NEW TITLES

This month's selection of picture books will help children discover and understand more about friendships, differences and starting school - with plenty of humour along the way, too.

The Storm Whale in Winter
Benji Davies

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471119989

As the autumn days draw in, Benji Davies's gorgeous The Storm Whale in Winter takes us back to the sea and the blues and greys of a wintery adventure with Noi and his father, who we first met in The Storm Whale. In that picture book, little Noi is lonely and bonds with a little whale that he and is father rescue. This latest story is more dramatic, with the pod of whales now coming to the rescue of Noi and his father. This story has the same careful charm of the first book and there is a nostalgic feel to the imagery, especially the opening spread where Noi is at home in his fisherman's cottage. The theme of friendship is also strong in this story, like the first, and the strong relationship between Noi and his father which is good to see in a picture book. Children will enjoy exploring the spreads and reading about a child who saves the day! This would be a lovely book to share with children who are doing topics around the Arctic and is a great starting point for work around whales. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Julie Dawn.

The Storm Whale in Winter
Odd Dog Out
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007594153

This latest book from the creator of Grrrr and Blown Away is just as gorgeous as his earlier titles and also much brighter - the pages are filled with startling pinks and yellows - as well as row upon row of symmetrical dachshunds. Well, except for one. This odd dog out is pink, fluffy and carefree in a world of regimented dachshunds dressed in black and white. Odd dog feels, well, odd, so she sets off to search for her 'real home'. Her friends in the ordered world are, however, sad to see her go and even when she discovers a world where she fits in, the odd dog is given a special message by another 'odd dog'; be proud of your differences. This is a deceptively-simple picture book that has much to tell children about finding our place in the world and valuing differences both in ourselves and in others. Children will also love pouring over the colourful pages as there is plenty of humour within the illustrations - especially the final spread where all the dachshunds celebrate their differences! A lovely book to share with groups and a treat to read aloud. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Johns.

Odd Dog Out
Hiding Heidi
Fiona Woodcock

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471144486

Hiding Heidi is a beautifully illustrated tale about Heidi who is a little girl with an extra special talent for hiding. This book tackles the issues surrounding being very good at something and letting it become your only focus and then what happens when you forget what everyone else is good at. My class of Year 1s really enjoyed this story and loved pointing out Heidi in all the pages. I think the message of enjoying everyone's talents is a really important one. This book would be a great stimuli to use alongside PSHE and assemblies about valuing all our unique abilities. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Hiding Heidi
Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo!
Emma Chichester Clark

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007258680

Come to School Too, Blue Kangaroo! is a great story to include in the 'new to school' groups of story books. Lily is anxious about going to school for the first time so she brings Blue Kangaroo to keep her company; unfortunately, she forgets Blue Kangaroo when she goes home that night and while anxious, Blue Kangaroo finds his own way of soothing his anxieties about being on his own. The story can help children to identify and relate to their own insecurities about trying new things. Blue Kangaroo has wonderful fun at school when left over night and am sure children would love to think about what sort of antics their own best toy would get up to if they came to school, too. This might also be a good starting point for creating their own stories. I also enjoyed What shall we do Blue Kangaroo?, a lovely tale in which lily discovers that she can do things for herself and so does Blue Kangaroo! Children will easily identify with the 'busy grown-up' situations and may enjoy thinking about how they can do things for themselves, too. Lily even helps daddy soothe a sleepy baby brother, and then Blue kangaroo helps her by rescuing little ted. This is a lovely theme running through the story. In It Was You Blue Kangaroo! and I'll Show You, Blue kangaroo!, Lily is definitely up to naughty tricks. I think children will be very entertained by the naughtiness though and they may even share similar tales, so beware, but they may also empathise with poor blue kangaroo. These are good books to include when focusing on friendships, thinking about others and what being kind is! The resolutions at the end illustrates for children how easy it can be to say sorry and make everything better. These are all great stories to use with Early Years in thinking about how we can have a happy classroom, what sort of things do we need to remember? Picture books / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher.

