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

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.

Christopher's Caterpillars by Charlotte Middleton

Christopher Nibble ande his new neighbour, Posie, are busy working in the garden. When the dandelion seedlings start being nibbled by caterpillars, they decide to keep them as pets. But one day the caterpillars disappear - savvy youngsters will love to let you know where they have gone. But Christopher and Rosie are not so wise - until the mystery is explained! Such a lovely way to introduce life cycles to the youngest of children, with wonderful illustrations.

My Book of First Words by Kali Stileman

Far more words than the average 'first words' books make this a book which will offer children plenty of learning fun for a long time after the recommended age of one year. It's a really attractive book, on strong shiny card with decorative borders and eye-catching pictures. Lots of variety, varying from things familiar in everyday life (toys) to the less familiar (wild animals). Towards the end of the book, spreads offer lots of opportunity for discussion and observation, and there are games to play. It's an excellent way to start word recognition and develop vocabulary

Bear and Bird by Gwen Millward

This is a delightful story about an unlikely friendship. Best friends Bear and Bird lived happily together in a house Bear had made for them. One day, Bear went out into the cold to get some fuel and didn't return. Brave little Bird goes in search of his friend Bear and finds some lovely examples of true friendship along the way. Of course, the ending is happy and the friends are reunited and return to their cosy home - charmingly depicted in the illustrations.

The Giant's Loo Roll by Nicholas Allan

A title which will have children clamouring for the book - and shouting out a final word to the ryhme on the cover! And they won't be disappointed as they follow the giant's loo roll rolling through the town causing mayhem. The townsfolk find all sorts of ingenious ways to use the paper - but there's just enough left. A hilarious story with wonderful touches of humour in text and picture - and don't miss all the little details in the pictures, which are quite amazing. But remember the serious message - don't waste our precious resources.

My Grandpa by Marta Altes

A touching book and empathetic about the very special relationship between an elderly grandfather and his adoring grandson. The book with its use of a limited palette for the illustrations and simple text manages to be very moving and to convey a huge understanding of old age on the behalf of the little bear grandson.  A very promising debut picture book from a fresh new talent.

Princess Evie Sticker Colouring Book by Sophie Tilley

Fans of this lovely series for little girls will love to see this enchanting sticker book - I know one little girl who will be thrilled with it! There are lots of scenes to colour in, with ideas for discussion and questions to be answered. There are even spaces for children to do their very own drawings. Once they have coloured the pictures, children can decorate the pages with some of the 180+ pretty stickers which are included. It's a lovely way to encourage children to extend their imagination. 

Detective Dan by Alison Maloney

Can Detective Dan solve the mystery of the missing cookies? Go along with Dan as he searches for clues - could the muddy pawprints be the answer? Or the cat's empty plate? Perhaps brother, or sister........ Lots to look at, think about and discuss as child and adult together work on deciphering the clues in this unusual and witty story with a surprise at the end. The illustrations are charming and full of fun.

Farmer Clegg's Night Out by Peter Bently and Jim Field

There's excitement afoot in the farmyard. Old Farmer Clegg is sleepimg blissfully, but the farmyard is a hive of activity, with all the animals keen to show off their talents. The animals show off their amazing skills -   a break-dancing horse, pop-singing sheep twins and a Mozart-singing chicken are all on the stage. But wait - who is this coming along? be offered a record contract? Witty rhyming text and hilarious illustrations work well together to make a wonderful read-aloud story that will have children giggling.

Little Grey Rabbit's Noisy Night - a Pop-Out Adventure by Alice Currie

Some children's book characters have an enduring appeal which spans many generations, and Little Grey Rabbit is one of those. The feel of the original has been carefully preserved, with both text and illustrations being close to the originals. The friends were making an early start next day but poor Little Grey Rabbit keeps getting disturbed and then oversleeps - but her friends save the day. A delightful gentle story with pop up pictures which will delight little ones as they spring to life. Also available -  Little Grey Rabbit- Busy Day

 The Somethingosaur by Tony Mitton

A little something emerges from an egg and finds itself all alone. He sets off in search of his family and his home and meets some huge and rather scary creatures along the way as he travels through all manner of strange places. Eventually, he spots a cave - but dare he approach the very frightening creature inside? THis is a lovely story, warm and reassuring and a real delight to read aloud with its catcht text and rhythmic use of language.

Me and My Cat by Ekaterina Trukhan

The little girl and her cat do everything together - except that the cat can get to places the little girl can't. Sometimres though, he needs help to get out of some of these places - and sometimes she needs help too. This is a charming heart-warming story about a very special friendship, with delightful illustrations.

Zoe and Beans: Pants on the Moon by Chloe and Mick Inkpen

The fourth title is just as good as its popular predecessors. On a very windy day, Zoe is hanging her pants out to dry one day, when suddenly she, Beans and the line of washing are whisked off into space. It's all very exciting and there's lots to explore, but how will they get back? Children will love the twist at the end of the story. The wonderful descriptive text with its lovely use of language is a joy to read aloud and little ones will want to share the story over and over again.

Archie by Domenica More Gordon

The illustrations say it all in this magical book. There are very few words - and those words are all sounds which manage to tell the story in a very clever way. Meet well-dressed and his equally well dressed dog - all courtesy of a sewing machine and a talent for tailoring. And then all the dogs in the park want to be beautifully dressed too and the phone just doesn't stop ringing. The drawings are wonderful and the expressions on the dogs' faces are fascinating.

Frog and Mouse by Tracey Corderoy

How often do we hear 'I'm bored'? Well, here is a picture book that shows that using the imagination means that boredom could be a thing of the past. Frog was bored, with nothing to do. But his friend Mouse encourages cautious Frog to use his imagination to go on some exciting adventures - all from the safety of home. They have a wonderful (imaginary) time at the seaside and it's lovely to read how the two friends really get into their adventure. Next stop, the moon - perhaps! Shate this story with your child and then encourage imaginative play - it's the adults who need to show the way.

The Dinosaur Games by David Bedford 

Another sporty-theme book for this bonanza year. Titus the T-Rex is ready for the Great Dinosaur Games and he's determined to win! But he's not cut out for every sport and things go wrong in the most amusing of ways. With a meteor on its way to Earth, everything is set to change - can Titus save the day? The illustrations are wonderful - simple but very striking in their bold use of colour. The rhyming text makes this a great read-aloud story to share.

 The Red Boat by Hannah Cumming

Posy doesn't really like her new house, but is excited to find a red boat in the garden in which she and George the dog play. But the excitement really starts when they go out to the boat at night and encounter lots of new situations. Posy learns how to face up to her fears and to make new friends. A delightful and reassuring story, perfect for young children facing new situations. Lively and colourful illustrations give plenty of scope to extend discussion about the story.

I See . . . from PatrickGeorge

Another apparently simple yet very clever book from PatrickGeorge in a new series focussing on the five senses. The pages cleverly link to show differing aspects of the things we see around us. Simple uncluttered pages with clear images are perfect for young children. The acetate sheets transform the pictures to give a whole new viewpoint. This would be an excellent book to use in the Early Years classroom to introduce children to the concept of sight and to encourage discussion.

I Taste . . . from PatrickGeorge

Encourage your child to think about their favourite foods and then extend this into discussion of what other creatures eat. Again, the pages are cleverly interwoven together - sometimes you need to really think to get the link, which is excellent to stimulate thinking. Just as important with these books is what is not said, leaving plenty of opportunity for adult and child to have discussions around the theme of the book. Little touches of humour will amuse adult and child alike. A most unusual and effective series.

