NEW TITLES

This month's picture book selection has a strong 'bear' theme and there are some real highlights here, like A Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting and I Am Bear. It's also good to see the new edition of the modern classic, Peace at Last. Many of these books will help children explore everyday feelings and situations through their stories.

I'll Wait, Mr Panda Board Book
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444916669

I'll Wait, Mr Panda is the perfectly-matched follow-up to Steve Antony's Please Mr Panda. We all know how hard its is for young children to wait - even if they know there is something really good in sight - but keeping still? Waiting? That's just too hard and this gorgeous picture book perfectly encapsulates that inability to just 'wait'. Mr Panda is baking something but he won't say what, simply asking the llama, ant-eater, rabbits and heron to 'wait'; it's a surprise. The only creature from this black and white menagerie who is prepared to wait is a little penguin - so naturally, he gets the treat. The reader, too, shares the treat as the black, white and greys of the previous pages give way to enticing colours on the final treat - and penguin, who has such lovely manners, also remembers to say 'please'. A great story for starting discussions on manners - and perhaps children can be persuaded to test how long they are prepared to wait for a small treat! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alison Brown.

I'll Wait, Mr Panda Board Book
A Beginner's Guide to Bearspotting
Michelle Robinson

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408845554

I loved this book, which reads as a more sophisticated follow up to We're Going on a Bear Hunt. My children really enjoyed this book and it got a few laughs from my six year old along the way, especially when he used the bubble gum on the bears. This book provides loads of links to curriculum work in many areas. I am currently doing a wildlife topic and we are making fact files, I will definitely use this book as a stimuli to further work creating How to ....? Guides. I loved the way the author speaks directly to the character/ reader, which is a writing skill we teach when writing instructions and explanations. This book would be a great hook when covering either genre. But this book is also a very good story, with super illustrations which really capture the reader's imagination throughout. Although what happened at the very end is anyone's guess? I hope he wasn't really eaten by the bear? Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry

A Beginner's Guide to Bearspotting
The Bus Is for Us!
Michael Rosen

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406365542

Michael Rosen's picture book The Bus is for Us, now available in paperback, has the power of poetry in its simple message that out of all modes of transport, real and imagined, the bus is the best because 'The bus is for us!' It's a message that children will love to hear. After all, which child hasn't delighted in bus journeys, a mode of transport that does seem more of a treat than any other for young children - and they will soon be joining in with the repeated phrase, 'The bus is for us!'. Although we might like bikes, cars, planes and trains, and even though we like to imagine floating on clouds or floating with butterflies, 'The best is the bus. The bus is for us'. Gillian Tyler's lovely illustrations show more and more children gradually getting on board the bus in this story and these pictures, along with Michael Rosen's text, deliver a message that will resonate with young communities everywhere. Buses are for everyone - but especially small children! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone

The Bus Is for Us!
Quick Quack Quentin
Kes Gray

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444919561

From the creators of the excellent 'Oi, Frog', This is a must-have book for class libraries to share with children who are learning to read and write. The story, of duck called Quentin who has lost the 'A' from his quack, shows what happens if a letter goes missing from a word. Because he has lost his 'A', Quentin can only say 'quck'. While the doctor diagnoses the problem, he can't help because: 'As a DOCTOR, the only things I can give you are a D, an O, a C, a T, another O or an R'. So Quentin sets off for the FARM to find an 'A'. Unfortunately, while the dog, the hen, the pig and the bull lend him their vowels (so this is also a good story to reflect on vowels and consonants), none of them work for duck and so he goes to the ZOO to try to find an animal that can spare an 'A'. Although there are several animals with an A in their name (and children can have fun guessing which), none are prepared to change their name for duck. However, one animal that has several 'A's in its name is prepared to help out - can you guess which it is? Jim Field's illustrations work brilliantly for this story - but be warned, you'll need to practice before attempting to read it aloud! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Quick Quack Quentin
Little Why
Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848691834

This is an entertaining picture book which describes how Little Why the baby elephant - gender unspecified - finds it hard to keep to his/her place in the line of elephants, holding on trunk-to-tail. Little Why keeps getting distracted by all the fascinating creatures which pop up along the way. Every time Little Why strays to investigate and admire these animals he/she is ordered back into line and keeps asking why. Little Why hankers after each animal's special attributes - twisty horns, long legs etc but learns at the end of the story that he/she is actually special just the way he/she is. The colour range of the collage-like illustrations is quite muted but very evocative of the colours of the African plain and beautifully presented. There is a nice 'small elephant's-eye' view of the bigger animals which would appeal to small children, constantly looking up to grown ups. The faces of the animals are nicely expressive. The language is appropriately simple, but also poetically and amusingly alliterative. A useful book for the early years zoo topic, and for story sequencing. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Rose Palmer, school librarian.

Little Why
Five Minutes' Peace
Jill Murphy

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406363623

Unbelievably, it's been 30 years since Jill Murphy created her classic story about the Large family, Five Minutes' Peace - a story that has resonated with thousands of mums and others who care for young children. In this lovely anniversary edition, Mrs Large, the elephant, just needs five minutes of peace from her boistrous children, so takes refuge in the bathroom with a bath, the paper and a nice cup of tea. But she's given no peace, with one child after the other wanting her attention until they all decide to join her in the bath. So she climbs out, and disappears to the kitchen where she has precisely 'three minutes and forty-five seconds of peace' before they all come to find her. There are few books that so perfectly encapsulate such an ordinary, and meaningful, moment in a child's (and parents') day, or whose humour appeals so universally to both child and adult. A great story to get children thinking about their on demands - on mum or teacher! - and for helping towards thinking about time; see if your class can sit quietly for just five minutes! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Jane Bedford.