Come to School too, Blue Kangaroo!
Come On, Tiger Tom
Gabriel Alborozo

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471143861

This is a lovely story of a tiger cub and his journey of discovery and courage. Beautifully illustrated, I really enjoyed sharing this story with my children. The story gave a great message of why it's important to listen to learning, and that what we are taught will be used in the future. My class were really engaged by this story and I would use this in lots of topics. The simple structure of the story gives a great example of story writing and there is some fantastic language used throughout the text which can offer ideas and inspiration to children with their own writing. In topics such as animals and investigating the wider world, this book would fit in really well and there was lots of ways I could use this, from geography, to art and music. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Come On, Tiger Tom
The Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf
Philip Ardagh

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406364354

When the Little Adventurers gather at their HQ (the garden shed) on Bring in a Pet Day, one has a puppy, another a cat and one even has a mouse. Sprat, however, can't find his black cat so, he brings 'Leafy', a leaf. But while the other animals all 'do' things, like eating and playing, Leafy does very little at all, until a breeze comes and whisks him off into the air where the children chase and play with him before deciding they all want their own 'Leafy' pet. I can see many children deciding that a 'Leafy' might be quite a fun thing to have after reading this story, which really is a celebration of children's imagination and willingness to play and have fun. I also like how each of the sections is 'headlined', for example 'What My Pet Eats', introducing children to the idea of chapters. These facts are then collected in fact boxes at the end of the picture book, explaining more about each of the creatures we have met - including some 'Leaf and tree news' from Sprat! Children can collect facts about their pets and create a 'fact box' from it. Lots of fun - I look forward to seeing what the Little Adventurers get up to next! 40 pages / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Jane Banks.

The Little Adventurers: Leafy the Pet Leaf
You Must Bring a Hat
Kate Hindley

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471117329

You must bring a hat is a very funny little story accompanied by really exciting and engaging illustrations. Simon Philips writes a great tale about a boy who is invited to Nigel's party. A special party with a very important instruction, that he must wear a hat to the party. The boy's adventures to find a hat quickly bring him to the party door where he encounters lots more challenges. I really thought the part when the boy loses his temper and erupts exclaiming how silly the rules were was very funny indeed. This is an enjoyable read and made lovely bedtime reading with my six year old. 'You must bring a hat' would be a good story hook to use if you are doing letter writing or invitations in English. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

You Must Bring a Hat
Up the Creek
Nicholas Oldland

Pikku Publishing

ISBN 9780992805074

Up the creek is a fun tale of three friends and how they overcome the usual falling outs and disagreements that occur in all friendships. I liked the characters and illustrations that accompanied the story. Children liked moose, beaver and bear and were engaged laughing at the events. This books lent itself well to work on cooperation and teamwork. The only issue was that some of the vocabulary within the book was difficult for children to understand and needed clarification and explaining. At times this can detract from the story itself. However overall this was an enjoyable class read for myself and the children. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Up the Creek
The Messy Book
Maudie Powell-Tuck

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848692800

What a mess! Cat has made an awful mess in this book, but who is going to tidy it up? Certainly not Cat! Dog tries to get Cat to tidy, but Cat has got other ideas: shoving it over there; hiding it under that; jumping on it! Each of Cat's ideas for 'tidying up' just passes the mess on to someone else or makes the mess even messier! Dog tries harder and harder to persuade Cat to tidy up the mess in this book but Cat really, really does not want to (and he is an extremely stubborn feline). Finally, after a rather catastrophic incident with a vacuum cleaner, Cat eventually agrees to tidy. And, with the help of Dog, a giraffe and two penguins, this book is made spick-and-span. But, just how long can such a messy book stay tidy? The Messy Book is laugh-out-loud funny! It is sure to have children (and adults) giggling away. The bright, colourful collage-style illustrations are quirky and highly entertaining. The charming characters of Cat and Dog are absolutely delightful. Cat's avoidance techniques are simply brilliant and reminded me very much of most of the children in my class. Whereas Dog, with his seemingly (but not quite) endless patience and unlimited methods of encouragement, is just like most exasperated parents who just want their child to 'TIDY UP!' This story is perfect for opening up discussions about taking responsibility. Children will be able to see that Cat really should tidy up his mess, even though he does not want to (just like they don't want to tidy). In addition, Dog shows kindness throughout, offering to help Cat tidy up. For older children, this is a starting point for exploring themes around pollution and the environment. Cat should take care of the mess he has made, responsibly, but it is easier to hide it somewhere or leave it somewhere else for others to tidy. This is what humans often do with their mess! From small-scale littering and fly-tipping to worldwide problems such as the vast quantities of rubbish dumped into oceans, children can investigate the problems created by the Cats of the world and take on the role of Dog in attempting to persuade others to help tidy this planet. Full of humour, The Messy Book is sure to become a firm favourite in classrooms and libraries. Picture Book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Torie Walton, teacher

The Messy Book
15 Things Not To Do With a Granny
Margaret McAllister

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847808523

A follow-up from the wonderful 15 things NOT to do with a Baby, this latest picture book is an equally pleasurable exploration of a child's relationship with its granny - two of them, in this case. It begins, 'A granny is a wonderful person to have in your life..... Follow these simple rules to make sure every granny is a happy granny.' These include not giving her squashed jelly beans on toast for breakfast or putting leftover spaghetti in her handbag - or forgetting to share her. But you can play with her, sing to her, hug her and give her lots of love. The illustrations are lively and joyous with lots of humour; these are very real children as are their grannies - and only one of the grannies is white, making it very inclusive, too. A lovely story to help children talk about older people in their lives and how they show them they are valued. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Green.

