NEW TITLES

Here is a selection of picture books for children from age 3+ that cover a range of subjects, from space and counting to friendship and a trip to the zoo.

Ten Little Monsters
Mike Brownlow

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408334034

A perfect Halloween addition to the 'Ten Little' series by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty (see also princesses, pirates and dinosaurs). In this story, which is a wonderful introduction to counting from ten to zero, ten little monsters are off trick-or-treating, but one by one, after encounters with were wolves, mad scientists and a zombie gang, among others, they disappear! Before long, there is only one terrified little monster left - but he soon discovers where the rest of his friends have got to and the ending is very reassuring! This is a wonderful story to read aloud, it has just the right amount of enjoyable tension together with a great rhyming text and bold illustrations, and it's a lot of fun. A great addition to your 'Halloween' library! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Tracey Hart.

Ten Little Monsters
Owl Bat Bat Owl
Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406364392

This is a simply gorgeous picture book to use in helping young children learn about difference - and that it doesn't matter - without a single word being spoken, tweeted or squeaked... When a family of young owls settles on a branch ready to sleep, they are woken by the arrival of a young family of bats. Mother owl marches her brood to one end of the branch, while the bats scuttle over to the opposite end. All seems quiet, but for the littlest owl and bat who want to make friends. Both are told off and return to their respective end of the bough. Their rest is, however, interrupted again, this time by a violent storm that sweeps all the small creatures off the branch. This is where parental instincts kick in and the adult owl and bat return all the little ones to the branch - the moment when 'difference' is rejected is when owl is seen returning a little bat to safety, and bat rescues the smallest owl. Of course it is the youngest ones who then discover a new game that they can all play together. As well as a lesson in visual literacy - and children will enjoy the wonderfully expressive families - this has a strong message at its heart about accepting friendship in whatever guise it comes, and rejecting the idea of difference. It also, subtly, introduces the idea that what the adults in our lives think and do isn't always for the best. I would put this in every Reception and Year 1 class library! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Ellen Brown.

Owl Bat Bat Owl
Book of Opposites
Sarah Dyer

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783704132

The Book of Opposites is a great book that can be read with the earliest of ages and is of use to children from babies to primary age. Sarah Dyer fills every page with bright and colourful illustrations of many different opposites. The text is wonderful to use as as simple naming text and with my two year old we have enjoyed just pointing out the pictures and naming the things on each page. It develops really well with children and as their understanding of opposites grows, there are lots of opportunities to increase vocabulary. This is a book that engages children's interests and can be used as a useful resource especially with early years children. This book would be a very good resource for speech and language teachers and could be used to develop vocabulary. Sarah Dyer has created a wonderful book which engages children really well and I would highly recommend this book to everyone with young children. Board book / Ages 0-5 years / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Book of Opposites
I Am A Very Clever Cat
Kasia Matyjaszek

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783705900

I am a clever cat is a fun and engaging story about Stockton, a cat who thinks he is very clever at everything he does. Especially knitting, and the story goes through his skills at knitting. The end result is that Stockton really isn't that good at knitting and ends up in a big mess! It's his friends the mice who end up knitting him the perfect scarf. The illustrations are very colourful and create lots of discussion through the text. I think this book lends itself to discussion about not showing off and being modest. But it makes a great stand alone read that children will want to come back to. My toddler really enjoyed following the wool throughout the pages and pointing out the mice on each page. It is an easily accessible text that children can read themselves and therefore is a brilliant addition to the school library and will be a popular choice. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

I Am A Very Clever Cat
How to Save a Superhero
Caryl Hart

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471144783

Albie is back in another hugely imaginative adventure, this time as a superhero. Each of the Albie picture books is a real celebration of children's imaginative play; Careful readers will notice how Albie's adventures are sparked by objects in his everyday world. There are also lessons to learn along the way, about friendship, being kind, and helping others. In this story, Albie must tidy his room before he can go out for an icecream; he also wants to find the missing piece of his favourite jigsaw. 'This is a job for Albie the Awesome!' he cries, and before long, Albie is in a fast-paced battle with the Collector who steals children's missing toys. Perfect for children who are ready for a bit of an adventure and a slightly more sophisticated plot line, these stories are fast-paced and packed with action and some great gadgetry! Lots of fun. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alison Steel.

