NEW TITLES

To follow is a selection of titles aimed at Reception-aged children that make great read-alouds or that can be used to help inspire children in their own creativity.

Meet the Parents
Peter Bently

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857075826

Parents are very good at nagging and telling children what to do but, as this brilliant collaboration between Peter Bently and Sara Ogilvie so joyfully shows us, they are also good at lots of other things too. They are menders and heaters, towels for sticky hands and finders of lost things; they remember birthdays, sort out muddles and give children cuddles. From the front cover to the final pages, there are so many brilliant details to enjoy in this story that it's hard to know where to begin. The illustrations by Sara Ogilvie perfectly compliment the humour of Peter Bently's text and while the text on each page is short, the illustrations capture with detail and humour its full message. Each page is a lovingly-drawn snapshot of a child's life; making dens, playing with the hose in the garden, bedtime with teddies etc, each activity supported by a willing adult. Parents will certainly recognise the myriad uses that children put them to, but so will nursery workers and Reception teachers. And children themselves will certainly recognise and respond to the text and images. Meet the Parents is a great way to get children discussing the role of parents and to share in class some of the activities they most like to do with their families. Picture book format / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Meet the Parents
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
Little Big Mouth
Jeanne Willis

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406349870

When Little Green Monster meets Blue Monster on the first day of school, he is incredibly rude and calls him every colourful insult he can think of. Blue Monster remains surprisingly calm despite all these insults, until he finally reveals he is the new teacher, leaving Green Monster a 'red faced, yellow bellied, scaredy socks'. As usual Jeanne Willis' humour and rhythm of language comes shining through and is matched perfectly by Monks' illustrations, depicting each and every insult brilliantly. The joy of this book is its format. The pages split so each insult is revealed one by one so that you can mix and match a 'bubble head' with a 'stink paws'. It is like a giant game of picture consequences and will give everyone loads of fun. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Caroline Downie, librarian

Little Big Mouth
How To Catch a Dragon
Caryl Hart

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857079596

How to Catch a Dragon is an imaginative picture book about dragon hunting. The story takes place in a library, or is it a castle? Albie needs to find a dragon in order to complete his homework, which is to draw a picture of one. He finds a friendly knight and they set out on a perilous adventure to find dragons, but on the way they encounter scary creatures and have to bravely face their fears; but are the creatures as scary as they think? How will they escape? The illustrations are bright and eye-catching, ideal for capturing the attention of young children. There are lots of opportunities for children to join in with the story; from cheering to making earthquake noises. Even tickling a bear under the chin would be a fun drama action for the audience. For KS2 children, there is lots of discussion material based on the illustrations. There are lots of 'what would you do?' moments and the chance for children to guess what might happen next. This would create ideal suspense for older children and further involve them in the story. The dark tones of the more frightening parts of the story would be a good introduction to mood represented by colour. This is a share aloud story, or for use with small groups. There are lots of themes to explore, including: fears, friendship, being brave, imagination, using the library and stereotyping monsters. Other similar books would be: Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae, The King of Space by Jonny Duddle, The Three Wishes by David Melling and The Troll by Julia Donaldson. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Sophie Castle, librarian

How To Catch a Dragon
What are You Playing At?
Marie-Sabine Roger

Alanna Books

ISBN 9781907825026

This picture book book has a very simple construction and few words but packs a very powerful punch. Although recommending it for Early Years I really think it should also have a place even in secondary libraries or in classroom discussions about gender stereotyping. After all, these young people are themselves the product of the past decade where gender-based marketing has run rampant and not least of all in books. Each stunningly photographed page starts with a statement such as, 'Boys don't dance' or 'Girls do not play with cars' which is then challenged when you lift the flap. Playtime for children of this age is all about role play and is a rehearsal and exploration of real life - so limiting their play limits what they can imagine is possible. Children understand this and these photos will encourage interesting discussions with each other and with adults, who have their own attitudes to overcome, about what boys and girls, men and women can do and become. The book was published to coincide with Universal Children’s' Day and in an eloquent blog here (http://alannabooks.weebly.com/1/post/2013/11/celebrate-universal-childrens-day-with-alannas-provocative-new-title.html) the publisher explains why it is so important that we do not restrict children's play and thus limit their imaginations or aspirations. Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

What are You Playing At?
Crayon
Simon Rickerty

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471116797

Having won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize in 2013 for Monkey Nut, Simon Richkerty is back with an equally distinctive follow-up in Crayon. The two little spiders, one red and one blue, are back and this time they have each found a crayon - one red, one blue. A process of discovery follows as each spider starts to colour in their page - and the inevitable battle ensues when red spider colours blue spider's page. Then blue spider finds a new friend - a purple one! - and they get engaged in another colouring activity. The little red spider is feeling increasingly left out but the problem is solved when there is call for the spider's red crayon. The joy in these stories is the process of discovery of something as simple as a crayon and colouring in for these little spiders, but there are also themes of friendship, sharing and inclusion that are useful for classrooms everywhere. It's a simple enough story to spark ideas among KS1 children for their own character creation (who knew spiders could be such fun - and they are so easy to draw!) and to perhaps give their spiders a different object to explore. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Crayon
Yikes, Stinkysaurus!
Pamela Butchart

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408837078

For young dinosaur-loving fans everywhere comes a story about a very scary, very smelly little chap. Stinkysaurus loves all things smelly and especially the local swamp but his smell is scaring off all the other young dinosaurs who eventually hatch a plan to give Stinkysaurus a bath. When that works, and Stinkysaurus discovers that smelling sweet will enable him to have friends, being clean doesn't seem quite so bad. The rhyming verse, repeated refrain of 'Yikes, Stinkysaurus', the colourfully-energetic spreads and of course the smells, flies and snot, will make this a winner for reading aloud.

Yikes, Stinkysaurus!
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

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