15 Things Not To Do With a Granny
Fairytales Gone Wrong: Snow White and the Very Angry Dwarf: A story about anger management
Steve Smallman

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784935320

Steve Smallman has written another great spin on a traditional tale, this time taking a look at the story Snow White. In this version, Snow White stumbles across the dwarves' house in the forest and, as in the original, tidies and prepares their home before they return. However, in this version the dwarves have different names referring to a few personal issues each of them has. When the dwarf Angry returns home he is very cross about everything, but Snow White helps him come up with strategies to help him to deal with his anger. Angry returns home and is able to talk calmly to his dwarf brothers about all the things that make him angry and they all agree to be more considerate. This book is ideal to use during anti-bullying week. It's a familiar tale that most children know and could be a good prompt for circle time about feelings and managing them. I really enjoyed this book with its engaging text and humorous illustrations. This will definitely be in my end of day reading box and I look forward to sharing it with my new class. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Snow White and the Very Angry Dwarf: A story about anger management
Feelings: Inside my heart and in my head...
Libby Walden

Caterpillar Books Ltd

ISBN 9781848575080

Children need to learn how to identify and recognize their own feelings, figure out how to manage them, express what's happening, adapt their emotions to their environment and along with this, develop empathy for others. This development of emotional literacy is an important life skill and one that supports mental health and well being. So, as becoming emotionally literate involves a whole LOT of learning - any book that supports this is always welcome on my shelf! Feelings offers a lovely opportunity for reflecting on and talking about emotions. The book deals with ten emotions including excitement, fear, embarrassment, loneliness and happiness. Importantly, it explains that, how we appear on the outside, may differ from what's happening deep within....while a person's feelings may not be visible, they are an important part of who we are. Each page has a cut out with a little boy character peeping out. Surrounding him are various colours and characters, each illustrating a different type of emotion. Through lovely rhyming text and metaphors,feelings are described:sadness is a river bursting it's banks, anger is a volcano erupting, while jealousy feels like a misty steam that 'churns and seethes'. Beautifully illustrated with warm tones, a variety of textures and mosaics, each page is atmospheric and dream-like. The scenes surrounding the main character change to convey each new emotion. There are animal characters too-tearful rabbits, dancing dogs, fluttering birds and happy crabs. A gentle and sensitive read, this book highlights how all feelings are important, while offering readers a chance to reflect and talk together. By sharing this book with children, we can develop self awareness, nurture empathy and build emotional literacy. Perfect for group story time, this book will also help individual children who need support and opportunities to recognize or open up about feelings. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Elaine Ball (Missus B's Picture Book Reviews)

Feelings: Inside my heart and in my head...
The Lonely Giant
Sophie Ambrose

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406361544

The Lonely Giant teaches us that we need to look after our environment and that in doing so, we too will benefit. There is a gentle humour, too, in this story about a giant who lives 'in a cave, on top of a crag, in the middle of a huge forest'. All day, he does what giants do best - pulling up trees, hurling logs and smashing mountains until, before long, there is nothing left. The giant is now lonely until the arrival of Yellow Bird who reminds him what he has lost. He decides to put things right and, eventually, the forest regrows and the animals return. I love the early images of the giant, towering above the trees or filling the cave where he lives; the perspectives really do make him look gigantic, which children will appreciate. The story will also help children to think about things from a different perspective, like the giant, who doesn't realise what he is doing wrong. And it can be used to encourage children to think about how they have put things right when they've accidentally done something wrong. Above all though, the message from The Lonely Giant is to care for the environment and those around us, an important one for children to hear. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Linda Stone.

The Lonely Giant
Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Alicia Potter

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406362398

This is a loveable book that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading! Miss Hazeltine opens a home for timid cats in the middle of a forest; people from all over town bring their cats who 'won't purr', or are 'hopeless' and she teaches them lessons on how to become...well..more catlike! Until one day Miss Hazeltine has an accident and the cats have to bravely put a plan into action! The story is charmingly illustrated; the pictures are detailed and convey the words well. The cats look like loveable, if a little shabby, creatures and Miss Hazeltine is a kooky character who sees the good in them all. The story is easy to read and follow, with a good amount of text on each page. It would be a great tool for discussing bravery and shyness with children, without putting too much pressure onto how human's deal with those feelings. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Miss Hazeltine's Home for Shy and Fearful Cats
Painting Pepette
Linda Ravin Lodding

