NEW TITLES

Picture books, poetry, non-fiction and young fiction are all part of this month's selection for children aged 5-7 years, reviewed for us by school librarians and teachers.

Old Hat
Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781447274018

In today's world where materialism, consumerism and the pressure to be keep up with change can be overwhelming, especially for children, this story carries and important message. Its clarity and simplicity make it accessible for even young children. Herbert had a hat. It was special because it was knitted just for him by his Nana when he was little. It was warm and cosy and kept his ears toasty. Unfortunately, Herbert's beloved old hat was, well, 'Old Hat!' Eager to keep up with the other animals (who all have the latest hat), Herbert bought a new hat. Fashionable, fresh and fun, it was the latest, most up-to-datest hat! Herbert was ready to strut his stuff, show off his new hat and impress the other animals. But, it turned out that his new hat was, well, 'Old Hat!' The story continues with Herbert buying a string of new hats - each delightfully ridiculous, completely impractical and utterly absurd - researching the latest hat based fashions and ensuring he was at the front of the queue for Hat Unveiling Day. However, despite spending money on hat after hat that didn't do anything really 'hatish' and certainly was not warm and cosy, keeping his ears toasty, Herbert was always one step behind the other animals. Each time, he was 'Old Hat!' and the other animals laughed and laughed. Finally Herbert decides that enough was enough. SO, he did something that none of the other animals had done before. He took his hat off. And, suddenly, he was no longer, 'Old Hat!' By being himself - in all of his feathered, multi-coloured glory - he had unintentionally set trends. Not that he was worried about trends anymore. Herbert was proud to be himself. And, his very special, old hat would be stored carefully away until winter when he would need it to do its 'hatish' job- be warm and cosy and keep his ears toasty. This fun story will have readers laughing out loud as the pages are turned to reveal the next in the latest hat fashions! The bright, lively illustrations are an absolute joy. Valuable time could be spent exploring the message within the book and how the animals behave: the pressure Herbert feels to wear the same hat as all of the others; how the other animals tease him. An extension to this could be a debate about school uniform. School uniform makes sure everyone wears the same so, even though it eliminates the pressure to have the latest trends, it also does not allow for the individuality that Herbert so wonderfully expressed at the end of the story. Children could also design and then advertise their own completely ludicrous hat. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Torie Walton, school librarian.

Old Hat
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
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
Build a... T-rex
Kiki Ljung

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847809162

Build a T-REX is a great non-fiction text. The board book includes 3D model pieces to make your own T-REX. I tackled this book with my 6-year-old daughter and she couldn't wait to get started. The text on each page is short and simple, enough to read alone with just the right amount of key vocabulary in there for children to be able to access a topic that is so difficult to read about alone - phonetically decoding dinosaur words most adults struggle with! Each page has a new section of the body with brightly coloured pictures focussing just on the text given. The model pieces were strong card although some started to peel at the edges with the fiddling that had to be done to fix them together, especially the head and neck part. We loved that this book used the words 'we think', 'about the size of' and 'probably'. This prompted lots of discussion about the uncertainty of some of the information we have on dinosaurs and gave my daughter a better understanding of the work of a paleontologist. The instructions are simple and on one page, with each model part numbered. I would recommend this book to children 6+ just starting to enjoy learning about dinosaurs. Reviewed by Nikki (Class teacher) and Frankie (6)

