NEW TITLES

Many of the characters in this month's selection of picture books head off on amazing adventures, from a pirate hunt for treasure to trying to find a new home, and children will love these stories of exploration - and friendship.

Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea
Morag Hood

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781509813995

Lee is a Pea and all of his friends are pea. Except Colin - Colin is not a pea. Here begins a story of Lee and his friend Colin who, despite being very different, are the best of friends. In fact, not only is Colin a friend to Lee the pea, but all of the other peas come to love him too. This is essentially a story of friendship, diversity and celebrating differences. Throughout the book, the reader learns about the things that make Colin different from the peas: the things that peas can do which Colin can not and the ways that Colin looks different from the peas. But then the story takes a turn and the reader sees the many special things that Colin can do; these help the peas and make things more fun for them. Colin is a great friend and, by the end of the story, he has made friends with all of the peas, not just Lee. The story will open up a wealth of conversation about friendships, valuing differences and living in a diverse world. The message within is incredibly important, yet has been made accessible to all. Words are selected carefully to enhance the message. With one sentence on each page, information is gradually added to share the differences between Colin and Lee. In addition, the title and names of the characters can start young children exploring rhyme and alliteration; Colin the Carrot and Lee the Pea. The illustrations that accompany this story are vibrant. Simple shapes with clean lines and bold, block colours, bounce off the page. The illustration, though basic, are filled with humour and through simple dot eyes and line mouths, the vegetables are given an array of expressions. 'Colin isn't very good at playing hide-and-seek,' shows a rather bemused looking Colin lying in a sea of Pea - he does stand out rather! This wonderfully simple book, in very limited words, shares such a positive message about embracing differences and building friendships. This story is a must for bookshelves in classrooms and homes. You will never look at vegetables the same way again! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Torie Walton, teacher.

Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea
The Odd Egg
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781509841226

All of the birds had laid eggs, all except Duck! Duck is overjoyed to find an egg - it was rather large, rather spotty and rather odd but Duck thought it was the most beautiful egg in the whole wide world (even if the other birds did not). One by one, the other eggs begin to hatch. They crack and creak until, one by one, a chick pops out with a 'twee', a 'cheep', a 'twit-twoo', a 'pretty boy',and a 'honk'. That leaves one rather odd egg, still left to hatch. Duck waits and waits, until finally - a creak and a crack; Duck's egg hatches! And, with a flurry of the other birds' feathers, out pops a rather large, rather odd surprise. This book is absolutely delightful. The character of Duck with his determination and patience is completely charming. The egg hatching section - reminiscent of The Very, Hungry Caterpillar - with its tiered pages, is a real joy. Each page shows the hatching of a different egg, with the baby bird (a miniature version of its mother) fluttering, flying or hopping out of the shell. Children will love to join in with the cracking sounds and the birds' calls. Witty and lively watercolour illustration throughout the story are filled with wonderful details: Duck, patiently waiting, knits a giant pair of booties and a very long scarf and one of the birds sleeps, clutching 'A Egg Spotter Guide'. These pictures can by poured over every time the story is re-read (which is sure to be many). A cracking little story for anyone who wants to have a little chuckle! The Odd Egg has recently been re-issued by publisher Two Hoots. Picture book / Ages 2-4 years / Reviewed by Torie Walton, teacher.

The Odd Egg
Penguin
Polly Dunbar

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406373318

When Ben gets Penguin as a gift, he is delighted. However, no matter what Ben does, he cannot get a reaction from his new companion. In the end, he learns that when Penguin does speak, it's worth the wait! I can't believe this story is ten years old! With its timeless charm, it is as fresh today as it was when it first came out. Deceptively simple on their unclutted white backgrounds, Polly Dunbar's illustrations are delightful. The contrast between Ben's expressions as he becomes more and more frustrated and Penguin's blank stare is perfect. Penguin shows himself to be a true friend- not one who is showy or makes a lot of noise, but one who is there in times of need and one who takes things in and reflects on them. In the end, Ben comes to see his new friend's worth and to appreciate him for what he is! A firm favourite in classrooms, 'Penguin' is a fantastic book to use in school, offering many possibilities for working creatively in English and in other subjects. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Penguin
Monkey and Me
Emily Gravett