Five Minutes' Peace
I Am Bear
Ben Bailey Smith

Walker Entertainment

ISBN 9781406359251

I love this quirky, rap-style story about cheeky Bear and his purple hair! "I am Bear. And I am bare. The suit I wear has purple hair", it begins, but you really have to see the illustrations to undertand Bear's aplomb - and attitude! Bear gets up to all sorts of mischief in which he also plays with the reader, pretending (or is he? children won't be sure until the pages turn) to eat squirrel, who shares some of his pages. This bear has style - he does magic, enjoys playing pranks (there are several) and likes games, especially cops and robbers where he steals doughnuts, leaving squirrel to take the blame. He's not averse to a bit of graffiti either - on another bear ('I am Bear and I was there') - although he does look terribly guilty about it. The neat, minimal text and rhyme is perfectly matched by Sav Akyuz's bold and bright illustrations that give bear centre stage, exactly as it should be. His illustrations of Bear are also hugely expressive. I can't wait to share this one with children - and to get them writing their own raps about strange and wonderful animals. This book's delicious! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Kathy Langton.

I Am Bear
Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
Jarvis

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406370805

Alan the alligator is famed for his big, scary teeth, which he uses to full effect, making the frogs leap, the monkeys tumble and the parrots screech in 'terrible terror'. Alan loves being scary! But he also has a secret. At night, he takes his teeth out and when the inevitable happens, and his teeth go missing, Alan wonders what he will do if he's no longer able to scare. Instead of being frightend of him, the animals now laugh at him - but once he's agreed to help them instead of scare them, they return his teeth and Alan becomes a gardner, hairdresser and dentist for all the animals. This is an entertaining story that is also useful to encourage discussions around bullying behaviour and what lies behind it, and how childrne can use their own talents and skills to help other children. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Knight.

Alan's Big, Scary Teeth
Everybody Feels Sad!
Moira Butterfield

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784934255

The latest titles in the useful 'Everybody Feels' series explores feelings of sadness and anger. In Everybody Feels... Sad!', we follow two children: chloe who has lost her toy elephant; and Omar, whose cat has died. The story explores how they feel and how they are encouraged to share their feelings with other children or adults, who help make them feel better. These books are great for class and nursery settings to encourage children to think about their feelings and to encourage them to discuss things that have made them felt sad or angry, helping them to understand their own feelings and learn how to describe that feeling with a friend or adult carer. Older KS1 children could follow this up with short poems about sadness or anger (following the pattern of a poem in the book) and also use each story for simple story sequencing, or to act out the story. 24 pages / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Everybody Feels Sad!
Have You Seen Elephant
David Barrow

Gecko Press

ISBN 9781776570089

David Barrow has produced a beautifully illustrated book that will capture children's imaginations all over. A lovely story that imitates the age old game of hide and seek. In this story, we see Elephant attempt to hide in lots of the usual places while his friends looks for him. The obvious irony of Elephant's less than subtle hiding places makes for great interaction with the reader. My children both loved identifying the hiding spot. For those of you starting with inference, reading this book provides some good opportunity due to the author's use of animals that are usually unsuited to what they are going to do in this book. The illustrations are absolutely spectacular and if you want to use it to complement a literacy text, I think it would go along side Grace and Family by Mary Hoffman for Year 1 really well. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Have You Seen Elephant
Lionheart
Richard Collingridge

David Fickling Books

ISBN 9781910200223

Richard has a friend called Lionheart and he is his cuddly toy. But at night amongst the shadows Richard can feel the monster coming for him so he runs away through the streets until he reaches the magical jungle. There he meets so many different animals and finally Lionheart come to life as a giant lion. Along with all the other animals they play and explore the jungle and Richard forgets his fear. Then the monster appears on the horizon and Richard, Lionheart and their friends drive it off forever. This is a sumptuous book. The illustrations move from dark shadows to magical colours. The page is used well with single, double and three quarter spreads. Occasionally there are pencil drawings in the margins that enhance the narrative. The final illustration of the monster is truly terrifying, with fiery red eyes looming out of the dark skies. This is a beautiful book that will help some children deal with their night fears, teaching them how to be brave. And there is so much detail in the illustrations and clues to the story that it will keep people entertained for hours. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Caroline Downie, librarian.

Lionheart
Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits!
Tim Warnes

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848692022

A fun and exciting tale of two friends who love writing labels. They label everything on their journey through the woods and soon come across a mysterious object with a warning label. Temptation gets the better of them and they pick up the hat. It starts producing rabbits, which Mole quickly begins labeling with numbers. As more and more rabbits appear, it all becomes too much and they need to find a way to get rid of them. Eventually they solve the problem with carrots! Carefully, they replace the hat at its original spot using a safety stick, but discover another warning note on a stick. No doubt more trouble lies ahead! This is a great story for use in the EYFS or KS1, with endless opportunities for introducing and applying learning, through phonics, counting and story writing. Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn.

Warning! This Book May Contain Rabbits!