NEW TITLES

What a great mix of monsters, cuddles and music in this month's picture book highlights. As well as great stories to share with groups and individuals, they explore a range of subjects, from what makes a family to the idea that being different is fine.

More!
Tracey Corderoy

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848691339

Young children love the word 'More' - it's often one of the first words they learn - and their demands for more, more, more are the focus of this gorgeous picture book. Archie is an energetic rhino who can't help but do things to excess - more cakes, more books, more noise and so on. When he makes a model, it has to get bigger and bigger, and when he creates a rocket costume for a party, it must be huge. But 'more' isn't always best, as he discovers when the costume he has made for the party means he's too big to join in the games. But when his friends come to his aid, he realises that there is one thing you can't have too many of - and that is friends. It's lovely to see such an energetic little character at the centre of a picture book that will resonate with parents and carers of young children everywhere. Its message is also a useful one to share when that word, 'more', is heard a little too frequently.... Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Anna Fuller.

More!
No More Cuddles!
Jane Chapman

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848691476

This picture book is oozing with cuddly bunnies and woodland creatures. Barry, a very hairy, cuddly sort of monster, loves living in the forest on his own except for one thing. Before you can say 'Huggle-wuggles', the bunnies are on to him, smothering him with cuddles. He tries being scary and finding a disguise but when those don't work, he sets about finding another animal that is just a cuddly as him; a bear. Only, that doesn't seem to work either.... but then he accidentally discovers the perfect solution and the last spread, of Barry and a cloud of cuddly bunnies tumbling into a mucky swamp will enthrall readers. Toddlers and small children who love cuddles will hopefully swamp the grown up reading the story with cuddles but it also touches on the fact that sometimes, people - adults and children alike - don't want to be cuddled at all. It is also a gentle reminder that being mucky doesn't always make for the best cuddle! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

No More Cuddles!
Bear and Hare: Where's Bear?
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447273950

The pairing of Bear and Hare in this series from Emily Gravett is irresistable, and this board book edition of Where's Bear is even more so as it plays on such a childhood favourite, playing hide and seek. Children are, on the whole, hopeless at this game - once they close their eyes, they think they are completely hidden and this is what Gravett explores in this story, as Bear tries to hide behind a lampost / pile of books / fish tank. Each time, Hare quickly finds him but later on, finds it isn't quite as easy to find Bear. The story also comes with the added bonus of numbers as bear and rabbit count one to ten as the other hides - something you can soon get children joining in with. The illustrations of Bear and Hare are so expressive that it really brings the text to life. It will certainly inspire children to begin their own game of hide and seek, and you could also get them to talk about their favourite hiding places. Board book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Holmes.

Bear and Hare: Where's Bear?
Daddy Lion's Tea Party
Mark Sperring

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007481842

Daddy Lion is planning, and hoping, for a quiet tea party and initially refuses to invite the other animals who 'hog the buns', 'monkey about' or 'cause a stink'. His plans are overheard by elephant who tells the other animals and everyone turns up for the tea party. Daddy Lion tells them they can stay if they behave but then the animals find they have an audience and chaos ensues. This is a warm zoo time story with lively and colourful illustrations and plenty of visual jokes. The text reads well and this would be a good story for sharing. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian

Daddy Lion's Tea Party
Poo in the Zoo
Steve Smallman

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848691384

Yes, this picture book is about poo (there's an awful lot of it - even a poo museum!), which is guaranteed to catch young children's attention, but there is also something nicely addictive about the rhyming text; it reminded me a little of 'Pants' - although I'd suggest practicing it at home before trying to read it aloud with a group! Bob, the head keeper at the zoo, loves looking after the animals but also seems to spend a lot of his time clearing up after them. When the Iguana escapes one day and finds its way to the canteen, you know that more poop is on its way - but with a difference; this one glows (and I'll leave you to read the story to find out why). Convinced he's found something alien, Bob manages to exchange the valuable alien business for something a little more practical - a robot pooper scooper. Poo in the Zoo is a natural choice for any work you're doing around animals and zoos - especially if you've got a visit to a zoo or farmyard planned - and you could pair it up with ZSL London Zoo's Poo at the Zoo, which explains a lot of facts around poo for an enthralling, poo-tastic lesson! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Anna Jakes, librarian.

