NEW TITLES

This month's selection of picture books, reviewed by teachers and librarians, has some great 'calls to action' - from dancing and shaking to remembering our manners and learning to count.

Thank You, Mr Panda
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444927856

Following on from Please, Mr Panda and I'll Wait, Mr Panda, comes Thank You, Mr Panda from Steve Antony. Like its predecessors, this is a brilliant story for reminding children about manners. Its quirky text and fabulous illustrations will help children remember its message, to thank our friends when they do something nice for us (even if they don't always get it quite right...), and they will be able to discuss each of the scenarios in the story, and what the characters should have said to be polite. Mr Panda has a pile of presents that he proceeds to give to each of his friends, none of whom remember to say 'thank you'. Instead, they tell him what is wrong with it. 'It's the thought that counts' chirps the little lemur - something he'll need to remember when he gets his own present in the end... The end papers on the back pages, showing all the friends lined up with their presents, is a treat! I can see this being used as the start for short focus sessions on manners, with children play acting the parts or making up their own scenarios.

Thank You, Mr Panda
Lucy Ladybird
Sharon King-Chai

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783703920

Lucy is a Ladybird with no spots! This story follows Lucy as she meets many creatures who have spots and donate one to Lucy until eventually she has her own array of multicoloured spots! A great story for introducing the subject of 'difference' to younger children, Lucy eventually realises that even though she has tried to look the same as the other ladybirds, she is still different....and actually, that's a wonderful thing! The other ladybirds admire Lucy's multicoloured spots and the last page reveals a beautiful, fold out illustration of a lot of multicoloured ladybirds. This story is simple and easy to follow as it has quite a repetitive structure. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Lucy Ladybird
Everybunny Dance
Ellie Sandall

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444919868

Every Bunny Dance is a joyful call to action! With these bunnies shaking a tail, wiggling and whirling, youngsters will have to join in the fun. From music and dancing to playing in a band and singing, these bunnies know how to enjoy themselves. BUT with a fox on the prowl, the bunnies must learn to be silent and still... until Fox begins to dance, to somersault, to play music - and the fun can start again! This is a brilliantly simple story that can teach children so much about joining in, following instruction - and learning to be quiet, as well as noisy. I think there are lots of little bunnies out there who will love this! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Alice Green.

Everybunny Dance
Hiccups!
Holly Sterling

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847806758

This is a gorgeous picture book that celebrates something that every child at some point will struggle with - namely, hiccups, and how to get rid of them. I'd want to have this book to hand the next time a child at circle time develops hiccups and I'd have all the children making an attempt at the various things the characters try to stop the hiccups - dancy-dancying, jumpity-jumping and hoppity-hopping. The fact that it's the dog that has the hiccups gives the story a nice twist, and I enjoyed the friendship between the girl and her dog. The story brings lots of fun to an everyday occurence. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Emma Paul.

Hiccups!
There's a Snake in My School!
David Walliams

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008172701

David Walliams does it again! What a fantastic story. My 3 year old was enraptured right from the very start. The story tells of a Primary school class and it is 'bring your pet to school day'. Miranda 'likes to be different' and of course brings in her pet anaconda. The other students are in awe of her snake and the snake is one very clever pet. But, the head teacher soon locks up all the pets in a cupboard and upsets the students. The ending is very clever and soon the pets are all released just as the head teacher mysteriously disappears.... Walliams is a fantastic author who puts so much thought into the learning element of the story as well as keeping it light and enjoyable. The key adjectives are in bold to highlight the important language feature and also for the reader to put emphasis on the word. Reading this story aloud, my son giggled and squirmed throughout. It was such an easily delightful story to read and I loved every minute. The illustrations are beautiful and fit perfectly with the tone of the story. A new aged Dahl, Walliams writes with ease and his stories engage both the reader and the child. His stories stand out, with creative flair and a cheeky element to his characters. He builds the right balance of hero and villain with plenty of discussion points throughout the story. This story is a definitely a family story to be read at any time of the day. Children aged 3+ will fall immediately in love with Miranda and her clever anaconda. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish.

There's a Snake in My School!
I Don't Know What to Call My Cat
Simon Philip

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471124136

This picture book takes a dilema children often face - the best name for a new pet - and takes it into very different directions. The pet in question is a very clever kitty who arrives on a young girl's doorstep one day, looking hungry, and she takes it in, delighted to have a new pet. There's just one question - what to call it. The cat happily tries out 'Princess High and Mighty' - only she turns out to be a 'he' - as well as Rambo, Butch and Mr Maestro but then disappears in a huff when the little girl gets it wrong. Luckily, she makes a new friend, Steve (a gorilla) - but the clever little cat has other ideas... This is a lovely story to read aloud with plenty of clever twists and humour, and starring a cat with bags of attitude (we know who is really in charge in this household!). Children can be encouraged to share their own stories about their pets and names they have chosen for them, and also to discuss what makes their pet special. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Jane Allen.