 Ambrose Goes for Gold by Tor Freeman

Poor Ambrose - he's been practising hard for the Great Insect Games but it seems that everyone else is just a bit better than him. But with a little determination and the help of his friends, Ambrose soon discovers that everyone is good at something. Through the insect world, Tor Freeman manages to demonstrate that we are all unique. The details in the illustrations are wonderful and this is a touching and reassuring story - a great one to share with young children close to Sports Day.

Well Done, Little Croc! by Tony Maddox

Perhaps your child feels that he isn't good at anything? Then this is the perfect book for you to share and reassure your child that we all have things we can do, even if they are unexpected. Poor Little Croc he feels he isn't good at anything. But just when he is ready to totally give up he has a big surprise about what he CAN do! All Little Croc's friends are delightful and charmingly depicted in the colourful pictures. Just look at the expressions on their faces! This is the third story about the delightful Little Croc - start collecting them and your child will look forward to the next one coming out!

Fergus's Scary Night by Tony Maddox

Why are the animals all hurrying to the barn? Fergus the farmyard dog follows them to find out what is going on and finds out that the cow is telling the animals a ghost story. 'Silly, no such things as ghosts' thinks Fergus - but that night, there are some very strange goings on....... Plenty of humour, at just the right level for toddlers, makes this a super book to read aloud, and there's just enough suspense to keep their attention. The pictures are charming and depict lovely friendly faces on the animals.

Florentine and Pig Have a Very Lovely Picnic by Eva Katzler

This is a story with a purpose! Eva Katzler realised that children often don't have the fun of messy play, so she devised the characters of Florentine and Pig to encourage families to make things together. The friends decide to have a picnic; Florentine thinks up a menu and then finds that there are no apples. Can Pig help out? The wonderful use of language makes this book a real delight to read aloud - and children will love to join in as they become familiar with the story. Families can join in the cooking fun by following the tasty recipes at the end of the book. A lovely concept - I am looking forward to seeing more!

Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland

This is a wonderful story which really helps us - young and old alike - to gain an understanding of the way a refugee family feels, the hardships they suffer and how they adapt to life in a new country. After fleeing from war, Azzi and her family endure a harsh sea voyage, then find themselves living in one room. When Azzi goes to school, she feels very out of place - but there is plenty of help and friendship at hand. A touching account tells us how Azzi finds beans to grow and this gives the whole family hope for the future.

A Home for Hermit (A Changing Picture Book) by Ruth Martin and Robin Davies

Hermit has outgrown his shell and must search for a new home. Oops - at his first attempt, he finds his chosen home is already occupied! So he tries a sea anemone, a pretty shell, sea sponges - but they are all occupies. A trip to the open sea proves too dangerous, but finally he finds a new home. Bright colours will appeal to children, who will be enthralled by the changing pictures through the book.

Wash-a-bye Bear by Thomas Docherty

A familiar scenario for lots of young children - a much-loved toy that has just got so dirty that Mum has to wash it. Share this book with your toddler and they will be reassured that all will be well. Bear is seen whizzing round in the wash, remembering all the places he has been - but Flora doesn't like Bear when he's all clean, so she sets out to make him dirty again. But she gets dirty too, and then Flora needs a bath...... A lovely reassuring story, which perfectly captures a child's emotions.

Fergus Goes Quackers by Tony Maddox

Fergus thinks he is going 'quackers' when he finds the ducks saying woof woof like a dog, after he barks at them. So he tries to teach them to quack - then all the animals in the farmyard join in what they think is a new game. Little onjes will love this book as they share in making the noises and laugh at the animals making the wrong sounds. It's a lovely story and the illustrations are wonderful - full of detail and with lots to talk about and share with your child.

Rastamouse: Pirate Riddims by Genevieve Webster

Disaster has struck in Mouseland: someone has stolen all the music, and there isn't a record or CD to be found anywhere! President Wensley Dale knows who to call, and it isn't long before the Easy Crew are hot on the tracks of the thief. Could a fresh new radio station and a mysterious pirate ship in Mousetego Bay have anything to do with it? Rastamouse has a crucial plan to catch the culprit and bring the music back for everyone to share.

Rastamouse: Marathon Mystery by Genevieve Webster

The Big Cheese Marathon is coming up, and Scratchy is training hard to win the trophy. But how is it that Rubba keeps beating her without putting in any effort? Rastamouse is suspicious, especially when he discovers that Rubba has two identical pairs of running shoes, two identical tracksuits, and one identical twin brother!

Martha and the Bunny Brothers I Heart School by Clara Vulliamy

A bright vibrant book, full of busy activity , which is ideal to share with children before they take the all-important step of starting school. A lovely positive start - 'This is a happy book all about Martha - That's me!' There's masses to look at on every page, with an amazing array of fonts and different types of pictures, all in a random layout giving lots to talk about. Martha is starting school and she's SO excited - but she never forgets her Bunny Brothers Monty and Pip. There's too much to take - so she just takes her all-important Bunny Club badge. A lovely story about sibling closeness as well as the excitement of starting school. Brilliant to know this is the first in a new series.

The Fishing Trip by Beatrice Rodriguez

Following on from the very successful 'The Chicken Thief' this is another story told purely through pictures. Chicken sets off in search of food for her hungry brood, but the ocean is a hazardous place. Will she succeed in her quest? Like so many of the books from Gecko Press, this does not just put a complete story in front of the reader but makes you think - what could happen? What is the author thinking? It's a great way to extend a child's imagtination - let them tell the story to you in their own words. Published July 2012.

The Best Singer in the World by Ulf Nilsson and Eva Eriksson

A little boy whose brother thinks he is the best singer in the world - but the little boy thinks he can't sing in front of lots of people.. With its gentle humour and reassuring message this is a lovely book to share with your child to help address fears about performing. Perhaps before the school play? Can he live up to expectations? A slim book which nonetheless manages to cover a lot of topics - bravery, stagefright, talents and sibling closeness.

Ping! by Chae Strathie and Marion Lindsay

One day, a strange purple flying creature thing arrives at Evie's house. In a charming story about friendship, Ping and Evie soon become friends, even though all Ping can say is - "Ping"! The two go everywhere together and Evie loves having someone to share with, but sadly the day comes when Ping must return to his own home. But true friends are never far away... A lovely imaginative story, brightly illustrated and great to read aloud, with its rhyming text. A good story to read at the start of a new term or year with Reception children.

The Frank Show by David Mackintosh

All parents of young children are familiar with 'Show and Tell' and the narrator of this book has to choose a family member to talk about. But is Grandad too dull? There's quite a surprise at the end. We can all learn so much from the older generation and this heart-warming story shows just how much the boy loves his Grandad Frank. The illustrations are full of lovely touches of humour and they repay close attention to make sure you don't miss anything! Watch the video about this unusual new bookhere

Foxy! by Jessica Souhami

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

Dotty Inventions and Some Real Ones Too by Roger McGough

Picture book or information book? I leave you to decide, as to me this has elements of both. Find out about how everyday things were invented, in this mix of fantasy and science! There's a competition at the Science Museum, so inventor Professor Dorothy Dabble sets off to London with Digby her pet robot, to enter some of her inventions. On the way, she claims to have invented lots of other things, but with a click of his mouse, Digby uncovers the truth. A wonderful celebration of some of the thingswe take for granted. Great fun, with a humorous approach children will relish and packed with witty illustrations too.

Everybody Poos by Taro Gomi

Youngsters in the process of being potty trained will love this quirky book! It's amusing without being at all in bad taste and adults as well as children will be amused by it. All living things poo. Their poo can be different colours, have a different smell and come in a range of shapes and sizes. Some poo on land, some poo in water, some poo in a toilet, a potty, or a nappy. It's nothing to be ashamed of! The illustrations are delightful and the text catchy.

