NEW TITLES

From picture books to young fiction, there is a range of new publishing this month that will engage children and encourage them on their reading paths.

Daisy's Big Dig
Angie Morgan

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847804631

Daisy lives an Number 1 Magnolia Street with her mum, dad and Monty the dog. Daisy then introduces us to a number of other people who live in her road, such as Mr Hofmeister at number 2 who is 'about a hundred' and has a big garden where he grows vegetables, and the group of students at number 3 who are all called 'Dave' and who have a very messy garden. Each page is gorgeously illustrated to show what is unique about that particular inhabitant. Then Daisy uncovers a problem in her street; Mr Hofmeister can't dig his garden anymore, so she and her friend Lucy (from the big Lemming family at number 4) decide to organise a 'digging party' for him. Despite forgetting to tell him, when everyone turns up they have a great time, do lots of digging and lots of making of friends. By the end, instead of being a street of disparate houses filled with lonely or too many people, Magnolia Street becomes a community. It's a lovely book to encourage children to talk about the community they come from, or the street they live in, and to explore what makes a community and what is distinctive about their local area. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

Daisy's Big Dig
The Emperor's New Clothes
Alison Jay

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783701469

The Emperor's New Clothes is a classic Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale and in this retelling, now republished in a new edition, the Alison Jay illustrations bring the story to life. The characters are all animals and the Emperor is portrayed as a lion, which is quite appropriate. He is shown to be vain throughout the story and we see him looking into a mirror to see what he looks like. Jay has used images throughout that will encourage the child reader to understand that the story is set in an earlier time. The Marcus Sedgwick text is written to read aloud and shared with a class of young children. The inclusion of the Hare and Tortoise as the Emperor's attendants, who lie to the Emperor about the clothes that the weasel tailors are not making, is an interesting variation. The story would be a good focus to discuss different issues with young children and would complement any collection of fairy tales in a EYFS or Key Stage 1 class library. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant

The Emperor's New Clothes
Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar
Emily MacKenzie

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408843130

A startled rabbit looks out from the front cover, slightly embossed and shiny, with a book in his hands. This is the engaging story of Ralfy Rabbit who wants to read all the time, but when he runs out of books he starts to steal them to supply his habit. However, Ralfy meets his match in Arthur who also loves books and, when his start disappearing and he spots Ralfy scurrying away, he contacts the police. They of course don't take this seriously until Ralfy makes a mistake by trying to steal a book from PC Puddle who puts him in a lineup. But all the rabbits look alike until a conveyor belt containing lettuce and carrots and all the things that rabbits like to eat rolls by. Guess who is it who doesn't eat these delights? It is of course Ralfy who saves his appetite for the book at the end! Arthur takes pity on Ralfy as he only stole because he loved books so much and comes to the rescue by introducing Ralfy to the library! This is a delightful story with a good message (as a children's librarian I have to say that but it is true!). Soft-coloured drawings on every page with different sized type in different places on each one tell the story usually with a pile of books somewhere so the message is clear. The lists of books he has read, must read etc. are perhaps a bit beyond a small child but will make the adult reader laugh - The 39 Lettuces for example! The line-up is beautifully described and pictured and clever, too. Children from five and up will enjoy this story with its very strong message about reading. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Janet Fisher, librarian

Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar
The Velveteen Rabbit
Ruth Martin

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783701858

The Velveteen Rabbit was originally published in 1922 and was illustrated by the artist William Nicholson. It has been republished many times since then and adapted for screen as well. In this new version, Ruth Martin has retold the story so that the language and plot are up-to-date. However, she is faithful to the Margery Williams story that is still very relevant to children today. The story is of a toy rabbit; much loved by the boy who owns him. In the nursery the other toys talk about becoming real and the Skin Horse tells the Velveteen Rabbit that, if a toy is loved enough, then it will become real. The Velveteen Rabbit really wants this as the boy says he is real, but suddenly all changes as the boy becomes ill and is confined to bed. In the Williams story the boy has scarlet fever but in this recent version the illness is not mentioned. The Rabbit stays with the boy in the bed as he recovers from the illness. However, when it is decided to take the boy to the seaside to recover, he is not allowed to take his much-loved toy with him because the doctor thought the rabbit was full of germs. The Velveteen Rabbit is then put in a sack, carried to the end of the garden '...where the gardener promised to burn the whole lot in a bonfire the next day'. This is a crucial part of the story, as the Velveteen Rabbit is alone, vulnerable and threatened. But as he is lying there, with a real teardrop running down his cheek, the nursery magic Fairy appears to make him real. This delightful story is a classic and has been read by many children since its publication. The Sophie Allsopp illustrations in this new version are delicate and free in style, which complement the story well. This version could be shared with a class of children of any primary age and would complement any topic that explores toys in literature. It might also be interesting for older children to compare this with the original version so they can discuss the changes in both the language and the illustrations. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant.

The Velveteen Rabbit
Actual Size
Steve Jenkins

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847805942

It's lovely to see Actual Size back again in this new edition - you might remember the original paperback with the gorilla's hand (it's actual size) on the cover. This book is beautifully produced and is such a useful tool for lessons on size and comparative size. I still love the spread that compares the huge gorilla's hand with that of the tiny pygmy mouse lemur, but I know that children will be most excited by the saltwater crocodile, where the page folds out to show the size of its truly awesome jaws, and not forgetting the glimpse we get into the mouth of a great white shark! Other revelations incude the giant earth worm, a massive stick insect and the eye of a giant squid - and many more. There are two pages of facts at the end of the book explaining more about each creature included in the book. A classic. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by L Steal, teacher.

Actual Size
Chicken Clicking
Jeanne Willis

Andersen Press Ltd

ISBN 9781783441617

Now available in paperback, Chicken Clicking really is a cautionary tale for the 21st century! Told in the inimitable style of this perfect pairing with a lovely jaunty rhyme and warm and witty pastel illustrations, which could easily lull you into a false sense of security, it tells of an endearing little chick who sneaks into the farmhouse at night and discovers the joys of the internet and online shopping. At first the diamond watches, shoes and handbags purchased just cause marital tiffs between the farmer and his wife, but then things get out of hand and the cows get a car, the sheep get scooters and the bull gets a holiday in sunny Spain which could, in itself, turn out badly judging by the boy on the beach brandishing a red towel! The chick then buys the hens a boat and finds herself alone and decides to find an online friend. She takes a photograph of herself, preening, she posts it online, she adds her name and age and lo and behold another chick appears and they start chatting. Chick had found the perfect friend and off she goes to meet her 'without telling Dad or Mum'. Fans of the Tadpole's Promise will not be surprised at the dramatic ending in the Wily Wood. In between the humour there are very clear messages to discuss with the class about exactly what you must not do. They may also choose to create a different ending for themselves and work out ways for her to escape since after all we do not see the conclusion that we leap to and this ambiguity is a real triumph. It can never be too early for children to learn how to be safe online and not getting carried away with online shopping is something that we could all bear in mind! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, consultant.

Chicken Clicking
The Leaky Battery Sets Sail
Gareth P. Jones

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847155931

Shiver me timbers! This was a good book! For those not in the know, Steampunk in a new type of fiction that puts a science fiction twist on Georgian/Victorian history. The twist is that there is crazy technology all powered by steam engines. In the case of this book: steam-powered robots who become pirates. This is the first in a new series from establish author Gareth P. Jones and it is a stonking good start. The action starts right on page one and the simple little blurbs that start each chapter are a great way of teasing the reader in. The list of main characters at the front of the book mean that there is no story wasted on explaining who each character is - we just dive right in and head for adventure! I'm not going to tell you the plot, as I want you to read the book, but I will warn you that is it a proper pirate story: there are cutlasses and cannonballs, mischief and mutiny, parrots and plank walking and, most importantly, heaps and heaps of gold!! What is really clever about this book, though, is the amount of things you will learn, without evening knowing that you are being taught. 160 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Hayley Nicholson, librarian

The Leaky Battery Sets Sail
Zoe's Rescue Zoo: The Pesky Polar Bear
Amelia Cobb

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857634405

Another heart-warming tale from 'Zoe's Rescue Zoo'. This time Uncle Horace brings a polar bear cub from a zoo in California and Zoe assumes she will be welcome company for Bella, the cub that already lives there. But rivalries and bad tempers build up when it comes to putting on a show for Zoe's mother. All goes well in the end, however, and even the grumpy Mr. Pinch joins in the fun. The cover illustration sums up this book entirely, it is soft and cuddly and one that you want to curl up with. Whilst to adult eyes the plots are predictable and the characters from central casting, it is still a well-written book with a well-paced plot. The illustrations are lovely and all the animals have their own personalities, complimenting the text and enhancing the idea that all of them are Zoe's personal friends. This is a book, and a series, that will appeal to anyone who loves animals and truly believes that they can talk to them. It is wish fulfilment on a page; a dream life for many young children. I have a feeling that this is a series that could run and run and its audience will still demand more. 128 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Caroline Downie, librarian

Zoe's Rescue Zoo: The Pesky Polar Bear