Poo in the Zoo
It's a Groovy World, Alfredo!
Sean Taylor

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406324136

What a great story to get children shimmy-shammying, hip-hopping and tip-tapping their toes! Alfredo, who is a frog, has a problem; he can't dance without breaking into some unfortunate jump-jumping which, as his friend Marty (a fly!) tells him, makes him look like "a duck on a trampoline". But Alfredo really wants to go to the party with all his friends. Marty spends a lot of time trying to teach Alfredo but whatever they try, when the music takes him, he ends up jumping. But while Alfredo is 'green with embarrassment' when this eventually does happen at the party, instead of laughing at him, his friends decide he's invented a new way of dancing - the 'Jump-jump-jumping jive'! This picture book positively bounces with energy, both in the text and in the illustrations which are filled with colour and movement. If you share this with a group, get them on their feet to try out the dance moves themselves and maybe create a few of their own. Afterwards, you can talk about what the story is telling us, that it's okay to find your own style, to be yourself. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

It's a Groovy World, Alfredo!
Heather Has Two Mummies
Leslea Newman

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406359404

This is a re-issue of the classic story about a little girl, Heather, who has two of everything (it's her favourite number) including two mummies; one a doctor, one a carpenter. She is excited when they tell her that she will be starting school soon and enjoys her first day at school but when the children start to talk about their parents, Heather wonders if she is the only one who has two mummies? After the teacher encourages the children to draw pictures of their families, Heather realises that families come in all different shapes and sizes, including some families that have two fathers, one mother, a grandma, aunts and uncles. It doesn't matter, as long as the families love each other. This is a wonderful starting point to talk about families and to remind them that all families are different and to discuss what 'family' means. The story could also encourage children to draw and write about their family. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Heather Has Two Mummies
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.

ISBN 9781447257486

In this brilliantly funny and perceptive book (now available in paperback), we watch as Bobby learns to decipher his teacher (the 'monster') and gradually comes to see her as human after all (well, almost). At the start, Bobby is terrified of his teacher Miss Kirby, who shouts a lot, tells him off and forbids him from doing things like flying his paper aeroplane. But when he meets Miss Kirby outside school one day, and they are reluctantly forced to talk to each other about ducks, hats and paper aeroplanes, each begins to see the other differently. Miss Kirby, who can quack-talk with the ducks and has a favourite hat, isn't as scary as Bobby thought. The illustrations are gorgeous and, a bit like the Nanny McPhee transformation, we see Miss Kirby steadily losing her monstrous features until she's a normal person (mostly). This picture book really taps into children's view of teachers and other grown ups as 'other' and would be a brilliant story to introduce at the start of the school year to break the ice between a teacher and the new class! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Angela Green.

The Cloudspotter
Tom McLaughlin

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408854969

In The Cloudspotter, Tom McLaughlin (The Story Machine) creates a warm and hopeful story about friendship. It begins with The Cloudspotter, a little boy who spends his days dreaming and imagining as he stares into the clouds; the adventures he imagines help him to feel less alone. One day, however, his musings are interrupted when The Scruffy Dog turns up. The dog seems to be looking for something - could it be his clouds? - and soon the dog is everywhere, including taking part in all his cloud adventures. The Cloudspotter decides enough is enough and finds a way to send the dog away - before realising that adventures just aren't as much fun when there is just one of you. Drawing on the idea of cloud watching is a lovely idea because so many children do just that, so it makes it easier for them to relate to The Cloudspotter and to admire rather than make fun of his habit. And it's sharing the idea that anything we do can be more fun with our friends, even if we don't always see that at first. The story can also be used to encourage children to talk about things that they like doing with friends, or alone, and it could also form the basis for a class display based on 'cloud adventures'. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Laura Twigg.

The Cloudspotter