NEW TITLES

This month's range of picture books range from books about manners and community to picture books exploring the past to facing our fears and making new friends.

Thank You, Mr Panda
Steve Antony

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444927863

Thank you Mr Panda is the third book in the Mr Panda series about good manners, which began with the picture book Please Mr Panda. In this story, Mr Panda is happy to help his friends prepare for a special surprise - IF they remember to say thank you! This is a great book, boldly illustrated with simple text. Apart from encouraging young children to say 'thank you', it can also be used in the classroom in other ways - to encourage discussion, prediction and reasoning about what makes good presents and why, for example. It also allows children the opportunity to explore the language of size and comparison. They could have great fun remembering the order of presents, putting the presents in order by size, and even switching presents around to ensure the best fit. A playful book encouraging children to think about what other people/friends might need or like, teaching them about awareness, their needs and their differences. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

Thank You, Mr Panda
A Busy Day for Birds
Lucy Cousins

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406376548

A Busy Day for Birds is a fun, action rhyme story about fantastical birds. The story is bright and visually interesting and would be great to use in reception class. Children would have great fun acting out some of the animals and their actions; matching names, adjectives and verbs, before making simple sentences with them. They could even have great fun switching animals around and adding new actions, creating new pages for the books whilst exploring simple sentences structure and spellings. Or even creating a large, colourful display with bold words to develop awareness of spellings and associated vocabulary. This is a book which offers a great opportunity for learning across the curriculum. Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Louise Gahan, teacher.

A Busy Day for Birds
Baby Goes to Market
Atinuke

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406363432

It's market day and Mama is carrying baby there to buy from the merchants. The market is busy, bustling with life, and baby makes friends with all the venders. As Mama busies herself, baby charms bananas from the Mrs Ade the banana-seller, oranges from Mr Femi the orange-seller and biscuits Mr Momo the biscuit-seller. Mama does not notice as baby takes one for himself and adds the other items he as acquired to the basket. Baby continues to smile and giggle as the market vendors supply him with roasted sweetcorn and coconut. Mama is unaware that her basket is growing heavier by the minute and only realises when she removes it from her head to make the journey home. Mama is so surprised! Five bananas, four oranges, three biscuits, two roasted sweetcorn and one piece of coconut. She did not buy these things! The stall holders laugh at Mama's surprise and finally let her in on the secret - they gave the items to baby! Mama is proud of how carefully he filled the basket with his goodies. They travel home with their basket laden with treats, but poor Mama is still not fully aware of all that went on at the market. She is under the impression that her little one has not eaten all this time! Atinuke, oral story teller and author, has done it again! Another gorgeous book full of african culture and wonderful rich story telling. The setting of this story is a typical West African market, the kind that is known and loved by both the author and illustrator, who both grew up there. The vibrant colours, the varieties of produce available, the generosity and kindness of the vendors, all these elements of market life are beautifully brought to life. Each page is full of details to draw in the reader and invite them to experience african life. Count along with baby as he takes one for himself and places the rest in the basket. Try to recall the items he has received as you journey around the market. Read the story quietly so that Mama doesn't find out that baby has been given so many treats. Notice how heavy the basket has become and react with surprise when the feast is discovered! Picture book / Ages 3+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, teacher.

Baby Goes to Market
Play
Jez Alborough

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406373073

Engaging, creative with a great moral for young children, this is a really well thought out narrative for toddlers and pre-schoolers. Clanton (author) has really hit the nail on the head with this lovely tale of someone who is new and how hard it can be to fit in sometimes. My son (3 years old) really understood the meaning of the story and we had plenty of discussions about making new friends and playing nicely with other children. My son understood the moral and happily exclaimed at the end 'oh I'm so happy they found a game they could all play together'. Boo Who? tells the tale of a little ghost who is new to the playground. Boo is unsure and worried and does his best to fit in with the other characters, but soon finds that it is not easy as the characters play a game that he can not play. However, the characters soon find a game perfect to play with Boo. Boo finds he is less invisible and enjoys being seen. This is a lovely story that continues on from 'Rex Wrecks It' by the same author. The characters - Gizmo (Robot), Rex (Dinosaur), Sprinkles (unicorn rabbit) and Wild (Wild cross-breed animal) - are very inventive and you can discuss with your child how each character is very different, but they all play nicely together. Boo features of each page and we had fun finding him as we turned the page. A lovely story about friendship, fitting in and finding your own way of being less invisible and more seen. Picture book / Ages 0-5 years / Reviewed by Joanna Hewish.

