NEW TITLES

This month's selection of picture books covers a wide range of ages - from 0-8 years - with some gorgeous books to use at nursery, as well as in the classroom with much older children.

Let's Go to Nursery!
Lauren Tobia

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406361889

What a gorgeously busy introduction to nursery - part of a new First Experiences series from Walker Books that will also include 'Let's Go to the Farm' and 'You Can Do It, Too'. What I liked about Let's Go to Nursery is that, unlike many books about starting nursery, it doesn't make the children's experiences look neat and orderly. This is a messy, playful, rumbustious look at life in nursery - which is exactly as should be. From the moment Billy and Bee arrive at nursery, there are songs to sing (noisily), games to play, food to be eaten (and spilt), and toys to be argued over... As well as nursery life, it introduces children to resolving problems and sharing, too. There are lots of details to explore on each page and plenty of moments in the story to discuss. It is well worth having on your nursery shelf! Board book / Ages 2-4 years / Reviewed by Emma Castle.

Let's Go to Nursery!
Little Faces: Does Your Dad Roar?
Carles Ballesteros

words & pictures

ISBN 9781784937744

'Does Your Dad Roar?' Is a wonderful short book to read to babies and young children. As the pages turn, the pictures on the book change. For example, the lion suddenly begins to roar as the page is turned. The text is short and simple as well as fairly repetitive so to allow young children to stay engaged and memorise it. It is also a great introduction to animal names and sounds. I really enjoyed reading this short story and have shared it many times since. Board book / Reviewed by Kyle Matraverse, teacher.

Little Faces: Does Your Dad Roar?
1 2 3 in a Tree
Tasha Percy

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783706136

'1 2 3 in a tree' is a lovely board book which I have enjoyed reading to my young son. Being a board book, I have not had to worry about pages getting ripped as he has explored turning pages and looking at illustrations in more detail. The book is a good way to introduce counting to ten with young children as well as introducing a range of animals, some of which are unlikely to be the first that pop into parents' minds (red pandas and peacocks, for example). The text is also easy to follow and flows well with the use of alliteration. A very short story which can easily be read when there is only a few minutes to spare. Board book / Ages 2+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

1 2 3 in a Tree
A Desert Friend
Essi Kimpimaki

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783704125

The tagline for this book is 'A rhyming, pop-up adventure!' Which caught my attention straight away. This book allows you to discover a host of desert animals as the little fennec fox wonders through the landscape looking for a friend to play with. Written in the first person, it allows you to feel part of the story and the constant use of questions draws you in further. The illustrations are wonderful and the pop up pages will entertain and surprise all readers. New animals are introduced and as the book begins to end, it seems like our little fox friend will be alone. This sets up for a lovely ending with a final pop up page. The rhyming in this book is simple and easy to follow, with children able to attempt to guess what is coming next. 16 pages / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

A Desert Friend
Sue Hendra, Paul Linnet

ISBN 9781471121036

Ah, what fun we've had sharing these books in class. This is the fourth Supertato adventure and in this picture book, Supertato is trying to get the supermarket veggies fit - cue loads of visual jokes about running on the conveyor belt and 'the lifting of heavy things' (cans). I won't spoil all the jokes by sharing them here, but you get the idea. Needless to say the 'evil Pea' is back, too, and with sneaky plans to win ALL the trophies and prizes for himself - but Supertato is soon on to him! These books are a wonderful introduction to the idea of heroes / superheroes and a good one to share if you're looking at the people who help us in our day to day lives. It's also a great introduction to the comic format. Best of all, these are really super books to read aloud - just practice your 'Mwah haha's' first! Picture book / Ages 3-7 years / Reviewed by Emma Castle.

Under the Same Sky
Britta Teckentrup

Caterpillar Books Ltd

ISBN 9781848575868

Britta Teckentrup's beautiful painterly imagery, clever peep-throughs and simple rhyming text make this picture book a real treat to share with younger children. It's also a wonderful reminder about the oneness of our Earth - wherever we come from, we all live 'Under the Same Sky'; we sing the same songs, play the same games, and feel the same love. Teckentrup takes us across a variety of landscapes - frozen ice, mountains, the sea and forests where each of the animals lives with their young. The peep-throughs are integral to the flow of the text and the images, and really add another layer to this story, until we reach the final spreads where we turn the page to see the moon shining down across all theses creatures. A lovely story that can be used to introduce children to the idea that, somewhere else in the world, are children just like them and that, while we are all different, we have many similarities. Picture book / Ages 3+ years / Reviewed by Emma Castle.

