NEW TITLES

Our reviewers have highlighted the following picture books published this summer that are ideal to share with younger children, with plenty of discussion and activity ideas.

Anna Kemp, Sara Ogilvie

ISBN 9780857075154

This is a fun story about a tiny 'pea-sized' frog, Sir Lilypad, who wants to be a big hero. Thinking that the kiss of a princess will do the trick and raise his stature, Sir Lilypad sets off in search of one. He looks in all the sensible places, locked towers etc, but fails to find a single princess. Just as he is about to give up, he discovers both a princess and a mighty dragon - but why doesn't the princess want to be rescued...? If you've already read The Worst Princess, you will recognise the feisty, independent heroine from that story - and if you haven't it doesn't matter because the princess soon puts Sir Lilypad straight and the trio set off on other adventures together. The rhyming text makes this a great book to read aloud to children aged 4+ although there are some sections and vocabulary that may need to be explained, but this is not a criticism. There are some wonderfully expressive drawings to share as well; I particularly liked Sir Lilypad jumping out of the pond on a goldfish, and his mournful looks when his armour starts to itch! Children will enjoy discussing what we expect from princesses and heroes in traditional stories, and comparing Sir Lilypad to fairy tales like The Frog Prince - and not forgetting Shrek. You might even encourage your class to create their own unlikely hero or heroine, with unexpected strengths and talents. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alison Hook.

Noisy Dinosaurs
Jonathan Litton

Little Tiger Kids

ISBN 9781848691650

A wonderfully noisy introduction to dinosaurs is provided in a first touch and feel sound book from QED; their other First Sound Books include Emergency Rescue and Farm Vehicles. They can really bring a lesson to life! The dinosaurs roar, growl and screech through the pages and children are encouraged to touch the pages to make the noises work; see if they can make the same noise themselves! There are also lots of dinosaur facts to support their learning. The Emergency Rescue book, with an appealing red fire engine on the cover, takes us through all the different forms of emergency vehicles and tells us what each one does through simple text and photographic images - supported by a wailing emergency siren. There are a series of questions on the last page to remind children what they have learned. You can learn more about Farm Vehicles in the accompanying book, including plenty of photographs of the different types of vehicles at work. This is a lovely book to use at harvest time, as it explains what happens to our crops. Useful and fun! Board books / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Noisy Dinosaurs
Soon
Timothy Knapman

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406351354

In this gorgeous story about early exploration, we follow a young elephant, Raju, and his mother who are going on a journey to the top of a mountain. On the way, they confront crocodiles, snakes and a tiger and each time, the mother elephant scares them away until they arrive safely at the top of the mountain and see their amazing world spread out before them. Their journey is punctuated by Raju asking, 'When can we go home again?' and his mother's response - 'Soon' - which gives us the title. By the end of the book, however, Raju is asking when they will be able to return to the mountain view and his mother's response, again, is 'Soon'. Despite the jeopardy they face on their journey, this is a gentle and warm story about a mother's love and protection of its young. The story is set in India so it can also lead on to explore the subject of endangered animals and research into how elephants can sometimes be trained to help people. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Soon
The Little Gardener
Emily Hughes

Flying Eye Books

ISBN 9781909263437

This is a lusciously-illustrated story, about a tiny gardener who is overwhelmed by the task facing him until a beautiful flower inspires more (and larger!) people to get involved, making his gardening a pleasure rather than a chore. The spare text is beautifully supported by the colourful, dense illustrations of the garden and the tiny wildlife in it. This is a lovely book to use around PSHE and circle time at Reception and KS1, building the idea of teamwork and collaboration; some jobs just seem too daunting, too big for one person, but together we can create something beautiful. At KS1, children are learning about plants and living things which The Little Gardener can support and this can be extended into KS2, looking at habitat and the cause and effects of change; if the garden doesn't succeed, the little gardener will lose his food and home. I also enjoyed looking at the linework in the illustrations and how the artist brings out the patterns in nature; children can go on to look at artists like William Morris and see how he uses those patterns in his furnishings. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

The Little Gardener
How to Win a Monster Race
Caryl Hart

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9780857079619

Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves' Albie series of books, about a small boy going on big, imaginative adventures, has included Pirate School, Alien School and How to Catch a Dragon. In the latest, How to Win a Monster Race, we see Albie alone in his car as it goes through the car wash. Suddenly, Albie is no longer in the car wash - he is in a race, competing on a track filled with monsters and their cars. As he shoots around the race course, helped by his super grippers, super squirters and other gadgets that get him through the race, Albie picks up various monsters whose cars have been sabotaged by the lead, cheating monster - who, naturally, gets him come-uppence when his own car fails. The images and action-packed storyline make this a lovely read-aloud and children can be encouraged talk about their own experiences in car washes or on long car journeys, and what adventures they might imagine for themselves. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

How to Win a Monster Race
Black Cat, White Cat: a minibombo book
Silvia Borando

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406363166

This is a wonderful exploration of opposites - day and night, black and white, with gorgeously simple illustrations that use the opposition of black and white beautifully. Black cat only goes out in the day, white cat only goes out at nighttime, so they never meet until each decides to explore the territory of the other. Now, the illustrator Silvia Boranda has to find clever ways for each of the felines to show on pages that have previously been a simple white on black or black on white. We sense the wonder of the cats seeing this different environment for the very first time and this can begin lots of discussions among young children of the first time they went somewhere different, or about the differences between day time and night time. They can also talk about why some may find the dark, and nighttime, frightening. There is also a lovely humorous twist on the final spread, which helps explain the orange comma on the cover.... Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Smith.