Play
Find the Wolf: A board book with peek-through pages
Agnese Baruzzi

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783707881

'Find the Wolf' is another great 'peek through' book by Agnese Baruzzi. Being a board book, it easily withstood the initial browsing by my one year son and I can see this book being revisited when he is slightly older as there are many levels to it. The book follows the pattern of looking for the wolf by looking through the peek holes, with each page focussing on a different body part. I really like the 'wanted' poster each time and I could easily see myself using this text within my year 1 classroom when covering this text type. The way the parts of the pictures seen through the peek holes blend into the whole picture once turned is fantastic and I found use of trying to work out just what part was used. The added bonus of this book is the chance to go through the book again and hunt for the wolf or paws that are woven into the pictures. A very enjotyable read. Board book / Ages 0+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Find the Wolf: A board book with peek-through pages
Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide
Emma Yarlett

Little Tiger Press

ISBN 9781848696914

Everyone's favourite monster is back and it appears that Nibbles, Emma Yarlett's book-eating monster, has developed a liking for non-fiction books. Gigantic shaped holes have appeared in the Dinosaur Guide and the mischievous little yellow bookivore Nibbles is to blame. Previously known for munching his way through fairy tales and generally making mischief in other people's books, Nibbles has turned his sights on a more nourishing read. Will a troop of charging hot-headed Triceratops stop Nibbles from chewing his way through their chapter of the book? Maybe the hungry herd of Diplodocus will eat Nibbles for lunch? If they don't manage to stop Nibbles from gnawing his way through each page then the grumpy Velociraptors will certainly catch him. Nibbles may have finally met his match in the Tyrannosaurus Rex, king of the dinosaurs, lurking at the end of the Dinosaur Guide. After all the chomping and nibbling our little book loving fiend has done, he may have finally bitten off more than he can chew. Knowing our book crunching rogue, he'll probably munch his way out of danger. This book is packed with fabulous facts about dinosaurs, dino-jokes and a little rude humour, the kind that brings on the giggles. A gorgeous read from start to finish, certain to make little ones smile and beg for a second reading. Emma Yarlett's cheeky illustrations are a riot of colour and at times, quite literally, jump off of the page. The flaps and nibble holes all add to the drama and interactivity of the story. This is a book that will certainly be loved and read again and again. A must buy for every library, though no responsibility is taken for this wild little monster escaping again and nibbling his way through the pages of the other books on your shelves! Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide
I Really Want the Cake
Simon Philip

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783708017

What an absolute joy to read! This fantastic picture book tells the tale of one little girls battle to try and not eat a cake....one that doesn't go too well... Philip's story is funny and has a simple rhyme scheme which makes it fun to read. Funny for both adults and children, the little girl giving in to the temptation of the cake is one that I'm sure many will sympathise with and that children will find hilarious. The illustrations are bright and engaging and support the story well. I thoroughly enjoyed this story...but don't want to tell you too much and ruin it! I look forward to sharing this with my class who I know will love it as much as I do. Well worth a buy, this would also make a great present for cheeky children! Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

I Really Want the Cake
Kevin
Rob Biddulph

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008207410

Kevin is a beautifully written book which was an absolute pleasure to read. Rob Biddulph, author of Blown Away, has managed to create a text that is not only entertaining but also shares a valuable lesson for children. I enjoyed reading it myself but also with my class of Y1 children. The story revolves around Sid Gibbons, a little boy who finds himself in a touch of hot water after his mother catches him making bad choices once again. Rather than admitting the truth and taking the punishment as he should, he instead blames it all on Kevin....a clearly made up individual. Sid's mum does not believe this and sends him to his room. From here, Rob Biddulph uses a range of wonderful vocabulary to take the reader on a journey though an imaginary world of bright colours and decorations. It is here that Sid soon learns a valuable lesson and starts to make amends for his actions. I liked using this book with my class not only for the use of language, but also for the moral lesson that it taught along the way. I believe there would be opportunity for a mini unit of work to be made alongside this text with links to other areas of the curriculum, especially to teach PHSE skills around honesty and respect. The manner in which the book is set out allows you to build it up as you read it, stopping at points to conduct work around the characters of Sid, mum and eventually Kevin. You could also use it to build on inference skills during whole class discussions, dramatizing Sid's arrival into the imaginary world and describing the creatures he finds. A unit of work could be developed up to the children writing the book 'Sid', where they take the viewpoint of Kevin and how he makes up a friend called Sid. Alternatively, the children could easily innovate the text by creating their own creatures through a selection of lessons based around description e.g. word banks, paintings in art etc. As mentioned, detailed art work could be planned alongside it as well as music to accompany the new imaginary world - and even DT could be tied in through the creation of hand puppets. I would recommend this book to all KS1 teachers and to any parents who enjoy a good picture book. Top stuff. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Kyle Matravers, teacher.