Lollipop and Grandpa Go Swimming by Penelope Harper

I loved the first book in this series and this new title is equally good. It is a wonderful and heart-warming reflection of the loving relationship between a little girl and her Grandpa. There is so much to do when Lollipop starts to learn to swim and Grandpa is there to help and support. The lively illustrations and clever use of different fonts make the story really come alive. The story is wonderfully imaginative - an octopus, a whale, pirates and treasure all find their way into the story. Penelope Harper is a talented author who really gets inside the way children think. Lots to talk about and enjoy with your child.

Zoe's Boat by Gillian McClure

Zoe and Dear Old Dog live together by the river. But when Zoe decides to go to sea, Dog won't go with her. The interaction between Zoe and Dog as they 'talk' about this is quite delightful. There's such a lot to do to get ready though - not just the houseboat  but the garden boat too to be prepared. And once she sets out, Zoe is just as busy... and she doesn't notice her faithful friend following her. But he is there when Zoe needs him. A delightful tale of loyalty and friendship with charming illustrations with an unusual style which will delight young readers.

Sophie's Ballet Show by Rosalinda Kightley

Little girls will adore this sparkly book, packed with intriguing and sometimes unexpected pop-ups. Sophie is very excited to be going to her first ballet lesson and little girls will also be excited as they see the dancer twirling around and then find a really clever flip book that shows all the ballet positions. They will share Sophoe's excitement at a very special invitation, then help her choose what to wear. Finally, a wonderful pop up panorama. A perfect book for young ballet enthusiasts.

The Butterfly by Anna Milbourne

This is both a delightful picture book and a valuable early introduction to life cycles - always a popular topic in the Foundation Stage. A story about a greedy caterpillar seems a familiar concept, but this books is totally different from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. A little caterpillar and his friends munch their way through some leaves, and the little caterpillar curls up and goes to sleep... and this book really does conclude the life cycle, as the butterfly lays her eggs. Lovely bright full page illustrations complement the simple story.

Living With Mum and Living With Dad by Melanie Walsh

When a young child's world falls apart due to the separation of their parents, they need reassurance. This book is a lovely way to discuss the concept with young children, and the flaps which lift to show the two aspects of the little girl's life. Sometimes she lives with her mum and her cat, and sometimes she lives with her dad. She has two bedrooms and two sets of toys, but she takes her favourite toys with her wherever she goes. A warm and reassuring way to explain a difficult situation, with bold vivid illustrations.

New Shoes (The Buttons Family) by Vivian French

Things that adults see as ordinary everyday occurences can often cause anxiety to young children, so First Experiences books are a really valuable addition to a young child's library, or in the classroom. The series about the Buttons family is a lovely way tp talk to children about these concerns. Charlie's shoes are too tight but he doesn't want new ones, but when the lady at the shoe shop tells Charlie to listen to his toes, he learns that they are saying "ouch!" and so he agrees to get new shoes and he's delighted.The illustrations are lively and excellent to discuss.
 

The Girl Who Loved Wellies by Zehra Hicks

Molly loves her wellies.  She loves her wellies so much that she never takes them off. It looks as though nothing will ever persuade her to take them off, until one day she gets an itch that just has to be scratched... A very simple story, perfect to read aloud to toddlers, and the pictures are large and clear enough to make sharing easy too. For young ones reading on their own, the variations in typeface are fun and there's repetition to help reading skills.

Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann

Children will love the way anticipation builds in this story of an unobservant zookeeper going home, followed by all the animals he thinks he has left behind in the zoo. It's left to his wife to sort it out. This story with its vivid illustrations, gives plenty of opportunity to use imagination to develop the story, which can be taken in many directions. A lovely story to read aloud - especially at bedtime - and a surprising twist at the end.

Bob's Best Ever Friend by Simon Bartram

Bob, the Man in the Moon, is lonely.  Billy and Sam have gone to see a pet show on Pluto, there are no space tourists to entertain, and Bob is bored. Bob doesn;t see what is right under his nose - a furry friend just longing for his attention! This is a large format book, and there are full page colour pictures alongside each page of text. Plenty of clues to the story in these pictures, making the book ideal for developing readers. Great to read aloud too, with its quirky humour. Comes with an audio CD read by the author.

Foxly's Feast by Owen Davey

A completely wordless story, with wonderful illustrations which allow free rein to the reader's imagination. The story turns on its head the preconceived notions of what the fox is after - the chickens, ducks, fish and rabbits are in no danger! Share this book with your child and see where their imagination takes you. The illustrations are quite outstanding and the simple colour palette helps to make them stand apart.

Animal Antics by Neil Griffiths

Neil Griffiths is a master storyteller and this is another wonderful story. The World Sports Week committee have to allow the animals to enter the competition, with hilarious results! Even the Opening Ceremony is chaos, as the animals puzzle over which country to represent. But that's only the start! The animals seem to have an unfair advantage - nobody will swim with the sharks; the birds excel in the diving competition - it's wonderful! The illustrations are equally entertaining and they combine with the text to make a really funny book. Amazingly, every Olympic sport is included! Combining with the book to make an ideal resource for this Olympic year is a CD ROM full of lesson plans and activity ideas - buy here.

 

I Spy with My Little Eye by Edward Gibbs

Children have always loved I Spy books and games so this unusual book from  Brubaker, Ford and Friends (a new imprint of Templar Books) will be warmly received.  Bold, almost single colour illustrations feature on each page, as the child looks through the hole and guesses which animal is blue, grey, white, yellow, orange, red and green, with the help of a clue on each page ... and there is a little twist at the end. A good way to encourage children to develop their natural curiosity and give them the satisfaction which comes from a successful guess.

My Friend the Weather Monster (Storytime) by Steve Smallman and Bruno Merz

When the Weather Monster is sad, it rains - and it has rained a lot lately. The villagers decide to cheer him up, and brave Tom takes a cake. He gets a warm welcome, but then the Weather Monster gets upset and there's thunder and lightning. Happily, all gets sorted out and the villagers become friends - and the sun shines. The book gives an excellent opportunity to discuss what it feels like to be left out and is full of potential talking points, as well as being a delightful story to read aloud. Beautifully illustrated, QED Storytime introduces young children to the pleasures of reading and sharing stories. Discussion points for parents and teachers are also included, making this an excellent series for both school and home use. 
 

 Little Chick and the Secret of Sleep (Storytime) by Malachy Doyle and Gill McLean

Another eye-catchingly illustrated story for 3 - 6 year olds in the Storytime series from QED Books. Little Chick wants to know the secret of sleep, so she sets off on a night time journey. She meets lots of new friends and each one tells her their secret of sleep. This is, of course, the perfect bedtime story - ideal to snuggle up and reassure your little one. The Next Steps section at the end is full of ideas which develop the theme of the book, perfect to use in the Early Years classroom.

Listen Up, Pup! (Storytime) by Steve Smallman and Gill McLean

Toby is very happy with his life, which offers all a dog could ask for. But when Snoop the puppy comes along, Toby isn't so happy. But he decides to make friends - and that pleases his people. He decides to teach Snoop a few lessons about how to get what he wants, and about how to have fun. A lovely story about friendship dog-fashion which is just as relevant to children learning to get on together. The discussion points at the end will help draw out thoughts from children as you discuss the story. 

 Hens Don't Crow (Storytime) by A H Benjamin and Rebecca Elliott

Rooster has got a sore throat, so who will wake the farm animals in the morning? Hen says she will do it - but we all know hens don't crow. And so all the animals tell her when she says she will wake them up in the morning. As you enjoy this book with your child, you will have an excellent opportunity to meet and talk about all the different animals on the farm. The ending will surprise everyone with its comical twist!