How to Save a Superhero
The Darkest Dark
The Fan Brothers

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509824083

Chris loves rockets and planets and pretending he's a brave astronaut exploring the universe. There's only one problem - at night he doesn't feel so brave because he is afraid of the dark. But while watching the first Apollo moon landing on television, Chris realises that Space is the darkest dark there is and that it can be beautiful and exciting. This realisation helps him overcome his fear and fuels his dreams and determination to become an astronaut; sometimes, with hard work and self belief, dreams do come true. This stunning picture book is based on the childhood of the first Canadian astronaut, Chris Hadfield. He vividly remembers watching the Apollo 11 landing at a neighbour's house on Stag Island in Southern Ontario, the only house on the island with a television. From that moment he did everything he could to enable him to become an astronaut, even though at that time Canadians couldn't join NASA. After becoming a fighter then a test pilot he was chosen by the newly formed Canadian Space Agency to be an astronaut. Subsequently he has flown on three separate missions, including five months as the first Canadian Commander on the International Space Station. Using a subtle palette of mainly blues, greys and black, mixing ink and graphite with digital art, the illustrators have created a magical exploration of the dark, and especially the dark of space. The facts of Chris Hadfield's life are skilfully woven in, and children reading the short biography at the end will be able to go back and find them in the pictures. There is also a message from Chris, accompanied by some of his photographs. Young readers who have been inspired by Tim Peake's mission will find much here to nurture further interest in space exploration and perhaps also the launch pad for their own ambitions. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, librarian.

The Darkest Dark
Ludwig the Space Dog
Henning Lohlein

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783703890

On opening the first page of Ludwig the Space Dog the reader sees an airmail letter to open and 3D goggles are inside for the reader to wear, which lift the images off the page. Ludwig the Space Dog lives in a world of books and understands completely what books can give him in terms of knowledge, ideas and escapism linked to his passions for space travel. Ludwig wants to fly into space but he constantly fails in his numerous attempts until one day he finds a spacecraft that had crash-landed. The pilot, a penguin with a funny helmet, needs help and Ludwig and his friends manage mend the spacecraft for him. Once mended Ludwig decides to leave with the penguin pilot to explore space, as he has always wanted to do. Even though he is miles away he still keeps in touch with his chums by sending them postcards. This is a lovely book, which is humorous and very much promotes the idea that through reading you can learn a great deal. The book can be read without the 3D glasses but the story really comes to life with them on. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant.

Ludwig the Space Dog
Fairytales Gone Wrong: You're Not Ugly Duckling: A Story About Bullying
Steve Smallman

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784935337

In You're Not Ugly, Duckling! Mother Duck discovers that one of her ducklings looks a little different from the others. Instead of small and yellow, he's large and grey, and even his quack is different! His siblings and the other farm animals also think his differences make him ugly and he is bullied by the animals. Ugly Duckling decides to run away but, in saving another of the farm animals in danger, he helps to teach the others that what you look like doesn't matter. I really like the bright and bold illustrations in the book, which I would use with children aged four to eight years. As well as using the story to explore bullying, or being kind to one another, there are obvious links to working with traditional tales and it would work well with spring topics around eggs and farmyard animals. There are wonderful suggestions on the back pages of the book to help explore the complex theme of bullying with this age range. For example, could you use a thumbs up / thumbs down show of hands at particular points in the story, asking children, 'is that a kind thing to do?'. You could also use it to explore the idea of friendship: how was the Sparrow a good friend to Tufty? What kind of things do you do to be a good friend? If you're having a class focus on friendship, the children could nominate friends to receive a Tufty award for kind acts. The story also offers opportunities for role play, writing 'sorry' letters, and posters - 'Beware of the fox!'. A strong message in a picture book that I'll enjoy sharing in class. Picture book / Ages 4-6 years / Reviewed by Lynnette Voisey, teacher.

Fairytales Gone Wrong: You're Not Ugly Duckling: A Story About Bullying
Odd Dog Out
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007594153

Odd Dog Out is a story about identity, being different and fitting in or not. Odd Dog is a sausage dog who lives in a town where all the other sausage dogs dress in exactly the same way, whether they are swimming, playing a violin or swimming. But poor Odd Dog is different: she looks different and feels very left out because of this. So she packs her bags and leaves to town in search of a new life. She finds this in 'Doggywood' where all the dogs look just like her and she is very excited by this. In this new town she then meets a male dog who is different and enjoys being so. He tells her 'I love to stand out from the crowd. And so should you. Stand tall. Be proud.' This sentiment rings true and she makes her way back to her odd town where all the residents are very pleased to see her. She then encourages them to be different and to find themselves. This is a lovely book in many ways. The illustrations give the sausage dogs real expressions and are very amusing. It would make it a very good book to use as a basis for discussion with a KS1 class. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant.

Odd Dog Out
We Found a Hat
Jon Klassen

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406347517

Two turtles find a hat and it looks good on both of them and therein lies the problem, two turtles, one hat. They decide to forget all about it and leave it where they found it, but that isn't easy when you know how good you look in that hat. Can their friendship overcome the need for the hat. A delightful finale to Jon Klassen's 'hat' trilogy. So much is expressed in a brief text and seemingly simple illustrations. Who would have thought the shifting eyes of the turtles could say so much. Both funny and sad this is a wonderful end to a fine trilogy. Families will enjoy sharing this lovely picture book. Picture book / 56 pages / Ages 5+.

