NEW TITLES

As well as great picture books for older children, this month's selection includes a range of exciting non-fiction and younger readers for children aged 5-7 years.

The Secret Life of a Tiger
Przemyslaw Wechterowicz

words & pictures

ISBN 9781910277249

You may think you know how the tiger spends his days but think again. This fearsome feline is actually more of a pussycat. He may have a mouth full of sharp teeth and claws that can kill but he'd rather think of himself as brave and cheerful. Tiger welcomes you to his jungle and hopes you will spend the day with him in this fabulously funny tale about the secret life of a tiger. During the day, Tiger enjoys chatting with friends and spending time with his neighbours. He naps, relaxes, as he listens to the sounds of the jungle, and occasionally looks for a bite to eat. There are vicious rumours going around the forest that Tiger is partial to the taste of people, especially passing explorers, but he swears that is just gossip. However, there does appear to be more to tiger than meets the eye. By day he looks like any other big cat but at night his secret life unfolds. You'll never believe it but he is a gourmet fruit salad maker, a brilliant barber and even finds the time to consciously hatch eggs. Tiger is an ant enchanter, a light footed dancer and a real snake charmer! He's a friend to all he meets, bringing life to the jungle and spreading a little love everywhere he goes. You simply wouldn't believe the things he gets up to in the dead of night. Tiger hopes that that now we know how he really spends his time we will see him in a more favourable light. His secret life really is more fantastical then you could imagine! This is a beautifully illustrated whimsical take on the life of the tiger. A humorous nod to looking beyond the exterior and setting aside our preconceived notions of how an individual should behave. A reminder that we need to take the time to really get to know a person, especially if they are as fancy footed as Tiger with culinary skills to match. Przemystaw Wechterowicz's hilarious dialogue is wonderfully matched with Emilia Dziubak's comical illustrations. This is a book to enjoy again and again, and if readers ever do tire of this story, they can imagine the secret lives of the other animals that live in the jungle with Tiger. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

The Secret Life of a Tiger
The Glassmaker's Daughter
Dianne Hofmeyr

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847806765

An enchanting story about Daniela; a Glassmaker's melancholy daughter. Set in the beautiful city of Venice, this story dates back to the 16th Century when glassmakers were important figures in the city, in charge of closely guarding the secret recipe for making glass. Daniela, despite her father's numerous attempts to cheer her up, was always 'gloomy, glum and bored'. In a bid to please his daughter, Daniela's father promised a glass palace to the first person who could make her smile. Many tried their best but unfortunately failed to please her, except one; Angelo, a young glassmaker who had something new up his sleeve. Angelo makes the first looking glass. This not only makes her smile but seeing her own glum reflection turn into a smile makes her laugh, which in turn makes the whole town laugh along with her until she laughs so hard and so much that the palace smashes to smitherines! The illustrations by Jane Ray are so delightfully rich. The double page spread of the palace exploding is by far one of the best illustrations I've seen recently, as you turn onto that page, it just blows you away with its vibrant foils and collage pieces of glass splintering out. This book has a beautiful message - that happiness is comes from within. This is a good book to use to teach PSHE throughout the primary school setting, discussing the fact that material things will only make us happy for a short while but we can all make ourselves happy. I read this book with my six-year-old daughter and when I asked her 'what could you learn about?' with this story, she instantly suggested 'Art'; making a looking glass of your own using foils, or children could design and make their own smiley masks like those made by Donna Violetta in the story. Picture book / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Nikki Stiles, teacher.

The Glassmaker's Daughter
How the Sun Got to Coco's House
Bob Graham

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406373455

The light of the winter sun travels around the world to Coco's house in this classic tale. Beginning in the icy polar North it journeys across the sea where it reaches a fisherman's boat. As the sun swiftly moves west it briefly catches the eye of a passing whale and moves on to cast shadows in frozen forests. The sun meets migrating birds in flight and passengers in planes, mid journey. As the sun crosses a city it marks the dawning of a new day for its inhabitants. Animals too are woken by the warmth of the sun's rays. Over a barren desert the sun meets the rain and forms a beautiful rainbow. In a small mountain village the warmth of the sun melts the ice and in the biggest cities it warms the windows of office towers. Finally, the sun makes its way to Coco's street where it turns off the street lights, welcomes the paperboy and bursts through her window. The sun follows Coco around her home as she prepares to go out in the winter snow and stays all day with her as she plays with her friends outside. This a beautifully simple story, told skilfully by author and illustrator Bob Graham. The personification of the sun engages the reader and pulls them into the narrative. Where will the sun travel next and whose lives will it touch? Language is used cleverly to describe the sun's movements; it creeps, skids and tumbles. From day break to day's end this book charts the course of the sun over multiple countries illuminating brief moments in time. This book is a charming look at the earth's rotation around the sun and at first glance would be best suited to KS1 classrooms but after greater investigation could be equally enjoyed for its linguistic qualities by children in KS2. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