 

Silly Sea by Jack Tickle

A cleverly engineered book, packed with pop-up surprises. Young children will be ebtreanced as a whale, a lobster, a seal, a shark, an octopus and a sea horse positively leap out from the brightly coloured pages. Read the rhyming text to your child and watch the excitement as you turn each page together. My favourite is the lobster - keep out of the way of those terrible claws! Great fun for litte ones and plenty to talk about.

Busy Garden by Jack Tickle

Another wonderful pop-up book packed with brightly coloured creatures to leap off the page at you and your child. This time, it's the turn of garden creatures - bees buzz round a flower, a frog sits on a lily pad, butterflies flutter by, ants dance and ladybirds scuttle.Children will be fascinated and intrigued. The vibrant illustrations are a lovely way for children to start to learn about familiar creatures - and perhaps you can go out into the garden to spot some after reading this lovely pop-up book.

The Monkey With a Bright Blue Bottom by Steve Smallman and Nick Schon

One day, a long time ago, all the animals were dull and grey - until a mischevious monkey finds a paintbox. and decided to brighten things up Things don't turn out quite as he expected, and we find out just why the monkey is a funny colour! A really funny and imaginative book, with lovely vivid pictures, which will appeal to children's sense of humour. A lovely bedtime read which will send your child off to sleep with a smile on his face! Comes with a CD read by Justin Fletcher.

A Little Fairy Magic by Julia Hubery and Alison Edgson

In a lovely sparkly book which little girls will adore, Little Phoebe Mouse has a new fairy costume. "I'm a real fairy!" she cries, and spins and twirls her sparkly wand. Phoebe tries to fly but it's a bit hard for a brand new fairy, so she decides to practise wishes. But can she really do fairy magic? A lovely story about caring, trying hard and succeeding in an unexpected way. The sparkles on the illustrations add their own magic to the story.

Where's My Teddy by Stephanie Stahl and Gail Yerrill

A scenario dreaded by many parents - it's bedtime but a precious toy or comforter is missing. That's just what's happened here -  Lily Mouse has lost her Teddy. "I can't go to sleepy without Teddy!" she squeaks. Lily and her family look everywhere - and your child can join in the search too and enjoy over 50 flaps to lift with surprises hidden underneath. A lovely gentle story, with lots to talk about in the detailed illustrations, perfect to share at bedtime - and with a happy ending.

Pip and Posy The Big Balloon by Axel Scheffler

We've all seen inconsolable little children when their cherished balloon flies off and pops.When poor Pip lets his balloon go and it pops, he too is inconsolable. But Posy has a very clever idea - one that is perfect for any parent whose child loses their balloon. Pip and Posy are delightful characters and it's lovely to follow them through the streets and see the people they meet. The pictures are bright and colourful, perfect to appeal to toddlers.

The Baby That Roared by Simon Puttock

A refreshing and entertaining look at an age-old problem - the new baby who just won't stop crying. When Mr. and Mrs. Deer find a bundle on the doorstep, initially they are delighted - but.it won't stop roaring. Well-meaning friends and family have all sorts of helpful advice - but then they disappear. Just what is going on? Wise old Granny Bear finds the surprising answer... and clever children might just guess too! An amusing story with an unusual outcome.

Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb

A familiar scenario - a little girl who does not want to eat her lunch. But some unexpected creatures turn up to help her eat it - and it's a very good job that little girls taste so horrid, or she might have become lunch herself! Both the little gilr and the animals are charmingly drawn and the illustrations stand out against the white backgrounds and the simple story line means there is plenty of time to enjoy the pictures and develop on the theme of the story - especially if you have a picky eater!

My Mum's the Best by Rosie Smith

Mums are always the best and the cast of hilarious animal characters in this book show just why their mum is the very best. The text and illustrations work wonderfully well together and it's surprising how much there is to talk about around the simple sentences. Set against pastel backgrounds, the pictures stand out and the lack of 'clutter' makes this an attractive book. Good to share with young children or as a first book for children to read alone.

The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilvie

"Once upon a time, in a tower near you, Lived a sad princess; the Princess Sue. "Some day," she sighed, "my prince will come, But I wish he'd move his royal bum." Far from being a traditional princess, Princess Sue is a strong-willed character who knows just what she wants from life - and that's not to wait meekly at home for her prince to come - and when he does come, he is not what she wants, so she enlists the help of the dragon - with unexpected consequences! A very funny story, totally different from traditional princess stories. Delightful illustrations add to the fun.

I Spy on the Farm by Edward Gibbs

The die-cut hole in the cover and the colourful cockerel will immediately attract children to this book. Most children love farmyard animals - they are familiar, but not too familiar - and in this book there are lots of colourful and noisy animals to spy. Look through the spyhole and use the clues to guess; then turn the page to reveal the animal - children love the anticipation of seeing if they guessed right. Colours and letters, as well as animal sounds will be easily learnt in a fun way. Simple but very enjoyable and effective

Tappity-Tap! What Was That? by Claire Freedman and Russell Julian

One dark stormy night Owl, Mouse and Rabbit are frightened by a knock at the door... but even though it is the Monster of the Woods, it isn't anything scary. A lovely story about friendship and not giving way to fear. Wonderful to read aloud, with all the noises - children will love to shout aloud at the appropriate points! The bright illustrations are well set off by the attractive shiny paper, and they offer plenty for children to discuss. Sharing this book with your child, perhaps when cuddled up at bedtime, is an excellent opportunity to share fears and to offer reassurance.

 The Queen's Knickers by Nicholas Allan

What fun! Children will adore this book, with its irreverent look at the fascinating topic of what the Queen wears under all her smart outfits. Do her knickers match? Dilys looks after the Queen's knickers - but one day disaster strikes and the trunk of knickers goes missing - and lands up in a surprising place! The wonderful variety of knickers that the child imagines are used by the Queen - and their descriptions - will make everyone giggle. Find out just why the Christmas message is short!!! A wonderfully imaginative look inside a child's mind.

Rabbityness by Jo Empson

This sensitively written book is a great debut for Jo Emposn. Rabbit loves life and doing creative things and when he suddenly disappears his friends are desolated. But he has left all his friends some very special gifts and a wonderful way to remember him. The bold vibrant pictures of most of the book contrast well with the desolate pictures of Rabbit's disappearance, and the return to vibrancy makes a really positive statement. An excellent way to help young children come to terms with loss and to foster a positive outlook.

Lulu and the Best Cake Ever by Emma Chichester Clark

All the inhabitants of Wagtail Town are - you've guessed it - dogs. Lulu is a little dog with big ideas and when the cake competition is announced she just knows she can win. Or can she? This is a lovely story about friendship and how to deal with not winning - an important message successfully conveyed. The story really captures the attention of a young child and the busy pictures are a real delight - there is plenty to discuss and spot on every page. The expressions on the dogs' faces are a real delight. Is the the first of a series? I hope so!

Paddington Goes for Gold by Michael Bond

Paddington needs no introduction, and this hardback book, which is a brand new Paddington story, is one to treasure. When he goes to a family sports event with the Brown family, Paddington wants to take part in everything he can - with predictably hilarious results. His 'help' means that the family don't win anything - or do they? This is a lovely story and Paddington is as fresh and lovable as ever - who can resist? Definitely a book which will become a firm favourite and hopefully encourage parents to dig out their old Paddington stories to entrance another generation. The illustrations by R W Alley epitomise the little bear perfectly.

The Best Kind of Kiss by Margaret Allum

The storyteller likes kisses - big kisses and small kisses, smoochy kisses and pecky kisses, fluffy kisses and waggly kisses - and the givers of all these kisses and many more are depicted in delightful illustrations by Jonathan Bentley. But the very best kiss of all is saved to the end - and I'm not going to spoil the surprise!

My Shadow by Robie H Harris

I well remember reading Robert Louis Stevenson's poem about My Shadow, and this book takes the same theme - a discovery which fascinates children when they find their shadow follows them. This picture book is an intriguing look at a child's discovery of his shadow - it grows, it copies, it is inescapable - and there is sadness when it goes away. Happily, it comes back, without even waiting for a new day. The author really gets inside a child's mind and this is a wonderful book to share with your child. The vibrant illustrations are a delight.
 

Freight Train by Donald Crewe

A simple seeming book which is a wonderful way of introducing colour and colour mixing to children. The brightly coloured trucks steam along and as they gather speed, travelling through tunnels, past cities and over bridges, the colours blend until finally the train disappears. Few words are needed as the pictures speak for themselves. Encourage your child to use his imagination to tell stories based on the book. Simple and amazingly effective.

Reach For The Stars by Serge Bloch

We all reach milestones in our lives, and these are always something to be celebrated. Whether we are young or old, we face challenges and this witty book is a great way to mark steps forward in life. The young hero, accompanied by his faithful dog, shares the challenges - he feels like a fish out of water, or a small fish in a big pond. Clever use of language, interwoven with line drawings which cleverly incorporate photographs, make this a book to ponder over and enjoy for any age. Thought-provoking and unusual and with a positive ending.

You Are What You Eat by Serge Bloch

A witty and unusual take on the problem of being a fussy eater, who learns that variety is the spice of life. Another book which makes clever use of language woth word plays which will appeal to adults as much as, or maybe even more than, children. Have you ever thought just how many common sayings relate to food? And just how strange they are if we take them literally - as, of course, children do. Again, the line drawings cleverly incorporate photos, this time of the foods that make up the sayings. Clever!

The Squirrel, the Hare and the Little Grey Rabbit by Alison Uttley

It's lovely to see these children's classics brought to a new generation with bright, eye-catching covers, which still feature the original delightful illustrations by Margaret Tempest. This is the very first story in the series, adapted for younger readers, in which Grey Rabbit gives her tail to Owl to find out how to grow carrots and rescues Hare and Squirrel from Weasel's cooking pot. The characters are beautifully portyared and everyone will have their favourite. The pace of the stories is gentle and they make perfect bedtime reading. Collect the series (Templar are reissuing the first four) and they will become family favourites - I still have a collection bought when my children were little.

 Busy Boats by Susan Steggall

This vividly illustrated and stimulating book follows the journey of a fishing boat, from first thing in the morning, to its return at night. The rhythmic text introduces toddlers to the huge variety of boats that can be spotted in the harbour - from tugboats to liners, rowing boats to rescue boats. The pictures are packed with detail, and this will give lots of opportunity for discussion and perhaps encouragement to do further research. A lovely book to take on a seaside holiday - how many boats can your child identify?

Fussy Freya by Katherine Quarmby

Freya used to eat everything put in front of her, but one day, she turned into a fussy eater. Grandma had the answer in this hilarious book, and offers Freya some surprising dishes. Got a fussy eating toddler on your hands? Then this is just the book you need to help your child to be a bit more willing to eat the food put in front of her. After all, she won't want to be offered mashed monkey on rice, or warthog with spice, like Freya! The illustrations are packed with humorous detail - plenty here to talk about and a lesson to be learnt.

Who Ate Auntie Iris? by Sean Taylor

A little chinchilla loves to visit Auntie Iris... but his visits are fraught with danger, what with the bears on the first floor, crocodiles on the second floor and wolves on the third floor. One day, Auntie Iris goes to put the rubbish out - and disappears. Can the brave little chinchilla find out what happened to her? An intriguing mystery for little children, and one which requires them to think harder than many picture books as the anticipation builds. It's a very funny story and the brilliantly coloured illustrations are full of fascinating detail - such as the box containing the croc's toothbrush! Plenty here to discuss with your child and something new to spot on every re-reading.

Daisy's Big Dig by Angie Morgan

Daisy's street is, sadly, perhaps typical of many neighbourhoods today, where we all go about our own lives and never get to know our neighbours. But Daisy is different - when Mr Hofmeister falls ill, she is determined that she, and the rest of the neighbours, will help him out. She has a cunning plan, and carefully worded invitations are sent out, ensuring everyone turns up to dig his garden - with surprising results! THis is a delightful story and hopefully one that will mkake us all think. The illustrations are vivid and reflect the story excellently.

Mike the Knight - Meet Mike

Mike the Knight is a new CBeebies show which is already proving very popular amongst pre-schoolers. Mike is a trainee knight, a;ways on the lookout for adventure. This book will let children - with adults to help - learn everything they need to know about Mike the Knight, Glendragon, Mike's missions, Evie's magic and the dragons. This colourful book, full of characters from the series, is the first in a series of tie-ins from Simon and Schsuter.

Bugs Galore by Peter Stein

Bugs, bugs everywhere in this glorious celebration of the world of creepy crawlies. Wonderful use ofg language makes this book a sheer delight to read aloud - 'Silly limb bug, swimming skim bug. Frumpy plump bug. Lumpy jump bug.' But please, share the delights of the illustrations (by Bob Staake) with your child, becuase they are wonderful and children will delight in them - especially, perhaps, the bug who crawls right under......... 

Hop, Skip and Jump Maisy! (A Maisy First Science Book) by Lucy Cousins 

A great way to encourage children to move as they stretch, hop, jump, kick and much more with Maisy - all these actions happen as the child pulls the flaps in this brightly coloured interactive book.  And just like Maisy, your little one will enjoy lunch and snuggle down in bed at night. Plenty to talk about as you discuss the actions and who else does them in the boxes alongside each page. Great fun!

Arthur's Dream Boat by Polly Dunbar

Do you always listen to your child's dreams? Have you ever had a dream so wonderful you wanted to tell everyone? Arthur had a wonderful dream, all about an amazing beautiful pink and green boat with a stripy mast but nobody listens. But they will have to take note when a boat starts to grow on Arthur's head. A wonderfully imaginative story.

People by Blexbolex

Share in the wonderful diversity of people from all around the wortld with this unusual book from Gecko Press. For such a simple looking book, it is extremely through-provoking. Each page features just one person - from lumberjack, to thief, to bearded man, to billsticker - and on, and on. The clever twist is to relate the people on opposing pages. The detail in the illustrations will give rise to all sorts of conversations. A book to go back to over and over again, and the durable linen binding ensures the book will last. A wonderful way to extend imagination would be to suggest your child compiles their very own book in this format.

Seasons by Blexbolex

The wonderful changes that make the seasons are evoked in this fascinating book. Not just an obvious look through the seasons in sequence, you will find yourself really pondering over where each picture fits in. Great for discussion and for garnering ideas for creative writing - give a child one of the pictures, ask them to write about it and see what happens! Both this, and People (above) will make great resources for the Foundation Stage classroom, to enhance studies of these popular topics. It is impossible to pin these books down to an age group - they will have a different appeal to everyone, young and old.

The House That Jack Built by Gavin Bishop

You might wonder whether there is room in the market for another version of The House That Jack Built - but once you read this unusual  and most attractive book from Gecko Press, you will realise there is!  This version tells the story of Aotearoa, New Zealand in the early 19th century. The story is told from a Maori perspective – beginning with the myth of reation: Papatuanuku the earth mother, Ranginui the sky father and their children as guardians of the land. As the story goes on and Jack’s house grows, Papatuanuku is shown in the illustrations to weaken and fade. It is a fascinating look into Maori culture and will bring a whole new meaning to the story.

The Birthday Cake Mystery by The Tjong-Khing

Another lovely and unusual book from Gecko Press, with not a word in sight! Unravel the multiple mysteries by using the clues in the pictures, which are full of humorous details and red herrings to confuse you. It's great fun to share and ponder over together, as each reader will spot different things. Whose birthday party is it? What mischief are the three monkeys making? Who steals the necklace? And will Dog ever finish making the birthday cake? A book which will provide hours of amusement and provoke lots of discussion.

 

   

Duck Says Don't by Alison Ritchie

Duck decides to use his authority now Goose has gone on holiday leaving Duck in charge of her pond. Suddenly, all sorts of notices are springing up 'No racing', 'No fishing', 'No diving' and the poor creatures on the pond, who used to have such fun, start leaving and the pond is silent and deserted. Will Duck realise what he has done before it's too late? It's a lovely story and an excellent way to get the message across  to a child who may be just a little bit too bossy! Ideal to share in the classroom. The illustrations by Hannah George are delightful and full of fun.

The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle

Rollicking fun with the family of pirates who have settled for a while on dry land in Dull-on-Sea , which is - you've guessed it - a quiet seaside town where nothing happens. At least, it was until the Jolley-Roger family took up residence. Tilda decides to make friends with this unusual family who set the town into an uproar - meets the NIMBYs of Dull-on-Sea! It's a hilarious rhyming tale with a lovely twist in the end - and a wonderful invitation for Tilda. There's good in everyone! The illustrations are packed with detail and full of fun - a story to entertain adults as they read it to their children. There's a pirate poster on the back of the jacket too.

Hans and Matilda by Yokococo

Once upon a time there were two little cats - Hans is very naughty and likes to make lots of noise; Matilda is very good and likes to sit quietly.  One day, Hans is VERY naughty and lets all the animals out of the zoo - but Matilda knows just where he can be found..... A funny story about opposites with a ltotally unexpected twist.

Bramble the Brave by Amber Stewart

Bramble is a very brave little mole who will try anything new..... except where food is concerned. But one day, with some gentle encouragement from her parents, she decides that perhaps it's time to be grown up. A lovely story and perfect to share with any young children who are reluctant to try any new food. The illustrations are delicate and full of detail.

 My Mummy by Paula Metcalf

A perfect book for mothers and children to share - and a lovely gift for them to share. Little Bear says: ' I could travel round the world and know I'd never find a mummy even half as nice or brilliant as mine!' All the wonderful things which mummies do are celebrated in this book, with its caring mummy and loving little bear. The loving relationship is delightfully depicted in the brigh, colourful pictures which can be used to give rise to plenty of discussion.

Never Say NO to a Princess by Tracey Corderoy

You'd think the little princess would be happy - she has almost everything a little girl could want. And when she does want something else, everyone makes sure she gets it. Until, one day, there is something, and abo nobody could get for her - and she cried and cried so much she got washed out of the palace. But there's the very thing she wanted - but she must remember the magic word first. A captivating story about the importance of that one little word, and about an unlikely friendship. Charmingly illustrated and engagingly told, this is one for little princesses everywhere.

Wanda Wallaby Finds Her Bounce by Jonathan Emmett

All wallabies hop, don't they? Not poor Wanda Wallaby, who has lost her bounce. She asks all her  animal friends but none of them can help. Finally, she meets the crocodile who tries to play a cruel trick on Wanda - but luckily she finds her bounce just in time. Delightful pictures tell the story in delicate detail - and look out for the insect flying across each page. Find out more about Australian animals at the end of the book.

Monty and Milli: the Totally Amazing Magic Trick by Tracey Corderoy

Little sisters can be such pests, can't they? Everything Monty does, Milli want to do too. Even when Monty gets a magic set for ONE, Milli wants to join in, and when Monty lets her be his assistant she just has to take over. Monty's had enough. "I wish you'd turn into a Warty Toad then disappear!" But then teatime comes, and he still hasn't seen Milli. Perhaps little sisters aren't so bad....and there's a surprise ending. A charming story of family and playing and getting on together.

 Just One More by Tracey Corderoy

Bedtime stories are wonderful, arent't they? And just like children everywhere, Little Brown Bunny always wants 'Just one more.' But all the stories have been read, so clever Little Brown Bunny decides to write his own very very long story that will never end....... or will it? Mum has a great idea - and it brings a surprise ending. The pictures are lovely and colourful and full of interest. And to make the fun complete, there is your child's very own colouring book with a story about Little Brown Bunny and his friends. Written and illustrated just as a child would, it's great inspiration for your child to create their very own story book. A wonderful celebration of the joy of reading, and sharing that with friends. The ultimate bedtime read!
 

Bright Stanley Double Trouble by Matt Buckingham

Stanley is looking after his cousin Dennis. But Dennis the little fish is determined to have a real adventure. He suggests arm wrestling an octopus, or pyaying snap with sharks perhaps. Can Stanley keep his mischievous cousin out of trouble? But when Stanley lands in trouble, it's little Dennis who has all the big ideas. Vibrant illustrations, enhanced with sparkly foil, tell the story vividly, with plenty of enciting detail. Bright Stanley has a fun-filled website http://www.brightstanley.com/

Icky Little Duckling by Steve Smallman

Mr Rabbit likes everything perfect, so when he finds a smooth, speckly, perfect thing in the woods he takes it home to add to his neet, tidy aznd perfect collection.  But he is in for a bit of a surprise when there's a CRACK! out hatches an icky, sticky duckling! This is not what Mr Rabbit wants but the little chick is very persistent.... finally, she is reunited with her family and life returns to normal for Mr rabbit. Or does it? This is an absolutely delightful story that had me gently chuckling. The illustrations are lovely, gently humorous and convey the gentle emotions of the story very well.

Cub's First Summer by Rebecca Elliot

I love Rebecca Elliot's books, and this one did not disappoint. Follow an inquisitive young fox as he experiences all the delights of his first summer. A lovely relationship between Cub and his Mum is depicted as they share the fun and meet lots of other animals - but then the weather changes and they have to race to the safety of home. The illustrations are full of detail - all the things that make summer special. A lovely gentle story, perfect as a bedtime read.

Po-Tolo: Plan Bee from Outer Space by Olly Oliver 

An unlikely combination - a spaceman called Po-Tolo, and a purple octopus called Lop - are looking for help. Po-Tolo's world is dying - all the bees have disappeared. He needs help from Earth bees to save his planet. But during their quest, poor Po-Tolo is stung by a wasp and deflates. It's up to Lop to save him - and in a very ingenious way! The bees come to the rescue and off they fly to save Po-Tolo's planet. The vivid zingy pictures leap off the page at the reader - the use of colour is exceptional. The story is fun but there is a serious message here for us all - we need to save our bees. What a lovely way to bring this to people's attention - and don't miss the useful facts at the end of the book.

My Alphabet Toolbox 

Fun illustrations and rhyming text complement the pictures in this unusual alphabet book. The rhythm of the words and the clues in the pictures help children to recognise the words. Just like a real toolbox, it has a handle (clipping together with velcro) so children can take it around with them. At risk of being sexist, I would say this will have greatest appeal to boys and is a great way to get them keen on books. An unusual and appealing book.

 When I Dream of 123 by Oakley Graham

A brilliant follow up to When I Dream of ABC. There are some wonderful things to count here - polar bears, pirates, penguins and princesses are just a few. At 64 pages, this is a substantial picture book, but the ending is as fresh as the beginning. The text is quirky and amusing - adults will enjoy it as much as children. The illustrations are vivid and full of life - just look at the difference between each creature. There is so much to spot and talk about that bedtime could be a bit late coming! The glittery cover and shiny pages are attractive and I am sure this is a book which will become a great bedtime favourite.

Katie in Scotland by James Mayhew

This is one of my favourite series - as well as being enjoyable stories James Mayhew manages to pack a great deal of information into his books. Katie meets the Loch Ness Monster and together Katie and Nessie discover how beautiful and stunning the country is as they take in the sights, from the Highlands to the Edinburgh Festival. Features: Loch Ness, Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park and Museum, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood, The Royal Mile, The National Gallery and Portrait Gallery and Greyfriar's Bobby.

