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.

ISBN 9780857533081

I make no apologies at all for selecting a 20 year old book for my book of the month, I am so delighted to see it back in print. Dinosaur Roar was outstanding and perfect 20 years ago and it still is. The popularity of dinosaurs has not gone away in the intervening years, but there have been very few books which are as good as this one. It is no surprise that the Natural History Museum has helped to bring it back. The art work, from the endpapers, bursting with dinosaurs, to each individual spread, is vivid and vibrantly coloured with a lovely textural quality to the dinosaur's skin. It is on the surface a book of opposites, but there is a little visual narrative to follow too with a tiny dinosaur running away from the fearsome T Rex and there is a worthwhile underlying message that everyone, big and small can get along with no need for fighting at all. Each opposites pairing is very wittily portrayed on each double page spread and takes us through a wonderful variety of dinosaurs some realistic and some delightfully imagined: 'Dinosaur sweet and Dinosaur grumpy'. The whole book is a read-aloud treat with a developing rhythm and rhyme that will rapidly encourage little ones to join in. The extra goodies that become available with anniversary editions are another bonus for nursery and home. There will be an app soon and meanwhile lovely downloadable colouring sheets on the dedicated website: www.dinosaurroar.com Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

The Farmer's Away! Baa! Neigh!
Anne Vittur Kennedy

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406356533

This is a joyful story about what the animals get up to when the farmer's back is turned and their increasingly extravagant entertainments are hilarious - they begin with a sedate row on the river and end up on a roller coaster and then flying ON a plane....not forgetting the black tie ball at the end. Until, that is, the farmer returns and panic follows.... The story is told completely in animal sounds - so it's a fun introduction to visual literacy and there are lots of opportunities for children to describe the pictures and to develop the story themselves. You might also want to get children grouped into their 'animal sound' and telling the story themselves as you turn the pages. Great fun. Reviewed by ReadingZone.

The Farmer's Away! Baa! Neigh!
The Troll and the Oliver
Adam Stower

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848771734

As everyone knows, for trolls there is nothing quite like a tasty munch on an innocent passing boy. Unfortunately for Troll, the Oliver is not entirely innocent and can be as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel: one minute,the Oliver is seen whistling along the lane, the next, he has vanished from sight. Poor Troll is left with little more than a rumbling tum and sticks and stones for his dinner. With an air of dejected resignation, he gives up on the chase. Or does he? And is this what the Oliver really wants, or did he relish the joys of the daily chase? This is a delightfully constructed and illustrated book which might remind the older reader of their own childhood collection. Echoes of a bygone age resonate on every page. The slightly muted colours of the landscape; the shapes of the trees; the glorious curly, titian hair of the Oliver; the distinct blue of Troll: all help to create a real sense of nostalgia. In places the text has a real rhythm and flow and young children will quickly join in with the Oliver's taunting song: simply perfect for sharing. Now available in paperback. Reviewed by Tracy Parvin, lecturer in Education

The Troll and the Oliver
Don't Call Me Sweet!
Smriti Prasadam-Halls

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408838822

Many children loath the idea of being called 'sweet' and this picture book sums up perfectly how they might choose to respond. As the little monster in the story shouts out, 'I'm a giant monster, with sharp, sharp claws. I've got big, spiky teeth and loud, loud roars!'. Despite his protestations, the adults around him continue to pat his head and smother him with hugs, but when a rather large and scary troll confesses he likes monsters that are 'scary, stinky and slimy', it could be time for the little monster to take a different approach.... The rhyming text and spot-on illustrations by Angie Rozelaar make this a great story to read-aloud to all 'little monsters' everywhere and will undoubtedly inspire them to create their own monster moves and sounds. It's also a useful story for starting to explore describing words and could be used as a starting point for all the monster-describing words they can think of, before being encouraged (at KS1) to write a brief description of a monster they have created themselves. Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Don't Call Me Sweet!

ISBN 9781406342321

This delightful picture book tells the story of four friends (three big and one little) out for a walk. When they spot a beautiful bird they devise a series of plans to capture it. All their plans fail miserably as the little one will insist on saying hello to the bird and winning it's friendship through kindness. Maybe plans to capture a squirrel will go better, but maybe not. There is very little text in this book and the story is largely told through the pictures which makes it very accessible to small children. There is lots of humour as the three big ones develop their silly and contrived plans and the little one watches on in bemusement. Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

ISBN 9781408839218

It is always exciting to have a debut author illustrator come along, especially with a delightful picture book such as this. Depending upon your own preferences for early mornings you may have been recently enjoying once again the beautiful birdsong which greets the spring in the eponymous dawn chorus. So it is the perfect time to launch this book and it will immediately compliment seasonal work in the classroom or indeed nature observation or work on times of the day. Peep is the endearing hero of this tale. Like us he wakes to beautiful birdsong and tracks it down to a glorious tree full of birds together with their conductor. Peep loves singing and wants to audition but just cannot manage to get there in time. Readers will really sympathise as he practises so hard that he oversleeps and then he determines to stay up all night, but is then too tired to sing at all. Finding out why he is not suited to morning song and what sort of bird he is will fascinate young readers. The book is beautifully designed with a warm and gentle palette of colours and the artwork successfully combines interesting paper collage, fine line drawing and painting. I look forward to seeing what this talented newcomer does next. Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

Princesses Are Not Just Pretty
Kate Lum

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408824252

This is a fun book that explores the idea of what princesses are really all about - and, as the title tells us, it's not just about being pretty. Three very well-groomed princesses decide on a beauty contest to find out who is the prettiest one of all but this idea is turned on its head when, on the way to the contest, they are each called on to help out. After variously saving a kitten and some pigs and putting out a palace fire, the princesses are, as you'd expect, very bedraggled by the time they get to the beauty concert. The day is saved when each of them receives a very different award. The illustrations by Sue Hellard are gorgeously over-the-top and we see princesses dressed and coiffured in an astonishing array of wigs and dresses, as well as some nice touches for children to look out for, such as the squirrel making its home in one of the hairdo's. The story would be a great starting point for children to create their own ideas of what princesses are really for and for exploring this idea through some well known fairy tales

Princesses Are Not Just Pretty