We Found a Hat
Midnight at the Zoo
Faye Hanson

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783703289

The story of Midnight at the Zoo begins as the young reader opens the book to be confronted with lovely end papers that show a map of a zoo. The map is beautifully illustrated and shows where each of the animals of the zoo reside. Max and Mia are going to the zoo with their class and they are very excited about this. We travel with them on their initial journey to reach the school bus and this is described through similes comparing their journey to the animals that they are hoping to see. So they 'Trundle like elephants', 'nibble like lemurs' and 'hide at the back like scaredy meerkats'. In the zoo the quirky, cartoon like illustrations show the class eagerly looking for the animals but with no success. The animals are all hiding and, although the children can't see them, we the readers can, which makes this book fun. At the end of the day the class leave disappointed all except Max and Mia who are accidently left behind. As the zoo closes, with the help of an animal guide, the pair get to see all the animals and enjoy themselves immensely. Finally they fall asleep with a small pride of lions and are found the next day. This is an amusing fantasy story which many KS1 pupils will enjoy reading. The language throughout is poetic and utilizes of both similes and alliteration effectively. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Fiona Collins, consultant.

Midnight at the Zoo
Oi Dog!
Jim Field

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444919592

The follow-up to the fantastic Oi Frog has been enjoyed just as much as the first book and reinforces all the fun messages from the first book, when Frog was trying to understand why dogs should sit on frogs. Bossy cat makes a return, too, with his rules: 'Cats sit on mats, frogs sit on logs, and dogs sit on FROGS!'. But this time, Frog is changing the rules and there follows and glorious flurry of animals sitting on things strange and wonderful - gnus on canoes, pigs on wigs, boars on oars etc. Children will love trying to remember the rhymes, or making up a few of their own - this is a great way to explore words that rhyme. And having caused pandemonium among the animals, Frog finds his own special way to end the argument of who sits on what! Lots of fun and an incredibly useful book for the classroom, together with Oi Frog! and also Quick Quack Quentin by the same team, Kes & Claire Gray and Jim Field. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alison Green.

Oi Dog!
The Building Boy
Ross Montgomery

Faber & Faber

ISBN 9780571314102

A small boy enjoys spending time with his grandma, reading books and looking at photographs together. Grandma had been an architect, building the tallest skyscrapers, beautiful palaces, museums and libraries. She promises that she will build a house for the boy, a house that would sit on the hill that lay on the horizon, over the city and beyond the sea, and that they will move there soon. But Grandma was getting old, and one day she was gone. However the boy has an idea and sets to work, making a giant, robotic, version of Grandma. And she takes the boy on a journey, to the house on the hill above the city beyond the sea, which she has built for him. And even though it is unfinished, he knows just what to do... A lyrical text, accompanied by pictures with a touch of the surreal which invite exploration, explores bereavement, hope and the resilience of the human spirit in a moving, multi-layered book. On another level, this is an entertaining tale of a boy building a robot and their travels which is perfect to share with young children. A book to provoke discussion and building projects in equal measure! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Jayne Gould, librarian.

The Building Boy
The Star Tree
Catherine Hyde

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847806727

A lyrical, evocative story about a girl's night time journey to a snowy land where the Star Tree grows.... It begins at midnight, when Mia climbs onto her beautiful rocking horse and wishes on the Midsummer Moon. An owl comes to the window and she climbs onto its back and is taken on a journey; 'Climb onto my back, Fly away with me, Over the hills and Down to the sea....' Mia journeys with a Little Red Hare, the Big White Bear and the Giant Stag up into the hills to discover the Star Tree, where she plucks 'one small star from the gleaming tree', and is taken home by the Great White Goose. As she sleeps, her night light glows... The journey is in itself powerfully imagined and will draw in children, especially with the dreamlike imagery, and there is lots to discuss and explore in her journey, and whether is was real or a dream. Perhaps children could map out her journey, and discuss the light that Mia brings home from the Star Tree; is it magical, what will she do with it? Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Louise May.

The Star Tree
Motor Miles
John Burningham

Jonathan Cape Ltd

ISBN 9780857551740

Miles is a dog. A difficult dog. A dog who doesn't like anything....apart from a trip in the car to the local cafe. His owner, Alice, decides she can no longer drive Miles around. Thankfully her neighbour, Mr Huddy, comes to the rescue by building Miles his very own car. With his human friend Norman beside him, Miles learns to drive and goes on many adventures. I would have liked to have read more about the adventures that Miles and Norman went on in secret before the book comes to a close with a lovely link to a potential sequel. When reading 'Motor Miles', you can't help but like the character of Miles and his relationship with Norman. It may strike a cord with children who have their own dogs and may even ignite their imagination of what adventures they would go on if their dog could drive. It would be quite easy to make some mathematical links to direction whilst reading the books, particularly when Miles is learning to drive his car. Overall, a beautifully illustrated, feel good story that I felt was only missing a little more content. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Motor Miles