The Bump by Mij Kelly

An ideal book to share with your young one when a new baby is expected. Tender and witty, this is a wonderful celebration of a baby's arrival into the world. A funny and poignant book exploring a mother's joy at being pregnant that will help children understand how much they are loved.

Oliver and the New Baby by Mara Bergman

'Oliver Donnington Rimington-Sneep was hoping and wishing the baby would sleep. His parents were doing whatever they could but nothing they tried seemed to do any good.' What wonderful rhythmic rhyming text! Oliver's baby sister won't stop crying. Oliver gets in his plane and travels to distant lands to get away from the noise. But wherever he goes, there are babies crying. Oliver wonders if back home HIS sister might need him so he flies back to cuddle her to sleep! A new story from a talented prize-winning author/illustrator team praised for their rhythmic imaginative texts and gloriously detailed illustrations

My Ballet Dream by Adele Geras

Young girls have always loved stories about ballet, and this is an enchanting series to get them enjoying stories early. A third story about the the delightful budding ballerina Tutu Tilly by an award-winning author and talented illustrator. Little ballerinas will love all the ballet-filled detail of Tutu Tilly's world - from the pretty ballet outfits, the nervous butterflies before the performance and the rounds of applause at the end of the show. The perfect books for ballet fans.

Don't Put Your Pants on Your Head Fred by Caryl Hart and Leigh Hodgkinson

A title bound to appeal to small boys and girls! It's a great idea to get toddlers to start dressing themselves...or is it? This is an absurd story with great appeal to a child's sense of the ridiculous. A brilliant read-aloud book with a great rhyming text. Wonderful illustrations and quirky little asides all add to the fun.

Moon Dreams: a Book of Moon Magic by Gleb Toropov

The moon is ever magical and mysterious and takes on many guises - limited only by imagination.  To the fish it's a wriggly worm; to a monkey, it's a banana; to the giraffe, a leaf...... and as the die cut moon gradually gets bigger, it becomes more things to more creatures. In this picture book, with die-cuts throughout, the moon takes on many guises, getting bigger and bigger - but the child knows it for what it is. Lovely deeply coloured nighttime pictures illustrate the stages of the moon in this perfect bedtime story. Unusual and charming..

Olive and the Big Secret by Tor Freeman

We've all done it - told just one person a secret and before you know where you are, everyone knows!When Molly shares a secret with Olive, the urge to tell is just too great for Olive. She tells Joe who tells Matt who tells Lola and Bea. But Lola is best friends with Molly. The secret is out, and Olive is in big trouble! But just what is this big secret? Now that would be telling....... The story flows delightfully across the long pages and the expressions are wonderful!

Recycling! (Helping Hands) by Jess Stockham

What can we recycle? Who can sort the waste? What can we re-use? From a very young age, children enjoy helping and the satisfaction of feeling useful, and recycling gives an ideal opportunity to help. The simple text encourages further discussion and the lively pictures speak for themselves, so children can appreciate the message even before they learn to read. Jess Stockham has an instantly recognisable style - her bright simple and child-friendly illustrations appeal very well to children.

Food Chain by M P Robertson

A start to the story which will engage children's attention - the food chain created when a naughty boy throws a goldfish down the toilet. When it reaches the sea it eaten by a bigger fish.......... which is eaten by a lbigger fish ... and the naughty boy almost becomes part of the food chain himself in a startling end! A bright and funny story, full of activity.

Peter and the Magic Goose and Other Magical Stories ed by Belinda Gallagher

Stories from famous authors are adapted for young readers in this imaginative collection. The Hermit; The Elf and the Housewife; The Paradise of Children and Peter and the Magic Goose are the stories in this collection. Revel in the stories of enchanted creatures, curious folk and imaginary lands, retold in easy-to-read language and colourfully illustrated. Stories to read aloud to a group; for older children to read alone; or to share with your child.

Excuses Excuses by Anushka Ravishankar

We have all heard some ingenious excuses, but this book beats them all! A delightful hero has the very best of intentions but somehow circumstances (of course, entrely beyond his control) conspire against him. Follow Neel through a week of ever more implausible excuses and find out just what happens when he decides to use (just a little) water to clean his room. A joyful tale of knowing the rules, but just going a bit too far..........

 Quack Quack Moo, We See You by Mij Kelly

A story to delight children in the nature of the pantomime 'She's behind you!' as we see poor Poppa Bombola searching everywhere for his beloved missing daughter. Where can she be? All the while, she is closer than he thinks, enjoying a journey full of fun and friendly animals in the farmyard. An enchanting rhyming story, full of colour, as Poppa searches in all sorts of unlikely places. A real giggle of a story!

 Lollipop and Grandpa's Back Garden Safari by Penelope Harper

Who would have guessed that the back garden could be such an exciting place? Lollipop and Grandpa set off, with binoculars, sandwiches and the most important thing - imagination. They find extraordinary things and only just reach safety in time! The vocabulary is descriptive and excellent for reading aloud. A great way to encourage children to have adventures in their own back garden or local park.  I foresee a great future for this lovely duo - their relationship is wonderful and Grandpa has such an insight into the way his little granddaughter thinks.

Collywobble by Malachy Doyle

Aaaaaaaaaah! What a lovable endearing little puppy - even if he is the runt of the litter. His brothers and sisters are all stronger than Collywobble - three will be farm dogs and three pets, but nobody wants poor Collywobble. Luckily for everyone though, he is allowed to stay on the farm. One day, Farmer Joe and Bess go to fetch the sheep down from the snowy mountain, but they don't arrive home. Intrepid little Collywobble sets off to find them and proves just how brave and clever he is..... This really is an enchanting story, with absolutely delightful pictures that depict the little pup so well.  The story may even bring a tear to your eye..... Well produced too, on high quality shiny paper that makes the book a delight.

 Frank n Stan by M P Robertson

Like many little children, Frank would dearly love a brother or sister. As his Mum doesn't seem to be obliging, he takes it upon himself to create his own brother - junk modelling brought to a fine art. His creation, Stan, soon becomes an integral part of the family and Frank and Stan do everything together, until someone else comes along........... There's a definite Heath Robinson feel to the illustrations which are fun and quirky - and which I think could inspire some great creations.  An unusual and comical story of invention, families and loyalty.

It's a Book by Lane Smith

Inspired! What better way to celebrate World Book Day than a book which explores all the glories of books and their vital role even in an electronic age. The story is creative and amusing and even young children will readily identify with the IT-related language - 'Can it text? Blog? Scroll? WiFi? Tweet? No.it's a book.' Scanty but effective text is perfectly complemented by the witty and amusing illustrations - I love the illustration of time passing! It's a vital message for children and adults, so the parents sharing this with their child will find food for thought.

Bunny Loves to Read by Peter Bently

Peter Bently is doing a great job of encouraging children to read with this book. Buster Bunny loves to read and even when his friends come over to play, he has to finish his book first - the adventures in a book are so much more exciting! He gets his friends so keen to read that they won't come out to play when Buster wants too. But when the friends get outside, they find the stories have given them wonderful ideas for imaginative games. Share this lovely story with your child and then use the inspiration to play games based on books. Lovely illustrations of the friends add to the enchantment of the story.

Sparkle's Song by Samantha Hale

This is a sad and touching story with a magical message of hope. Sparkle finds herself living with her aunt after her parents die. Her aunt stopped listening to music when Sparkle's mother. died.  Can Sparkle bring music back into her aunt's life and so back into her own?  The colourful pictures will apeal to the young reader - as will the glittery cover, which gives a positive feel to this thoughtful story. and interesting; they will certainly please young readers.  I think better for children of 4+, as some of the concepts may be hard to understand. A book to be shared, so the adult can ensure the reassuring message comes across clearly. 

