, young and old, of that. But did you know that kisses can actually speak? Listen, next time, and you will find out that a kiss can say all sorts of things. So if you're down in the dumps and feeling blue, share this adorable picture book and you will feel much better! A lovely tender book, gorgeously illustrated, which is perfect to cuddle up with and which will send little ones off to sleep feeling warm, secure and loved.

I'll Never Let You Go by Smriti Prasadam-Halls

This warm and reassuring picture book comes from the talented author and illustrator of I Love You Night and Day. With reassuring words offering a message of unconditional love, and illustrations bursting with exuberance, warmth and humour, Never Let Go is the perfect gift for loved ones of all ages and guaranteed to be a favourite for years to come. It's perfect to share and the gentle rhymes flow beautifully through the book for you to share with your child. Alison Brown's vibrant illustrations are real works of art, with a variety of feelings expressed by a cast of friendly animals. A gorgeous book.

I Love You More and More by Nicky Benson

This very special hardback book is a touching celebration of the boundless love between parent and child, shown by a brown bear and its cub. It's an unusual tall format book, with special silver title and patterns on the front cover, making it perfect to give as a gift. The lyrical, rhyming text is beautifully complemented by the stylish illustrations by Jenny Lambert which show the bear and cub in a range of different situations, often with other animals. A superb celebration of love and also of the beauty of the world in which we live.

Do You Remember? by Helen Docherty

This gentle and touching picture book takes a look at all the wonderful moments in a toddler's life when he achieved something for the first time. All the joy of the parents is depicted in text and picture as they share in their little one's achievements, working back from learning to ride a bike to the very first efforts to communicate. Through the book, his mother encourages him by reminding him of all the amazing things he's done before, like smiling, sitting up, and walking. Beautifully illustrated by Mark Beech, Do You Remember? will boost children's self-esteem and may bring a tear to the parent's eye as they are encouraged to reminisce.

Badger and the Great Rescue by Suzanne Chiew

This is the sequel to the lovely Badger and the Great Storm, and again we meet kind and resourceful Badger who is such a good friend to the other animals. When Badger and his friends find a rope, a basket, and a piece of cloth in the woods, they are quick to think of some brilliant ways of recycling them - and Badger is always there to make sure things are fair. But then they discover a mole stuck in a tree who needs their help. Can Badger come up with a clever plan to rescue their new friend in need? A lovely story about caring and sharing, beautifully illustrated by Caroline Pedler.

Worm, Slug, Maggot & Leech and their Troublesome Transformation! by Polly Walker

Worm, Slug, Maggot and Leech are tired of looking dull and boring, so when Miss Stick Insect offers to help them through her positive thinking, they seize the opportunity. But is it really an improvement? As the creatures find the drawbacks in their new looks, and realise that being beautiful has not made their lives complete and they are faced with a difficult choice... now what should they do? The book tackles the sensitive subject of how we look, and how we feel about the way we look, in a gentle and reassuring manner that helps children understand and accept being different. It's beautifully illustrated too, with vibrant colours and appealing characters.

Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies by Carmen Oliver

At the beginning of the year, Mrs Fitz-Pea allocated every child a reading buddy - but Adelaide already had her own very special reading buddy. How was she to convince Mrs Fitz-Pea that her reading buddy was the very best, though? This glorious celebration of reading shows just how Adelaide convinced Mrs Fizt-Pea and at the same time, it shares the wonder of books. With delightful touches of humour, this is a lovely story.

A Prayer for World Peace by Jane Goodall

Whatever your belief, this beautifully verbalised and illustrated book can hardly fail to touch your heart. Written by a world-renowned anthropologist who is also UN Ambassador for Peace, this is a heartfelt plea for peace and understanding between every creature on earth. We are invited to join a worldwide prayer for peace and harmony, to care for our planet and all who live on it. The stunningly beautiful illustrations by Feeroozeh Golmohammadi express the thoughts to perfection, bring us a beautiful and topical book to cherish.It would make a perfect assembly book.

Rain by Manya Stojic

When the miracle that is rain is on its way to the parched African savannah, the animals use their senses to track the storm. The porcupine smells it; the zebra sees lightning; the baboons hear thunder and then the rhino feels the first wonderful drops. And finally the lion tastes the cool water. We see the landscape transformed through the wonderfully vibrant illustrations... and then it dries out again, waiting for the cycle to start again. The paintings abound with colour and energy and the simple but powerful text takes the reader right to the heart of the animals' home. A beautiful book.

My Bedtime Monster by Annelies Schwartz

Little Rikki is an imaginative young girl who wishes she had a pet that could do anything she wanted. She wants her pet to be soft and cuddly, but quick and strong; it should be able to swim and fly; it should be tiny but able to grow big... Though her mother tells her no such creature exists, Rikki is pretty certain it must... and given the wonderful power of the imagination, her dream pet shows up to take her on an unforgettable journey that is both exciting and a little scary; and then he returns her safely to her bed. With wonderful illustrations that show us just how her monster became everything she wanted, this is a superb bedtime story for all imaginative young children.

