NEW TITLES

To follow is a selection of picture books and young fiction titles with appeal to KS1 children, tying in with themes of creativity, writing and design.

ISBN 9781408839331

The Story Machine is a thoughtful and warm story about a young boy finding his creative 'voice'. The book was created by author and illustrator Tom McClaughlin who describes it as a 'labour of love' and a reflection of his own difficulties telling stories as a dyslexic child. The Story Machine begins with a boy discovering a special machine (which the reader will recognise as a typewriter; the child may not have seen a typewriter before, which adds to the story's magic!) that lets him write stories. However, the boy finds making words difficult so when he spots pictures among his typed letters, he starts to build stories using images instead of words. Having found his talent for telling stories, the boy manages to find other ways to keep telling them, even when the 'story machine' stops working. Creating stories can be very difficult for some children especially as they need to think about vocabulary, spelling and writing in sentences alongside using their imaginations. The Story Machine sets them free from these constraints and the picture book could be a lovely way to introduce children to the idea of telling their own stories in class - be that through words, pictures, comic strips, collage or other art forms. Once children have discovered the joy of stories, and telling their own stories, then you can worry about the mechanics of doing so. If you have access to a typewriter, children are likely to be fascinated by it! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Extra Yarn
Mac Barnett

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406342314

Extra Yarn is an American book which has rightly won several awards. Both the illustrator and writer have also separately won awards for their work. Extra Yarn is a unique and tantalising story of a determined young girl, Annabelle, who lives in 'a cold little town'. The ambiguous title,which dominates the front cover, is knitted in brightly coloured stitches and has Annabelle lounging on the T in Extra. From the beginning of the story Annabelle is engaged in knitting with the yarn from a box she found on page two of the story. The yarn, like in the Magic Porridge Pot, never runs out whatever she knits and with her knitting she starts to change the 'cold little town'. But all is not plain sailing for Annabelle as she is told she looks 'ridiculous' in her newly knitted clothes and her teacher tells her that her jumper is a 'terrible distraction' to the other children in her class. However, this resilient young girl continues knitting until the Archduke arrives having heard of the magic box of yarn, wanting to buy it from her. Of course she refuses to sell and he steals it. But all is not lost and eventually Annabelle gets the box back. Jon Klassen's illustrations add greatly to this story. His colourful knitting pattern pulls the story together as it features not only on clothes, but on buildings, cars and animals. He portrays Annabelle with the most wonderful expressions which reflect her strength of character. This delightful story will read aloud very well in class and be ideal for role play activities. Picture Book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, educational consultant

Extra Yarn
Send for a Superhero!
Michael Rosen

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406327090

Michael Rosen's new-style superhero is likely to be taking classrooms by storm as he subverts the traditional perception of a superhero with 'Extremely Boring Man', who comes with his own special super power. The book is told as a cross between a graphic novel and a bedtime story, with dad reading the superhero story to his children at bedtime. In the story, we discover that the Terrible Two are trying to destroy the world! Filth and Vacuum plan to cover everyone with slime and to steal everyone's money and neither Steel Man, Super-Flying-Through-the-Air-Very-Fast-Man, nor Incredibly-Big-Strong-Green-Man can stop him - that's a job for Extremely Boring Man, who does the trick by sending the villains to sleep. Unfortunately for dad, he doesn't manage to send his own two children (who happily interrupt his storytelling all the way through) to sleep - that will take more stories. The inventive glee with which Rosen comes up with his alternative superheroes will have huge appeal to children who are likely to enjoy making up their own superhero creations. They could also try to invent their own unexpected alternative, such as Extremely Boring Man, and put him up against their own villains. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Send for a Superhero!
Mr Wuffles!
David Wiesner

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781849397803

David Weisner has won the Caldecott Medal (the American equivalent of the Greenaway) no less than three times and I am very excited that his latest title has been brought to the UK within a month of its original publication date, thanks to the wonderful Andersen Press. For the first time we have the possibility of David Weisner being eligible for the Greenaway Medal and this wonderful, almost wordless, picture book full of dramatic visual storytelling is certainly worthy of nomination. In alternating stunning full-page illustrations with graphic novel or comic strip boxes we have the hilarious story of a ruthless predator cat, with a misleadingly cute name and tiny aliens, whose space ship becomes a new toy for the jaded Mr Wuffles. They manage to escape his clutches into a miniature world behind the radiator where they encounter some insect allies. The walls are covered in Lascaux-like depictions of the insect's own battles with Mr Wuffles and the aliens then use images to communicate with their new friends and devise an escape plan with their help. The whole book will be a joy to share and discuss with the class who will want to decode the alien language depicted, of course, by symbols in the square alien speech bubbles. There is also a wonderful film clip to share where the author discusses his inspiration. Children will be amazed by his special floor level camera, designed to follow his cat around: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjNSxn3MVaM Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

Mr Wuffles!
I Love You Night and Day
Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408839737

This is a gentle, reassuring story about friendship and love, beautifully and simply told in rhyming verse, that begins with clear statements of love; 'I love you most, I love you best, Much, much more than all the rest,' but which moves into a more poetic, expressive language as we turn the pages: 'I love you wild, I love you loud / I shout it out and I feel proud'. As well as exploring ideas of friendship and what love means to each of us, the text can be used to explore how we use language, from positional language to the use of adverbs and adjectives: 'I love you big, I love you tough, When the path is smooth and when it's rough'. KS1 children could be encouraged to use the language in the book to develop their own expressive poetry, taking some of the short stanzas and replacing the adjectives and verbs with their own to create their own poems about friendship or family, for example. It's also a lovely book to share at the end of the day, and a gentle addition to any book corner.

I Love You Night and Day
How Animals Live
Christiane Dorion

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848777392

How Animals Live, from Templar's How It Works series, is one of those books that you'll find yourself reaching for across a variety of topics, from Rainforest and Desert topics to Mini-beasts and Migration, and across year groups from Year 1 to Year 3. As well its usefulness in class-based topics, individual readers from Year 3 and above will enjoy browsing its varied facts ('a cheetah can spot its prey up to 5km away', 'there are more than 40,000 species of spider in the world', etc) and exploring the pop-ups and flaps on each page. Each of the fabulous spreads is devoted to a particular biome - Rainforest, Desert, Saltwater and Freshwater habitats, the Arctic and Tropical Savannah. The Rainforest spread, with its pop-out trees, gives us an immediate sense of the animals and bugs that inhabit each level of the forest while in the Desert, we lift the flaps to find out what is sheltering under the hot sands; there is a separate flap for nocturnal creatures. The section on seawater shows the differences in habitation of coral reefs, the open ocean, the deep sea and the very deep sea, while the freshwater spread distinguishes between a fast-flowing river - plus all the creatures you'll find in the woods around it - and pond life. The Arctic includes the variety of creatures you'd expect to see, such as polar bears and seals, but we also explore the bird life and even find out which bugs survive in the Arctic ice. In the Savannah spread, we quickly see which animals we are likely to find here and again we can browse some fascinating facts - the cheetah can accelerate to 90km per hour in just three seconds! The 'Super Commuters' spread is probably a favourite of ours, giving an intriguing glimpse into migration routes and how animals, birds and insects navigate them. Follow the arrows that traverse the continents to find out far the desert locust, the European white stork and the Bewick swan - and others - travel in their search for food. On the final spread - the Urban Jungle - we find out what is living closer to home. Highly recommended. 9 full-page spreads / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

How Animals Live
Jemmy Button
Alix Barzelay

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848776159

This picture book (now available in paperback) 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. In the picture book, the ending sees Jemmy returning to his homeland, watching the stars and whispering 'goodnight' to the land across the ocean. This picture book-telling of his story - which is explained in the end papers - beautifully encapsulates what it might have been like for Jemmy, as a child, seeing cities, hearing orchestras and meeting royalty both for the first time and as an outsider. Each beautifully-presented spread shows Jemmy surrounded by repeated images of houses, windows and people, contrasting with the freedom and colours he had grown up with. As well as using this with older KS1 children to explore ideas of identity and belonging, Jemmy's story is a perfect starting point to reflect on what children from other cultures might feel about finding themselves in this country. It could be used in work with KS2 children to explore these ideas, leading on to discussions about what children from other countries might find difficult, amazing or unusual about living in the UK, or how they themselves might adapt to life in other countries and cultures. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Jemmy Button