NEW TITLES

To follow is a selection of titles for children from four years upwards, including reviews and ideas for using the books in class.

Blown Away
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007586318

With penguins taking centre stage this year, children will be captivated by this story about a small penguin who is whisked away on a dramatic journey when his kite flies off with the penguin - and a number of his friends - attached. Off they all fly, eventually coming to land in a leafy jungle which, needless to say, the creatures find a little warm. So how will they get home? The bold, stylised illustrations and rhyming text make this a perfect book to read aloud to a group and children will love spotting the many touches of humour on each spread, from the moment a polar bear appears in a rubber dingy to the final wave from a monkey that has sneaked on board their boat back to the Antarctic. You might also want them to try and guess how the friends will get back home from the jungle island before you turn the page - when they can help blow the boat to help get them home. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Blown Away
My Little Star
Mark Sperring

Bloomsbury Childrens Books

ISBN 9781408849613

This is a deliciously warm picture book and poem in which a parent uses star imagery to tell their child just how precious they are. 'You'll always twinkle day and night. Diamond-dazzling, moonbeam bright'. It's a gorgeous picture book poem just to share, especially with young children at the end of the day, but I also like its potential for exploring poetry and metaphors with older children at KS1. Each page uses stars and starlight metaphors, illustrated with different animals, to describe the parent's love for their child and the repeated phrase 'My little star, you are, you are. You are my little star.' draws the poem together, supported by the star-studded end papers. A little gem that I thoroughly enjoyed. Picture book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by Angela Bower.

My Little Star
Bear and Hare: Snow!
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447273233

Emily Gravett has once again created a delightful book for Early Years readers. Bear and Hare enjoy the snow and they love doing lots of different things in snow and with snow. The story shows them tasting it, making paw prints and building a snow bear and snow hare with it. The book celebrates in simple ways what fun these two friends have with snow. Each double page spread has minimal words thus the gist of the narrative is carried in Emily Gravett's delightfully expressive illustrations. Of the two animals Hare is definitely in charge and the expressions on Bear's face often make the reader question how much he is really enjoying the different experiences; such as sledging backwards down a steep slope or being hit with lots of snowballs. It is a book that would be ideally shared with a class when it is actually snowing so that the children can empathise with the two characters and talk about their own adventures with snow. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

Bear and Hare: Snow!
Dragon Loves Penguin
Debi Gliori

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408839508

Dragon Loves Penguin is an enchanting book about an extended family which is definitely non-traditional. The book is a story within a story with a delightful page turning twist at the end. It will make an excellent picture book to share on a regular basis with Key Stage 1 children. As always, Debi Gliori has created a unique narrative accompanied by images which merit a lot of exploration. The story begins with a mother penguin and her off-spring sharing a bedtime story. The bedtime story tells of a group of dragons who come to live on top of a volcano and below there is a colony of penguins living. The dragons all start to hatch eggs but one dragon does not produce an egg. She feels very left out until she finds an isolated egg floating on a piece of ice: the reader knows what type of animal is inside. The female dragon nurtures the egg and a baby penguin hatches. The dragon rears the young penguin and is very happy until one day disaster strikes. All of the adult dragons have to leave the island, the reason is not given, leaving the baby dragons and the penguin alone and then suddenly the volcano starts to erupt. The young penguin bravely alerts all the little dragons and they fly away leaving the young penguin alone at the top. As she runs away from the flames she falls down the volcano to the penguin colony below. Here, she finds another egg and decides to hatch and rear it and this is the young penguin who is being read to. As the story ends we turn the last page over and we see a delightful scene of the three generations of this unique extended family. This book is ideal to discuss families and how families are not always the same but they are still a family. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

Dragon Loves Penguin
What Will I be?
Richard Sinclair

Digital Leaf

ISBN 9781909428546

What Will I Be? is one of those questions that children often want to discuss and this is a great book for beginning to explore the idea of growing up and what the children in your class might want to do one day. The story is developed as a conversation between a boy and his father who, during the day's activities, tells his son that he can be whatever he wants to be, from a teacher to prime minister, from a master chef to a pilot. He can be 'whatever's in your head' - as long as he works hard enough to achieve it. The rhyming text and bold, cartoon-like illustrations make the story easy to share with a group as well as individually. The next book in the series, Where Will I Go (When I Grow Up), explores the idea of future adventures. Board book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

What Will I be?
The Life of a Car
Susan Steggall

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847804211

The Life of a Car has been published in a new edition but we wanted to flag it up as it is an enormously useful book to use for topics around Transport and the Environment. The story, in very simple text, follows the life of a car from when it is designed and leaves the production line to being sold, driven, cleaned, crashed, mended, scrapped and recycled. Along the way we also see a variety of tow trucks, transporters and lifting machines so it's a perfect story to share with vehicle enthusiasts - but it's the vibrant and detailed drawings that will really capture children's interest and get them talking about their own car journeys etc. Others in the series include On the Road and The Diggers are Coming.

The Life of a Car

ISBN 9781408329351

Mad About Mega Beasts follows in the footsteps of the successful Mad About Minibeasts from duo Giles Andreae and David Wojtowycz, with equally exuberant text and images that introduce a variety of larger creatures to small children. While with Minibeasts you can take children into the garden and show them the creatures, with Mega Beasts the focus is on large and unusual creatures that you're unlikely to come across, from the Wolly Mammoth and the largest dinosaur, the Argentinosaur, to the giant squid and elephant seal. It makes a great starting point for beginning to explore different creatures around the world and what makes them so unusual. Picture book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

The Something
Rebecca Cobb

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9780230764828

What a gorgeous idea, beautifully-delivered once again by the talented Rebecca Cobb. A boy loses his red ball after it falls down a hole in their garden and the pages that follow are a foray into a child's imagination as he wonders what might lie at the bottom of the hole. The adult's prosaic explanations - could the hold have been made by frogs, badgers, moles, a mouse? - are transformed in his mind, and the underground images open that imaginative translation to the reader. We see how his red ball might have bounced disastrously into a mouse's house, while the frogs might have enjoyed playing with it, or the scary troll might have eaten it. As the seasons come and go and the leaves eventually fall from the tree, the boy and his dog are still none the wiser about what might live in the hole - but the final spread, where we see all his imagined creatures playing with the ball - is a fabulous confirmation of the power of the boy's - and children's - imagination. Children can be encouraged to talk about doorways or holes that they have seen and wondered what might lie on the other side and perhaps, like this story, draw and write their own descriptions. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Brown

The Something
On Sudden Hill
Linda Sarah

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471119293

On Sudden Hill is a classic story of friendship, jealousy and reuniting. Two friends Birt and Etho spend their time playing with cardboard boxes on a hill by their homes. The boxes give the boys hours of fun as they delight in creating different scenarios. This all changes when a third boy arrives on the scene with his own cardboard box. Brit becomes jealous of Su and decides not to play any more. However, the story ends happily with Su and Etho making a cardboard truck and inviting Birt to play with them. Benji Davies' illustrations really bring the story to life especially in relation to the boys' facial expressions. The countryside setting gives the feeling of a childhood full of freedom and adventure. The written language is however a little awkward at times as the story is written in poetic form and uses short cuts and ellipsis which at times stops the language flow when reading aloud. Apart from this teachers will find the book useful in exploring the themes of friendship with early years children. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

On Sudden Hill

ISBN 9781444918182

Kipper's Little Friends is the first new Kipper book for six years and helps to mark 25 years of Kipper publishing. Kipper and Arthur are talking about baby animals. A baby owl must be an owlet, so a baby frog is a froglet and a baby hedgehog can only be a hoglet - but what are the names for a baby duck, a baby goose and a baby dog? Kipper and Arnold check their tablet to find out the names of a number of creatures and then go to the park to 'see if we can find some hoglets and froglets'. After a small adventure involving Arnold's new owlet, the friends go home to draw the creatures they have discovered and to write their names. It makes a lovely starting point to find out about other young, using reference material online and in books, and children can be encouraged to draw and name their own discoveries, just like Kipper and his friends. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lynne Voisey

The Crocodile Under the Bed
Judith Kerr

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007586752

It has been more than 40 years since Judith Kerr's The Tiger Who Came to Tea was published, so this follow-up title has been a long time coming. In fact it was the second picture book Kerr created but she revisited the story to deliver something completely new. In the story, Matty is too unwell to go with his family to a party so has to stay at home with his grandfather, who soon nods off. Just before his family leave, Matty asks, "What if there's a great big enormous green crocodile hiding under my bed?" and that is exactly what he discovers after they depart - only this crocodile has wings and wants to take Matty to a special party that has 'slides, rides and water glides', so off they fly. Matty has an amazing time with all the animals before it's time to return home on the crocodile's back. It's a lovely book to share with children who have already read The Tiger Who Came to Tea as it reinforces many of the ideas in the original book, including the child's eye perspective on an apparently threatening animal, and the magic both the crocodile and tiger introduce to everyday life. It is a great starting point for children's own stories at KS1 - if they were to be flown away on a creature, what would it be and where would it take them? Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Younger

The Crocodile Under the Bed
Katie's Picture Show
James Mayhew

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408332405

This new edition of Katie's Picture Show marks its original publication some 25 years ago. Since then of course, James Mayhew's character Katie has helped introduce thousands of children to different concepts in art and encouraged them to discover the story in the picture. Katie's Picture Show explores Katie's first visit to a gallery - it happens to be the National Gallery in London - and sees her discovering that she can jump into the actual pictures which include paintings by Rousseau and Renoir. There she talks to the painted characters, shares tea and cake, plays and generally gets up to mischief before having to be rescued from a modern piece by Kazimir Malevich. The new edition comes with a new cover that puts Katie firmly at the centre of the story; also look out for a brand new Katie story, Katie's London Christmas, that sees Katie and her brother flying over the rooftops of London in Santa's sleigh! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Katie's Picture Show
Here Be Monsters
Jonathan Emmett

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447203155

Here be Monsters is another book by the successful partnership who created The Princess and the Pig. Here be Monsters' story focuses on a group of pirates, who are all animals, lead by Captain Cut-Throat, a very unpleasant character. As the story says, 'He was the meanest mariner to sail the Seven Seas' and is wanted for many crimes as the reader is informed by the wanted poster at the beginning of the book. Captain Cut-Throat is a typical pirate who loves treasure. He hears about an island full of Giant Gemstones and decides to sail there against the advice of the first mate, who says that monsters live in the mist near the island. Against this advice the captain sails forward to find the treasure. Of course the first mate is correct and as the ship nears the island out of the mist emerge monsters of all shapes, colours and sizes which the crew have to battle with. All the crew are lost to the monsters and it is only Captain Cut -Throat who lands on the island, only to find that the vividly coloured Giant Gemstones, which cover the sandy beaches, are giant monster eggs! Poly Bernatene's illustrations are wonderfully colourful and full of expression. They dominate each double page spread and will give children real pleasure in exploring them. The written text is rhyming which makes the book ideal to share with a Key Stage 1 class. This is a very good read aloud book which can also be left in the reading corner to be explored independently. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

Here Be Monsters
Snow (Mini Gift Edition)
Sam Usher

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783700738

With winter around the corner, children will soon be waiting for the first signs of snow and all the fun that it brings and in this story, no one is more excited than this small boy who wakes to discover it's snowing - and wants to be the first to walk across that white blanket covering the outside world. Except, that he has to wait for his Grandad. So they miss being the first, or the second, to walk in the snow. He misses his friends as they go by... until finally Grandad is ready to set off and when they arrive - well, the whole zoo has got there first and there's a whole lot of fun waiting to be had. There are some wonderfully pictured spreads depicting the boy's impatience to get out of the house and into the snow, and few words are needed to describe the draw of that perfect snow, waiting to be trodden in. The surprise appearance of the zoo animals in the snow adds a wonderful, magical touch to the story and cements the relationship between the boy and his Grandad. Picture book / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Snow (Mini Gift Edition)
Snow Day
Richard Curtis

Puffin

ISBN 9780723288923

This is a gorgeously told and beautifully delivered story about two lonely people unexpectedly finding a bond. When it snows, there are two people who don't receive the message that the school is closed. One is a boy, Danny, the other is his teacher, Mr Trapper, and unfortunately, they are 'enemies'! Neither is pleased to see each other and a long day stretches ahead of them. Then something unexpected happens. When Danny struggles to make a snowman, Mr Trapper helps him and so begins a thawing of their relations as between them, they create an army of snowmen and then a snow fort, ski and skate together, create an igloo and have a snowball fight. So an unfortunate day turns into one of the best days of their lives - and although Danny thinks things are back to usual the next day, they aren't, not quite. This is a magical story, ideal for sharing on cold, snowy days - and when you want to give a little reminder to children that teachers are human, too! The illustrations are also a wonderful tool for visual literacy to explore the characters' loneliness at the start of the story and how this and their feelings of separateness are portrayed. Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Ellen Carroll.

Snow Day
Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes
Sophie Tilley

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408836644

All the excitement is building for Christmas and the school Christmas party. There are paper chains to make, Christmas cards to write and presents to make - but then best friends Nanette and Amelia see it has snowed and rush outside to play. Nanette, who forgets her hat and coat, is soon very cold and before long is in bed with a bad cold. But her friend Amelia makes sure that she doesn't miss out on all the Christmas fun! The delicate and warm illustrations really bring this story about friendship, making things and the magical time of Christmas, to life!

Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and Fairy Wishes

ISBN 9781781715796

This picture book, one of a series by QED that explores a range of ideas from growing up to sharing and sibling rivalry, looks at the concept of time and answers the question of why we need to be able to tell the time. Wilfred Wolf can't tell the time, he just eats and sleeps when he feels like it, so how will he know the right time to go to a party that he's been invited to? He asks the other animals for help and they give him lots of ideas, from using a chiming cuckoo clock or the face of a digital clock, to watching the sun rise and fall. Eventually, after many false starts, Wilfred's friends show him how an ordinary clock face works and he arrives at the party on time. There are also some 'Next Steps' discussion ideas at the back of the book, for example asking children what kind of work might need to be done at nighttime and playing the game, What's the time, Mr Wolf. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Sarah Chalmers