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9780230015838

'Monkey and Me' is a beautifully illustrated story for young children, filled with imagination and fun. The gentle watercolour illustrations are utterly charming, with the limited use of colour adding a 'pop' to each page. The story shows the imaginative play of a young girl and her toy monkey, acting out a host of different animals. Children will be guessing what the animals are by looking at the the play between the girl and the monkey, before the animal is revealed on the next page. The book encourages children to use clues, in this case picture clues, to predict what might happen next. This is an essential skill in reading. The clear rhythm and repetition will have children following along and reciting the story with ease. They will then be shouting out the different animals that have been acted out, joining in with the actions. This book is perfect for encouraging role-play by getting children to join in and act out the animals. They could create their own 'Monkey and Me' stories by adding in their own actions for chosen animals whilst reciting the repeated verses of the story. Children could also create their own 'Monkey and Me' guessing games by acting out animals for others to guess. This is such a fun book - a wonderful read aloud to actively engage young children and encourage imaginative play. This picture book has recently been reissued by publisher Two Hoots. Ages 2-4 years / Reviewed by Torie Walton, teacher.

Monkey and Me
No Place Like Home
Jonathan Emmett

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406373110

Mole thinks his burrow is too small, too dark and too dull so with the help of his friends, he sets off to find himself a new home which is big, bright and beautiful. But, wherever they suggest just isn't quite what he is looking for... From Mole's nose peeking from his burrow as the sun is rising to the warm glow of light coming from it as rain falls in the evening, No Place Like Home is a beautifully illustrated, gentle tale about appreciating what you have. Mole's friends try to help him in his quest, but in the end are happy to agree that his original home is snug, safe and dry - everything he was looking for. No Place Like Home also shows the importance of friendship and trying to help others. The pictures of Hedgehog clinging to branches as he makes his way up the tree to see the new home Squirrel is suggesting shows the lengths he is prepared to go to to support his friend. The fact that each of the animals suggests somewhere more suited to themselves reminds us how diverse we all are in our needs and tastes. The illustrations are warm and humorous, making this an appealing story which can be shared again and again. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

No Place Like Home
The Perfect Guest
Paula Metcalf

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406376173

Walter loves his home neat and tidy; in his beautiful home, everything is in its right place. When his squirrel-friend, Pansy, comes to visit, Walter's world is turned up-side-down as Pansy is very accident prone indeed! The Perfect Guest is a lovely story showing how opposites can make very good friends. Walter is a bit obsessed with keeping his house and garden just so, whereas Pansy is impulsive and untidy. This leads to a number of disasters for poor Walter, yet Pansy is so willing to help and so keen to do the right thing that he can't be cross with her. The story shows perfectly how real friendship needs give and take and the importance of being flexible with others. The illustrations are delightful - full of detail and humour. I love Walter's frilly little pinny that he wears whilst doing his housework, the trousers-shaped hole in the curtains and the fabulous range of expressions on Walter's face as he tries to cope with Pansy's mishaps! A lovely story. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

The Perfect Guest
Triangle
Jon Klassen

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406376678

The story is about a character called triangle who lives in a triangle-shaped house. One day, he decides to play a trick on his friend, Square. He scares his friend by pretending to be a snake outside his house. The trick works and square doesn't like it. He chases Triangle as he runs home but struggles to fit through the door because of his shape. Triangle asks him to get out of the way as Square continues to block the light into his house. Square refuses and decides to it is his turn to play a trick on Triangle! It is a simple story about two friends. It may be useful for KS1 children who are learning about different shapes, as well as providing a good opportunity for them to talk about the feelings that can arise in friendships. Simple but effective pictures accompany the story. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, Teacher.

Triangle
Aliens Love Underpants!
Claire Freedman

Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

ISBN 9781471161490

The underpants-loving aliens are back! And they are as cute as ever... This is a special tenth anniversary edition of the original Aliens Love Underpants book, which has gone on to spawn an entire series of underpants-loving creatures. The clever rhyming verse and brilliant illustrations make these books great to read aloud, but EYFS's around the world have also used the story to create their own underpants-themed displays, alien stories and silly rhymes. We love these books - and can't wait to discover the next Underpants-inspired theme! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Emma Roberts.

Aliens Love Underpants!
15 Things Not To Do With a Granny
Margaret McAllister

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847809131

Now available in paperback, 15 things NOT to do with a Granny is the follow-up to the equally special and funny 15 things NOT to do with a Baby, and a quiet celebration of diverse families. It tells us that 'A granny is a wonderful person to have in your life' - if you're really lucky, you might have two! So here are the rules for keeping grannies happy.... She won't like squashed jellybeans on toast for breakfast, spaghetti in her handback, or a crocodile for her birthday... Don't swap her for a giraffe - or for someone else's granny! But there are lots of 'Do's', too, and just like the earlier pages, these give a wonderful reminder of all the wonderful things that grannies can be. A great picture book to start discussions about families and the older people in our lives, and how we can help make them feel special. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Emily Smith.