Patch's Grand Dog Show by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne

Oh, this is so cute! A plethora of hand-knitted dogs of all shapes, sizes and colours gather for the dog show. Poor Patch is lonely; he doesn't really shine at anything and he never quite fits in. But he is a determined little dog and when a dog show comes to town, he gets up the courage to enter - and surprises everyone. All the characters are knitted along with all the hand-made props and sets. There are juggling dogs, singing dogs, circus artists and lots of humour along the way to keep young and older minds entertained in this lovely feel-good story with its very special unique illustrations from the Best in Show team. The authors run their own knitwear business - what a brilliant way to show off their skills.

Tell Us a Story, Papa Chagall by Laurence Anholt

In this captivating account, Chagall's life story is told to his grandchildren through his paintings. From his childhood and marriage, through Nazi persecution, to life in America and eventual recognition, this is an interesting and engagingly presented account which helps us understand the painter and his work through the stories he tells the children. This is the tenth in this exceptional series which introduces children to great art through stories of real children who knew the artist. The enjoyable narrative and friendly approach makes art and artists really accessible and is a great way to enthuse children.

The Bear Who Went Boo! by David Walliams

Tony Ross and David Walliams team up again to bring us another engaging picture book. At the top of the world lived a mischievous polar bear who loved nothing more than giving the other animals a fright. "BOO!" he would go, and then laugh to hear the animals shriek. When a TV producer is expected, the cheeky little cub causes all sorts of hilarious havoc. But there's one person who simply won't put up with it... will the little bear have any friends left? It's a hilarious story and will be brilliant to read aloud - young ones will definitely join in with the boos! Full of zing and eb=nergy, the wonderful pictures convey the story to perfection.

Anzac Ted by Belinda Landsberry

Powerful, poignant and so sad at the start, this is the story of a very special bear; a story that shows that appearances don't matter. The little boy's teddy bear that was passed down to him from his grandfather. He's nothing to look at, definitely battle-scarred, but what a story he has to tell. He went to war, keeping soldiers company and giving them comfort. While several children's picture books cover the world wars, none has ever made conflict so accessible to children by telling the story of a bear who went to war. Belinda's exquisite watercolour illustrations combine with her rhyming text to create a book that is perfect for adults to share with their children; it's not a book for children to read alone as they too need reassurance, just like Anzac Bear's soldiers did. Beautifully written and illustrated, this is a gem of a book.

Over the River and Through the Wood: A Holiday Adventure by Linda Ashman

A classic song, perhaps better known to US audiences, gets a fresh new twist in this fun picture book. The journey starts when Grandma and Grandpa send invitations to their far-flung multiracial family, and everyone sets off - driving down snowy roads, riding the train, boarding a plane, catching the ferry and even sailing along in a hot-air balloon. But each family meets a problem on the way - and they are all rescued by a very seasonal form of transport. The rhyming text races you through the pages to a glorious conclusion. Published by Sterling, November 2015, ISBN 978-1454910244.

Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson

Nothing frightens Winifred Schnitzel, not even the neighbourhood monsters. Every night they show up, attempting to be scary and stopping Winifred from getting her much-needed sleep. Not to be deterred, she constructs all manner of clever traps, but nothing stops these crafty creatures. But then she hits on just the thing monsters hate and the story ends happily, with Winifred getting her beauty sleep. Vibrant illustrations and some not too scary monsters make for a delightful story, perfect for bedtime. Published by Sterling, November 15, ISBN 978-1454913450.

Arthur (New York Review Children's Collection) by Rhoda Levine and Everett Aison

A little bird called Arthur lives in New York City. At the end of the summer, all the birds fly off to warmer climes, but Arthur is left behind. Seeking shelter, he finds a whole new world - a city, where he can play hide-and-seek in the steam from a manhole cover and feast with the pigeons on crumbs. Soon there are more surprises - icicles, a beautifully lit evergreen tree, and snow—a whole winter wonderland! Then the trees start to get their leaves and the birds come back.... With its traditional cloth binding and black and white (with a red flag) cover illustration, this is not a book to capture children's attention, so adults need to encourage children to pick it up, and then they will enjoy the excellent storytelling and the way it introduces the cycle of the seasons in a positive and refreshing way..

Penguin's Big Adventure by Salina Yoon

I love these stories! Penguin is such an adorable character, always ready to try something new. The simple text and illustrations combine perfectly, to make stories which are memorable and engaging. Penguin has had a big idea - he wants to be the first penguin to set foot on the North Pole. Join him on his amazing adventure as he travels along and says hello to all of his old friends. When he finally reaches his destination, he feels lonely - but not for long, as he soon makes a special new friend. A lovely story about bravery and friendship - and about the joys of returning home.

