NEW TITLES

To follow is a selection of titles publishing this month, aimed at readers aged five to seven years, so the selection ranges from more complex picture books to young fiction that will appeal to slightly older children. Themes range from football (of course) to pirates and mystery-solving.

Up For The Cup
Simon Bartram

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783700189

With the World Cup stoking interest in all things football, this book will be very popular amongst young football fans. It tells the story of Charlie Horsewill and his love for his local team, Seaburn City. For the first time in their history, Seaburn City have qualified for the cup final and excitement knows no bounds. The team's success, however, is bound up in the superstitions of its star striker, Julio Poom, and his special message spelled out in alphabet spaghetti. What would happen if there was skulduggery afoot and he could not spell out that all important message? That is the story that develops in this colourful picture book, with its dubious football 'facts' and unlikely events, as the cup final is played out in front of a very excited crowd. Simon Bartram has filled his bold pictures with a riot of red and yellow, jutting chins and the odd alien (characters from his previous book pop up here and he sets the reader the task of spotting them !) There is so much for children to talk about as they look at the pictures. Simon Bartram puts a wealth of detail into his illustrations (he also appears himself in some of them) so that even children who have no interest in football will find something to enjoy in this book. 29 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian

Up For The Cup
Supertato
Sue Hendra

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857074478

Author and illustrator Sue Hendra, along with her partner Paul Linnet, are the names behind bestselling picture books like Barry the Fish with Fingers and No-Bot the Robot with no Bottom. Their latest creation, Supertato, is already a favourite of ours and we're waiting for 'Supertato to the rescue!' to start resounding through playgrounds as children grow to love the characters, too. The picture book is set in the supermarket where something is amiss: Carrot is stuck to the conveyor belt; someone has drawn on Broccoli's face; and Cucumber is wrapped in toilet paper. Who is doing all this mischief? Can Supertato save them all? He comes swiftly to the rescue, quickly surmising 'There's a pea on the loose!' So ensues some lively chase scenes between Supertato and the Pea with some very real jeopardy for Supertato when the evil Pea comes after him with - what else, but a potato masher! There is also masses of humour, such as Pea forcing some veggies to 'walk the plank' - into a pot of humous ('Time for a dip, little veggies!'), and a couple of fabulous jokes towards the end that play on language, which adults will love every bit as much as children. As well as a brilliant story on its own, the picture book can be used to introduce the theme of superheroes to young children and also to the concept of comics, since the layout of the picture book and its themes follow this style in a way that works for younger readers. Gold stars all round for this latest production! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Supertato
The Big Blue Thing on the Hill
Yuval Zommer

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848777606

The Big Blue Thing in the Hill is an intriguing picture book which focuses on the lives and fears of a group of animals who live companionably in a great forest. During the day everything is quiet in the forest but at night all the animals come out: the wolves howl, the bears growl and other creatures scurry around. Their lives are regular, safe and patterned. All of them are happy living on Howling Hill until one night when a blue camper van appears. This causes great consternation between the animals as they do not know what it is. Each of them tries to guess what this thing is: could it be a spaceship, a meteorite or an elephant? Even though the animals do not see who is in the van they are disturbed by its presence so they try different strategies to make it go away. Some animals try to scare it, others try to dig it out but finally it is Owl who suggests that all the little flying creatures of the forest gather together in a Big Bug Flying Squad and bombard the camper van. This onslaught succeeds in making the 'big blue thing' leave. The animals and the readers will be relieved as everything will now back to normal until they turn to the last page! The illustrations are bright and colourful and Yuval Zommer has created animals with expressive faces that seem to listen to each other. This is a story which will read aloud well and engage KS1 children, especially as they might be encouraged to join in with the highlighted words which are linked to the different animals. Lastly, as the occupants of the van are unknown, children might surmise who they are and what their reactions are to the animals' bombardment.

The Big Blue Thing on the Hill
Superhero School: The Revenge of the Green Meanie
Alan MacDonald

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408825235

Dirty Bertie fans are going to be in heaven: Alan MacDonald's new Superhero series unites the naughtiness of Bertie with every child's hidden desire: to be big, powerful and to save the day, in short, to be a superhero. Stan Button dreams of being Dangerboy, the child equivalent of Superman, complete with supernatural skills, superhuman strength and super-duper cape. Then one day a mysterious letter arrives, inviting the unlikely looking Stan for an interview at the superhero training school, Mighty High. To his amazement, the boy buffoon is offered a place - starting immediately. Forget boring Maths and tedious Literacy: these are dangerous lessons in heroic feats of extraordinary brilliance. Soon Stan and his new superhero fans are preparing for the greatest challenge of their young lives: how to defeat the evil Green Meanie whose plans for world domination include a wicked army of supervillains... The graphic comic style pages have immediate appeal, and will entice any child whose fluency in English is not yet established; Superhero School is less demanding than the hugely poplular Wimpy Kid books and potentially more enjoyable for the same reason. They should particularly appeal to anyone aged 7-9 with a sense of humour. This is the first in a new Superhero series by Alan Macdonald whose Dirty Bertie books are every bit of a children's 'must' as Horrid Henry. Nigel Barnes' black and white illustrations are as witty as you would expect from the acclaimed illustrator of Yuck! Hans Zipzer, Undead Ed, and Mitchell Symons Gross Fact series. 176 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Charlotte Eilenberg, librarian

Superhero School: The Revenge of the Green Meanie
Foxy Tales: The Road to Fame and Fortune: Book 2
Alex T Smith

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444909326

Foxy DuBois is on the road to fame and fortune. Only one thing stands in her way: Alphonso the Alligator! Foxy DuBois' life of luxury has been reduced to one of hardship and toil all because of a greedy alligator. Little did she know that the beautiful egg on her doorstep would hatch out into a despicable, intellectually-challenged reptile who knows better that to let her out of his sight. Because when Foxy is around, Alphonso gets fed, and he is always hungry! Foxy dreams of a career in the movies and meeting her hero, action film star Ebenezer Jones, so when the opportunity to visit Jollywood presents itself, she seizes it. Unfortunately, Alphonso has stowed away in the burger van she is travelling in, and makes his presence felt. Desperate to rid herself of her smelly, warty companion, Foxy persuades Alphonso to apply for the job of stunt double for Ebenezer Jones. It just needs a little bit of sabotage and Alphonso will be history! Unfortunately, all of Foxy's plans backfire and she is forced to leave town. Witty and engaging, the story romps along at a breakneck pace. The pictures add comic detail to the madcap adventures of a pair of characters who are sure to become stars. With extra content, including a list of essential equipment for stunt doubles, this is a book to fire the imagination of confident readers of 7+. 176 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, librarian

Foxy Tales: The Road to Fame and Fortune: Book 2
Araminta Spook: Gargoyle Hall
Angie Sage

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408851289

Ever wanted to solve a mystery? Look no further: Araminta Spook is an aspiring girl detective who loves bats and vampires and lives in a haunted house. As Chief Detective of Spook's Detective Agency, the feisty Araminta is determined, along with her trusty sidekick, Wanda Wizzard, to solve mysterious Mysteries, and there are plenty of them... Uncle Drac used to spend all day hanging upside down in the bat turret but, since returning from his holidays in Transylvania, he refuses to hang out in his usual place. Why? Mystery number one. Meanwhile, Great Aunt Emilene, wrapped in her scary two headed ferret scarf, has arrived for "as long as it takes". For as long as what takes? Mystery number two. Aunt Tabby is furiously nailing planks to the bat turret door so the "you know what" can't escape. Mystery numbers three and four. But all of these pale into insignificance next to the biggest Mystery of them all: why is Araminta suddenly sent away to boarding school, to Miss Gargoyle's Academy for Girls, where it's not just the ghosts who live in dread? Join the dynamic detective duo, Araminta and Wanda, on their ghost-busting series of adventures, jam-packed with hairy spiders, ghostly knights, batty vampires and some pretty crazy jokes. This is the sixth book in Angie Sage's acclaimed Araminta Spook series. Full of humour and strange reversals of fortune, these eventful stories, beautifully illustrated with John Kelly's inky black drawings, will have primary age readers chuckling with delight. Perfect for years 7 - 11 year olds. 288 pages / Ages 7-11 years / Reviewed by Charlotte Eilenberg, librarian

Araminta Spook: Gargoyle Hall
Ogres Don't Dance
Kirsty McKay

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781849397155

Imagine a giant, green creature with sharp, pointy teeth who enjoys snacking on humans. So far, then, just your ordinary run of the mill ogre. Ogden, however, undergoes a life changing experience when he hears music and observes humans dancing. Instantly, he is overtaken with a desire to learn how to dance but, unfortunately, his habit of eating humans ensures there are no volunteers for the task. And then he meets Willow; in her pyjamas, up a tree and none too pleased at the racket Ogden is making. They strike a bargain she will teach him to dance if he promises not to eat any more humans. But will Ogden manage to keep his promise? Can Willow teach someone with two left feet to dance the light fantastic? Will there be trouble in the village? The answer is yes to all three questions. It is hard enough for Ogden to convince the villagers he is a changed character and only wants to dance in a dress of cherry red sparkles but the actions of the Fleshfeasting Fluffy Grocklers put him and Willow in a very precarious position and it is up to Aunt Fenella to save the day. Children will enjoy this story of the most unlikely ballroom dancer ever (or Boogieman!) and will root for Ogden and Willow in the dancing competition. The black and white illustrations are great fun, especially of Ogden in his finery and the book will appeal to children who like their heroines brave and feisty, willing to rise to a challenge, and their monsters able to resist eating people. 144 pages / Ages 7 9 / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian

Ogres Don't Dance
Secret Agent Mummy: Book 1
Steve Cole

Red Fox

ISBN 9781849418188

This is the first in a new series for Steve Cole. The aptly named Niall Rivers gets more than he bargained for when he accompanies his mum on a house visit to collect items for the school fete. Amongst the peculiar items they collect from the house's strange owner, Niall discovers a shabtis that makes him feeling decidedly odd. He initially dismisses it but later discovers it will enable him to possess unusual powers. Niall realises that the house is being watched by a suspicious man, who looks to be disguised in bandages. Shortly after obtaining the shabtis there are a series of strange goings-on, including a pyramid, that only Niall can see, popping up in his neighbour's garden and some snooping baboons. His mum and younger sister, the Snitch, are unsympathetic to Niall's concerns over the pyramid's appearance in his garden. However, the pyramid can also be viewed by the bandaged man and he arrives at Niall's door asking questions. Niall learns that he is the suspect of the secret agent mummy or Sam as he calls him. However he quickly ends up helping Sam to catch the real villain: Azmal Sekra, the oldest wizard in the world, and learns more than he wants to about the secret land of Ka Ra and its creatures. I would suggest that this would be perfect for confident free readers in Year 3 and 4. They will love secret agent mummy and his humorous attempts to decipher the complexities of English vocabulary. There is also a rather pampered Egyptian talking cat; readers would be entertained by her demands, as well as the dog Mumbum, Sam's mechanical sidekick. I also like the funny illustrations that break up the body of text and make it more manageable for ambitious younger readers. Also included at the end of the story is a 'Mysteries of Ancient Egypt' section that might encourage children to undertake some independent research of their own. 227 pages / Ages 7-10 years / Reviewed by Elizabeth Harris, teacher

Secret Agent Mummy: Book 1