How the Sun Got to Coco's House
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780008266165

When you spot J.M. Barrie's quote '...always try to be a little kinder than is necessary...' tucked away at the beginning of a book, you can almost be certain it's going to be a must-read for children. Especially in world where we seem to see so much unkindness. But that's not the world Jeffers focuses on in 'Here We Are'. In fact, he looks at humanity and our planet positively and hopefully, encouraging his readers to re-envision what they see around them. Of course, these 'notes for living on planet earth' are inspired by the author's son so the optimistic standpoint is one of childish naivety, and that's OK. Adult readers will understand the negatives behind the positive statements - the book provides a stimulus for adults to discuss world events and issues with children at an age-appropriate level. The book has excellent Science and Geography links - Jeffers, in his inimitable style, illustrates the solar system, the night sky, the human body and species of animals providing engaging starting points to several areas of the national curriculum. In fact, so good are these that you'll be crying out for an Oliver Jeffers 'How Things Work' style non-fiction book to use in all aspects of the STEM curriculum. First, 'Here We Are' is a celebration of the planet on which we live; it encourages awe and wonder as we notice and learn about the world around us. Second, it gently urges its readers to look after the things around them - the environment, others and themselves. A double page spread beautifully illustrated with an impressive variety of different-looking people serves as a great talking point alone - how should we treat those who look different to us? Even though we look different, are there similarities? These are such important questions for young children to be discussing if our societies are ever to be more empathetic. C.S. Lewis said 'A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest' and Oliver Jeffers never fails at this. Adults reading this book will be reminded about what life is really about and will be inspired to ensure that in all the areas the book touches upon that they are good role models to the children in their life. 'Things can sometimes move slowly here on Earth. More often though, they move quickly, so use your time well.' is definitely advice needed by adults more than by children. If there were to be one overarching theme I'd say it was wellbeing. And not that selfish kind that only says look after yourself, but the type that celebrates the positive impact of caring for the wellbeing of others. In fact, the five ways to wellbeing are clearly all celebrated in this book: Connect ('You're never alone on earth'); Be Active ('...when the sun is out, it is daytime, and we do stuff' accompanied by a gorgeous yellow-tinted illustration of all kinds of activity); Take Notice ('There is so much to see and do here on Earth...'); Learn (the whole book is about learning new things); and Give ('just remember to leave notes for everyone else.'). What parent wouldn't want wellbeing for their children? Basically, this is essential reading and needs to be a staple on library shelves and in schools and homes. Books do have the power to change perceptions and this one is something like a manifesto for how children will need to operate in order to change the way things are going in the world. But, I'd even recommend this to adults who might never read it with a child - it could be the gentle reminder they need to adjust their lives for their own wellbeing's sake. Picture book / Ages 3-adult / Reviewed by Aidan Severs, teacher

Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth
Snowboy and the Last Tree Standing
Hiawyn Oram

Walker Books Ltd

ISBN 9781406358254

Snowboy and the Last Tree Standing is a parable about the dangers of not looking after the environment. The story begins with Snowboy playing in the forest, Greenbackboy approaches and suggests a new game. The new game, he explains, is called 'KA-CHING' and it begins in the forest. Snowboy is tempted by the idea of the game but when he discovers it involves chopping down all the trees he decides to secretly hide one. Greenbackboy's game involves swopping the trees that have been cut down for lots of gold shiny pennies- KA-CHING. Not satisfied with merely felling trees, Greenbackboy's greed turns to the sea. He persuades Snowboy to help him net some fish. However, Snowboy quickly realises the error in catching all the fish and lets a couple slip back into the water. Greenbackboy sells the fish to be tinned and returns with more golden KA-CHING. A storm begins and rages unobstructed by the forest trees which usually keep it bridled. The food is wasted and the KA-CHING is next to useless because it cannot be eaten. Snowboy leaves Greenbackboy to his own devices and returns to the land which was once forest. He finds the tree that he hid and lovingly cares for it, aiding it to thrive and grow. Seeds from the tree begin to take root and Snowboy celebrates the possibility of the forest returning. The fish in the sea are also flourishing. Sadly, Greenbackboy returns, suffering from hunger. Snowboy is quick to forgive him and offers him aid. The story ends happily with Snowboy satisfied that the world has been saved, at least for now. Beautiful illustrations and a simple storyline make this a lovely tale. The parable is easy to understand; when you look after nature, it will look after you. Snowboy discovered that looking after the trees and the fish in the seas was the biggest reward and Grennbackboy's KA-CHING proved to be quite useless when weathering a storm. Readers might be encouraged to think up their own nature inspired superhero names and consider ways that they can help protect the world around them. Picture book / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Emily Beale, school librarian.

