NEW TITLES

As well as some strong picture books for children aged 5+, this month's selection of books for readers aged 5-7 years includes some great young fiction books to entice developing readers.

John Kelly and Steph Laberis

ISBN 9781848694361

Many children at one time or another have a problem fitting in. For whatever reason, whether it be making friends, not following the current trends etc, children have challenges with groupings and friendships at lots of different points. Can I Join Your Club? is a lovely story for tackling the issues surrounding accepting yourself for who you are and being happy in your own body. The story focus on Duck, who wants to join a club, but every time he tries he isn't lion, snake or elephant enough to get through the application process and each time, his application is denied. After being left feeling dejected he decides to open his own club. And he accepts everyone. As Duck accepts all sorts of members who are all very different, it is soon very apparent which is the best and most popular club to be in. And even the exclusive Lion, Snake and Elephant quickly decide that it will be much more fun to be part of a club everyone wants to join. I think a message of acceptance and diversity is portrayed really well here and this book would work on many levels to discuss all sorts of issues. I would particularly recommend this book as a PSHE resource looking at friendships and treating people fairly. How lonely people can get when they are left out. Being resilient and bouncing back from disappointment. This book would also be a good way of approaching current news topics such a accepting those from different countries and cultures. How our differences should be celebrated and accepted and that you shouldn't have to follow a certain way to be part of a society. I enjoyed this book and will be adding it to our library to be enjoyed as a great picture book and used as a super teaching resource. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Dr Seuss: What Pet Should I Get?
Dr. Seuss

ISBN 9780008183400

I am a big fan of Dr Seuss and his classic, zany books but have never read What Pet Should I Get? I thought it was fantastic and just as brilliant as all Dr Seuss books. This is the story of a boy and his sister, Kay choosing their first pet. They go to visit the pet shop and they start to look at the different animals. The more they look, the more confusing it becomes to choose and the more obscure the animals become! I read this to my class aged 7-9 and they loved it. By the end of it the whole class was shouting and voting for different animals and trying to convince their friends to pick their animal. They loved the cliff-hanger the book ended on and the conversation lasted all day about what pet should they get! A great start to writing - and involving an entire class! 31 pages/ Age 4+/ Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher.

Dr Seuss: What Pet Should I Get?
The Unexpected Visitor
Jessica Courtney-Tickle

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405283656

A moral tale and a gentle introduction to sustainability. A fisherman lives all alone yet catches and cooks many fish, he hopes someone will call to share the feast but no one ever comes and the food is wasted. One day a whale arrives. They have fun playing together in the sea but when the fisherman tries to catch some fish for tea, there's none left! However, with a promise never to take more than he needs in the future, the whale helps the fisherman build a new house near seas teeming with fish. The fisherman thinks of all the other fisher folk who have also lost their food source and invites them to share with him if they too promise not to take more than necessary. So all is well. There's fish and friends for all. This story would lead to conversations about sharing, not being greedy and also our responsibility to look after the world's resources. Soft, misty seascapes but look closely and there's plenty of detail and progression where you can discover more about the fisherman from the design of the houses, the washing on the line and his art work. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Sue Gilham, librarian.

The Unexpected Visitor
Fairytales Gone Wrong: Who's Bad and Who's Good, Little Red Riding Hood?: A Story about Stranger Danger
Steve Smallman

QED Publishing

ISBN 9781784937263

The latest in Steve Smallman's Fairytales Gone Wrong series glances at the story of Little Red Riding Hood to explore the subject of who is good, and who is bad. In fairytales, we're used to the 'bad guys' being just that - dark and dangerous looking; what you see is what you get. However, in this story, Smallman subverts that so that the cute little bunny turns out to be the one we need to watch out for (he tries to steal Granny's jewellry), while the big bad wolf - who is actually a good friend of Granny's - keeps a careful eye on our over-trusting heroine. This story is a perfect and fun way to introduce the subject of 'stranger danger' and to encourage children to be careful in their choice of friends. They can be encouraged to spot the clues within the illustrations and could go on to act out the story themselves to reinforce the message. The subject is handled in a light way, without losing the importance of the message. 24 pages / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Alice Greenham

