NEW TITLES

Nature is a strong theme in many of this month's picture books, including a retelling of The Jungle Book and a book about exploring nature, but we also head out to space in younger picture books and through books - literally - with Nibbles the Book Monster.

Nibbles: The Book Monster
Emma Yarlett

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848691933

What a wonderful story to illustrate how readers 'devour' books - although in this case, the mischievous Nibbles the Book Monster does so literally, escaping from his wooden crate and diving into a pile of books where he promptly chews his way through, changing the endings of the stories beyond recognition as he does so. "It wasn't me, it was a MONSTER!' declares Cinderella at the chaos Nibbles leaves in his wake. Nibbles becomes the hero in Little Red Riding Hood (who is not happy about this at all!). And he helps Jack make a quick getaway down the beanstalk by biting the giant on his bottom. The pages he chews through from each of the fairy tales is presented as a 'book within a book', giving it lots of appeal to young readers, and the reader is also involved in Nibbles' capture at the end (although that's not a total success....) Nibbles is a wonderfully appealing 'monster' and children will love the mayhem he causes. The story can also be used with older KS1 children to explore the idea of changing fairy tale endings by bringing in a new character. They will also enjoy reading the blurbs at the end of each story which have been chewed through - and so changed - by Nibbles; something they can practice when re-writing their own fairy tales! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alice Davies.

Nibbles: The Book Monster
Intergalactic Ed and the Space Pirates
Ella Denton

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192739407

For the pirate-loving kids, Intergalactic Ed is one they will enjoy and want to read again. Ed is a space-spotting little boy who, when watching through his telescope one night, spots the moon being stolen by a bunch of space pirates. Ed and his sidekick cat Sputnik leap into action to save the moon from these dastardly pirates. When he is caught, Ed uses his knowledge of space facts to trick the Pirates into releasing the moon. This is a fun story with super illustrations. This would be a good addition to classrooms learning about space or earth, sun and moon. There are lots of topic starting points in this book so as a teacher I'd recommend this one for your book corners. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Intergalactic Ed and the Space Pirates
Goodnight Spaceman
Michelle Robinson

Puffin

ISBN 9780141365626

Goodnight Spaceman is a charming book about two little boys who imagine whizzing into space to visit their dad on the International Space Station (ISS). The rhyming text sets a gentle pace for the story, which is further explored in the detailed illustrations. This book would be brilliant for any child interested in space and who has been following the popular Tim Peake! It's a great read for 3-7 year olds. When I shared with with a reception class, they quickly noticed the rhyming text and enjoyed trying to guess the rhyme at the end of the sentence before I read it. We came to this book at the end of our topic on space, so the drawings were particularly great as they mirrored real life. There was much discussion on the names of the planets illustrated earlier in the book which were then clearly labelled further on. It is quite a tricky thing to do, crossing a fiction and non-fiction book, and this story manged it. As well as an enjoyable story in its own right, you could also use Goodnight Spaceman to begin discussions about missing family when they have to go away. Older children could write a letter to their dad in space, asking him about it and telling him what they are doing at home, or create a story map of the boys' adventures. Of course there's lots to explore around the topic of space, too, including what it's like to live in space and investigating the planets - which could also be useful in Maths as you explore how far away the planets are and how long it takes them to orbit the sun. The children in my reception class definately gave the book a thumbs up, and were convinced it was actually Tim Peake himself in the story "because the daddy has orange hair"! Picture book / Ages 3-7 years / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, EY teacher.

Goodnight Spaceman
Could a Monkey Waterski?: Hilarious scenes bring monkey facts to life
Aleksei Bitskoff

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781781715888

This series of books are both fun and informative. Each page poses different question about a Mokey... 'What if a Monkey went to a noodle bar?' The question is then answered with facts in a fun, child friendly, way. The illustrations are bright and entertaining showing a monkey using chopstick eating a bowl of noodles. In Could a Tiger Walk a Tightrope, another in the series, we learn about a tiger and What if a Tiger joined a karate class? The books in this series are a good fun read but giving information and facts along the way. 24 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Clare Raley, school librarian.

Could a Monkey Waterski?: Hilarious scenes bring monkey facts to life
My Little Book of Weather
Claudia Martin

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784934538

I'm a real fan of the 'My Little Book Of...' series from QED. We already use My Little Book of Space and this new book, My Little Book of Weather, has all the ingredients that I liked in the first book: a good balance of text, images and boxed-out information; and it's a great example of an information text with bold headings, key facts, boxed out text etc so you can use it to demonstrate how to research information - including using the glossary and index at the back of the book. I also like it as an individual reader as its layout means children can read as much or as little of the information as they want, depending on their reading level; you can also buddy up older children to read this with younger ones, with the older child reading the main text and the younger one the captions. There are a range of other titles in this series including My Little Book of Ocean Life / Dinosaurs / Volcanoes etc. I'd certainly like more of these in my classroom! 64 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

My Little Book of Weather
Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit's Bad Habits: Book 1
Julian Gough

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444929317

Bear is awoken early from her hibernation and decides that if she can't sleep, she'll make her first-ever snowman. Rabbit has never made a snowman either - and is determined to make one better than Bear's. However, when faced with a hungry fox, Rabbit learns that a friend in need is a friend indeed! This is an amazing little book that is quite different from anything else I have read recently! As well as learning about gravity and the workings of a rabbit's digestive system (yes, there are a lot of discussions about poo!), we watch as these two very different characters develop a firm friendship as they come to understand and value each other. Bear is a wonderfully 'glass-half-full' personality. Someone has woken her up and stolen her food- well, it's a beautiful day and she's always wanted to build a snowman! Rabbit, on the other hand, is a fairly joyless soul, who hates being a rabbit, thinks life is pretty awful - and is the one who stole Bear's food. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful, capturing the creatures' personalities perfectly and using a very simple range of colours. The book is also just the right size for little hands. Perfect for both emergent and more confident readers, this is one of those special books that offers so much: humour, good writing, fabulous illustrations and two wonderful, mismatched friends that I hope are going to be at the heart of many tales to come. 112 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Rabbit and Bear: Rabbit's Bad Habits: Book 1
Alexander McCall Smith, illus Kate Hindley

