NEW TITLES

Ant and Bee
Angela Banner

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405266710

I was delighted to see the return of Ant and Bee, partly for nostalgic reasons but also because, having tried these out with a five year old learning to read, they do seem to have stood the test of time. Publisher Egmont has re-published three of the original titles, including Ant and Bee, More Ant and Bee, and More and More Ant and Bee. The books progress from three- to four- to five-letter words. The idea is that an adult reads the harder black words while children read the red words, many of which can be phonetically decoded. Young readers will enjoy the slightly eccentric stories and characters and the small format, which makes these books just the right size for small hands.

Ant and Bee
Open Very Carefully
Nicola O'Byrne

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857630476

This starts very gently by telling us the familiar tale of the Ugly Duckling, but we might just suspect something new because of the very cute woolly hat-wearing cygnet with a knowing but innocent expression. But what is that at the bottom of the page? When you turn over the page, it is being wrestled from you by a monstrous big creature which the ugly duckling suspects might be a crocodile. Are you scared? This is a book which demands interaction from its audience. It bombards you with questions, asks you to shake the book to try and get rid of the crocodile or to rock him to sleep before he eats all the words. The cheeky bird then goes a step too far and draws a silly costume on him while he sleeps! Luckily the enraged crocodile quite literally eats his way out of the book rather than eating our friend- but where has he gone? What a brilliant open ending for a perfectly designed and executed picturebook! With the holes in the back of the book actually working both ways, this is a master class in picturebook creation. That it comes from the innovative pioneer of picturebook apps, Nosy Crow, is no surprise, but here they are demonstrating the joy of the real book which can be physically handled. Added value can be had from some lovely activity sheets http://pinterest.com/NosyCrow/open-very-carefully

Open Very Carefully
Eric!
Christopher Wormell

Red Fox Picture Books

ISBN 9781849412841

Now available in paperback, Chris Wormell's Eric is a cleverly-told story about following the crowd, misconceptions, bullying and even how myths and legends are conceived. The authorial voice explains that, like Eric, he was told he wasn't very good at anything as a child, but it just takes time to find out what you are good at. Eric, who is called a 'nitwit, dummy, dunce and dope' by the townsfolk is, however, the only person who will stand up to a huge monster who is approaching the town, and in doing so, manages to befriend it. The monster isn't evil like the people had expected, just as Eric isn't the 'dimwit' they had all labelled him.

Eric!
Jemmy Button
Jennifer Uman

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848772229

This picture book is based on the true story of Jemmy Button, a boy who was taken from the island of Terra del Fuego in the 1800's and brought to England to be 'transformed into an English gentleman'. Some years later, he was returned to the island (Charles Darwin was on the same ship) in the hope he would 'spread civilisation' among the native tribe, but Jemmy (true name Orundellico) quickly returned to the life he had known before. This picture book telling of his story beautifully encapsulates what it might have been like for the child Jemmy seeing cities, hearing orchestras and meeting royalty as an outsider. Each spread shows Jemmy surrounded by repeated images of houses, windows and people. It is a relief, to Jemmy and to the reader, to see him returned to the island, watching the stars and whispering 'goodnight' to the land across the ocean.

Jemmy Button
P is for Poland
Prodeepta Das

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847803528

P is for Poland, now reissued in paperback, is part of the excellent 'World Alphabet' series introducing children to different countries and cultures with a photographic introduction to the food, clothes, places and history of the country. In this title, for example, A is for Amber or 'Polish gold', C is for Chopin the Polish musician, and V is for Vistula, the longest river in Poland. It would be a very useful title to prompt discussion from pupils native to Poland about their country and traditions, as well as giving non-Polish children a glimpse into another culture. R is for Russia has also recently been reissued in paperback by publisher Frances Lincoln.

P is for Poland
Orang-Utan
Suzi Eszterhas

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847803139

The latest title in the Eye on the Wild series from Frances Lincoln is an extraordinary glimpse at an increasingly threatened species, the Orang-utan, and is a useful addition to any discussion on endangered species. Each of the books in the series describe how the creatures grow from baby to adulthood and are told through a series of appealing images as well as factual text. The final page tells you more about the species covered, for example Orang-utans are seven times stronger than man and they use tools. There are also useful web links. Sea Otter is another recently-published title in the series.

Orang-Utan