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.

 

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. Always meaning well but sometimes a little bit clumsy and accident-prone, Romeo finds himself on a variety of adventures all of which have a happy ending! Romeo's Big Book of Clever ideas is the first book in this series to be republished by Button Books. In this delightful story, aimed at children age 4+, Romeo decides to go camping but by the time he has finished packing his suitcase it is too heavy for him to lift. He comes up with a variety of novel ways to move his suitcase, some more risky than others! In the end Romeo decides to use his suitcase as a tent and camp at home!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?

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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