Snowboy and the Last Tree Standing
Going to School
Rose Blake

Frances Lincoln Childrens Books

ISBN 9781847808981

Going to School brilliantly documents a fun filled day in the life of a little girl and her friends as they go to school. At each stage of the day, differences are celebrated and beautifully illustrated. The day begins by travelling to school, by either scooting, walking, or riding and luckily the children arrive just before the school bell rings. We are introduced to Miss Balmer, the teacher, and cots and bags are hung on pegs. By nine o,clock the school day is ready to begin and the register has been taken. The first lesson of the day is geography and the children learn about the world around them and where their friends and families come from. The next lesson is art, a favourite with the children, and they make collages and masks, paint pictures and construct models. At breaktime the children play a variety of games and join in lots of outdoor activities, everyone seems happy and has a friend to play with. After break, there are more lessons - reading, writing and maths. The children enjoy listening to stories where their imaginations are ignited and solving real life number problems. There is just enough time for a P.E. lesson before lunch. Lunch is everyone's favourite time of the day and with so much to choose from and so many delicious things on the menu, it's difficult to see why not. The afternoon's lessons are science, computing and drama. In the science lesson the children learn about growing and changing, they grow cress and sunflowers and watch the tadpoles in the class tank. The children are able to choose from a variety of activities in their computer lessons and in drama everyone acts out their dream job. At the end of the day, when the little girl is picked up from school and asked what she did today, she responds nonchalantly 'not much'. However, secretly she can't wait to go to school again tomorrow. Rose Blake's beautiful vibrant illustrations bring this story to life, making for a wonderful engaging journey throughout the school day. This is not only the most engaging transition to school book I have read, helping to ease fears before starting school, but also a wonderful depiction of how wonderful school can be. Blake effortlessly represents school as a preparation for later life, as pupils develop independence and practice skills they need to develop for future occupations. There are clues throughout the book to challenge the reader to discover what the children hope to be when they are older, the end pages illustrate the answers. The book also provides the perfect opportunity to discussion lesson content, for example which countries flags are represented in the geography lesson and why are the children practicing their maths skills in real life situations? Readers are encouraged to think about their own school day and reflect upon their own favourite things to do.

Going to School
Monster Mountain Chase!: Book 1
Mo Farah

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444934052

This is a good book for KS1 children who are looking for a slightly longer, more challenging read without being too complex. It has relatively simple language with lots of engaging pictures and text in a variety of sizes, too. The story begins when little Mo and his four best friends have just returned from a long run. They discuss the countries they have passed through and some of the things they have seen. It continues as they plan their next adventure to the Rocky Mountains. The group find it tiring work on their next run as they collide with many different creatures and monsters along the way. This is an interesting story which would help to build confidence and stamina in younger readers. The story also includes lots of geographical facts which may help to engage children who usually choose fact over fiction. 74 pages / Age 5 - 7 / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, Teacher.

Monster Mountain Chase!: Book 1
Evie's Magic Bracelet: The Unicorn's Foal: Book 4: A bumper Christmas special!
Jessica Ennis-Hill

Hodder Children's Books

ISBN 9781444934427

Evie loves receiving magical parcels from her grandma; each one has a bracelet in with a riddle about the kind of magic it brings with it. Before long, Evie works out that the bracelet gives her powers to become invisible. The first mission she tries to complete with it is to sneak into her parent's wardrobe and take a sneak peek at her Christmas presents! Instead of finding them, she finds out some terrible news - how will she every enjoy Christmas? Evie begins to learn how her magic bracelet might help to enjoy Christmas after all. This is an interesting story with many magical adventures to enjoy! It's quite a thick book with lots of characters to meet and different scenes to explore. I would recommend this story to confident readers in KS1, as well as children in lower KS2. This is a lovely book to indulge children in their excitement of Christmas. It has a range of activities at the back to complete, as well as the beginning of the next story with some of Evie's other adventures. 127 pages / Ages 6 + / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