15 Things Not To Do With a Granny
Counting with Tiny Cat
Viviane Schwarz

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406371024

I love the end papers in this picture book that introduce us to the mischievous Tiny Cat who is oozing charm and character. In the story itself, Tiny Cat gives us a glimpse into numbers and counting, and some concepts around 'number' - it's a really clever introduction to 'how many things' there are. Tiny Cat starts with nothing, then on the next page, has one ball of red wool. We count smoothly up to four, before things start to get muddled. After four, Tiny Cat has 'More', then 'Even more' and then 'About a dozen'. Tiny Cat has stopped counting - the perfect opportunity for young children to do the counting themselves. But the story also introduces the concepts of 'many' / 'too many', and finally, 'enough'. There is bags of humour and Tiny Cat is a really appealing character and young readers will immediately grasp his humour - and hopefully be up for helping his counting. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Susan Hall.

Counting with Tiny Cat
The Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin
Abie Longstaff

Picture Corgi

ISBN 9780552575195

Step into the world of Kittie Lacey, 'the best hairdresser in all the land' - the land of fairytales, that is, where the ever-resourceful Kittie Lacey solves mysteries, helps fairytale characters overcome challenges and, finally, sorts out their hair! A truly modern heroine! The Fairytale Hairdresser books, if you've not yet come across them, have many committed young fans. The glittery covers, gorgeously detailed illustrations (with lots of humour) and the lure of a fairytale make these picture books a favourite for storytime, with others in the series drawing on fairytales characters such as Rapunzel, Beauty and the Beast and the Princess and the Pea, to name a few. In this story, The Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin, Kittie is whisked off on holiday via Aladdin's flying carpet. All goes well until Aladdin disappears, having been tricked by Ibeneeza to hand over a magic jewel. Whoever looks into the jewel must obey Ibeneeza and in this way, he plans to force Jamelia to marry him. Kittie soon finds a way to overturn Ibeneeza's plans and the the requisit lamp, genie and wedding form part of the story. As well as the well-paced storyline and illustrations, the draw for these books are their strong echoes to the original stories (but with very different storylines), and the happy endings. Children will need to know the original fairytale to get the most out of these but the series would work well as part of topics on fairytale retellings and could be used to encourage upper KS1 children to tell their own fairytale, with a twist. Picture book / Ages 3-6 years / Reviewed by Linda Winter.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Aladdin
Sunk!
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008207397

Sunk! is a real treat - especially for fans of Blown Away, the picture book that preceded it. As in the first book, Penguin Blue is on his travels, this time on the look out for a pirate adventure! You'll recognise some of his old friends from Blown Away - the polar bear Clive, whose rubber dingy is requisitioned, and Wilbur Seal, the cabin boy, and then they are off! 'In Search of gold ... they ride the breeze.. and sail across... the seven seas'. There are maps, pirate talk and peril to be had in this adventure. When their dingy sinks, Penguin Blue hatches a clever plan to get them - and the stranded Captain Plank - safely home again. The last page is a gorgeous spread of a ship that has been turned into one of the best adventure play areas you'll ever see. There are many parallels to the first book, Blown Away, that children might pick up on, and you can also find a treasure trove of all things piratical; observant readers will follow the parrot for a parallel adventure story. The clever rhyming verse makes this a treat to read aloud, and the pictures are simply gorgeous. There are also opportunities to map out Penguin Blue's travels, draw your own pirate map, check out underwater sea life and explore the Antarctic for related topics. Lots of fun. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Emma Roberts.

Sunk!
The Everywhere Bear
Julia Donaldson

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781447280736

I can see lots of children around the country renaming their class bear 'Everywhere Bear' after reading this wonderful story from Julia Donaldson, delivered in her inimitable rhyming text and with lively illustrations from Rebecca Cobb. Everywhere Bear sits on a shelf in Class 1 and each of the children has the chance to take him home for the weekend. 'With Lee Wu he's a pirate, with Kevin a king, And Callum and Clare push him high on the swing...'. Everywhere Bear has a wonderful time each weekend - until he falls out of a child's backpack, is flushed down a storm drain and ends up floating out to sea, picked up by a seagull, dumped in a skip etc - but then ends up safely in the library (spot the 'Save Our Library' posters!). Donaldson gives a useful recap of bear's journey at the end of the picture book, and children can join in with this in thinking back over the story - perhaps actually 'mapping out' his journey as they go. The story could even be used around topics exploring what adults do, as lots of different jobs are mentioned. I loved the spread of photograph-type images, showing what each of the children does with Everywhere Bear at home, which will encourage young children to think of things to do with their own class bear or toy. You might also want to create a class rhyme, as Donaldson does, of what the class bear or toy does at home with the children. In all, another gem from Julia Donaldson that has lots of use for the classroom as well as being a thoroughly enjoyable story to read aloud. Picture book / Ages 4-7 years / Reviewed by Louise Mills.