I Don't Know What to Call My Cat
Last Stop on Market Street
Matt de la Pena

Puffin

ISBN 9780141374185

When CJ is collected by his Nana, he feels disappointed and dissatisfied as they wait for the bus in the rain and his friend drives away in dad's car. He wonders why his life seems dull and unexciting compared to his friends but as Nana points out all the wonderful things and unique things they see and exciting mix of people they meet along the way, CJ begins to see the beauty of the world about him. This is a lovely picture book with a vibrant, descriptive text and colourful illustrations depicting a wide range of people and places. A winner of the Newberry Award, this story focuses on the delight to be found in everyday things and sharing that pleasure with other people. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

Last Stop on Market Street
Thank Goodness for Bob
Matthew Morgan

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405282970

Max is a worrier, all the time, about everything from people maybe not liking him to being mauled by a monster. His family and friends know he worries but can't seem to help him, so they worry for him. On the other hand Max's dog, Bob, has no worries and he is a very good listener. Max finds that when he shares his worries with Bob they mostly become small and insignifricant or simply vanish altogether. A sensitive and amusing picture book that illustrates the importance of talking about and sharing worries. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

Thank Goodness for Bob
This Bear, That Bear
Sian Wheatcroft

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783706280

This is a charming rhyming book that lists lots of different bears in a 'bear parade'. The pictures are wonderfully detailed and engaging and the text is easy to follow. I read this book to my class of 4/5 year olds; they thoroughly enjoyed the book as they loved looking at the different bears, commenting on ones that looked similar to their own bears, or ones that were doing humorous things. The rhyming text makes it easy for younger children to follow, and my class enjoyed the singsong nature of the book. When I asked them what they liked about the story, they mostly named different bears from the pictures - I agree with them, some of these are a real treat for the eyes! This is an easy-going book that would be great as a pre-bedtime read with younger children.

This Bear, That Bear
I Am Bear
Ben Bailey Smith

Walker Entertainment

ISBN 9781406373059

Here is a bold and lively picture book with a very funny text by a former rap artist. Bear is bare with a splendid suit of purple hair. He likes to play and tease his friends and fool them all with tricks and pranks. This is a lovely book to read aloud and share with young children, the illustrations are big and bright and the text is inventive and creative. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

I Am Bear
Dogs in Cars
Felix Massie

Flying Eye Books

ISBN 9781909263871

Look out for some fabulous canine capers in Dogs in Cars - which is precisely what this book is all about. From 13 Maltese in a convertible to 19 shih-tzus in a Smart, this story covers every dog imaginable and car-spotters will have a field day, too, spotting the different makes on the pages. There aren't many counting books that go up to 100 (or at least to 25, then leaping to 50 and 100), so these stylish pages are also very useful for children learning the 'teen' numbers upwards. Children will love the humour in each of the spreads - and the calamitous conclusion! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

Dogs in Cars
Three Little Monkeys: Book & CD
Quentin Blake

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008164478

A stylish lady, Hilda Snibbs, shares her domestic routines with the reader as she learns to cope with three very challenging house guests. With a nod to Dr Seuss's Thing 1, 2 and 3, the monkeys do eventually appear to behave! Hilda, a stylish Parisian single lady, lives in a beautiful apartment. Emma Chichester Clark has designed Hilda an amazing wardrobe with extravagant hats and colourful dresses. Hilda Snibbs dearly loves her 'three little monkeys' as shown on her face in the illustration where she delicately feeds the monkeys whilst sitting at the dining room table. The monkeys have beautifully large and appealing eyes but are as naughty as can be! The illustrations perfectly show the glee and delight the monkeys have whilst playing with Hilda's possessions; her knitting, her kitchen cupboards and food, in fact in playing with everything they shouldn't in the apartment. Hilda's daily routine, which involves leaving the three little monkeys alone for a short time, causes the hilarity and chaos of three energetic explorers! The repetition of Hilda's increasingly desperate pleas for good behaviour following by the monkeys delightful big-eyed silence is both funny and absorbing. The tale twists when Hilda returns one day to a tidy, calm apartment; the monkeys are nowhere to be found and Hilda's emotional turmoil is reflected in the dull, grey illustrations. Colour returns to the pages when she finds three good little monkeys hiding in the neat and tidy cupboard. Parents will recognise Hilda's dilemma: the desire for a tidy, calm, organised house and her love for the little monkeys. The book ends with Hilda thinking she has it all until she slides into bed - which is full of cutlery and tins of sardines. The three little monkeys have the last word! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Anita Milton.

Three Little Monkeys: Book & CD
How to Find Gold
Viviane Schwarz

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406371642

Anna and Crocodile set out to find gold. Crocodile warns Anna it will be difficult and dangerous but Anna hears nothing that will stop her from having an adventure. A lovely, imaginative picture book for slightly older children, with lots of action and plenty of humour in both text and illustrations. Anna and Crocodile are warm and likeable chartacters who enjoy each others company and ther is as much fun in plotting the adventure as in the adventure itself. I look forward to more adventures for Anna and Crocodile. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Dorne Fraser, librarian.

How to Find Gold