ISBN 9781408865859

Roll up! Roll up! The circus is coming to town! And for an ordinary young boy called Freddie Mole, it's a life-changing experience. With his mum away working and his dad's business of mending washing machines not doing so well, Freddie grabs the opportunity to work as a general dogsboddy at the circus. What he doesn't realise, though, is that this doesn't mean just handing out popcorn and sweeping up the tent. No, his role includes flying on the trapeze and, even more frightening, stepping in to the lion tamer's role! Can he do it? This new tale from bestselling author Alexander McCall Smith is a gentle, traditional tale of an ordinary boy overcoming the odds to succeed. It is full of hope and lots of children will be able to identify with Freddie's desire to help out his family, and have an adventure along the way. Topping it off are the lovely illustrations by Kate Hindley which brilliantly portray some of the funny - and scary - situations Freddie confronts, with lots of warmth and humour. 144 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Ellen Ward.

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's story...
Rob Hunter

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847807977

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story is the reimagined tale of Rudyard Kipling's story of young Mowgli the Man-cub and is the first in a new series of classics tales with modern settings by publishers Frances Lincoln. Our story begins as dawn breaks in the jungle, where the cries of a baby are heard as they echo through the trees. The animals soon discover that Shere Khan has stolen the young baby. They force him to relinquish his prize then banish him from the jungle. Bagheera the panther takes the 'Man-cub' back to the city and his own kind. However, unable to find protection for him, Baheera entrusts a pack of street dogs with the task of looking after the young baby. Mowgli grows up in the shadow of modern Mumbai, living happily amongst the pack, still under the watchful care of Bagheera. When news arrives that Shere Khan has returned seeking revenge for his banishment, the young Mowgli is taken back to the safety of the jungle. Baloo the bear is enlisted to help teach Mowgli about the ways of the jungle but the spirited Mowgli is not a good student. Bored of his lessons and full of pride, Mowgli leaves the safety of Baloo and Bagheera in search of adventure. Mowgli is soon taken prisoner by a troop of monkeys, but escapes with the aid of Kaa the snake. When he realises his street pack are in danger, Mowgli decides to return to the city to face Shere Khan. Using skills he has learnt in the jungle, Mowgli fearlessly faces down the tiger with the aid of his friends Baloo and Bagheer and the help of 'man's fire'. The actions of the brave Mowgli have been witnessed by the people of the city - praising and congratulating him they call him a hero. Bahheera and Baloo finally let Mowgli go, acknowledging that he has finally found his place in the world. Robert Hunter has created a stunningly vibrant retelling of the classic Jungle Book tale. His use of a colour pallet of orange, purple, green and blue to illustrate the beauty of not only the jungle but the backdrop of urban Mumbai is inspiring. Each double page spread is full of colour and action and the use of silhouettes within the book is clever way of injecting more life into the timeless settings of the story. I would highly recommend this beautiful picture book to fans of Rudyard Kipling's original Jungle book and to a new generation of younger readers who are yet to discover Kipling but love adventure stories about panthers, bears and tigers and of course, spirited young boys! 40 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, librarian.

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's story...
Maria Ana Peixe Dias, illus Ines Teixeira do Rosari

ISBN 9781847807694

'For thousands and thousands of years, it was just us and nature' but over the last one hundred years, our relationship with the natural world has changed. Outside: a Guide to Discovering Nature was written with this in mind and created to inspire curiosity in the natural world. So let's get outside and start exploring! This delightful book begins with a discussion about us and nature, how this has changed over time and the increasing need for us to reconnect with the outdoors. 'Outside' also looks at the practical issues readers will want to think about as they head outdoors to explore nature - where to go and what to take with them as well as the signs and clues that animals leave behind them. A beautiful compendium of fascinating facts about insects, amphibians, reptiles, mammals & birds; Flowers, trees, flora and fauna also feature as well as information about rocks, oceans & beaches; the stars, moon & sun; the clouds, wind & rain. 'Outside' is packed full of knowledge about the natural world - do worms have a heart? Why don't slugs have shells? And, If chickens are birds, why don't they fly? 'Outside' also shares helpful advice to help you to engage with the natural world - have you ever wondered how to put up a bird house, how to make a crown of flowers or make an envelope for seeds? Each section of the book is creatively separated by a monochromatic illustration by artist Bernardo P. Carvalho. His simple yet stylish illustrations throughout the book enhance the message of the text to engage more with the natural world.& The glossary at the end of the book provides the reader with an opportunity to explore the vocabulary of the book in greater detail. The naturalists timeline is a interesting look at the important dates for the study and preservation of the world we live in. An inspiring work of art as much as a guide to the outdoors with a stylish colour pallet of black, white, blue & orange. This is a truly stunning book to own. Whilst originally written in Portuguese and winner of several prestigious Portuguese awards, the translation into English has enabled this book to reach a world wide audience. Perfect for families, classrooms and forest school libraries. A must read for those who love the outdoors and those inspired by it. 368 pages / Ages 7-11 years / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.