The Everywhere Bear
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.

Tidy
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447273998

Deep in the forest, Pete, a badger with a fondness for keeping things, clean, tidy and just so, is on a mission - to rid the forest of mess. It all begins quiet innocently 'tidying' the flowers by snipping off petals that do no match; 'tidying' fox by untangling the knots in his fur, one by one; and 'tidying' the birds by arranging them by size before giving them a good scrub in the bath. Pete picked up stray sticks and polished dull rocks. He rubbed scrubbed and scoured. But with the onset of autumn, and the falling leaves making a mess everywhere, Pete had to take drastic action! With every leaf in the forest bundled into bin bags (which piled up into a small mountain), Pete was still unhappy: the trees were bare and scrappy. They had to go! However, soon enough, a flood brings mud, which Pete just had to tidy up too. No leaves, no trees, no mud, no mess - pretty soon, with the forest had been tidied away beneath a smooth layer of concrete. Everything was perfect neat and practically perfect. There was just one small problem: Pete had completely cleaned the forest away, there was nothing left, including his front door! Pete soon realises the error of his ways and sets about rectifying his mistakes. The other animals lend a paw, a claw and a beak. They dig and they plant until everything is back, just as it had always been (but less ordered and not quite as clean). Written in rhyme, which bounces from page to page, this story carries a powerful message about meddling in the natural world. For older children, this playful tale could be a launch pad for looking at the real consequences of deforestation across the world and the work of organisations such as the Forestry Commission. The illustrations, bright and lively, are filled with details. The animals' expressions are delightful and add another layer to the story. Much discussion could be gleaned from the illustration of the picnicing animals on the final page: is everything as peaceful as it seems? What would happen in the next minute, hour, day after the snapshot in the illustration? At the end of the story, we see that the best way to keep the forests tidy is to clean up the rubbish and things that should not be there. Children could explore the effects of littering. This could be within their town or be applied to a forests, rivers, oceans or even Space! This book can be used in so many ways to inspire discussion and exploration, but whatever you do - please keep it tidy! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Torie Walton, school librarian.

Tidy
Town Mouse, Country Mouse
Richard Jones

Caterpillar Books Ltd

ISBN 9781848575462

A simply gorgeous peep-through picture book that introduces us to Aesop's fable in a simple rhyming text. The detail in the images is a delight and simply demands exploration. We see what each mouse has packed - what would children pack for their own trips away? - and the contrasts between the town and country couldn't be greater. What do the children love (or dislike) as town or country people? The cut-throughs on each page are used beautifully to help develop the contrast of town and country, and the unfamiliar dangers that the little mice face (poisoned berries, cheese in a mouse trap); the small images that line every page provide further snapshots of the mouse's experiences in these new worlds. Perhaps children could take their own photographs of their environment, to show the dangers it can pose and create their own book exploring their local environment? The final spreads, where each town and country mouse - safely home - sees their own familiar (but the same) moon is especially effective. A really lovely picture book. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Emily Smith.

Town Mouse, Country Mouse
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, Kevin 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 Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling
Timothy Basil Ering

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406374278

This story is about a little duckling who becomes lost at sea. He is on his way home to the farm with some other ducks when an unexpected storm whips the sea into a raging fury. As the storm settles, the sky is filled with fog and the little duckling feels all alone. Eventually, he comes across a musical object which makes a beautiful sound. He soon falls in love with it. Alfred, the duckling, and his new favourite object float together until they arrive at an unknown place. As he moves through the fog, a drooling beast appears which makes Alfred tremble with fear. As he begins to make a beautiful sound with his object, the beast stops drooling and begins to dance! The beast and Alfred soon become best buddies and realise that being lost together is much better than being lost and lonely. The story ends with Alfred and the beast being re-united with an old lady which is where they were meant to be before they became lost in the fog! This is a clever story about friendship and how music can bring people together. It is filled with colourful, attractive artwork which adds to the significance of the story. I would recommend it to children in EYFS and KS1. 40 pages / Ages 5+ years / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, Teacher.

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling