NEW TITLES

Here we highlight a selection of picture books that are being published this month and which can be used to introduce various themes such as superheros and difference, as well as being great stories to share with the class.

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
Zoe and Beans: Pirate Treasure!
Chloe Inkpen

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447243274

Zoe and Beans Pirate Treasure is one of the series of picture books which feature Zoe and her dog Beans. In this tale the two are joined by Oscar and his little sister Evie. The four are playing on the beach when Evie discovers a gold coin; hence the link with pirate treasure. They then start to search for more of treasure; they look in the rock pools, on an island and in a cave but nowhere can they find anymore treasure. Suddenly Beans smells something, the treasure, he then leads the children to it. The book is delightfully illustrated as the child characters really come to life with the beach as a subtle background. Throughout the tale the language is repetitive and will engage any young reader. This is an ideal book to share with young children and would fit easily into a topic on the seaside. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

Zoe and Beans: Pirate Treasure!
Max the Brave
Ed Vere

Puffin

ISBN 9780723286691

Max is instantly recognisable as an Ed Vere creation. It is all in the eyes! Oversized and very dramatic, whether they belong to chimps arguing over a Banana, or, as in this case, when they belong to a little black kitten. A kitten who adamantly believes he is brave and fearless and that it is his job to chase mice. But he has just one problem: he does not know what a mouse looks like! After asking several animals if they are a mouse, cue the entry of one very crafty mouse. He is very similar to one we might just have seen in another Vere classic, The Getaway, and so we immediately expect him to cause trouble! He convinces Max that a large sleeping monster is actually a mouse and that he is actually a monster. Little children will be deliciously thrilled as brave Max jumps up and down on the monster to wake him, only to be swallowed when he does! Luckily for us Max is very messily sneezed out, which will again provoke hilarity and decides that chasing mice is not for him. Chasing monsters is more his sort of thing which is the sort of satisfying joke to end the book that all young children will appreciate. The simple, but so very expressive illustrations, cleverly positioned against the characteristic full colour backgrounds are very appealing and accessible and will certainly stand out from a distance and lend themselves to class sharing. It is perhaps a familiar storyline but very appealing told and with great characterisation. Max will appeal to the inner toddler in every young reader who will soon be reading the simple text for themselves. Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

Max the Brave
Stanley the Farmer
William Bee

Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN 9780857551115

The Stanley the Hamster books (Stanley the Farmer, Stanley's Garage) by William Bee are a perfect introduction to farms and vehicles for younger children. The books include bright and bold illustrations and simple text that explores the process of, for example, growing wheat or fixing cars in a garage. In Stanley the Farmer, we see Stanley ploughing fields, sowing crops, watering and eventually harvesting the corn and making hay. The step by step process shows how our food grows and how the grain is collected by the farmer. Stanley's Garage, meanwhile, explores a day in the life of a technician who mends cars, provides fuel and tows broken-down vehicles. As well as being a visual treat, the books are an excellent introduction to topics like farming and vehicles, encouraging young children to think about how things work in the work around them. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Stanley the Farmer
The Entertainer
Emma Dodd

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783700257

This hilarious tale about an entertainer at a children's party is a great example of how a story can grow with its retelling. The children are thrilled when the entertainer, dressed as a big cuddly bear, arrives at a fancy dress party. While the adults may wonder at his antics, the children are thrilled as he does all the things he shouldn't do - drinking water from a vase, rushing around on his skateboard and bursting all the balloons as well as helping himself to food. With its wonderfully timed rhyming verse and bold illustrations, this makes a great book to read aloud - and wait to see the children's reaction when ANOTHER entertainer turns up at the end of the party and they realise who the first one was....! This story from the inimitable Emma Dodd sparkles with fun from the first page to the last and children will love to re-read it having guessed the true identity of the entertainer. It could also be paired with a book like Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea to inspire children to create their own story about an unexpected visit from an animal. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

The Entertainer
Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure
Eva Katzler

Bloomsbury Childrens

ISBN 9781408824399

The latest adventure from Florentine and her best friend Pig sees them setting off on an adventure to find the 'Growling, Prowling Bog Mog'. They set off at nighttime with a bag full of goodies, a tent and a torch and after eating their supper, they curl up inside their tent - 'Wondering, waiting, listening' until they hear a very load 'Wooooooo!' which frightens them terribly, until they realise it is Owl. The relationship between Florintine and Pig is well portrayed and the illustrations - and particularly the layout - are well done, but what really makes this a great book to read aloud is the vocabulary. I love the page of verses about the 'Growling, prowling Bog Mog' and children will thoroughly enjoy joining in with that repeated line. There is also lots to explore in the descriptive text that can be used to encourage children to create their own descriptive passages: 'The walked and talked, and trudged and tramped. They hopped and hurdled through dry and damp' (it's not all told in verse). Finally, there are some lovely activities suggested at the back of the book, including how to make a 'twinkly jam jar lantern' and a 'magic shape shiner' that can be used to explore light and shadow. A book with lots to explore! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Laura Gahn

Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure
Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs - the Tyrannosaurus Rex
E. T. Harper

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471119347

For dinosaur-loving fans everywhere, this series from Simon & Schuster comes with a cardboard dinosaur 'pop out' at the back of the book for children to play with or to create displays with. Dylan's adventures are fact-finding ones and in this story, he sets off from his magical tree-house, accompanied by Wings, his toy pterodactyll, to the land of the dinosaurs. The inspiration for his journey is a book of dinosaur facts, including a page on the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which includes facts on its size, weight, strength and habitat - but it doesn't say how many teeth the T-Rex had, so Dylan sets off to find out. After an amazing adventure, he does just that. The story itself is full of danger and near escapes which children will love, but it could also be used to inspire them to write their own page of facts about a dinosaur or another animal they find out about. Perhaps they could describe what would happen if they came face to face with that animal.... Look out for Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs - The Stegosaurus, coming in September. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Dylan's Amazing Dinosaurs - the Tyrannosaurus Rex
Don't Spill the Milk!
Stephen Davies

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781849395311

This is a beautiful book, full of brightly coloured illustrations and a simple story with a message that all young children will be able to understand. Penda's father is away looking after the sheep and Penda pleads with her mother to be allowed to take him his drink of milk. It is very important that she carries the bowl carefully and does not spill any milk on the way and this instruction repeats on every page as Penda makes her way past camels and giraffes, negotiating the big wide river and not letting herself be side-tracked by the spectacle of the mask dance. It is when she reaches her father and gives him the milk that the inevitable happens, despite all her best efforts, and the milk is spilt. But all is not lost, for the bowl contained far more than just milk, as her father gently explains. This book is perfect for reading aloud to small children. The children will love looking at the illustrations and discussing the things they can see, including the various animals (keep an eye on Penda's companion on her journey), while adults will enjoy reading the flowing words in such phrases as the uppy downy dunes or the caravan of camels, and all will appreciate the very simple but heart-warming message at the end. Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian

Don't Spill the Milk!
Made by Raffi
Craig Pomranz

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847804334

Raffi feels different from the other children at school - he doesn't like noisy games and sometimes he gets teased. But when, one day, a teacher, Miss Fernandez, shows him how to knit everything changes. Inspired by the beautiful colours available in the wool shop, Raffi decides to make a scarf for his dad's birthday. The scarf grows longer as Raffi knits everywhere he goes and the teasing continues, though he does his best to ignore it. Even so he needs reassurance from his mum that it is OK for boys to knit and that everyone has their own special interests. It is the announcement that his class is going to put on a play which changes attitudes to Raffi. With the performance in a few days, the teacher says that there is no time to make costumes. However Raffi has an idea and at home he makes a prince's cape out of spare pieces of fabric. It is a big hit and everyone wants something made by Raffi! Dad loves his birthday scarf and Raffi thinks that he could perhaps be a famous designer one day. Vibrant, affectionate and inclusive, this is a book which celebrates difference and shows that being creative is cool. A positive story to share with a group of children, it doesn't labour the message that everyone should be valued, whatever their talents. The author dedicates his debut picture book to "the real Raffi", the designer Raphael McCarroll Swan and his loving and supportive family, who are the inspiration for the story. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould

Made by Raffi