Book reviews - fiction age 2 to 5 (page 20)

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.

 

Happy Hatchday (Dinosaur Juniors, Book 1) by Rob Biddulph

Welcome the Dinosaur Juniors to the world, from the moment of hatching. Meet Otto, Winnie, Hector and Sue and their siblings as they enjoy the first experiences of their young lives. And Greg, who is born much later than the others, so has lots of catching up to do! Told in simple rhyme, which is perfect to read aloud, there is wit and humour, pitched at just the right level for young children. The pictures are set against bright backgrounds and offer plenty of detail to explore, enjoy and discuss.

Give Peas a Chance (Dinosaur Juniors, Book 2) by Rob Biddulph

Following on from the book above, it's great to see the start of a sereis from the talented Rob Biddulph, who knows just how to appeal to his young audience, in both text and pictures. The Dinosaur Juniors experience just the same events in life as any youngster, so children will readily identify with the stories and the characters. Nancy hates peas, so she comes up with a cunning plan to get rid of them... but her plan doesn't quite work out as she'd hoped! Vibrabt illustrations complement the story perfectly. I hope there is planned to be a story each about the whole family.

The Night Dragon by Naomi Howarth

The stunning cover illustration immediately gives a flavour for this beautiful book. The use of colour is superb and really eye-catching, enticing you to dip in. And the story lives up to the promise. Ostracised by the other dragons, Maud is sad and lonely, hiding in her cave. But one day, things go wrong in the dragons' world and maud must pluck up the courage to put things right - with the aid of her friend, Mouse. A beautiful story about trust, friendship, individuality and bravery.

Dogs in Space: The Amazing True Story of Belka and Strelka by Vix Southgate

In 1960, two stray dogs, Belka and Strelka went from the streets of Moscow to become space pioneers. The account of their training is fascinating as is their return to earth. What brave little dogs! On their return, they were taken on a celebratory tour of the USSR and became international celebrities. Their lasting legacy was the confidence to send man into space - what a wonderful result. I love the way the story is told, with the two character-full dogs at is very heart - and superbly depicted by Iris Deppe in evocative pictures Based on fact, of course, but I chose to include this here as it will appeal to young readers of picture books.

You're Called What?! by Kes Gray

The Ministry of Silly Animal Names is always busy, and no wonder the creatures want to change their names, when they have silly names such as Shovelnose Guitarfish, Bone-eating Snot Flower Worm and Blue-footed Booby! Even the other animals with silly names have to laugh. A hilarious story - and guess what? All the names are real, as the 'Facts and Snaps' at the end of the book show - children will be delighted with this revelation and will enjoy comparing the photos with the illustrations. New talent Nikki Dyson is the illustrator and she has encapsulated the silliness to perfection in her charming depictions of the creatures.

Millie's Missing Yawn by You Jung Byun

When Millie can't sleep, she knows it's because she has lost her yawn... so she sets out to look everywhere for it. First of all she looks close to home and then she sets off on a journey around the world which includes the Statue of Liberty and the Mona Lisa - and even the moon. It seems everyone else has a yawn but they can't help Millie find hers. Finally, she sets off back home and as she reflects on her adventures, her yawn returns. Recommended by sleep experts, the book promises it is an adventure 100% guaranteed to make you sleepy - a big claim and I will have to leave it up to you to find out if it works. Whatever, it's highly entertaining.

Magical Pets - A Practical Guide by Anya Glazer

Imagine - you can choose any pet you'd like. Some will be harder work than others - a fire-breathing dragon, a beautiful unicorn, and even a frog will all need lots of care and discipline, all depicted in lovely illustrations that show just how hard it can be to care for these creatures - so choose wisely and you may just be surprised. A lively and unusual story.

Hole in the Zoo by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

Children are always enticed by peep-through holes in books - it's a great device to capture the attention, and they won't be able to resist. I'd hoped though, that the peep-throughs would be a feature of the story too. Throughout the week at Number Two, home to Ellie and Boo, a fascinating array of zoo animals turn up in this entertaining story with gorgeously depicted animals to enjoy.

Oi Cat! by Kes Gray

Building on the success of the preceding books, Kes Gray has once again teamed up with illustrator Jim Field to bring us a story which will be read over and over again. Now the rules have been changed (you must read the previous books!), just where is Cat to sit? This brilliant rhyming read-aloud text, jam-packed with animals and silliness - perfect for children and parents alike. This joyful rhyming story will have children in fits of giggles, and adults enjoying the cleverness of the text.

Can You See a Little Bear? by James Mayhew

Where is Little Bear? Children must seek him out in amongst the intricate illustrations by Jackie Morris. The settings for the pictures are a fantastical and exciting mix of theatrical and circus settings along with a whole range of animals. The illustrations are gloriously rich and full of magic and fantasy to stimulate the imagination and give lots of talking points. Cleverly, the book features the concepts of opposites, colours and contrasts to give children plenty to discover and enjoy. The simple verse form is very effective and encourages reading. There are clues for children to follow, to enhance their observational skills. Jackie Morris has created activities to support the book, which can be found here bit.ly/2FRejVu.

 

Please Mr Magic Fish by Jessica Souhami

 

Based on a well-known European folk-tale, this is a moral story about greed - and how to make amends. When Jack catches a Magic Fish, the fish promises to grant wishes for Jack and his wife. Their requests start off relatively reasonable, but the greedy couple ask for more and more - and they forget to say thank you and the Magic Fish is angry! It all goes wrong for Jack and Liz... or does it? An engaging retelling of the traditional take of The Fisherman and his Wife and perfect for KS1 focus on traditional tales. The lovely illustrations are a joy to see.

Mr. Men The Big Match (Mr. Men & Little Miss Celebrations) by Adam Hargreaves

Roger Hargreaves' son has seamlessly picked up writing the Mr Men books and the new additions are thoroughly enjoyable and contemporary. Mr Men and Little Miss Celebrations introduce children to all the exciting occasions that people celebrate. The Mr Men, with help from the Little Misses, have decided to stage their own World Cup, Poor Mr Small is desperate to join in but is he just too small? And is Mr Noisy going to be the loudest referee ever? With plenty of old favourites to meet again and big bold illustrations ideal for little ones, this is a super book.

Thomas the Tank Engine: A Day at the Football

Introduce little ones to the much-loved engine and his friends with this colourful bright book. Ever-competitive, Thomas and James are having a competition during the biggest football match of the year. Can the two engines get the supporters to the match on time? There's an unexpected twist to amuse children at the end. Little ones will love meeting classic characters, before they move on to the classic books, and they will enjoy the fun that is always found on The Fat Controller’s railway. I like the inclusion of a map, so children can track the course of the story.

Great Dog by Davide Cali

Greatness runs in the little pup's family, and he loves to hear his Dad's stories about everyone. There's a policeman, a fire dog, a marathon runner, an astronaut and many more, all depicted in lively illustrations by Miguel Tango on gate-fold pages. No matter what, says his father, he will be a GREAT dog! Muted use of colour is effective and there are lots of subtle touches of humour to get young readers giggling. Very entertaining.

Albie Newton by Josh Funk

Catchy rhyming text tells the story of Albie Newton: child genius. He is soon experimenting at school... but, as is the way with geniuses, he doesn't notice the havoc he leaves behind. It all makes him very unpopular... but all is forgiven when the other children see Albie's wonderful invention and get to share in it. A lively story about creativity, being different and acceptance, with colourful and expressive illustrations by Ester Garay - enjoy the detail in these. Published by Sterling, ISBN 978-1454922582, June 2018.

Help Find Frank by Anne Bollman

This is a super story that draws readers in by involving them in following the clues to find out where Frank has gone. Clues are given in the text and there's plenty for children to think about, as well as things to spot. The detailed illustrations are complemented by a very useful maps which are a superb way of helping children learn how to use maps - this is a brilliant idea. This highly interactive book with its clever storyline is a real gem with so much to capture children's attention and make them think. I love it! Published by Sterling, ISBN 978-1454926788, June 2018.

Octopants by Suzy Senior

Imagine the problem in finding a pair of pants if you have eight legs! This is the problem Octopus faces in this highly entertaining story, told in catchy rhyme that makes it great to read aloud. There are all-in-ones for urchins and slipper-socks for eels... but nothing for poor Octopus. Perhaps he's been looking for the wrong thing though... Claire Powell's vibrant and brightly coloured illustrations are the perfect match for the entertaining text, with lots to explore and enjoy.

Blue Monster Wants It All by Jeanne Willis

What really matters in life? Blue Monster finds out as he gets all he wants, right from birth... and not just little things either. Even when he finds himself on a paradise island, he is STILL not happy. Can anything please Blue Monster? There are some things that money can’t buy and once Blue Monster realises that, he is finally happy. In our instant gratification materialistic society, it's great to read a book which introduces young ones to the perils of materialism and helps them realise the importance of family. Beautifully illustrated by Jenni Desmond.

Audrey the Amazing Inventor by Rachel Valentine

STEM subjects are really high profile at the moment, and this picture book is the perfect way to introduce the concept to young children, showing them what fun the subjects can be. Audrey wants to be an inventor, but she meets with a few problems on the way... and poor Happy Cat is definitely not happy. Luckily, Daddy is on hand with encouragement to keep on trying and soon the most amazing invention is complete, and (almost) perfect. Katie Weymouth's quirky illustrations are delightful, echoing the feel of the story. Audrey is a great role model - a girl scientist who perseveres even when things go against her.

Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival

This thoughtful and perceptive story egts right to the heart of the way children feel as anxieties grow. Ruby has always been a happy little girl, until one day, she finds a worry. The worry grows and grows - but nobody else can see it. We never find out what the worry is but that's the clever part of the story. It's only when Ruby learns to talk about her worry that it goes away, and that's the important lesson children will learn from this book. If your child has a worry - and all children do have worries - this is the ideal book to encourage them to talk about it.

Swan Lake illustrated by Anne Spudvilas

This retelling of the classic ballet story introduces each act with a simple summary then relies on the atmospheric illustrations to tell the story. Dark and brooding, this is a book for older children. The monochrome illustrations are set in the dramatic riverscape of the Murray-Darling rivers in Australia.

The Secret Sky Garden by Linda Sarah

Funni loves to play in the disused car park, and spends a lot of time there flying her kite and playing her recorder. But Funni wants something else and decides to create a garden and gradually the garden in the sky blossoms. One day, a little boy, Zoo, spots the square of colour amongst the grey from an incoming flight, and decides to try to find it. Fiona Lumbers' illustrations cleverly contract urban bleakness with the beauty of flowers. This is an enchanting story with a strong emphasis on friendship, and testament to the power of plants but I have reservations about wholeheartedly recommending it, as I am concerned about the fact it suggests a car park, complete with old cars, as a suitable place to play.

Supertato Veggies in the Valley of Doom by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Children always respond well to vibrant colours and comical characters and the Supertato series has these in abundance. When a game of hide-and-seek in the supermarket turns into an epic treasure hunt, the veggies must face fearsome foes, the impassable Cactus Canyon and the dangerous Valley of Doom, which certainly lives up to its name! Will our heroes make it to treasure aisle? Young readers will love the unexpected twist at the end which adds a refreshing touch to the story.

I Just Ate My Friend by Heidi McKinnon

A title guaranteed to catch the attention! He was a good friend. But now he is gone. So it is time to search for a new friend... but nobody wants to know. This entertaining story about the search for friendship and belonging also demonstrates the dangers of being over-impulsive.

Sandcastle by Philip Bunting

This is a gentle and perceptive story, simply worded, which will leave the reader with an important fact over which to ponder. One day, Rae starts to build a sandcastle and Grandad offers to help; together they create a truly magnificent sandcastle... but will it stand against the tide? The subtly coloured delicate illustrations perfectly evoke the feeling of an unfolding day on the beach. A thoughtful story about working together, re-creation and the cycle of life.

You Can't Let an Elephant Drive a Digger by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Silly? Yes, most definitely - and highly entertaining with it. Just imagine - an elephant driving a digger... a polar bear cutting your hair... or sharing a bunk with a skunk. So how can the animals help? Perhaps they can't but it's always fun to play. David Tazzyman's illustrations perfectly echo the silliness and they are full of touches of humour to delight children - and adults. This rhyming story is just the way to stimulate children to use their imaginations and to think 'outside the box'. I loved You Can't Take an Elephant on the Bus and this is just as good - don't miss it!

Picking Pickle by Polly Faber

Join Pickle as he takes you on a tour of the dogs' home. Pickle has been there the longest and knows everyone, so who better to help you choose your new pet? There's handsome Geralod, hungry Harvey, clever Dumpling and many more Surely one will suit? The ending is just wonderful, with the most gloriously expressive illustrations to show the sheer unadulterated joy of the chosen dog. Clara Vulliamy's illustrations are perfection - each dog has its own unique character depicted superbly. A lovely feel-good heart-warming story.

Me and My Dad by Robin Shaw

A feast for the imagination and a book to inspire thoughts of your own on a walk. Who would believe that a walk down the road with Dad could be so exciting? The little girl and her Dad meet snapping crocodiles, stomping dinosaurs, sleeping princesses and golden treasure... but the best bit is still to come. There is so much to enjoy in the detailed ilustrations too. This will also make a good book for the start of independent reading. A superbly imaginative book, and a lovely story about the closeness of the little girl and her father.

 

The Society of Distinguished Lemmings by Julie Colombet

The elite Society of Distinguished Lemmings enjoy the best things in life; their aim is to be distinguished in everything they do. Membership is limited to lemmings only, so when Bertie meets a bear, they are challenged to transform this wild animal into a member of their society. But the bear doesn't want to do the things lemmings do and he is very sad when he cannot join their society. But then it all changes... there are different ways to be distinguished. The illustrations are packed with intriguing detail and the lemmings and bear have so much character. A great story about working together.

Prince George Goes to School by Caryl Hart

Even princes have to go to school and even princes can find the prospect scary. It's Prince George's first day at school and he soon finds out that things are rather different to what he is accustomed to. Luckily, Beatrice is on hand to help Prince George fit in and, importantly, learn to share. A reassuring story to share with your child to reassure them about this important step in their young life. Laura Ellen Anderson's lively illustrations follow George on his exciting journey, and offer lots of opportunities for you to talk about school with your child.

I Really Want That Unicorn by Fabi Santiago

Chloe Crocodile is desperate to win the; it's the only way she can get the Big Sparkly Mellow Yellow Unicorn. To win, she must make the best rainbow unicorn cake, the best magic castle, the best fairy unicorn outfit AND give the perfect performance on her unicycle - it's a tall order but Chloe is confident. But then Veronica arrived on the scene... An entertaining and stylish book with a strong message that friendship is more important than anything - even unicorns!

Joy by Corrinne Averiss

Grandchildren bring such joy to their grandparents - and vice versa - and tht's what this uplifting and positive book is all about. When Fern’s Nanna seems to have lost the joy from her life, Fern decides to get it back. She goes to the park and finds joy everywhere... but she just cannot capture it. So she returns to Nanna sadly, and recounts her day - and what joy that brings! Beautifully illustrated by Isabelle Follath, this absorbing picture book has a strong message about empathy and keeping loving relationships with our grandparents. The book is sheer joy and perfect for grandchildren and grandparents to share.

Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers

Finn's grandfather was a wonderful storyteller and Finn remembers when his grandfather told him about the place where the ocean meets the sky; where whales and jellyfish soar and birds and castles float. On what would have been his grandfather's ninetieth birthday, Finn knows how to mark the memories - he will build his own ship and sail out to find this magical place himself. And when he arrives, maybe,just maybe, he'll find something he didn't know he was looking for. Lyrical text accompanies the mesmrerising illustrations which are absolutely vital to the atmospheric feel of the book. In full colour across every page, they are packed with detail and delicate touches such as the cloud shapes. Beautifully done - a book which will have different meanings according to your age, as you appreciate its beauty in different ways.

Loved to Bits by Teresa Heapy

A teddy bear is probably the most iconic of childhood toys and many of us cherish our teddy, however old and battered he may be, so this book is bound to strike a chord. The little boy's much-loved bear is his companion on many childhood adventures and shows the signs. He now has no arms and no legs, but Stripy Ted still stays in the little boy's bed and is much cherished. Katie Cleminson's illustrations show the special relationship so well and add to the reality of the story. A lovely comforting and reassuring story, ideal for bedtime and snuggling up times.

baby's First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley

Baby Frank is desperate for a pet, but his parents say he is too young and pets too expensive. What is Frank to do? Why, rob a bank of course! Finally, FRank has his pet... but he just doesn't know ehere to stop and that's his downfall. Once his parents find out what he's done, it's time to make amends... and Frank's father has a brilliant idea. Enjoy Stephen Collins' lively illustrations and encourage your child to spot and name all the animals in the pictures. A refreshingly different picture book star, Baby Frank could go on to great things.

If All the World Were... by Joseph Coelho

A moving, lyrical picture book about a young girl's love for her granddad and how she copes when he dies, written by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho. This beautifully illustrated, powerful and ultimately uplifting text is the ideal way to introduce children to the concept of death and dying, particularly children who have lost a grandparent.

Am I Yours? by Alex Latimer

An egg has fallen far from its nest and its occupant is trying to find out where he belongs. He meets many dinosaurs, who all have their own special features, but it seems he doesn't belong to any of them. Can he find his parents before dark? The sun comes to his aid in an unlikely way as it sets and soon the egg is back where it belongs. Perfect for young dinosaur fans, with colourful friendly dinos to meet.

Don't Feed the Bear by Kathleen Doherty

Who will win the battle? Bear loves to be fed by the campers but the park ranger does not want Bear fed. So he puts up a sign: 'Don't Feed the Bear'. So Bear puts up his own sign... Soon the two are engaged in a hilarious battle of words but it seems both are missing out, so a different solution is needed. Delightful cartoon-style illustrations by Chip Wass help tell the story which children will find highly amusing. Published by Sterling, May 2018, ISBN 9781454919797.

The Girls by Lauren Ace

Friendships are powerful things, and those forged in childhood can be the best of all, as this touching book well shows. Four little girls, all very different, meet under an apple tree and form a lasting friendship. As they grow up, they are always there for each other, through success and failure, using their strengths to help each other. The illustrations by Jenny Lovlie manage cleverly to keep showing the separate identities as the girls grow up, and they are beautifully detailed and absorbing. A superbly meaningful story about friendship and its importance we should all pay heed and look after our friends.

Rosa Draws by Jordan Wray

This is the perfect way to encourage imaginative children to draw - and to keep on drawing. Rosa is super-imaginative and she really loves to draw. As she draws, the drawings become more and more fantastical (as does the language used in the story!), we wonder where it will all end up. There's quite a surprise at the end! The illustrations are definitely a stimulus to the imagination, and the perfect complement to the story, with their fascinating detail and creativity. An inspiring book for all budding artists... but maybe there's an idea they shouldn't copy!

This Zoo is Not For You by Ross Collins

A little brown platypus has comne along to the zoo on interview day... but does he really want to join the zoo? As he meets each of the animals, they all reject him because he is not like them... but have they been too harsh? In a lovely reversal of the story, they soon find out why he really came, and soon they are all enjoying a wonderful time.

Ready to Ride by Sebastien Pelon

Many of us have shared in the joy of our child's first bike ride without stabilisers - what a sense of achievement! This lovely storyw ill be a reminder to those ho have made that progress and an incentive to those who haven't. A bored little boy goes out to play in the street and meets an imaginary friend who can do all sorts of tricks - so he decides he doesn't need his 'little wheels' any more. I love the contrasting styles of the book, ith full page illustrations followed by small cartoon-style images which add a lovely refreshing variety. A heart-warming story of building confidence, friendship, support and success.

Petra by Marianna Coppo

Petra is a little rock with big ideas - she believes she is really a mountain. But when a dog picks her up and takes Petra to her owner, the owner thinks she is a pebble. 'No way' says Petra - she is now an egg! An egg of the world in a world of possibility. Until she's flung into a pond, and becomes an amazing island . . . and, eventually, a little girl's pet rock. What will she be tomorrow? Who knows? Sparing use of text leaves plenty to the readers' imagination and the simple illustrations also leave plenty of opportunity for interpretation.

Over at the Construction Site by Bill Wise

Perfect for any child who has looked longingly through the fence to see what is going on at the construction site! Written in catchy rhyming text and with plenty of repetition for little ones to recognise and share. Gradually, the big machines join in and the book teaches children the numbers one to 10 as they join in and count the friendly machines, from mother front loader to mother roller truck. Bright bold illustrations by Claire Lordon enhance the story. Published by Sterling, May 2018, ISBN 9781454922292.

But the Bear Came Back by Tammi Sauer

The bear just keeps coming back, however often the little boy tells him (very politely) to go away - bears don't belong in houses. But one day, he doesn't come back... and the little boy realises that he actually misses him. So he sets out to get him back... and I'll leave you to find out if the bear returns. This is a lovely warm-hearted story with charming illustrations illustrated by Dan Taylor. The moral is - make the most of opportunities. Published by Sterling, May 2018, ISBN 9781454920984.

Peppa's Magical Unicorn

The glittery cover guarantees immediate appeal for this book; it's well sized too and the font is easy for young ones once they start to read. Suzy has come to Peppa's to play with Peppa's new toy horse, Horsey Twinkle Toes... but Suzy wants to play unicorns. Can Daddy Pig help out? Of course he can - and in a really lovely way too. A cute and enjoyable story starring one of children's favourite characters... and we'd all like a Daddy Pig to perform his 'magic'!

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson

This is a very special edition of the much-loved story, created to celebrate the 15th anniversary. It includes among his originals never previously seen illustrations by Axel Scheffler, a letter from the author and a shiny foil cover, making the book a special treat for all fans. A little snail longs to see the world, so when an enormous whale offers her the chance to see the world, she is off, seeing all manner of wondrous things - and feeling very small. But when the whale needs help, she saves the day. The rhyming text flows beautifully and the story is touching and sensitive. Use it to talk about how we can help marine life retain its beauty.

Mixed by Aree Chung

I enjoyed this book - it really made me think and the simple approach is suited to a wide age range, so it makes an excellent basis for discussion and to stimulate thinking. To start with, the Blues, Reds and Yellows lived in harmony... but then Reds decide they are best and discord breaks out. Soon, each colour has its own part of the city but eventually, they decide they miss each other and soon the colours are all mixed up - and very happy. The black and white line drawings with their spots of colour are extremely effective and offer lots of detail to enjoy. An unusual and effective way to encourage compassion and acceptance.

Vera Jewel is Late for School by Nicola Kent

When Vera Jewel's bike gets a a puncture, she has to come up with increasingly ingenious ideas to get herself to school on time... but things just keep going wrong in this hilarious story and Vera just gets later and later until she lands up arriving at home time. But Vera is one very determined little girl and she never gives up, and finally she has a brilliant idea... This is a delightful and unusual rhyming story, charmingly illustrated, about determination and working things out for yourself

Something Fishy by Polly Dunbar

Like all cats, this cat loves fish... but why are its owners acting so strangely and ignoring all the cats requests for fish? They are buying tiny clothes, redecorating... and then they vanish. To catch a fish perhaps? But no, they have come home with something quite different... but there's fish too, so our cat is happy. A lovely thoughtful story about the way a cat's anxieties mirror those of an older sibling when a new baby is on the way. Delicately understated, it's a lovely way to introduce the subject to a sibling.

Going to the Volcano by Andy Stanton

Another hilarious story from the gifted pen of Andy Stanton Join two intrepid explorers as they take a train-o, jump on a plane-o, ride a Great Dane-o (down the lane-o) on their way to look at the volcano - the rhyme is a little contrived as you can see, but children won't mind. All seems to be going well - but it turns out that a trip to the volcano is fraught with danger! The bold illustrations are by Miguel Ordonez. On the back endpaper, there's a pictorial glossary of characters and this adds a new and interesting dimension to the book - can your child spot them all through the story?

I Am A Warrior Goddess by Jennifer Adams

Pictures (by Carme Lemniscates) and text intermingle to show how each day is full of opportunities to make a positive impact with ordinary actions - a positive and empowering approach, simply presented with few words. As our heroine connects with the earth, takes care of her body, and finds strength in kindness, she discovers her inner warrior goddess and inspires young girls everywhere to do the same. Published by Sounds True, March 2018, ISBN 9781683640059.

Dinosaurs Don't Draw by Elli Woollard

Dinosaurs don't draw... well, most of them don't but Picassaur is no ordinary dinosaur. As soon as I picked up this book, I was swept into the flowing rhyming text which is quite superb to read aloud. Children will love to join in, especially when they become familiar with the repetition, as Picassaur is told what real dinosaurs do - they stamp and they stomp.... But Picassaur transforms rocks, chalk, sticks and mud into works of art. But when a terrifying T-Rex comes on the scene, the power of art is discovered. Vibrantly yet delicately illustrated by the wonderful Steven Lenton, this is a superb picture book.

We Wear Pants by Katie Abey

Perfect to involve children, this is a book that puts them in charge as they choose what to wear. Double page spreads show all manner of clothing on each, and on a range of friendly animals, clothing from pants to wellies, glasses to pyjamas and many, many more are there..Children will be giggling away as they find their favourite animals adorned in funny things. Readers are invited to choose their various things across the 12 spreads, ensuring they are really involved with the book. It's great fun and there is so much to enjoy that they will be kept entertained for hours. Plenty of talking points too.

The Cave by Rob Hodgson

A little creature lives in a cave... and all we see of him are his eyes. Outside the cave is a wolf, and because of the wolf, the creature in the cave never comes out to play - despite the wolf trying everything to get the creature to leave the cave. But finally, the bear's patience pays off - but he is in for a great surprise as the tables are turned completely in this clever story. It's so subtly done, that children may well have to take a second look to work out what is actually happening - it's an excellent way to encourage children to look at the pictures and work out for themselves what is happening.

The 5 Misfits by Beatrice Alemagna

This unusual story celebrates being different - and being proud of it. It's the story of the five misfits - the punctured, the folded, the feeble, the upside down, and the one who is just all wrong. They accepted their fate and felt useless, until along came Mr Perfect wwho made them question their role in life. Is it so bad to be different? It's a book to make you think, and to make us proud of differences - and to accept them in others, so the message is important.

Happily Ever After: The Little Mermaid illustrated by Owen Swan

It's always interesting to read a new twist on a favourite fairy tale, and it encourages children to look at them in a new light. The Happily Ever After books present a new twist on classic fairy tales - look out for the others in the series.The little mermaid Ariel is not like other mermaids - she loves flowers and sunshine and she must say goodbye to her sea legs if she is to be with her prince. The story is simply told and accompanied by striking and evocative illustrations that tell the story superbly.

Gary's Banana Drama by Jane Massey

A hilarious story about Gary the gorilla who loves bananas. But disaster strikes - bananas have run out. But everywhere he looks, Gary thinks he sees bananas. Could those yellow things be bananas? No, they are dogs. Could that be one singing in the tree? No! It's a bird's beak! There's disappointment everywhere. Finally, Gary finds his bananas... but could there be a better fruit? The vibrant illustrations will engage children's attention as they enjoy the hilarious story.

My Perfect Pup by Sue Walker

Is your family thinking about buying a dog? Then here's the perfect book for your young ones. A perfectly behaved puppy puppy sits excitedly in a pet shop and soon twins, Milly and Max take him home. But it turns out he is not their ideal dog, so back he goes. Then along comes Joe who takes him home, and theirs proves to be the perfect partnership. It just shows how important it is to think about the dog you buy - and what he or she will grow into. The lively illustrations are by Anil Tortop.

How to Fly Like an Elephant by Kyoko Nemoto

This interactive book will really get children involved as they use the flaps and folding pages to help the elephants fly. Of course, we all know elephants can't fly. But it's amazing what preseverance and determination can achieve - see hat happens when three elephants work together to design a flying machine. This unusual book is an intriguing blend of scientific principles, hidden clues, flaps to explore, folding pages - and a story of determination, ingenuity and teamwwork. And the reader needs to help to finally get our trio of elephants off the ground. This unusual picture book is a first collaboration from Puffin and the V&A Museum - and it's an excellent one!

The Old Man by Sarah V and Claude K Dubois

This is a gentle and perceptive story and much of its impact comes from the muted and delicate watercolour drawings. As a new day begins in the town, everyone wakes up, including a hungry old man. This is the story of a person with no job, no family, no home - a man who can't even remember his own name. After experiencing rejection, his day changes when he is noticed by a child. A simple gesture of kindness is all it needs to make a change in the old man's life - and we are left hoping things continue to improve for him. A gentle and compassionate story that will make you think.

The New Baby by Lisa Strickley

This is the story of a little girl and her new baby brother as he grows up through his first year, and she shares his life. I love the way the book introduces young siblings to the way babies develop and grow, showing what they can expect. Children will love to join in with all the sounds baby Albert makes, from crying to windy pops! Delicately illustrated, it's a joyful celebration of family life, beautifully observed with warmth and love.

Winnie and Wilbur: Seaside Adventures by Valerie Thomas

Join ever-popular Winnie the witch and her best friend Wilbur as they enjoy a series of three exciting seaside adventures. Join them in Winnie and Wilbur at the Seaside; Winnie and Wilbur: The Pirate Adventure and Winnie and Wilbur Under the Sea. Korky Paul's vivid illustrations are full of fascinating detail and reflect the busy-ness of the beach; the beauty of the world benath the ocean waves; and the excitement of a swashbuckling pirate adventure. Winnie and Wilbur are just as popular as they have ever been, since they first appeared in 1897, and the stories are always fresh and exciting.

Mr Men Adventure in Magicland by Roger and Adam Hargreaves

Adam Hargreaves has made an excellent job of taking on the mantle of Roger Hargreaves, to continue to bring us stories that are fresh and new. This is a lovely story which is full of many well-known characters and events from fairy tales. It's perfect to see how much your child can remember of the stories and a great way to encourage conversation. Many of the favourite characters are here and children will enjoy meeting them again in this bright new book.

Little Miss Inventor by Roger and Adam Hargreaves

Little Miss Inventor is a lovely new character, perfectly in tune with today's world, and showing that science can be great fun. She is intelligent, ingenious and inventive - as bright as two buttons, and a great role model. She has invented lots of unusual things for her friends, like a line marker, a page turner and an egg boiler, but she's stumped when it comes to an idea for miserable Mr Rude. But she's not one to give up and soon she has an idea which has everyone in fits of laughter. Great fun and just as good as ever.

The Very Hungry Hedgehog by Rosie Wellesley

This is a lovely series to introduce children to the joys of nature and this story is perfect for spring with its delicate illustrations that capture the newness of the season. Hedgehog Isaac has just woken up from his long winter sleep and he is very hungry. Trouble is, so are the other animals so he needs to encourage them to share before he is able to have some food for himself. And then Isaac himself is in danger... Delicately illustrated, this is a good way to introduce nature and to encourage children to observe the world around them.

Everybunny Count by Ellie Sandall

This is a lovely gentle story with a friendly fox who is certainly no threat to the rabbits. There are plenty of engaging details in the pictures, which makes re-reading even more worthwhile. As children share the story, they will love the hide-and-seek spotting opportunities, which really draw them into the book as they seek out the fox. A lovely rhyming counting book - I love the clever twist which means the illustrations have the same number of other animals to spot and count as well as the rabbits; a touch of gentle humour rounds off a perfect picture book.

The Little Pioneer by Adam Hancher

This beautifully illustrated story tells of a little girl and her family who travel across the plains of America in search of a new life. It was an exciting, and dangerous journey into the unknown and the story reflects this perfectly, capturing the intrepid spirit if those who set out into the unknown. The girl's voice is very effective and really draws the reader in to her tale, and the illustrations capture the spirit of the journey with their muted colours. A testament to the American Dream of the early pioneers.

Knock Knock Pirate by Caryl East

Maki learning to count fun with this brilliantly colourful rip-roaring book illustrated by Nick East. A visit from a pirate? Sounds like fun... but then the whole crew turn up too. And then the house starts to sail away down the street and things go from bad to worse and Jim finds himself walking the plank... but will Dad believe his story? A pacy story, with pirates young and old, and packed with fun and laughs.

Being a Princess is Very Hard Work by Sarah KilBride

Many little girls aspire to being princesses... but maybe it's harder work than it looks! Just imagine all those thrones to sit on and all those hands to shake... and those frogs to kiss. And that's not all, as the entertaining rhyming text shows us. This lovely feel-good story just goes to show that parents love their own little princesses just as they are. Ada Grey's fun-filled illustrations are full of life, joy and colour.

I Am the Boss of this Chair by Carolyn Crimi

Oswald Minklehoff Honey Bunny III is the boss of his chair... and of much else in his house, where he is definitely top cat - until the kitten Pom-Pom arrives on the scene. Soon Pom-Pom is taking over so what is Oswald to do? He soon learns that life is more fun when you have a friend - and this is the perfect story to share with children who have a new sibling, because they will feel just the same. But Oswald does keep one thing to be his very own. I love Marisa Morea's beautifully expressive illustrations. Published by Sterling, April 2018, ISBN 978-1454923220.

Selfie Sebastian by Sarah Glenn Marsh

A very topical story! Sebastian is a very handsome fox - and doesn't he know it? He loves taking selfies but they never seem to show him off properly, so he decides he needs to add something special. Off he sets on an exciting quest in search of the perfect place, but somehow nothing quite works. Maybe Sebastian is thinking along the wrong lines. Could it be that home and his friends are the best things after all? An entertaining story that helps us to think about what really matters in life. Illustrated by Florence Weiser. Published by Sterling, April 2018, ISBN 978-1454921295.

Rusty the Squeaky Robot by Neil CLark

This is a wonderful book for children who love joining in and making sounds - as it progresses, there are more and more noises to copy. Poor Rusty - he is a friendly robot, but he doesn't like the way he squeaks all the time. Luckily, he has good friends, who show him that it's OK to be different - in fact, difference should be celebrated. Soon Rusty, along with Belle, Twango, Hoot and Boom-Bot have created a raucous song and dance that celebrates their differences. It's testament to the importance of working together, celebrating difference and using your own talents to the best. Vibrant contemporary illustrations have a real appeal. This would be brilliant to share with a group of children, each having an opportunity to share, as well as being given the chance to discuss the important messages.

THE GLASSMAKER'S DAUGHTER BY DIANNE HOFMEYR

Set in the magical city of Venice, the richly detailed illustrations by Jane Ray makes the most of the beauty of the city as the backdrop to the story of Daniela, the glassmaker's daughter. She is a miserable girl who never smiles, so her father promises a beautiful glass palace to anyone who can make her laugh. All manner of people come, hoping to win the prize but it is a surprising thing that finally makes her laugh - her own grumpy reflection in a looking glass made by a young apprentice. An uplifting story to put a smile on everyone's face.

My First Mog 123 by Judith Kerr

Some picture book characters have an enduring and timeless appeal and Mog definitely comes into that category. Who can resist the pretty grey cat who has such a love for life? Children will learn their numbers one to ten as they enjoy Mog's amusing antics. The illustrations are full of gentle humour and there's lots to talk about as well as discovering numbers - what colour are the butterflies? Can you name the animals waiting for the vet? The perfect introduction to numbers for young children.

When the Bees Buzzed Off! by Lula Bell

This is a lovely and effective way to highlight the plight of our bees, in a way even young children will understand. They will be enticed into the book by the die-cut front cover, and then enjoy exploring the flaps as they read about the disappearance of the honeybees; all the creatures are worried about who will pollinate the fruit and flowers. THree brave bugs set out to bring those buzzy bees back! Gloriously illustrated by Stephen Bennett, this is a real feast of nature, with lots to talk about and inform young children about the natural world close to us. Adults will appreciate the hilarious asides just as much as children. The book really shows us how important bees are, and alongside that, children will learn lots about nature. An excellent book that will stimulate lots of thought and discussion.

Ruby in the Ruins by Shirley Hughes

Shirley Hughes is one of my favourite picture book authors - she captures the essence of childhoood to perfection, through both text and her wonderful drawings. This time, she takes us back to London, immediately after the Second World War. Ruby and Mum have supported each other through the war, but now it's time for Dad to come home. Like so many children, Ruby hardly knew her Dad, and he seems to have changed and Ruby prefers to play outside the house. But when Ruby hurts her knee in the ruins, she's very pleased when her Dad comes to the rescue and makes her feel safe and secure. The book paints a wonderful picture of a child's life in post-war London, and cdelebrates the love of a family.

How the Borks Became by Jonathan Emmett

This story is an accessible and entertaining way to introduce the concept of evolution and natural selection, told through amusing verse. The Borks live on a planet which is rather like Earth. All the Borks are all a little bit different - but long ago, they were all very different. Read the verses to find out all the things that happened to make them gradually different while still remaining Borks. By the end of the story, young readers will have a basic knowledge of how Evolution by natural selection works. Elys Dolan's colourful illustrations are full of fun and children will enjoy spotting all the variations.

Flow, Flow, Flow by Andree Salom

Go with the flow! We hear that often and this unusual picture book is the story of four children who set off on a magical voyage of imagination. Along the way, to no destination in particular, they meet walrus ice cream vendors, lemurs and tigers living in harmony, helpful octopi and more. As the scenery changes, our travelers learn to go with the flow, welcoming each new experience for what it is in the moment, and accepting when those experiences drift away, to be replaced with a whole new adventure. The story shows that we need to accept change; that there are plenty of new things to look forward to; and life if ever-changing. Whimsical yet thoughtful.

Little Whale by Jo Weaver

This simple yet beautiful story celebrates the love between mother and child. Little Whale is following her mother from the warmth of the south to the frozen north. That's where their family is, but there also lies great danger; but mother whale protects and reassures her little one. The restful dreamlike quality of the story is emphasised by the illustrations with their delicate monochrome artwork, making the book a perfect winding-down bedime story, leaving the reader feeling safe and cocooned. The book also gives the opportunity to talk about whales and the way they live.

I Love You Dino-Daddy by Mark Sperring

Little dinos think Dino-Daddy is the best daddy ever... and they'd never swap him. He always finds time to play and he always makes games fun. The perfect book to share with fathers, this is a joyful celebration of a chaotic and loving family life, bound to warm the heart.

The Match by Russell Ayto

Every day, the man goes to work. Every weekend, he and his dog watch the match, with the same dismal result - defeat. As you read, make sure you absorb all the information in the neatly squared pictures, because so much of the story is told here, so don't miss it! When the dog decides that something has to be done, everyone gets a surprise in this fun and unusual picture book, perfect for young lovers of football.

Luna and the Moon Rabbit by Camille Whitcher

Based on Asian folklore, this is the story of Luna who befriends the Moon Rabbit and sets off with him on a magical moonlit adventure, discovering some very special dandelions, fish and fireflies along the way, until finally Luna is ready for sleep and the rabbit takes her home. The muted palette of the illustrations, enlivened by bursts of colour, convey the atmosphere superbly with their delicacy of detail. This beautiful and evocative book is the winner of the inaugural Stratford-Salariya Picture Book Prize, a competition held by the Stratford-upon-Avon Literary Festival and Salariya Book Company to find a picture book by an unpublished author deserving of publication.

Almost Anything by Sophy Henn

Poor George - everything his friend Bear suggests, George can't do. But Bear is a resourceful and determined friend who decides that George can do all these things - and more! And, luckily for George, Bear has just a little magic to help... in the form of a magic hat that just shows how powerful the power of self-belief is... and with self-belief comes a new-found confidence. Children will respond well to the attractive pages, with their coloured backgrounds and the text which links so well with the pictures to make for an easy and coherent read. Well written and reassuring, it's a book that will encourage children to give things a try.

Sophie Johnson: Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood

Sophie Johnson lives with an unicorn... well, 17 unicorns to be precise, and so she knows all there is to know about these mystical creatures - or does she? Just who is the rather special character who keeps appearing? Sophie is a wonderfully endearing character with whom children (and adults) will fall in love, despite the mayhem she causes. Glorious illustrations capture the chaos and fun of this hilarious story to perfection.

My Worst Book Ever by Allan Ahlberg

Making a picture book is simple, right? Not in this case! Everything that could possibly go wrong does go wrong when Allan has an idea for book about a crocodile, but every time he sits down to write he’s interrupted. Once the book is finally finished, the problems aren't over... was there ever such trouble? Bruce Ingman's illustrations just add to the chaos - and the fun. The final hilarious twist comes when the publisher's little daughter adds her own unique twist... the finished book is a riot! Great fun and totally unique, as you'd expect from this gafted author. A wonderfully different book which will become a favourite to read over and over again.

A Balloon Away by Rosa Park

This is the story of Sona, who travels to beautiful landscapes on her birthday – from glaciers and deserts to tropical beaches – with a silver balloon, and Grey, her new bear friend. As she travels, she learns about the places and objects she sees. This is a delicately illustrated and charmingly old story but I wonder if it is one to appeal to adults more than children, who are used to bright colours and pleny of action to keep their attention.

The Wondrous Dinosaurium by John Condon

Maverick Arts never fail us in providing exceptional stories, superbly illustrated. This debut picture book is another excellent addition to their range. Danny wants a pet... but no ordinary pet. He wants a dinosaur. Trouble is, dinosaurs don't exactly make the perfect pet as he learns through a series of hilarious trials, all vibrantly illustrated by Steve Brown to capture the hunour and unexpectedness. Does Danny get his dinosaur in the end?

Along Came a Different by Tom McLaughlin

This thoughtfully written book takes a simple and unusual approach towards difference and being accepting of others, perfect for young children and a good springboard for discussion.In a story reminiscent of children in the playground, the Reds, Yellows and Blues are quite determined thet they are best, and there can be no compromise- . But then, along come a different group - the Greens are much more sensible and see good in everyone, with great results. The simple vibrant illustrations and well written text combine to bring us an inspiring story about the benefits of being friends with everyone.

Goat's Coat by Tom Percival

Alfonzo the goat is really proud of his smart new coat. But Alfonso is a warm-hearted goat, and when he sees his friends are in trouble, he is quick to sacrifice a part of his smart coat in order to help them out. Soon, there is little left, and poor Alfonzo is freezing.... but his friendship reaps its reward when his friends all come to his rescue in this heartwarming story. The stylish illustrations by Christine Pym reflect the warmth of the story; a story that leaves the reader feeling warm and happy.

Grandmas from Mars by Michelle Robinson

All over town, grandmas are looking after their grandchildren... and this is spotted by the Martians, who decide they want to get in on the act. So they take over from the grandmas, with hilarious consequences. Fred and Nell realise there's something not quite right about grandma, so they hatch a devious plan. The catchy rhyming text trips off the tongue, making this perfect to read aloud. Fred Blunt's lively illustrative style combines drawings and pictures to perfecton, and offer lots to enjoy in this laugh-aloud madcap book.

The Wiggle Woshers And Their Stolen Hearts by Naadia Kidy

19 year old, autistic Damilola is the illustrator of this warm and touching rhyming children's book with the heartfelt message that love can fix anything. The story is set in space, where The Wiggle Woshers live amongst the stars, carrying their floating hearts on strings; when they love, their hearts burst releasing care-dust and making them happy. All but one, who threatens the happiness of the rest. This touchingly told story is enhanced by the delicate and thoughtful illustrations with their striking and unusualstyle and glittering embellishments which make them feel very special... as is the whole book.

Bear's Story by Claire Freedman

Bear loved his favourite Big Book of Stories, but he has read it so much that one day it just falls apart. Such is his love for stories, he decides to write some stories of his own, setting off into the forest for inspiration. Inspiration is slow to come... but there's plenty he can do to help his friends and finally, when Bear gets home, it all falls into place... and we are treated to a book within a book. Bear is a lovable character beautifully depicted by Alison Friend in her warm cosy pictures of forest life. A warm gentle story about the importance of stories and friends.

   
   
   
   

Adorabull by Alison Donald

Tom and Alfred were the best of friends - despite the fact Tom is a little boy and Alfred is a bull. But things change when Tom starts school and wants a pet. Alfred gets worried and tries to work out how he can make himself into the perfect pet... with hilarious consequences! Alfred is a very modern bull - he does his research on the internet! A charming story about caring fir each other and loyalty, even when changes take place in life. Alex Wilmore's illustrations are full of detail and humour - well worth taking time over and sharing.

Not My Hats by Tracy Gunaratnam

Hettie loves hats; hats of every shape, size and colour... but however many hats she has, she will never, ever share them. Anything else, she will share...and Puffin tries everything to persuade her until finally he manages to persuade to share, and soon the friends are having a lovely time together. It all goes to show sharing is a GOOD thing. The catchy text flows through the book, weaving its way thrpugh Alea Marley's captivating illustrations. A ,lovely book to share and read aloud.

Big Bunny by Rowboat Watkins

From the curious mind of Rowboat Watkins comes a ginormously imaginative story that is as funny as it is philosophical. How big is Big Bunny? And how will this story end? Delightfully meta and humorously subversive, Big Bunny will take its place as the next go-to story about stories.

Rufus by Simon Bartram

Rufus is a splendid monster. But there's no point in being a monster if you don't have anyone to scare. His books tell him that he needs peopley people to scare but he can't find any... He's going to have to find a Peoply Person to scare. But where in the world are they all hiding? There are plenty of other beings everywhere, all gloriously depicted in the gorgeous illustrations (so much to spot and talk about). Rufus is a lovely character who grows on you through the story, and readers will be delighted to share in his happy ending.

Ooh-La-La (Max In Love) by Max Calman

Max the millionaire poet dog is in Paris, and readers can join him in an unusual and highly visual tour of the city as he steals the hearts of all manner of people. There's Fritz from the Ritz, Madame Camembert, Charlotte Russe, and Pierre Potpurri, who wants Max to perform in his Crazy Wolf Nightclub. But something is missing for Max in the city of love - when will he find romance? A beautifully illustrated story.

Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide by Emma Yarlett

Look out for your books - Nibbles the book-eating monster is munching his way through another book! Following Nibbles' hilarious adventures with fairy tales, he's turned his attention to dinosaurs... Wait a minute! He seems to have nibbled his way through the first page... read the book quickly before he gets any further because he’s chomping through the Triceratops chapter and causing chaos among the Velociraptors. but has he chosen too dangerous an opponent? Packed with lift-the-flaps, peek-through holes and fascinating dinosaur facts, and with superb illustrations full of humour and fun, this is a truly hilarious interactive picture book which children are going to love. Just what a picture book should be - fun, interactive, informative and superbly illustrated. Genuis!

Is It a Mermaid? by Candy Gourlay

When Benjie and Bel spot a strange creature on the beach, Benji knows it's a Dugong. But a Dugong is, sadly, nt the most beautiful of creatures, being rather round and grey, so the Dujong insists she is a beautiful mermaid. To prove it, she shows them her mermaid's tail, sings them a mermaid song and swims gracefully like a mermaid. Still children aren't convinced but they play with their new friend all the same, and learn that they must respect the feelings of others. At the end of the day, there may be a surprise in store... Francesca Chessa's glorious illustrations are full of life and colour, beautiful representations of ocean ife that complement the delightful story to perfection.

A T-Wit for a T-Woo by Charlie Farley

Little owl Twoo does everything owls should do, but his t-woo doesn't sound like the proper owl song he has heard the others singing. So our determined little owl sets off into the night in search of his song. On a magical journey through the night, he meets many friends... and an enemy. Happily, his search is rewarded in this uplifting story which shows the importance of self-belief and not giving up. It brings a tear to the eye! Thesuperbly atmospheric illustrations by Layn Marlow capture the beauty of the night woodland and bring us a superb cast of characters to love.

; I Wish I Was Sick, Too! (NYRB Childrens Collection) by Franz Brandenberg This is a situation with which parents are all too familiar - one child is sick and must stay at home; siblung(s) want to stay home too! So this will be perfect to read and share when the occasion arises. Edward is sick and has to stay in bed; Elizabeth must go to school. So Elizabeth wishes she was sick too - and guess what? Many family issues are gently addressed, including Jealousy, kindness, fairness and responsibility. The pictures by Aliki depict a lovely family. The New York Review Children's Collection is a carefully curated selection of books; this book (as many in the series) has a cloth spine and colourful illustration on the board cover. The books in this format build up into a really special library of books which can be passed from one generation to the next.

National Trust: Look and Say What You See in the Town by Sebastien Braun

This is an excellent book to encourage observation skills and to give adukt and child plenty to talk about when taking a walk around town; for added interest, there's a village and a garden scene too. From fruit and vegetables at the market to flowers and birds in the snowy garden, this look-and-say book for little ones is a great way to start learning about nature around the town. smaller pictures for spotting along the bottom of the page. Colourful pictures have There are questions to answer too, such as what can you see hiding in the dark and which shop would you like to go into? These all encourage spotting skills and conversation. The familiar objects are easy to spot and the different seasons and times of day make for extra interest. Scan the QR code for a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book.

Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night by Dee Leone

Listen to the gentle sounds of the night-time world in this perfect bedtime book. All sorts of sounds of nature are here, from moths fluttering their powdery wings, to a nightingales sweet songs, to swaying willow trees softly shushing. The subtle deep colours of Bali Engel's atmospheric illustrations are a perfect reflection of the theme of the book, restful and relaxing. Written in rhythmic, rhyming text, this is a soothing lullaby which takes us across land, sky and sea, as animal parents everywhere tucking in their children, including a human mother and baby. Published by Sterling, March 2018, 978 1454921394.

A Couch for Llama by Leah Gilbert

When the Lago family needs a new couch, they find the perfect one but, oh dear, they didn't tie it onto the car very well and off it falls. The simple and accessible text is great fun as we join llama as he tries to work out just what has landed in his field. Finally, he finds the perfect use for it but sadly for him, the family return to claim their property - and come up with the ideal solution in this happy story. Beautifuly illustration and the Llama is just so adorable! Published by Sterling, March 2018, 978-1454925118.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

This is a special 50th anniversry edition of the much-loved children's classic, which includes a new introcution by Judith Kerr herself. Sophie was having tea with her mummy when the doorbell rings... and outside is a very hungry tiger. Si, in he comes and joins them for tea. Trouble is, he is VERY hungry, and not only does he eat all the tea, he eats all the food in the house! There's no food left for Daddy's dinner, but he comes up with an excellent solution for the family... and Mum makes sure she has some tiger food, just in case. Gentle, touching and moving, this is a true classic with all the elements of a perfect picture book and all beautifully illustrated.

Brian the Lion Goes Into Space by Tracey Radford

Brian is an adventurous lion who finds life on the plain boring - all the other lions seem to do is sleep! Brian meanwhile, dreams of going into space. The catchy rhyming text tells us that his pride make himhis own rocket so he can zoom off into space. When he lands on a moon near Saturn and meets small green gnomes life is exciting for a while but he soon misses his home. Will he stay in his new space home or return to his pride? A lovely story, vividly illustrated and with instructions to make your own Brain at the end.

The Story of Tantrum O'Furrily by Cressida Cowell

New illustrator Mark Nicholas won the Carmelite Prize for illustration in 2016 and his prize was to illustrate Cressida Cowell's new book. It's a wild and windy night and the kittens are hungry so their mother distracts them with a story. They don't believe it will, but they soon learn that stories are powerful, and that if you're courageous you might find a saucer of milk at the end of that story. The muted colours of the illustrations are perfect for the text. The story is lovely and heart-warming, gentle and upbuilding.

Paradise Found by John Milton

Go on a wonderful journey through the countryside, revelling in Helen Elliott's beautiful paintings as you go. When Nellie, companion to Albie the farmer's dog, disappears, Albie sets off to find her. As he travels, he goes from the familiarity of the countryside and into a busy and bustling town. He meets a fascinating cast of characters on the way. Heavier on text than most picture books, this paints a lovely picture that will make children appreciate the world and the people around them - and the bond between the two dogs. They will relsih exploring the detail in the pictures and learning as they do.

The Steves by Morag Hood

Who came first - Steve or Steve? When Steve the Puffin meets Steve the Puffin, their rival claims to be the first Steve will have young children in fits of giggles - and adults recognising the way children everywhere will argue over the most trivial of things! Their claims become wildern and wilder until finally, they are reconciled... and them along comes... Steve!Bold and simple illustrations are ful of charm in this short but effective and very enjoyable story.

The Wildest Cowboy by Garth Jennings

Eye-catching right from first glance, this wonderful story with its catchy rhyming text is a perfect read-aloud. Clearly, there is something very wrong in the town they call Fear. When salesman Bingo B Brown, turns up in town with his goodies and treats, he's met with a stony silence. Not even his dancing dog can raise a smile. Danger lurks, and the people of the town are not just scary, they're also scared. And then Bingo and his dog meet the fearsome cowboy who has the town trembling... and with a clever twist, things are put right. Superbly illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, this is a Wild West tale with a difference

Forever or a Day by Sarah Jacoby

This delicate and touching picture book reminds us to stop and celebrate the simple things that make up everyday life. From the peaceful reflective illustration on the front cover, we are drawn into a narrative of a single day shared by parent and child. Questions and observations in the simple text encourage thoughtful reflection and discussion. The gorgeous illustrations are full of interest and will stimulate thought and talk.

Hello Hotdog by Lily Murray

Hot Dog isjust chillin' out on some comfy bread with some corn and a couple of fries when the tomato ketchup descends and it looks as though he's about to become lunch... He comes up with a cunning plan to escape but things go sadly, and hilariously, wrong for him. Simple bright illustrations by Jarvis are the perfect foil for the succinctly told story and will have children giggling away happily. Eye-catching and engaging, children will love to get involved.

Vivi the Spanish Superdog by Genevieve Yusuf

Just as children learn a language through everyday life, so this book introduces Spanish vocabulary seamlessly and naturally. Vivi is a Superdog but little Eliana, who rescues her and takes her home to England, has no idea of the adventures Vivi gets up to at night.The story is written in English with Spanish words put into the context, so that children and parents can learn together. The words can all be found in the vocabulary list at the end of the book, along with pronunciation guides. A lovely natural way to introduce another language while adult and child enjoy a story together; perfect to introduce language at school too.

Ranvir Cannot Hear by Genevieve Yusuf

Set in the plains of India, and beautifully and evocatively illustrated, this is the story of a little elephant who sets off in search of his hearing. On his travels, through the friends he meets, he learns that it's not what we cannot do, but the things we can do that are important. He even finds out he has a special talent too. 10p of every book will be donated to the Rangammal school in India for children with a hearing impairment. Recommended for children up to 7 years old. British and American sign language alphabets are included in the back. Effective and empowering, this is a delightful book.

Winnie and Wilbur: The Naughty Knight by Valerie Thomas

You can be assured of lots of fun with any Winnie and Wilbur book - and the superb illustrations by Korky Paul ate an intergal part of every story. When Winnie discovers that the castle they have spotted is niw a ruin, she decides to go back in time to see it as it was. In this fascinating journey back to medieval times, we can enjoy all sorts of fun and feasting with Winnie as a medieval lady-in-waiting and Wilbur a knight in armour. As always, Winnie is there to help out with a little magic; this time with a knight who is spoiling things for other knights. But things start to go wrong... can Winnie and Wilbur return to today's world in good time? A well-told story and a good introduction to life in a medieval castle.

Meg and Mog: How to Eat Pizza by Jon Burgerman 

The bright colours of the cover will quickly attract young readers. They can find out the answer to the question: "How do YOU eat pizza? What, you don't know? Oh, come on, it'lices want to be eaten? really easy and this hilariously tasty book will show you how!" But do the pizza sices really want to be eaten? lBright colours and simple but effective illustrations will capture children's attemtion and there are plenty of lots visual gags to enjoy. It even encourages children to eat salad with their pizza as well as to thry out lots of different toppings.

Imagine (John Lennon) illustrated by Jean Jullien

A little pigeon is on a mission to spread the word of peace around the world. Set to the lyrics of John Lennon's iconic song Imagine, this book brings an enduring message of peace and tolerance to a new generation, touchingly illustrated. The apparent simplicity of the pictures really convey the emotions of the lyrics, and encourage the reader to think about what they are showing. We live in times when the message of Imagine is more important than ever, and this is a lovely way to introduce and to discuss the message with young children; older children can be encouraged to discuss the ideas conveyed. A royalty from every copy sold will go to charity Amnesty International.

From Morning to Night A Book of Hidden Shapes by Flavia Ruotolo

This unusual book encourages children to look closely at everyday things around them, and to discover what they can see. Things can change on a second look, and this clever book takes a basic picture, makes often tiny changes, and presents us with something totally different - one minute a mushroom, the next a cereal bowl. Don't judge by appearances, but take time out to look at objecys in a different way. A good way to stimulate the imagination and to encourage discussin of everyday objects and colours.

The Great Big Book of Friends by Mary Hoffman

Friendship comes in many forms, as this warm-hearted book shows. This is a wonderful celebration of all kinds of friendship, including family, friends around the world, pets and even imaginary friends. The ilustrations by Ros Asquith are charming and depict the wide range of friendships perfectly, offering plenty of prompts for discussion around similarities and differences. This book follows on from other books in a successful series by the author and illustrator; all the books are perfect for classroom use, to encourage discussion and to stimulate learning about other people; they are just as good at home to encourage diversity and thinking of others. An excellent addition to the series.

Wishing for a Dragon by Becky Cameron

It should be bedtime for Oliver, Barney and Ella but instead, they are off on an adventure. Ella wants to go to the jungle, Barney hankers to be a pirate, but Ella has a secret wish . . . to see a dragon. So when a hot-air balloon floats up to their window, they are eager to set off. The balloon whisks them away to magical lands - and out of danger when necessary. They see pirate teddybears, tigers and fantastical creatures but will they ever see a dragon? Finally, in the darkening sky, they see... A wonderfully imaginative tale that will certainly send children off to sleep with sweet dreams. A timeless story to read over and over again.

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

This is a fascinating and unusual book all about colour, but with a very different way of looking at colour. Through captivating paintings full of movement and change, a young girl explores the world of colour that is all around her. She ponders on questions about colour as the pictures and text cleverly blend from one colour to the next. Playful and philosophical, They Say Blue is a book about colour as well as perspective, about the things we can see and the things we can only wonder at. Gentle and thought-provoking, it's a book to relish; a book that encourages you to think about the wonderful colours that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

Great Bunny Bakes by Ellie Snowdon

This has such a pretty cover! That's so important - get the cover right and readers will immediately be attracted. Unusually for a wolf, Quentin's hobby is baking - but he has nobody to share his treats with. So when he gets an invitation to take part in a Great Bunny Baking competition, he decides to disguise himself (not very convincingly!) and enter. Things are going well... until a naughty bunny sabotages Quentin's pastry; luckily the culprit is found. And then disaster strikes in the last round... but the bunnies come to Quentin's rescue and he makes a new firend. Now he can share his bakes. A cute and lovable story, illustrated with great charm.

Grab That Rabbit! by Polly Faber

This story has definite overtones of Peter Rabbit, when we meet the naughty rabbit, Hodge, who just can't resist stealing carrots from Mrs Sprat's garden, and yet it is quite original at the same time. Hidge has got stuck in the hedge, and now he has two potential enemies to contend with - as well as Mrs Sprat, there's a buzzard hovering overhead. The suspense grows in this superbly illustrated story. Briony May Smith's richly coloured and detailed illustrations are miniature works of art, packed with fasscinating things to spot. The ending of this lovely story is unexpected and tells of love and forgiveness.

Molly Mischief Saves the World by Adam Hargreaves

Yes, the author's name is indeed familiar - he is the current author of the Mr Men books. Superhero Molly is super-speedy, super-strong and has laser vision... and she hates doing her chores! So there's only one thing for it - she must become Superhero Molly and then achieve whatever she sets herself to do. But will the results be what she wants? Perhaps ordinary Molly was better off after all. A highly entertaining tale about being content with what you've got; perfect for sharing and reading aloud.

Hello Hello by Brendan Wenzel

This beautiful book with its stunning illustrations begins with a black cat and a white cat before a whole a chain of wonderful and often unusual animals appears before the reader. They are cleverly linked by at least one common trait, which is a good way to get children engaged as they spot the links. It is a superb celebration of the diversity of animal life with superlative illustrations that repay close examination - they are so beautiful. The accompanying rhyming text is full of joy and delight in the natural world - and it all starts with a simple "Hello." This beautifully illustrated book really draws attention to the plight of endangered species, with a picture glossary at the back, naming all the animals who appear in the book, and giving their conservation status. Please be aware - this book uses US spelling. A superb book.

The Butterfly Dance by Suzanne Barton

Caterpillars Dotty and Stripe are great friends; they do all the caterpillar-y things together until one day, they both feel very sleepy... When thy wake up, everything has changed and they are spectacular butterflies, but they look quite different to each other. Can they still be friends? As this touching tale, which also clearly explains the butterfly life cycle, unfolds, we soon learn that it's not what's on the outside that counts and true friendship comes from within. The delicate illustrations are beautiful and the book offers lots of opportunities to talk about the wonders of the nature we see all around us.

We're Going to the Zoo! by Sarah Bowie

A day out to the zoo is exciting when you're young like Kitty, but older sister Clara thinks it will be boring. When they get there, Kitty spends all her day making wodnerful drawings of the animals; these are a key part of the book and are so entertaining and informative. Gradually, Clara joins in and the book has a superb and very unexpected ending. This is a really unusual and extremely effective book which takes a sideways look at the all-encompassing use of technology - and the alternatives.

Cycle City by Alison Farrell

This fascinating book will enthrall children for hours - there's so much to spot and enjoy. Have you ever seen so many different bicycles? When Etta the Elephant visits Aunt Ellen's, she takes a journey through bicycle-filled Cycle City, a town filled with bikes of all kinds - and there's even an amazing bicycle parade to end the day. Every detail-crammed picture has lots to spot, animal friends and amazing bicycles, and plenty more to enjoy besides. Engrossing.

Origami Heart by Binny

Kabuki is a very precise little rabbit who likes everything to be just so, from his bow tie to his cup of snow pea tea. But one thing is missing from Kabuki's perfect life: someone to share it with. It seems that won't work out... until Kabuki launches a paper plane... Personally, I don't like the swirly font for a picture book and I feel a little confused as to the target age. I also spotted a spelling mistake!

Birdy and Bou: The Floating Library by David Bedford and Mandy Stanley

This wonderfully vibrant picture book will captivate children. Bou loves the floating library, and he especially loves his favourite book. Bou is really sad when his book isn't there and he finds that Birdy has borrowed it. So off he sets to find Birdy - and his beloved book. I love the bold illustrations and all the creatures who people them - they will captivate children. This lovely book is a brilliant celebration of friendship and of the love of books, perfect for sharing and asking your child about their favourite book(s). I love the fact the book is produced on heavy shiny paper, making it really durable, even for little fingers; the pages just don't crease.

Unplugged by Steve Antony

Blip spends all her time learning new things... but always on the computer. Until one day, there is a power cut and Blip discovers that playing games outside is wonderful fun, and we must enjoy the natural world. The pictures cleverly and effectively change from black and white as Blip discovers that there are plenty of new things to be enjoyed outside. Isn't it wonderful to be UNPLUGGED? A cleverly written story that can be used to great effect to show children the joys of leaving behind their electronic devices.

Ziggy and the Moonlight Show by Kristyna Litten

Ziggy always looks forward to the spectacular Moonlight Show on Saturday night, but when a bird loses her chick, Ziggy knows she needs to help out. She knows she is looking out for someone with black and white stripes - but there are lots of other creatures to mislead her on the way through her search. Ziggy and the bird find themselves in a gloomy wood - will they ever find the chick? And will they make it back in time for the show? A lovely hide-and-seek story, charmingly illustrated by the author.

Cake by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

How exciting! Cake has been invited to a birthday party! He really doesn't know what to expect, but he knows he must ook his best, so he buys himself a very special new hat. All seems to be going well until suddenly, things change and Cake decides he needs to get out... fast! A hilarious story with brilliant illustrations of a lovely new character for children to enjoy.

What the Ladybird Heard on Holiday by Julia Donaldson

What the Ladtbird Heard stories have to be among my very favourite picture books ever. They have everything that makes a perfect picture book - storylines that are really effective, wonderful rhymes, great characters and perfect illustrations by Lydia Monks. Our two incompetent villians, Lanky Len and Hefty Hugh, are back along with a host of new characters to keep interest high. They're planning to steal a monkey from the zoo and use it to steal the Queen's crown. Luckily, their clever arch-enemy the Ladybird is on hand to foil their dastardly plan. !What more can you ask? The greatest compliment for a picture book is to be one that parents love to be asked to read over and over again.

Whatever Next! by Jill Murphy

Jill Murphy's books have become much loved picture book classics, which capture warmth and affection and leave the rader feeling wrapped in a cosy world. It's 35 years since the Bear family captured children's hearts and the stories are still as wonderful as ever. The moon and back before bath time? Whatever next! Anything is possible in this world so we join Baby Bear as he finds a rocket, makes friends with an owl and has a picnic on the moon. Superbly imaginative and with descriptive illustrations that capture the magic, this is the ideal bedtime read.

Peace at Last by Jill Murphy

This is a book that resonates with every busy parent... sometimes, however tired we are, we just can't switch off. And that's what's happening to poor Mr Bear. He tries all sorts of solutions to not sleeping... until, finally 'Peace at last.' Or is it? Te story is beautifully told, full of love and gentle humour. The illustrations are atmospheric and full of delicate details that capture the essence of the story.

Catch That Egg by Lucy Rowland

This is a fast-paced farmyard story that's perfect for encouraging children to help others. Poor Floppit the bunny has very big feet and they make such a noise wherever he goes that everyone gets rather tired of him and all his farmyard friends tell him to go away. But his big clumsy feet might just save the day when Chicken's egg runs away . . . Young readers can help Floppit spot and catch the egg in this funn farmyard egg caper. Anna Chernyshova's gorgoeus illustrations are a real stand-out feature of the book - they are packed with amazing detail and a superb group of characters.

Tell Me a Story, Rory by Jeanne Willis

This is a lovely story about the enduring importance of bedime stories. Rory the lion sleeps on the little girl's bed, and he can't sleep without a bedtime story. So she tells him storiess of her day. and the little girl never forgets to tell him one. But one day, sadly, the girl goes away. .. what has happened to her? If Rory tells his own bedtime story will it somehow come true? Will it bring his little girl back? This is a touching story about love and loyalty, that shows we all need our bedtine stories. Delightfully illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown, you will fall in love with the lion.

Held in Love by Oamul Lu

If you are looking for a special gift for new parents, this ould be just right for you. It's a mother's account of the hopes and dreams she has for her new baby, couched in gentle, lilting rhyme that reads aloud beautifully. Delicately illustrated with thoughtful simplistic artwork, this is a contemplative and touching book that can be read over and over again, with plenty to ponder over on each reading.

Car, Car, Truck, Jeep by Katrina Charman

This book will have you singing long aafter you have read it! Perfect for vehicle-obsessed young ones - and most of them are - this is a book they will want to listen to over and over again. The catchy rhyming text - Car, car, truck, jeep, have you any fuel?' - sings along to the tune of Baa Baa Blak Sheep, so children will revel in the opportunity to join in. Coupled with Nick Sharratt's bright bold illustrations which show vehicles full of all manner of passengers, this is a gorgeous book to enjoy and share.

Cock-a-doodle-poo! by Steve Smallman

Children won't be able to resist this one - anything with 'poo' in the title is bound to be popular!And this hilarious story won't disappoint. There's a terrible pong on the farm - after all, the animals are pooing all day long! But who could have done a doo-doo on Farmer Jill’s new hairdo? Hilarious rhyming riot is packed full of toots, poops, plops and parps and there are hugely entertaining illustrations from Florence Weiser. It's a great story, plenty to get involved with and to keep children chuckling.

Just Like Mummy by Lucy Freegard

This follows the successful Just Like Daddy and the two books are lovely together. Who wouldn t want to be just like Mummy? Mummy is great - she knows about nature, can dance, shares (mostly)... and best of all, she knows just when a cuddle is needed. This is a lovely celebration of mums, whether perfect or not, which shows love, warmth and humnour. A lovely read for all young ones to share with their mums to cdelebrate a special relationship.

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon by Richard Adams

We could all do with one of these! Whatever you've lost, Egg Box Dragon will find it. He's retrieved missing footballs, glasses and watches aplenty. His reputation has spread so far that the Queen herself has requested his services. But what has she lost? And will there be trouble when she spots a hole in the royal hedge? A cute story about a very lovable dragon, with adorable illustrations by Alex T Smith.

Baby Bird by Andrew Gibbs

I love it when a beautiful cover draws me into a book - and this cover is simply gorgeous with its gold foiling and feathery title. Baby Bird watches the other birds leave the nest but one of his wings doesn't work properly and he falls to the ground. There, Baby Bird finds a new friend - and a new way to move. Zosienka is the illustrator, who so perfectly conveys the emotion of the book through delicate watercolours; text and illustrations combine to bring a strong message of acceptance, perseverance and friendship

Little Royal: A Fish Tale by Chelo Manchego

Little Royal is a big fish in a little pond but he wants more from life so he sets out to see what he can discover. Soon he discovers that he is really not so important after all and that he needs to care for others. This poignant story makes good use of differing colours through the illustrations to follow Little oyaal through his journey of discovery.

Spider by Alison Steadman

Rafael hates spiders... but just like many children, he has picked up on his Dad's fear. And when the big, hairy, scary spider asks for help, Rafael finds he has a new, eight-legged friend. This is hilarious, warm-hearted and action-packed look at spiders and their world. It will enthrall both children and parents, with plenty of fascinating spider facts and figures throughout the book to entertain and delight - and hopefully, persuade us all that spiders really aren't that scary after all. Will you sign the pledge? I do hope so!

Juniper Jupiter by Lizzy Stewart

All superheroes need a sidekick, don't they? But despite being a superhero in so many ways, Juniper Jupiter is missing that essential element. So she sets off on a quest... Her requirements are very specific and there are plenty of applicants. But maybe, just maybe, the perfect candidate is right there... Full of humour, this is a lovely story, beautifully illustrated with humour and joy.

   

Fluffywuffy by Simon Puttock and Matt Robertson

Mr Moot likes a quiet life. No nousy neighbours, no post, no mice, just his beloved cat Fluffywuffy. Until one day, Cousin Clarence arrives for an indefinite visit and Mr Moon's peace is shattered. It's time for Fluffywuffy to come tio the rescue... but how does he solve the problem? With a mischevious (and secret) twist, that's how.An enjoyable story with a twist in the tail.

Spyder by Matt Carr

Is Spyder the smallest secret agent ever? Code named 0008 (get it?), s not easy being a super special secret agent when you're only as big as a pin badge. But when a birthday cake is under threat, it's up to the intrepid Spyder to save the day It's time to pack the spy-kit with binoculars, a top-secret laser pen and... a banana. This is a wonderfully quirky story with masses of touches of humour to keep readers chuckling with every turn of the page. Brilliant colours make the illustrations leap off the page.

Simon Sock by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

All the other socks in the drawer get chosen, because they are part of a pair. But poor Simon is an odd one out. Every day, the socks wait eagerly to be chosen, hoping for an exciting adventure... but Simon always stays behind. Will he ever find his perfect match? Luckily, Simon has a good friend in Ted, who tries so hard to find a stripey friend, witb amusing results... and finally, a happy ending. An hilarious story celebrating friendship and the fact it's OK to be different, vibrantly illustrated by Nick East.

THE LOST PENGUIN (AN OLIVER AND PATCH STORY) BY CLAIRE FREEDMAN

A touching story about the importance of friendship which follows the gentle theme of the first story, Oliver and Patch. We meet them them again as Oliver, Ruby and Patch visit the zoo - their favourite place. They each have their favourites.. But when Peep, the little penguin who’s new to the zoo, goes missing, the friends must set off together to save Peep and bring him home... but their friendship is put to the test.Illustrated by Kate Hindley. Another heartwarming tale of friendship and working as a team from this bestselling duo. Relaxing and reassuring, this is a gentle read.

The Carnivorous Crocodile by Jonnie Wild

The waterhole is essential for the jungle animals, so it's a real problem when a carnivorous crocodile takes up residence. None of the animals will risk entering the waterhole, until the five flamingos come up with a cunning plan in this delightful story of working together. There's a wonderful twist at the end of the story, that children will love. This is the first in the Five Flamingos series. Brita Granstrom is the illustrator who brings the animals to life for us. The book supports wildlife conservation in Africa, through donation of author royalties - that's great to know.

The Drum (Children Music Life) by Ken Wilson-Maz

Clap your hands with the beat of the drum in this attractive hardback small format picture book. Join all manner of children (all dressed in ibrant clothing0 as they follow the beat of the frum and get totally engrossed in the rhythm. This series explores different musical instruments from around the world and how they make you feel and move! Music helps the physical, emotional, and intellectual development of babies as well as strengthening cognitive and sensory development.

Chalk Eagle by Nazli Tahvili

Children's imaginations will be brought into play in this wordless picture book. When a city-bound boy watches an eagle swooping overhead, he dreams of what it would be like to fly away and soar over mountains and rivers. All he needs is chalk to draw his own eagle and then himself into existence. The two fly away together, and embark on a wonderful adventure of the boy's own imagination.

The New Baby and Me by Christine Kidney

This is a lovely celebration of the way a whole family prepares for the birth of a sibling. The five siblings have been wondering what their new baby brother will be like, and each thinks he will be like himself. But there's a big surprise in store... can you guess? There are interesting ideas for art and collage activities included to help children prepare for a new sibling. An ideal book for families with a new baby on the way...

The Lion Tattoo: A Tale by Rumi

One day a young man decides that he wants a lion tattoo. But as the tattooist begins her work, the young man feels the pain of the needle and decides that his lion doesn't need a tail...or a stomach...or a mane! Based on a tale by Rumi, this hilarious picture book for adult readers is guaranteed to make you think. It's a cute little clothbound book, but to me, the font is too small for little ones, and I am personally not enamoured of the subject for a young child.

The Pirates of Scurvy Sands starring the Jolley-Rogers by Jonny Duddle

Matilda lives in Dull on Sea, but she is off is on holiday with her friends, the Jolley-Rogers, to the pirate-friendly holiday destination of Scurvy Sands. But Matilda is rather out of place in the ruffianly company of the pirates... until she discovers the secret of the legendary treasure of Scurvy Sands. Pacy and exciting, with vivid illustrations, readers will be captivated. With its jaunty freely flowing rhyming text, this a perfect read-aloud pirate tale.

What Can cats Do? by Abner Graboff

There is so much cats can do that children can't. They can lick milk, curl up their toes such as lap up milk and use their tongues as combs. There are also a number of things that cats can't do, like sing children to sleep, or get down from trees. See how a young child perceives the world of the cat in this sharply observed book. Playful and bold illustrations complement the simple text, inspired by a much-loved family feline.

There was an Old Lady illustrated by Abner Graboff

We all know and love the story of the old lady who swallowed a fly and then tried all manner of creatures to catch the fly, until the tale reaches its inevitable end. The simple illsutrations are very effective and there are plenty of additional details for children to spot and enjoy, adding to the interest of the story. This Bodleian Library book is a well-produced hardcover.

I Love You, Bunny by Alina Surnaite

Is your child afraid of the dark, or have night-time fears? Then you'll love this book! When Suzy is afraid to go to sleep, Mummy tells her not to worry because Bunny will take care of her. But then Bunny disappears, only to reappear in a most reassut=ring way and Suzy learns that all is well. The beautiful blue pastel-toned illustrations are perfect to give a comforting bedtime mood. A reassuring and delicately told story to share at bedtimne to allay fears.

15 Things Not To Do With A Puppy by Margaret McAllister

Hang gliding... feeding on cabbage... going to the soft play area... driving the car or doing the shopping are just a few things puppies really shouldn't do. If you've just got a new puppy (or just dream of having one), you are going to love this hilarious approach to dog ownership. What you must do is play with your puppy, be patient with her, walk her and give her lots of cuddles and love. In no time at all you'll be best friends! Holly Sterling's delightful illsutrations are full of fun and humour, perfect for cuddling up with and sharing.

Eric Makes a Splash by Emily MacKenzie

As parents, we do tend to assume that children will love swimming, but that is far from being the case. There are so many strange new experiences that form part of it, that children really do need reassurance - and that's where this super book really comes in to its own. Eric is really worried by the thought of swimming, so when he's invited to a pool party, he gets really anxious. What if his fur gets wet? What if water goes in his eyes? What if he sinks to the bottom of the pool? Fortunately, Eric has a brave and fearless friend who wants to help. But can she convince Eric that swimming is fun? The topic is handled sensitively and positively, addressing the fears as genuine conmcerns and reassuring Eric - and thereby all young readers. Teachers - do read and share thiswith your class if you are starting swimming lessons.

Tiny Little Rocket by David Fickling and Richard Collingridge

There's a tiny little rocket that will take you to the stars, It only flies there once a year, but zips you out past Mars... The young reader will feel a real part of the journey as they sit inside the rocket and share a wonderfully vibrant journey through space. It's stunningly illustrated and there's a wonderful fold-out at the end.

The Strongest Mum by Nicola Kent

Little Bear's mum is very strong... and that's a very good thing, because just look at all the treasures Little Bear collects when he is out and about! I love this spread, it offers so much for adult and child to share as they see what Little Bear has collected. THat's not all though - mum can carry anything and she's always helping out. But even mums can get tired and need a helping hand sometimes, as Little Bear learns when Mum takes on one thing too many, with hilarious results. An adorable and heart-warming story about love and support, delightfully illustrated.

Little Red Reading Hood by Lucy Rowland

This book is perfect to inspire children - and their adults - to love reading, and to share tht love through its pages. Little Red Reading Hood just loves to read and to make up her own stories. Of course, danger lurks and Little Red REading Hood encounters a wolf on the way to the library.... but there the story changes and shows the magic of books. Books can extend the imagination and your child will revel in the opportunity to read the changed stories and enjoy the pictures.

Look Out, it's a Dragon by Jonny Lambert

Saffi is a gentle dragon who doesn't want to be like the others...but when she sets out to find a new home, she finds others still see her as just another dragon. She meets all manner of beautiful creatures, all lgloriously depicted in stunning illustrations, until finally she finds she has an essential role to play. Saffi is a determined and friendly little character, and children will take her to their hearts, rejoicing in her discovery of happiness..

Firefly Home by Jane Clarke

Our night skies are confusing places for fireflies, whether in stories or in real life. Florence Firefly is lost, and there are so many bright lights shining in the night sky she doesn't know which way to go. She'll need some help to find her way back home. In this brilliant interactive picture book, children can help Florence on her journey by encouraging her to fly faster, suggesting which direction to take and making a wish, as they follow the story and try to thibk what comes next. Stunningly illustrated by Britta Teckentrup, each page is a work of art in itself. This is a beautiful book and children are cleverly drawn into the story by means of following the trail which winds its way through the pages.

Lionel and the Lion's Share by Lou Peacock

As the old saying recognses, lions do get the lion's share and that's just what Lionel believes should happen. He buys all the best instruments from the music shop, all the smartest hats from the hat shop and all the brightest balloons from the balloon stall. But at Chloe's birthday party Lionel goes too far and eats ALL the cake. That's when Lionel's friends decide that something has to be done Sharing - always a tricky one for young children, but they will enjoy the moral behind this story which shows sharing can be good... and fun. Lively illustrations by Lisa Sheehan are expressive and thoughtful, showcasing the theme of the story.

Dog in Boots by Paula Metcalf

Perfect for dog lovers, this is a lovely tale of being true to yourself and having self-belief. Philip the dachshund is in love with Penelope... but there is a problem. Penelope is very tall but Philip is tiny. He needs a plan to make himself tall. But, wait a minute - are things really what they seem? The results of Philip's plan are hilarious and heartwarming, and all brilliantly depicted in lift-the-flap illustrations which perfectly illustrate Philip's dilemma. A lovely read, full of fun. The extra element of flaps to explore is always welcome.

The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie

Percy is a very hungry little pigeon. The trouble is, life on the streets is tough, and all the other pigeons are bigger than him, so they get all the food. Poor little Percy tries everywhere but he's about to give up when help comes from a very unexpected source. This is a touching and uplifting story about struggle against adversity and the kindness of strangers, illustrated with great feeling and compassion. It's good to know that 10% of the profits from the sale of the book go to The Trussell Trust, supporting a network of 435 foodbanks across the UK. It makes you think.

Goodnight Mr Panda by Steve Antony

This is a simple but very effective story about all those little things that need to be done at bedtime... and what happens when they are not! Mr Panda has to remind his friends... but what happens when HE tries to go to bed? There are some series that leap out at me from my piles of review copies and Steve Antony's wonderful Mr Panda books come in that category. We are guaranteed a highly enjoyable story along with a meaningful message relating to everyday life that children and adults will love to share. This is perfect for bedtime, of course!

Erik the Lone Wolf by Sarah Finan

Is life outside the pack all that Erik hopes it will be? Being a wolf means being part of the pack, but adventurous young wolf Erik has dreanm beyond that. Will he miss the companionship of the pack? It's a story of bravery and adventure - and of the return to safety and security. The illustrations are wonderfully evocative and really help us to get to know Erik. This is the first title in a brand-new sub-imprint for debut authors, First Editions - and it's a great start!

I say Ooh You say Aah by John Kane

"When I say ooh you say aah" - now that will capture children's attention from the start. It's a very silly story - in fact, it's hardly a story at all, but that's the joy of it, and children will love it. This is one of those books that really draws the reader in, involving them every step of the way and encouraging them to think about what they are reading and what might happen next - great to develop the imagination.

Lola Dutch Is a Little Bit Much by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright

Lola Dutch is one very determined little girl - and many parents out there will readily identify with her characteristics!  She is full of enthusiasm for everything, and it all gets a bit much for Bear (and the rest of her friends) sometimes. From the best ways to serve breakfast to the perfect sleeping spot, everything has to be done as Lola wants. But finally, Lola realises that there is just one thing that is really important... Vibrant and full of life, a great new character.

Lola cover

Chinese Emperor's New Clothes by Ying Chang Compestine

Nine year old Ming Da is the emperor of China; his three corrupt ministers take advantage by stealing his rice, gold and precious stones. In a clever adaptation of the traditional tale, the young emperor, wise beyond his years, asks his tailors to make magical new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest will see the clothes’ true glory, but anyone who is dishonest will see only rice sacks. Determined to outdo one another, the dishonest ministers bring all their riches back to the tailors and the emperor can care for his people again. Beautifully illustrated by David Roberts, this brings fresh life to an old tale.

Little Whale by Jo Weaver

Right from the beautiful cover of this book, you know this is going to be a touching and sensitive look at the world of the whale. See the world through the eyes of a whale and her baby and enjoy the thoughtful reflection on the strength of parental love. Little Whale and her mother travel from the warm southern ocean, passing coral reefs, kelp forests and shoals of shimmering fish - with her mother guiding her and protecting her all the way home. This is all depicted in stunning charcoal drawings in grey and blue, which really makes you feel you are deep in the ocean.

Knock Knock Pirate by Caryl Hart

Making learning to count fun with this brilliantly colourful book illustrated by Nick East A visit from a pirate? Sounds like fun... but then the whole crew turn up too. And then the house starts to sail away down the street and things go from bad to worse and Jim finds himself walking the plank... A rip-roaring story, with pirates young and old, and packed with fun and laughs.

Bill and the Little Red Plane by Jonathan Walker

Children are naturally curious and this delightful story is just perfect for all curious children. When Bill sees the swifts flying off, he wonders where they go. And then, after seeing a little red plane in the sky, he is off on a wonderful adventure, following the path of the swifts, and making discoveries all the way. Rosaria Costa's lovely detailed illustrations are perfect to encourage children to look at pictures and learn from them. The book also contains interesting facts about swifts. A refreshing change from the norm and ideal to encourage children's love for discovery.

Blue Monster Wants It All by Jeanne Willis

What really matters in life? Blue Monster finds out as he gets all he wants, right from birth... and not just little things either. Even when he finds himself on a paradise island, he is STILL not happy. Can anything please Blue Monster? There are some things that money can’t buy and once Blue Monster realises that, he is finally happy. In our instant gratification materialistic society, it's great to read a book which introduces young ones to the perils of materialism and helps them realise the importance of family. Beautifully illustrated by Jenni Desmond.

The Little Drop of Water by Rob Holmes

The little drop of water has lots of questions, and children can learn the answers along with him as they follow a day in his life. From the top of the mountain all the way to what his Mother calls the 'wide open sea', the vivid illustrations and chatty text give children a friendly early introduction to elements of the water cycle. A reassuring book that reminds readers of all ages that we are all connected to something much larger than ourselves and that love lasts forever.

 

You're Three by Shelly Unwin

It's unusual to see picture books directly aimed at a specific age, so these will make great gifts - and a collection to build up year by year. This set of rhyming picture books celebrates early childhood and reflects the wonder and curiosity that small children see in the everyday world. Each story reflects a child's developmental changes. The world is an exciting place for a three-year-old and they can celebrate their age with all sorts of things that include the number 3 - there are triplets, triangles, trios and much more... even the Three Little Pigs. Delightful! Don't be mislead - superficially, they look like board books but in fact they are strong paper inside, meaning there is a lot more to the book than first impressions.

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You're Four by Shelly Unwin

Four is fantastic - it's twice as big as two! Four is also the wheels on a car, the legs on ahorse and the seasons of the year. Each of the books in this series is illustrated by Katherine Battersby, with bright detailed illustrations featuring friendly creatures and offering plenty to talk about. The covers and pages have gently rounded corners making them child-friendly.

You're Five by Shelly Unwin

Celebrate reaching the grand age of five with this lovely book. Lots of things come in fives - can your child think of more to add to the story? On initial looks, these books appear to be board books, but that is just the durable cover. Inside the pages are paper, giving the more grown-up feel but with the durability of a board book cover - neatly done. Fun and joyful, these are lovely books which encourage discussion and thinking about numbers and their place in our everyday world.

What is Round? by Blossom Budney

There is a definite retro feel to this book, first published in the 1950s. The catchy rhyming encourages children to think about the many things in the natural world which are round - the moon, the sun, a nest, a bubble. Lots of foods are round too to eat - a ball of ice-cream, a doughnut, a pie. Then there are decorative objects such as a crown or a clock. Striking and vibrant illustrations by Vladimir Bobri add humour and warmth to this unusual and attractive book which will encourage exploration and discussion. The high quality retro feel of these hardback books, with their cloth spines, will certainly appeal to adults but I am not so sure they are ideal for young children

N is For Nursery by Blossom Budney

I love the unusual and unexpected approach of this book which uses all sorts of concepts to illustrate the alphabet, from A which is 'for all of us - everyone, playing, learning and having fun to Y which is for yes, yippee and yelling; and then to Z with the more predictable zebra and zoo. Lively pictures designed around each letter show children happily playing and the rhyming text is lovely for reading out loud. These lovely retro-feel books are brought to us by the Bodleian Library.

Bedtime Stories from the Night Garden

10 years of the much-loved TV series are celebrated with this hardback book which includes 10 bedtime stories featuring all the favourite characters. Join Igglepiggle, Upsy Daisy and all their friends as they find out what's wrong with Makka Pakka's trumpet; find out what happens when Tombliboo Ooo drinks too much Pinky Ponk juice; play hide-and-seek with the Pontipines, search for Igglepiggle's blanket and more lively stories. The stories are beautifully illustrated with bold coloured backgrounds and delightful pictures to remind children of the TV shows. The stories are perfect for relaxing bedtime reading, and this will become a great favourite.

Neon Leon by Jane Clarke

Leon is a chameleon and, as we all know, chameleons can change colour to fit in with their background... all except poor Leon, who stands out wherever he goes. And that gives illustrator Britta Teckentrup a wonderful opportunity for some very effective illustrations. Children are engaged with the book, as they are asked to help Leon blend in with his surroundings... but Leon is so bright that he keeps all the other chameleons awake at night. He is lonely, so he sets off to find somewhere he does fit in. This is a delightful story about a very appealing little character who does find his special happy ending. For added reading enjoyment, the book comes with a free Stories Aloud smartphone audio book.

Boogie Bear by David Walliams

The little polar bear is so tired she drops off to sleep on an iceberg... and doesn't notice when the iceberg breaks away and she drifts off. As the sea worms, so her iceberg melts and she finds herself many miles from home. She meets a whole group of brown bears who are frightened of her because she is different. But after a series of escapades, a change takes place and soon the polar bear has found love. This hilarious story has an underlying message of accepting and then celebrating difference, touchingly conveyed in a superbly told story. Guaranteed to become a favourite. Tony Ross' wonderful illustrations are the perfect counterpoint to the hilarious story, bringing the words to life brilliantly.

The 12 Sleighs of Christmas by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Rollicking rhymes race you through this fast-paced story which is perfect for all young readers obsessed with vehicles of all types. It's nearly Christmas and the busy elves find Santa's sleigh is trashed, so they split into teams to see who can create the coolest sleigh. Their imaginations run with and soon there are sleighs galore in all shapes and sizes for Santa to choose from... but there are two surprises to end this lovely tale. Fresh, original and imaginative, this is a glorious seasonal story with a difference.

Bears Don't Eat Egg Sandwiches by Julie Fulton

I always look forward to new books from Maverick Arts Publishing - I know I am going to be enjoying great stories along with superb illustrations - and this latest batch lived up to expectations. The little boy loves egg sandwiches and when a big bear drops in unexpectedly at lunchtime, Jack is quite happy to share his sandwiches... but the bear has other ideas. Children will love the way the tension builds - and they will guess just what the bear wants to eat... but can there be a happy ending? Rachel Suzanne's illustrations accompany the words perfectly in this hilarious and very satisfying story.

Game of Stones by Rebecca Lisle

It's great to see a sequel to a popular picture book, as children will really enjoy re-visiting old friends in a new story; this is the sequel to the hilarious Stone Underpants. Pod and his little brother Hinge think The Stone Age is boring. So Pod sets out to make a new game but things don't quite go to plan and the new games of Yow-yow and Crackit are swiftly banned. After a dew more false starts, finally, Pod comes up with a brilliant game that could just answer an age-old question... but you will have to read this wonderful laugh-aloud book to find out what! Superbly illustrated by Richard Watson.

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Beware the Mighty Bitey by Heather Pindar

Lurking in the deep waters of the Nippy Pool, right under the rather precarious rope bridge, live the Mighty Bitey Piranhas. One day, the animals are on their way to a party and the piranhas persuade them to stop and play some music... but the tables are turned in a hilarious story which children will love. Illustrated with great style and verve by Susan Batori. Did you know that your child can enjoy colouring sheets from their favourites on the Maverick website?

The Bear and the Piano Sound Book by David Litchfield

A strange object appears in the forest one day and the young bear discovers he can make it play beautiful sounds. When they are heard by a father and son, the bear sets off with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and the music he loves... but is that what he really wants? In this touching story, the bear realises what is really important. The muted palate of the delicate and detailed illustrations makes them really appealing and meaningful. With lots of piano sounds to bring the story alive, this is a beautifully told story about what really matters in life.

Once Upon a Tree by Dawn Jarocki Soren Kisel

The little leaf watches the world around it and wonders what its purpose is. Baby birds fly off, caterpillars become beautiful butterflies. As the days grow shorter, the leaf wonders if it should be changing too. Then, one day, the leaf noticed it had become a beautiful crimson colour. It was time for the leaf to let go - its purpose fulfilled. The beautiful illustrations by Jessica McClure are delicate and the leaf portrayed so sweetly. A charming story.

Willa and the Bear by Philomena O'Neill

This story will really resonate with every parent whose child has a much-loved toy from which they cannot bear to be separated. Willa loves her ragdoll, Rosie, who goes everywhere with her. So when Rosie falls out of the wagon, unnoticed until it's too late, Willa is inconsolable. But a black bear finds Rosie and returns her, seen only by Willa, who finds a way to thank him in this gentle, touching story. Published by Sterling, November 2017, ISBN 978-1454925736.

Search and Find A Christmas Carol: A Charles Dickens Search & Find Book illustrated by Louise Piggott

This is a lovely way to introduce young children to the magic of Dickens' classic Christmas story, without falling into the trap of making children think they have now read the full story, as happens with so many abridged editions. The beautifully illustrated search & find pages encourage children to find the characters and places on the busy and stylish pages and them follow them through the story. Each page is full of characters to find and details to spot in the busy scenes, such as Scrooge in his counting house, the arrival of Jacob Marley's ghost, the Fezziwig Christmas party and the Cratchit family at home on Christmas Day and many more. There are 10 things to spot on each double page spread and looking for them really does draw children into the story. The scenes are really attractive and the book is totally engaging and festive.

It's Christmas by Tracey Corderoy

Cute little Archie is really excited about Christmas... but nothing is quite Christmassy enough for him, so he 'helps' mum and dad by adding his own finishing touches. But things don't go to plan and soon Archie, with the best of intentions, has caused havoc. Luckily, everything is sorted out in the end and the family enjoy the best Christmas ever. The bright lively illustrations by Tim Warnes are full of festive fun.

Dough Knights and Dragons by Dee Leone

In the days of yore, friendship between knights and dragons is banned. But a knight and a dragon share a love for baking, so they cook up a delicious plan to save their friendship rather than duelling against one another as the law demands. Can the unlikely pair find a way to evade the law, save their friendship and spread good throughout the land? Told in catchy rhyming couplets and illustrated with great verve by George Ermos, this is a lovely tale of friendship and baking which children will love. Published by Sterling, November 2017, ISBN 978-1454921417.

Mice Skating by Annie Silvestro

Lucy is unusual - most field mice hate winter and just want to burrow down and keep warm, but Lucy loves winter and especially skating. When a snowball fight goes wrong, she entices her friends outside to make snow angels and to 'mice skate' on the pond. The feel of the story is perfectly echoed by the delicately detailed illustrations, and the cream paper gives the book a luxurious feel. A lovely wintry story with a difference. Adults will enjoy the puns - but children may need some explaining done! Published by Sterling, November 2017, ISBN 978-1454916321.

The Star Tree by Catherine Hyde

This lyrical story is a perfect bedtime read with its soothing rhythm and delicately coloured illustrations. Float away with Miranda on a magical mystical Midsummer’s Eve nighttime journey. On her travels she meets the great white owl, the little red hare, the big white bear, and the giant stag before being carried home by the great white goose. Soothing, dreamlike and reassuring, the story is beautifully told and will soothe children off to sleep, perhaps with their own special dreams o come.

Birdy and Bou: The Floating Library by David Bedford and Mandy Stanley

This wonderfully vibrant picture book will captivate children. Bou loves the floating library, and he especially loves his favourite book. Bou is really sad when his book isn't there and he finds that Birdy has borrowed it. So off he sets to find Birdy - and his beloved book. I love the bold illustrations and all the creatures who people them - they will captivate children. This lovely book is a brilliant celebration of friendship and of the love of books, perfect for sharing and asking your child about their favourite book(s). I love the fact the book is produced on heavy shiny paper, making it really durable, even for little fingers; the pages just don't crease.

Unicorn Expert by Morag Hood and Ella Okstad

Sophie Johnson lives with an unicorn... well, 17 unicorns to be precise, and she knows all there is to know about these mystical creatures - or does she? Just who is the rather special character who keeps appearing? Sophie is a wonderfully endearing character with whom children (and adults) will fall in love, despite the mayhem she causes. Glorious illustrations capture the chaos and fun of this hilarious story to perfection.

Snow Penguin by Tony Mitton

Rhyming stories are lovely to read aloud and share with young children, who respond well to the rhythm. These rhyming couplets really flow, and are well laid out across the pictures. An inquisitive little penguin finds himself floating away on an exciting adventure, and he meets two blue whales, an elephant seal, a family of sea lions and a whole school of orca... but then he realises that what he really wants is his family. A touching story about the fun of adventure and the security of the family. The bold vibrant colour of the beautiful illustrations by Alison Brown, and the sparkly cover add enormously to the appeal of the book.

The Lost Penguin (An Oliver and Patch Story) by Claire Freedman

A touching story about the importance of friendship which follows the gentle theme of the first story, Oliver and Patch. We meet them them again as Oliver, Ruby and Patch visit the zoo - their favourite place. They each have their favourites.. But when Peep, the little penguin who’s new to the zoo, goes missing, the friends must set off together to save Peep and bring him home... but their friendship is put to the test.Illustrated by Kate Hindley. Another heartwarming tale of friendship and working as a team from this bestselling duo. Relaxing and reassuring, this is a gentle read.

Ziggy and the Moonlight Show by Kristyna Litten

Ziggy always looks forward to the spectacular Moonlight Show on Saturday night, but when a bird loses her chick, Ziggy knows she needs to help out. She knows she is looking out for someone with black and white stripes - but there are lots of other creatures to mislead her on the way through her search. Ziggy and the bird find themselves in a gloomy wood - will they ever find the chick? And will they make it back in time for the show? A lovely hide-and-seek story, charmingly illustrated by the author.

Bright Stanley and the Mermaid Tale by Matt Buckingham

When Stanley is late to meet his friends - yet again - he makes up a story that he met a mermaid. They don't believe him, of course, but Stanley thinks he has spotted a mermaid in all sorts of places. Sadly, it turns out to be weeds, and a turtle... but wait - where is the music coming from? Could Stanley be right after all? A fun lively story with vibrant illustrations and a glittery cover. Friendship and imagination join together in a cute underwater tale.

The Real Boat by Marina Aromshtam

In this imaginative story, a paper boat discovers that there is such a place as the ocean, he is determined to go there so he can be a real boat. He sets out along the stream, meeting all manner of boats along the way, and making lots of friends, as the stream gets bigger and bigger. Finally, he reaches the sea - but the ocean is huge and full of danger. Eventually, all is well in a surprising and happy ending to this unusual and engaging story which is a true wonder to read, with so much to marvel at as we share the little paper boat's brave voyage. It is superbly illustrated by Victoria Semykina, with a gorgeous silvery cover.

The Longest Breakfast by Jenny Bornholdt

Breakfast - the most important meal of the day? Well, it certainly is the longest in this entertaining story which sees breakfast going on... and on... and on. Baby wants breakfast so Malcolm gets out of bed to get started. - Then everyone else joins in - Toby and Una and Toto and Alice are all hungry. And then there's Conrad from next door and his sister Ruby and each of them wants something different. Poor Malcolm! But what about the baby? A lively and fun family tale with a cute baby playing his part on every page. Great fun.

Wolfy by Gregoire Solotareff

When Rabbit and Wolf meet, despite all odds, the young animals become friends. Tom the rabbit teaches the wolf to play marbles, read, count and fish. Wolfy teaches Tom to run very, very fast. But when they play Who's-afraid-of-the-wolf?, Tom is really scared and hides away from his friend. Wolfy tries to make friends again, but it's not until he finds fear himself that he realises what to do. Vibrant illustrations tell the simple story beautifully,

The Magical Ice Palace by Suzanne Smith and Lindsay Taylor

Doodle Girl is a creative character who uses her magic pencil to create adventures by transforming doodles into fantastical lands, full of amazing animals - what a wonderful gift! When Doodle Girl and her friends find a curly, curvy shape, Doodle Girl turns it into a magical snowflake which takes them on an exciting journey. On their journey, they find a sad, lonely mammoth high up on a mountain. Will Doodle Girl be able to help him? And what is the curly curvy shape going to be? Find out in this gorgeous book, full of creativity and fun with a giant, free doodling poster which will be lovely displayed on a bedroom wall. A lovely way to encourage children to doodle, and to imagine what mundane things could become.

Let it Glow: A Winter's Walk by Owen Gildersleeve

This magical book has a very special element - as you turn the pages, twinkling lights shine out, more and more of them as you go through the book. The story is told in verse and follows a boy as he walks out to deliver a parcel, journeying through a seasonal winter wonderland. The lights are revealed by diecuts throughout, becoming lit-up shop windows, carol singers' candles, stars in the sky and finally stars on the tree. The simple and stylish illustrations are full of lovely details and the lights are the perfect finishing touch. This will make lovely festive bedtime reading - dim the lights and make it a magical relaxing experience.

Wakey, Wakey, Elephant! by Linda Ravin Lodding

Edgar is having terrible trouble waking his elephant. He tries everything, from gently tickling with a feather to the more drastic measure of leading a marching band through his bedroom. Nothing works… until Edgar whispers something very special in his friend's ear... it's a special day for Elephant and he soon wakes up then! Michael Robertson's vibrant illustrations are full of joy and life. A lovely story about a very lovable elephant and his loyal friend.

Words and Your Heart by Kate Jane Neal

Words are powerful and our hearths control the words we say; this sensitive book encourages us all to reflect on the impact our words have on others. Told through the eyes of Pip and Cat, this book beautifully demonstrates the importance of what we say – both positive and negative. Thoughtful, warm-hearted and completely non-preachy, this is a book that has already resonated with large numbers of children, whose teachers report a sea of change in the culture of their classroom after reading it. The illustrations are equally telling, and very expressive. A universal message, for a world that always needs a little more kindness. It's a great way to encourage discussion and to share the power of words.

Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans by Jessie Miller

A new pair of jeans! Something that is a great moment to many people - and Rooster is no exception. His new jeans have 'sparking stitching, a striking gold hue, and the indigo denim, a dazzling blue'. But what will the other animals think? As he goes around the farmyard, the reaction is not what he'd expected, but Rooster is not to be deterred. Full of confidence and refusing to listen to them, he shows off from the highest spot - and soon the other animals are showing him respect for standing up for himself. It's a hilarious rhyming story about self-belief, which will encourage confidence. The fabulously funny illustrations are by Barbara Bakos.

Pirates in Classroom 3 by Alison Donald

Classroom 3 is in chaos when Ms Bitsy leaves the room... but who is that at the window? It's Captain Calamity looking for the treasure his map says is in their classroom! It's all hands on deck to find it before Pirate Bloodloss catches up and steals the treasure away... will they make it? THis wonderfully imaginative story has Pirate Bloodloss getting his comeuppance when he meets the fearsome Ms Bitsy! Great fun for all young pirate lovers - and everyone else who loves a good story.

One Noisy Night by M CHristina Butler

Little Hedgehog and his friends have heard strange noises at night, creakings and crashings, so they set out at night to investigate. Fox is sure he saw Little Hedgehog down by the river... or at least, he saw Little Hedgehog's bright red hat. It turns out that Little Hedgehog isn't the only one with a red hat, and soon the animals have some new friends. This is the tenth book of the best-selling Little Hedgehog series, and it's a lovely seasonal story with appropriately illustrations from Tina Macnaughton. Children will love the soft touch-and-feel flocking of the bright red hats. One Noisy Night is a charming story of friendship, resourcefulness and bravery.

Santa to the Rescue by Barry Timms

Most of the animals are aall prepared and looking forward to a lovely Christmas... but it looks at though the bears of Mistletoe Mountain won't be enjoying Christmas. Can Badger and friends come to the rescue and help Santa? Soon they are at Santa's house, wrapping presents and cooking up a feast... then it's off on the sleigh and Christmas is saved. The vibrant seasonal illustrations, full of colour and lots of Christmassy things, by Ag Jatkowska, perfectly set the scene of this tale of friendship.

The Perfect Present by Stella J Jones

Christmas is all about loving and giving and that's just what this charming seasonal story is all about. Billy and Bella are the best of friends, so when it comes to buying presents for each other, they are prepared to give up that which they love most... but will their sacrifices have been in vain? In the true Christmas spirit, it all turns out happily. With beautifully festive illustrations from best-selling illustrator Caroline Pedler, this is a perfect feel-good Christmas story.

Don't Leap, Larry by John Briggs

Lemmings are all the same, surely? Sell, no, they're not actually, as Larry shows. Larry Lemming is unlike all the others, but can he teach the others to be more like him? He likes to be different, so he won't follow the others jumping off a cliff, because he has a mind of his own. Unlike the rest of the crew, he goes sledging with the puffins, eats pepperoni pizza, and likes to wear a top hat. But can Larry teach his fellow lemmings to finally think for themselves? It's a cute story about not being afraid to be different and standing up for what you think is right. It's charmingly illustrated by Nicola Slater with bold colours and simple designs.

The Elephant in the Room by James Thorp and Angus Mackinnon

'It started with an "oops!" and a "Look out!" and a crash!' Someone has smashed Father Giant's favourite elephant. It wasn't Olive and her brother Grub, of course. But it was the result of a series of more and more improbable happenings, as the blame passes from one to another in this hilarious story. This magnificently madcap mystery, with wonderful illustrations which include vibrant orange, will keep readers guessing until the very end. Great fun.

Santa Selfie by Peter Bently

Santa is going on holiday - instead of the cold North Pole, he's off on a cruise. Butt, just like any celebrity, he finds it hard to escape from his fans... so he decides to leave the ship. Things don't get better, though, as wherever he goes in this hilarious rhyming story, people want a photo. He knows somewhere where nobody will want a photo, though... or does he? The illustrations by Anna Chernyshova are full of life and vibrant colour. A love;y and unusual tale about a contemporary dilemma.

Romeo's Big Book of Clever Ideas by Alain Gree

Alain Gree's books and characters are timeless, and now Romeo the dog, who originally appeared in the 1960s, has his own books; this is recommended for children age 4+. Adorable Romeo means well, but can be a little clumsy - many children will identify with his character! Romeo's Big Book of Clever ideas is the first book in this series to be republished by Button Books. In this delightful story,  Romeo decides to go camping but by the time he has finished packing his suitcase it is too heavy for him to lift. Ever inventive, he comes up with a variety of novel ways to move it, and poor Romeo lands up in some tricky situations. In the end Romeo decides the simplest thing is to use his suitcase as a tent and camp at home! Imaginative and full of fun, this is a lovely story. Published by Button Books, October 2017, ISBN 978-1908985989.

Town and Country (Turnaround Book) illustrated by Craig Shuttlewood

Flip the book - what can you see? This is a lovely book which works well on so many different levels. Read the book one way and there are lots of colourful packed town scenes to enjoy; flip it over and see related country scenes - transport, food, beach and lots more, some quite unexpected too; some things remain the same and some are quite different. There are lots of clever details to spot in each picture and the stylised drawings are really attractive. Alongside each picture is a mini picture glossary for each picture for older children to enjoy. Younger ones will simply enjoy the picture. There's also a very attractive words and pictures section at the end to really stimulate children, plus even more things to seek out. A great way to get children talking, to encourage them to be observant and to generate an interest in the world around them. Whether reading alone or sharing, there is lots to gain from this lovely book.

Pull the Tab: 100 Words - My Busy Day from Armadillo Books

Pull the Tabs to make the words appear in this big board book. The busy pictures take us through a typical toddler's day. First it's breakfast time, then getting ready, in the garden, working and playing, bath time and bedtime story. One one side is an action-packed picture - pull the tab and the words appear on the objects; on the opposite spread, all the named pictures appear., complete with the words. Can your little one match the words to the pictures and then check with the tabs? There are plenty of other challenges too - look for shapes in the bathroom and do some counting at breakfast time. It's a fun way to encourage familiarity with words and to help toddlers name the objects they meet daily.

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Alison Ritchie

It's the little puppy's first Christmas and he's SO excited! And there are lots more dogs all ready to help in this seasonal counting story... there are the dalmatians ready to bake, the bulldogs who don't agree, spaniels keen to help with decorating and lots more. Festive scenes adorn every page and there's plenty here to help children build up anticipation. But with all these dogs on the scene, will anything get done? Children will love picking their favourite dogs and spotting the puppy in busy scenes. Great fun, with vibrabt illustrations by Melissa Morca.

Supertato: Evil Pea Rules! by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

There's lots of anarchic fun to be had in this joyous romp of a story with a very Christmassy feel. But Evil Pea is back on the scene, and instead of a festive wonderland, he wants to turn the supermarket into an icy kingdom. It's time for heroes to come to the rescue... but where is Supertato? Full of humour, action and excitement, with glorious illustrations, this is another winner from a great team.

One Moonlit Night by Zanna Davidson

A magical glittery cover is the perfect introduction to this pop-up story of night-time adventures. It's a dream-like journey as the little girl sails away in her silvery boat. See her boat bounce across the waves before she flies off on the dragon's back for an imaginative adventure, before returning safely to her bed... with a memento of her journey. Each scene pops up in glorious detail as you turn the pages to share this beautiful bedtime story. Seo Kim's beautiful illustrations are vibrant and full of intense night-time colour and beautifully patterned detail.

Last Stop on the Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell Tuck

Christmas is very much family time. It can be hard for children who are separated from family members; here we have a book which shares feelings and helps understanding and acceptance of the situation. Mia's Daddy is far away and she is sad. But then Mia discovers a mysterious post box and she is soon off on a wonderful adventure. Readers are drawn into Mia's journey through the y peep-through pages, flaps and atmospheric illustrations from Karl James Mountford. Sensitive and touching, the book is an excellent way to encourage young children to articulate their feelings and to give adults the opportunity to talk and reassure them.

The Snow Bear by Sean Taylor

When Tiggy wakes up in the morning, the world is white., so Tiggy and Martina set out to make a snowman - but it looks more like a snowbear. Then they set off on a sledge ride which takes them deep into the woods ... and into danger. Help is at hand from an unexpected source in this lovely story which carries definite undertones of a well-known snowy story. Claire Alexander's beautifully depicted pictures take us into a snowy world in this enjoyable tale of friendship, loyalty, bravery and the magic of snow. Perfect winter reading. Ask your children to imagine what could happen if their snow construction came to life.

Angel's Great Escape: A Christmas Story by Kirstie Rowson

Once upon a time, there were the Good family and the Mean family... and things are very different in their homes. Angel is looking forward to a magical Christmas with all the other decorations. There's only one problem, they're trapped in a box at the home of the Mean family. Will they be able to escape and will they be in time to meet Father Christmas? Sadly, I found this quite tricky to read aloud as despite being rhyming text, it does not always scan, meaning the text does not quite flow right. Aside from that, it's a delightful story, which children will love.

Daddy and I by Lou Treleaven

You can always guarantee a good story from Maverick Arts Publishing, so I am always pleased to review new books from them. Saturday is Daddy day, and the pair are off on a countryside walk. What will they spot - and what will each one think? Delicate watercolour illustrations by Sophie Burrows give a lovely nostalgic countryside feel. I love the way this book compares the child's eye view with that of an adult - where the child sees a shark, Dad sees a Ford Escort Mark II; it's really stimulating and can open up many avenues of discussion. Told in catchy rhyming text - who knew so many words rhyme with I - this is a lovely journey of discovery, and a perfect book for dads to share with their children - and to encourage adults to see things from a child's perspective, opening our eyes to the wonder children see in everything.

Bonkers About Beetroot by Cath Jones

The animals resident at Sunset Safari Park need to resort to drastic measures to attract visitors and remain open... but beetroot? A mighty manure mountain could be just the thing to grow a huge beetroot on... and it just grows and grows. So Zebra decides to help out - with an amazing consequence that certainly draws in the visitors! A hilarious story, full of fun and laughter. Bright bold illustrations by Chris Jevons have a wonderful sense of fun, setting the story off to perfection.

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon by Richard Adams

Yes, this is from the author of Watership Down. Egg Box Dragon is a mischievous homemade dragon who can find anything that is lost. Soon his fame has spread far and wide; he features in the news and then the Queen herself needs his help. A lovely story with an unexpected twist in the tale. The story is illustrated by the award-winning Alex T. Smith.

Spider by Alison Steadman

Rafael hates spiders... but just like many children, he has picked up on his Dad's fear. And when the big, hairy, scary spider asks for help, Rafael finds he has a new, eight-legged friend. This is hilarious, warm-hearted and action-packed look at spiders and their world. It will enthrall both children and parents, with plenty of fascinating spider facts and figures throughout the book to entertain and delight - and hopefully, persuade us all that spiders really aren't that scary after all. Will you sign the pledge? I do hope so!

Katinka's Tail by Judith Kerr

The author of the highly acclaimed The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog the Forgetful Cat brings us a brand new picture book which has all the appeal of he previous books. Katinka, is a perfectly ordinary pussycat, with a not-quite-so-ordinary tail - a tail which may remind you of another cat... The story is inspired by the authpr's own cat, and it tells of a happy ordinary life which suddenly turns into a wonderful adventure - and as it does, so the illustrations take on their own special glittery magic. A warm and delightful story for boys and girls of all ages.

Merry Christmas, Hugless Douglas by David Melling

A new Hugless Douglas story is always keenly anticipated and this lovely story is bound to be a seasonal favourite for years to come. Hugless Douglas knows what Christmas is all about - and top of his list are hugs, of course. But finding a tree, sledging and and making new friends like Rudi the Reindeer are also important. David Melling is one of the UK's best-loved author-illustrators and his seventh book about Douglas the brown bear is as funny and compelling as the first. It combines brilliantly imaginative illustrations with an endearing sense of what it is like to be a small child learning about the world. Hugless Douglas is a warm and irresistible character who knows just what is important in life - and he shares his advent hug jar with young readers.

The Nutcracker (The Story Orchestra) illustrated by Jessica Courtney-Tickle

The Nutcracker has got to be the best way to introduce children to the joys of ballet - and this sound book will really capture their attention. Join Clara on her magical adventure in this succinct retelling of the classic ballet story, which captures all the key elements and characters. As children read the story, they can press the sound buttons to hear extracts from 'The Dance of the Reed Flutes', 'The Waltz of Flowers', 'The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy' and many more. The sound quality is surprisingly good for a book of this nature, with decent length extracts. I like the fact that all the sounds can be accessed from the final page of the book. The illustrations are full of life and packed with fascinating detail.

A Dog With Nice Ears (Charlie and Lola) by Lauren Child

Like so many children, Lola wants a pet.She says she wants a dog, but she seems rather confused about what it should be like! As ever, this is another hugely funny book, full of imagination, packed full of dogs of every shape, size and colour, as well as plenty of other pets. Lauren Child's always produces irresistible books and this is no exception - bound to please existing fans and make new ones. The appealing layout of these books is a great feature, with clever use of typefaces and words and pictures which interweave wonderfully, drawing the reader right in to the story.

The Stink Before Christmas by Sam and Mark

Very loosely based on the Christmas favourite,'The night before Christmas', this is a riotous story that will have young readers in fits of giggles. It's time to deliver presents, but Santa's tummy is feeling funny, due to all the festive goodies he has eaten, and he needs to let out parps along the way... But as a result, all the presents fall in the sea - will Santa's trusty reindeer come to the rescue? The authors are BAFTA-winning children's TV presenters Sam & Mark Fpr extra festive fun, the book comes with an appropriately silly "Santa Stop Here" doorhanger.

Socks for Mr Wolf: A Woolly Adventure Around Ireland by Tatyana Feeney

Mr Wolf loves looking good and more than anything in the world, Mr Wolf loves his beautiful socks. But one day, a hole appears - and it just goes on getting bigger and bigger. What is he to do? Nothing he tries works. Eventually, he hes the bright idea of setting off in search of some wool, and he follows its trail (quite literally) until it comes to a very surprising end. A lovely story, with gorgeously stylish illustrations.

One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell

The cover of this is simply beautiful, and so very festive with its red and gold foiling. The beauty of the illustrations, by Emily Sutton, continue inside. They are quite stunning in their delicacy and detail, perfectly capturing the spirit of Christmas. Theo has been left at home with a babysitter on Christmas Eve. When he sees a shooting star, he makes a wish - and his wish comes true as the Christmas decorations begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a little havoc... A beautiful and moving story, about holding true to real values, told with gentle humour and warmth.

I Went to See Santa by Paul Howard

This lovely cumulative story features some amazing, and highly unlikely, presents from Santa. A boy and a girl go to see Santa, and it soon turns into a competition to see who can get the strangest present. As they list all the Christmas gifts, it gets madder and madder... but did someone forget something? "Oh no I didn't. Oh yes you did". What is the most important thing? A hilarious story - how much can your child remember?

Pretty by Canizales

The witch has a date, and she wants to look her best, and soon the woodland animals are offering their thoughts on her appearance. Will she still be the same witch at the end of it? The story explores the pressure to be perfect, reflecting the preoccupation we can have with appearances, and how easy it can be to lose yourself in the process. A hilarious and thought-provoking picture book which shows the importance of looking at the person, not their looks; the message is strongly conveyed through the story, which has a surprising twist at the end.

Balthazar the Great by Kirsten Sims

There isn't really much competition, but Balthalzar is the world's greatest violin-playing polar bear, and now he's the only polar bear left in all the world's circuses. But when he is freed from the circus, he has trouble finding his way home. There are good days and bad days but finally, he sees a familiar face... The minimal text is astoundingly effective and pairs up superbly with the moving illustrations.

 

Pandora by Victoria Turnbull

 Pandora, a little fox, lives alone in a world of broken things. Although she has a lovely home, carefully put together from the rejects of others (there's an ecological message here), nobody visits and she is lonely. But when a bird with a broken wing comes into her life, Pandora nurses him back to health and they become friends. As he recovers, he begins to fly away each day, bringing a seed or small plant with him... but one day he doesn't return. Pandora is sad until she discovers the legacy of all the gifts which grow. Beautiful illustrations combine with a heartwarming story to bring us a book which epitomises what picture books are all about.

All the Way Home by Debi Gliori

Penguins are unusual in that it's the male who looks after the eggs, while the females go in search of food. When Daddy Penguin wanders away from the Dad Huddle, he and the egg are whisked up into the air by a gust of wind, landing in the Arctic. It is going to be a long journey home with nobody to help until he meets a reindeer, who takes Daddy and the egg to breakfast with the Special Air Navigation Transport Authority ... who is a very special person. A lovely imaginative story with an unexpected ending.

The Glassmaker's Daughter by Dianne Hofmeyr

Set in the magical city of Venice, the richly detailed illustrations by Jane Ray makes the most of the beauty of the city as the backdrop to the story of Daniela, the glassmaker's daughter. She is a miserable girl who never smiles, so her father promises a beautiful glass palace to anyone who can make her laugh. All manner of people come, hoping to win the prize but it is a surprising thing that finally makes her laugh - her own grumpy reflection in a looking glass made by a young apprentice. An uplifting story to put a smile on everyone's face.

Run, Elephant, Run: An Indonesian Rainforest Adventure by Patricia MacCarthy

Little Elephant when a storm comes to the rainforest and when, among all the havoc, he can't find his mother anywhere. He must run for his life when a tiger comes his way... Luckily, he soon finds his mother, and peace is restored to the rainforest. The wonderfully vibrant illustrations depict 35 rainforest creatures to spot, and they are all pictured and named at the end of the book; a lovely way to introduce young children to life in the rainforest. The alliterative patterned language is perfect for children to join in with - 'slip-slop slip-slop; pitter-patter spit spot spot spot; whoosh swoosh whoosh swoosh'.

The Creature by Helen Bate

Just what had Alfie the cat brought in? "It was cold, it was wet, it was trembling and hairy. Then it awoke...Growling and SCARY!" Trouble is, it just wouldn't go away and it soon became part of the family, however they tried to get rid of it. Until one day it makes a nest on the top bunk and goes very quiet...What could be going on? There's a big surprise for all the family... and finally the creature leaves, but not alone. Superbly expressive illustrations show just what the family think of their uninvited guest in this hilarious picture book.

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 Claude is a super character who already has legions of fans, and this is set to increase as he is soon to become a star on Disney Junior.

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Class One Farmyard Fun by Julia Jarman

Join Class One for a hilarious day out at the farm. They are so busy watching the animals getting up to all manner of antics that they don't notice the bull who has come chasing after them. But don't worry, Sam has a clever plan which involves a large pair of red knickers... The moral of the story? Don't wear red when you visit the farm! Lynne Chapman's vibrant illustrations capture the chaos and excitement marvellously.

Hugless Douglas Goes to Little School by David Melling

Lovable Hugless Douglas is hugely popular with young ones, so who better to reassure them about those first days at school? This book is perfect to read over and over again, showing just how much fun school can be... far more fun than you might expect as Hugless Douglas gives his own inimitable take on what goes on at school. Children will be desperate to start!

Wibbly Pig's Silly Big Bear by Mick Inkpen

Wibbly Pig has a new friend - a bear so huge, he only just fits on the page. But Big Bear is sadly lacking in social skills - he doesn't know how to eat peas, how to sit on a potty, know how to brush his teeth or comb his hair ... so many things! But Wibbly Pig loves him just the same, because he is full of joy and knows how to give the very best hugs. A lovely story about friendship and caring.

Unplugged by Steve Antony

Blip spends all her time learning new things... but always on the computer. Until one day, there is a power cut and Blip discovers that playing games outside is wonderful fun. The pictures cleverly and effectively change from black and white as Blip discovers that there are plenty of new things to be enjoyed outside. Isn't it wonderful to be UNPLUGGED? A cleverly written story that can be used to great effect to show children the joys of leaving behind their electronic devices.

Ava's Spectacular Spectacles by Alice Rex

Ava hates wearing her glasses - but her teacher has a clever way to show how important it is - by showing her how differently things would her turned out in popular fairy tales if only Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel and others had worn their glasses. Ava is soon convinced. Told really simply yet so effectively, this is perfect for any little people reluctant to wear their glasses. Angela Perrini's lovely illustrations are a delight - just imagine these characters in glasses!

Meg and the Romans by David Walser

A day at the seaside turns out quite unexpectedly whenMeg and Mog meet a new friend - a Roman who is in need of help! But will Meg's spell get him to London? The answer is yes, although in a rather unexpected fashion... Meg and Mog books have been delighting readers for nearly forty-five years,and their appeal is still fresh and timeless. The vibrant and unique artwork by Jan Pienkowski is key to their appeal. They are ideal for sharing or for reading alone as readers enjoy the colours, shapes and characters in the pictures.

The Marvellous Moon Map by Teresa Heapy

One day, adventurous Mouse decides he is going to create his very own moon map, and set off all alone to find the moon. But things start to go wrong when the woods get darker... Luckily, Bear has set off in search of his friend, and when they need to cross water, he has a simply brilliant idea (and you can copy the idea with the instructions in the book!). Atmospheric illustrations by David Litchfield beautifully convey the changing moods of this book, which is a lovely story of true friendship and trust.

Ella Bella Ballerina and the Magic Toyshop by James Mayhew

This lovely series is an ideal way to introduce children to some of our best-loved ballets. The stories are told simply but without losing any of their magic. This story is based on La Boutique Fantastique, and tells the story of what happens when Ella Bella Ballerina, steps into an enchanted toyshop. She discovers all manner of beautiful toys including dancing poodles, playing cards and Russian dolls... and when the shop is shut, they all come to life to save the Can-Can dolls who were threatened with being separated. Sumptuous illustrations showcase the characters beautifully. This is a book to treasure.

Oh No! Where did Walter go? by Joanna Boyle

One windy day, Olive's best friend, Walter the parakeet, flies outside and she wonders if she will ever find him. Walter is small and the city is very big. But Olive has very special acrobat-detective-explorer-pirate skills and she puts these to good use in her search. Can Olive find her friend? And can you spot Walter, who pops up all over the place, giving children the opportunity to really engage with the story. Lively illustrations packed with detail are a delight and give parent and child plenty to talk about.

Ludwig the Sea Dog by Henning Lohlein

This takes picture books to a whole new dimension - literally! Don the 3D sea goggles to see the pictures leap off the page at you. Ludwig and friends live in a world of books. One day, a postcard arrives; Ludwig's friend, Peter the penguin, has a broken submarine and needs Ludwig's help - under the sea. How can a dog who lives in a book explore the underwater world? Maybe with a bit of fairy tale magic and some help from his friends. A clever story with lots of text in speech bubbles which adds to the effectiveness. This is the second 3D picture book from the author of Ludwig the Space Dog. Children will be fascinated and hardly able to believe their eyes - very impressive, especially the four page underwater spread which is simply stunning.

Scary Hairy Party! by Claire Freedman

It's a little bit scary, it's a little bit silly - and it's a whole bundle of fun. Raymond the hairdresser is very busy because everyone wants to look their best for Monster's party... but why do hings keep going wrong? Too much hair gel! Oops; the dyes have been muddled; the hairspray is thick as glue and all Raymond's customers are disappointed - until they discover Monster's party has a very special theme! Then everyone is happy with Raymond's work! The book has vibrant illustrations by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet.

Jessica's Box by Peter Carnavas

There are plenty of books about first experiences at school, but this Peter portrays with depth the topic of finding new friends - something that is really important to young children. Will Jessica find a friend on her first day of school? Watch closely as Jessica reveals the contents of her special box... but sadly, things don't work out. So Jessica tries another approach...could this be the answer to her dreams of friendship. Powerful and emotional, this story can be used to reassure children who struggle initially with friendships.

The Children Who Loved Books by Peter Carnavas

Is this your family? A family which loves books lives in a caravan full of books, but one day it all gets too much and they have to go... but life just isn't the same without books. They are sad and lonely until Lucy brings home something very special - a library book. Soon, the little family are happy again. A moving story about the importance of books.

Last Tree in the City by Peter Carnavas

Edward is sad after he finds the last tree in the city, which was at the end of his street, is no longer standing. The pictures show the bleakness of a city with no green. After some reflection, he finds a way to make things better and soon the illustrations show us a city full of green. A thoughtful and poignant tale about the environment and the way children relate to its beauty.

The Big Sneeze (Marvin and Marigold) by Mark Carthew

Two mice, Marvin and Marigold, live next door to each other. But Marvin just keeps sneezing, Marigold has to find a cure to save her mouse house, which is starting to crumble. Luckily, she finds a perfect cure just in time to stop her friend and neighbour from moving out. Told in lyrical rhyme, this is a lovely story to read aloud, with a lovely use of language and vivid descriptions.

THAT'S NOT A HIPPOPOTAMUS! BY JULIETTE MACIVER

The class is off to the zoo - the zoo which claims to have every creature in the land. But there is no hippopotamus. So the class set off in search of him, meeting many other animals along the way. The text has a wonderful rhythm to it, which gallops along as the children search enthusiastically. The noise and drama reach a pitch, and no one thinks to listen to quiet Liam, who really might know where the hippo is hiding. It's cleverly done - just look at the illustrations as you read and you will enjoy a whole different story - what can you spot? There is so much to look at and appreciate in this wonderful story.

The Wildest Cowboy by Garth Jennings

Eye-catching right from first glance, this wonderful story with its catchy rhyming text is a perfect read-aloud. Clearly, there is something very wrong in the town they call Fear. When salesman Bingo B Brown, turns up in town with his goodies and treats, he's met with a stony silence. Not even his dancing dog can raise a smile. Danger lurks, and the people of the town are not just scary, they're also scared. And then Bingo and his dog meet the fearsome cowboy who has the town trembling... and with a clever twist, things are put right. Superbly illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, this is a Wild West tale with a difference.

The Great Gran Plan by Elli Woollard

Little Red Riding Hood meets The Three Little Pigs in a highly entertaining take on two old favourites. The wolf fancies some nice pig, but pig's house is too strong... but how about Gran? It's a race against time, and the use of a great deal of ingenuity, but wolf's plans are finally foiled in this wonderful rhyming tale, excellently illustrated by Steven Lenton. The use of language in the story is simply superb - what a wonderful way to introduce children to the beauty of words; "So when the bad wolf started howling and prowling and skulking and scowling and grizzling and growling...". A super picture book.

I am Bat by Morag Hood

Simple and effective, the story is told with few words - but those words are very telling. Much of the story can be gleaned from the expressive pictures, so this is definitely a story to cuddle up and share, rather than to read aloud. Bat has very strong views... but as the story shows, views can be changed - a lesson for us all.

Oi Cat! by Kes Gray

Building on the success of the previous books, Kes Gray has once again teamed up with illustrator Jim Field to bring us a story which will be read over and over again. Now the rules have been changed (you must read the previous books!), just where is Cat to sit? This brilliant rhyming read-aloud text, jam-packed with animals and silliness - perfect for children and parents alike. This joyful rhyming text will have children in fits of giggles, and adults enjoying the cleverness of the text.

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss, with his inimitable approach to words, has been making learning to read fun for generations of children - and his books continue to bring delight in a timeless way. This is a collection of three hilarious short stories - the title story, in which Yertle learns the dangers of becoming too puffed up with pride; Gertrude McFuzz, who learns the perils of vanity and the bear and the rabbit who learn, in The Big Brag, that they are not necessarily the best. "As part of a major rebrand programme, HarperCollins is relaunching Dr. Seuss’s bestselling books, including such perennial favourites as The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham and Fox in Socks. In response to consumer demand, the bright new cover designs incorporate much needed guidance on reading levels, with the standard paperbacks divided into three reading strands – Blue Back Books for parents to share with young children, Green Back Books for budding readers to tackle on their own, and Yellow Back Books for older, more fluent readers to enjoy. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories belongs to the Yellow Back Books range." Also reissued are I Can Read With My Eyes Shut (Green Back), The Sneetches and Other Stories (Red Back) and Scrambled Eggs Super! (Yellow Back). Hilarious stories combine with catchy rhymes and clever stprylines to encourage and develop a love for reading.

What Was I Scared of? by Dr Seuss

Subtitled 'A Glow-in-the-Dark Encounter, this book introduces Dr Seuss' spookiest character ever... turn out the lights and you will find you are following a pair of empty trousers through the book! You'll need to read the story with the lights on though, and then enjoy the glow in the dark effect after, as the dark background makes the black text hard to read - one for sharing rather than reading alone, I think. First published as part of The Sneetches and Other Stories collection, this all-time favourite story of Dr. Seuss’s is now published on its own in this very special edition with a glow-in-the-dark finale!

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard

You just know from the title that this is going to be an "ahhhhhhhh" book - and you won't be wrong! An indomitable and irresistible little dog lives all along in the Gobi desert, and she longs for friends. One day, she sees some runners and decides to join their 'game of chase'. Dion is one of the racers and he takes the little dog to his heart, sharing the long journey and looking after the dog he calls Gobi. A lovely heartwarming story of friendship and loyalty, evocatively illustrated by Lisa Manuzak.

Five Little Pumpkins by Ben Mantle

Five little pumpkins are sitting quietly on a gate until… night falls and they are joined by a cast of creepy characters – witches, spiders, bats, frogs and ghosts – all determined to cause plenty of Halloween mischief. What a terrific treat! The simple rhyming text flows superbly, and the illustrations are gorgeous - I love the expressive faces on the pumpkins as they encounter all the scary creatures abroad at Halloween.

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Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson

As soon as they start hearing words, babies are absorbing them and finding joy in them - and this process continues throughout childhood, so we should do our utmost to encourage it. And this book does just that. Why should your little genius's first word be cat when it can be catawampus? Start your child off with an early love of reading with these big words that are wonderfully fun to say! Lilluputian, horripilation, nincompoop and tokus are just a few - luckily, the definitions are given! This is such fun, made even more so by the clever and absorbing illustrations from Hsinping Pan; these are great to pore over with your child and could well lead to even more inspiring words to be used.

Kindergarten Countdown!: 10 More Sleeps Until School Starts! by Marjorie Blain Parker

Children's excitement about starting kindergarten or nursery is often tempered by anxiety; reassure them with this countdown book. A little boy eagerly awaits the first day of kindergarten, as he counts down from 10 sleeps to the big day itself. the new clothes he'll wear, the lunch he'll pack, the bus he'll ride, the friends he'll make and the fun things he'll do in class(and being a US book, a pledge to the flag, which may need explaining). The illustrations by Sophie Burrows give plenty of opportunities to talk about what to expect. A reassuring book. Published by Sterling, September 2017, ISBN 978-1454920601.

Maurice the Unbeastly by Amy Dixon

Maurice is no ordinary beast. He doesn't roar, nor does he destroy. But not Maurice. He has a mellifluous voice, likes to eat veggies and it very photogenic. enjoys kale and is oh-so terribly neat and polite. So his concerned parents enrol him in the Abominable Academy for Brutish Beasts to learn how to behave like a proper beast. But will Maurice become a proper beast, or will he show others his way is best? A lovely story about keeping true to yourself. Published by Sterling, September 2017, ISBN 978-1454919537.

Hibernation Hotel by John Kelly

I love this! Poor Bear just can't get to sleep; his cave is too crowded, noisy and whiffy. His solution? Check into the Hibernation Hotel! The hotel has all the luxuries you would expect but somehow, Bear still can't sleep... until his friends all turn up. This is a highly entertaining book about getting what you want and then finding what you actually need. Laura Brenlla brings Bear and his friends to life with gorgeous illustrations in this laugh-out-loud story about friendship which is a perfect bedtime read.

Ally-Saurus & the Very Bossy Monster by Richard Torrey

We first met the delightful Ally-Saurus in Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School, and now she is back in another story which highlights some of the concerns which face children as they get to grips with the world around them. Maddie, Ally's new neighbour is very bossy and loves making rules. Ally does her best to be agreeable, but when Maddie goes too far, Ally-saurus is forced to confront her and stick up for her friends. This book encourages children to stand up for themselves as well as others. It also shows that what seems to be bullying is not necessarily malicious. Well written and perceptive, it is perfectly pitched to reassure children and to show them what is right. Published by Sterling, August 2017, 978-1454921233.

Cap'n Rex and his Clever Crew by Henry L Herz

Captain Rex is capain of an unusual crew of pirates - they are dinosaurs! A great way to appeal to children, putting two of their favourite topics together. Just like any pirate, Cap'n Rex is on a quest to find treasure, but his dinosaur crew members are easily discouraged by the many obstacles they encounter along the way. With some simple encouragement from their cap'n, Pat, Terry and Kyle find creative ways to overcome the setbacks. And at the end, the crew members also teach their cap'n a thing or two about sharing. Super-bright illustrations by Benjamin Schipper are great fun, and I really like the pirate vocabulary at the end of the book. Published by Sterling, September 2017, ISBN 9781454920885.

You Can Never Run Out Of Love by Helen Docherty

Love never runs out - what a perfect message for parents to share with their children. This is a heart-warming and amusing about the different kinds of love, and how no matter how much love you give you can never run out. You can run out of all sorts of other things though, and often with hilarious consequences. What Happens when you run out of nappies? Well, things get smelly, of course. The message of love is repeated throughout this sweet and gentle book.

The Grotlyn by Benji Davies

Keep children on tenterhooks with this syperbly illustrated picture book which is full of mystery and suspense. Written in catchy rhyming text which trips off the tongue, this is a delight to read aloud: “I know when the Grotlyn’s been. Slipping through your house unseen…” But just what is the mysterious Grotlyn? What sort of creature could it be, scuttling across the town, frightening everyone in its path? And why has it stolen PC Vickers’ knickers? The dark tones of the illustrations set the night-ime scene perfectly in this lovely story.

The Cranky Caterpillar by Richard Graham

When Ezra heard the mournful noises coming from the piano, she simply had to investigate - and inside, she found a gloomy caterpillar. Despite all her efforts, he simply would not be cheered up.  What can Ezra do to help the cranky caterpillar change his tune? It's only when a band of musicians come to play that the caterpillar is suddenly revealed in his true glory...Simple yet amazingly effective, especially through the muted colours of the illustrations, this is a perceptive and touching story. 

 

 

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