Under the Same Sky
Old Hat
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447274018

It's always such a treat to discover a new book by Emily Gravett and Old Hat does indeed prove to be another, giving us a perfect twist on the phrase, 'that's old hat'. 'Harbet had a hat' we learn, it was warm and cosy and he loves it, but it was 'OLD HAT!', the other characters tell him, and so Harbet gets a new hat, just like theirs. The only problem is, Harbet's new hat is 'old hat' before it makes it onto his head and the rest of the picture book sees Harbet increasingly panicked and disconsolate as each new hat he tries is already 'OLD HAT'. There are lots of visual clues in the pages that children can use to spot how Harbet feels - for example, the upside down box he puts on his head with the word 'fragile' on it. The hats, by the way, are marvellous creations from fruit, feathers, jewels, sauspans and even traffic cones! How much fun children will have fashioning and trying on their own hats, inspired by these examples, or drawing their own creations with tips about what makes their hat so special. My own favourite is Harbet's 'traffic cone' hat. "This hat really was the latest thing. It came with a state-of-the-art flashing light and was highly visible to oncoming traffic." Eventually Harbert has had enough of trying to find the newest and best hat and does something that 'no one had ever done before....Harbert took off his hat'. That gives us, the reader, and the other animals a lovely surprise and Harbet definitely wins the day. Emily Gravett's illustrations are so expressive that children will be rooting for Harbet, and will recognise the unkindness of the group of creatures who mock each of his attempts at a new fashion. It is a wonderful story teaching children about the importance of being yourself and that difference is to be celebrated. The references to 'Top Hat Magazine' can also be developed into work around branding and help to explain what marketing is - and how swept up we can all become in the latest fad or playground craze. This is a gorgeous picture book, full of a wonderful energy - and hats! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Ellie Green.

Old Hat
That Bear Can't Babysit
Ruth Quayle

Nosy Crow Ltd

ISBN 9780857638298

Mr and Mrs Bunny have a growing family, so time away from the brood is rare. When they do need to go out and find a babysitter they resort to advertising, as we all do. Only one candidate turns up and Mrs Bunny is not filled with great expectations. However, the couple leave Bear in charge and off they go. With classic rooky babysitter errors, Bear soon learns from his mistakes. He begins to doubt the bunnies are always allowed to make supper of biscuits and sweets, watch scary TV and water the garden. The bunnies, too, doubt Bear's ability to babysit. So instead of believing what the children tell him, he does things his way. Bear's way results in a peaceful ending with all seven bunnies fast asleep. However, eagle eyed children will spot the one mistake when it happens, and if they don't, they'll demand to flip back the pages to see where it went wrong. The illustrations perfectly show chaotic family life which could equally be people and not bunnies. Bear's expressive face shows his doubts as things go wrong, then smiles as the situation improves. The details are fun to spot and provide talking points between adult reader and young child, whether that's at bedtime between carer and child or in a storytime session in playgroup or school. A great book that all children can relate to as all children will have tried the same tricks on their own babysitters. It would also be great fun book to use with young teens to prepare them for babysitting duties and forewarn them not to fall into such traps. Picture book / Ages 2-5 years / Reviewed by Dawn Woods, school librarian.

That Bear Can't Babysit
Tibs the Post Office Cat
Joyce Dunbar

words & pictures

ISBN 9781910277201

Joyce Dunbar has created a lovely book based on what is said to be a real cat: Tibs. The story is set in the 1950s, an age where the post was sorted by hand and many, many letters were handled each day. Tibs comes from a long line of famous Post Office cats and his day has come to rid the Post Office of pesky mice. This turns out to be easier said than done, as Tibs is too kind hearted to this. Rather than getting rid of the mice, Tibs simply creates a way in which mice, cat and human can all coexist harmoniously. Complete with a humorous ending, this heartwarming story will be enjoyed by children between 4 and 7 years old. We read this in my year 1 class and hear are some of the things the children said about it: 'It is fantastic!' 'I love the ending' 'The pictures are beautiful.' They all wanted to recommend the book to the rest of KS1 as well as their mums and dads. Although I felt the story doesn't flow quite as well as it could, it would still be a great read during a British History topic in school, especially in KS1.

Tibs the Post Office Cat
I'm Going To Eat This Ant
Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

ISBN 9781408869901

I'm going to eat this Ant is a rather quirky tale of the Anteater who catches an Ant and who then spends the book explaining to it how it's going to eat it. And what a lot of graphic options are on offer, from between bread in a sandwich to sliced and diced like salami. I think this book would need to be read with a child whose got a good sense of humour, as for some younger readers, it might be a little much to take. Thankfully in the end the anteater meets his match, when that fateful Ant gets his own back, wrapping the Anteater's long tongue round and round the tree, leaving it to consider something else for lunch! Although not really to my taste, the engaging illustrations will capture some children who would just love it! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