Build a... T-rex
How to be a Tiger: Poems
George Szirtes

Otter-Barry Books Ltd

ISBN 9781910959206

Possibly better known as a translator of poetry, fiction and drama and as a poet for adults, George Szirtes was the worthy 2013 winner of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education's Poetry Prize so the stakes are set high for his new collection. It does not disappoint. The title poem (heralded so well by Ellie Jenkin's cover illustration), calls out for children to engage physically: 'The scary tiger roars and roars, / it slinks through shadows on all fours / .... / Pretend this is the forest floor. / Pad, tiger, pad! Now children, ROAR!' (p.32). Equally satisfying is the rhythmic, nonsensical 'The Bear in the Bathroom' (p.34). It also includes direct enticements to the children: 'Let's pad quietly, pad-pad-pad... Let's play it safe. Let's hide in the shower'. There are poems here that could inspire the children's own writing. Take 'Moon Music' (p.19, with its steady repetition of 'is the moon' ('The song that the stars like to sing / is the moon.') Also rich in potential as a model, is a quartet of poems celebrate the different seasons: In the Park: Autumn / Winter / Spring / Summer (p.58 - 61). There are poems that play with language and poems about language. In the first category, 'Swing' (p. 14) playfully echoes the motion of a swing through layout and rhyme: The thing / about a swing / is the wing / and spring / of it as you cling... Flying on words' (p.47) directly addresses the child reader: 'As you grow taller / Your sentences grow and grow, / You're no longer satisfied with want, again, and no./' Towards the end of the anthology there's a section given over to poems that draw from traditional narratives. 'Rumpelstiltskin' (p.72) offers a list of Rumpeltstiltskin's brothers ('Dumplingstiltskin' etc). There is plenty of scope here for the children's own invented names. A rather protracted retelling of 'The Emperor's New Clothes' (p.74) is counterpointed by the pithy 'Sleeping Beauty' (p.81) 'Sleeping Beauty / (what a cutie!) / slept for a very long time / (far too long for this rhyme.) / Then came a prince. She's been awake since.' Fairy tale conventions are manipulated delightfully in 'The Princess and the Bad King' (p.68). Thoughtful and thought provoking, this anthology will be a welcome addition to any classroom's poetry collection. 96 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Alison Kelly, teaching consultant.

How to be a Tiger: Poems
Books! Books! Books!: Explore Inside the Greatest Library on Earth
Mick Manning

Otter-Barry Books Ltd

ISBN 9781910959985

This inspiring book introduces the reader to The British Library and to some of the greatest treasures kept there. It's a fabulous celebration of libraries and their importance. Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom are well known for their skill at presenting information and illustration in a way which captures the interest whilst feeding the intellect and Books! Books! Books! is no exception. They have selected a range of literary gems from the wealth housed in the British Museum, starting with the St Cuthbert Gospel. Famous works of literature - the writings of the Brontes, Conan Doyle, Lewis Carroll and Dickens - are explored alongside the Magna Carta, Lady Jane Grey's prayer book, music by Handel and the first ever copy of the Times newspaper. Photographs, drawings and collage using 'pages' from some of the works combine to create the perfect backdrop to the concise text.There is something to interest everyone here- each page could be the starting point for further research or the inspiration for a trip to see the real thing! A fascinating and beautiful book in its own right, Books! Books! Books! is also a brilliant introduction to the wonders of The British Library. 48 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

Books! Books! Books!: Explore Inside the Greatest Library on Earth
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
My Amazing Body Machine: A colourful visual guide to how your body works
Robert Winston

DK Children

ISBN 9780241283806

This exciting guide to the human body is beautifully presented and fully of fascinating facts! Divided into clear sections, each dealing with a different topic - e.g. Heart and Blood, Waterworks - this is such an easy to navigate, clearly laid out book. Each of the nine key chapters is sub-divided, offering thorough coverage of each part of the body and its function. This is a very visual book, using wonderful papercraft art work alongside photographs to clearly illustrate each idea. Supported by clear labels, concise text and fun facts - there are 100,000km of blood vessels in your body, enough to stretch around the world twice! A macrophage can eat about 200 bacteria before it dies. Sneezes blast air out of the nose at speeds of up to 160 km/h - there is so much to discover and understand on each page. Whilst each page is full, it is clearly laid out, making it very easy to follow, entertaining without being distracting. A detailed glossary explains the scientific vocabulary and there is a giant 'Body Machine' poster included in a pocket at the back, offering a quick reference source whilst reading. A valuable addition to both school and home libraries, this is an excellent book, perfect for discovering more about the body - and why it is so important to look after it! 128 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

My Amazing Body Machine: A colourful visual guide to how your body works