Kevin
The Grotlyn
Benji Davies

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008212759

Before you even get to the text in this book, there is much to feast the eyes and mind on. The cover (including the one hidden under the dust jacket) and the double-page spread preceding the title page are gloriously illustrated in smokey, muted hues which evoke a particular sense of place and time. The backstreets of a Victorian city are brought to life by a cast of intriguing characters. Children will linger over these pages, providing adults a chance to question and discuss what can be seen - a perfect opportunity to explain exactly what a barrel organ is and does. The title page itself furthers the intrigue with its snatch of song - what is The Grotlyn? Benji Davies does a sterling job of reeling in the reader, child and adult alike. The first page of text sees the book set out its stall in terms of vocabulary - this is going to be rich in language: 'But what at first we think to be, The eye does blindly make us see'. Pick that apart with an 11 year old, or leave it be with a littler one - the story works on many levels. Every new page brings another beautiful turn of phrase - perfect for the budding logophile. Once you've read this captivating rhyming text and pored over the images, you'll find yourself working your way back through it, picking up on the clues that the author skilfully weaves through both words and pictures and making sense of them in light of the uplifting (literally) ending. As the mystery unravels, children will delight in the antics of the book's protagonist and, by the end, they will be rooting for the once-frightening Grotlyn. Every inch of the book is awash with clever and deliberate authorial choices and decisions that make several re-reads an absolute must. The illustrations alone could spark lengthy discussions when presented in or out of context - for teachers, there is so much material to use here. For those wanting to go a little deeper, the concept of freedom is a main theme here. Should animals be kept in captivity? Why do people want to escape certain aspects of their life? What causes humans to go to great lengths, sometimes even breaking laws to attain freedom? However this book is read, it is certain to become a favourite for all those who are fortunate enough to experience it. Benji Davies has delivered another thought-provoking, multi-layered picture book that is sure to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by: Aidan Severs

The Grotlyn
Ludwig the Sea Dog
Henning Lohlein

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781783708000

Ludwig the Sea Dog has been an really unexpected treat of a book to read. I have to admit when I opened it and found 3D glasses on the inside cover, I was a little scepticle. Normally I find 3D books to be quite poor on quality and pictures that are meant to be 3D don't stand out at all. This book, however, is completely different and its high quality 3D production means that on each page there is a captivating illustration, which at times actually made me reach out onto the page! To add to outstanding illustrations, the story of Ludwig's adventures to save his friend Peter the Penguin is great. I love the fact that Ludwig and all his other paper friends come From all sorts of books, Ludwig coming from an atlas. In the story Ludwig and his friends have to think how they can help Peter, when they never have been under the sea and their only experiences come from what they have read about the sea in other books. When Ludwig dives into a book about the sea, he soon finds himself out of his depth and he needs to be saved by his friends. When Ludwig finds himself in a puddle of water and very soggy, he needs to be dried off in a Fairy tale book. It is here that he is able to offer lots of advice to different characters including the Ugly Duckling, the Big Bad Wolf and the Frog Prince, who then help him in turn to save Peter. This is a lovely story, full of lots of exploration of different books and would be a great one to start a year in school or to launch a book week in school. Children will really enjoy the story and the added effect of the 3D illustrations to make this story even more exciting. I would recommend this book especially for engaging your reluctant readers. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Marie Berry, teacher.

Ludwig the Sea Dog
Maya Angelou
Leire Salaberria

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847808905

The Little People, Big Dreams series is a charming set of books that makes biographies of famous women easy to access for little women with big dreams! This book tells the story of Maya Angelou and how she overcame difficulties in her childhood and adult life, to fight for equality and hope for people everywhere. Growing up in South America at a time where the colour of your skin affected how people spoke to you, where you could go and what you could become, this is good story for introducing the subject of civil rights in America. I think the pictures being cartoon-like make what are quite meaty issues, even for adults to try to comprehend, a little easier to digest. It is partly for this reason that I think this book is suitable for readers a little older than some of the other ones in the series. Maya overcame a lot of prejudice and controversy in her life, this story carries the message that you are stronger than you think and that persistence and confidence are key to being happy and successful. This story would be good for talking about civil rights, it'd also be good for talking about equality of gender and for introducing poetry as an art form that can be very effective. Quite often in schools, children come across generic rhyming poems, or just skim the surface of poetry - but in the story, after being hurt by her mother's boyfriend, Maya becomes mute and it is only through discovering how words come alive in stories and poetry that she finds her voice again. This book would be a great way into getting children to look at poetry and stories as a way of expressing yourself, as escapism or as a way to experience more things. Picture book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lizi Coombs, teacher.