Green Lizards vs Red Rectangles: A story about war and peace by Steve Antony

The green lizards and the red rectangles are at war. They fight and fight and fight - can there ever be a way to live peacefully together? Very simple text and equally simple illustrations convey the ideas powerfully - and the warring factions do indeed find a solution to war; a positive message to share. A thought-provoking and visually stunning picture book about the futility of war, Steve Antony has taken a serious and sombre subject and made it into a picture book which handles the concept of war with sensitivity and compassion. War is, sadly, all around and we cannot shelter our children from it; here is a book which will help children understand the futility of war without scaring them or introducing concepts which are beyond them.

Jampires by Sarah McIntyre

Oh no - there's a jam thief about! Imagine Sam's disappointment when he discovers that his doughnut is all wrinkled and dry, with no jam. So he sets out to catch the thief - and finds there are two of them. Two little Jampires who have strayed far from home and got hungry ate Sam's jam - but they take him on a wonderful journey to their home, where there is all the jam - and other goodies - he could possibly want. Great fun and wonderfully illustrated.

The Nonsense Show by Eric Carle

Step up! Step up! It's the greatest (nonsense) show). A duck growing out of a banana is on the cover of the book, and inside are many, many more weird, wonderful and wacky things that could never happen... or could they? Nonsense lies at the heart of many beloved nursery rhymes. Just as children readily accept strange statements such as "the cow jumped over the moon" and "the dish ran away with the spoon", so they will accept the nonsense that abounds in this book. This fanciful bending of reality is also basic to surrealism. Pictures and words combine together and both are cleverly used to amaze. Here we have a book to make children laugh and think, to wonder and puzzle - and to encourage them to let their imaginations fly beyond what is normal.

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. If you're planning a visit to London - or have just been - with a young child, they will love this!

Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin

Charlotte likes quiet, but there's noise wherever she goes, even in the library. One day, she takes her dog Otto for a walk and he leads her on a wild chase through the park. There, Charlotte discovers a quiet place where she never would have imagined. Charlotte and the Quiet Place shows how a child learns and practices mindful breathing on her own and experiences the beauty of silence. All children can relate to the unfolding adventure and message of self-discovery and empowerment. Parents, teachers, and carers of highly active or sensitive children will find this story especially useful.

Kipper's Monster by Mick Inkpen

Who can resist Kipper and his lovely band of friends? Timeless appeal; books which have delighted children for 25 years. When Tiger is given a new torch, the friends decide that the best place to try it out must be in the middle of the woods at the bottom of Big Hill. But whose are those yellow eyes and loud screech? And what is that creature with horns that they can see on the other side of the tent? Perhaps it would be safer to camp in Tiger's room... A delightful story, with a nice blend of humour and anticipation, and with a warm and reassuring ending.

The Deep Dark Wood by Algy Craig Hall

The deep, dark wood is a dangerous place - not the place to go for a stroll. 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..

Ten Flying Brooms by Ilanit Oliver

Ten flying brooms, each looking for an owner in a magical counting tale which starts off with ten empty brooms. As the . brooms search for their lost owners they find ten friendly witches. 'Ten flying brooms zoomed swiftly through the night. Their witches were gone - they were nowhere in sight!' With catchy rhymes and atmospheric and detailed illustrations, this is a great book to share.

Penguin Small by Mick Inkpen

All the penguins, fed up with being bullied by the polar bears, are off to the South Pole. All except Penguin Small, who is afraid of the water. Then Penguin Small finds a friend, a snowman, and together they float away, First they land on a wonderful island and then Penguin Small finds a new friend, a whale, who takes him all the way to the South Pole... and Penguin Small achieves something wonderful on the way. With superb illustrations and a big fold out page to enrapture children, this is a book they will return to over and over again. An enchanting story, superbly told.

Charlie and Lola: One Thing by Lauren Child

Was there ever such a determined and yet utterly delightful child as Lola? In the latest Charlie and Lola story, we see Lola taking on numbers in her own inimitable way. This is a brilliant book to introduce the non-scary nature of counting and sums to very young children; sums and numbers galore adorn the pages as what should have been a simple trip to the shops turns into a numerical odyssey. It just shows that maths and numbers are everywhere, and if we use them in our everyday lives, they will never be scary. One Thing is vintage Lauren Child: an immediate and enduring classic to delight fans new and old the world over.

Tiptoe the Magic Ballet Pony (Princess Evie's Ponies 10) by Sarah KilBride

Sometimes books just have to be categorised, and this sweetly pretty series is as girly as they come - and little girls will love it. Princess Evie's ponies aren't like any other ponies - they are magic ponies. When Princess Evie rides them, she is whisked away on a magical adventure and this time Princess Evie and Sparkles the kitten take part in a snowy ballet show. With a little help from the Sugar Plum Fairy, Evie remembers all the steps and dances beautifully. Each book in the series comes with a pop-up pony to collect.