Black Cat, White Cat: a minibombo book
What the Jackdaw Saw
Julia Donaldson

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447280842

What the Jackdaw Saw is the result of a collaboration between Julia Donaldson and a group of deaf children, where a jackdaw flies over different environments - a farm, a town, a forest and the sea - inviting the different animals to his party. Jackdaw doesn't understand why the animals don't respond and simply several touch their head - until he flies into a dark thundercloud and crashes into a tree. '"Why didn't they warn me?" the jackdaw cried. "Why didn't you see them?" the owl replied,' explaining that the animals had signed 'Danger' by touching their head. There are several other words that are shown in sign language at the end of the book, which children can learn, and the story could be a spring board into signing other words and discussions about our senses, and how we would cope without them. The story is brimming with Donaldson's trademark repetitions and spot-on rhymes, so it also works well as a story to share aloud. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

What the Jackdaw Saw
Migloo's Day
William Bee

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406339307

William Bee, who is behind books like Beware of the Frog, And the Cars Go...., has created another wonderful world in Migloo's Day. Migloo is a small dog who joins Farmer Tom on a trip into town. There, he visits different environments including the Town Square, the Market, the Fire Station, Sunnytown School and Sunnytown Park and on each of these colourful spreads, children are invited to find things that are hidden in the busy pages. After lots of snacks and generally being well looked after, Migloo has a chance to help the children when their school bus breaks down - and the little dog gets everyone involved in helping out. There is a wonderful spread with flaps showing the entire town rushing to the rescue. As well as simply enjoying the story and the 'look and find' element, there is lots to learn in this book. Exploring the different environments that Migloo visits will support lots of discussion around the Emergency Services, road safety and signage, what happens at factories and garages, and so on. The bright, cartoon-like illustrations and the simple, bold text will also have lots of appeal to children who are developing confidence in reading, particularly boy readers, and they will also enjoy the magazine-style quiz at the back. It's a lovely book to have in the class library for children to sit with and browse. 38 pages / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Anna Holt.

Migloo's Day
The Flying Bath
Julia Donaldson

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447277118

The Flying Bath, a recent collaboration by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts now available in paperback, takes us to the skies in a bath tub, accompanied by frog, duck and turtle. On each spread, the trio in the bath tub rescue different creatures who need water - a thirsty kangaroo, a bee's drooping flowers, a dirty pig who needs a bath and a baboon whose tree is on fire - so there are also plenty of opportunities to talk about this precious resource and what we use water for. There is also a lovely, rewarding spread on the final page when the magic bath returns home in time for bath time, and with an extra passenger on board! The picture book is perfectly designed for developing readers with short, simple rhyming text and a repeated verse - 'Wings out, and off we fly. The Flying Bath is in the sky!'. Great fun to share as a read-aloud. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

The Flying Bath
Adam Stower

ISBN 9781783700523

Oliver, sister Dolly and best friend Troll run their own cafe in the woods for trolls who love their cakes. On a particularly busy day, Daisy goes missing. It is thought that she may have headed for Munch Mountain, where the dreaded Grumbug lives. Grumbug's activities are described in terrifying detail with the added benefit of alliteration and rhyme. Oliver plans to bake a cake that Grumbug will like and so leave them alone. No-one wants to accompany Oliver except Troll. Oliver fearlessly marches towards Munch Mountain whilst Troll nervously observes Grumbug's trail of destruction. There are plenty of opportunities for predicting what will happen next. They discover Daisy alongside a harmless looking creature that they mistake for Grumbug. Relieved at first, Oliver and Troll soon realise their mistake... The story is well told with appropriate and attention-grabbing illustrations. The text could be used for spotting tr blends and then making up some tongue-twisters. Picture Book/Age 5+/ Reviewed by Pat Chandler, librarian

Poppy Pickle
Emma Yarlett

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783701766

Poppy Pickle lives with her parents and three cats, but her imaginings get her into trouble and sent to tidy her room. All the things that she imagines come alive. A flying pig and a woolly mammoth are just the first of the creatures that fill her room. Then everything goes wrong and the noise and damage bring her parents upstairs. Polly finds that she can't un-imagine the creatures. Just in the nick of time Polly draws her way out of trouble. After having been ordered to clean up Polly explains the situation to disbelieving parents. She can only prove what happened by reimagining the mammoth and then her parents believe her. There are many complex ideas and vocabulary to discuss and the book would work well shared on a one-to-one basis as well as in class. The illustrations are lively, colourful and detailed and complement the text. As a story it is appealing and feels full of energy with an understandable but totally imaginative ending. The whole subject of reality versus imagination could be explored in class discussion and the children could be challenged to create an imaginary figure each for a class book. Picture Book/Age 4+/ Reviewed by Pat Chandler, librarian

Poppy Pickle