NEW TITLES

Mrs Vickers' Knickers
Kara Lebihan

ISBN 9781405253956

This joyous picture book about a pair of knickers that gets snatched from a washing line by a gust of wind takes us on a high-altitude adventure around town as chaos and giggles a-plenty unfold in the wake of these gorgeous and very bright pink pants! Mrs Vicker's favourite knickers twirl through the air getting tangled in a kite, whisked over the rooftops, collide with some traffic lights and get blown past the church and through the classroom. Many of the spreads have just one or two lines of text but the illustrations are filled with delicious detail charting the route the knickers take - look out for the drawings of wind machines in the classroom spread, and the disastrous distractions the pants cause on the building site! Children will pour over these details and the juxtaposition of the daintily be-ribboned pink pants with the everyday world they pass is just perfect! There are great opportunities here for drawing maps, creating their own washing line of pants (just like 'Aliens') or writing their own versions of the knickers' journey. Ages 3+ / 32 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Mrs Vickers' Knickers
The Super Swooper Dinosaur
Leonie Lord

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408307816

I was so pleased to see a new title from the talented team of Martin Waddell and Leonie Lord who have already given us the much enjoyed Dirty Great Dinosaur. The Super Swooper Dinosaur is the fast-paced story of Hal and his little dog Billy who are out playing in their garden, when the super swooper dinosaur flies in for some fun. Of course there is only one problem which is finding a game that is suitable for a boy, a dog and a dinosaur to play together! Leonie Lord's lively, child-friendly illustrations perfectly blend with the text and bring the story alive. The theme of 'Dinosaurs', although appealing to both pre-school and KS1 boys and girls, will have particular appeal to many small boys for whom Dinosaurs is one of their favourite subjects. The games Hal, Billy and the dinosaur play together; hide and seek, dancing and playing in the paddling pool, are games children can easily identify with and enjoy. This picture book is very suitable for reading aloud with lots of sounds and actions which gives scope for the listener to join in. Children who have enjoyed this title might also like to try Ten terrible dinosaurs by Paul Stickland and Harry and his bucket full of Dinosaurs by Ian Whybrow . Ages 3+ / 32 pages / Reviewed by Valerie Christie, librarian.

The Super Swooper Dinosaur
Lulu and the Treasure Hunt (Wagtail Town)
Emma Chichester Clark

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007425174

This is the second title to feature Lulu and her friends in Wagtail Town. As with the first, the action centres around incidents that could feature in the life of a young child - and though Lulu and her companions are all little dogs, they are recognisably children in their actions and reactions. Here, Lulu is faced with the dilemma of being asked to take care of Bonnie. But Bonnie is the smallest in the class and proves unable to keep up in the Treasure Hunt. Lulu is desperate reach at least one clue first, but this means abandoning Bonnie. This gentle tale succeeds through Chichester Clark's ability to allow the story to present the moral and through her attractive, child-centred illustrations. The opening spread showing Wagtail Town sets the scene, bringing to mind the bustle of a Richard Scary setting. This liveliness is then carried on to the final page with Lulu tucked up in bed. Lulu may not have the subtle appeal of Blue Kangaroo, but she is a lively little girl who will make many friends. The attraction will be further strengthened through the storytelling. The language is direct; dialogue and simple sentence structure move the action on briskly, repetition brings a satisfying rhythm. Indeed, though the Wagtail Town Tales are appearing as picture books, they have all the hallmarks of 'first chapter books' and would be ideal for young readers who are beginning to develop reading stamina. Interest level: Early Years / KS1 Reviewed by Ferelith Hordon, Librarian

Lulu and the Treasure Hunt (Wagtail Town)
Big!
Tim Hopgood

Picture Corgi

ISBN 9780552564878

The question posed by a little boy in this picture book is, 'How big am I?', and as he explores the question, he realises it's a tricky concept. Compared to an ant, for example, he's a 'ginormous giant' but next to a bear, 'I'm really quite small'. These comparisons continue through the story as he compares himself to the size of popcorn, buildings, an elephant and a mouse. He knows he's growing - and one day, he will be even bigger than his dad. The story is a great starting point for encouraging children to think about size and how they describe it and would lead nicely into some comparative activities - getting the children to predict which of them is the tallest / shortest and then lining up to see if they have got it right. They could also compare their different heights to what is around them, before moving into more standard units of measurement. Ages 3+ / Picture book format / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher

Big!
The Hundred Decker Bus
Mike Smith

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9780230754584

We can see this story, about a bus driver who changes his regular route to head off into the great unknown, becoming something of a classic. The story itself is told in quite an understated way, which contrasts brilliantly with the what we see unfolding on the page. After turning away from his normal route, a bus driver invites passengers to board and go "anywhere", and that is what they do - across the sea, over mountains and through deserts, picking up more passengers as they go. But where can all these passengers sit? An ingenious solution is the creation of more and more levels on the bus and the form these levels take is what makes this story so enchanting. We have boats and swimming pools, party decks and temples piled atop an ordinary red bus and the imaginative opportunities here are endless. What would children want 'their' deck to be? And where would they like the bus to take them? How about drawing a map of their journey, or imagining what life might be like aboard a travelling bus?!

The Hundred Decker Bus
A Day with the Animal Builders
Sharon Rentta

Alison Green Books

ISBN 9781407134888

The Animal Firefighters and the Animal Doctors have already made us fans of Sharon Rentta's delightfully useful picture books but with the Animal Builders I feel as if we have struck gold. It is always a struggle to find resources to support Homes and Buildings topics that are suitable for early years, but, on just one double page spread in this little treasure of a book and set out in clear cartoon strip formation, we have the best ten step explanation of the stages of building a house that I have seen. It is also a brilliant introduction to the world of work. This is Donkey's first day as an apprentice on the building site and he meets all the characters who have Special Skills and so we find out that to build a house we need all sorts of workers: bricklayers, plumbers, carpenters, scaffolders, but also the very important foreman to tell people what to do and an architect whose job is to design the penguin's Dream Home. Young children will relish pouring over the delightful details in the beautifully drawn illustrations. Adults will appreciate the homage to a certain famous black and white image when all the workers have their lunch on the crane arm! Children will be concentrating more on matching the favourite food to each character on that page. There is great humour and wit in both text and pictures. Children will learn a lot of useful topic vocabulary but will have no difficulty in following and enjoying the story. Donkey is, of course, a spectacular failure at all of the jobs he attempts, but then he averts a complete disaster for the nearly completed house and we discover that his special ability is strength. It is the endearing quality of the storytelling that will make this so popular with young children and the topic uses and language that will endear it to teachers and librarians! Reviewed by Joy Court, School Librarian Services

A Day with the Animal Builders