Fairytales Gone Wrong: Who's Bad and Who's Good, Little Red Riding Hood?: A Story about Stranger Danger
The Lumberjack's Beard
Duncan Beedie

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783706884

Jim is a lumberjack who lives in a forest. Each day after exercising and breakfast he sets off to the forest to chop down trees. After each busy day, different animals come to his cabin and angrily express their situation... they are homeless because Jim has destroyed their homes. Jim takes on each of the animals and provides a home for them in his big beard. Until one night when he can't take the chirping, prickling and thwumping any longer and demands they leave. With nowhere for the animals to go, Jim shaves off his beard to make a den for the animals. The next morning, Jim wakes up to a bare, stubbly chin and also realises that where a forest once was, there is now bare ground. Saddened by the sight, he has an idea to dig hole after hole and plant tree after tree. This is a fun story for children to use to learn about forest habitats and the consequences of destroying woodlands. It could lead to work about plant growth, habitats, animals, survival and changing landscapes. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Maria Faithorn, teacher.

The Lumberjack's Beard
The Koala Who Could
Rachel Bright

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408331644

This is a lovely and lively, colourful picturebook where the energy and fun bursts of the page. Kevin the Koala is described as being,a nicer grey fellow you never would meet, as soft as a soft thing from ear-tufts to feet'. The other residents, who all live on the ground, try inviting him to come down from his favourite tree to join in their games but Kevin thinks it is 'too fast and too loud and too big and too strange' down there and so he remains clinging still to his tree as that is what he is good at. He is the 'king of the staying-still kings'. For months, he watches the other animals below, all the time thinking that if he did dare to go down he would miss his home too much and it was just too risky to try. That is until suddenly and shockingly, matters are taken out of his hands. Thanks to a pesky woodpecker his tree, with Kevin still clinging on to it, comes crashing to the ground with 'a cracking and pinging crash and a wallop'. Thankfully all the other animals are there to help him, and Kevin is surprised to find that instead of being upset or scared, he is 'springy and light and happy and young' as the worst thing he could imagine happening had happened and it wasn't so bad. From then on, Kevin is happy to join in with his friends, he has a new can-do attitude because 'life can be great when you try something new!'. A catchy rhythm and plenty of onomatopoeic words; a message of understanding to real-life Kevins and a gentle push to them to venture out of their comfort zones; an endearing hero in Kevin the Koala and the engaging surrounding characters (which include a hyena family, a wombat, kangaroos, a brilliant cameo of a digeridoo-playing echidna and a jerboa-like creature); and fantastically warm, bright, and lively illustrations which are so humorous, engaging, and eye-catching all make this such a wonderful, fun, joyful story to read and to share. Picture book / Ages 3-6 years / Reviewed by Natalie Plimmer.

The Koala Who Could
The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth
Ellie Hattie

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848694484

The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth is a brilliant story which mixes the fact finding interest of a non fiction book with a interesting story of a journey around a museum. The story tells how Oscar helps Timothy the mammoth to find his baby brother. As they search, they move around the museum, encountering all the animals, creatures and historical figures held within the museum. They eventually find success when they find Timothy's brother with his mum in the extinct animals exhibit. This book is highly engaging as it's interactive fact flaps will keep children hooked finding information around the book. Each page offers a different section of the museum and facts that link to the area, for example when they enter the underwater world there are lots of flaps under the bright illustrations which give lots of information about different sea creatures. This book would be a great inspiration to fact and non-chronological report writing. Creating children's own stories with fact files hidden within would be a great hook to writing and create lots of opportunities to write lots of different genres under one outcome. This will be a popular book off the shelf and I am sure will prompt lots of like texts. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

The Curious Case of the Missing Mammoth
Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest: Book 2
Julian Gough

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444934267

Rabbit and Bear, The Pest in the Nest is a funny story about friendship. The two animals have an adventure, discovering how much better things are when they are shared with a friend. Rabbit doesn't enjoy how noisy everything is; things keep hurting his ears, including the bear's snoring! A woodpecker also produces too much noise which forces Rabbit to do something to fix his problem. Bear tries to persuade him to climb the tree with the woodpecker but Rabbit can be quite stubborn. Eventually, using gentle encouragement, Bear manages to get Rabbit to the top of the tree where he begins to change his mood. The rest of the story witnesses the pair growing stronger together and beginning to appreciate the real value of their friendship. The book is filled with lovely, engaging pictures. A recommended read for children aged 5+. 99 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher.

Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest: Book 2
Trouble Next Door
Chris Higgins

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408868836

Eight year old Bella is not happy in her new home but then she meets Magda with her strange accent and beautiful golden plaits. Magda is full of fun ideas but they have a habit of turning into disasters with Bella getting the blame and being sent to her room to 'reflect upon her actions'. Poor Bella can't see how she is to blame for the clouds of soot on the new carpet, the broken tea-set or the torn wedding dress but her mother says she should 'share the responsibility'. Each chapter brings a new idea from Magda and more trouble for Bella. Hunting for the ghost in the attic is the final straw as Bella tumbles through the plasterboard ceiling onto her parents' bed. Despite the mishaps and Bella's misgivings, she is pleased to have Magda as her friend. Sketches by Emily MacKenzie depict the chaos Magda causes and add to the humour. A lovely story to read aloud or for children, probably girls, to read by themselves. The first book in a new series about Bella and Magda. Look out for 'Trouble at School' published in August. 132 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Sue Gilham, librarian.

Trouble Next Door
Midnight Mystery (Dotty Detective, Book 3)
Clara Vulliamy

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008132422

Dot, Beans and McClusky the dog form their very own super-secret detective agency called the Join the Dots Detectives. This is their third adventure after 'Supersecret Agent' and 'The Pawprint Puzzle'. The children prepare to embark on a three day school trip on the Adventure Camp Nature Trail. Their excitement builds as they begin to speculate with their class mates about what the trip might involve. Some of the children become nervous at the thought of staying away from home while others can't wait to get away with their friends! Before they go, Dot enters McClusky into the local dog show. She starts training him but has to leave mum and the twins (Alf and Maisie) at home to continue whilst she goes on her school trip. Dot and Beans enjoy the Adventure Camp activities including tobogganing, a high ropes course, roasting marshmallows around a campfire with stories and zip wiring. Their mission begins when they suspect that Laura is trying to win the Adventure Camp Prize by sabotaging everyone else's chances. They manage to get to the bottom of it but they find out something quite unexpected! A mysterious, puzzling story for children aged 7+. 136 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Midnight Mystery (Dotty Detective, Book 3)
King Flashypants and the Creature From Crong: Book 2
Andy Riley

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444929607

Boy king Edwin, otherwise known as King Flashpants, makes a welcome return for his second adventure and having thoroughly enjoyed the first one, I found the second one just as appealing. Newly confident readers and children aged 6+ will love these stories that follow a young king they can relate to - one who loves sweets, hates vegetables, wears trainers and really tries to do the right thing, even if it doesn't always go to plan... In this story, King Edwin has a problem on his kingdom's borders - a terrible monster, called Crong. Edwin decides that, as king, it is his duty to defeat the monster but the evil Emperor Nurbison is hatching other plans... Edwin eventually wins through - and also realises that sometimes vegetables can be kind of okay... A funny, smart story with bags of child appeal - and great comic illustrations by the author. 224 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Alison Page.

King Flashypants and the Creature From Crong: Book 2
Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem
Joe Berger

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471146244

Sam Lyttle is a compulsive liar, who obviously cannot help it! The story shows the tales of Sam who keeps lying at home and school, which has led him into big trouble with the school bully, Feeny. Sam tries to get his way out of situations through lying, only making them worse. Not only has he got to try and escape the wrath of Feeny but he also has to deal with his lying at home - which has got him into big trouble. His Grandfather/magician 'The Great Wonderoso' shows him the greatest magic trick of all; the truth. I thought this book was hysterical and had lots of hidden jokes that some children might not get straight away, but are great for parents/teachers. The illustrations were fab and worked well with the style of writing. I was slightly dubious about this book as there are so many alike at the moment, however, I was laughing out loud reading this and I much preferred it to those similar. I think in the classroom this could be a great way to show comic strip style writing as a different genre. 240 pages/ Ages 7-10 / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman teacher.

Lyttle Lies: The Pudding Problem
A Rocketful of Space Poems
John Foster

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847804860

This energetic collection of space poems has been compiled by experienced poetry anthologist John Foster who has teamed up with the talented illustrator Korky Paul (probably best known for his distinctive Winnie and Wilbur illustrations). Their choice of children's art work for the end pages is inspired. What great fun they must have had assembling and illustrating these poems and what fun their young readers will have with the book! There are narratives: what happens when a Martian meets an earthling (well, actually it's a petrol pump) in 'Dumb Earthling' (p.35)? And what do we think will happen to Percival Pettigrew who en route for Pluto: 'steered left at Saturn / roamed right at Uranus / but missed the last signpost, / got lost in the stars' ('A Space Odyssey', p.13)? There are games to be played. How about a game of 'Squibble-Ball' whose pitch 'must be at least four hundred swardblatz long / And at least twelve thousand / windycrunchwallops wide'? For sheer inter-galactic nonsense and word play (as well as appealing links with Quidditch), look no further. There is food to be had at Peter Pluto's Fast Food Superstore (p.18). Enjoy such delights 'Sixty-legged space squid / From the Galack Sea' washed down with 'Lazorade and Comet Cola'. The final double-page spread consists of mini-poems: a joke, a limerick and a riddle (which takes the form of a mesostic with the letters from 'pluto' embedded in each line). Word play abounds. David Harmer's 'The Worst Monster in the Universe' (p.24) is a lovely example with the reader being warned 'beware the giant ants of Nurdleskip' and 'The dreaded Drob of Droobie'. I have the smallest of reservations that maybe, sometimes, the colourful illustrations that sprawl all over the pages could overwhelm the text. But then, if they invite a reluctant reader in to pore over the book, maybe that's no bad thing. This will become a favourite in the book corner, a worthy companion to the many excellent picture books about space. In fact, maybe it could be recommended reading for Bob, man on the moon (Simon Bartram)!' 42 pages / Ages 6-9 years / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, consultant.

A Rocketful of Space Poems
Attack of the Alien Dung!
Gareth P. Jones

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847157799

I have to confess that, despite loving some of Gareth P. Jones's books (the Steam Punk Pirates for younger readers and Constable and Toop for older readers), I was somewhat put off by the cover of this book although I can see it appealing to boys of a certain age! The book introduces the key characters quickly and sets the scene for the series that this book is clearly meant to start. The story features a dog called Biskit, a detective dog who fits the profile of an brooding 80s cop, - I work alone - who is forced to work with a new cat partner to bring an alien threat to justice. The reference to dung in the title is slightly misleading as the alien that lands actually quickly takes the form of a devouring robot type creature, a fact that would probably attract quite a few readers. As I was reading I could see that those younger readers who have enjoyed the Oxford Project X alien adventure stories would connect with the adventure of this story. It is fast paced, has mild peril and some funny characters, my favourite being the pink mouse who is the equivalent of Q in James Bond. The story also gently probes the issues of discrimination and prejudice through the plight of the secretly homeless cat, Mitzy. The story, like many children's stories, ended with a success that hinged on an unlikely pairing working together as a team. In that sense it is nothing new but the story telling was enjoyable and the illustrations were good. It would be a good follow on from the 'Cows in Space' or 'Spy Dog' type books. 128 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Alison Urquhart, school librarian.

Attack of the Alien Dung!