NEW TITLES

My Daddy's Going Away
Christopher MacGregor

Doubleday Children's Books

ISBN 9780857532114

This heart-warming, insightful story introduces the idea of Daddy going away because of work and explores what this means to the two small children he has to leave behind. The rather wonderful alien imagery ensures that this is a story about 'every family', not allied to any particular culture, and also that Daddy's work could be any type of work. The story builds up to the moment that Daddy has to leave and explores the coping mechanisms the family has put in place - from discussing Daddy's departure in advance, to ways of counting the days until his return, how they stay in touch online and with mail etc. It balances the everyday things, like going to school and bed time, with the absence of the father and how that sense of absence underlies their day to day activities. The exploration of the kinds of emotions that children might feel in the father's absence make it a strong story to use to discuss feelings, perhaps in circle times, encouraging children to discuss times when they have felt sad or lonely and how they have coped with those feelings. All in all, a clever story, delivered in beautifully simple way with great rhyming text, sweeping spreads and wonderfully detailed imagery that children will love to explore. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher

My Daddy's Going Away
Dragon Loves Penguin
Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408839492

Baby penguins love having bedtime stories read to them and Bib is no different. Mummy Penguin tells him the story of a dragon who covets an egg and an abandoned egg in need of a mother and the consequent love between them. There's no secret that it wasn't a dragon's egg as the pictures plainly show the baby penguin. But although his dragon Mother loves him, the baby penguin is not accepted by his peers other baby dragons. Until, that is, he saves the day because of being a penguin and not a dragon. Then there is a delightful ending. A good, moral tale about accepting differences and getting on. The story is comforting but the illustrations make it exceptional. The penguins are in soft focus, the dragons won't alarm young children. The little additions such as the sharks threatening the abandoned egg make for amusing discussion. This book works all round - a comforting story at bedtime, a tale to teach tolerance in the classroom. Great for reading aloud and displaying the bold illustrations. This will become a favourite with children and adults alike. Reviewed by Dawn Woods, SLS Librarian

Dragon Loves Penguin

ISBN 9780857560599

The delightful sounding partnership of Heapy and Heap will, I hope, bring us many future picture books as entrancing as this debut together has turned out to be. Very little Red Riding Hood turns the familiar tale upside down because the Big Bad Wolf is greeted by our toddler heroine with delight as 'Foxie' and given a big hug! He is allowed to come to Grandmamma's but not allowed to pick the red flowers because, of course, red is her favourite colour and is definitely not allowed to touch the cakes! Even Grandmamma is convinced that it is safe to allow Foxie in for a cuppatea and they all have a wonderful time until the genuinely Very little Red Riding Hood realises 'I don't know where is my Mummy' and nothing can stop the tears until the Wolf threatens with the familiar refrain and then the audience will be on the edge of their seats waiting for her to get eaten. But luckily this turns into a ferocious tickling which makes everyone laugh and laugh until they all fall into an exhausted sleep. The language and mannerisms of a two year old are captured so perfectly by the words and pictures and the merging of the traditional tale with the first sleepover trauma is very cleverly done. The typography and page design including the witty fairytale endpapers really do add to the storytelling. This is bound to become an oft-requested favourite and one that I cannot wait to read aloud. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, Librarian

That Is Not a Good Idea!
Mo Willems

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406349412

When fox invites Mrs Duck to 'go for a stroll' (and she accepts!) a series of little chicks chirp, 'That is Not a good idea!' and they get more anxious, and more numerous, the nearer to the fox's kitchen duck gets. It finally reaches the point - where fox invites duck to look at the soup in which a 'key ingredient' is missing - where the little chicks are shouting out that that is 'Really Really Really Really NOT a good idea!" This is a lovely, simple story to read aloud and the children will have great fun in joining in the chick's repeated refrain - and there will be much surprise when the reader turns the final pages to discover the twist in the tale. Older children may be able to take a tale they know and give it a different ending, as the author has done in this story, and it can also be used to explore how suspense is built in a story. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

That Is Not a Good Idea!
Troll and the Oliver
Adam Stower

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848773523

Adam Stower delights in twisting our perceptions round as in his earlier stories Silly Doggy and Naughty Kitty, and in The Troll and the Oliver, he is at it again with a thoroughly entertaining - and beautifully illustrated - picture book. "This is the Troll. And this is an Oliver. Every day around lunchtime....Troll tries to eat the Oliver" is how the book begins, with an amusing troll-guzzling story told from the perspective of the Troll - see how the definite article is given to 'the Oliver' and not the Troll. Because the Oliver 'dashes about', it makes the Troll's job of catching it very difficult... until the day when he unexpectedly does just that....The twist of fate at the end will surprise and delight young readers. It's a great story to use to explore the element of surprise in stories, and of course if you're looking for a story that gives the usual fairy tale a twist, this does just that, with comparisons to The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood, for starters. The ending is also hugely satisfying - who would have thought that a story about a boy-eating Troll would end with baking cakes! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Troll and the Oliver
Pongo
Hodgson Jesse

Flying Eye Books

ISBN 9781909263093

This gorgeous picture book explores the rainforest in deliciously-presented spreads that take us from the leafy floor of the rainforest right up to the top of the canopy as we follow Pongo's search for the sun. Pongo, an orang-utan 'lived deep in the dark, dark depths of the rainforest' and, deciding it is too wet and gloomy there, he heads off in search of the sun. On his way to the canopy, Pongo mistakes various orange objects for the sun - from a golden snake and a baboon's bottom to a beehive and hanging fruit. Eventually, though, he makes it to the top of the canopy and is rewarded with a blazing sunrise and the company of a very special, very orange friend. This book could be the starting point for a whole week's lessons on the the rainforest, exploring the different plant and wildlife that inhabit different levels of the rainforest. It could also be used to encourage a whole-class piece of art or display work, with different groups of children depicting different levels of the rainforest, or they could write creatively about what it might be like to live in the rainforest, either among the roots of the giant trees or in the canopy. Among older children in Years 2/3, the discussion could be developed further to explore the environmental issues around the rainforest - why the world needs the rainforest and what is being done to protect it - through their own writing, or researching, news reports and other factual accounts. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Pongo
Herman's Letter
Tom Percival

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408836750

This beautifully-illustrated story explores themes of friendship, jealousy and loneliness. Herman and Henry are friends so when Henry moves away, Herman misses him terribly and Henry's letters about his new friendships and activities don't help as they leave Herman feeling sad and left out, even though Henry makes it clear how much he is missing Herman through his letters. Each of the letters Henry sends is carefully folded on the pages of the picture book and children will take much pleasure in opening these up. While Herman likes getting the letters, he struggles to write back: 'how could he possibly tell Henry how miserable he was?'. When Henry suggests Herman comes to visit one day, Herman finally writes his own letter, and decides to deliver it himself with some unforeseen consequences. The story could be used during circle times to encourage children to discuss when they have felt excluded or sad and how they have managed it. In the story, we discover that if Herman had only said what he was feeling earlier, much heartache could have been spared. The picture book can also be used to encourage letter-writing between pupils in different classes, especially if friendships have been disrupted by class moves across Years 1 & 2. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Herman's Letter