Maya Angelou
Audrey Hepburn
Amaia Arrazola

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786030528

Audrey Hepburn is from The Little People, Big Dreams series. This series is based on the lives of inspirational women who have changed the world. This is the story of Audrey Hepburn how she had a dream as a little girl and was determined to fulfil it. Audrey lived through war and through illness but that didn't stop her. She eventually became an actress playing a variety of different roles. When she was older she remembered her childhood and wanted to help other children and gave back. Not only was she a famous actress but a style icon and humanitarian! The book has been beautifully put together and the illustrations are fantastic. The story has been put together in a way that they are both meaningful but accessible to children across a variety of ages. I think these books would be beneficial both at home and in school as this book shows how women changed the world and how to show kindness and compassion. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher.

Audrey Hepburn
Emmeline Pankhurst
Lisbeth Kaiser

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781786030191

Little People, Big Dreams is a collection of books about famous women and their lives. This book tells the story of Emmeline Pankhurst. The book is written like a story, despite being factual and retelling true events. The story begins with Emmeline as a child growing up in Manchester, England. She had a nice upbringing with her family in a large house, although they spent a lot of time trying to help others who were much less fortunate. Emmeline learnt to read when she was three and began to dream about what she would become when she was older. One night, she heard her mother and father discussing how it was a shame she wasn't a boy; as a girl she would have very few choices about her future. Emmeline wondered why. She started to read about women's rights and attended talks with her mother, learning about how they were treated unfairly. As she grew older, she married a lawyer who had the same beliefs as her. They campaigned together until he became sick and died, leaving Emmeline with children to care for and no rights to help her. As they grew older, Emmeline and her daughters formed a new group who began to campaign for women's rights. Many women joined their group, however, it wasn't an easy ride with many of them getting injured and arrested. Once the war broke out, Emmeline encouraged women to take over jobs that the men could no longer do. After the war, their voices were heard and women were given the right to vote. This is a detailed story with lots of information about the struggles that women went through to be seen as equal to men. It is a fantastic book to help children to understand how life used to be, as well including some brilliant pictures to help to tell the story. At the end of the book, there is a more detailed, technical timeline for older children and adults to enjoy. This biography is inspiring for children in many ways; it fuels their curiosity, shows them they can do whatever they want if they put their minds to it and it also teaches them about what life could have been like without people like Emmeline! Picture Book / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher.

Emmeline Pankhurst
Moon
Patricia Hegarty

Little Tiger Kids

ISBN 9781848696679

This story is filled with pictures of beautiful landscapes and lovely cartoon animals. It has relatively simple text while giving interesting information about a range of animals, climates and landscapes from different environments across the world. It is a lovely book for children to begin to explore these environments and a fantastic discussion starter for this topic, either with other children or with the adults around them. The story unfolds as turtles lay their eggs on tropical beaches, penguins huddle together in the freezing arctic and animals swing through the jungle during the night. With its moon-shaped holes to peek through, it allows children to begin to think about how the moon changes its size and shape through its different phases. A fantastic bedtime story to think about the animals being busy at work under the moonlight while we are all tucked up safely in bed! Ages 5+ / Picture Book / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Moon
The Lonely Giant
Sophie Ambrose

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406373301

This is a simple story with a poignant message. It features a lonely giant who lives on a craggy mountain, surrounded by a huge forest. His days are spent doing the same activities, uprooting trees, throwing and smashing things. Over the years the forest diminishes and the animals are scared away. The giant realises that he misses the birdsong and the wood for his fire and he grows lonelier. One day a little bird appears and sings to the giant. Driven by his loneliness he cages the bird to ease his heartache. However, the confined bird becomes so forlorn that she is unable to sing. The giant is a gentle soul and he realises his error and releases the bird with an apology. With the bird now gone the giant is aware of the damage he has caused to the world around him and vows to make amends. He plants and mends and waits for things to grow. Slowly the forest begins to flourish and the animals return, as does the little bird. As birdsong fills the forest, the giant finds himself happy and not lonely anymore. A beautiful tale about the importance of looking after the natural world and making amends when we don't. A story about redemption. Sophie Ambrose's straightforward text and illustrations, created with a soft colour pallet, make this a delightful read. There is a lovely contrast between her large double page spreads, which offer a moment to reflect, and her smaller illustrations that divide the page and quicken the pace of the story. Ambrose's giant has a wonderfully kind face, reminiscent of characters drawn by Raymond Briggs. There are many questions to ask whilst reading, such as why the giant breaks, smashes and pulls up trees? Why the animals disappear as the forest shrinks? Why the little bird feels so sad when she is caged? Why the giant needs to wait for a long time for life to return to the forest? And whether readers have ever worked hard to mend something that they have broken? This is a story that reminds us of our responsibility to look after the environment we live in and how delicate the ecological balance is to maintain. However, we can learn from the experiences of the lonely giant, which brings a sense of hope. We too can have a positive impact on the world around us, even if we haven't in the past. Picture book / Ages 4+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, teacher.

The Lonely Giant