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783705931

This lovely little story follows Josette, a young girl who lives in Paris. Josette lives in a grand house and wants to find an artist to paint a portrait of her beloved rabbit, Pepette, to hang on the wall with her ancestors. Her journey takes her to Montmartre, where she stumbles across painters (who are named in an authors note at the end, as Matisse, Dali, Picasso and Chagall). None of these painters paint Pepette as Josette sees her. Eventually, Josette realises that she must paint a portrait herself - after learning that an artist can paint however she/he sees fit! Every page has wonderfully detailed illustrations, with plenty for children to look at and enjoy. The story is relatively simple, but interesting. It introduces some french words to children, so is great for younger children who are learning French or perhaps about to visit Paris! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Painting Pepette
A Pandemonium of Parrots
Hui Skipp

Big Picture Press

ISBN 9781783704620

A Pandemonium of Parrots is an amusing and unusual information book that will easily engage young readers. Each double page spread focuses on a particular group of animals such as: beetles, frogs, camels and parrots. The Hui Skipp illustrations show the animals in different situations and stances with each page having its own colour palette relating to the specific animal. Each group of animals is categorised by a unique collective noun, such as: a bouquet of hummingbirds and an army of frogs. After the collective nouns information is given in a short rhyming verse and further information is contained in a glossary at the end of the book. The collection of animals on each page are not shown in exactly the same way and this is the key to engaging the young readers, as on each page they are asked different questions relating to the animals. These questions will encourage the young reader to look closely at the illustrations in order to answer the questions. A Pandemonium of Parrots would be a useful addition to a Key Stage 1 reading corner as it would encourage children to share and discuss the book together. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, teaching consultant.

A Pandemonium of Parrots
Ada Twist, Scientist
Andrea Beaty

Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

ISBN 9781419721373

From the moment Ada is born she is a whirlwind of exploration, running through each day chasing sights and sounds. When she finally learns to communicate her thoughts her first word is 'why'. 'Why does it tick and why does it tock'; 'Why don't we call it a granddaughter clock?'. Her bewildered parents reply is simply 'You'll figure it out'. At school, the high flying Ada continues to be quite a handful but she is also recognised for having all the traits of a great scientist. This prompts her to begin creating her own experiments and hypothesising about the world around her. When her experiments go a little to far she finds herself in disgrace on the 'thinking chair'. However, a thinking chair is exactly what Ada needs to help her to continue pondering the questions that fill her mind. Later Ada's family are more then a little overwhelmed to find that in their absence Ada has used her time on the 'thinking chair' to create a 'thinking wall', covering it with scribbles and doodles and notes to aid her scientific mind organise ideas. Exasperated they realise that they must do what any good parent should do and assist Ada in her curiosity of the world, acknowledging that together 'we'll figure it out'. Another gorgeous picture book from the dynamic author/illustrator duo Andrea Beaty and David Roberts the same team that brought us Rosie Revere Engineer and Iggy Peck Architect. Following the same format as their other books, this is a beautifully illustrated story, told in rhyme, and begs to be shared in a classroom. With the current curriculum focus on philosophy for children, Ada's questioning mindset is the perfect model for developing questions - why, what, how and when, promoting a fantastic 'fact-finding spree'. The important contribution of female scientists should not be overlooked in the primary classroom and Beaty's notes at the back of the book inform us of the importance of Ada as a representative of these great women throughout history. The character Ada Marie Twist is named after Marie Curie and Ada Lovelace - two incredible female scientists whose life and work deserve further classroom attention. 32 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

Ada Twist, Scientist
David Roberts, Lynn Roberts

ISBN 9781843652915

This new take on the traditional tale of Sleeping Beauty is a refreshing and interesting story. Sticking with original story, a young baby is cursed by a wicked witch, that on her 16th birthday, she will prick her finger and sleep for one thousand years. However the story is placed in a more modern setting of the 1950's and the 1000 years sleep takes us way into the future. In a twist the heroine is a young girl who discovers the story of sleeping beauty and sets out to find and rescue the young Annabel from her slumber. This story would be a great part of a variety of teaching approaches. Alternative versions of other traditional tales would be great to work alongside this book. Encouraging children to explore the unique settings of the tales and then considering how they might write their own versions. This would be a brilliant way to start conversations with children about the future and getting children to explore what the world that Annabel might be waking up to would look like. Alongside modern history projects, Britain since the 1950's etc... It would be a good way to look at what life was like for Annabel on her 16th birthday. All of the Roberts tales would work well with this type of history topic. I really enjoyed this story and will look forward to sharing it and other with the children in school. 32 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.