Evie's Magic Bracelet: The Unicorn's Foal: Book 4: A bumper Christmas special!
Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, retold by Elli Woollard
Elli Woollard

Macmillan Children's Books

ISBN 9781509814749

Ever wondered how the elephant got its trunk? Or how the camel got its hump? Well now you can find out! Elli Woolard has taken the well-known Just So Stories written by Rudyard Kipling and transformed them into beautiful, modern poems. Through the lovely illustrations the stories come alive, making them accessible to all ages, including adults! The poems are clever and witty taking the language used by Kipling and our everyday language to make the stories easier to read and explain. I found the book endearing and bought back great memories of having these stories read to me as a child. However, through experience, I know how difficult it is to teach these stories to children, if I only I had had this book to help! Very accessible to a wide variety of age ranges and interests. Thoroughly recommended. 92 pages / Ages 5+ / Reviewed by Lauren Maidman, teacher.

Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories, retold by Elli Woollard
Caroline B. Alliston

ISBN 9781784938482

A thoughtful, detailed and beautifully illustrated treasure trove of a book containing a wide range of progressive STEM activities for children from 5 to 85. Built It's layout, easy to follow instructions and appropriate scientific detail, lends itself to both the teacher and student who wants to discover and explore practical STEM projects. The activities included allow the user to not just build the models, but also investigate through working scientifically how changing parts might alter the way the model functions. Each activity provides links into some part of the National Curriculum in a fun and easy to follow way and it should be in every KS1 to KS3 teachers library. The Brush Monsters (p26 -31) give circuits whole new twist and Lolly Stick Bridge (p36-39) revives an old favourite with new ideas to stretch budding engineers. The inclusion of control systems, in the form of Crumble and coding challenges, gives this edition the edge over other STEM activities books. The blend of good illustrations, easy to follow instructions, good science and the use of everyday materials makes this book a real winner. As a STEM Presenter with Wonder Workshops, I've had the chance to show Build It to more than 50 Primary school teachers and some head teachers; without exception, they all wanted a copy for their classroom and personal library. This is also a perfect book for home schooling parents and grandparents who want to engage children in a plethora of fun STEM activities at home. Together they can discover new and established concepts in STEM through these engaging and fun projects. Almost all these activities can easily be done at home. If you are looking a beautifully illustrated, progressive, easy to use STEM Activities Book, look no longer. You have found it with Build It by Caroline Alliston. 120 pages / Ages 7-10 years / Reviewed by Bruce Robinson

The Storm Dog
Holly Webb

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847157935

The story follows a small girl called Tilly to Wales when she goes to stay with her grandma and great-grandma. She's learning about the Second World War at school and wants some help from her grandma who was an evacuee in the war. Tilly has to get on the train all by herself for the first time but without realising, she falls asleep. When she wakes up, she discovers that she has travelled back in time and she is living amongst World War Two. In this dramatic twist, she finds herself being evacuated to Wales. Along with her two brothers, they find a farmer called Mr Edwards who offers to take them in. They soon adjust to life on the farm and Tilly makes a new friend. This is an adventure story filled with exciting twists and turns. It shows the power of a dream and the magic that can be found within stories. It has relatively large text but it is quite a long story with some slightly more complex vocabulary. There are some illustrations but not too many so I would recommend it for slightly older readers. A great read to get children thinking about how life hasn't always been this way. 186 pages / Ages 7 + / Reviewed by Lucy Newton, teacher

The Storm Dog
I'm Just No Good At Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups
Chris Harris

Two Hoots

ISBN 9781509881048

From cover to cover, this book is full of fun, offering a very irreverent and appealing approach to poetry! Word play and nonsense sit alongside more reflective and thoughtful poems. All are gloriously illustrated. 'My Dessert Tummy' explains perfectly why so many of us can always find room for pudding. Harris and Smith playfully argue through poems like 'I Don't Like My Illustrator' and the picture which accompanies it or 'The Nursery Rhyme - Little Boy Blue' with some words replaced by delicious Greek Food! For a teacher, this collection offers endless possibilities for engaging their children with poetry. Many of these would be wonderful for performing, their bounce and humour making them easy to learn by heart. Using many different layouts and poetic styles, this is a collection everyone will enjoy! 192 pages / Ages 7+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher.

I'm Just No Good At Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups