NEW TITLES

This section focuses on picture books for children aged 4-6 years that can be used as read alouds and also support the curriculum. This month we also have some great non-fiction titles aimed at younger children.

Mungo Monkey has a Birthday Party
Lydia Monks

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405268660

Mungo Monkey is a gorgeous new character from Lydia Monks who will be appearing in a series of books by Egmont. In this story, Mungo is celebrating his birthday party with all the key moments on this special day - from waking up (very early!) to blowing up balloons, making party hats and baking cakes. Each moment is celebrated with flaps that children can life to see what happens next - which outfit Mungo chooses, what presents he gets and who comes to his party, for example. The pages are colourful, varied and beautifully illustrated with lots of playful moments right up until the last flap - Mungo sleeping happily with his friends. The story could be shared to encourage discussions around children's special days. The simple outline of the story means it can also be used to encourage children in Reception or KS1 to design their own small books with flaps, perhaps choosing another day that they would like to remember such as a day at the beach or going on a train journey. Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Mungo Monkey has a Birthday Party

ISBN 9780230745391

Bear loves fishing and enthusiastically sweeps up Hare to go along with him in this picture book story about friendship from the award-winning author and illustrator Emily Gravett. There are few people who can so effortlessly portray a range of emotions in their characters over a few short pages. Here we see Bear's endless enthusiasm gradually give way to boredom and then sleep after bagging a hat, a frog and a roller-skate during his attempts to fish. Hare, meanwhile, patiently observes Bear's activities and puts up with having worms, a frog and a roller skate intruding on his picnic. In the end, a magnificent fish is bagged (via Hare's ear, mistaken for a worm)and the two friends are obviously delighted. Children will identify with Bear's clumsy efforts to get something right and will be delighted that he does, eventually succeed. The story could be used to encourage children to talk about things that they have tried to do that they found difficult and who helped them achieve it. Reviewed by ReadingZone.

ISBN 9781447254874

If you've not yet come across Emily Gravett's Little Book Day Parade, a World Book Day book for younger readers, then do look out for it. The story is based on the World Book Day theme of dressing up as one's favourite character and includes a range of activities for young readers to do, from designing new tails for rabbits to colouring in an angry dragon. On the final pages, children are tasked with drawing themselves in their favourite costume, alongside the rest of the characters. Don't worry if you missed it on World Book Day - this story is appealing enough to share on any day of the year!

There's a Dinosaur in My Bathtub
Catalina Echeverri

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408839393

It is very hard to hide a big green dinosaur, called Pierre because he is French, and what is more has a curly black moustache, but Amelia does her best, made easier for her because only she can see him. Pierre is not like any dinosaur one might encounter, but he does like to have baths which does cause a problem if Mum or Dad need to use the bathroom so Amelia gets very good at hiding him. Even Wrinkles the small dog does not sense Pierre's presence. Pierre and Amelia have lovely adventures such as going to the moon and eating galactic chocolate and marshmallows, or dancing to Pierre's magic violin. This idyllic time does come to an end however as Pierre's visits only occur during the summer, and come autumn he is on his way after a meal of very stinky cheese. Each double page spread has a variety of pictures of Pierre and Amelia, rather Lauren Child like, and full of colour, movement and detail. There is a lovely spread of Amelia dancing upside down to the magic violin. Some of the text is French which gives a certain mystery to the story when used with small children somehow! The giant ice cream covering two pages will also appeal. Imaginary friends do appear in picture books quite often, but I have not encountered a green French dinosaur who gives so much fun and pleasure. Children from 4 and up will enjoy his adventures and learn a little French along the way. Reviewed by Janet Fisher, consultant librarian

There's a Dinosaur in My Bathtub
Happy Zappa Cat
Steve Webb

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857076212

This well designed, colourful picture book tells the story of Zappa, a taxi driver, and his experience of visiting the jungle with animal friends he meets while driving his taxi. His friends (elephants, giraffes and a crocodile) have been holidaying in the city and now they are eager to return home to the jungle. They persuade Zappa to accompany them because he has never left the city. Initially everything is fine in the jungle for Zappa but after a while he misses the city, he misses the shops, the cafes and the museum so he returns home stating '...there's no place like home'. The real appeal of this picturebook is Magali Le Huche's illustrations as they represent both the city and the jungle in a most appealing, child friendly way. This is a book that would be popular in the reading corner and to share individually with young boy readers. Reviewed by Fiona Collins, educational consultant

Happy Zappa Cat
Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon
Rachel Valentine

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408836781

Everyone knows that it's the job of a dragon to guard a princess; but what if a dragon is so different that no princess wants him guarding her? This is the plight faced by Marmaduke, a small dragon who is orange rather than purple and who refuses to fly because it would mean letting everyone see how different his wings are.... Until there comes a time when a small princess has great need of his help and Marmaduke is finally encouraged to show his wings and to recognise how magnificent they are! This is a heart-warming story about differences and accepting difference as well as friendship; in the final pages of this story, Marmaduke and the princess, who both struggle to conform, are united through their friendship and have lots of fun as a result. The story would be a good starting point to discuss differences and similarities as a group. Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon
Gigantosaurus
Jonny Duddle

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848771635

Gigantosaurus is a mixed genre book as it a story based on the traditional tale of The Boy who cried Wolf and includes factual information about dinosaurs. The story focuses on four young dinosaurs who are warned to be aware of the terrible Gigantosaurus. The four are playing in the forest, away from their parents, and one of them, Bonehead, volunteers to be lookout for the Gigantosaurus. He, however, plays tricks on his three friends by telling them that the monster is coming when it is only a Triceratops, a Dipodocus and a Stegosaurus who are all, slightly ironically, friendly towards the friends. Suddenly Bonehead is caught out, he sees the Gigantosaurus and urgently warns his friends of the danger but they don't believe him as he has repeatedly lied to them and they leave him alone. Bonehead is petrified; the monster makes terrible noises as it approaches. Hearing the noises his friends rush back to save their friend who fortunately has not been eaten and apologises to them for his lies. The story ends with a clever little twist to keep the reader thinking. The layout, language and illustrations in this amusing picturebook will engage young readers in the reading of the story. The illustrations of the young dinosaurs bring the characters to life and their facial expressions are a delight. The adult dinosaurs are also represented quite realistically for children to understand the differences between them. The language is repetitive and at times rhyming which will encourage children to join in the reading. The use of text in different sizes and fonts also adds to the narrative. This is a story that will read allow well and also engage individual readers, particularly boys, to explore the book independently.

Gigantosaurus
Little Answer
Tim Hopgood

Picture Corgi

ISBN 9780552567787

This is the perfect book for those endlessly questioning 3 and 4 year olds that can try a parent or teacher's patience to the limit. Here we have a cute little creature that is an answer, but does not know the question. In fact he feels a bit pointless really, but a helpful little snail helps him on the search for his question. We quickly discover that his answer is 'sausages' and children will have great fun joining in that response to the clever and thought provoking questions that various animals come up with. In fact I can safely predict that the response to many a genuine question in class or home will be answered with a mischievous 'sausages' for a several days after reading this book! There are wonderful opportunities for children to discuss the answers to the interesting questions proposed such as 'What are clouds made of?' or 'What makes the world go round?' and some of these are usefully answered for you at the end of the book. But be warned, there is a particularly lovely spread where Owl, who is determined not to be beaten, stays up all night thinking up fascinating questions and some of these will really tax adult brains to explain. They are, of course, very good for young philosophers to think about! It will be fascinating to hear children's own suggestions of a question that can be answered by 'sausages' before revealing the little girl's hungry question to which it is the perfect answer! Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

Little Answer
Oi Frog!
Kes Gray

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444910865

If you've not yet had the pleasure of Oi Frog, then do try to seek out a copy. Oi Frog is a great story for reading aloud and early readers will also be able to manage it. As well as being a tongue-in-cheek look at phonics (frogs sit on logs; woe betide the frog that wants to sit on something more comfortable, a sofa, say), it's a lovely introduction to rhyming words for younger children with the rhyming words picked out in bold throughout the story. Now, for the story: "Oi Frog! Sit on a log!" the bossy cat begins....and when frog protests about splinters, Cat responds, "You're a frog, so you must sit on a log." Frog's alternative suggestions - a chair? a sofa? stools? - are already taken (by a Hare, Goffas and Mules). '"It's not about being comfortable", said the cat. "It's about doing the right thing." Cat goes on to explain that lions sit on irons, parrots on carrots, foxes on boxes etc etc . And don't dare ask what dogs sit on.... The playful, inventive illustrations by Jim Field perfectly match the text and I can see this becoming a classroom favourite. Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher.

Oi Frog!
My Little Book of Lifecycles
Camilla de la Bedoyere

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781781715543

What a wonderful find this 'My Little Book Of...' series is from publisher QED. In this book, My Little Book of Life Cycles, we find out about the life cycles of a number of creatures through clear, simple text and best of all, some fabulous photography that takes you step by step from birth to adulthood. The life cycles included are the ones you would expect and want - frogs, butterflies and chickens but we also explore the changes undergone by sea horses, sharks and kangaroos. The close-up photographic details such as the embryonic shark inside an egg case and tiny sea horses (called 'fry') hanging on to plants by their tails is incredible. There is lots of information here to support topic-based learning for children aged 5+, but the book will also make a great addition to class libraries to upper KS2. A companion book, My Little Book of Animals, by the same author Camilla de la Bedoyere, dedicates a spread to each animal in a range of habitats - grassland, desert, cold places, ocean and forest. And if you have some dinosaur fans, look out for My Little Book of Dinosaurs with vivid computer-generated images. 64 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

My Little Book of Lifecycles
The Power of Sloth
Lucy Cooke

Franklin Watts Ltd

ISBN 9781445127903

For those exploring the Rainforest or setting up topics about unusual animals, The Power of Sloth is a heart-warming look at what the sloth is all about. Its author, Lucy Cooke, is a filmmaker and explorer who filmed 'Meet the Sloths' for Animal Planet before she went on to create this book about sloths. The creatures in these pages all live in the world's only Sloth Orphanage in Costa Rica and, as well as sharing some very cute pictures of baby sloths, we learn a number of facts about sloths including what they eat and how they get around. With Lucy Cooke now signed up for a new television series, expect sloths to take over from meercats as our favourite exotic animal! Ages 5+ / 52 Pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone

The Power of Sloth