I'm Going To Eat This Ant
Grandad's Secret Giant
David Litchfield

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847808479

Billy spends a lot of time with Grandad listening to his stories, but this is one, he just does not believe is possible. Grandad tells Billy about the heroic secret giant who lives in town and goes around doing all the good things unnoticed. One early morning Billy finds himself face-to-face with this unimaginable giant; with 'hands the size of tables' and 'legs as long as drainpipes'. Billy doesn't quite have the reaction he expected and does what everyone else before him has - he runs away, screaming. Billy is terrified! Billy goes away feeling worried about his reaction and that maybe the giant is not that scary after all, maybe he's lonely and just wants to be loved like everybody else. This is a heart-warming story with a positive message, the age old saying of 'never judge a book by its cover'. This beautiful story introduces children to lots of discussion about the effects of our actions to others, accepting people who are different. A PSHE talking point would be to think of mistakes we have made before, think about a time when we might have hurt someone else's feelings and ideas of how we might make amends just like Billy and Grandad did for the secret giant. I could go on and on planning for year 1 around this book. I would use this high-quality text to motivate and engage children in a wide range of curriculum areas. This book lends itself beautifully to measuring length in maths. Investigating the length of parts of the giant and designing and creating a life size giant of their own. The text can be used for lots of character description writing. In this story, there is an unlikely hero, it encourages the children to think about heroes that don't necessarily need to wear a cape or a fancy costume. Heroes can be everyday people who choose to do right to/for others. Children could think about their own unlikely hero. What might he/she look like? What will he/she do that makes them a hero? I would use this with year 1 and 2 children to write an apology letters to the giant from Billy following his upsetting reaction. Simile poems would be great using some of the descriptive sentences used to describe the size of the giant; 'feet as large as rowing boats'. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

Grandad's Secret Giant
Walk This Wild World
Sam Brewster

Big Picture Press

ISBN 9781783705412

We use 'One Night, Far From Here' by Julia Wauters as one of our KS1 English reading, writing and topic units - 'Walk This Wild World' would be a superb complement book to use along side this unit of work. Each page within this book encounters a different location across the world. A small poem describes the animals that would be found there and there are lots of engaging lift the flap fact pictures add masses of description to accompany it. I would really enjoy recreating a book like this with children in my class and I think all the different animals build a wealth of information to reasearch. The book is illustrated beautifully and would engage and excite the readers. All the poetry verses use excellent descriptive language and are fabulous stimuli to encourage children with their own creative writing in class. I think this book alone would be a fabulous focus for a animal based topic, and would create many strands on which to hang curriculum objectives. I think it could be linked in really well with a zoo or safari park visit, and that a huge amount of cross curricular linked planning could result from working with this book. I'd highly recommend this text and will be using it as an additional text for future world geography topics. 24 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Walk This Wild World
The Importance of Being Ernest the Earwig
Nanette Newman

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783706365

The Importance of Being Ernest the Earwig is an excellent story that will inspire children young and old about reading and introduce an interest in classical literature. The story hinges around Ernest the Earwig who wants to find a story about earwigs and can't understand why no stories ever have earwigs in them. Ernest and his friend Edward discuss how there are many nursery rhymes about animals but never earwigs and spend time putting lots of earwigs into classic rhymes. Unsatisfied by this, he sets out to search for books contains earwigs. He takes himself to a book shop where he explores all of the children's literature books - taking himself right inside the stories. I loved that the author uses styles of illustrations from original publications of stories such as Wind in the willows, Cinderella and Treasure island to help to really give the impression of Earnest being part of these classic tales. The beautiful illustrations add hugely to this book and are a great talking point throughout the story. Through his adventures, Ernest realises by reading the stories he has got himself into every one and comes away from the shop feeling like Earwigs are in every title. I think that this book would lend itself really well to use during world book week and as a way of introducing classic literature to children. I loved the play of words - for example, the title of Oscar Wild's play - and I think this could create a fantastic hook to getting children to put themselves into classic stories. I really enjoyed this story and will look forward to reading it right across the primary age range. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

The Importance of Being Ernest the Earwig
Ella Queen of Jazz
Helen Hancocks

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847809186

Ella is an up and coming jazz singer who is struggling to hit the right notes with everyone in her career. Ella is refused the opportunity to sing at one of the biggest joints in town because she and her band of fellas are black. Hearing of this new and amazing talent a very special lady gets in contact and strikes an unmissable deal with the club. A new friendship is made between two iconic ladies and the story continues to share some of their greatest achievements together. This is a great non-fiction resource looking at people in the past without delving too deep into topics/facts about these key characters beyond academically acceptable at a primary stage, given that this book is a picture book. We loved seeing that this book was about real people especially the real-life photos on the back page. I felt just as immersed as the children with this book as I too had never heard of this tale of friendship between two such amazing artists. I would use this text to talk about influential people (modern day celebrities, sports champions etc.). What it means to be influential and the affects they can have on others both good and bad. This could take shape as a topic for discussion in PSHE or in the form of a persuasive writing stimulus. Children could think about their own influential person and the persuasive tact they would use. Great links can also be made with UNICEF convention for the rights of the child, looking at rights respecting articles around equality and respecting the rights of others. There are lots of new cultural vocabulary/sayings ('joint in town', 'hit the big time', 'on her way up', 'folks' etc.) in this book that the children could also explore. Picture book / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

Ella Queen of Jazz