There's a Monster in My Fridge by Caryl Hart

Peek behind the split pages - if you're brave enough - of this hilarious rhyming story to find out just who is hiding, and what they are doing. Beware - they are very scary monsters! Or are they? They are doing very ordinary things, after all... Vibrant illustrations by Deborah Allwright are the perfect foil to the rhyming text and depict the monsters in all their glory.

Norman the Slug Who Saved Christmas by Sue Hendra

Norman the Slug thinks he must have been extra-good when a huge sack of presents lands right next to his stocking. He dives in and soon there is wrapping paper everywhere - and then he spots a label and realises that none of the presents were meant for him. So our determined little snail sets off to deliver the presents, with a little help from his snail friends and some unusual wrapping methods. A lovely story to celebrate Christmas.

First Wheels: Colours by Susan Steggall

This fantastic first concept book about colours features 22 big vehicles ranging from bulldozers and trucks to tippers and diggers. 10 different colours are usd for the vehicles and there's a wheel to turn on the final spread, where the child can match vehicles to colours, for extra interactive learning and fun. Ask your child to look at the vehicles in the book, then match the colours. It's a good combination of learning colours and the ever-appealing big vehicles, with big clear pictures set against vividly coloured backgrounds. There's a bird or two to spot on each page too.

One Snowy Rescue by M. Christina Butler

It's winter and it won't stop snowing. "Oh no," Little Hedgehog cries. "I hope Mouse isn't snowed in too!" With a wriggle, he pulls himself out of his window and straight into a big snowdrift. He sets off into the woods to check on his friends - and so begins a very snowy rescue! A charming story about friendship, with cutely adorable illustrations as everyone's favourite hedgehog returns in the ninth book of the best-selling Little Hedgehog series. Little Hedgehog's bright red bobble hat is softly textured throughout the pages, and young ones will love to explore the texture and thereby add to the fun of the book.

Finding Winnie: The Story of the Real Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Lindsay Mattick

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear called Winnie, who was the inspiration behind probably the best-loved bear ever. In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a vet, was on his way to tend horses in World War 1. He followed his heart and rescued a baby bear who he named Winnie, and he took her to war. Harry Colebourn's real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey - from the fields of Canada to an army base in England. And then to London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend - a boy named Christopher Robin. It's touchingly told and gives a fascinating insight into all that Winnie experienced before finding herself in the safety of London Zoo - with a very special friend.

Who Done it? by Olivier Tallec

Who didn't get enough sleep? Who played with that mean cat? Who forgot a swimsuit? In this charming book, each page asks the reader a question about the lineup of characters featured on the spread - then it's up to you to spot the culprit from the clues in the pictures. Children will learn early concepts like expressions and positions as a natural consequence of their hunt for clues in the details of the lineup. Stylishly presented in an unusual elongated format, this is an unusual book which will intrigue all ages - it's definitely a book you simply have to pick up!

Storytime: Be Careful, Barney by Lucy Barnard

Barney thinks being daring is great fun; even when his mother and his friends tell Hon to take care, he still insists on daring escapades. One day, though, when Barney' is with his class on a school trip, he learns an important lesson. Despite being told not to go near the river, Barney tries to cross it; when he falls in, it's only the quick thinking of his friend Trevor that saves him. That makes Barney think and he soon discovers that he can have just as much fun without taking so many risks. With colourful illustrations, this is an excellent story to share with children - especially adventurous ones.

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.

Storytime: Monty the Hero by Steve Smallman

Another lovely story in QED's excellent Storytime series. Monty the mole's favourite bedtime story is about a hero, a monster and a magic wand; he wants to be a hero too so he sneaks out at night in search of adventure. Along with Herbert the hedgehog, he sets off in search of magic. When Herbert tumbles down a hole, it's Monty's chance to be a hero and help his friend. The heroes continue on their adventure and find what they think is a magic wand – a dandelion. They shake it but all the magic seems to disappear – or does it? Will Monty's wish come true? As always, the pictures are exceptional and the storytelling engaging - this is a series to be recommended. Part of the QED Storytime series, this beautifully illustrated book introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories, and includes supporting notes for parents and teachers. Storytime has recently featured on Cbeebies Bedtime Stories.

My Wild Family by Laurent Moreau

This clever and thoughtful book merits careful attention to fully appreciate its cleverness. It makes us appreciate that sometimes there's more to family than meets the eye. ...Animals of all kinds take centre stage in this unique exploration of a very unusual family. An older brother is strong and respected, just like an elephant. A mother is stately and beautiful, just like a giraffe... It's cleverly done, and superbly illustrated with so much incredible detail to intrigue and entertain. You may look at your family and friends in a totally different way after reading this.

Tickle Monster by Edouard Manceau

Stunningly illustrated, with bright colours against a black background, and in an unusual tall format, this is a really eye-catching book. It's aim is to show children that monsters are only half as scary when they are broken down into separate parts; as the reader is prompted to tickle various parts of the monster, so he finds the monster is scary no more. Cleverly reconstructed, the parts become everyday objects until finally, the monster's shapes build a home! Cleverly done and strikingly presented.

Frankie Liked to Sing by John Seven Frankie

This pictorial celebration of the life of Frank Sinatra takes an affectionate look at one of the greatest entertainers of the 20th century. His iconic voice changed popular music forever and influenced generations of listeners all over the world. From his early days in Hoboken, New Jersey, to making it big in New York City, Sinatra was determined to follow his dream of being a singer and moving people with his voice. The illustrations are stylish and convey all sorts of feelings and emotions, as well as being full of information to complement the text. Mot enjoyable.

The Big, Big Bing Book!

Don't be misled by this book - it's not a big book in the sense that it is an over-sized version of a picture book, designed for sharing with a class. This fascinating board book is indeed designed for sharing, but for sharing by a small group of children who will be totally absorbed by the detail. As they pore over the pages of this book, they will inevitably share what they are seeing with each other - it's a great way to encourage conversation and interaction. Young Bing fans will revel in each page of this enormous board book which introduces them to a new theme and a different aspect of Bing’s world, from his home and friends to concepts such as numbers, colours, opposites and the seasons. It's packed with detail, with plenty to spot and talk about. Children will enjoy learning first words, identifying simple labels and laughing at the jokes. A fabulous book for home or school use.

Not Without My Whale by Billy Coughlan

Arnold won't go to school... then we learn that he won't go without his whale. Luckily, resourceful Dora is on hand to help out -all through the day, as the whale does accompany Arnold, and gets into lots of silly situations . But then he comes into his own - and there's a hilarious conclusion children will love! It's a fun look at school life and perfect for any child who is reluctant to go to school. Great fun to read and likely to become a family favourite.

Aerodynamics of Biscuits by Clare Helen Welsh

Where have all Oliver's biscuits gone? Captain Sneaky McSqueaky and his crew of pirate mice are trying to fly to the moon to steal moon cheese, but to get there they need some help from Oliver and his biscuits. It seems their first attempt at a rocket isn't quite right but Oliver soon builds a better one and they are all off to the moon to collect cheese. But then - disaster! Sneaky McSqueaky has eaten the rocket! So Oliver's skills are needed again, this time to build a rocket out of all sorts of cheese. Wonderfully vibrant illustrations by Sophia Touiatou are packed with intriguing detail. An excellent debut picture book.

The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep: A New Way of Getting Children to Sleep by Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin

Have you go a child who is reluctant to go to sleep? Then this book may just be the answer for you. At £3.99, it's got to be worth a try - I have seen mixed responses and haven't had the chance to try it for myself, but I reckon it could be one of the best investments you make. Join parents all over the world who have embraced The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep as their new nightly routine. When Roger can't fall asleep, Mummy Rabbit takes him to see Uncle Yawn, who knows just what to do. Children will join Roger on his journey and be lulled to sleep alongside their new friend. Carl-Johan Forssén Ehrlin's simple story uses a unique and distinct language pattern that will help your child relax and fall asleep, at bedtime or at naptime. The book comes with detailed instructions which you must follow for the best results.

Ruck in the Muck by Ceri Wyn Jones

Young rugby fans - and their parents - will enjoy this rugby picture book that will appeal to young rugby fans who dream of representing their country. Two imaginative young brothers play rugby in the field behind their home - the field becomes the Millennium Stadium, the sheep are their supporters, the blackbird's song is their cue to kick off and a molehill provides the kicking tee for that all-important conversion. Brother Samson is England and the young boy is Wales and together they play out their matches with all the intensity of the real thing - until it's time for tea. A lovely celebration of the joy of the game and of the relationship between the two brothers. The unusual and fast-moving pictures are the perfect accompaniment.

What A Naughty Bird by Sean Taylor and Dan Widdowson

The naughty bird can splash the middle of a puddle! and hit the last leaf on a tree! But it's when he) deliberately) hits other animals that the trouble begins - splatting on a bear is one step too far - and the naughty bird can't fly out of danger because bears can climb trees... This hilarious rhyming story is perfect for young children's sense of h!umour - it will have them in giggles throughout, especially when the bear turns the tables on the naughty bird.

Shine by Trace Balla

This sensitive and moving picture book is one to share with young children, not one for them to read alone. It can be used a catalyst for discussing big questions; questions about loss and the enduring power of love. A beautifully told story about love and loss which will be ideal to share when sad events occur in a child's life.

The Snowman and the Sun by Susan Taghdis

What happens to a snowman when the sun comes out? He melts, of course. And then he turns into water, evaporates, returns to the sky and falls again as rain or, as in this case, snow. The publisher describes the book as a modern-day fable about how our attachments to people and things live on, though they change and sometimes disappear. I would use it with young children as an excellent way to introduce the water cycle - it just shows how different people can appreciate books in different ways. Whichever it is, this is a charming story, delightfully illustrated.

The Jar of Happiness (Child's Play Library) by Ailsa Burrows

This warm and positive book is the tale of a little girl who creates her very own jar of happiness, by putting all the key ingredients into a jar. Then she uses it to cheer up her friends and family when they’re feeling down. But she ever feel happy again? All her friends rally around and cheer her up and it just goes to show how important friends are, and how we should always cheer them up whenever we can. The pictures convey the emotions of the story to perfection - they are simple but expressive.

Animal Alphabet by Kay Vincent

Appealing and colourful animal pictures combine with amusing alliterative words to make an unusual and charming alphabet book. Each letter of the alphabet is represented by an animal beginning with the same letter and a descriptive word also beginning with the same letter; the stylish illustrations, which have a distinctive vintage look, reflect the words - so we have a kicking kangaroo playing with a football, for example. It's a good way to introduce describing words, and upper and lower case letters are also here to be learnt. Beautifully produced, on heavy cream paper and with a dust-jacket that includes all the letters on the back - perfect for a bedroom wall. Published by Button Books, October 2015, ISBN 9781908985651.

As Quiet as a Mouse by Karen Owen

It's hard to be quiet when you are an elephant! Edgar keeps waking up his new baby sister but however hard he tries, he can’t help being noisy. Luckily, his friend Ruby has an idea - she takes him to Mouse School. Edgar works really hard and soon he's officially the first elephant to be as quiet as a mouse... until he spots the party food! A lovely story about friendship, and about trying hard and succeeding - well, almost! Simple text and vibrant illustrations make for a very enjoyable read.

Busy Wheels: Bag Collection - 8 Book Bag Set by Peter Bently and Mandy Archer

This is a lovely gift collection for any young vehicle enthusiast. The eight books in the Busy Wheels series come packed in their very own yellow fabric bag with a picture of each of the vehicles on the outside. The books offer a colourful vehicle adventure, sounds to mimic and an exciting job to get done. Each book also includes a detailed spread on different parts of the vehicle, and these will help children to understand what makes up the machines and will help familiarise them with vehicle vocabulary and noises. The books are reviewed below.

Tractor Saves the Day (Busy Wheels) by Mandy Archer

The Busy Wheels series is perfect for pre-schoolers and will have an especial appeal to boys, which is great as so many picture books seem to be for girls. The central character of each is a vehicle - here it is Tractor who has his part to play when, having finished ploughing, a tree needs to be moved. There are lots of animals in the stories too.Children will enjoy the picture of a tractor and enjoy naming the parts, as well as seeing other farm vehicles. The illustrations are bright and bold - ideal for this age group - and children will enjoy making the noises too. There's lots to talk about and share. Look out for Racing Car is Roaring (Busy Wheels), Fire Engine is Flashing (Busy Wheels), Ambulance in Action!: 1 (Busy Wheels)and Digger to the Rescue (Busy Wheels) as well. 

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

Busy Wheels is a series of 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. The other books in this series by the same author are Police Car on Patrol: 4 (Busy Wheels) and Ambulance in Action!: 1 (Busy Wheels)

Rosie's Special Present by Myfanwy Millward

Rosie is expecting a very special present - but her special present worries about being a present, and worries about being special enough. While Rosie and her friends enjoy the birthday tea, the present ponders, worries and explores the house, eager to dress himself up so that he is as special as possible. The consequences are disastrous! Luckily, though, there is a happy ending in this amusing book which is presented from an unusual viewpoint. The lively illustrations are by the author's sister, Gwen.

Stay! by Alex Latimer

This is wonderful! Grampa is to look after Ben's dog Buster while Ben is on holiday. But Ben is worried that Grampa won't be able to cope - after all, Buster is possibly the worst behaved dog in the world. So Ben writes a series of notes, both before he goes and while he is away. The book is a lovely combination of picture book and the hand-written and handdrawn notes and postcards Ben sends. After a disastrous visit to the Post Office, Grampa decides it's time Buster had a little training... Children will love this - there's plenty to engage even older readers and there is lots of humour (and the odd word guaranteed to elicit a giggle!).

Following the Tractor by Susan Steggall

The busy red tractor will charm children as it chugs through the pages helping the farmer out with all sorts of jobs. The book follows the seasons (and the illustrations capture the changes), so it's perfect for the Early Years classroom and I think there could be some great display ideas there! The bright simplistic illustrations make use of all sorts of textures and techniques and are full of fascinating detail to spot. An excellent book which offers many stimulating opportunities for learning and discussion about life on the farm.

Stinky Jack and the Beanstalk: A Story about Keeping Clean (Fairytales Gone Wrong) by Steve Smallman

Here are two more in QED's lovely series which takes well-known fairytales and adds a new moral to the story. Jack refuses to wash and is smelly and dirty. When a beanstalk grows in his garden, Jack climbs up to spy on the giant at the top, but each time he visits the giant can smell him coming. When the giant finally catches him, Jack realises the importance of being clean. The happy ending finds Jack and his mother eating supper with the giant - and offering him some beans! These books are a great way to communicate information in a light-hearted but effective way.

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Get Some Rest, Sleeping Beauty! by Steve Smallman

How about this for a perfect bedtime story? Aurora never wants to go to sleep, staying up as late as she can playing. This makes Aurora super grumpy. When a spell sends her to sleep for 100 years, everything changes. When she finally awakes, she's no longer the stroppy, sleepy princess she used to be. It's a lovely story and many parents will recognise the grumpy child who doesn't get enough sleep! The bright illustrations are full of lively detail and offer lots of opportunity to expand on the story.

Elliot's Arctic Surprise by Catherine Barr

When Elliott is enjoying the beach on a summer day, he finds a message in a bottle. It's from Santa, whose home in the Arctic is under threat from the oil drillers. Elliott gets a lift from a kind old sailor and on the way to the Arctic, they find children from around the world. Together, the children confront the oil men, who agree they shouldn't be there. There's a big surprise for all the children - and for all the young readers. This enjoyable story with its charming illustrations carries a strong environmental message, developed in conversation with Greenpeace UK. It's an excellent way to convey the message and to stimulate discussion for instance, about why the icebergs are on the move.

Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain Collector's Edition by Edward Ardizzone

80 wonderful years are being celebrated by the release of this very special edition. The classic tale is brought to readers old and new in a large-format (the original size) cloth-bound edition. It features the hand-lettered type of the first edition which is most attractive and very easy to read. A young boy wants to be a sailor, but his parents say he is much too young. So, undaunted, Tim grabs the chance to stow away on a steamer, but little does he expect the hard work, stormy seas and eventual danger. The fabulous illustrations capture the excitement and fear, as well as the sea itself in all its moods, to perfection.

Storytime: The Extremely Greedy Dragon by Jessica Barrah

There's a problem in the village of Little Chiddling - a sleeping dragon is lying on the railway line. The Mayor offers a reward to anyone who can wake it up - and it's little Georgie who comes up with the answer. The dragon is hungry, so they set off on a trek around the village in search of foo - and soon, the dragon proves to be very useful so the villagers invite it to stay! It's a fun and lively story with plenty of little touches of humour. At the end of the book, there are useful suggestions for adults to use when sharing the book with children.

Storytime: Little Hedgehog's Big Day by Heidi Howarth

Is your little one due to start big school soon? Then this story will be perfect for them. Hedgehog will soon start big school, and he's worried about not being big enough... He asks Rabbit, Squirrel, Badger and finally his mum, but?his best piece of advice comes from a tiny ant. It's a sweetly reassuring story, with gorgeous illustrations - tucking into a delicious meal of worms is just one! Part of the QED Storytime series, this beautifully illustrated book introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories, and includes supporting notes for parents and teachers. Storytime has recently featured on CBeebies Bedtime Stories.

The Queen's Handbag by Steve Antony

A sneaky swan has snaffled the Queen's handbag, so she sets off in hot pursuit. She travels the length and breadth of her realm in all manner of vehicles until she finally catches up with that pesky swan... The book celebrates British landmarks - Stonehenge, Giant's Causeway, Edinburgh Castle and more iconic places are all visited on the Queen's journey. Superbly illustrated, with a muted palette that suits the story perfectly and shows the landmarks off very well. Even the endpapers are full of humour, with lots and lots of different police officers (and the Queen is in there somewhere too!) - do look at them!

Love Monster and the Scary Something by Rachel Bright

Love Monster just has to be the cutest monster ever! It’s way past bedtime o’clock in Cutesville and Love Monster can't sleep. As he lies awake, the sounds of the night seem to get more and more scary... will he be brave enough to face his fears? Our brave monster turns on his torch, only to find that a little fluffy rabbit was also unable to sleep. It just goes to show that, if we are brave enough to face up to our fears, often it turns out that there was nothing to fear. It's well-told and extremely reassuring; quite superb for reading out loud, and children will love to join in with the sounds. A lovely book.

What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry

Busytown must be the busiest town ever! Everywhere you go in the author's wonderful Busytown, there are people scurrying here, there and everywhere. From train drivers to doctors, from mothers to sailors, in police stations and on fire engines, everyone is busy. Follow lots of busy people working through their busy days, including Captain Salty and his crew getting ready to go on a voyage; Doctor Lion busy at the hospital; Sergeant Murphy working hard to keep things safe and peaceful; and engineers building new roads. Many of the characters will be familiar to children and they will love to meet them again, and to meet new ones too. Pictures galore and plenty of text to stimulate discussion make for many happy hours reading. If you are looking for books to stimulate discussion, then Richard Scarry's books are perfect for you. Every page - and this book is no exception - is packed with detail which will entertain and absorb children.

Hello World! by Paul Beavis

Monster is bored, but Mr. and Mrs. Mo are too busy to play - they promise to do something exciting tomorrow but Monster can't wait. So he decides to go off on an adventure... He packs everything he will need and sets off. On and on he goes, but as he goes he keeps dropping things... but look carefully and you will spot Mrs Mo, not too far behind. It's a sweet story, about being adventurous and taking risks, but with a reassurance that help is close at hand. It's not an invitation to children to set out on their own!

Poppet Gets Two Big Brothers by Paullina Simons

This lovely story is a celebration of family life and of having siblings to play with; it's also a story of how a baby's world gradually starts to grow as she gets older. When Poppet was a baby she thought she was the centre of her Mummy and Daddy’s world. They looked at nothing else but her, they swung no one else but her, and they clapped at her every step. But suddenly one day, Poppet finds Mummy giving attention to two CREATURES – her big brothers! At first Poppet doesn’t want to share Mummy with them, but then she finds the joy of playing together. Perfect for siblings to share, this is a refreshing change from the multitude of books that look at the way a baby affects older siblings' lives and looks at things the other way around. The delightful illustrations are full of joy - and just a little mischief.

Aliens Love Dinopants (Underpants) by Claire Freedman

Did you know there was a stash of underpants in the jungle? The aliens' pants-tracked them down - and there were lots and lots, in all colours you could imagine, and all of them HUGE. But when the prehistoric owners of the outsized stash turn up, the aliens' plans are changed... A fabulous new book in the bestselling Underpants series which brings together aliens and dinosaurs into one interstellar, pantstastic adventure which children will absolutely love. Rip-roaring text and vibrant pictures combine to make a super book.

Achoo! by Virginie Morgand

It's springtime and all the animals in the forest are sneezing - with surprising consequences! After sniffing a flower blue bear sneezes, and his round blue ears fly to the next page, where fox mistakes them for blueberries... and so it goes on, with the animals all finding something new - and with something new for young readers to spot each time they turn the page. By the end of the book, each animal looks quite different until ... achoo! Full with humour, this is a lovely way to introduce shape and colour, through simple but colourful pictures.

I Want Spaghetti! by Stephanie Blake

The author of Poo Bum brings us another simple but charming tale. Every parent who has had a fussy toddler will emphasise with this book... Once there was a little rabbit who only wanted to eat one thing... SPAGHETTI! Whatever his parents offer, he refuses. But when he's sent to his room and hears his father enjoying chocolate cake, things change... The brightly coloured pages and simple but expressive illustrations (Dick Bruna comes to mind) make an appealing book.

Robin's Winter Song by Suzanne Barton

Things are changing and the forest was abuzz with activity. As the red and orange leaves swirled in the wind, young Robin started to worry. because things were changing. When he asked, his friends told him winter was coming. Finch was flying south, because Winter was coming. Squirrel was burying food, because Winter was coming. Even Owl was making his nest warm, because Winter was coming. Robin didn't like the sound of Winter at all - until he sees the magical change it brings. And after that, it's time to look forward - to spring. It's a lovely way to introduce children to the changing seasons, and to explore how animals cope with it; it's beautifully illustrated, too. The book comes with a lovely limited edition print in the back - perfect for a child's room.

Jill and Dragon by Lesley Barnes

'...and they all lived happily ever after...' Or did they? When she comes to the end of the story, Jill notices that Dragon is unhappy, because the King thinks all he can do is singe, burn and barbecue. So Jill invites Dragon out of the book so she can teach him some alternative life skills; Dragon tries hard, but things just keep going wrong. Finally, though, they find Dragon has a special talent... A lovely debut book, with a feisty heroine and a message about having hidden talents, and how supportive friends can help us find those.

Pom Pom the Champion by Sophy Henn

Here we have another lovable panda, brought to life by the delightful text and captivating pictures of Sophy Henn. When Pom Pom Panda is bored and doesn't know what to do with himself, his mum suggests a game. Just like nearly all little children, Pom discovers that he only really likes playing games if he wins. He sets out to be best at all his everyday activities but when he gets to the playground, he doesn't win all the time. This is a gentle and amusing look at how it's not always about being the best, and it will strike a chord with parents and young children alike. Charmingly told, with lively stand-out illustrations.

 

 

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