It's Snorey Time by Meg and Catherine Pybus

'Guaranteed to make you zzzzz....' - I can't wait to try it! Meet the Snoreys - Mummy, Daddy, Mop, Snuggle, Snuffle and Pignut. The dormouse family love to sleep, except for little Pignut. Instead, He discovers the dormouse-written 'Secret Book of Sleep' and that is what finally sends him to sleep. And the book includes your very own copy! Carefully selected language helps your child feel sleepy and secure at bedtime. An interesting concept is the fact that the story is written using simple neurolinguistic techniques which are designed to have a soporific effect on the listener. An audio CD of the story is included. A perfect bedtime story for children of 3+ - even the illustrations are softly coloured and relaxing.

Say Please Little Bear by Peter Bently

Two adorable and irresistible bears adorn the front cover of this lovely story about the importance of friendship, politeness, taking turns and sharing. A lovely warm story about Daddy Bear showing Little Bear how important all these things are. Using animals to convey the all-important message makes the story reassuring and non-threatening to children, and reading the book can be much more effective than being critical of a child's behaviour. The animals are charming and children will love to emulate them.

The Goblin and the Girl by Neil Irani 

When the girl looked in the mirror, she thought she was a goblin. She was ashamed of the way she thought looked and hid herself away as much as possible - but everyone else saw a normal little girl. One day she found herself in the forest, without the hat she always wears to hide behind. She doesn't want the boy to see her but they do walk and talk together, and things change. There is a real and important message for all of us in this story, especially in an age when we are all so concerned about outward appearance. With charming illustrations by Park Yun, this is an enchanting and thought-provoking story.

 Topsy and Tim Go for Gold by Jean and Gareth Adamson

This popular fun-loving duo return for a topical adventure in their own version of the Olympics - school Sports Day. Who can run the fastest? The answer satisfies both as twins are just perfect for running the three-legged race! This reassuring series is great for introducing children to new experiences in a relaxed and fun way. Topsy and Tim have been favourites for many years - many adults will remember reading about them and these new stories have been broight up-to-date for today's young readers with new artwork.

We Love Bears by Catherine and Laurence Anholt

Another enchanting book from this much-loved author/illustrator team. Everyone loves bears and there are bears of all shapes and sizes in this fun-filled story! Go along with the  little boy and his baby brother as their own special teddy takes them on a trip to Teddy Bear Town. This book deserves to become a classic and I am sure it is going to become a favourite bedtime read for many a child. There is lots of detail to spot on each page, so plenty for you and your child to share - with their very own teddy as well, of course!
A complex book, and I am not quite sure whether readers will get the full meaning. The publisher tells us: "Young Tristan, a curious boy who rescues all sorts of objects from the rubbish dump, finds an old Viewmaster in its elaborate box, complete with a set of disks. He finds that these represent the ages of humankind, seen as a cyclical structure in which patterns of growth and decay are repeated. Tristan becomes more and more drawn in to the world of the disks, and eventually disappears. The book is full of metaphors and symbols of seeing and watching, circularity and never-endingness, in a complex, fantastical tale, which was Shaun Tan's first picture book." It is certainly an intriguing book!

 Wolf Won't Bite by Emily Gravett

It seems to me that Emily Gravett just can't fail with her wonderful picture books. She knows just what will appeal to children and her wonderfully quirky illustrations do just that. More - they appeal to adults as well and that means they buy her books to share with their children. The three little pigs turn the tables on the wolf as they make him jump through hoops, undertake some daring feats, and even dress him up........ but will the wolf bite back eventually? This book, with its snappy ending, will appeal to those who have long-suffering pets.

Goldilocks and Just the One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

If you are expecting a traditional fairy tale, you will be very surprised by this quirky and unusual picture book. Meet a bear who finds himself in the big and bewildering world of a bustling city. Perhaps 'Snooty Towers' will be a good refuge.... A little sit down in a lift takes him to a very plush apartment, where he decides he would like a bowl of porridge, a comfy chair and a soft bed. But he faces a rude awakening as the tables are turned by......guess who? A lovely story with entrancing illustrations and a well-deserved ending.

 Babar's Book of Colour by Laurent de Brunhoff

'Celebrate 80 years of Babar with this special anniversary edition!' An enduring favourite brough to a whole new audience in this unusual story. Much longer than most picture books, the young reader is taken on an exciting exploration of Babar's art studio. Here, we are introduced to lots of different colours, and given ideas of what to paint with each colour. More - it shows how colours are combined to make different colours so there is lots of encouragement to celebrate. I think this would be a lovely book to use as the basis of a classroom project on colour. Meet Babar and his friends and enjoy a fun story at the same time. A lovely book which can be used in many situations and which will really appeal to all young readers.

Muffin and the Birthday Surprise by Clare Vulliamy

A simple story with gentle hunour which will appeal to young children. Meet Muffin and his two lovable friends,the twins Flora and Fizz. Today is a special day in Muffin's world - it's Flora and Fizz's birthday and he wants to take them a very special present - but it doesn't turn out quite as he intended.....The story is easy for children to follow and relies on familiar experiences and the artwork is simple but appealing. I can see this delightful trio Muffin becoming firm favourites for pre-schoolers.

The Jellybeans and the Big Art Adventure by Laura Numeroff and Nate Evans

What a lovely cover! Glittery, embossed and really eye-catching - a great start to the book. This is the fourth in the Jellybeans series - the Jellybeans are enchanting characters and it was lovely to 'meet' them. With such a range of different characters, children are bound to find one they identify with and they will delight in re-joining their favourite in each book of the series. Bitsy is the artist of the group, and she gets all her friends to help paint a mural at their favourite place - the sweetshop! They take a trip to the museum to gain inspiration and then set to work together to create their own masterpiece. A lovely story of friendship and working together.

Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachael Mortimer

Yes, I have got the title right....... this is an entertaining twist on the fairytale. In this story, we meet a Sweet Little Wolf who is the despair of her big bad wolf parents. Sweet little Wolf is sent out with a list for dinner which includes 'One little girl tender and juicy'. Unfortunately, she gets rather distracted from her task and it is the wolf who has to be saved........ in the best tradition of fairy tales, they all live happily ever after! A lovely story which will really appeal to children, with illustrations that are full of life and detail.

The Big Jungle Mix Up by Gareth Edwards

This book is guaranteed to give hours of amusement. Big Bear is trying to teach Little Bear all the jungle animals he ought to know, but the trouble is is they seem to be a bit mixed up! The monkey has got feathers, the rhino has wings and the leopard has scales - and the rest of the jungle animals are no better. Luckily Little Bear is on hand to put Dad right and children will love to lift the flaps and see how the animals should really look. Bold colourful illustrations are full of interest - I would love to see this book used to encourage children to draw their own mixed-up animals.

The Big Animal Mix-Up by Gareth Edwards

Guess who's under the flap? A wonderfully crazy mixed up book. Young children will adore the strange and wonderful animals created and will take great pleasure in pointing out what is wrong! A real pleasure to share and talk about together and a good way to enhance children's observational skills and have fun at the same time. What happens oi you mix a bird and a snake. or a fish and a cat? The consequences are hilarious and will appeal greatly to children.

Love Monster by Rachel Bright

How would you feel if you were the only monster in a land full of cute cuddly creatures? Monster has no-one to love him but he's not one to sit and mope, so he sets off to find someone to love him. he looks everywhere and even this determined creature is close to giving up but all is well in the end. A touching story with a lovable hero. Bright bold illustrations are full of charm and appeal. If your child is feeling left out read them this story at bedtime and I guarantee they will feel better! A lovely reassuring story.

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