NEW TITLES

Scruffy Bear and the Lost Ball
Christopher Wormell

Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN 9780857550118

This is the second outing for Scruffy Bear who we first met in Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice, by the award-winning Christopher Wormell. Scruffy Bear is an appealing and inventive little bear who tries to do the right thing but is also a little mischievous and sometimes this gets him in trouble. In this adventure, Scruffy Bear sees a beautiful red ball which he can't help kicking, but it lands in a very high tree. When a group of rabbits come along looking for their ball, he knows he has to make things right and this means climbing the tree to retrieve the ball. On the way up he meets a number of animals that inhabit trees, including a squirrel, an owl and a stork. He finally manages to find the ball right at the top of the tree - where he also has a narrow escape. Wormell's trademark naturalistic illustrations of the animals are as always, stunning, and you can imagine lots of indrawn breaths when bear confronts each of these creatures during his climb - making this a great book to read aloud and share with a group. Meanwhile the views through the tree's branches give a child an inkling of all the pleasures to be had from climbing trees - as well as its dangers! In the classroom, the book could be used to develop children's conversational skills, for example encouraging them to discuss what has happened to the missing ball and how bear feels as he climbs through the tree. At KS1, children could make their own predictions for the story, discussing the plot and how bear might resolve the problem posed at its start. Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Scruffy Bear and the Lost Ball
The Shape of My Heart
Mark Sperring

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408827055

This eye-catching picture book is a reassuring story about children's everyday world, explored through its shapes, with a narrative pattern that follows the course of a day. The opening spread shows two smiling figures in white silhouette, a parent and a child, with the words: "This is the shape that we are./ The shape of you and me,". Beginning with the shape of the rising sun, the story goes on to explore the start of a day with the sun rising, birds flying and a mouth with the word 'hello'. The mouth links to an exploration of food, while the shapes of shoes and feet lead on to images that we see on the roads and in the world around us, and so on through the days activities until we return to the sun setting in the evening. It is a beautiful and appealing look at the places, animals, and objects common to a child's world, and a reminder, on the final spread, that each child is loved and cherished: "And this is the shape that I love you with. This is the shape of my heart." Each of the pages is filled with colourful objects that young children will recognise and can be encouraged to explore. The story can be used as a basis for discussions about shapes in our environment and to encourage children to do their own 'shape hunts' in the classroom or playground or, among KS1 children, to discuss the sequences in a day Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher

The Shape of My Heart
Welcome to Alien School
Caryl Hart

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857072573

The Albie books (see also Plunge into the Pirate Pool, How to Grow a Dinosaur and Supermarket Zoo) are a perfect gateway into the imaginative world of storytelling. What child wouldn't like the idea of a school in space, or growing a dinosaur - or even popping into the supermarket to pick up a monkey or two?! In each of these picture books, Albie's imagination takes an element of our real world and gives it a little twist and a shake so that he, and we, end up in a completely different place. In Alien School, Albie finds himself taken to school in space where he meets all kinds of different creatures - and for the aliens, meeting a human is quite an adventure, too. These are a great stories to use with children from Reception through to Year 2 to play with the idea of telling stories. What elements from their everyday world could they take into the world of stories - for Albie, it's going to school, a swimming trip or helping Mum in the garden. You could choose another everyday activity for children, for example going to the library or visiting a cafe, and see where the story takes you. Or begin with one of Albie's adventures - helping mum in the garden - and see what ideas your class comes up with for growing their own.... jungle, monsters or talking fruits! - wherever the story takes them... Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher

Welcome to Alien School
Naked Trevor
Rebecca Elliott

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848773233

This is a gloriously colourful, inventive and funny book from Rebecca Elliott which is great for storytime as well as to approach themes like self-awareness, difference and wearing clothes. Did you know that all birds are naked? They choose which kind of bird they want to dress up as and in Trevor's family, they all choose to dress as sparrows. But when Trevor decides he'd rather go naked, it causes great consternation in the bird community. Luckily, Trevor's close encounter with mud, leaves and flowers saves the day (and any embarrassment) and all the birds agree that it is much more fun to find new and different ways to dress. The concept of the story - wanting to run around in the nuddy - alongside the flaps and surprises along the way make this a great book to read aloud and both children (and grown-ups) will love the naked botty on the last page! You could also use the story to inspire discussions about why we wear clothes and what children's favourite kinds of clothes are - as well as how useful clothes can be, for example to keep us warm as well as for different professions like firemen and policemen. Or you might want to take a closer look at how we can tell birds apart by their different feathers and appearances, which could lead children on - like Trevor - to 'invent' their own kind of bird using feathers and collage for a display. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Cohan, teacher

Naked Trevor
Churchill's Tale of Tails
Anca Sandu

Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN 9781780080093

This is a funny and touching tale about friendship which also explores generosity and kindness and reminds children of the value of both friendship and being nice to one another. Churchill is a very happy pig with a fabulous tail of which is he enormously proud, so he is devastated when one day his tail goes missing. His friends rally round to help him find a new tail (a peacock, zebra, mouse, fish and elephant's tails are among those explored) - but Churchill enjoys discovering these alternative tails so much that he neglects his friends, until his real tale is returned and he realises what a poor friend he has been. The story can generate discussions about how wearing different things such as a school uniform can encourage us to behave differently or, more fun, which kinds of tails children might like to choose to make them feel stronger, faster, braver etc. At the heart of the story, though, is the message about friendship and what it takes to be a good friend - something that most young children have strong views about. Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher

Churchill's Tale of Tails
Nurse Clementine
Simon James

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406338621

Award-winning author illustrator of the irrepressible 'Baby Brains' has come up with another winner! His soft watercolour illustrations capture children’s expressions and the minutiae of family life so perfectly and this is a really delightful little family and such a familiar scenario. Every parent has had to experience the joys of being a patient for their role-playing offspring and many a family pet will have endured similar treatment to the family dog here. Siblings are often very resistant though and young Tom is no exception. He does not want to play with his sister in her birthday present outfit, but when he gets stuck in at tree it is time for the intrepid Nurse Clementine to come to the rescue! I am not really sure why there is such an endless and universal fascination in young children with playing doctors and nurses but the fact cannot be denied. This warm and gentle book encapsulates that familiar delight and will no doubt spark off renewed interest in the role playing corner of many a nursery or, indeed, encourage requests from small children for a nurse's outfit of their own! Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, School Library Services

Nurse Clementine
Daisy: Come On, Daisy!
Jane Simmons

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781843622727

It's hard to believe that it has been 15 years since we first met Daisy when her curiosity and the overwhelming desire to explore her world first took her away from her mother's side. Come on Daisy is now seen as a contemporary classic and its appeal to young children remains undiminished. The story delivers the message that small children should stay with mum where it is safe and, while that isn't a new theme, Simmons' success is in delivering it through the child's perspective and with real emotional engagement. Each of the spreads show the excitement, adventure and ultimately the danger present in Daisy's world through her eyes and everything in it is sized accordingly. So the lily pads are huge, the reeds are towering and the pond is as big as a sea! The colours are also gorgeously lush and Daisy's small world is presented as a vast adventure playground waiting to be explored. It is also a very reassuring story - despite all the potential dangers and the fact that Daisy is completely lost, it all ends happily. Come on Daisy could be used to begin discussions about playing safely and to explore the different emotions Daisy went through during her adventure. Since Come On Daisy was published, there have been other books about Daisy including Daisy and the Egg, Daisy and the Moon and Daisy and the Beetle. Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Daisy: Come On, Daisy!